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Wild Iron Bowl sees Alabama lead 31-27 at the break

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A 48-point second quarter — with 21 of those points coming in less than a minute and a half — has seen No. 5 Alabama take a 31-27 lead over No. 15 Auburn at the half.

The game started slowly — an Alabama field goal and three punts in the first four possessions — but then took off to warp speed, starting with a 37-yard Christian Tutt punt return that set Auburn up at the Crimson Tide’s 32-yard line. A 15-yard Boobie Whitlow run and a face mask penalty later, Bo Nix put the Tigers up 7-3 with an untouched 7-yard keeper at the 2:07 mark of the first quarter.

Alabama immediately answered with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown run capped by a 6-yard Najee Harris run, as the junior running back carried the entire Tide offense while Mac Jones worked his way to game speed (his first 14 passes covered just 40 yards). Harris lead all runners with 94 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Auburn then tied the game with a 43-yard Anders Carlson field goal, then took the lead when Smoke Monday snared a Jones overthrow and raced 29 yards for a score, putting the Tigers up 17-10 with 5:36 left in the first half. The lead lasted 14 seconds, as Jaylen Waddle raced the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Then, Whitlow fumbled at his own 37, and 84 seconds after leading 17-10, Auburn trailed 24-17 when Jones found Henry Ruggs III for a 3-yard score at the 4:12 mark of the second quarter.

Stunned to silence after that turn of events, Auburn appeared to be trying to simply run out the final four minutes of the half and lick its wounds at halftime, until Nix hit Seth Williams on a 37-yard heave on 3rd-and-8, taking the ball from his own 38 to Alabama’s 25. Nix then found Will Hastings for an 11-yard gain on a throwaway, and then Sal Canella, using his 6-foot-5 frame to keep his toes in bounds while reaching far out of bounds, snared a game-tying touchdown pass with 1:06 left in the first half.

The Tigers left too much time.

After a 24-yard Diggs kick return and a 4-yard completion to Jerry Jeudy, Waddle did the rest, catching the ball shy of the Auburn 45 and then weaved through the secondary for his second touchdown of the quarter, putting Alabama back ahead 31-24 with 33 seconds left in the first half. Waddle touched the ball four times in the half, and two of them turned into touchdowns totaling 156 yards.

Out of timeouts, Auburn maneuvered from its own 35 to the Alabama 34 when Whitlow was tackled as time expired in the half. But, because Whitlow surged forward until time expired rather than going down with, say, three seconds left in the half, Gus Malzahn demanded a review of the timing. The review worked as a de facto timeout, allowing Auburn to get off a field goal when one second was put back on the clock. History did not repeat itself, as Carlson’s 52-yard field goal sailed through the uprights, not for a 109-yard return the other way.

Alabama will receive to open the second half.

Alabama continues climb up 2021 recruiting rankings with another four-star commit; Crimson Tide now knocking on the door of the Top 10

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After a slow start, Alabama continues to make inroads on the football recruiting trail.  Significant inroads.

Monday, four-star defensive back Devonta Smith, a one-time Ohio State commit, committed to Alabama football.  Two days later, four-star defensive end Dallas Turner did the same.  The Florida high schooler, who had Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma as part of his Final Five, gave his verbal in a video.

Turner had taken a visit to Tuscaloosa back in February.  That trip seemed to clinch the deal for the Crimson ide.

I knew after the visit,” Turner said. “I just liked the amount of history at the school and how productive the school is and the high standards that they have for their players. …

“I trust [the Alabama football] program the most. I feel like they want me to be the best version of me.”

Turner is rated as the No. 2 weakside defensive end on the 247Sports.com composite.  The Fort Lauderdale high schooler is the No. 10 recruit regardless of position in the Sunshine State.  He’s also the No. 44 prospect overall on that same composite.

The two commitments continue a significant uptick in recruiting success for the Crimson Tide.

Roughly six weeks ago, Alabama held the No. 54 class in the country for the 2021 cycle.  Right behind Rice.  And just ahead of UTSA.  Now? The Tide sits at No. 12 nationally — after they were No. 19 following the Smith commitment.  In the SEC, they now have the No. 4 class in the conference behind Tennessee (No. 4), Florida (No. 8) and LSU (No. 9).

Here’s to guessing, though, that the Tide is not finished on the recruiting trail.  Far from it, in fact.

There is history behind such confidence, of course.  Just once since Nick Saban took over has Alabama finished outside the Top Five in recruiting.  That was the 2007 class, signed in February of that year.  One month after Saban was hired.

Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley will take a 10% cut in pay

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Go ahead and add the Oklahoma football coach as taking one for the team.  Or school, as the case may be.

Wednesday, Oklahoma announced that, with the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year, the athletic department is initiating cost-cutting measures that will help slash “approximately $13.7 million in controllable operating expenses.” Included in that is a 10% salary reduction for any university employee earning a salary of $1 million or more per year.  Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley, of course, is part of that group.

Last year, Riley was paid nearly $6.4 million, a figure that was second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally.  With a 10% reduction, Riley would forego in the neighborhood of $640,000.

From the school’s release:

All of us understand that a number of circumstances will unfold in the weeks ahead,” he said. “Our staff continues to monitor our expense and income projections closely and we’ll take other actions, as necessary.”

Castiglione added that he was pleased that the department was able to balance its budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“It’s a testament to our staff and our practices that we were able to balance our budget for fiscal year 2020,” Castiglione said. “We have always benefited from excellent teamwork in our department, but our staff has come together as never before. I am very proud of our people.

Below is a partial list of FBS programs that have initiated various cost-cutting measures for athletic department personnel, including coaches:

Additionally, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who reportedly made north of $5 million a year ago, is taking a 20% pay cut.  Scott’s Big 12 counterpart, Bob Bowlsby, announced pay cuts for himself and the conference’s staff.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including the family of Joe Paterno condemning ‘leaking of selective emails’ that pointed to a coverup at Penn State

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 2, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Report: James Madison interested in moving up to FBS to take UConn’s spot in AAC
THE SYNOPSIS: Thus far, no school has taken UConn’s place in the conference.  The league seems content moving forward with 11 football-playing members.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Dismissed Notre Dame RB CJ Holmes finds second chance at Penn State
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly a year to the day later, Holmes moved on from Penn State to Kent State.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Braxton Miller to reveal plans for future next week
THE SYNOPSIS: Hmmm, wonder what the Ohio State quarterback will do?  Stay tuned…

2014

THE HEADLINE: Randy “Captain Obvious” Edsall: We’re not going to be Ohio State, Michigan or Penn State
THE SYNOPSIS: That was when Edsall was the boss at Maryland.  Edsall lasted one-and-a-half more seasons at the school.  The Terrapins went 22-34 under the current UConn head coach, including a 2-4 start to the 2015 season that triggered his midseason dismissalMike Locksley was named interim coach.  Three years later, Lockley was back as the full-time head coach.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Paterno family condemns ‘leaking of selective emails’
THE SYNOPSIS: This development, which came a week after Jerry Sandusky became a convicted pedophile, continued to erode Joe Paterno‘s legacy.

2010

THE HEADLINE: UGA-ly: Bad situation gets really uncomfortable for AD Damon Evans
THE SYNOPSIS: What made it so uncomfortable? During a traffic stop, a state trooper detected a  pair of red panties situated between Evans’ legs.  In the vehicle with the married Evans was a female who was not his wife. Three days later, Evans resigned. Eight years later, Evans was named as the athletic director at Maryland.

Florida State RB Anthony Grant to restart career at a Kansas JUCO

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It didn’t take long for one erstwhile Florida State football player to find a new home.  On a lower rung of the sport, but still.

It was reported last week that Anthony Grant is no longer a member of the Florida State football team.  In fact, Grant is no longer listed on FSU’s official roster.  It’s unclear at this point whether the parting of ways was mutual or one-sided.

Then again, that doesn’t much matter as the running back has reportedly opted to start over at Garden City Community College.  The news of the JUCO move was first reported late last week.

It’s expected that Grant will spend the 2020 season at the Kansas junior college, then move back to an FBS school.  That would leave him with two years of eligibility at this level of football starting in 2021.

Grant was a three-star member of the Florida State football Class of 2018.  The Georgia native was rated as the No. 17 running back in the country on the 247Sports.com composite.  He held Power Five offers from nearly two dozen schools, including Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

In 2019, Grant didn’t see the field at all for the Seminoles.  As a true freshman, Grant played a dozen games.  In that action, he ran five times… for zero yards.  He did, though, lead FSU by averaging 22.5 yards on 11 kick returns.  Additionally, he totaled nine tackles on special teams.