Jalen Hurd

Getty Images

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 27 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

Leave a comment

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 27 bowl menu, which today features a pair of Power Five vs. Power Five matchups as well as an AAC-ACC clash.

WHO: Temple (8-4) vs. Duke (7-5)
WHAT: The 43rd Walk-On’s Independence Bowl
WHEN: 1:30 ET on ESPN
WHERE: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana
THE SKINNY: Contrary to popular belief, Temple interim head coach Matt Foley Ed Foley did not live in a van down by the river before coming to the Owls and setting Shreveport on fire with his motivational prowess. … Foley takes over for this one game for Geoff Collins, who left after two seasons with the football program to take the same job at Georgia Tech. The permanent replacement, Manny Diaz, will be coordinating Miami’s defense in the bowl game right after this one. … After not appearing in a bowl game in nearly two decades, Duke has played in one in six of the last seven seasons. Head coach David Cutcliffe has been responsible for six of the football program’s 14 postseason appearances all-time and two of its five bowl wins, with the Blue Devils looking to win a third straight bowl game for the first time in the school’s history. … Temple, meanwhile, will be playing in its fourth straight bowl game, including a win in last year’s Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. … The Owls come into today’s game having won three in a row and six of their last seven, while the Blue Devils have dropped two straight and four of their last six after starting the regular season 5-1. Duke lost those last two games, incidentally, by a combined score of 94-13 (Clemson 35-6, Wake Forest 59-7). … Temple has the nation’s seventh-ranked pass defense in yards per game (166.3) and is tops in the FBS in allowing just 5.1 yards per pass attempt. … Duke starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who staged a miraculous in-season return from a broken clavicle, is tied for 104th nationally in averaging 6.4 yards per attempt.  Jones, playing in potentially his last game for the Blue Devils as the redshirt junior considers an early leap to the NFL, is capable of putting up big numbers as he accounted for 547 yards of offense (361 passing, 186 rushing) in a mid-November win over rival North Carolina earlier this year. … Today’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
THE LINE: Duke, +3½
THE PREDICTION: Temple 28, Duke 27

__________

WHO: Miami (7-5) vs. Wisconsin (7-5)
WHAT: The 9th Pinstripe Bowl
WHEN: 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City, New York
THE LINE: Wisconsin, +3
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: Baylor (6-6) vs. Vanderbilt (6-6)
WHAT: The 13th Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
THE SKINNY: Baylor and Vanderbilt have met in football twice previously, with the last meeting coming more than sixty years ago (1954).  Vandy won both of those contests. … The Commodores are looking for their first bowl win since 2013, while Derek Mason is looking to even his bowl record at 1-1 (lost the 2016 Independence Bowl). … The Bears, on the other hand, have won two straight bowl games and four of their last six postseason appearances.  Three of those wins came with disgraced former head coach Art Briles in charge in Waco. … Both teams needed to win their final games of the regular season in order to reach bowl eligibility, which Baylor did with an 11-point win over Texas Tech and Vandy did with a 25-point pasting of in-state rival Tennessee. Vandy actually had to win its last two to become bowl-eligible as they beat Ole Miss as well at UT… Baylor is looking to put the finishing touches on one of the most impressive rebounds in college football as the Bears went 1-11 in 2017. … Baylor is 71st nationally in scoring offense (28.3 points per game) while Vandy is tied for 49th in scoring defense (25.1 ppg). Conversely, the Commodores are 76th in scoring offense (27.7 ppg) while the Bears are tied for 87th in scoring defense (31.2 ppg). … The last four games, three of which were wins, Vandy’s offense averaged 36.7 points per game. … Baylor’s offense, on pace for its worst scoring season in nearly a decade, won’t be at full strength as Jalen Hurd, the Tennessee transfer who is the Bears’ leading receiver (69 receptions, 946 receiving yards) and was named as the Big 12’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year, will not play in the game due to injury. … One area to keep an eye on: Baylor is 118th nationally in turnover margin (18 turnovers committed, nine turnovers gained) while Vandy is tied for 18th in the same category (21 turnovers gained, 13 lost).  Only LSU (T-6th) and Florida (10th) finished better than Vandy in the SEC.
THE LINE: Baylor, +4
THE PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 24, Baylor 20

Kyler Murray is Oklahoma’s fourth-straight Big 12 offensive player of the year

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
1 Comment

An Oklahoma player winning the Big 12 offensive player of the year award is beginning to be routine in Norman. Quarterback Kyler Murray continued a streak for the Sooners by being named the Big 12’s offensive player of the year on Wednesday, marking the fourth consecutive season an Oklahoma player has been recognized as the conference’s top offensive player.

Murray wins the award one year after former Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield won the award. Mayfield won the award in 2015 as well, with former Sooners wide receiver Dede Westbrook taking the award in 2016. This was Oklahoma’s eighth player in program history to win the Big 12 offensive player of the year award, joining Sam Bradford, Jason White and Josh Heupel on the list.

West Virginia linebacker David Long was recognized as the conference’s defensive player of the year. He is the first Mountaineer to win the award. Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd was named the Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year, and Iowa State defensive back Greg Eisworth took the defensive newcomer of the year award.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. also was recognized by the Big 12 as the offensive freshman of the year. Texas defensive back Caden Sterns was named defensive freshman of the year.

The Big 12 handed out two awards for coach of the year this season, with the honor being shared by Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.

The full list of Big 12 awards is listed below.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma, QB, Jr., Allen, Texas

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
David Long Jr., West Virginia, LB, Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio

OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Jalen Hurd, Baylor, WR, Sr., Hendersonville, Tenn.

DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Greg Eisworth, Iowa State, DB, So., Grand Prairie, Texas

OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Pooka Williams Jr., Kansas, RB, New Orleans, La.

DEFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Caden Sterns, Texas, DB, Cibolo, Texas

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Austin Seibert, Oklahoma, K/P, Sr., Belleville, Ill.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OF THE YEAR
Dalton Risner, K-State, Sr., Wiggins, Colo.
Dru Samia, Oklahoma, Sr., Sacramento, Calif.
Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia, Sr., Miami, Fla.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR
Charles Omenihu, Texas, Sr., Rowlett, Texas

CHUCK NEINAS COACHES OF THE YEAR
Matt Campbell, Iowa State (3rd Season)
Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma (2nd Season)

Murray was one of seven Oklahoma players named to the Big 12’s first-team all-conference offense. The Sooners quarterback beat out West Virginia’s Will Grier for the First Team spot, with the Mountaineers passer headling the All-Big 12 Second Team All-Conference roster.

You can view the entire All-Big 12 teams HERE.

Baylor’s Matt Rhule on Tennessee transfer Jalen Hurd: ‘He will be an elite wide receiver’

Getty Images
3 Comments

Baylor’s secret weapon for the upcoming season may very well be somebody who Tennessee fans are intimately familiar with: former Vols tailback Jalen Hurd.

In a lengthy article on Bleacher Report on Hurd’s decision to change positions and enroll in Waco, Bears head coach Matt Rhule did not seem to downplay expectations for one of his likely starters this fall and lobbed some pretty high praise on the former five-star recruit who had a rather controversial exit from Knoxville two years ago.

“He’s going to play a long time in the NFL—as a wide receiver,” said Rhule. “He will be an elite wide receiver.”

Hurd announced he was transferring in the middle of the 2017 season and eventually settled on a rather surprising move to Baylor. He racked up 2,635 yards and 20 touchdowns in three years as a Vol runner but has apparently slimmed down by 20 pounds and shown off surprising agility in the passing game during his time sitting out a season in Waco.

The entire piece is well worth a read on the why Hurd wound up playing where he is and why the big change to catching passes instead of running the ball between the tackles. NFL scouts don’t seem entirely convinced until he’s actually impressed on the field this season but Rhule, while no doubt wanting to talk up his player, does have pro coaching experience to lean on when evaluating players.

Either way, Hurd figures to be one of the more interesting players in the Big 12 given his very unique career path up to this point.

Ex-Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd reportedly set to visit Louisville

Getty Images
2 Comments

Add an ACC football program as a potential landing spot for a former SEC running back.

Citing three separate sources, Scout.com is reporting that Jalen Hurd will visit the Louisville campus this weekend.  That website added “that Hurd has expressed an interest in playing tight end at the school he picks.”

It’s previously been reported that the 6-4, 240-pound Hurd has already paid a visit to Ohio State.  A pair of Pac-12 schools, Cal and Oregon, are also reportedly interested in the player.

According to the same Scout story, Hurd will not be leaving Tennessee as a graduate transfer, meaning he would have to sit out the 2017 season.  He’d then have one season of eligibility remaining that he could use in 2018.

In late October, Hurd stunned most observers when he decided to transfer from the Volunteers in the midst of the 2016 regular season.  Hurd’s mother indicated in a Facebook post at the time that she didn’t necessarily agree with her son’s decision, while his father fought back against speculation that the running back’s decision was triggered by a benching.

When Hurd left Rocky Top, he was leading the Vols in rushing with 451 yards.  At the time of his departure, Hurd was also 445 yards away from breaking Travis Henry‘s school record for career rushing yards.  Instead, his 2,634 yards leaves him in sixth place all-time.

Hurd was a four-star member of UT’s 2014 recruiting class who held an offer from, among others, OSU before signing with the Vols.  He’s yet to use his redshirt season.

Reports: Ex-Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd to visit Ohio State

Getty Images
7 Comments

Tennessee’s loss could turn into Ohio State’s ground gain, depending on how things play out in the coming days.

In late October, Jalen Hurd stunned most observers when he decided to transfer from the Volunteers in the midst of the 2016 regular season.  Hurd’s mother indicated in a Facebook post that she didn’t necessarily agree with her son’s decision, while his father fought back against speculation that the running back’s decision was triggered by a benching.

Three months later, ElevenWariors.com is reporting that Hurd will visit the Buckeyes this weekend.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer subsequently confirmed the initial report.

It’s unclear if Hurd will be leaving UT as a graduate transfer.  If that’s the case, he’d be eligible to play for OSU or any other FBS program in 2017 — Cal’s rumored to be a potential landing spot as well.  If not, he’d have to sit out the 2017 season, leaving him with one season of eligibility that he could use in 2018.

When Hurd left Rocky Top, he was leading the Vols in rushing with 451 yards.  At the time of his departure, Hurd was also 445 yards away from breaking Travis Henry‘s school record for career rushing yards.  Instead, his 2,634 yards leaves him in sixth place all-time.

Hurd was a four-star member of UT’s 2014 recruiting class who held an offer from, among others, OSU before signing with the Vols.  He’s yet to use his redshirt season.