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Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. claims 2019 Hornung Award

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It’s been quite the past 48 hours or so for Lynn Bowden Jr.

Monday, Bowden confirmed that he will be leaving his remaining eligibility on the table and making his way into the 2020 NFL Draft.  Two days later, the Louisville Sports Commission announced that the Kentucky Swiss Army knife has been named as the winner of the 2019 Paul Hornung Award, given out annually to the nation’s most versatile player.

Bowden is the first Wildcat to ever claim the honor.

Because of injuries at the position, Bowden, listed as a wide receiver to start the season, has started the last half of the 2019 campaign at quarterback for Kentucky.  In the regular-season finale against rival Louisville, Bowden set a school and SEC record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 284 in the win.

Bowden currently leads the Wildcats in rushing (1,235 yards) and receiving (30 for 348), and is third in passing yards (330). He’s accounted for 14 touchdowns this season — 11 rushing, two passing, one receiving.

In addition to Bowden, Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Joe Reed (Virginia) and Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska) were all named finalists for this year’s award.

No. 10 Notre Dame forces five turnovers, eight sacks to push past No. 18 Virginia

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The halftime strategy session inside Notre Dame’s defensive locker room had to be pretty simple: stop Bryce Perkins. Virginia’s quarterback carried the visitors to a 17-14 halftime lead, completing 18-of-22 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns while the Cavaliers mustered all of minus-2 yards on the ground.

The message sunk in. No. 10 Notre Dame’s defense harassed Perkins to the tune of five second-half sacks, two interceptions and two fumbles, turning a 3-point deficit into a 35-20 win over No. 18 Virginia.

The first of those three second-half turnovers came at the 9:50 mark of the third quarter, when Jamir Jones sacked Perkins and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa (Tua’s cousin) raced the ball 48 yards to the Virginia 7-yard line, setting up Tony Jones, Jr.’s 2-yard go-ahead touchdown, his second of the day.

Then, with 1:41 left in the third quarter, Julian Okwara sacked and stripped Perkins, which Adetokunbo Ogundeji scooped and scored from 23 yards out, giving the Irish a commanding 28-17 lead.

Finally, Alohi Gilman intercepted Perkins at Notre Dame’s 29 with 12:32 left in the third quarter, setting up Notre Dame’s offense to put the game away for good with a 5-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by a 30-yard Jones rush. Jones finished the game with 131 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

Perkins opened the game by orchestrating a 7-play, 69-yard touchdown drive that scored on a 6-yard toss to Joe Reed on third-and-goal. Notre Dame (3-1) then surged ahead 14-7 with touchdown drives on its first two opportunities, scoring on runs by Jones and C’Bo Flemister.

Virginia (4-1) then scored 10 straight, taking the lead on a 16-yard Perkins toss to Hasise Dubois with 43 seconds left in the first half. Bronco Mendenhall then capitalized on his team’s momentum by opening the second half with an onside kick, which the Wahoos recovered. That possession ended in a punt from Notre Dame’s 40, and another possession, which began after Notre Dame fumbled a punt return at its own 41 and the Cavs trailing 21-17, ended in a turnover on downs.

With Virginia trailing 35-20 with just under four minutes to play, Perkins erased any hopes of a comeback when he fired his second interception of the day to Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. Perkins finished the game 30-of-43 for 334 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and three fumbles while being sacked eight times.

Late TD gives No. 18 Virginia halftime lead over No. 10 Notre Dame

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Bryce Perkins has been dealing through one half of action in South Bend, and as a result No. 18 Virginia holds a 17-14 halftime lead over No. 10 Notre Dame.

Virginia took the ball to open the game and rolled 69 yards in seven plays, scoring on 6-yard, third-and-goal toss from Perkins to Joe Reed. Notre Dame immediately answered, moving 75 yards in a more methodical 13 snaps, as Tony Jones, Jr. charged for a 5-yard rush.

Notre Dame’s defense made the first play of the game on the ensuing series when Julian Okwara sacked and stripped Perkins, then recovered the ball near midfield. The Irish needed only four plays, with the help of two Wahoo penalties, to go up 14-7 on an 11-yard C’Bo Flemister run near the end of the first quarter.

Virginia answered by notching a 32-yard Brian Delaney field goal, then posted its first stop of the game via a 47-yard Jonathan Doerer field goal that sliced wide left.

After an exchange of three-and-outs, Perkins tossed a pair of dimes to put Virginia back on top. The first 39-yard toss over the middle to Hasise Dubois that moved the ball from the Virginia 28-yard line to the Notre Dame 33, and the second was a 16-yard strike to Dubois in the corner of the end zone with 43 seconds left before halftime.

Perkins closed the half 18-of-22 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. He’s carried the Cavs’ offense, as Virginia has totaled 13 credited rushes for minus-2 yards.

Overmatched Virginia has no answers as Navy woodsheds Hoos in Military Bowl rout

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Navy began its 2017 season at a promising 5-0 before stumbling to a 1-6 finish to barely reach bowl eligibility.  The doom and gloom of the last half of the regular season, however, gave way to 2017 being put to bed on a positive note for the service academy.

After jumping out to a 28-7 halftime lead, Navy kept up that momentum throughout the second half in claiming an impressive 49-7 woodshedding of Virginia in the Military Bowl.  With the win, Ken Niumatalolo improved his record in bowl games to 5-4 as the Midshipmen claimed the Military Bowl, played on its home field, for the second time in three years.

Despite the win, Navy, at 7-6, did put the finishing touches on its worst season since going 5-7 in 2011.  That said, a punishing ground game — and their opponent’s benevolence — ensured the service academy would head into the offseason with a record north of the .500 mark.

Coming into the game second in the country averaging 343 yards per game, the Midshipmen passed that average in the third quarter en route to putting up 452 yards on the ground.  Starting quarterback Malcolm Perry led the way with 114 yards rushing while adding a pair of touchdowns on the ground.

Perry was injured early in the third quarter, however, and was replaced by the man he replaced as the starter, Zach Abey.  After rushing for a pair of first-half touchdowns, Abey added three more in the second half to give him a Military Bowl-record five and Player of the Game honors.  Abey ran for 88 yards, while Chris High chipped in with 101.  All told, a whopping 10 Navy players were credited with at least one carry.

Navy attempted just one pass in the contest, which fell incomplete.

Not that they needed the help, but the Midshipmen were greatly aided by three turnovers by the Cavaliers.  Those three turnovers, incidentally, were turned into 21 points by Navy.  While not counting as a turnover officially, the Hoos also handed the ball back to the Midshipmen inside UVa.’s 25-yard line when their punter touched his knee to the ground prior to getting off a punt late in the third quarter.  Navy, of course, turned that into more points on Abey’s fifth touchdown.

Even when they maintained possession of the ball, UVa. couldn’t do much with it.  Through three quarters of play, the Cavaliers managed just 138 yards of offense, including a woeful five yards on 14 carries; they would finish with a season-low 163 total yards and averaged 1.7 yards per rush attempt.  In fact, their only score of the game came when the opening kickoff of the first half was returned for a touchdown by Joe Reed.

Virginia finished the 2017 season at 6-7, the sixth straight seasons they’ve finished the year with a sub-.500 record.  Their last winning season came in 2011 when Mike London went 8-5 in his second season in Charlottesville.  London’s successor, Bronco Mendenhall, is now 8-17 as the Hoos head coach.

Navy running through Virginia at halftime of Military Bowl

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Navy came into its Military Bowl matchup with Virginia losers of three in a row and six of its last seven.  After 30 minutes of play, the Midshipmen appear to be headed back in the right, potentially winning direction.

Things didn’t start out well for the service academy, however, as the Cavaliers’ Joe Reed returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.  That was it for the Hoos the remainder of the half as the Midshipmen hold a commanding 28-7 lead at the half in a bowl game being played in their own home stadium.

Navy scored on its first two offensive possessions in the first quarter, and both of the scores came (surprise!!!) on the ground.  Former starting quarterback Zach Abey scored from one yard out to knot the score at 7-all, while current starting quarterback Malcolm Perry found the end zone from 22 yards away with just over four minutes left in the opening stanza to give Navy its first lead of the contest.

After a lull that included just Navy’s 17th three-and-out this season, Perry posted his second rushing touchdown on the afternoon, this one a 19-yarder, to push the lead into double digits.  Following a Virginia fumble on the ensuing possession, the Hoos’ second turnover in the half, Abey scored his second rushing touchdown on a one-yard run to push the lead to three scores.

Navy, which came into the game second in the country averaging 343 yards a game on the ground, put up 264 first-half rushing yards on a Cavaliers defense that had almost no answer for that facet of the Midshipmen’s offense.  In fact, that was the only facet of the service academy’s offense as Navy once again didn’t even attempt a pass.

Eight different Navy players carried the ball at least once, with Perry leading the way with 109 yards on 14 attempts.

Conversely, the Cavaliers could do next to nothing offensively either on the ground or through the air.  UVa. managed just 79 yards of offense — 69 passing and 10 rushing.  Quarterback Kurt Benkert struggled throughout, completing just 8-of-20 passes for all 69 of those passing yards and an interception.  Benkert came into the game averaging more than 250 yards per game through the air, and had thrown 26 touchdowns and eight picks.

Navy will get the ball back to start the second half.