Chris Conley

Small school stars take center stage in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl

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Division 2 standout running back Terrell Watson, representing Azusa Pacific, won NFLPA Collegiate Bowl MVP honors on Saturday. Watson led the National team of college all-stars with 55 yards and a touchdown in leading his National team to a 17-0 victory on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl is down the ladder in terms of star power in the college all-star circuit, but it is a terrific opportunity for some players from smaller schools to compete and catch the eye of an NFL coach or scout. Watson had his chance to do just that, as did Southern Illinois Malcolm Agnew, who complimented Watson’s production with 53 rushing yards for the National team. Eastern Kentucky running back Channing Fugate got one rushing attempt, and he made the most of it with a short touchdown run in the third quarter.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl did have some names most college football fans might be more familiar with though.

South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge led the National passers with 51 yards and Miami Ohio quarterback Andrew Hendrix added 47 yards. Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley had the most efficient day at receiver, leading the National team with 45 receiving yards on two catches.

Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt was the leading passer for the losing American squad, completing seven of eight passes for 48 yards. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato finished the game with 31 passing yards with a 50 percent completion percentage. Cato was also second on the American team in rushing with 15 yards. Prairie View A&M quarterback Jerry Lovelocke mixed in 40 passing yards. Missouri running back Marcus Murphy led the American team in rushing with 47 yards, and West Texas A&M wide receiver Anthony Johnson led the team with 40 receiving yards.

Hutson Mason leaves Belk Bowl with injury, Georgia leads Lousiville at half

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Georgia running back Nick Chubb ripped off a 31-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Louisville defense midway through the second quarter to give the Bulldogs of the SEC a 20-7 halftime advantage on the ACC’s Cardinals in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason has left the game for an undetermined amount of time due to what is simply being called an undisclosed injury.

The force was strong with Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley midway through the first quarter when he hauled in a pass from Mason for a 45-yard touchdown, covering half the distance of what turned out to be a 90-yard drive. Georgia kicked a field goal later in the second quarter to take a 10-7 lead, and Chubb later turned in his 31-yard touchdown scamper for the 17-7 lead.

Kyle Bolin started at quarterback for the Cardinals, but he was taken out for a stretch during the second quarter for Reggie Bonnafon. That did not play out well for head coach Bobby Petrino, as Bonnafon was picked off with the return setting Georgia up for a field goal and a 20-7 lead. After the Georgia field goal, Bolin returned to the field.

Petrino also called for a fake field goal from the Louisville 31-yard line, but the pass fell incomplete to give Georgia terrific field position, only to see Brice Ramsey (inserted in the game following the injury to Hutson) throw a deep pass picked off by Terell Floyd a few yards shy of the end zone.

Louisville is playing without running back Michael Dyer, who was previously ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game.

UGA, Mizzou clean up as SEC reveals 2014 football awards

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Minus the red carpet, award season in college football continues this afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon, the SEC announced its winners for its seven major awards.  Five of those came from the supposed weak link in the SEC chain, the East division.  Specifically, Missouri claimed three of the awards and Georgia two of them.

Mizzou’s honors were Defensive Player of the Year (defensive end Shane Ray), Special Teams Player of the Year (running back Marcus Murphy) and Coach of the Year (Gary Pinkel), while UGA’s were for Freshman of the Year (running back Nick Chubb) and Scholar-Athlete of the Year (wide receiver Chris Conley).

Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper was named the Offensive Player of the Year while LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

The awards, voted on by the conference’s coaches, came one day after the All-SEC teams were announced.

Georgia starts strong, but Kentucky clawing back

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After losing the previous week in Jacksonville to Florida, Georgia got off on the right foot on the road this afternoon at Kentucky. Isaiah McKenzie returned the game’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and the Bulldogs have been off and running since. But Kentucky is not ready to pack it in just yet. Georgia leads Kentucky 35-24 at the half in Lexington.

Georgia jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, with a Hutson Mason touchdown pass to Chris Conley and a Nick Chubb touchdown run for a pair of red zone scores. Georgia’s offense has had no problems with Kentucky’s defense this afternoon, already over 300 yards of offense in the first half. The Bulldogs also went four-for-four on third down conversion attempts in the first half. Chubb has already turned in over 100 rushing yards today and Conley has scored twice. Mason has three touchdowns to go with his accurate passing in the first half.

Kentucky has shown some punch though, even if the defense cannot make a stop. Stanley Williams has rushed five times for 87 yards (boosted by a 56-yard run for a touchdown. Braylon Heard has carried the football 10 times for 29 yards and the Wildcats have picked up a pair of first downs on fourth down conversion attempts. Kentucky pushed forward for a late touchdown to make things a bit more interesting heading to the second half as well.

Georgia needs to find a way to slam the door shut on Kentucky, because the Wildcats do not appear to be a team that will curl up and roll over in this one.

No. 10 Georgia rides monster first half to second straight Gurley-less win

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Turns out maybe the biggest detriment to Todd Gurley’s Heisman Trophy campaign is his own backup, Nick Chubb.

Following a 38-carry, 143-yard performance in a 34-0 win at Missouri, true freshman Chubb powered No. 10 Georgia to a 45-32 defeat of Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark.. with a career-high 202-yard, two-touchdown effort. Without the help of Gurley, or fellow tailbacks Keith Marshall and Sony Michel, Chubb has rushed 68 times for 345 yards (5.07 yards a pop) and three scores.

Chubb got most of his work in early, carrying 12 times for 127 yards and both of his two touchdowns (from three and 43 yards) in leading the Bulldogs to a 38-6 lead at the break. Of course, you can’t build a 32-point lead on the strength of just one player. Hutson Mason threw and ran for a first-half score, and the defense produced three sacks and three turnovers, and one of each on the same play as Jordan Jenkins sacked Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen and forced a fumble, which Dominick Sanders collected and returned 54 yards for a touchdown to close the scoring in the first half with 2:08 to play and gave the Dogs a 38-6 lead.

The game looked like anything but a Georgia romp to start as the Hogs accepted the ball to start the game and ate up more than half the first quarter on a 13-play, 75-yard drive (12 rushes, one pass) for a one-yard Alex Collins touchdown plunge. But John Henson’s PAT was blocked, the second consecutive block dating back to last week’s 14-13 loss to Alabama, and it was pretty much all downhill from there for Bielema’s boys.

To its credit, Arkansas showed much more fight in the second half than one might expect from a team headed toward its fourth straight loss. The Razorbacks out-scored Georgia 26-7 in the second half, but never pulled closer than the final margin of 13 points. Allen finished the day with a less-impressive-than-it-looks 296 yards with three touchdowns and two picks (plus the disastrous fumble) on 28-of-45 passing. Jonathan Williams led the way for Arkansas’ running game with 18 carries for 108 yards, while Collins added 11 carries for 31 yards and two scores.

Mason hit a workman-like 10-of-17 passes for 179 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, plus another score on the ground. Chris Conley caught five passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Georgia will now take a week off before meeting Florida in Jacksonville, giving its bevy of injured running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs an extra week to heal and Gurley 13 more days to have his case resolved.

Arkansas, losers of its last 16 SEC games, will see that week stay alive for at least one more week as the Hogs step out of the conference to host UAB on Saturday.