Jalen Hurd

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

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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.

UPDATED: Tennessee RB Jalen Hurd will transfer

AP Photo/Wade Payne
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After losing on the road against South Carolina, Tennessee’s season of optimism took another sour turn. It may be about to get a little uglier if some reports flying around Monday morning are any indication. Running back Jalen Hurd will reportedly leave the Vols program at the end of the season with the intent of playing a new position and a new school.

Hyams went on to clarify that Hurd has not quit the team and will remain a part of the team for the remainder of the year, barring any other unforeseen changes. Hurd’s reason to transfer allegedly stems from displeasure over how he has been used in Tennessee’s offense this season. Of course, Hurd could just as easily enter the NFL Draft next spring, which may be the more likely scenario anyway.

Hurd is Tennessee’s leading rusher with 451 yards in seven games this season. He has scored just three touchdowns on the ground, with two receiving touchdowns among his 10 receptions this season.

There is also some question about the future of defensive end ¬†Jonathan Kongo, who also is rumored to be preparing to leave the Vols as well. Kongo shared a rather ominous tweet with a picture of a pair of cleats hanging up with the message “All things must come to an end,” yesterday.

Kongbo, a sophomore, has appeared in eight games for the Vols, with just four tackles to show for it.

Things are not going quite according to plan for Butch Jones and the Vols in Knoxville, but there has been no official word these alleged departures will actually happen at this time. Maybe a strong finish to the season will provide a chance to reconsider the options, or maybe Tennessee’s program is starting to show a few cracks in the brick-by-brick foundation.

UPDATE (1:33 p.m. ET) – Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has confirmed Hurd will transfer to another school in 2017. As for Kongbo’s¬†mysterious tweet? Jones claims that was the result of losing in a video game. Alright then.

No. 14 Tennessee scores 38 straight to snap losing streak to No. 19 Florida

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No. 14 Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) brought an end to an 11-game losing streak to No. 19 Florida (3-1, 1-1 SEC) in resounding fashion Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium. Down 21-0 in the first half, Tennessee roared back with 38 straight points en route to a wild 38-28 victory in a key SEC East battle.

The phrase “tale of two halves” gets thrown around a lot, sometimes more than necessary, but there was simply no way to describe what just happened in a checkered-out Neyland Stadium. The Vols looked lost and sloppy in the first half of the game, shooting themselves in the feet twice inside the Florida 10-yard line with nothing to show for it. But the second half was a reversal of fortune, as the Vols defense started getting¬†off the field quickly and the offense started clicking. Joshua Dobbs shrugged off an awful first half and came back to lead the charge with four touchdown passes in the second half, and one more on the ground just for good measure. Dobbs was Tennessee’s second-leading rusher (behind Jalen Hurd) on top of passing for over 300 yards against the Gators.

Tennessee took the lead on a play that appeared to be eerily similar to a key play from a year ago. Dobbs found a wide-open Jauan Jennings down the right side of the field for an easy touchdown. The score gave the Vols the lead. It was a long passing play last season that saw Florida take the lead on the Vols when it appeared a victory was in hand for Tennessee.

The Vols tacked on more to put the game in he win column, of course. The defense picked off a pass from Austin Appleby on Florida’s first play of the ensuing drive and that was quickly turned into a touchdown. Florida then had to punt after three plays on the next drive, and the Vols scored four plays later. The momentum had swung back to Tennessee and never returned to the Gators’ sideline, even after a 16-play touchdown drive. Nothing was stopping Tennessee at this point, as Florida’s frustration boiled over so much,¬†Brandon Powell was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch.

Trying to figure out what this means for Tennessee going forward is a bit of a tricky proposition. That is because you just don’t really know which Tennessee was closer to the real Tennessee. The SEC East is most definitely their’s to take this year, with a head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida in the fold and Georgia looking abysmal on the road earlier in the day in a blowout loss at Ole Miss. Tennessee will get a chance to seize complete control of the division next week when they head to Athens to take on those Georgia Bulldogs. A win there and the SEC East crown should be pretty easy to claim, although¬†the Vols still have a road trip to Texas A&M and a home game against Alabama ¬†after that Georgia game, so there is no easy path to the SEC East just yet.

And with a challenging schedule ahead of them in conference play the next few weeks, Florida is not out of the picture just yet. The Gators get no easy games with LSU and Arkansas in cross-division play, but a game at Vanderbilt next week offers a chance to bounce back before hosting LSU and Missouri and then taking on Georgia in Jacksonville. Florida can remain in the hunt, but the margin for error has been reduced as a result of this one.

Tennessee fumbles away upset bid; No. 8 Alabama wins for 9th straight time vs. Vols

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Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) gave No. 8 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) a respectable fight, but when it came time to make a big play in the clutch, Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs lost control of the football and fumbled away the football to Alabama’s defense as time was winding down in the game. In the end, Alabama held on to avoid a serious upset bid by Tennessee, winning 19-14 to hand the Vols their ninth straight¬†defeat against Alabama.

Tennessee seemed to stun Alabama midway through the fourth quarter when Jalen Hurd maneuvered through the Alabama defense for a 12-yard touchdown. The score gave the Vols a 14-13 lead quickly after Alabama took a 13-7 lead. Tennessee’s scoring drive needed just four plays to a 75-yard touchdown drive that included a pair of big passes from Joshua Dobbs to Josh Smith and Josh Malone. Like a prized champion fighter though, Alabama got the last punch in. Derrick Henry scored on a¬†14-yard touchdown run to put Alabama up 19-14. The situation called for a two-point conversion attempt, but a pass attempt fell incomplete to keep the score a five-point differential.

Alabama quarterback Jake Coker completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 247 yards, but he was without a touchdown pass. Henry took care of that on the ground, running for 143 yards and two scores to continue padding his Heisman Trophy candidate profile. though not the case for much of the game, Alabama did end the game with more total offensive yards (364-303).

Alabama will be off next week. The next time we see the Crimson Tide take the field, they will face a likely undefeated LSU team. The Tigers take on Western Kentucky in soggy Baton Rouge tonight and should enter their bye week with a clean 7-0 record. Like Alabama, LSU will be off next week as well before the big SEC West showdown in Tuscaloosa. The game could very well provide more clarity to the SEC West race, although LSU still has games against Ole Miss and Texas A&M to play before the end of the regular season.

Tennessee will return home next week for a primetime matchup with Kentucky in an SEC East battle. Tennessee still has a favorable schedule ahead of them to finish on a hot streak in the regular season. Tennessee must visit Missouri, but the back end of the schedule also features games against Vanderbilt, North Texas and South Carolina. That should lead to some nice momentum heading to a bowl game.

 

D√©j√† Vu all over again for Vols; Gators’ win streak vs. Tennessee goes to 11

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For the second time in three weeks, Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC) let a double-digit lead in the second half waste away, leading to a heartbreaking loss. Down 27-14 in the fourth quarter, Florida (4-0, 2-0 SEC) rallied for a thrilling 28-27 win against the division rival Vols. Gators quarterback Will Grier threw two touchdowns in the comeback that saw the Gators keep their perfect record in play and extended the school’s winning streak over Tennessee to 11. Grier’s 4th and 14 pass to Antonio Callaway went for 63 yards and the winning touchdown with 1:26 left in the game. Tennessee missed a 55-yard field goal as the clock expired.

Florida got a number of breaks to get the win, but they earned them. The Gators were a perfect five-for-five on fourth downs, making up for a 3-for-15 third down success rate. Tennessee even had the advantage in total offensive yards (419-392) and the Vols rushed for more than twice as many yards on the ground (254-109). Tennessee also had the slight edge in time of possession. Talk about a bit of a gutsy win for the Gators.

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs led all players with 136 yards and Jalen Hurd added 102 yards and two touchdowns for the Vols. Florida’s¬†Grier¬†overcame some tough moments earlier in the game to shine in the clutch. He ended the game with 283 passing yards and two touchdowns. Kelvin Taylor had 102 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and Callaway ended his day with 112 yards.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain nearly cost his team a win when he chose to freeze Tennessee kicker Aaron Medley on the final play of the game. Hedley was setting up for a 55-yard field goal and missed his first attempt wide right by a good margin, but McElwain called a timeout (probably because college kickers have such a great track record with long field goals, I guess). After the timeout, Medley got a second chance and nearly made McElwain pay for the timeout tactic. Medley’s kick certainly had the distance but once again flew by the goalpost wide right, by an extremely narrow margin.

McElwain escaped his over-coaching moment, but Butch Jones left some scratching their heads over a decision not to go for a two-point conversion. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee took a 26-14 lead on a Hurd touchdown. Rather than attempt the two-point conversion to make it 28-14, Jones kicked the extra point. To say that may have cost Tennessee a win would be an understatement.

So for Tennessee, it is one more year of waiting before snapping the long losing streak to the hated Gators. It has been 11 years since the last time Tennessee defeated the Gators, which means nearly three full recruiting classes have come and gone in Knoxville wihtout celebrating a win over Florida.

Florida is now sitting in first place in the SEC East with a 2-0 conference mark. Tennessee, despite another year of promise and potential, is off to a start of 0-1 in conference play.