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Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love among Lombardi Award candidates

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The college football season may be in the books for the 2017 season, bu there is still a piece of hardware to present to one of the sport’s top players from the most recent season. On Monday, the Lombardi Foundation unveiled a list of 21 players named as a candidate for the Lombardi Award for the 2017 season. This year, the award is open to players of any position based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency and the list of candidates includes a number of names you should be familiar with.

2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Bryce Love, Saquon Barkley, Roquan Smith, and J.T. Barrett are all among the players nominated for the award. The list of 21 candidates will be whittled down to seven finalists by a select panel of award voters this week, and four of those finalists will be invited to the Lombardi Honors presentation for the awarding of the Lombardi Award. The seven initial finalists will be announced this coming Monday, January 22.

Saquon Barkley, Penn State (RB)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (QB)
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State (DE)
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon (OT)
DeShon Elliott, Texas (S)
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (S)
Shaquem Griffin, UCF (LB)
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (QB)
Derwin James, Florida State (S)
Joel Lanning, Iowa State (LB/QB)
Bryce Love, Stanford (RB)
Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State (DE)
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (QB)
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame (G)
Ed Oliver, Houston (DT)
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama (DT)
Rashaad Penny, San Diego State (RB)
Roquan Smith, Georgia (LB)
Vita Vea, Washington (DT)
James Washington, Oklahoma State (WR)
Christian Wilkins, Clemson (DT)

Alabama’s Jonathan Allen won the award for the 2016 season.

AP All-American Team highlighted by Mayfield and Sooners on First Team

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The Oklahoma Sooners will bring three AP First Team All-Americans into the College Football Playoff this year, including Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press on Monday, and he is joined by fellow Sooners offensive tackle Orlando Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell were also named to the AP’s First Team to combine to match Oklahoma’s First Team total. Other First Team All-Americans included Heisman finalist and Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love of Stanford, Biletnikoff Award winner James Washington. Lombardi Award winner Saquon Barkley of Penn State was named to the First Team as an all-purpose player, and the nation’s leading rusher, Rashaad Penny of San Diego State joined Love as a First Team running back.

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Baker Mayfield, senior, Oklahoma.

Running backs — Bryce Love, junior, Stanford; Rashaad Penny, senior, San Diego State.

Tackles — Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame.

Guards — Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn.

Center — Billy Price, senior, Ohio State.

Tight end — Mark Andrews, junior, Oklahoma.

Receivers — James Washington, senior, Oklahoma State; Anthony Miller, senior, Memphis.

All-purpose player — Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State.

Kicker — Matt Gay, junior, Utah.

DEFENSE

Ends — Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State; Clelin Ferrell, sophomore, Clemson.

Tackles — Hercules Mata’afa, junior, Washington State; Maurice Hurst, senior, Michigan.

Linebackers — Roquan Smith, junior, Georgia; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; T.J. Edwards, junior, Wisconsin.

Cornerbacks — Josh Jackson, junior, Iowa; Denzel Ward, junior, Ohio State.

Safeties — Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama; DeShon Elliott, junior, Texas.

Punter — Michael Dickson, junior, Texas.

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SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville.

Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, freshman, Wisconsin; Kerryon Johnson, junior, Auburn.

Tackles — Mitch Hyatt, junior, Clemson; Isaiah Wynn, senior, Georgia.

Guards — Cody O’Connell, senior, Washington State; Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP.

Center — Bradley Bozeman, senior, Alabama.

Tight end — Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin.

Receivers — David Sills V, junior, West Virginia; Michael Gallup, senior, Colorado State.

All-purpose player — Dante Pettis, senior, Washington.

Kicker — Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn.

DEFENSE

Ends — Sutton Smith, sophomore, Northern Illinois; Nick Bosa, sophomore, Ohio State.

Tackles — Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson.

Linebackers — Malik Jefferson, junior, Texas; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior, Oklahoma; Dorian O’Daniel, senior, Clemson.

Cornerbacks — Jalen Davis, senior, Utah State; Carlton Davis, junior, Auburn.

Safeties — Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Justin Reid, junior, Stanford.

Punter — Johnny Townsend, senior, Florida.

———————-

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Mason Rudolph, senior, Oklahoma State.

Running backs — Ronald Jones II, junior, Southern California; Devin Singletary, sophomore, Florida Atlantic.

Tackles — David Edwards, sophomore, Wisconsin; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama.

Guards — Beau Benzschawel, junior, Wisconsin; Tyrone Crowder, senior, Clemson.

Center — Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas.

Tight end — Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State.

Receivers — Steve Ishmael, senior, Syracuse; A.J. Brown, sophomore, Mississippi.

All-purpose player — D.J. Reed, junior, Kansas State.

Kicker — Eddy Piniero, junior, Florida.

DEFENSE

Ends — Austin Bryant, junior, Clemson; Mat Boesen, senior, TCU.

Tackles — Vita Vea, junior, Washington; Harrison Phillips, senior, Stanford.

Linebackers — Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tremaine Edmunds, junior, Virginia Tech; Devin Bush, sophomore, Michigan.

Cornerbacks — Andraez Williams, redshirt freshman, LSU; Jack Jones, sophomore, Southern California.

Safeties — Armani Watts, senior, Texas A&M; Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia.

Punter — Mitch Wisnowsky, junior, Utah.

Nation’s leading receivers named among 10 Biletnikoff Award semifinalists

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The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation has trimmed down the list of the nation’s top receivers to 10 semifinalists for this year’s Biletnikoff Award. The award doesn’t necessarily have to go to a wide receiver, but this year’s award will maintain that tradition with 10 semifinalists all playing the wide receiver position.

Among the semifinalists are the nation’s leading receiver, Colorado State’s Michael Gallup (1,298 yards), the nation’s leader in receiving touchdowns, West Virginia’s David Sills V (18 touchdowns), and the nation’s leader in receptions per game, SMU’s Trey Quinn (9.6 receptions per game). The semifinalist list also includes key players on conference contenders like Deontay Burnett of USC and James Washington of Oklahoma State.

A Big 12 receiver has won the award each of the past two seasons, so that may be good news for one of the three semifinalists from the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma’s Dede Westbrook won the award a year ago, preceded by Baylor’s Corey Coleman in 2015.A Big 12 player has won the award a total of six times since 2007, with Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon each winning the award twice.

2017 Biletnikoff Semifinalists

  • Darren Andrews, UCLA
  • A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
  • Deontay Burnett, USC
  • Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
  • Michael Gallup, Colorado State
  • Steve Ishmael, Syracuse
  • Anthony Miller, Memphis
  • Trey Quinn, SMU
  • David Sills, West Virginia
  • James Washington, Oklahoma State

No. 11 Oklahoma State heads to Bedlam at 7-1 after road win at No. 22 WVU

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The stage is nearly set for a massive Bedlam game next week. No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) overcame a sloppy start on offense and rallied when West Virginia (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) started to make some noise to be able to leave Morgantown with a 50-39 victory in a game that featured nine turnovers. The win on the road keeps Oklahoma State in the thick of the Big 12 championship hunt with a big one coming up next week.

Oklahoma State’s defense had to answer the call early on by holding down West Virginia following two early fumbles by Oklahoma State running backs Justice Hill and J.D. King. Not being able to score any points off those early turnovers would set the tone for the game for West Virginia. Needing to play a clean game against the Cowboys, West Virginia failed to net any point son three turnovers before finally managing to make some plays with a blocked punt in the end zone for a score and a pick-six just moments away in the third quarter. The flurry of non-offensive touchdowns cut into a sizable Oklahoma State lead, trimming a 20-point deficit to a six-point margin But in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys got their offense rolling once again and the defense did their part as well.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier was picked off four times in the game and he struggled to connect with his receivers all game long. Oklahoma State closed well on defense for the majority of the game and never let West Virginia get a good chance to get their hands on the ball through the air. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns, with James Washington scoring two of those touchdowns. Hill left the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for head and neck injuries and a lower leg injury, but he later returned to the game. In his absence, King overcame his early turnover to power Oklahoma State on the ground with 149 rushing yards and a score.

Now, all eyes can properly be set on next week’s big home game against the Oklahoma Sooners. And the impact this one will have on the Big 12 championship picture cannot be overstated. The loser of this game likely falls out of the Big 12 championship hunt with a second loss in conference play. That would be a bit of a far cry from the preseason expectations of a possible Bedlam rematch in the Big 12 championship game, but the stakes for next week will remain high regardless. The loser is also falling off the playoff radar entirely while the winner keeps the dream alive.

Oklahoma State has lost two in a row to the Sooners and four of the last five meetings. Oklahoma State’s last win against the Sooners was in 2014, and the last time they won in Stillwater was 2011. Next week’s clash at Oklahoma State is slated for 4:00 p.m. ET.

West Virginia will host Iowa State next Saturday. The Cyclones will be coming off a home game against TCU.

West Virginia fails to cash in early OK State turnovers and trails by 13

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The beginning of the game in cold and dreary Morgantown could not have started any better for West Virginia’s defense, but the Mountaineers were unable to take advantage of two fumble recoveries in the first five minutes of the game, and now West Virginia trails Oklahoma State at halftime, 23-10.

Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill ripped a 39-yard run on the first play of the game but then fumbled on the next play. Hill also left the game to be evaluated for head and neck pain and a left leg injury. He has not returned to the game. His backup, J.D. King fumbled away the ball on Oklahoma State’s second possession of the game. After each turnover, the Cowboys defense answered the call by forcing a punt after the first fumble and coming up with an interception of Will Grier on the first play after the King fumble. Those missed opportunities, along with having to settle for a field goal from the Oklahoma State six-yard line, could come back to haunt the Mountaineers at home.

The combination of Mason Rudolph to James Washington got the Pokes in the endzone and on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter, and a Rudolph touchdown run from one yard out later in the first quarter gave Oklahoma State a 13-0 lead (a botched hold on an extra point cost Oklahoma State one point. Later in the second quarter, King made up for his earlier fumble by running straight up the gut of the West Virginia defense for a 20-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after the Cowboys recovered a West Virginia fumble.

West Virginia managed to score a touchdown in the final minute of the half with Kennedy McKoy managing to cross the goal line for a tough one-yard score. It was tough because the exchange between Grier and McKoy was nothing but awkward.