Jordan Matthews

First-half domination of Mizzou leaves Bama 30 minutes from SEC title

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If Alabama’s defense plays in the second half the way it did in the first, you can go ahead and stick a fork in the game; it’s done.

Through two quarters of play in the 2014 SEC championship game, ‘Bama has limited Missouri’s offense to just 108 total yards in taking a 21-3 lead into the halftime locker room.  Mizzou was limited to just three first downs, the first of which didn’t come until late in the first quarter on its third possession, and didn’t cross midfield until there were less than 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

58 of the Tigers’ yards came on a pair pass plays in which quarterback Maty Mauk was flushed out of the pocket.  The running game was nonexistent as the Tide held the Tigers to 21 yards on 10 carries.

The Tide, meanwhile, rolled to 248 yards of offense against a very good Tiger defense.  A one-yard T.J. Yeldon touchdown run on the game’s opening possession put UA up early, a lead that they then extended on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Blake Sims to DeAndrew White early in the second quarter.  Another Yeldon run late in the second quarter, this one from two yards out, pushed the lead to 21-3.

Sims was nearly flawless in the passing game the first 30 minutes, completing 15-of-17 passes 160 yards and the touchdown.  The first-year starter wasn’t perfect, though, as he fumbled twice in  a span of three plays.  Fortunately for all UA parties involved, both of those fumbles were recovered by the Tide.

All-American Amari Cooper caught 10 first-half passes, just two shy of breaking Florida wide receiver Reidel Anthony‘s SEC championship game record of 11 set in 1996.  Those 10 receptions, though, went for just 61 yards as the passes to the receiver essentially served as extended handoffs.  Cooper did set a first-half record: single-season receptions.  The junior now has 113 catches in 2014, breaking the mark of 112 by Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews last season.

Adding further insult to scoreboard injury, Mizzou will be without one of the best defensive ends in the country for the remainder of the game.  With 11:48 remaining in the second quarter, Shane Ray was — correctly, mind you — called for targeting on a hit to Sims’s chin well after he connected with White on the long touchdown pass.  Ray came into the game tied for fourth in the country in sacks (13.5) and tied for third in tackles for loss (20.5).

NFL Draft: SEC wins round two by edging Big Ten and Pac-12

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The SEC led the way in round one of the 2014 NFL Draft with 11 players drafted by NFL teams. In the second round the SEC once again pumped out more NFL talent than just about every other conference, but the Big Ten left a significant mark as well. The SEC turned in seven draft picks, edging the Big Ten when the Seattle Seahawks drafted Missouri offensive tackle Justin Britt with the final pick of the second round.

It took a while before we finally saw some running backs drafted (three of them, in fact) but the second round focused on wide receivers and linemen.

Here is the full round two breakdown, by conference.

SEC: 7

42. WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
44. OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama
51. DT Ego Ferguson, LSU
55. RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
60. DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
63. WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
64. OT Justin Britt, Missouri

Big Ten: 6

37. DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
56. WR Cody Latimer, Indiana
57. RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
58. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
59. OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
61. WR Allen Robinson, Penn State

Pac-12: 6

33. OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
38. TE Austin Seferia-Jenkins, Washington
39. WR Marqise Lee, USC
45. WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
47. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
54. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

Mountain West: 5

34. DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
35. OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada
36. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
44. C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
53. WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

ACC: 3

41. CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
48. DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
50. LB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

 

Independent: 3

40. LB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
46. DT Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
52. TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame

Big 12: 1

49. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Non FBS: 1

62. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

Which positions were drafted in the second round?

Defensive Line: 7

Wide Receiver: 7

Offensive Line: 6

Tight End: 3

Running Back: 3

Cornerback: 2

Linebacker: 2

Quarterback: 2

Vandy allows 23 yards to Houston in first half of BBVA Compass Bowl, leads 24-0

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Vanderbilt has never won bowl games in consecutive seasons, but they are well on their way to doing just that with a big halftime lead in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Vanderbilt owns a 24-0 lead over Houston and has held the Cougars to just 23 offensive yards.

Jordan Matthews caught a pass on the left side of the field to Patton Roinette and sprinted down field with a blocker ahead of him for a 50-yard touchdown just five minutes in to the game. Later in the half Robinette ran in from eight yards out for his second touchdown of the quarter to give Vanderbilt a 14-0 lead while the Houston offense was forced to punt on eight out of nine offensive possessions in the half. The only time Houston did not punt the football away the drive ended with a lost fumble. In the second quarter Matthews added another 50-yard touchdown reception and has 143 receiving yards on five catches.

Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter to extend the lead to 17-0. With the kick, Spear became Vanderbilt’s single-season scoring record holder with 93 points. Jack Jenkins had held the record since 1941.

It is hard to say what Houston needs to do in the second half to even make a game of this one. Nothing has worked on either side of the football.

Sneak Peek: 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl

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WHO: 8-4 Vanderbilt (SEC) vs. 8-4 Houston (AAC)

WHAT: BBVA Compass Bowl (8th year)

WHERE: Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.

WHEN: Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. ET

WHY: For Vanderbilt, this bowl business is suddenly becoming old hat. The Commodores are in their third consecutive bowl after making it just four previous times in their history. This is the first time Vandy — winner of five of its last six to close out the regular season — will be playing in a bowl after Jan. 1.

The Cougars, meanwhile, are looking for their first bowl victory since 2009 and are trying to snap out of a late-season funk that saw them lose three of their last four.

Vandy doesn’t shine in any particular area. Its offense is ranked 94th in yards per game and is 66th in points per game, but the Commodores are opportunistic, play tough defense (24th nationally in total defense) and don’t hurt themselves. Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels has 2,268 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions and has also rushed for five scores. His main target is all-star wide out Jordan Matthews, who has 107 catches for 1,334 yards and five touchdowns. He catches everything he touches. Leading rusher Jerron Seymour has 635 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Houston is led by freshman quarterback John O’Korn, who has 2,889 passing yards with 26 TDs and just eight picks. Many of his passes went to wide out Deontay Greenberry, who caught 76 balls for 1,106 yards and 10 scores. But the calling card for these Cougars is a stingy scoring defense. Houston is 13th in scoring defense (20 ppg) despite finishing next-to-last in the American Athletic Conference in total yards allowed. Junior linebacker Efrem Oliphant leads the team with 123 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss while linebacker Derrick Matthews has 12 tackles for loss and a team-leading seven sacks.

With a victory over Houston, Vandy can tie its program record for most wins in a season. However, a win for the Cougars over an SEC team would be a great way to cap their season. Look for the Commodores to be their usual scrappy selves and pull this one out.

PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 27, Houston 20

Heisman winner Jameis Winston headlines AP All-America team

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And the honors keep rolling in for Florida State’s redshirt freshman quarterback, with Jameis Winston grabbing a spot on one of the most prestigious All-America teams in the country.

The Associated Press Tuesday released its annual three-deep postseason All-America teams, with Winston being just one of two redshirt freshmen to be named to the AP first team.  The other?  Teammate and kicker Robert Aguayo.

Just two players were repeat selections from the first team a year ago, and both of those came from the defensive side of the ball: Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton.

The Seminoles, the only unbeaten team remaining at the FBS level, led all schools with four first-teamers.  Alabama and Texas A&M with two apiece were the only other schools with more than one player on the first team.

The ACC, Pac-12 and SEC each had six first-team selections.

OFFENSE

Quarterback
First Team: Jameis Winston, redshirt freshman, Florida State
Second Team: Johnny Manziel, sophomore, Texas A&M
Third Team: AJ McCarron, senior, Alabama

Running backs
First Team: Andre Williams, senior, Boston College; Ka’Deem Carey, junior, Arizona
Second Team: Tre’ Mason, junior, Auburn; Bishop Sankey, junior, Washington
Third Team: Carlos Hyde, senior, Ohio State; Ameer Abdullah, junior, Nebraska

Tackles
First Team: Jake Matthews, senior, Texas A&M; Cyrus Kouandjio, junior, Alabama
Second Team: Cameron Erving, junior, Florida State; Taylor Lewan, senior, Michigan
Third Team: Jack Mewhort, senior, Ohio State; Gregory Robinson, sophomore, Auburn

Guards
First Team: Cyril Richardson, senior, Baylor; David Yankey, senior, Stanford
Second Team: Gabe Jackson, senior, Mississippi State; Xavier Su’a-Filo, junior, UCLA
Third Team: John Urschel, senior, Penn State; Ryan Groy, senior, Wisconsin

Center
First Team: Bryan Stork, senior, Florida State
Second Team: Gabe Ikard, senior, Oklahoma
Third Team: Reese Dismukes, junior, Auburn

Wide receivers
First Team: Brandin Cooks, junior, Oregon State; Mike Evans, sophomore, Texas A&M
Second Team: Sammy Watkins, junior, Clemson; Davante Adams, sophomore, Fresno State
Third Team: Allen Robinson, junior, Penn State; Jordan Matthews, senior, Vanderbilt

Tight end
First Team: Jace Amaro, junior, Texas Tech
Second Team: Eric Ebron, junior, North Carolina
Third Team: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, junior, Washington

All-purpose player
First Team: Jordan Lynch, senior, Northern Illinois
Second Team: Ty Montgomery, junior, Stanford
Third Team: Odell Beckham Jr., junior, LSU

Kicker
First Team: Roberto Aguayo, redshirt freshman, Florida State
Second Team: Anthony Fera, senior, Texas
Third Team: Jeff Budzien, senior, Northwestern

DEFENSE

Ends
First Team: Michael Sam, senior, Missouri; Jackson Jeffcoat, senior, Texas
Second Team: Vic Beasley, junior, Clemson; Shilique Calhoun, sophomore, Michigan State
Third Team: Marcus Smith, senior, Louisville; Jeremiah Attaochu, senior, Georgia Tech

Tackles
First Team: Aaron Donald, senior, Pittsburgh; Will Sutton, senior, Arizona State
Second Team: Timmy Jernigan, junior, Florida State; Kelcy Quarles, junior, South Carolina
Third Team: Ra’Shede Hageman, senior, Minnesota; Leonard Williams, sophomore, USC

Linebackers
First Team: Anthony Barr, senior, UCLA; C.J. Mosley, senior, Alabama; Ryan Shazier, junior, Ohio State
Second Team: Trent Murphy, senior, Stanford; Khalil Mack, senior, Buffalo; Chris Borland, senior, Wisconsin
Third Team: Shayne Skov, senior, Stanford; Max Bullough, senior, Michigan State; Denicos Allen, senior, Michigan State

Cornerbacks
First Team: Darqueze Dennard, senior, Michigan State; Lamarcus Joyner, senior, Florida State
Second Team: Justin Gilbert, senior, Oklahoma State; Jason Verrett, senior, TCU
Third Team: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, junior, Oregon; Vernon Hargreaves III, freshman, Florida

Safeties
First Team: Cody Prewitt, junior, Mississippi; Deone Bucannon, senior, Washington State.
Second Team: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, junior, Alabama; Ahmad Dixon, senior, Baylor
Third Team: Jimmie Ward, senior, Northern Illinois; Ty Zimmerman, senior, Kansas State

Punter
First Team: Tom Hornsey, senior, Memphis
Second Team: Drew Kaser, sophomore, Texas A&M
Third Team: Austin Rehkow, freshman, Idaho