Josh Robinson

Josh Robinson leaving Stark Vegas early for NFL

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One of the top running backs in the SEC has decided to call it a collegiate career.

On social media prior to Mississippi State kicking off its Orange Bowl matchup with Georgia Tech, Josh Robinson confirmed that the bowl game is his last and that he will forego his remaining eligibility for early entry into the 2015 NFL draft. In a subsequent interview with ESPN.com, Robinson said the fact that he will already has his degree in hand played a role in his decision.

“I came through with my plan. I’m going to graduate; I had a great year; and I knew that was all going to happen,” Robinson said. “I just want to count my chips and give thanks to the Bulldog fans, [athletic director] Scott Stricklin, [school president] Dr. [Mark] Keenum and coach [Dan] Mullen for letting me lead the program, and do what I do.

“I talked to God and prayed on it a lot, and this is what it led me to.”

In State’s Orange Bowl loss to Georgia Tech, Robinson was limited to 75 yards on 13 carries.  It marked the sixth straight game he had been held under 100 yards since rushing for a career-high 198 in an Oct. 25 win over Kentucky.

Robinson’s 1,203 yards rushing in 2014 led the Bulldogs and was good for third in the SEC. For his efforts, he was named second-team all-conference.

In his interview with ESPN, Robinson confirmed that he didn’t receive a draft grade within the first two rounds by the NFL’s advisory board.

CFT Previews: Capital One Orange Bowl

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WHO: No. 7 Mississippi State (10-2) vs. No. 12 Georgia Tech (10-3)
WHAT: The 80th Capital One Orange Bowl
WHERE: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.
WHEN: 8:00 p.m. ET Dec. 31 on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Assignment football will be the name of the game when the No. 7 Mississippi State Bulldogs meet the No. 12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

The last time Mississippi State traveled to Miami to play in the Orange Bowl was 1941.  Head coach Allyn McKeen led his team onto the field against the Georgetown Hoyas 11 months before the United States experienced the attack at Pearl Harbor. The Mississippi State Maroons — as they were called at the time — won the contest 14-7.

Fast forward 73 years, and the Bulldogs will face another throwback offense in the Orange Bowl.

Georgia Tech’s triple option attack is the most difficult run game to stop among the Power Five conferences. The Yellow Jackets averaged 333.6 yards per game. That is nearly 30 more yards per game than the Wisconsin Badgers with Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon on the roster.

Playing an option offense is all about discipline. Each defender along the front seven has an assignment they must complete on each and every down. If one of those defenders fail, the Yellow Jackets will be able to exploit the crease that is inevitably created.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen isn’t just worried about the triple option. Justin Thomas isn’t a typical run-first quarterback in Paul Johnson‘s system.

“…he’s got guys in there that run the system very, very well,” Mullen said during his final meeting with the media Tuesday, via MississippiState.scout.com. “They have a play-making quarterback to me that’s dangerous, not just running the option, obviously, which is what he needs to be able to do, but also extending plays and making those outside-the-box plays when it all breaks down being able to make something else happen outside of the framework of the play, makes them a pretty difficult team to stop.”

The undersized signal-caller is a dynamic running threat, but he can also beat teams with his arm. Despite being an option quarterback, Thomas already threw for 17 touchdowns this season.

However, the Bulldogs have consistently won the battle in the trenches this season. Mississippi State owns one of the most talented and deepest defensive lines in college football. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney — all 6-5 and 245 pounds of him — will be roaming behind that front wall. Mississippi State has the size and athleticism up front to present plenty of problems even for Georgia Tech’s prolific rushing attack.

Meanwhile, quarterback Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs offense will face the nation’s 64th-ranked defense. Despite its ball control offense, Georgia Tech still surrenders nearly 400 yards per game. Prescott and running back Josh Robinson — both of which already ran for more than 900 yards this season — should be able pound the ball as well.

This is Georgia Tech’s seventh appearance in the Orange Bowl, but the Yellow Jackets last victory came in 1952. It’s unlikely that trend will change this year.

THE PREDICTION: Mississippi State 31, Georgia Tech 28

Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Mizzou’s Shane Ray headline AP All-SEC teams

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The regular season is over, which means awards season is here. In advance of his certain selection as a Heisman Trophy finalist (to be announced later Monday evening), Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper headlined the Associated Press All-SEC team by winning the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award as well as being a unanimous selection as a First Team All-SEC wide receiver. Cooper is the first wideout to win the AP’s SEC Offensive Player of the Year award since LSU’s Wendell Davis back in 1987.

On the defensive side, Shane Ray broke a zero-year drought of Missouri defensive ends winning the AP SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He, of course, follows 2013 winner and former teammate Michael Sam.

Without further ado, here’s how the whole team shakes out:

Offensive Player of the Year: Amari Cooper, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year: Shane Ray, Missouri
Coach of the Year: Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Freshman of the Year: Nick Chubb, Georgia

Offense – First Team
QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
RB Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina/Bud Sasser, Missouri
TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL La’El Collins, LSU
OL Ben Beckwith, Mississippi State
OL Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
OL Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss
PK Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky
AP Marcus Murphy, Missouri

First Team – Defense
LB Martrell Spaight, Arkansas
LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama
LB Amarlo Herrera, Georgia
CB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
S Landon Collins, Alabama
S Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss
DE Shane Ray, Missouri
DE Bud Dupree, Kentucky
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
DT  Johnathan Allen, Alabama
P J.K. Scott, Alabama

Second Team – Offense
QB Blake Sims, Alabama
RB Josh Robinson, Mississippi State
RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas
WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
WR Sammie Coates, Auburn
TE Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt
C David Andrews, Georgia
OL Greg Pyke, Georgia
OL A.J. Cann, South Carolina
OL Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M
OL Austin Shepherd, Alabama
PK Josh Lambo, Texas A&M
AP Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

Second Team – Defense
LB Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
LB Kwon Alexander, LSU
LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
LB Antonio Morrisson, Florida
LB Curt Maggitt, Tennessee
LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia
CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
CB Damian Swann, Georgia
CB Jonathan Jones, Auburn
S Braylon Webb, Missouri
S Ronald Martin, LSU
S Tony Conner, Ole Miss
P Kyle Christy, Florida

La Tech rules 6 academically ineligible for C-USA title game

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Louisiana Tech will be undermanned when they take on Marshall for the Conference USA championship game in the early afternoon portion of Championship Saturday. Six players, including five starters, have been ruled academically ineligible for the Conference USA championship game.

Left guard Tre Carter, right tackle Mitchell Bell, defensive tackle Aaron Brown, linebackers Tony Johnson and Terrell Pinson and wide receiver Tevin King have all been ruled out for the game, according to Derek Redd of Charleston Daily Mail.

That is a huge blow to a road team today looking to upset Marshall for the conference championship. Without two starting offensive linemen, Louisiana Tech will likely call on redshirt junior Josh Robinson to fill the left guard spot and redshirt freshman Chris Aye to fill the hole at right tackle. both players are listed second on the team’s depth chart. Devon McKinney is listed second behind Brown at defensive tackle position. DeAngelo Brooks could also be used. Both are seniors.

Louisiana Tech will have to fill two linebacker spots in the 4-3 system. King’s absence from the roster may not be a huge blow to the offense. He is buried on the depth chart for the Bulldogs.

Regardless, this should be a huge advantage for Marshall, already playing at home. Inserting two offensive linemen in a championship game on the road is hardly an ideal situation for Louisiana Tech.

No. 19 Ole Miss bottling up Dak Prescott, leads Egg Bowl at the half

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Ole Miss hasn’t accomplished much of anything in the first half, but with a defense playing like the Land Sharks have in the first half, it won’t take much offense to win the Egg Bowl.

No. 19 Ole Miss leads No. 4 Mississippi State 7-3 at the half.

Bo Wallace led the Rebels to the Bulldogs’ 17 on their second drive of the game, but he was intercepted by Taveze Calhoun. No matter, the Rebels forced a three-and-out, and Wallace hit Evan Engram for a 46-yard completion on the next possession, taking the ball to the Mississippi State one-yard line. Wallace punched it in on the next play.

On the opposite side, Dak Prescott has completed 6-of-10 passes for 64 yards and rushed 14 times for 29 yards, and Josh Robinson has carried nine times for 32 yards. The Bulldogs have been out-gained, 190-128. A 45-yard Evan Sobiesk field goal 15 seconds into the second quarter accounts for their only scoring play to date.

Wallace has completed 8-of-19 passes for 145 yards with the aforementioned interception, while Jaylen Walton has rushed six times for 43 yards.

Ole Miss lost wide receiver Vince Sanders to an apparent knee injury, and is already playing without Laquon Treadwell, meaning the Rebels’ margin-for-error on offense, defense and special teams is now paper-thin.

Mississippi State will receive the ball to open the second half.