Marcus Murphy

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.

No. 16 Missouri uses running game to pull away from No. 25 Minnesota for Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl victory

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For the second season in a row, Missouri ended its season with a win in a bowl game while representing the SEC. No. 16 Missouri pulled away from No. 25 Minnesota in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Thursday afternoon in Orlando, Florida, winning 33-17 to even the SEC’s record against the Big Ten this bowl season.

Russell Hansbrough ripped off a 78-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to boost a two-point advantage over the Gophers to a 26-17 lead, and Maty Mauk completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Bud Sasser later in the fourth quarter for what was effectively a knockout blow for the Tigers. Missouri shrugged aside a sluggish start to the game with a pair of turnovers by way of intercepted passes on the first two possessions of the afternoon, and came back to play a physical game. Mauk played a role in that as well  with 38 hard-earned rushing yards and a touchdown that saw Mauk being the last man standing despite being tackled by one Minnesota player and another coming in for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Mauk was charged with emotion as his touchdown run gave Missouri a 19-14 lead following a failed two-point conversion attempt.

Minnesota may not have had many highlights, but tight end Maxx Williams may have turned in one of the best plays of the bowl season. Williams caught a pass and started to work his way down the left sideline. With a Missouri defended looking to force him out of bounds from the front, Williams took to the air to hurdle the defender. He then raced down field and left the Missouri defenders in the dust en route to an amazing 54-yards touchdown pass from Mitch Leidner.

The Tigers owned the advantage on the ground too. Marcus Murphy led all players with 157 rushing yards and Hansbrough added another 114 yards on the ground. Minnesota’s David Cobb ended his day with 81 rushing yards.

The win by Missouri was the fifth by the SEC this bowl season, improving the SEC’s bowl record to 5-4. That includes winning records against the ACC and Big 12 and a .500 mark against the Big Ten (with two more match-ups against the Big Ten to be played). The SEC East is now 3-0 in bowl action as well.

The Big Ten dropped to 3-4 as a result of this game, and with Michigan State trailing Baylor it looks as though the Big Ten is in at risk of a losing record this bowl season (Well, Michigan State just won, so forget about that thought for now). Ohio State and Iowa are the only two bowl teams remaining for the conference.

Mr. Versatile: Shaq Thompson claims Hornung Award

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In one of the least surprising results of the 2014 award season, Shaq Thompson has staked his claim to a trophy honoring the most versatile player in the country.

Friday morning, it was announced that the Washington linebacker/running back/running backer/running Shaqer has been named as the 2014 recipient of the Hornung Award.  Other finalists for this year’s version of the award, which honors versatile former Notre Dame great Paul Hornung, were Nebraska running back/return specialist Ameer Abdullah, TCU running back/return specialist B.J. Catalon, Stanford wide receiver/return specialist Ty Montgomery and Missouri running back/return specialist Marcus Murphy.

This season, Thompson scored six touchdowns — four defensively, two on offense.  The four defensive touchdowns (three on fumble returns, on an interception return) were the most at the FBS level.

Offensively, he was second on the Huskies in rushing yards with 456.

“I’m very pleased for Shaq,” said UW Head Coach Chris Petersen. “This is an honor that he has earned on the field and off. For a player to perform at such a high level in so many different ways is so unusual and impressive. We’re grateful that all of his hard work has been recognized.”

This is the fifth year the Hornung Award has been handed out.  Past recipients include LSU’s Odell Beckham (2013), West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (2012), Georgia’s Brandon Boykin (2011) and Stanford’s Owen Marecic (2010).

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.

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