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Top seven remains the same in latest CFP rankings

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The third edition of the 2019 College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday, and the top seven teams remained the same from last week’s rankings. This means, as expected, Alabama remained No. 5 following the devastating loss of Tua Tagovailoa.

Minnesota remained in striking distance following their loss to Iowa (now at No. 17) at No. 10, with No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 2 Ohio State (potentially) still on their schedule. Oklahoma and Penn State moved one spot apiece, keeping the Top 10 stagnant.

Auburn fell three spots to No. 15, one spot behind No. 14 Baylor, who will spend the week wondering how high they would’ve climbed if the rankings were taken at halftime on Saturday night.

Memphis swapped spots with Cincinnati as the highest-rated Group of 5 team at No. 18; the Tigers and Bearcats SMU rejoined the rankings after falling out last week. They were joined by Iowa State at No. 22, who replaced then-No. 19 Texas, and USC at No. 23.

The full rankings:

1. LSU
2. Ohio State
3. Clemson
4. Georgia
5. Alabama
6. Oregon
7. Utah
8. Penn State
9. Oklahoma
10. Minnesota
11. Florida
12. Wisconsin
13. Michigan
14. Baylor
15. Auburn
16. Notre Dame
17. Iowa
18. Memphis
19. Cincinnati
20. Boise State
21. Oklahoma State
22. Iowa State
23. USC
24. Appalachian State
25. SMU

John Mackey Award names eight semi-finalists for top tight end award

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Eight of the nation’s top tight ends were officially named semi-finalists for this season’s John Mackey Award on Monday. The award, named after Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end and former Syracuse player John Mackey, is presented to the nation’s top tight-end as determined by a select voting panel.

This year’s semi-finalists are:

  • Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic
  • Hunter Bryant, Washington
  • Brycen Hopkins, Purdue
  • Brevin Jordan, Miami
  • Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
  • Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
  • Colby Parkinson, Stanford
  • Giovanni Ricci, Western Michigan

A couple of notable omissions from this list stand out. Florida’s Kyle Pitts, who has the second-most receptions and fifth-most receiving yards among the nation’s tight ends somehow slipped through the voters here. The sophomore for the Gators has averaged 4.2 receptions per game and has accounted for 566 yards and five touchdowns for the Gators. No other tight end in the SEC has more yards per game than Pitts. Penn State’s Pat Freiemuth being omitted was also slightly surprising. Freiermuth has seven touchdowns, easily more than any other Big Ten tight end this season and tied for third-most in the conference this season.

Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson won the John Mackey Award in 2018. Other past winners of the award include Dallas Clark of Iowa, Tyler Eiffert of Notre Dame, Jake Butt of Michigan, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington, and Aaron Hernandez of Florida.

This year’s Mackey Award winner will be announced on Dec. 11th.

No. 19 Texas watches Big 12 title hopes die in walk-off loss to Iowa State

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No. 19 Texas went to Ames on Saturday afternoon knowing a win over Iowa State and a No. 10 Oklahoma win over No. 13 Baylor tonight meant a de facto Big 12 semifinal between the Longhorns and Bears next Saturday.

However, a season-high nine punts, eight three-and-outs, a failed fourth down try and a catastrophic offsides penalty conspired to cancel that semifinal before it began, as Iowa State beat Texas, 23-21.

The win is sweet triumph for Iowa State (6-4), whose four losses came by one, two, seven and one point.

Despite the 2-point margin, Iowa State dominated the first three quarters of the game.

It appeared Iowa State would take a 10-0 lead into the break, as Texas took over the ball at its own 25 with 47 seconds left in the first half, having gained 59 yards on their first 24 snaps. Instead, the Longhorns briefly came alive, covering 75 yards in alternating passes to Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles, bridging the gap to 10-7 and giving the visitors momentum heading into the break.

That momentum did not last. Brock Purdy found Deshaunte Jones wide open behind the defense on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, putting the Cyclones back up 10. Brayden Narveson then pushed the lead to 20-7 on a 48-yard field goal with 12:09 to go in the third quarter, and Texas answered by registering its sixth and seventh three-and-outs of the day.

The Longhorns finally got off the mat late in the third quarter, moving 80 yards in 10 plays and scoring when Sam Ehlinger hit Keontay Ingram on 3rd-and-10 for a 21-yard touchdown, a play when he leaked out of the backfield and punished a zero blitz.

When the Texas defense forced a punt with 12:20 to play, the Longhorns took over at their own 11 and put together a marathon, miracle 15-play, 89-yard touchdown drive in which Texas overcame a 2nd-and-35 and, later, took the lead when Ehlinger found Malcolm Epps for a 7-yard touchdown on 4th-and-goal, giving Texas a 21-20 lead with 5:37 to play.

Iowa State gained a first down on the ensuing possession, and prepared to go for a 4th-and-5 from midfield, but a delay of game forced Matt Campbell to send the punting unit on the field, giving Texas the ball and the lead for the first time of the game. The Longhorns did nothing with it, running for no gain on first and second down and throwing incomplete on third, marking their eighth three and out of the game. Chris Naggar‘s ninth punt, a season high, sailed and rolled 67 yards, pushing the Cyclones back to their own 18, but they were in Texas territory in two plays thanks to a 15-yard strike to Jones and a 22-yard grab by La'Michael Pettway, while fighting off pass interference.

Jalen Green eventually forced an incompletion on 3rd-and-4, setting up a 44-yard field goal with 2:16 to play. But Narveson’s try never happened, because Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai jumped offside, putting the Iowa State offense back on the field.

Having exhausted all its timeouts to set up the first try, Texas could not stop as Iowa State ran the clock down to just four seconds. This time, Connor Assalley tried from 36 yards, and it was good, clinching Iowa State’s first walk-off field-goal win since 1983.

The loss drops Texas (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) out of Big 12 title contention and will send them back to Austin wondering what might have been. In addition to the Ossai penalty, Texas also blew an opportunity in the second quarter, when D'Shawn Jamison intercepted a Purdy pass at the Iowa State 39 but Texas stubbornly refused to throw the ball on the possession, running sight straight times, including for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Iowa State 22.

For the game, Texas ran for 54 yards on 26 carries, 27 of them by Ehlinger, who completed 22-of-40 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

Iowa State leading No. 19 Texas at the break

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Iowa State holds a 10-7 lead over No. 19 Texas at the half in Ames, and the game has played out exactly as the score indicates.

The Cyclones zipped down the field on their first possession, moving 59 yards in eight breezy plays, as Brock Purdy found tight end Charlie Kolar wide open in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard score to open the scoring. The Cyclones then closed their half with a 35-yard Connor Assalley field goal with 47 ticks left before halftime.

In between, Iowa State went three-and-out twice, turned it over on downs at the Texas 31 and threw an interception.

Texas has simply not been able to get the ball going, and they’ve hardly tried to throw the ball down field. The ‘Horns went three-and-out on four of their first six possessions, and one of the other two ended in disaster. After D'Shawn Jamison intercepted Purdy at the Iowa State 39, Texas picked up one first down but could not get another. Facing a fourth-and-2 at ISU’s 21, Sam Ehlinger kept it and was stuffed for a loss of a yard. The Longhorns did not throw the ball on any of their six plays in the drive.

Ehlinger went 4-of-7 for 26 yards while Texas rushed a combined 17 times for just 33 yards over UT’s first six tries. After taking over at its own 25, down 10-0 with 47 seconds left in the first half, Ehlinger hit Devin Duvernay for 17 yards, Brennan Eagles for 33, Duvernay again for 11, Eagles again for a 14-yard touchdown.

After gaining just 59 yards on their first 24 snaps, Texas suddenly moved 75 yards in five plays to make it a game again.

Iowa State will receive to open the second half.

Report: Florida State no longer considers Bob Stoops a candidate

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It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.

In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation.  At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”

Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”

With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.  Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.

Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.