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Two-game suspensions for Louisiana Tech’s starting QB, star WR

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Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.

Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall.  Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.

Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.

“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”

Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019.  Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.

Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.

Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0.  Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.

Marshall football player arrested for domestic battery

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Marshall safety Braydon Drayton was arrested Wednesday and charged for his alleged actions in a domestic assault incident.

According to a report from WSAZ, Drayton was place din custody at a regional jail with a bond set at $55,000. Drayton was charged for suspected strangulation and domestic battery of a woman. A formal complaint submitted earlier in the day claimed the alleged victim had red marks around her neck and chest following the alleged assault by Drayton. The victim claims to have been grabbed by Drayton around her neck as tempers flared.

Drayton has been suspended by the Marshall football program on an indefinite basis, allowing the legal process to play out before any further decisions on his status with the program may be made.

Ryan named title sponsor of Conference USA title game

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The Conference USA football championship game now has a title sponsor and it is…. Ryan. No, not Ryan of the Gosling variety, or Nolan, or your friend from college. It’s Ryan, a “leading global tax services and software provider,” a Dallas-based LLC that offers corporate tax services firm.

The Ryan refers to the firm’s founder, G. Brint Ryan, a North Texas graduate and the namesake of UNT’s business school.

The firm will sponsor the game through 2021.

“It is an honor to welcome Ryan as the title sponsor for our premiere football game for the next three years,” commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “With Ryan, we have an outstanding local partner that will be involved not only in our sports, but also in our community efforts on campus in conjunction with the C-USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. We are excited to move forward and want to thank Chairman and CEO G. Brint Ryan for his team’s efforts in making this partnership a reality.”

Ryan is the third title sponsor of the C-USA Championship, now in its 15th year. Dynacraft BSC sponsored it in 2016-17, and Globe Life did the same in 2018.

All ten FBS conferences now stage their own title games thanks to the Sun Belt’s addition in 2018, and eight have title sponsors:

  • Dr. Pepper — Big 12, SEC, ACC
  • Discover — Big Ten
  • 76 — Pac-12
  • Hampton by Hilton — Mountain West
  • Marathon Petroleum — MAC

The 15th Conference USA Championship, and the inaugural Ryan Conference USA Championship, will take place at the home of the winningest division champion on Dec. 7 (1:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).

Marshall dismisses Tyler King, Herd’s second-leading rusher

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Marshall running back Tyler King has been dismissed from the program. In a brief statement released by the university, Marshall announced King has been removed for a violation of team rules.

“Marshall running back Tyler King has been dismissed due to a violation of team rules and policies,” a statement from Marshall read. “The department will have no further comment regarding this matter.”

What the violation of team rules was is unknown, and Marshall is not about to provide any further detail on the situation. Regardless, the sudden loss of one of the top running backs certainly could hurt the depth at the running back position as King was expected to once again be a solid contributor in the running game.

King appeared in each of Marshall’s first two games this season and he was the team’s second-leading rusher behind Brendan Knox. King had rushed for 91 yards, including 16 in Marshall’s loss at Boise State this past weekend. Knox rushed for 655 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 and 820 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017.

Marshall, Ohio announce extension of ‘Battle for the Bell’ rivalry

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A little over a week from today, Marshall and Ohio will renew its “Battle for the Bell” rivalry. Ahead of that renewal, both schools announced an extension of the series with a future home-and-home.

On Sept. 20, 2025, the Bobcats will make the trek to Huntington, WV, to take on the Thundering Herd. On Sept. 11, 2027, the Herd will make the return trip to Athens.

“I am excited to announce a two-year extension of our series with Ohio,” said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick in a statement. “This is a great matchup to continue in the future, both for our football program and our fan base.”

In addition to this year’s game in Huntington, the two schools will meet in September of 2020 in Athens as well.

The programs have met 59 times previously, with the most recent coming in 2015. The Bobcats own a 33-20-6 edge in the series.