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Offenses coming alive in Liberty Bowl as Mizzou leads Oklahoma State at halftime

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It took a little bit of time to warm up, but the offenses of Missouri and Oklahoma State reached halftime finally clicking. After a slow start to the game, Missouri leads Oklahoma State 16-14 at halftime in Memphis as the old Big 12 foes are reunited.

Oklahoma State opened the scoring in the first quarter with Dillon Stoner hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Cornelius. The Tigers responded with a 24-yard field goal by Tucker McCann.

Missouri took their first lead of the game midway through the second quarter when Drew Lock finished off a 16-play drive with a touchdown pass to Dominic Gicinto for five yards. The drive started at the Missouri three-yard line after Oklahoma State downed a punt deep on that end of the field after having the ball at the Missouri 38-yard line.

Oklahoma State responded, however, with a touchdown drive of their own as the offenses for both teams really felt like they were getting in a rhythm. Taylor Cornelius juked under pressure for a key 12-yard gain and followed that with a touchdown pass to Tyron Johnson, which needed to be upheld by video review. Undeterred, Lock and the Mizzou offense went right back to work to drive down the field in short order and re-take the lead. A touchdown pass to Kendall Blanton from 16 yards gave the Tigers the 16-14 lead but a missed extra point attempt by McCann kept the lead at two points.

We’ll see if that comes back to haunt Missouri in the second half.

Ninth player leaves Arkansas since start of 2018 season

Arkansas v Mississippi
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Arkansas saw its depth in the secondary take a smidgen of a hit late last week.

According to 247Sports.com, Alexy Jean-Baptiste‘s name appeared in the NCAA’s transfer portal on Friday. There’s been no comment from either the player or the football program on the development.

Jean-Baptiste was a three-star member of the Razorbacks’ 2016 recruiting class who took a redshirt as a true freshman. He missed the entire 2017 season because of a foot injury, then played in just one game during the 2018 season.

As noted by 247Sports, Jean-Baptiste is the 24th player to leave the Razorbacks in the last 12 months. At least nine of those departures have come since the beginning of the 2018 regular season — cornerback Chevin Calloway (HERE), defensive back Nate Dalton (HERE), linebacker Kyrei Fisher (HERE), quarterback Cole Kelley (HERE), defensive back Derrick Munson, wide receiver Jonathan Nance (HERE) and running back Maleek Williams (HERE).

Additionally, a back issue forced offensive lineman Dylan Hays to medically retire from the sport halfway through the 2018 season.

Tua Tagovailoa named Walter Camp Player of the Year, wins Maxwell Award

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The college football world’s elite gathered in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame for the 28th annual Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The night turned out to be a pretty eventful night for College Football Playoff representatives from Alabama, Oklahoma and Notre Dame all took home some major awards on Thursday evening.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took home the first player of the year award prior to the start of the show when he was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year winner for the 2018 season. The last five Walter Camp award winners have gone on to win the Heisman Trophy, but we will have to wait until Saturday night to see if Tagovailoa keeps that streak going. The last four Walter Camp award winners also took home the Maxwell Award. Tagovailoa later made it five straight by closing out the evening’s presentation by being named the winner of the Maxwell Award. For a college football player, Tagovailoa has completed the first two legs of the player of the year triple crown with the Heisman Trophy on deck this weekend.

Tagovailoa wasn’t the only Alabama player taking home some hardware. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award, and Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy.

Some quick notes:

  • Kyler Murray became the fifth Oklahoma quarterback to win the Davey O’Brien Award, following Baker Mayfield from last year. No school has more Davey O’Brien Award winners than Oklahoma.
  • Georgia defensive back DeAndre Jordan became the first Georgia player to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
  • Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly won his second Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (he previously won it in 2009 at Cincinnati). He is the first two-time winner of the coaching award.
  • Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was named the Biletnikoff Award winner, breaking a three-year run by the Big 12 since Alabama’s first Biletnikoff Award winner, Amari Cooper, won the award in 2014.

Here is a full list of the finalists and winners of awards handed out Thursday night. Winners of the awards are listed first and are in bold, with the remaining finalists following them in alphabetical order according to last name. Some of the awards were announced prior to the awards show but are included here because they were recognized or formally presented Thursday night.

WALTER CAMP PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  • Josh Allen, Kentucky
  • Will Grier, West Virginia
  • Gardner Minshew, Washington State
  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

MAXWELL AWARD
(Player of the Year)

  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
  • Will Grier, West Virginia
  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
(Defensive Player of the Year)

  • Josh Allen, Kentucky
  • Christian Wilkins, Clemson
  • Quinnen Williams, Alabama

DAVEY O’BRIEN AWARD
(Best Quarterback)

  • Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
  • Gardner Minshew II, Washington State
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

FRED BILETNIKOFF AWARD
(Outstanding Receiver)

  • Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
  • Andy Isabella, UMass
  • Tyan Wallace, Oklahoma State

DOAK WALKER AWARD
(Best Running Back)

  • Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
  • Travis Etienne, Clemson
  • Darrell Henderson, Memphis

JOHN MACKEY AWARD
(Best Tight End)

JIM THORPE AWARD
(Best Defensive Back)

  • DeAndre Baker, Georgia
  • Julian Love, Notre Dame
  • Greedy Williams, LSU

OUTLAND TROPHY
(Most Outstanding Interior Lineman)

  • Quinnen Williams, Alabama
  • Christian Wilkins, Clemson
  • Jonah Williams, Alabama

RIMINGTON TROPHY
(Best Center)

  • Garrett Bradbury, NC State
  • Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame
  • Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

LOU GROZA AWARD
(Outstanding Placekicker)

  • Andre Szmyt, Syracuse
  • Cooper Rothe, Wyoming
  • Cole Tracy, LSU

RAY GUY AWARD
(Punter of the Year)

  • Braden Mann, Texas A&M
  • James Smith, Cincinnati
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

HOME DEPOT COACH OF THE YEAR

  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

WUERFFEL TROPHY
(Community Service)

  • Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
  • David Blough, Purdue
  • Dalton Risner, Kansas State

Finalists announced for major college football awards

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Bowl season is approaching in college football, which means awards season is also approaching. On Monday, the finalists for the major college football awards except the Heisman Trophy — basically, the Heisman for each side of the ball and/or position — were revealed, leading up to the 28th annual Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.

There’s a lot to get to here, so let’s dive right in:

Bednarik Award (top defensive player)
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Previous winner: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Biletnikoff Award (top wide receiver)
Andy Isabella, Massachusetts
Jerry Juedy, Alabama
Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Previous winner: James Washington, Oklahoma State

Lou Groza Award (top kicker)
Cooper Rothe, Wyoming
Andre Szymt, Syracuse
Cole Tracy, LSU
Previous winner: Matt Gay, Utah

Ray Guy Award (top punter)
Braden Mann, Texas A&M
James Smith, Cincinnati
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
Previous winner: Michael Dickson, Texas

John Mackey Award (top tight end)
T.J. Hockeson, Iowa
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Kaden Smith, Stanford
Previous winner: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

Maxwell Award (player of the year)
Will Grier, West Virginia
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Previous winner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback)
Garnder Minshew, Washington State
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Previous winner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (top interior lineman)
Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Jonah Williams, Alabama
Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Previous winner: Ed Oliver, Houston

Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back)
Deandre Baker, Georgia
Julian Love, Notre Dame
Greedy Williams, LSU
Previous winner: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

Doak Walker Award (top running back)
Travis Etienne, Clemson
Darrell Henderson, Memphis
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Previous winner: Bryce Love, Stanford

Wuerffel Trophy (top community servant)
David Blough, Purdue
Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Previous winner: Courtney Love, Kentucky

The Home Depot College Football Awards will air Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. ET from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

No. 1 Alabama still rolling on offense, leads Missouri heading to halftime

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It’s been a day full of upsets in the top 10 of the polls, could top-ranked Alabama also fall prey to a surprise upset? No, not at all.

Even with their star quarterback throwing more incompletions than he has in the past two weeks combined, the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 30-10 lead over visiting Missouri in what is well on its way to becoming yet another rout at Bryant Denny Stadium.

Tua Tagovailoa was a measly (by his standards) 12-of-20 in the first half for 265 yards and three touchdowns going to the locker room, continuing his assault on a number of school records in the process. Jalen Hurts actually saw action earlier than normal in the first quarter as he threw a pass for 11 yards and then wound up catching a pass for seven yards in another nod to his versatility when not running the second-team offense.

Damien Harris led the way in the backfield with 44 yards on the ground as the Tide racked up a robust 9.3 yards per play but only recorded three touchdowns in six trips to the red zone.

There were a few bright spots for the Tigers despite the lopsided score. Quarterback Drew Lock had all day to throw a 20 yard touchdown to Jalen Knox and finished with 110 yards and a pick in a game that NFL scouts will certainly be examining closely for the potential first rounder. Tyler Badie rushed for 38 yards but two turnovers for the offense overall and an inability to sustain drives kept this one from being more interesting than it should be.

To add to the issues facing head coach Barry Odom, linebacker Terez Hall, one of the team’s best defenders and a senior, was ejected for targeting in the second quarter.

There’s plenty for Nick Saban to nitpick in that first half overall but the bottom line remains the same: Alabama is good and does not appear to be threatened in this SEC test.