** Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche’s college career is over. He has been suspended for the Sugar Bowl game against Oklahoma State and will enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
The junior says he “learned a valuable lesson” from his marijuana-induced and injurious fall at a hotel. He went on to say he hopes the NFL will understand the incident is “not representative of
[his] true character.”
** Suspended Florida quarterback Will Grier will seek a fresh start elsewhere. He’ll transfer.
** The NCAA came down hard on the redshirt freshman in October for using
performance-enhancing drugs. Grier appealed in hopes of having the one-year
suspension reduced but his appeal was denied.
** Grier started five games for Florida in 2015 and played in another one. He completed 66% of his passes for 1,204 yards with 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The Gator offense clearly missed him the second half of the season.
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** New Rutgers coach Chris Ash is coaching the Fiesta Bowl-bound Ohio State defense while encountering his replacement, Greg Schiano, frequently. The newly-hired Schiano used to coach Rutgers. This all has to be weird. They talk and, for the most part, try to help each other. But not with everything.
** When it comes to recruiting, which is currently Schiano’s main focus, they will be working against each other. Both men are busy scouring the New Jersey area for its abundant football talent – Ash because it’ll be his new stomping ground, Schiano because he knows it so well.
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San Jose State 27, Georgia State 16
** The “cure” in Cure Bowl is for cancer research. The game’s sponsor, AutoNation, donated
$1,000,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. At the half the Orlando Sports Foundation
made the largest donation ever by a bowl game to a charity, presenting theBCRF with a check for
** Georgia State coach Trent Miles has had five family members receive a diagnosis of cancer.
** Though individual records were set, the game itself was not the most exciting. The teams combined for barely 500 yards of offense. Georgia State managed only 23 yards rushing as quarterback Nick Arbuckle was sacked four times. He credited the Spartans for coming up with defensive schemes he’d not seen on film, including a three-man front and coverages that took away “our entire game plan.”
** Arbuckle did throw touchdown passes of 38 yards to Donovan Harden and 19 yards to Todd Boyd. The latter put the Panthers up 16-13 with 10:46 to go in the game.
** Arbuckle set a Sun Belt Conference record for passing yards in a season with 4,368.
** For San Jose State, Tyler Ervin returned a punt 85 yards for a score and Austin Lopez kicked two
19-yard field goals. Ervin was workhorse out of the Spartan backfield, carrying 30 times for 132 yards. He thus broke San Jose State’s single-season rushing record; he had 1,601 yards. His 2,637
all-purpose yards is also a school record.
** Quarterback Kenny Potter’s 42-yard scoring run regained the lead for San Jose State at 20-16. He later tossed a 1-yard scoring pass to Josh Oliver; it was the tight end’s only touchdown reception of the season and just his fourth catch.
** Credit to the winners for using the extra preparation time to break tendencies on both sides of the ball for this bowl game.
** This was only San Jose State’s fourth bowl game in the past 26 years. That’s the bad news. The good news is the Spartans have won them all. Georgia State made its first-ever bowl appearance.
** Both teams finished the year with losing records of 6-7.
News Orleans Bowl…
Louisiana Tech 47, Arkansas State 28
** La Tech’s Kenneth Dixon rushed for 102 yards on 21 carries, finding the end zone from 8 and 4 yards out. He also caught six passes for 113 yards, including receptions of 9 yards and 59 yards for scores. Totals: 215 yards and four touchdowns.
** Dixon now has 87 touchdowns and 522 points, putting him back ahead of Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds in both categories; Reynolds has 85 and 512 respectively. Reynolds plays in the Military Bowl one week from today (12-28-15) with a good chance to pass Dixon for the all-time records.
** Dixon: “If he gets the record, it will be great. If I keep it, it’s even greater. Just to have two
. people chasing that record at the same time is remarkable.”
** Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel, the transfer from Florida, threw for 458 yards and three touchdowns in his last college game.
** The teams combined for 24 penalties worth 263 yards, making this the most-penalized New Orleans Bowl ever. The yardage was good (bad?) for the 5th-most in any bowl ever.
** Arkansas State’s Blaise Taylor returned a punt 41 yards to set up a score when it still mattered and blazed 98 yards on a kickoff return for a touchdown when it no longer mattered.
** The game was tied 17-17 at the half and 20-20 in the 3rd quarter before the Bulldogs pulled away.
** Arkansas State’s 8-game winning streak was snapped.
** Louisiana Tech more than doubled the Red Wolves in total yardage, 687 to 323.
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Miami Beach Bowl
Monday, December 21 at 2:30 p.m.
VER: Western Kentucky 35, South Florida 32