Former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham transferred to Auburn.
This is a big-time get by Gus Malzahn and crew. Ranked as ESPN's No. 1-ranked junior college recruit, Stidham didn't play this season following his transfer from Baylor. He's eligible to play next season and has three seasons of eligibility remaining. As a true freshman for Art Briles' last Baylor team, Stidham threw for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns in three starts. Stidham left the school after Briles was fired. He wound up at Auburn, he says, because of his relationship with Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. Next summer, he'll compete for the quarterback job with incumbent Sean White. We'd install Stidham as a heavy favorite in that competition.
Louisville sophomore QB Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy.
Jackson beat out Jabrill Peppers, Deshaun Watson, Dede Westbrook and Baker Mayfield for the hardware. Watson finished second -- well ahead of Peppers and the two Sooners -- but wasn't all that close to Jackson, who probably had this thing wrapped up in October. Jackson's 51 touchdowns were even or better than 38 teams had collectively. He passed for 3,390 yards with a 30/9 TD/INT rate and rushed for 1,538 yards and 21 touchdowns, becoming the third player in FBS history to record 30 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing scores in one season. College football's most explosive playmaker gained 8.9 yards per pass attempt and 6.6 yards per rush. At 19 years, 337 days, Jackson becomes the youngest Heisman Trophy winner ever. The player who Clemson HC Dabo Swinney calls a "right-handed Michael Vick" won't be eligible for the draft until after next season.
Central Florida will play Arkansas State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl next Saturday.
UCF will be playing a de facto home game in welcoming Arkansas State to Orlando. The Red Wolves regressed badly on offense this fall after scoring 40 points per game last year, but the defense picked up the slack during the school's torrid 7-1 finish to the regular season. ASU enters bowl season ranked No. 2 in the FBS in tackles for loss and No. 12 in sacks. UCF and Arkansas State both struggle on offense (No. 109 and No. 110 offenses, per S&P+), but play strong defense (UCF ranks No. 32 in S&P’s metrics, while ASU is No. 40). UCF's defense is led by LB Shaquem Griffin, who was recently named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Army freshman RB Kell Walker rushed for 94 yards on 16 carries in Saturday's 21-17 win over Navy.
As a team, Army racked up 316 yards rushing. The triumvirate of Walker, Andy Davidson and Ahmad Bradshaw accounted for 232 of those 316 yards. For his part, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Walker averaged 5.9 YPC with a long run of 15 yards. This was his first game receiving double-digit carries and his 94 yards represent a season-high by a fair margin. His previous high came when he rushed for 59 yards against Buffalo on September 24.
Navy sophomore QB Zach Abey rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 89 yards and two interceptions in Saturday's 21-17 loss to Army.
Making his first collegiate start, Abey was predictably shaky in places. The Midshipmen turned it over three times in the first (including a pair of Abey interceptions) and trailed 14-0 at the break. They came out sharp in the second half, though. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Abey would rev the engine on the comeback trail, with his most impressive work coming on a winding 41-yard scoring run with 12:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. That would boost Navy to a 17-14 advantage, but Army came roaring back with an answering score to take a 21-17 lead. They ultimately came away victorious by that score. Barring a rapid Will Worth comeback from a broken foot, Abey figures to start against Louisiana Tech in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 23.
Army sophomore RB Andy Davidson rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in Saturday's 21-17 win over Navy.
The streak is dead. Finally. Navy had been able to lord a 14-game winning streak over their ground-based brothers, but no longer, no more. Davidson scored on a pair of one-yard runs in the first and second quarters as Army built up a 14-0 halftime advantage. Navy would answer with 17 unanswered points in the second half before Black Knights QB Ahmad Bradshaw pushed his squad back in front, for good, via a short touchdown run which boosted Army to a 21-17 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. With 12 games in the books, Davidson has now rushed for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has been incredibly consistent, managing at least 70 yards on the ground in eight contests.
Houston will play San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl next Saturday.
Sin City will play host to one of the postseason’s most intriguing matchups: SDSU star RB Donnel Pumphrey (2,018 yards and 16 touchdowns on 330 carries) versus Houston’s No. 2 run defense (98 yards per game allowed). Pumphrey's backup is one of the nation's best second-bananas as well; RB Rashaad Penny has 995 yards and 11 touchdowns on 126 carries. Penny is a great returner and pairs with K John Baron II (52-of-54 extra points and 19-of-21 on field goals) to give SDSU the special teams edge. The Aztecs have the slight edge in scoring defense (No. 19 at 21 points per game), but S&P+ prefers Houston's defense (No. 22 to 33). S&P+ also gives the Cougars a sizeable offensive edge (No. 54 to 72). Houston has the talent edge, but will have to overcome the loss of beloved HC Tom Herman, now Texas' head coach.
Tilman Fertitta, Houston's board of regents chairman, indicated that high school coaches in Texas pushed hard for the promotion of HC Major Applewhite.
"Here's a guy that's been on the big stage, he was the quarterback at the University of Texas, he has a great relationship with the coaches and high school football in Texas," Fertitta said of Applewhite, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach late in the week. These Texas recruiting ties, Fertitta said, played a legitimate role in Houston's decision to roll with Applewhite over Alabama OC Lane Kiffin (who was also seriously considered for the job). Houston will be Applewhite's first head-coaching gig.