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Bengals re-sign offensive lineman T.J. Johnson

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 3:56 PM


            CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Offensive linemen Tanner Hawkinson #72 and T.J. Johnson #60 of the Cincinnati Bengals work out during a rookie camp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 12, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 12: Offensive linemen Tanner Hawkinson #72 and T.J. Johnson #60 of the Cincinnati Bengals work out during a rookie camp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 12, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Ten days after extending a tender offer to restricted free agent T.J. Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals have signed the offensive lineman to a two-year contract.

A fourth-year player from South Carolina, Johnson is expected to compete for the starting spot at right guard after Kevin Zeitler signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson appeared in all 16 games last year and started at left guard in the season finale.

“T.J. has raised his level of play every year he’s been with us,” offensive line coach Paul Alexander said. “He is smart, tough and reliable. It’s great to know he’s back.”

Missouri coach Barry Odom gives update on RB Damarea Crockett

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 1:20 PM

Missouri coach Barry Odom gave an update on running back Damarea Crockett on Monday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter relayed word from Odom that Crockett practiced some last week, but the player wasn’t close to appearing in a game. Crockett has been out with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t played since running for 32 yards on 9 carries against Georgia on Oct. 14. He has 481 yards and 2 touchdowns on 80 carries this season.

Even without Crockett, Missouri has been on a hot streak of late. The Tigers are 6-5 after winning five consecutive games. They close the regular season Friday at Arkansas.

Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell said he saw South Carolina fans fight man wearing Clemson shirt during recruiting visit

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 1:19 PM

It’s Rivalry Week, the time of year when college football fans get to air the hatred for their team’s rival that has been simmering for the past 51 weeks.

Few rivalries are fiercer than the annual Palmetto Bowl between South Carolina and Clemson.

If you don’t believe it, Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell has a story that will change your mind.

Ferrell told reporters Monday that when he was in South Carolina for a recruiting visit in high school, he saw a frightening scene outside a Columbia Waffle House. A group of South Carolina fans fought a man wearing a Clemson shirt.

Ferrell said the experience showed him that South Carolina fans are typically more hostile than Clemson fans. He also said that during his first visit to South Carolina’s Williams-Bryce Stadium, which will host the game this season, he was surprised by the tendency of Gamecock fans to “throw things.”

Clemson fans are equally passionate about the rivalry with South Carolina. Ferrell’s stories simply indicate that Tiger fans handle the annual meeting with a tad more class.

Punishing Baker Mayfield was a ticklish question for Oklahoma officials

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 1:19 PM

Baker Mayfield embarrassed himself along the sidelines after beating Kansas.
And some might say the school’s punishment — stripping him of his captain status and keeping him out of the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against West Virginia — won’t be enough to merit his crime.
Mayfield is the central figure in Oklahoma’s hopes to win a national championship. He appears to be a shoo-in to win the Heisman Trophy.

But standing on the sidelines, yelling obscenities and gestures isn’t the look that Mayfield or anyone associated with the Oklahoma program wants.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe  Castiglione was in an awkward position. Mayfield was castigated by almost every talking head on every major network as soon as the event took place.  The crescendo has been building over the last several days, fueled by some previous incidents earlier this season.

Lincoln Riley’s actions announced on Monday will be a penalty. But it might not be significant enough to appease some who wanted him not to play against the Mountaineers.

Mayfield will go down in history as arguably the greatest quarterback in Oklahoma history. Considering the modern-day statistics he has compiled, no quarterback has ever come close to matching him over the course of his career.

Earlier this season, Mayfield planted the Oklahoma flag on Ohio State’s turf after beating the Buckeyes. He told Baylor players he was their daddy and was going to spank them. He blistered Oklahoma State for 62 points. Mayfield drilled a TCU player in the head during warm-ups last week. And then Saturday’s actions took place.

But an unscientific survey of Oklahoma message boards and DieHards.com over the weekend shows that many Oklahoma fans don’t believe it’s really that big of a deal. They might not condone grabbing your privates and yelling at the opposing team. But they also point out that Mayfield was dissed at the post-game handshake and a victim of several borderline late hits that were not called during the game.

So while you can’t necessarily , Kansas doesn’t appear blameless. Kansas  coach David Beaty said as much Monday on the Big 12 teleconference when he apologized for his team’s actions that precipitated

Understand that Oklahoma has always fed on this narrative —  at least as much as any program in the flyover part of the nation.

Oklahoma’s national championship in 1956 was tainted after the Sooners were placed on probation a few months before for providing improper transportation, extra benefits and improper recruiting inducements.

This the same school that gave us Barry Switzer, the original “Bootleggers’ Boy,” munching oranges in exultation for trips to the Orange Bowl during his coaching career. The same Switzer who eventually resigned after the school was placed on probation by the NCAA amidst several scandals involving his players.

 

Brian Bosworth was before him, bragging about sabotaging cars by tossing spare lugnuts into them while working at a General Motors plant in the Dallas area as a student in the mid-1980s. His legend grew as he took on the NCAA as he wore a T-shirt referencing the NCAA as the “National Communists Against Athletes” when he was barred from playing in the 1987 Orange Bowl after a positive steroid test.

Joe Mixon had a more heinous act when he slugged a female Oklahoma student two years ago. He was suspended for the 2014 season, but returned to help lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoffs in 2015. He remained on the roster last  season before leaving the Oklahoma roster to enter the NFL Draft and an eventual career with the Cincinnati Bengals.

 

 

So considering some of those previous actions, what Mayfield did seems like small potatoes.

And comparing what he did to some of the sexual assault allegations levied at Jameis Winston when he was up for the Heisman at Florida State seem tame in comparison.

Mayfield had a bad day Saturday at Kansas.

He will be penalized on senior night and won’t be in the starting lineup.

Riley set a tone to Mayfield and the rest of the team with his announcement.

And  while it might not be as significant as some would have liked, it will still get a message across to Mayfield that his behavior was unacceptable.

 

Michigan-Ohio State: Greatest QB games of the past 25 years

Published: Monday, November 20, 2017 @ 1:18 PM

Michigan-Ohio State is a rivalry that tends to find its heroes outside the pocket. Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard and Chris Spielman are among the many non-quarterbacks who have starred in the Midwest’s most important college football game.

In the past quarter century, however, there are plenty of young men who have thrown their way into history. We used our quarterback “greatness” formula, QBG, to determine the 10 greatest performances by signal callers since 1992.

RELATED: We did the same thing for Alabama-Auburn

To give you an idea of how QBG works, here are the core factors:

  • Passing yardage
  • Rushing yardage/sack yardage
  • Total points (touchdowns + team conversions)
  • Interceptions
  • Efficiency (output vs. above-average number of attempts)
  • Win/loss
  • Strength of opponent
  • Era (output pitted against contemporary stats)

Note: This is not a ranking of the “best” quarterbacks with the tightest spirals or the quickest decision-making abilities or the fastest 40 times. It’s about “greatness,” that all-important factor that — until now — was unquantifiable.

Honorable mentions

  • Troy Smith, Ohio State (2005). Trailing by two scores midway through the fourth quarter, Troy Smith fired a 26-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes and then led the game-winning drive to stun Michigan at the Big House. His final line was excellent — 337 total yards and 2 touchdowns — but not as great as his two other performances against the Wolverines. More on those later.
  • Brian Griese, Michigan (1996). Brian Griese threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Tai Streets to help the Wolverines overcome a 9-0 deficit and knock undefeated Ohio State out of the national title picture with a 13-9 victory in Columbus.
  • Chad Henne, Michigan (2006). The Wolverines’ best shot at a national title in this millennium came in ’06, when Chad Henne and a talented Michigan offense posted 39 points in a close loss to No. 1 Ohio State. The junior completed 26 of 41 passes for 309 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.
  • Kirk Herbstreit, Ohio State (1992). Before he began his storied broadcasting career, Kirk Herbstreit helped No. 17 Ohio State “beat” No. 6 Michigan with a 13-13 tie. Herbstreit converted a fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line with a touchdown pass to Greg Beatty, and coach John Cooper (0-4 against Michigan at that point of his career) elected to kick the extra point instead of attempt a 2-point conversion.

10. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (2013)

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The wildest-ever Michigan-Ohio State shootout produced a pair of top-10 performances on this list. Braxton Miller wasn’t as impressive as his counterpart (see No. 7), but he keyed a Buckeyes’ comeback and extended Ohio State’s winning streak to 24 games. Facing a 21-14 second-quarter deficit, Miller led the Buckeyes to 21 consecutive points with a pair of rushing touchdowns and a 22-yard scoring pass to Jeff Heuerman.

Michigan stormed back to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Miller countered with a 65-yard drive to regain the lead. Carlos Hyde’s 1-yard touchdown run and Drew Basil’s extra point proved to be the difference, as the Wolverines’ final 2-point attempt came up short in a 42-41 Buckeyes win.

9. Todd Collins, Michigan (1993)

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In the 1990s, Michigan made a living of ruining Ohio State’s national championship hopes. One of the most heartbreaking games came in ’93, when Todd Collins helped the unranked Wolverines destroy the undefeated, No. 5-ranked Buckeyes. His 25-yard touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes opened the scoring, and he also tossed a 3-yard score to Che Foster. The 28-0 result dropped Ohio State coach John Cooper’s record vs. Michigan to 0-5-1; Afterward, he called it “one of the most embarrassing games I’ve ever been associated with,” per the Detroit Free Press.

8. Denard Robinson, Michigan (2011)

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After losing seven straight to the Buckeyes, Denard Robinson and the Wolverines were favored to end the streak against a 6-5 Ohio State team reeling from NCAA sanctions. The “W” didn’t come easily. Michigan and Ohio State traded the lead six times before Robinson — who posted 337 total yards and 5 total touchdowns — bled out the Buckeyes with a 10-play, 54-yard drive that took 5:10 off the clock late in the fourth quarter. A field goal made it 40-34, and Michigan and the Wolverines “D” held off Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes to seal the streak-snapping victory.

7. Devin Gardner, Michigan (2013)

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This performance would have been No. 1 on the list had Michigan converted its 2-point conversion attempt in the final moments. But Devin Gardner and the unranked Wolverines fell short in their quest to snap Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak and knock the Buckeyes out of the national title picture.

The junior, who had been inconsistent — but occasionally brilliant — during his first full year as a starter, turned in the game of a lifetime against Ohio State.

He completed 32 of 45 passes for 451 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. And his 1-yard rushing touchdown opened the scoring on a wild day at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines built a 21-14 lead before the Buckeyes scored three consecutive touchdowns. But Gardner was not deterred; he tied the game again with a pair of touchdown passes, and then — after the Bucks scored again — led his team down the field for another touchdown in the closing seconds. With the score 42-41 in favor of Ohio State, Gardner attempted a 2-point conversion pass that was picked off near the goal line.

There would be no upset, but his effort would be remembered by all in attendance. As Cleveland.com’s Doug Lesmerises put it: “The rivalry, on this day, was better because of him, a quarterback valiant in defeat.”

6. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (2015)

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J.T. Barrett’s most famous play against Michigan came in overtime of the 2016 game, but his overall performance in that contest was less than ideal. His 2015 output was much more impressive, as he and No. 8 Ohio State smashed No. 10 Michigan in Ann Arbor to collect a fourth straight victory over the team up North.

Barrett’s pair of third-quarter touchdown passes extended Ohio State’s lead from 4 points to 18, and his 17-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter served as crushing blow for Michigan.

5. John Navarre, Michigan (2003)

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Running back Chris Perry got on the cover of Sports Illustrated following this game, but John Navarre was just as crucial to a statement win that gave Michigan its first outright Big Ten championship — and Rose Bowl appearance — since winning the national title in 1997.

The 100th game between the two schools was a clash of national titans. Michigan was No. 4. Ohio State was No. 5. On the Wolverines’ first scoring drive, Navarre completed 6 of 8 passes for 51 yards. In the second quarter, he tossed a pair of big touchdowns to Braylon Edwards (64 yards and 23 yards, respectively) as the Wolverines pushed their lead to 21-0.

When Ohio State later closed the gap to 28-21, Navarre — described in the Associated Press account as “perhaps the most maligned quarterback in Michigan history” — led an 8-play, 87-yard drive that featured a 31-yard completion to tight end Tyler Ecker on third-and-5 near midfield. Perry (209 yards from scrimmage) punched in a 15-yard touchdown, and the Buckeyes never threatened again.

4. Joe Germaine, Ohio State (1998)

Rick Stewart/Allsport

Few quarterbacks can say they out-dueled a red-hot Tom Brady in the biggest game of the season. That’s what Joe Germaine managed to do in November 1998 as No. 7 Ohio State knocked off No. 11 Michigan to steal a Big Ten title away from the Wolverines.

Brady (375 yards and a touchdown) and his teammates had defeated top-10 teams in two consecutive weeks and looked to make it three straight at Ohio Stadium. But Germaine tossed a touchdown pass in each of the first three quarters — including a 43-yarder to David Boston to open the second-half scoring – and Ohio State’s defense kept Brady’s offense out of the end zone during the final 30 minutes.

When the clock hit zero, Buckeyes fans stormed the field. The scarlet-and-grey mob “kicked and punched” Michigan staffers and players, kicker Jay Feely told the Detroit Free Press. As the Wolverines neared their tunnel, they were pelted from above by literal buckeyes. Germaine and Ohio State went on to defeat No. 8 Texas A&M in the Fiesta Bowl and earn a No. 2 ranking in the final AP poll.

3. Drew Henson, Michigan (2000)

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John Cooper’s final game vs. Michigan ended fittingly. Entering the contest, the Ohio State coach had allowed the Wolverines to knock his Buckeyes out of the Big Ten title picture or national title picture several times, and Drew Henson added one more for good measure.

Henson, a hotshot junior who soon after would play in the New York Yankees’ minor-league system, started poorly. He threw a pick-6 and Ohio State grabbed an early 9-0 lead as the home crowd heightened its intensity. But he responded by accounting for 4 touchdowns as the No. 19-ranked Wolverines outscored the No. 12-ranked Buckeyes 31-3 over the next couple of quarters.

A pair of late Ohio State  touchdowns made the final score look a little less devastating, but Cooper was out as coach nonetheless. In the 17 years since Henson’s 300-yard day, Michigan still has not defeated Ohio State in Columbus.

2. Troy Smith, Ohio State (2004)

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Of all the thorns in Michigan’s side over the years, Jim Tressel was perhaps the most painful. When he arrived at Ohio State in 2001, the Buckeyes were 2-10-1 against the Wolverines in their past 13 meetings. In that first season, he lead unranked Ohio State to an upset of No. 11 Michigan. The following year, his team beat No. 12 Michigan en route to an undefeated season and national championship. The maize and blue broke through in ’03, but that would be their last “W” in the series until 2011.

By then, off-field issues had ended the Tressel era, but he finished with a 9-1 record against Michigan. The win that signaled a changing of the guard — the one that told Michigan “we own you now” — came in 2004, when the nation got its first real look at Troy Smith.

The future Heisman Trophy winner had thrown 3 interceptions the week before in a loss to Purdue. A sophomore, Smith had shown signs of greatness but was hardly special yet; he had thrown 99 just career passes before No. 7 Michigan came to town.

On the first drive of the game, Smith hit Anthony Gonzalez for a 68-yard touchdown. Michigan responded with a pair of scores, but Smith punched back with a 12-play, 98-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown plunge. After a momentum-shifting Ted Ginn Jr. punt-return touchdown in the third quarter, Smith killed Michigan’s spirit with another mammoth drive, this one from 97 yards out. He rushed for 66 yards on the jaunt before connecting with Santonio Holmes for a 12-yard touchdown and a 34-14 lead.

At the final gun, supporters swarmed the field to greet their new folk hero.

“It’s unbelievable,” Smith told the Associated Press afterward. “Coming off the field, I nearly got my neck broken by fans.”

1. Troy Smith, Ohio State (2006)

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Troy Smith’s finest hour — and, perhaps, the finest regular-season hour of any Big Ten quarterback in recent memory — came in the 2006 version of the Game of the Century, when No. 2 Michigan paid a visit to No. 1 Ohio State. Both sides were undefeated, and pundits already were wondering about a rematch in the national title game, regardless of which team won.

Lloyd Carr’s Wolverines were as good as any team he had coached in Ann Arbor. The offense was full of NFL talent and the defense had held its past three Big Ten opponents to an average of 4 points per game.

But, after two consecutive seasons of watching Troy Smith run circles around them, the Wolverines still couldn’t find a way to stop him. Smith solidified his Heisman Trophy season not with his legs, but with his right arm. The senior connected on 29 of 41 pass attempts for 316 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. His parting gift to the Wolverines was an 11-play, 83-yard fourth-quarter drive that extended Ohio State’s lead to 42-31 and guaranteed Ohio State would remain the No. 1 team in the country.

Talk of a rematch reached a fever pitch, but it was not to be. Smith and the Buckeyes had earned the Big Ten’s lone spot in the title contest.

“The national championship was something aside, was something different from this,” Smith told the AP. “This is The Ohio State University-Michigan game. It’s the biggest game in college football. And today the best team won.”