Monday, December 20
The Myrtle Beach Bowl got off to a flying start when Old Dominion’sLaMareon Jamesran the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. It was the first return for a score on the opening kickoff for an Old Dominion player, and it was also the first time a bowl game had started with a kick return for one touchdown since the 2017 Military Bowl. It was the only touchdown scored by Old Dominion until the fourth quarter, however, and Tulsa managed to win. Tulsa quarterbackDavis strandresumed play and pitched for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Tulsa ends the season at 7-6, but the team have won their last four games, including a win over SMU. The overall record isn’t what the Golden Hurricanes hoped for, but they can use the final games of the season as a catapult for next season.
Saturday, December 18
No Billy Napier, no problem. As the former Louisiana-Lafayette head coach signed a recruiting class in Florida, the Ragin Cajuns ended an almost perfect season 13-1 by fending off Marshall 36-21 in New Orleans. New coach Michael Desormeaux could barely suppress his smile after turning his first game as head coach into the Cajuns’ 13th straight win – their best season in program history. Desormeaux, who played at ULL from 2005 to 2008 and has coached there since 2016, was chosen as Napier’s successor earlier this month. The 36-year-old’s rise has been rapid. He was named the Ragin Cajuns’ offensive co-coordinator in 2021 and is now set to continue the program’s success under Napier. In Saturday’s game, his team racked up nearly 500 offensive yards and failed to make any turnovers against the two of the Herd. It was the difference.
Of all the job changes in the coaching carousel this season, Napier’s departure from Lafayette seemed the friendliest. It was a testament to how the relationship had been mutually beneficial. Now, the school hopes to be able to reproduce these good vibrations with Desormeaux. So far, so good. – Paolo uggetti
In a game featuring two teams that have made significant strides forward this season, Utah State ended an incredible first season under coach Blake Anderson. A year ago, the Aggies saw coach Gary Andersen leave after just three games in the second season of his second term and finished the season 1-5. It was a weak moment for the program, which had gained a lot of momentum before Matt Wells left for Texas Tech after the 2018 season – a season in which the Aggies finished 22nd in the AP poll. This was only the third time Utah State has finished in the AP Top 25 and this year will almost certainly be the fourth. The Aggies, who won the Mountain West, topped the category in votes received in the latest regular season poll and are expected to advance after a convincing 24-13 victory over Oregon State. After the Beavers scored a touchdown on a three-game 71-yard first down, Utah State held them out of the end zone for the remainder of the game. – Kyle bonagura
LoanTree Bowl: Freedom 56, Eastern Michigan 20
Malik willis didn’t want to go out on the heels of three straight losses and had committed to hanging out for the Liberty bowl game. It was a good thing for him and a good thing for the Flames as they looked a lot like the team that won 10 games a year ago on Saturday night in a 56-20 win over the Eastern Michigan. Willis showcased the kind of arm strength, athleticism and evasion ability that make him a screened first-round pick to quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft. Willis had five touchdowns in just over three quarters and the Flames claimed their eighth victory of the season. Liberty coach Hugh Freeze, who received an overtime and a raise last month that makes him one of the highest paid Group of 5 coaches, has guided the Flames to victories in each of his three seasons. Liberty has won 26 games under Freeze since joining the FBS ranks and is expected to join Conference USA for the 2023 season. – Chris Bas
Never mind the regular rain in Shreveport, Louisiana. This game was never going to be about the passing game anyway. Not when it featured two of the most productive running backs in college football: that of UAB DeWayne McBride, who entered the weekend ranked 20th in the FBS for rushing yards with 1,188, and BYU Tyler Allgeier, who was tied for the most rushed touchdowns in the FBS with 20. And those two full-backs didn’t disappoint. Allgeier was an absolute force, going 192 yards and three touchdowns. But it was McBride who got the better of the battle, taking UAB to a 31-28 victory with a career-high 28 carries that totaled 183 yards and one touchdown. – Alex scarborough
Fresno State star quarterback a week and a half ago Jake haener was still in the transfer portal. After head coach Kalen DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb left for Washington, Haener felt he needed to explore his options. But not only did Haener change his mind and take his name off the portal, he was able to come back and start against UTEP, completing 26 of 41 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown in the 31-24 win. Make sure to give Bulldogs defense credit as well. After allowing 17 points in the first quarter and a half, they gave up only 7 the rest of the way. Security Levelle Bailey, who was injured in the third quarter and had to be assisted off the field, came back and recovered a key fumble to freeze the game with less than 4 minutes to go. –Scarborough
Deion Sanders’ big week came to a screeching halt in the Celebration Bowl, as his Jackson State team were crushed by South Carolina State 31-10.
Sanders topped the headlines earlier in the week after toppling rookie superstar Travis Hunter on national signing day, a first of its kind for an FCS program and being part of the highest ranked signing class in history of the FCS. But the 11-winning Tigers ran into a brick wall in the South Carolina state defense, which knocked out QB Shedeur Sanders twice – turning both into touchdowns – and finished with three takeaways, while keeping Jackson State within 200 yards of attack, including just 18 on the ground.
Bulldogs QB Corey Fields Jr. only made 12 assists in the game, but four of them scored touchdowns.
Jackson State’s loss was their first to an FCS team this season – the Tigers ‘only loss went to FBS Louisiana-Monroe by 5 points – and was Deion Sanders’ biggest margin of defeat in two seasons in as a coach.– David M. Hale
One year ago, Bailey Zappé played four games as part of the FCS Houston Baptist’s abridged COVID-19 campaign. After RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Saturday, Zappe is now the FBS season record holder for touchdown passes and distance traveled. It was a hell of a ride.
Zappe transferred to western Kentucky last offseason – after HBU offensive coordinator Zach Kittley at the Hilltoppers – and has become the most prolific passer in college football. He had four first-half touchdowns against Appalachian State, tying Joe Burrow’s record 60 passing touchdowns in one season, and added two more to set the score in the second half. As Zappe separated the Mountaineers high school (they’ve allowed just 12 passing touchdowns all year), the Hilltoppers’ ground game also had its best game of the season, with Noah whittington and Kye Robichaux both finding the end zone in the 59-38 win.
Zappe is set to become a mid-round pick in the NFL – and a possible steal for some teams – but his only season playing FBS football will go down in the record books. Meanwhile, Kittley is set to transition to Texas Tech as a new CO, and Saturday’s fireworks certainly give Red Raiders fans something to be excited about in 2022.– Hale
Friday 17th December
Toledo was 0-4 in regular-season one-point games, so it made sense for the Rockets to end the season with a tighter loss. Middle Tennessee started a 17-0 streak in the fourth quarter to take an insurmountable lead, ultimately winning 31-24. MTSU freshman quarterbackNick vattiatohad a great outing, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yard bomb to Jarrin pierce. But the biggest factor of difference was the third downs: The Blue Raiders were 7 for 16 on the third downs, while Toledo was only 1 for 12 until he converted three on his last try. . The Rockets made a lot of explosive plays, but MTSU was able to play on the sidelines, slamming the ball 85 times and late profiting from an increasingly tired Toledo defense. – Bill Connelly
Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson mccall was set up for success to come in this game, with Northern Illinois’ 118th defense in FBS in points allowed. The second-year quarterback didn’t disappoint, throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-41 win that ended in the Huskies’ final play.
Northern Illinois running back Jay duck, who came strong in October for the Huskies, was their best player with 146 rushing yards on 24 carries. Despite the narrow loss, it was a great season for NIU, who finished the 2020 season 0-6.
The Cure Bowl was the Chanticleers’ second in as many years, but this time they managed to secure their first bowl victory in school history.–Harry Lyles Jr.
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