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Ellis Johnson has been bought out

Ellis Johnson and the Southern Miss fan base entered this season with high expectations coming off a 12 win season under former head coach Larry Fedora.

However, those high expectations were not met under Johnson and his staff, as the Golden Eagles struggled throughout the year and finished 0-12. 

Earlier today the University announced that Johnson would not be retained, and athletic director Jeff Hammond released the following statement:

"Following a thorough assessment of our football program, I made the recommendation to our University President that we not retainEllis Johnson as our head football coach. Dr. Lucas accepted my recommendation and earlier this morning I informedEllis Johnson that he will not return in the future as our head football coach."

"At Southern Miss we expect to compete hard and succeed both in the classroom and on the field. This is not the exception...This is in fact the standard, the norm, our identity and who we are."

"In this regard, we have already initiated a search for a new head coach. We will move rapidly in this effort seeking a dynamic leader with the character to lead our program back to prominence."

"Today marks a new beginning, a new season and a new start. Thus I ask all members of the Southern Miss Family for your support, now more than ever. We must unite and come together as one through this transition period. Please let dignity, respect and love for Our Great University be our watchwords."

 

 

Dave Doeren's email promoting Jordan Lynch for Heisman

Plenty of schools have gone all-in on creativity when promoting their players for the Heisman Trophy. There's Collin Klein's band aids, Chase Daniel's viewfinder and Joey Harrington's Times Square billboard, to name a few. 

Instead of shooting for something clever, Northern Illinois speaks from the heart as Dave Doeren today sent out an e-mail promoting the merits of his quarterback, Jordan Lynch. 

The letter may not help Lynch win the award, or even get to New York, but it's great to see a head coach vouch for his player to this extent. 

Here is Doeren's letter in full, provided by CBS's Bruce Feldman. 

Respected Voters,

I wanted to personally write to you regarding my QB Jordan Lynch. I know many of you have his stats and have followed his season. In my 17 years of coaching college football I have never seen a tougher, multi-skilled, consistently productive quarterback than Jordan. In 12 games he has rushed for 1611 yds, 16 TD's, 134.2 yards/game and passed for 2750 yds, 23 TD's and only 4 INT's with a QB rating of 157.3. Please understand that many of the second halves this season we were up and didn't play him in the 4th Q. His stats could be even more over the top. His game management skills and clutch decision making also sets him apart.

He is the first player in FBS history to pass for more than 400 yards and rush for more than 150 in a game (vs Toledo, 11/14/12). He is the second player to ever pass for more than 2,500 yards and run for more than 1,500 yards in a season. Jordan holds the NCAA record for most consecutive 100 yard rushing games by a quarterback (10 straight). He needs 92 yards to break the NCAA record for Rushing yards by a QB in a season.

He is a blue collar winner that truly loves and respects the game of football. His relentless energy and passion for competition and winning is inspirational and contagious. I love to see him practice and play - he is worthy of any and all consideration he gets for the Heisman Trophy. As an award that represents the best - he is purely that! I know that there are many deserving candidates out there. I just wanted you to know from a coaches perspective how special Jordan Lynch is. This is what college football players should inspire to be like - he is tough, loyal, competitive, fierce, poised, accountable, and productive!

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Go Huskies!!!

"If you comfort the afflicted, then you afflict the comfortable"

David Cutcliffe recently signed an extension to keep him at Duke through 2019. More time at Duke means that Cutcliffe and his staff will be able to build on the progress that they made through the early part of 2012 (and their 6-2 start), before dropping their last four games in a row.

Cutcliffe and his staff have started an impressive turnaround by creating an environment of accountability within the program. Now in his fifth season with the Blue Devils, the coaching staff seems to have successfully created a mindset where they expect to win each week. That's quite the accomplishment for a program that has won 6 or more games just five times since 1980.

“It’s gotta’ be important to you. That’s the accountability we have to each other – how important is it to win,” Cutcliffe told Examiner.com. "No offense, but you didn’t come to Duke just to get a quality degree. You’re here because you’re expected to win.”

While Cutcliffe is proud of earning their way to a bowl, and the progress that they've made since he first arrived on campus, the last thing that he wants his guys feeling is a sense of complacency.

“If you comfort the afflicted, then you afflict the comfortable. We don’t need to be very comfortable, that’s just a fact...that’s where we are.”

The key to getting win number 7 for Cut and his guys will be finding a way to make unfamiliar territory seem familiar, and maintaining their focus through a long bowl prep period, as this will be the first bowl game for the Blue Devils since 1994.

“We’re right there. It’s like being at the top of a wall and you’ve got both hands on and your fingers got a firm grip on it - but if you don’t have anything really left in you - you’re not going to climb over it.” Cutcliffe explained.

 

 

VIDEO: Go inside the locker room as Rice celebrates bowl eligibility

At the beginning of October, Rice was 1-5 and left for dead. The Owls' only win was a 25-24 comeback at Kansas. For a program that had won a total of 11 games since the beginning of the 2009 season, not much was expected of Rice but more losing. 

But David Bailiff, his staff and his players knew things weren't as bad as they appeared. Two of those were understandable setbacks to strong teams in UCLA and Louisiana Tech, and two more were close calls against Marshall and Memphis. 

On Oct. 13, Rice beat UTSA 34-14. The next week they challenged eventual Conference USA champion Tulsa to a 28-24 final score on the road. Then things really started to pick up. A 44-17 win over Southern Miss and a 49-47 win over Tulane led into the Owls' finest performance of the season, a 36-14 drubbing of SMU. Those three wins put the Owls within one win of bowl eligibility, which they achieved by beating UTEP, 33-24, on Saturday.

The win moved Rice to 6-6, which means the Owls are now, for the first time for the vast majority of Rice's players stepped on campus, bowl eligible. Rice hasn't played in a bowl since 2008, when the current fifth-year seniors were in their redshirt year. Plenty of people say there are too many bowl games, and that's a debate for another day, but those who do need to see scenes like this inside Rice's locker room after reaching win the all-important No. 6. 

Thanks to Rice SID Chuck Pool for passing this along.

The Scoop on Stats - Week 14

With the regular season now complete for the majority of FBS, this week's Scoop on Stats takes a look at some overarching trends that occurred in the 2012 college football season.

- Michigan completed their regular season on Saturday with an 8-4 record. Their four losses came to AP No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 14 Nebraska, who hold a combined record of 45-3. On of Nebraska's two losses came at the hands of Ohio State, meaning that against outside competition Michigan's opponents were 44-2.

- Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel reached the 4,600 total offense mark in the Aggies' win over Missouri on Saturday. The 4,600 yards are a new SEC single-season total offense record, breaking the mark set by Cam Newton in 2010. Newton amassed 4,327 yards in 14 games and Manziel passed him in 12 games.

- West Virginia snapped a very dubious streak this week. Not only did the Mountaineers' 31-24 win over Iowa State halt a five-game losing streak, it also ended a streak of five consecutive games in which a WVU opponent was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week. That honor went to Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones for his come-from-behind win over Oklahoma State.

- Unfortunately, Southern Miss was unable to avoid a dubious record as the Golden Eagles became the first team to drop from 12 wins to zero wins in one year.

- Did any team have a bigger yo-yo season than SMU? The Mustangs opened the season with a 25 point loss, then beat Stephen F. Austin by 52, and then lost to Texas A&M by 45. SMU then nearly upset TCU, shutout UTEP but then lost to 2-10 Tulane, only to set a school record the next week with 72 points in a blowout of Houston. The Mustangs then beat Memphis by 31, lost to UCF by 25, beat Southern Miss by 28, lost to Rice by 22 and ended the year by giving Tulsa its only Conference USA loss. 

- With the win over USC, Notre Dame became the first BCS National Championship participant to begin the season unranked.

- Conversely, USC joined the 1964 Ole Miss team as the only AP preseason No. 1's to end the season unranked. In fact, the AP views the Trojans only ahead of Cal in the state of California. Stanford, UCLA, Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State all received more votes than the Trojans in this week's poll. 

- As we know, Alabama will meet Georgia on Saturday for the SEC championship. But did you know that in eight trips to the SEC title game, Saturday will be the first time the Crimson Tide has played an SEC East opponent other than Florida?

- It was an incredibly top-heavy year for the SEC, as the league's top six teams (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, LSU and Texas A&M) went a combined 30-0 against the other eight teams in the league.

- Equally top-heavy was the Big Ten's Leaders Division. The two teams ineligible for the conference title (Ohio State and Penn State) went a combined 14-2 in conference play, while the eligible teams (Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois) were a combined 9-23. 

- Michigan State held Minnesota to just 96 total yards in their 26-10 to win over Minnesota, the fewest yards allowed in a Big Ten game since Ohio State held Michigan to 91 yards on November 17, 2007. 

- Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein produced 29 touchdowns against only three turnovers through his first nine games. Since then, he has totaled four touchdowns and four turnovers. 

 

 

 

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