Sooners’ Murray wins AP POY, other honors
Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won The Associated Press college football Player of the Year on Thursday, becoming the second straight Sooners quarterback and fifth overall to win the award since it was established in 1998.
Murray beat out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on 56 ballots submitted by AP college football poll voters and announced Thursday. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. was third.
“It’s humbling and an honor to be named AP Player of the Year, to be mentioned in the same realm as a lot of great players, a lot of hall of famers,” Murray said. “It’s a special deal for me and hopefully I can continue to make my family and teammates proud.”
Murray received 39 first-place votes and a total of 145 points. Tagovailoa received 13 first-place votes (117 points) and Haskins was listed first on four ballots (55 points).
Murray added the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback Thursday night at ESPN’s College Football Award Show at the Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Tagovailoa won two player of the year awards, taking the Walter Camp and Maxwell awards.
Murray and Tagovailoa will now head to New York City as Heisman trophy finalists, with the winner more uncertain than usual. Haskins also is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy , which will be presented Saturday night in New York.
The last five Walter Camp winners won the Heisman Trophy and the last four Maxwell winners have won the Heisman. Only twice since 2002 has the AP Player of the Year not won the Heisman, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009 and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey in 2015.
Murray and Tagovailoa will then face each other in the College Football Playoff, when No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl semifinal on Dec. 29.
The rest of the college football award winners Thursday night were:
— Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen won the Chuck Bednarik award as the nation’s top defensive player.
— Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman.
— Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
— Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor won the Doak Walker as the nation’s best running.
— Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver.
— Syracuse kicker Andre Szmyt won the Lou Groza Award.
— Texas A&M punter Braden Mann won the Ray Guy Award.
Targeting penalties unchanged from 2017
The NCAA says the number of enforced targeting penalties in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season was the same as in 2017, ending four straight years of increased calls.
NCAA national coordinator of officials Rogers Redding reported 179 enforced calls in 817 games compared with 179 in 816 games last season.
The final 2017 report originally listed 188 enforced calls, but Redding said the numbers are sometimes adjusted after an offseason review. The NCAA compiles its numbers through reports submitted each week by conferences.
Big Ten and Mid-American Conference coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo said he was pleased to see the targeting penalties level off and the hope is the numbers will come down in 2019.
“Coaches have done a good job at teaching proper hitting (both blocking and tackling) techniques and officials have improved in calling targeting plays as well as reviewing the plays,” Carollo wrote in a text to The Associated Press. “It’s still our No. 1 concern and our one area we need to improve.”
Redding noted the number of calls was alarming early in the season. In the first two weeks, there were 55 enforced penalties in 164 games compared with 36 through 162 games in 2017.
“As the season progressed, the numbers settled down, so that serendipitously the two seasons ended the same,” Redding said. “This means that as the season progressed the number of (targeting) fouls tracked below last year, with this year’s numbers trending generally down.”
The Power Five conference breakdowns: Southeastern Conference (39 in 2018, 27 in 2017); Pac-12 (23, 30); Atlantic Coast (20, 6); Big Ten (20, 20); Big 12 (10, 12).
Targeting penalties increased in the Football Championship Subdivision. There were 115 enforced calls in 620 games (0.18 average) compared with 92 in 626 (0.14) in 2017.
Source: Temple coach in talks about job
Temple coach Geoff Collins has met with Georgia Tech officials about the Yellow Jackets’ vacant head-coaching position, a person with knowledge of the meetings told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Georgia Tech was not releasing information about its search to replace Paul Johnson, who is stepping down after 11 seasons as coach of the Yellow Jackets. Johnson will coach Georgia Tech against Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit.
The person said Collins met with Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury in New York earlier this week and with the university president in Atlanta on Thursday morning.
The person said Collins left Atlanta having not been offered the job by Georgia Tech.
Yahoo! Sports first reported Collins, a Georgia native, had emerged as the leading candidate at Georgia Tech.
Collins is 15-10 in two seasons at Temple, including an 8-4 record with a 7-1 mark in the American Athletic Conference this season. He took over for his close friend Matt Rhule last year, when Rhule left for Baylor.
Before coming to Temple, Collins was a well-regarded defensive coordinator at Florida (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2011-14). Collins grew up in Conyers, Georgia, 24 miles east of Atlanta, and was a graduate assistant there early in his career under head coach George O’Leary. He also spent a season as director of player personal at Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban’s first leading the Crimson Tide.