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Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:00 PM

Associated Press

Pitt’s Donald wins Lombardi Award

HOUSTON — Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald picked up another award Wednesday night, winning the Rotary Lombardi Award.

Donald beat out Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr for the award given annually to the nation’s top college lineman.

It’s already been a big week for Donald, a senior defensive tackle who won the Bronko Nagurski award given to the nation’s top college defensive player Monday.

“It’s a true blessing and a true honor for people to notice me and notice the hard work I put into this game,” Donald said.

The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald leads the nation with 26½ tackles for losses and his 28½ career sacks are tops among active players in the Football Bowl Subdivision and fourth in school history.

Donald has 10 sacks, 54 tackles and has forced four fumbles this season.

Though Pittsburgh is headed to the play Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26, Donald was disappointed that his 6-6 team didn’t do better.

Mosley was another finalist who was left disappointed by the way the season went for his team. The Crimson Tide was knocked out of a chance to play for a third straight national title after losing to Auburn. Mosley will end his college career when Alabama meets Oklahoma on Jan. 2 in the Sugar Bowl.

He leads Alabama with 102 tackles, has seven tackles for losses and broke up five passes.

Sam, who grew up in nearby Hitchcock, Texas, enjoyed returning to his home state for the ceremony.

Sam became the first player from Missouri to be a finalist for the Lombardi Award after piling up 18 tackles for losses and 10½ sacks. He also returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Barr is tied for fifth in the nation with 20 tackles for losses. He also has 10 sacks, 62 tackles and forced five fumbles this season. He was honored to be a finalist for the award.

Michigan State’s Narduzzi wins Broyles Award

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi won the annual Broyles Award given to the top college assistant coach.

Narduzzi, in his seventh season for the fourth-ranked Spartans, was honored at a luncheon in Little Rock. He’s responsible for guiding a Michigan State defense that earned a spot in the Rose Bowl against No. 5 Stanford with a 34-24 win over Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference championship game.

The Spartans (12-1) were first in the country this season in total defense, allowing an average of 248.2 yards per game. It’s the third straight season Michigan State has ranked among the top 10 nationally. The Spartans were fourth in the country in allowing 12.7 points per game.

Narduzzi has served as defensive coordinator under Mark Dantonio for the past 10 seasons, including three years together at Cincinnati from 2004-06.

The Spartans also led the nation in rushing defense this season, allowing just 80.8 yards on the ground per game.

The award is named for former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, who is noted for developing assistants into head coaches. A number of his aides went on to stellar careers, including Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer.

Fry, Majors and Switzer were on this year’s selection committee.

Other finalists were Auburn’s Rhett Lashlee, Baylor’s Philip Montgomery, Florida State’s Jeremy Pruitt and Duke’s Kurt Roper.

Auburn’s Malzahn wins Home Depot Coach of the Year

ORLANDO, Fla. — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn has been named Home Depot Coach of the Year and Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins was selected the John Mackey Award winner for the nation’s outstanding tight end.

The announcements were made Wednesday. Both awards will be presented today as part of the College Football Awards Show at Disney’s Boardwalk.

In his first season as Auburn coach, Malzahn led the Tigers to a 12-1 record and berth in the BCS national championship game against Florida State on Jan. 6. A win in the title game would make Auburn’s improvement from 3-9 in 2012 the best in FBS history.

Malzahn is only the second first-year coach to lead his team to the national championship game.

Seferian-Jenkins becomes the first Mackey Award winner from Washington and third from the Pac-12.

Malzahn, Mason receive SEC awards

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Southeastern Conference coaches have voted Auburn’s Gus Malzahn coach of the year and picked his star tailback Tre Mason as the top offensive player.

Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam are co-defensive players of the year. The SEC released the winners on Wednesday.

Alabama receiver/return man Christion Jones is special teams player of the year. Mississippi receiver Laquon Treadwell is freshman of the year.

Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews receives the Jacobs Blocking Trophy. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Malzahn and Mason have led No. 2 Auburn into the national championship game Jan. 6 against No. 1 Florida State. Mason is a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

ACC coaches vote FSU’s Winston player of year

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference’s coaches have selected Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as the league’s player of the year and Duke’s David Cutcliffe as the coach of the year.

The ACC announced the results of the coaches’ vote Wednesday, one week after the voting media selected its award winners.

Winston, a Heisman Trophy favorite, also was voted the league’s rookie of the year, the offensive player of the year and the first-team all-ACC quarterback by the coaches.

They picked Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald as the defensive player of the year and Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller as the defensive rookie of the year.

Winston and No. 1 Florida State beat Duke 45-7 in the league title game and will play No. 2 Auburn in the BCS title game.

Winston and Boston College running back Andre Williams — both Heisman finalists — each received the maximum 39 voting points in all-ACC team voting.

Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players and first-team votes were worth three points, second-team selections worth two and third-team picks worth one.

Winston is one of seven Seminoles on the first team and a league-high 17 Florida State players on the three teams. Clemson and Duke each had 10 players picked to the teams while Miami and Virginia Tech had nine apiece.

Winston received 10 votes for player of the year to four for Williams. Cutcliffe had 11 votes for the coach of the year award and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher had three.

Boise State hires Harsin as football coach

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State has hired former player and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to be the Broncos next head coach.

Athletic Director Mark Coyle confirmed Wednesday he had lured Harsin back to Boise and away from Arkansas State, where Harsin served as head coach for just one season.

The 37-year-old Harsin grew up in Boise and became a backup quarterback after walking on to the program in the late 1990s. He then worked as an assistant coach starting in 2001 and was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2006 by Chris Petersen, the man he will now replace.

“We’re coming home,” Harsin wrote in a statement issued by the university. “One of the hardest decisions we ever made was leaving Boise. We did that so I could become a better coach, so I could one day have the opportunity to return as head coach — that day has arrived.”

It didn’t take long for Coyle to find a successor to Petersen, who left last week to take over at Washington.

Coyle focused his search on coaches with ties to the program, including former Broncos head coach Dirk Koetter, now the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. University officials have not yet released salary and contract information for Harsin.

In his only season at Arkansas State, Harsin led the Red Wolves to a 7-5 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title. The team will also play Ball State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl later this month.

His 5-year contract at Arkansas State carries a $1.75 million buyout clause if he stepped away in the first year of the deal. His departure also makes him the third straight Red Hawks head coach to leave after one year, following Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn.

It was during Harsin’s tenure as offensive coordinator at Boise State that the team put together its most impressive string of victories and emerged as a BCS contender.

During his tenure, Harsin oversaw an offense led by quarterback Kellen Moore, who won 50 games as a starter to become college football’s winningest quarterback. Between 2006-10, the Broncos put together a 61-5 record, won two BCS bowls, won at least 12 games in four seasons, went undefeated in 2006 and 2009 and led the nation in scoring in 2009.

He should also be familiar with a handful of the Broncos upperclassmen, including junior quarterback Grant Hedrick, who was recruited by Harsin before leaving for Texas and the front-runner to be the starting quarterback next fall.

Harsin, , a graduate of Capitol High in Boise, takes over a team that posted its worst record in nearly a decade despite projections it would win the Mountain West Conference title. Hurt by injuries to its starting quarterback and a young defense, the Broncos finished 8-4 and missed out on the conference title game.

Ex-Vols captain, MTSU assistant Hayes dies at 98

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Joe Black Hayes, a former Tennessee team captain who spent nearly two decades as a Middle Tennessee assistant coach, has died. He was 98.

John Woodfin, president of the Woodfin Memorial Chapel, confirmed Wednesday that Hayes died Monday at the AdamsPlace assisted living facility in Murfreesboro. Middle Tennessee and Tennessee each issued releases announcing Hayes’ death.

Hayes played for Tennessee from 1935-37 and was a captain his final year. He also lettered in wrestling and track and field at Tennessee.

Hayes worked as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee from 1950-68. He founded Middle Tennessee’s wrestling team in 1950 and established Middle Tennessee’s track program in 1955. He was inducted into Middle Tennessee’s Blue Raider Hall of Fame in 1997.

Selection committee talks strength of schedule

NEW YORK (AP) — The members of the College Football Playoff selection committee begin work next season. As for this season, they’ll pass on picking teams.

“None of us have done any work on that,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “We all made an agreement not to answer those questions.”

Radakovich, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and former NCAA executive Tom Jernstedt discussed the selection committee and how it will operate Wednesday at the Intercollegiate Athletic Forum, which is sponsored by IMG and presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal.

They did not, however, delve into which teams they would have picked this season if next year’s 4-team playoff was in place instead of the Bowl Championship Series. No. 1 Florida State will play No. 2 Auburn on Jan. 6 at the Rose Bowl in the final BCS national championship game.

Strength of schedule was a much discussed topic as the BCS race played out over the last couple weeks of the regular season, with Auburn supporters insisting that even though the Tigers had lost a game they should play for the national title ahead of undefeated Ohio State.

Ultimately, the Buckeyes lost and cleared the way for Auburn.

How the committee would have sorted through the other playoff candidates this season — such as Michigan State, Baylor, Alabama and Stanford — is unclear but there is no doubt that who you face is going to play a big role in how football’s final four bracket is filled out.

Osborne said some programs could be in a bind no matter what they do with their nonconference schedule.

“A lot of teams are going to be at the mercy of their strength of their conference,” he added.

As an athletic director, one of Radakovich’s prime duties is making Clemson’s nonconference football schedule. He has to mix the right blend of teams with the Atlantic Coast Conference opponents to come up with a slate that draws fans to Memorial Stadium and gives the Tigers a chance to succeed.

He doesn’t necessarily see the implementation of the College Football Playoff as catalyst for sweeping changes in how teams schedule.

“There are certain times when people are going to say, ‘This team that we have coming back is going to be really good. We have a chance to really make a run. Is this schedule set up for us to do that’?” Radakovich explained. “Now the year following that the same AD may say, ‘I’ve lost all of this stuff. How am I going to make sure that this team has a chance to be successful?’ That’s the difference between football and basketball.

“In basketball, you can change your schedule like that. In football, it’s a lot more difficult. It could be something that’s an outgrowth of this new system.”

Radakovich felt different members of the selection committee will bring different viewpoints but the first panel could lay the parameters for how future decisions on made.

“I think they’ll be some tenets, some pillars of what people will utilize year in and year out,” he added. “Some of them have already been talked about: Wins and losses. Strength of schedule. Conference championships. But everyone is going to bring in that different view. It’s not flipping over an entire committee all at once. There’s staggered tenures.

“There will be a reservoir of information that can come back to any new member on the committee to kind of talk about what’s happened in the past.

Football tiny step closer to Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Football took a tiny step closer to potential inclusion in the Olympics.

The IOC’s executive board granted provisional recognition to the international association that oversees the American brand of the sport. The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) had 64 member nations spanning six continents.

USA Football governs the sport in the United States and is associated with the NFL.

A vote on approving football for the Summer Games could take place as early as 2017, with the possibility of the sport joining the Olympics in 2024.

IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi praised football’s federation for demonstrating “strong youth appeal and making great progress in developing their sport around the world.”

NFL moves Bears-Eagles to night game

NEW YORK — The NFL will move the matchup between Chicago and Philadelphia to the prime-time slot Dec. 22.

The Bears (7-6) will travel to face the Eagles (8-5) at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

The New England Patriots game against the Baltimore Ravens will move to 4:25 p.m. on CBS.

Last Updated on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:33 PM
 

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