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College Football

    An Oklahoma prosecutor decided against charging Sooners running back Rodney Anderson with sexual assault on Thursday, clearing a major cloud hanging over the team ahead of its College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia.'Definitely, charges are not warranted under these circumstances,' Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said during a news conference.The accusation stemmed from a petition for a protective order in which a woman said Anderson assaulted her in her apartment last month and that she feared for her safety. Anderson had gone to her home after the two met during a night of drinking.Mashburn's assistant prosecutor, Susan Caswell, said one of the woman's close friends told an investigator the accuser called the friend from a bathroom saying she was excited that Anderson was at her house.'She said that she had vomited, but intended to brush her teeth and go back and kiss him some more,' Caswell said, describing what the friend told the investigator. 'She sounded tipsy, but not drunk.'Caswell said two other witnesses relayed similar accounts — that they understood that Anderson and the woman had a good time. They added that the woman had hoped to have a romantic relationship with Anderson.Derek Chance, Anderson's attorney, had called the accusation 'patently false,' saying the woman made it after Anderson declined her social invitations.'The investigation reveals what we have maintained, Mr. Anderson is innocent of these allegations,' Chance said in a statement. 'Anderson is ready to focus on his obligations as a student-athlete.'Anderson has been one of Oklahoma's breakout stars after season-ending injuries the past two years. He leads the Sooners with 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns and has 283 yards and five touchdowns receiving. Anderson took over this year for departed running back Joe Mixon, who was suspended for a year after he punched a woman in a restaurant in July 2014. Mixon is now with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.The prosecutor's decision answered a key question hanging over Oklahoma ahead of its showdown with Georgia in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.The Bulldogs have had some off-field distractions, too.Starting inside linebacker Natrez Patrick and receiver Jayson Stanley were arrested earlier this month on charges of marijuana possession. A misdemeanor against Patrick has been dismissed and Stanley has reportedly negotiated an agreement to plead guilty to possession of marijuana of less than an ounce and speeding in exchange for dropping a DUI drug charge.Freshman defensive back Latavious Brini, who has not played for the Bulldogs this season, faces a felony forgery charge over allegations of passing a counterfeit $100 bill last summer.___AP writer Adam Kealoha Causey in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.___More AP college football coverage: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25 .
  • Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Stanford running back Bryce Love and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield are this year’s Heisman Trophy finalists, according to the Heisman Trust, which made the announcement on ESPN Monday night. >> Read more trending news The Heisman is one of the most prestigious awards in sports and the top award in college football. Jackson is looking for a repeat after winning the trophy last year, hoping to become the second player to win the award two years in a row after Archie Griffin did it in 1974 and 1975. And he’s got a good chance at it, throwing for 3,489 yards and making 25 touchdowns this season, according to Sports Illustrated. Mayfield is a favorite to win, though, leading the Sooners to their third straight Big 12 title. Mayfield broke his own 2016 record this season, setting a Football Bowl Subdivision record for passing efficiency, SI reported. He threw for 4,340 yards with 41 touchdowns, the second highest number of the season. Love scored 17 touchdowns and was second in the country for rushing with 1,973 yards. He did it mostly with a seriously injured ankle, too. >> Related: 2 Georgia players arrested after SEC championship game The Heisman has been awarded to the best college football player dating back to 1935, although the first award was called the DAC Trophy after New York’s Downtown Athletic Club. The name of the award was changed to the Heisman Memorial Trophy in 1936 after the death of legendary football coach and DAC athletic director John W. Heisman. The winner of the 2017 Heisman Trophy will be announced at a ceremony Saturday in New York.
  • After punching his coach on the sideline, a Tennessee State University football player has been dismissed from the team and expelled from school, according to a report by the Tennessean. >> Read more trending news Senior defensive end Latrelle Lee hit the Tigers strength coach T.J. Greenstone twice in the head Saturday and then knocked him to the ground on the sideline. The Tennessean reported Tennessee State athletics director Teresa Phillips said Lee was kicked off the team by head football coach Rod Reed. The 22-year-old from Dothan, Alabama, was expelled from the college on Monday, according to the Tennessean.
  • Former Purdue football coach Joe Tiller died Saturday. He was 74. Tiller's death was announced on the Purdue football program’s Twitter account. >> Read more trending news Tiller set the record for most wins in the school's football program. He coached the Boilermakers from 1997 to 2008, where his overwall record was 87-62, ESPN reported. Tiller began his head coaching career at Wyoming.  New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees released a statement to offer his condolences. Brees attended Purdue from 1997-2000 and led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance during the 2000 season, according to the quarterback’s official website.
  • When the new University of Iowa Children’s Hospital was built, overlooking Kinnick Stadium, officials suggested that Hawkeye fans wave to patients. Hawkeye fans did not let the kids down. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news At the end of the first quarter of Saturday's game against the Wyoming Cowboys, thousands of Hawkeye fans turned to wave at the young patients looking out the windows of the hospital. The Hawkeyes and the University of Iowa are participating in a 'Touchdowns for Kids' campaign, in which fans can donate a dollar or more for every time the Hawkeyes score a touchdown, KWWL reported.
  • Bob Stoops will retire as head football coach of the University of Oklahoma Sooners after 18 years, according a release from the university on Wednesday. The university said Stoops is 'the winningest coach in Oklahoma history' and has an overall record of 190-48. >> Read more trending news He led the Sooners to the national championship in 2000. Stoops will remain as special assistant to the athletics director. University officials said Stoops is the only coach to win the Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and national championship. They said he accumulated more wins in his first 18 seasons than any coach in the game's history. According to a statement from the University President David L. Boren, he will be succeeded by current offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. The statement said Stoops, 56, believed it was the appropriate time to conclude his time coaching in Norman, Oklahoma. Below is an excerpt of a statement from Stoops, obtained by the Associated Press and provided by OU: “After 18 years at the University of Oklahoma, I've decided to step down as the head football coach. I understand there has been some speculation about my health. My health was not the deciding factor in this decision and I've had no incidents that would prevent me from coaching. I feel the timing is perfect to hand over the reins. The program is in tremendous shape. We have outstanding players and coaches and are poised to make another run at a Big 12 and national championship. We have new state-of-the-art facilities and a great start on next year's recruiting class. The time is now because Lincoln Riley will provide a seamless transition as the new head coach, capitalizing on an excellent staff that is already in place and providing familiarity and confidence for our players. Now is simply the ideal time for me and our program to make this transition. ... “I'm especially thankful for being able to coach so many talented young men over my 18 years here. It has been so rewarding to see these players come to OU and mature over a four- or five-year career, and not just on the field. To play a small part in their growth is what I will always cherish the most. None of my success would have happened without the best fans in the country. I can't tell you how much I appreciated the 110 consecutive home sellouts. The passion of our fan base is unmatched, and their support has played a huge role in not only home games, but road games and all 18 of our bowl games, as well. ... “The coaching life is like a relay race and I'm thankful for my turn and am confident as I pass the baton. Carol and I intend on staying in Norman - it is our home. I will be available to Coach Riley and the athletic department in any manner. Thank you all for a lifetime of memories we shared together of 10 conference championships, the 2000 national championship, strong relationships with players and coaches, and the great Oklahoma football fans. Boomer!”
  • University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was taken into police custody early Saturday morning after an alleged incident in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Officers say someone reported that Mayfield was intoxicated, yelling profanities and causing a scene. An arrest report states that Mayfield told officers he was trying to break up an altercation there. >> Read more trending stories  When officers talked to Mayfield, they reportedly found his speech was slurred and his clothing was covered in food. They said the OU football player even sprinted away from police at one point, prompting the officer to tackle him to the ground and handcuff him.Mayfield was booked into the Washington County Detention Facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He faces charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest. 'We are aware of the matter and are learning the details. We don't have any other information at this time,' said Mike Houck, Oklahoma team spokesman.  Mayfield is a sophomore at the university. He was short-listed for the Heisman Trophy last year.
  • The Florida Gators routed the Iowa Hawkeyes 30-3 Monday in the Outback Bowl. That means free Bloomin’ Onions for all from Outback Steakhouse on Tuesday. All you have to do is say “Outback Bowl” to your server at any Outback restaurant and you’ll get the dish for free. >> Read more trending stories The Outback restaurant chain wagered Bloomin’ Onions and coconut shrimp on the game. Congrats to @GatorsFB for winning the @outbackbowl! Join us tomorrow Jan 3rd for your FREE Bloomin' Onion with purchase. pic.twitter.com/e4WYlyMCsY— Outback Steakhouse (@Outback) January 2, 2017 FREE BLOOMIN' ONIONS FOR ALL pic.twitter.com/l3jseSJns1— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) January 2, 2017 >> Read more Floridoh! stories  If Iowa had won, the restaurant would have handed out its coconut shrimp appetizer for free.
  • Ohio State University’s band calls itself “The Best Damn Band in the Land,” but it also has some brass when it comes to football ability. >> Read more trending stories After the band practiced at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on campus Tuesday, second-year trumpet player Austin Brizee decided to try a field goal. He connected solidly on a 55-yard attempt in the indoor facility, WCMH reported.   The band tweeted a video of the field goal and asked coach Urban Meyer if he needed a kicker for Saturday’s national playoff semifinal game against No. 2 Clemson in Glendale, Arizona. Eron Hodges, Ohio State’s assistant director of player personnel, replied to the tweet, saying that Brizee, who has never kicked competitively before but has played soccer, “definitely has a tryout invitation.”