Saturday, December 8, 2018

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray wins 2018 Heisman Trophy

Photo Credit: Mike Stobe- Getty Images

By: Jeff Hauser

Twitter: @radiohauser

Kyler Murray etched his name in college football history to become the second straight Oklahoma quarterback to win a Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

Murray’s career year of throwing for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns is presumably his last in the game of football.  The future baseball prospect’s trip to New York gave him college football’s most prestigious award over fellow quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama and Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State.

Murray becomes the seventh Heisman winner in OU history. A tie with Ohio State and Notre Dame for the most by any school going back to 1943.

The votes were close, but not by a slim margin some thought. Murray picked up 517 first-place votes and 2,167 points overall to gain a 296-point margin over Tagovailoa in second place, and Haskins was a distance third. Murray was named on 92 percent of all Heisman ballots, the third highest total all-time.

"This is crazy," Murray said in accepting the award. "This is an honor. Something that I'll never forget, something I'll always cherish for the rest of my life."

Many critics considered Tagovailoa the Heisman front-runner throughout most of the season, but was beat out by Murray who’s on pace to become the only player in FBS history to average 300 passing yards and 60 rushing yards per game. Tagovailoa performance in the SEC Championship game with two interceptions and an early departure with an ankle injury weighed heavy at the worst time of the season. Although, Tagovailoa’s runner-up finish was the best by an Alabama quarterback in Heisman voting. He picked up more points than A.J. McCarron, who came up short to FSU’s Jameis Winston in 2013.

As an outfielder for the Sooners, Murray was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in this year’s MLB draft. He has the potential to play on Sunday’s in the NFL, but will forgo his final year of eligibility in college to focus on baseball.  Murray has already signed a $4.6 million contract with the A’s. 

Murray follows Baker Mayfield as the second Sooners player to win the award in consecutive years. It marks the third time in Heisman history players from the same school won the award in back-to-back years. Yale’s Larry Kelley and Clint Frank won in 1936-37; along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis in 1945-46. (Not including Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman win for USC in 2005 followed by Matt Leinart’s the next year.)

A rare feat for Murray who’s now the third player in history to transfer from another school and win the Heisman. He started his college career at Texas A&M before landing in Norman with the Sooners. Mayfield did it after spending a year at Texas Tech and Blanchard was at North Carolina to start his time before joining the Black Knights.

Murray is set to be the third Heisman winner to pursue a career in Major League Baseball, joining Auburn’s Bo Jackson and Ohio State’s Vic Janowicz.

No. 4 Oklahoma plays No. 1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Dec. 29.

Green's five takeaways from Marquette's 74-69 win over No. 12 Wisconsin in overtime

Photo Credit: Dylan Buell- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

After four straight seasons of the road team winning, Marquette (8-2) bucked the trend with a 74-69 win over No. 12 Wisconsin (8-2, 2-0 Big Ten) in overtime at Fiserv Forum. Here are my five takeaways from Milwaukee.

1) Ethan all day:

From the outset, the Badgers worked their offense around Ethan Happ as he made four of his first five baskets. Field goals were not the only thing Happ impacted. The senior’s skillset was on full display as he added 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, capped off by a game-high 34 points.

No matter if it was Sam Hauser or Theo John guarding, Happ dazzled his way with post moves that would make Frank Kaminsky proud.

Despite Happ’s 34 points, Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski made the adjustment to not double in the second half and the results were immense.

“Initially, we tried to run two guys at him and made passes out of the double team, which is usually difficult for a post player to do and got some open looks as a result,” Wojciechowski said. “In the second half, we did not come with a double and so we were able to stay connected to the shooters.”

Wojciechowski gave credit to Happ for being consistent despite the different looks thrown at him.

“Ethan Happ is a handful,” Wojciechowski said. “He is truly one of the great players in college basketball. I hope fans at Wisconsin appreciate him because guys like that don’t come around very often.

2) The Hauser brothers step up in style:

Joey Hauser’s first taste of the rivalry with Wisconsin turned out to be a good one as notched 15 points, while Sam delivered a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

The Hausers’ ability to make a combined 5-of-8 three-point makes allowed for proper floor spacing to occur and took some of the scoring load off Howard.

3) Free throws for days:

Despite getting to the foul line more this season, the question would be how Marquette would fare with attacking more towards the rim in a big game.

Even with six straight missed free throws, Marquette finished 22-of-34 overall, compared to Wisconsin’s 10-of-21, in a game where the largest lead was six points.

4) Markus being Markus:

The Big East’s leading scorer at 22.8 points per game coming into Saturday added to his total with a team-high 27 points, on 12-of-15 free throws.

Even with Howard’s shooting woes at 7-of-29, the junior finished with his fifth 20-point effort this season.

5) Davison’s woes:

Known for his timely shooting on the perimeter and consistency from the foul line, Wisconsin’s Brad Davison looked the complete opposite on Saturday. The sophomore could not get into a rhythm as he went 0-of-3 and missed all 3 three-point attempts and three free-throw tries, despite a Big Ten-best 90.5 FT percentage.

To put the icing on the cake, Davison would be assessed a technical foul at the 3:35 mark in the overtime session. Joey Hauser would make both free throws to put Marquette up 67-63.

Credit to Wojciechowski for making the adjustments in the second half where everyone, but Happ could not get open looks, which led to frustration from the other Badger players

BONUS- Green’s final thought:

Barring any injuries, expect both teams to be in the NCAA Tournament discussion come March as this edition of the rivalry showcased the best of what the state of Wisconsin has to offer in college hoops.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Green’s five things to watch for in Saturday’s Wisconsin/Marquette game

Photo Credit: Lawrence Iles- Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Another chapter in the Wisconsin/Marquette rivalry will be written on Saturday as the they collide for the 125th time and at Fiserv Forum for the first time. Here are five storylines to watch for.

1) Made Markus:

Markus Howard picked right off from last season in terms of scoring with a Big East-high 22.8 points per game and dropped 45 points in an 83-71 win over then-No. 12 Kansas State on Dec. 1.

Wisconsin fans know what kind of damage the junior can do as he delivered 23 points in Marquette’s 82-63 win in Madison last season.

2) HAPP-y meal:

Wisconsin senior Ethan Happ has experienced the highs and lows of the rivalry and looks to go out on the right note. Happ’s production has been top notch with the most double-doubles in Division I at seven out of nine games.

Points are not the only specialty as Happ is second in the Big Ten in rebounds with 10.8 per game and third in assists with five per game. Happ would like to get a bad taste out of his mouth after picking up two fouls within the first 101 seconds of last season’s game, which resulted in sitting out for the remainder of the half and allowed Marquette to control the tempo.

3) In-state player connections:

Within the team game are the individual connections as MU’s Theo John and Wisconsin’s Brad Davison have gone up against one another going back to the days of grade school.

While Wisconsin’s Trevor Anderson’s season came to an end with a knee injury on Dec. 6, the thread between the redshirt sophomore and the Hauser brothers (Sam and Joey) go back to prep school at Stevens Point Area Senior High.

Nebraska transfer and Marquette junior Ed Morrow has prior experience against Wisconsin from 2015-17 and posted 13 rebounds two seasons ago. Expect Morrow to provide key minutes off the bench in Saturday’s game.

4) Marquette and the foul line:

A glaring weakness from last season was Marquette’s inability to penetrate to the rim and draw fouls, which left the free throw stats one-sided. The KSU win provided a sign of change as Howard drew 13 fouls and went 19-of-21 from the charity stripe.

The extra opportunities have reflected on the stat line as Marquette is first in the Big East in free-throw percentage at 75.9 percent.

5) Tickle the Trice:

The Badgers’ DNA has always been precise shooters from anywhere on the floor and D’Mitrik Trice has carried on the legacy. Trice leads the country in three-point percentage at 60 percent after missing the final 23 games of last season with a foot injury.

Trice’s sharpshooting could be a key as to how far the Badgers can go against the Golden Eagles.