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Is Lamar Jackson a Potential Heisman Repeat Winner?

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

There hasn’t been a Heisman Trophy repeat winner since 1975. For you Millennials, that’s a long time ago, so long ago in fact, that it’s before cable TV was invented. You know, that cable TV that they’re seemingly cutting out of their lives going forward. But, I digress. The history of no repeat winner is so stark, and true, that heading into the 2017 season, no one gave Louisville mega-weapon quarterback Lamar Jackson a chance in Hades of winning this prestigious award again. Heck, analysts and national media didn’t even name him the 2016 Heisman winner a Preseason All-American at the position.

Yet after two weeks of the 2017 season, Jackson has everyone’s attention…again. He’s accounted for eight touchdowns and 1,010 yards of total offense. Oh, and he’s not thrown an interception, either. He led Louisville to wins over much improved Purdue and conference foe North Carolina in the process. Similar to the way that he started 2016, Jackson has strung together highlight reel plays and prodigious numbers as no other player has to start the 2017 season.

But, Clemson is up next. The defending champs just held Auburn to six points and sacked Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham ELEVEN times. That’s no misprint. ELEVEN. Last year in Death Valley, Jackson won the battle, but his Cardinals lost the war. He put up 295 yards through the air and 162 on the ground in one of the best games of the 2016 season, yet the Cardinals lost. This week, the Tigers come to Louisville and Jackson has a chance to ruin their visit and win over even more non-believers.

If he does, maybe the repeat Heisman bandwagon will start to fill up with converts.

By: John Harris

Team Alert

John Harris on the LSU Spring Game: Canada’s Offense is No Joke

Mother nature might have played as big a role as any player or coach on Saturday in Baton Rouge for LSU’s annual spring game. Before the storm hit, though, the purple and gold assemblage got a chance to see what SEC defenses will learn in due time.

Matt Canada’s offense is no joke.

Shift, motions, tackle over, shovel pass RPOs, tackle eligible passes and numerous other wrinkles had some LSU fans wondering what, in fact, they were watching. And, as it’s only the spring game, LSU’s new energetic offensive coordinator has plenty in his back pocket for the regular season.

The days of true two back, 21 and 22, I-formation personnel are all but gone on the Bayou. The Tigers will throw a litany of formations and play schemes that SEC defenses have NEVER seen from LSU. There are split plays where one side of the formation runs one play and the other side runs another. Canada’s innovation will have heads spinning for a while and it may take a while for it to completely click.

When it does, though, whooo boy, look out.

Oh, did I mention that LSU has arguably the best running back in the nation? I didn’t? Where are my manners? When defenses focus completely on star back Derrius Guice, there will be lanes and openings for a myriad of other offensive stars, including receiver/slot/speed sweeper D.J. Chark, now donning Leonard Fournette’s number seven. Guice, though, stands to gain the most, in some sense, because he won’t spend his entire day ramming his 5-11, 212 lb. body into eight or nine man stacked boxes. He’s going to have as much space to exploit as any back in the country and that’s not a good thing for SEC foes. He’s also going to get more involved in the passing game as he did on the first drive of the game, catching a flat route well ahead of coverage, down to the half yard line. A false start penalty cost LSU’s gold team the touchdown, but it was a sign of things to come with Guice, like Pitt’s James Conner last year, as a key receiver in this scheme.

And, no, your TV wasn’t play fast forward either; the Tigers now play as fast as any team in the conference, sprinting up to the line of scrimmage after first downs and nearly every other play. Now, there’s a difference in playing fast and playing fast effectively. A team can’t just focus on the speed of play, but the efficiency and execution while playing fast. Canada learned that he can combine the innovation of his playbook with pace of play and make it dangerous combination for SEC defenses.

It’s going to be fun in Baton Rouge this season, that’s for sure, and it starts at NRG Stadium September 2nd, 2017.

By: John Harris

Team Alert

TEXAS BOWL SETS RECORD SINGLE-YEAR DONATION TO DEPELCHIN CHILDRENS CENTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 3, 2017

HOUSTON – The Texas Bowl presented a check for $180,000 to DePelchin Children’s Center this week, setting a record single-year donation to the charity. The donation came from the proceeds of the 2016 Texas Bowl.

The Texas Bowl presented the $180,000 check to Jenifer Jarriel, the President and CEO of the DePelchin Children’s Center. The gift was the largest in Bowl history and marked the sixth time that the Bowl contributed $100,000 or more to DePelchin. Donations have previously exceeded $100,000 in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“We are thrilled to present DePelchin Children’s Center with the largest single-year donation since our alignment in 2006,” Chairman of the Texas Bowl Don Faust, Jr. said. “The relationship between the Texas Bowl and DePelchin is extremely important to our volunteers, staff and board members and we are honored to provide a significant financial contribution to the charity each year.”

DePelchin Children’s Center was named as the Bowl’s official charitable beneficiary in 2006. In its historic tenth anniversary year in 2015, the Bowl surpassed $1 million in total donations to DePelchin and has generated millions of dollars in promotional support and publicity to date.

“We are incredibly thankful for this record breaking $180,000 donation from the Texas Bowl to DePelchin,” DePelchin President and CEO Jenifer Jarriel said. “Not only does this donation provide much needed financial support, but this partnership provides our families with experiences throughout the year that will last a lifetime.”

Founded in 1892 by Kezia Payne DePelchin, DePelchin Children’s Center is an accredited foster care and adoption agency serving the most vulnerable children and families in Texas and working to break the cycles of abuse and neglect. DePelchin’s approach to caring for kids integrates at-risk prevention, foster care, adoption and post-adoption programs to improve the mental health and physical well-being of children who are at risk of entering or are in the State’s child welfare system.

The agency was originally founded as an orphanage and has grown and changed over its 125 year history to continue to meet the needs of the Houston community. Today, DePelchin Children’s Center offers support for children and families throughout the Greater Houston area and across Texas, including Austin, San Antonio, Brownwood and Lubbock.

Last year’s Texas Bowl matched Kansas State and Texas A&M in the third year of the Bowl’s partnership with the Big 12 and the SEC. The game between the Wildcats and the Aggies was among the Top-5 most-attended bowls in the country for the third consecutive year as Kansas State rolled to a 33-28 victory over Texas A&M.
The Texas Bowl and the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff have grown to become two of the most popular annual college football games in the country and have combined to create an economic impact of close to $100 million annually for the city of Houston.

The Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment.

CONTACTS:
Allie LeClair, (832) 919-0655
Katie Karsh, (610) 755-8682

About the Texas Bowl
The Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. The Bowl will showcase teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, two of the country’s premier conferences, for the next three years. The Texas Bowl has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first 11 years as it is the 4th most-attended bowl overall since 2014. The bowl generates nearly $50 million annually for the Houston economy and has donated over $1,200,000 in financial support and millions more in promotional support to DePelchin Children’s Center, the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.