Ex-Wisconsin coach fired following loss

The Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas has fired coach Bret Bielema after five disappointing season, moments after a season-ending 48-45 loss to Missouri on Friday.

The loss left Arkansas with a 4-8 record, capping only the second losing season of Bielema’s 12-year career. It also left him with a 29-34 record in his five seasons with the Razorbacks, including 11-29 in the SEC.

It was a shockingly poor performance from a coach who led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowl appearances before being hired at Arkansas from Wisconsin after the 2012 season.

Interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples informed Bielema of his firing moments after Friday’s loss. Cromer Peoples is serving in an interim role after former athletic director Jeff Long was fired two weeks ago.

“During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas,” Peoples said. “… We are grateful for his contributions to our program and most importantly his investment in the lives of our student-athletes. We wish him the very best both personally and professionally.”

Bielema was signed with Arkansas through the 2020 season, thanks to an extension he signed following his second season in 2014 when the Razorbacks improved to 7-6 after a 3-9 record in his first year.

His average annual salary over the six-year contract was $4.25 million, and the deal contained a buyout clause that stated Arkansas would have to pay Bielema $15.4 million if he was fired without cause prior to 2018.

UCF wins wild one

ORLANDO, Fla. — Mike Hughes 95-yard kickoff return with 1:28 remaining was the difference as No. 12 Central Florida completed the first unbeaten regular season in program history with a wild 49-42 win over No. 19 South Florida Friday to clinch the American Athletic Conference’s East Division title.

The Knights (11-0, 8-0 AAC, CFP No. 15) will host Memphis in the conference title game on Dec. 2.

Hughes’ touchdown capped a 53-second span where the Knights took an eight-point lead, South Florida tied it and then the Knights took the lead for good.

The Bulls (9-2, 6-2) tied it at 42 when Quinton Flowers connected with Darnel Salomon for an 83-yard touchdown, and then found D’Ernest Johnson for a 2-point play. Flowers finished with 605 yards of total offense. On the ensuing kickoff, Hughes found an opening on the right side and scored. South Florida drove to midfield late, but Mitchell Wilcox fumbled and it was recovered by Chequan Burkett.

TCU cruises

ARLINGTON, Tx. — Kenny Hill threw touchdown passes to three receivers and ran 3 yards for another score to help No. 10 TCU wrap up a spot in the Big 12 title game with a 45-22 win over Baylor.

The Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-2 Big 12, CFP No. 12) will play No. 3 Oklahoma for the Big 12 title on Dec. 2. That will come three weeks after TCU’s 38-20 loss to the Sooners. Baylor (1-11, 1-8) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first 2 minutes.

Streak goes on

CHARLOTTESVILLE,Va. — Josh Jackson threw a touchdown pass and No. 24 Virginia Tech beat Virginia, 24-10, for the 14th consecutive time.

The Hokies (9-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) limited the Cavaliers to 5 rushing yards and 191 overall in posting their third shutout of the season.

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