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'Rudy' fans: Notre Dame jersey, helmet sold at NFL auction

College football fans were not left out of the excitement during Super Bowl weekend in Houston.Rudy Ruettiger, whose rise from a struggling student with dyslexia to a member of the Notre Dame football team and was immortalized in the hit 1993 film, "Rudy," parted with memorabilia for an NFL auction that benefited charities.

Ruettiger's Notre Dame gear was auctioned off Saturday for $241,500, according to The Associated Press

>>Complete Super Bowl LI content

AJC Super Bowl coverage | Super Bowl coverage | Super Bowl coverage | Statesman Super Bowl coverage

Ruettiger auctioned off the helmet and jersey he wore on Nov. 8, 1975, during the one game he played in for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. After football, Ruettiger has gone on to have a successful career as a motivational speaker.

Nick Saban reacts to Alabama's heartbreaking national championship loss to Clemson

Nick Saban coached the Alabama Crimson Tide to the brink of his sixth national championship, but a last-second touchdown from Clemson spoiled those plans.

The Tigers beat the Crimson Tide 35-31 in the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday night.

>> WATCH: Clemson wins national championship with dramatic touchdown pass on final drive

Here’s what Saban had to say in the moments following the heartbreaking loss for the Crimson Tide, as told to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi:

“I told the players that I was really proud of what they were able to accomplish this year. One game doesn’t define who you are and I think we have a team of winners. They’ve represented themselves that way all year long, and I’m proud of their accomplishments. For our seniors, they’ve won three SEC championships in a row, been to three straight playoffs, won the national championship.

>> PHOTOS: Clemson beats Alabama to win College Football Playoff national championship

"It was a tough way for the team to lose, but we had our opportunities to stop them and didn’t do it. They made some plays down the stretch and some great catches. We didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”

>> Read more trending stories

Rinaldi asked him what the difference was in the game:

“I think they made some really good plays at the end of the game and Deshaun Watson was an outstanding player and played fantastic. They were a good team in two-minute. We needed to make a play and didn’t. Getting a penalty in that situation doesn’t help either.”

Nick Saban on changing offensive coordinators the week of the title game:— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Nick Saban to ESPN: "One game doesn't define who you are."— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Saban: "Give credit to Clemson. We had our chances and we couldn't get done what we needed to do."— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Nick Saban to Terry and his family in the press conference, "Sorry, guys."— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

WATCH: Clemson wins national championship with dramatic touchdown pass on final drive

Clemson won the national championship with a clutch final drive.

>> Nick Saban reacts to Alabama's heartbreaking national championship loss to Clemson

Quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with wide receiver Hunter Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown pass with one second left to beat Alabama 35-31 on Monday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

>> PHOTOS: Clemson beats Alabama to win College Football Playoff national championship

On the previous drive, Alabama took the lead with a wild drive of its own, capped by an athletic touchdown run by quarterback Jalen Hurts. But it wasn’t enough for the Crimson Tide to claim a second consecutive national title.

>> Read more trending stories

Alabama looked to be in good shape entering the fourth quarter with 24-14 lead. But it wasn’t meant to be, and Clemson earned the right to celebrate during a memorable night in Tampa.

>> Click here to watch the video

Ball. Game.— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) January 10, 2017

Florida Gators’ win in Outback Bowl means free Bloomin’ Onions for all

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.— Outback Steakhouse (@Outback) January 2, 2017

FREE BLOOMIN' ONIONS FOR ALL— 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.

Notable sports deaths in 2016

Ohio State band member nails 55-yard field goal try

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.”

North Texas running back gets sick feeling during bowl game

It’s understandable why North Texas quarterback Alec Morris botched a snap during the first half of Tuesday’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. After all, his running back was vomiting next to him.

>> Read more trending stories

With less than a minute remaining in the first half against Army, Morris was lined up in a shotgun formation calling signals when running back Jeffrey Wilson, standing to the quarterback’s left, threw up. Morris was naturally distracted and looked away from the line of scrimmage, causing him to mishandle the snap and take a 13-yard loss back to the Army 39.

However, the Mean Green regrouped and scored two plays later, with Morris throwing a 27-yard pass to Rico Bussey Jr. That cut Army’s lead to 24-21 at the half.

Despite his troubles, Wilson rushed 20 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, and also caught six passes for 46 yards and a score. Morris, meanwhile, completed 26 of 38 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns as North Texas rallied from a 17-point deficit to force overtime.

It was not enough, as Army (8-5) prevailed 38-31 in OT against the Mean Green (5-8).

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‘Mammaw’ will see beloved Texas A&M Aggies in person

Nina Burgess, known as “Mammaw” by her family, is finally going to see her beloved Texas A&M Aggies play a football game. And it’s a prime ticket, too — Wednesday night’s Advocare Texas Bowl, when the 8-4 Aggies play Kansas State (8-4) at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

>> Read more trending stories

Burgess lives in the small Texas town of Nederland, located southeast of Beaumont. While she has never seen the Aggies play in person and never attended the school, Burgess has always been a loyal fan, watching the team on television each week during the season.

On Christmas Day, her family gave her an awesome gift, WFAA reported. Her grandson, Ryan Brauninger, made a video recording of the event. It begins with Burgess opening a box to reveal Texas A&M slippers and a Texas Bowl shirt.

But there was one more item.

“Read it,” her family tells her.

“I can’t read it,” she responds.

“You’re going to the game,” she is told.

“I can go to the game?” she says, her voice rising in disbelief.

She then jostles the man next to her and shoves him in one of those “You’ve got to be kidding” moments. Burgess then becomes teary-eyed as she realizes her dream.

Brauninger told WFAA that the video, which has gone viral and has more than 4,000 likes on Twitter, also reached organizers of the bowl game. He said that Burgess might receive another surprise on Wednesday night.

That would be gravy, but Burgess seems awfully content with the tickets to the game.

Trick play gives S.D. State short-lived lead

Here’s a play that we used to draw on the unlined football fields of our childhood. And it worked to perfection for South Dakota State.

>> Read more trending stories

In Saturday’s FCS quarterfinal playoff game at the Fargodome, South Dakota State’s players lined up at North Dakota State’s 5-yard-line during the first quarter of a scoreless game.

Quarterback Taryn Christon took the snap and handed off to running back Brady Mengarelli, who was crouching low behind the offensive linemen that were standing up at the line of scrimmage. Christion and wide receiver Alex Wilde ran to the right, and while North Dakota State’s defense followed them, Mengarelli rose from his crouch and bolted around the left side, scoring to give the Jackrabbits a 7-0 lead.

South Dakota State (9-4) would take a 10-0 lead later in the period, but the top-ranked Bison (14-1), seeking their sixth straight FCS national championship, rallied for a 36-10 victory and a berth into the semifinals next Friday against James Madison (12-1).

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Here are some great trick plays in football history, at all levels:

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