Two Georgia players arrested after SEC title win

Natrez Patrick.
Georgia Sports Communications
Natrez Patrick.

Georgia junior linebacker Natrez Patrick was arrested Saturday night on misdemeanor marijuana charges, his second arrest of the season and third of his career, just hours after starting in the Bulldogs’ 28-7 Southeastern Conference title game win over Auburn in Atlanta.

Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith told the Athens Banner-Herald that Patrick was charged with possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana.

Patrick was suspended four games after he was arrested on Oct. 5 in Athens, Ga., on a misdemeanor marijuana charge. He also had a marijuana arrest in 2015 and was suspended for one game. With three violations of Georgia’s drug policy, Patrick could be dismissed from the team.


Authorities said Patrick was a passenger in a car pulled over late Saturday night that was driven by Georgia backup wide receiver Jayson Stanley, who was charged with speeding and possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana.

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‘‘Natrez and Jayson, obviously I'm disappointed in some of the actions there, but we still don’t have all the information completely in from that, so their discipline will be handled internally,’’ Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Sunday.

According to the arrest report from the Barrow County detention center, Patrick was booked at 1:30 a.m. Sunday for the unspecified misdemeanor offense at 11:50 p.m. Saturday. Barrow County is adjacent to Clarke County, where the University of Georgia is located.

Patrick had three tackles in the win over Auburn that earned Georgia a spot in the College Football Playoff against Oklahoma.

Malzahn staying put

Gus Malzahn is staying at Auburn, putting an end to the questions about his future. The Tigers coach has agreed to a new seven-year deal to remain at the school, said a person with knowledge of the situation. Complete financial details were not immediately available, but the person said Malzahn will make more than $7 million in the final year of the deal. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Auburn had not announced the new deal. Malzahn led the seventh-ranked Tigers into the Southeastern Conference championship game but had faced repeated questions about whether he was interested in the vacant Arkansas job in his home state. No. 7 Auburn (10-3) plays No. 10 UCF (12-0) in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1.


The Tigers had won five straight games after a loss to LSU, vaulting into playoff contention. Auburn was 2-2 against playoff teams, including a 14-6 defeat at No. 1 Clemson in the second game.

Malzahn is in his fifth season at Auburn and is 45-21. He led the Tigers to the national title game in 2013, his first season.

Malzahn received a one-year extension but no raise after last season. He was making about $4.725 million annually in a deal running through 2020.

Malzahn led Auburn to victories over teams that were No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings at the time, Georgia and Alabama.

Seeking Sumlin

According to multiple reports, UCF is targeting former Texas A&M and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin to be its next coach. The school needs to fill the spot after Scott Frost, who led Nebraska to a share of the 1997 national title as its quarterback, agreed Saturday to return to his alma mater as head coach after leading the Knights to a 12-0 mark this season. Texas A&M fired Sumlin on Nov. 26 after he went 51-26 in six seasons at the school, including a 7-5 mark this year. Sumlin also guided Houston to a 35-17 record over four seasons (2008-2012) . . . Louisiana-Lafayette fired coach Mark Hudspeth a day after a season-ending 63-14 loss at Appalachian State that prevented the Cajuns (5-7) from becoming bowl eligible. Officially, Hudspeth went 29-38 in seven seasons at the helm, but the Cajuns had to forfeit 22 victories, including 2011 and 2013 New Orleans Bowl wins, because of NCAA sanctions stemming from a former assistant’s rigging of standardized test scores. Athletic Director Bryan Maggard named assistant coach Michael Desormeaux as acting director of Cajuns football.

Clemson still on top


In the final Associated Press Top 25 poll of the regular season, Clemson finished the regular season No. 1, followed by Oklahoma and Georgia. Alabama was No. 4 and Ohio State was No. 5. Wisconsin was No. 6, followed by Auburn, Southern California, Penn State, and UCF. The 10th-ranked Knights are the last unbeaten team in the Football Bowl Subdivision and matched their best ranking ever. UCF finished the 2013 season 10th.Boise State moved into the rankings at No. 25.

Arrest in stands

Charlotte police made an arrest after a fight in the stands of the ACC Championship football game that was seen by thousands on social media. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman Keith Trietley said stadium officials notified police about the disturbance in a seating section. Trietley says officers determined Reed Fletcher was a primary aggressor and arrested him. Jail records show the 22-year-old was charged with assault and battery, then released early Sunday on bond. Video from a bystander posted on Facebook shows multiple people throwing punches in the crowded stands. One man appears to be thrown from one row into another, emerging with blood on his face. Clemson beat Miami 38-3 in the game Saturday night.

At long last

New Mexico State (6-6) will face Utah State (6-6) in the Arizona Bowl in Tucson on Dec. 29, marking its first bowl appearance in 57 years. The Aggies, who became bowl eligible with Saturday’s 22-17 win over South Alabama, beat Utah State, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl . . . After going 2-2 since opening at No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, Notre Dame (9-3) will take on LSU (9-3) in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando, Fla., on January 1 . . . With 81 bowl eligible teams for just 78 available spots, Buffalo (6-6), Western Michigan (6-6), and UTSA (6-5) were left without invitations.