MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Texas A&M and West Virginia enter Monday’s Liberty Bowl knowing plenty about each other even though they’ve never met.

West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen worked as an offensive coordinator on Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin’s staff at Houston from 2008-09, and they remain good friends. Texas A&M offensive coordinator Jake Spavital was a quarterbacks coach for Holgorsen at West Virginia from 2011-12.

“Watching them on film, everything is pretty similar,” West Virginia linebacker West Tonkery said.

The coaching connections aren’t the only common threads between the Aggies (7-5) and Mountaineers (7-5).

“What you see is that both of us are extremely similar, not just in our approach to the game but really in how the season has gone,” Sumlin said. “We have identical records. We’ve won some big games, both of us. We’ve lost some games that we probably could have won but just didn’t, and we’ve got some explosive players on both teams.”

Both teams also are dealing with late-season quarterback changes.

Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill started the season on such a roll that he was mentioned as a Heisman Trophy contender, then lost his starting spot by the end of the season. West Virginia’s Clint Trickett missed the Mountaineers’ final regular-season game and announced Friday he was giving up football after five concussions in 14 months.

Freshman Kyle Allen is making his fifth career start for the Aggies, while sophomore Skyler Howard makes his second career start for West Virginia.

Howard’s mobility adds a new wrinkle to the Mountaineers’ offense. Holgorsen said Howard has come a long way since being pressed into duty Nov. 20 after Trickett was knocked out of a 26-20 loss to Kansas State.

ROSE BOWL: Just when it seemed Oregon’s defense was peaking at the perfect time, with Jameis Winston and Florida State on the horizon, an injury took away the Ducks’ best defensive back.

Second-ranked Oregon (12-1) will face the third-seeded Seminoles (13-0) on Jan. 1 in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Rose Bowl without All-America cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who injured his knee during practice this month and needed season-ending surgery.

MINNESOTA: Wide receiver Donovahn Jones has been dismissed from the program for what the school said is an unspecified violation of team policy.

The move was announced Sunday by the Gophers, who play Missouri on Thursday in the Citrus Bowl.

Jones, a sophomore, had 11 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns and four carries for 42 yards this season.

MIAMI: Running back Duke Johnson is skipping his senior season of eligibility and entering the NFL draft.

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