The story of the day in the Illini-Northwestern game was supposed to be the venue. And how everyone screwed the pooch on the configuration of the field ahead of the game.
However, one Illinois player ensured that most of the postgame talk will be about what happened on the field, regardless of how close said field was situated to the ivy-covered walls and how much of an embarrassment the rules of the game were.
In a performance for the ages at a Wrigley Field ballpark that’s seen it’s fair share of history, Illini running back Mikel Leshoure rushed for a staggering 330 yards on “just” 33 carries in an easy 48-27 win over Northwestern. It’s the most yards gained on the ground this year as well as a school record, eclipsing Robert Holcombe‘s 315 yards in 1996.
In the first quarter alone, Leshoure rushed for 159 yards. All told, the Illini rushed for a whopping 519 yards in the win.
So, yeah, the backyard rules were somewhat of a joke, but Leshoure ensured that his performance will at least be one positive to come out of the first — and probably last — college game at the ballpark in over 70 years.
Not surprisingly, P.J. Fleck will have a familiar offensive face on which to lean as his oars hit the Power Five waters for the first time.
Coming off a couple of weeks worth of reports, Minnesota officially confirmed Monday that Fleck has named Kirk Ciarrocca as his new offensive coordinator. Ciarrocca had spent the past four seasons in the same position at Western Michigan, coinciding with Fleck’s tenure at the MAC school.
The school’s release stated that Ciarrocca “was instrumental in the development of Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Flacco during his six seasons (2002-07) at the University of Delaware,” which presumably gave him a front-row seat in the “is he or isn’t he elite” argument.
With Fleck and the Gophers, and like his boss, Ciarrocca will be embarking on his first job with a Power Five program.
After leaving a Power Five program, Frank Iheanacho has decided that a lower rung on the college football ladder is more his speed at this point in time.
Stephen F. Austin announced Monday that Iheanacho has been added to the football program’s roster and will continue his playing career with the Lumberjacks. Iheanacho had opted to transfer from Texas A&M shortly after the end of the 2016 season.
As SFA plays at the FCS level, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
“We’re excited to be able to add Frank to the Lumberjack family and get him going with our football program,” Lumberjacks head coach Clint Conque said in a statement. “Frank obviously brings some big game experience, playing in an SEC program and competing against some of the nation’s best teams. He brings height and speed and will add some key depth at the wide receiver position.”
Iheanacho was a four-star 2014 signee, rated as the No. 13 receiver in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Texas. Only four players in the Aggies’ class that year, including potential No. 1 NFL overall draft pick Myles Garrett, Speedy Noil and Kyle Allen, were rated higher than Iheanacho.
In 18 games the past two seasons, Iheanacho caught eight passes for 71 yards.
Craig Bohl has an opening on his Wyoming coaching staff, although the reason for the attrition is certainly understandable.
Monday, Indiana State officially announced that Curt Mallory has been hired as the Sycamores head football coach. As ISU plays at the FCS level, Mallory will be eligible to coach immediately in 2017.
“We want to congratulate Curt and his wife Lori as they open a new chapter in their lives and in Curt’s coaching career as he becomes the head coach at Indiana State,” said the Cowboys head coach in a statement. “Curt’s efforts in his two years at Wyoming were greatly appreciated and had a significant impact on our program as we benefitted both from his coaching and his recruiting abilities.
“Curt is a well-experienced coach, who has a great understanding of players from the Midwest. He’ll be a great fit at Indiana State, and he will make them competitive in the Missouri Valley Conference.”
Mallory, the son of former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory, spent the past two seasons as the Cowboys’ defensive pass-game coordinator and secondary coach. A former Michigan linebacker, Mallory came to Laramie after spending four seasons in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines’ secondary coach.
Nearly six weeks after landing his first head-coaching gig, Geoff Collins has put the finishing touches on his first coaching staff. Again.
Temple announced Monday that Collins has hired Keith Gaither to be the Owls’ wide receivers coach. With Gaither’s hiring, Collins’ nine-man staff is now complete for a second time.
Gaither will actually replace Frisman Jackson, who Collins had originally retained from Matt Rhule‘s staff. However, Jackson recently accepted a job with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, triggering Collins’ need to find a replacement.
The past two seasons, Gaither had served as the receivers coach at Army. That was his second job at the FBS level in a coaching career that began in 1997, with the first coming at Ball State from 2010-14.