New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Rutgers v Iowa State

Rutgers grabs comfortable win against Iowa State in Pinstripe Bowl


Much of the story of the second Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Friday was written in the opening quarter. The central theme from Iowa State’s perspective was its inability to cash in on field position against the 12th-best scoring the defense in the country. As a result, when the Cyclones fell behind, they could not make up enough ground in what would be a 27-13 loss to Rutgers in front of an announced crowd 38,328.

While they came away with points, the Cyclones had to settle for a pair of Zach Guyer field goals on their first two drives despite reaching at least the Scarlet Knights’ 25-yard line both times. The Rutgers defense, which was allowing only 18.7 points per game coming in, bent but did not break. When Jawan Jamison plunged in from a yard out early in the second quarter, Rutgers had a 7-6 lead and an advantage it would not relinquish.

“We were controlling the football game, but had only six points,” said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who signed a 10-year extension on Dec. 16. “We had our opportunities and failed to execute.”

Limiting the damage to six points was huge for Rutgers, which did not change up its schemes despite Iowa State’s ability to move the ball on those first two drives.

“We didn’t make any adjustments,” said coach Greg Schiano. “We just got acclimated to the speed of the game. Our kids calmed down and played big on third down.”

The Cyclones not only squandered field position – they reached the Rutgers 26 late in the first half and came away with nothing to show for it – but penalties also hurt the cause. After San San Te’s 26-yard field goal put Rutgers up 10-6, Iowa State appeared to take the lead when Jarvis West returned the ensuing kick 93 yards. However, Iowa State was guilty of holding. With Steele Jantz having taken over for Jared Barnett at quarterback, Iowa State (6-7) shook it off and moved the ball. Guyer, though, missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. The Scarlet Knights (9-4) took over and pieced together a 10-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by Jamison’s 12-yard touchdown run for a 17-6 lead. Jamison finished with 134 yards on 27 carries.

The teams spent most of the third quarter trading punts before Te drilled a 29-yard field with 13:21 remaining in the fourth quarter to increase Rutgers’ lead to 20-6. Rhoads’ team still had some fight in it, however. Jeff Woody’s 20-yard TD run with 10 minutes remaining polished off a 76-yard drive and cut the deficit to 20-13. After the Cyclones failed to threaten on their next possession despite starting their next drive at their 42, they had Rutgers pinned deep in their own territory. But Chas Dodd, who started and then alternated at quarterback with Gary Nova, connected with Brandon Coleman on an 86-yard touchdown with 5:47 to play. The 6-foot-6 Coleman was covered by 5-foot-7 corner Jimmy Reaves.

“I thought that was a great play call,” said Schiano, citing offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. “It was a gutsy call and it was a huge turning point in the game.”

The Cyclones would march into the red zone with a chance to again make it a one-score game, but Darius Reynolds could not hold onto Jantz’s fourth-down pass in the end zone with 4:31 remaining.

Rutgers, playing its second game at Yankee Stadium this season, has the longest active bowl winning streak at five. They are 5-2 all-time in bowls. The Cyclones fell to 3-8 and were denied their 500th all-time win.

No suspensions for Georgia linebackers Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 12:  Darrius Sims #6 of the Vanderbilt Commodores is tackled by Johnathan Abram #25, Natrez Patrick #6, and Roquan Smith #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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After having a bit of a cloud of uncertainty floating above them the past few days, Georgia linebackers Natrez Patrick and Roquan Smith will not face any discipline from the university and football program. Georgia announced that decision on Monday, saying the legal manner has been resolved from an on-campus dorm search by campus police.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,”Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a released statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

Campus police were called to Patrick’s dorm room on October 15 to investigate a potential marijuana smell. No substances were discovered and no arrests were made.

Not losing Patrick and Smith is good news for the Bulldogs, as the two are the leading tacklers on Georgia’s defense, with 42 and 39 tackles, respectively. Each player released a brief statement in addition to McGarity’s statement.

“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward,” Patrick said in a released statement. “I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play on Saturday.”

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” Smith said in his statement. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville.”

Northwestern CB Matt Harris retiring due to concussions

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 15:  A general view of the stadium as the crowd of 40,681 watches the game between Michigan and Northwestern on November 15, 2003 at Ryan Field at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan defeated Northwestern 41-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/ Getty Images)
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Northwestern cornerback Matt Harris is retiring from football after a series of concussions have put his health at risk.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision to reach, but it is the right one for me and for my future,” Harris said in a released statement. “There are few things I love more than playing the game of football and the game has provided me with so many opportunities, including the chance to attend this University. It has been a blessing to be a part of this community and learn so many lessons. Northwestern has given me so much, I look forward to taking full advantage of my chance to give back to the world around me in the future.”

Harris, a team captain in 2016, earned All-Big Ten honors in 2015 and has been named a two-time Academic All-Big Ten player during his time at Northwestern. Harris will retire having notched 161 tackles, six interceptions and three forced fumbles on the football field.

Harris is another name added to the growing list of football players making the decision to retire at such a young age. As time goes by, we learn more and more about the possible long-term effects of head injuries seen in sports, particularly in football. As a result, we are seeing players more frequently decide to step away from the sport in order to preserve their long-term health in the years to come. It is an unfortunate reality of the sport of football today, and one that continues to be addressed  at all levels.

Wisconsin LB Jack Cichy lost for the season (torn pectoral)

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 03:  Jack Cichy #48 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates with fans after defeating the LSU Tigers 16-14 at Lambeau Field on September 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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One of Wisconsin’s top defensive players will miss the remainder of the season. Linebacker Jack Cichy, despite saying after Saturday’s win against Iowa he was determined to play this weekend against Nebraska, will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral.

Cichy led the Badgers in tackles this season with 60, 45 of which have been solo tackles. What makes the injury extra frustrating for the Badgers is the team just welcomed back Vince Biegel from an injury. Biegel and Cichy made for a very talented linebacking duo in Madison, but that will be lost for the rest of Wisconsin’s Big Ten West Division championship hunt. The Badgers lost another linebacker for the season in the first game of the season when Chris Orr went down.

South Carolina turns QB show over to freshmen

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 10:  Brandon Mcilwain #11 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs the ball during a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Starkville, Mississippi.  The Bulldogs defeated the Gamecocks 27-14.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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So long for having a veteran option to rely on at South Carolina. The Gamecocks’ are moving forward giving a pair of freshmen the chance to lead the offense for the remainder of the season. Jake Bentley and Brandon McIlwain will continue to take first-team reps with the offense

“I just feel like right now, just from an ability standpoint, those two guys give us the best opportunity,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said during his Sunday teleconference, according to The Post and Courier. “And they’re just going to keep getting better. Both of them do things equally well, and we’ll continue to rep that way.”

Bentley made his season debut over the weekend, completing 17 of 26 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns against UMass. McIlwain has appeared in six games this season, completing 56-of-106 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. At 3-4, the Gamecocks can still make a run to a postseason bowl berth, but having a quarterback capable of lighting a spark on offense is essential. Bentley did that against UMAss, but games against Tennessee, Florida and Clemson in the second half of the season will prove to be more difficult.

Regardless, this means we may have seen the last of Perry Orth at quarterback for the Gamecocks. Orth will step aside as South Carolina’s leading passer with 661 passing yards and a completion percentage of 63.3 without a touchdown and two interceptions. The senior, a former walk-on, will remain influential on the sideline, however.

“Perry’s been great in terms of supporting our guys and talking to them on the sideline,” Muschamp said. “He’s been a great teammate, he’s a great young man, and he’s a guy who certainly is a valuable member of our organization, and a guy I’ve got the utmost respect for.”