Apparently someone didn’t want the Minnesota-Penn State game to go on. Or has waaay too much time on their hands. Or both.
Penn State Police confirmed Saturday that the department had “received information about a potential threat made against Beaver Stadium” prior to today’s game. According to a release, “[p]olice have conducted several exhaustive searches of the facility and surrounding areas, and have found no evidence of a potential risk.”
The game, scheduled for a 3:30 EI kickoff, has been given the “all-clear” and will be played as expected with no delays.
“Out of an abundance of caution we are notifying fans and the public of the threat that was received, so that they can make their own choices about personal safety and their attendance at today’s game,” said David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business, in a statement. “Our first obligation is to the safety of the public and, while police and safety officials have given an all-clear for today’s game, we wanted to ensure that visitors were aware of this decision.”
The release added that, “[a]s is typical for home football games, increased security measures are in place and police are on heightened alert.”
The relationship — or lack thereof — between Oklahoma State’s biggest financial booster and its head football coach is once again in the news.
Earlier this week, billionaire T. Boone Pickens offered an “update” on his rocky relationship with Mike Gundy, saying he doesn’t “have any conversations” with the head coach. The business magnate also decided to take a shot at Gundy’ personality.
“I don’t know, but Mike doesn’t handle people relationships very well. And he gets mad about things,” Pickens said Tuesday. “I’ve heard he’s written some notes about me that weren’t very complimentary.”
The comments made news and remained in the headlines for the rest of the week, enough so that Pickens decided he needed to issue a statement on game day to “clear [the] air” on the situation. In the statement, Pickens describes himself as “88 years old… [with] competitive spirits [that] have not diminished.” Pickens, who reminded everyone again that he recommended Gundy for the job, further clarified the current status of his relationship with the coach, stating that “I have not placed a call to Mike Gundy in years.”
“It’s his program to run, not mine,” wrote the man whose name adorns the Cowboys’ football home.
Pickens went on to say that he does “not intend to talk about our relationship publicly going forward.” Why Pickens decided to make his “final” statement on the day of a huge Big 12 matchup with Texas — less than two hours before kickoff at that — is a question that many OSU fans — and school officials — will be asking themselves for quite a while.
— T. Boone Pickens (@boonepickens) October 1, 2016
While there’s been no official word from the football program, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com is reporting that the star running back is “very doubtful”for today’s game against Missouri because of a lingering ankle issue.
The All-American initially injured the ankle during a mid-August summer camp practice; then aggravated it against Wisconsin in the opener; sat out the Week 2 game against an FCS foe; and then aggravated it again in Week 4 against Auburn.
After leading the country in yards per game last season with nearly 163 yards per game, Fournette is currently 10th at 128.7. That total still tops the SEC.
With Fournette sidelined, the running-game burden will likely fall on the legs of Derrius Guice. The sophomore is currently second behind Fournette with 239 yards, and leads the team with an 8.2 yards per carry average on his 29 attempts.
Unbelievably, at the end of today, we’ll be more than one-third of the way through the 2016 regular season as the calendar flips from September to October. And, not surprisingly, some teams are faring better than others — and some, suffice to say, are not.
In “water’s wet, sky’s blue” news, defending national champions and undefeated top-ranked Alabama holds the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 in a row. ‘Bama’s last loss came Sept. 19 a year ago against Ole Miss. In fact, the Tide hasn’t really come close to seeing that streak end since as just two of their last 16 games have been decided by 10-plus points, with the lone exceptions being a 19-14 win over Tennessee in October of last year and 43-37 over Ole Miss just two weeks ago.
What might surprise you, though, is the second-longest streak behind ‘Bama. The holder of that honor? San Diego State, which has peeled off 13 wins in a row entering Week 5. Tennessee is the only other team in double digits, with 10 wins in a row dating back to last season. The Vols’ last loss? To the Tide, of course, a defeat that UT will get to avenge two weeks from today in the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium.
A total of nine teams will also take the field Saturday with a winning streak of at least five in a row:
7 — Houston, Washington
6 — Louisville, Utah, Western Michigan, Wisconsin
5 — Boise State, Navy, Ohio State
Clemson could join some combination of the above at that five-game winning-streak plateau Saturday, but to get there they’ll have to beat… Louisville.
On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak entering the 2016 season was Kansas* at 15 straight, followed by UCF (13), Charlotte (10), Eastern Michigan (10), Oregon State (nine) and Boston College (eight).
All six of those teams have seen those losing streaks come to a merciful end, with EMU actually off to a 3-1 start to the year. The team that was just behind BC, Wake Forest, carried a six-game losing streak into 2016 before surprisingly (stunningly?) winning their first four games of the season.
So, with all of that winning from last year’s biggest losers, who’s the current “top” loser? That title now belongs to the Northern Illinois Huskies, the winners of the last six MAC West championships — and three of the last six conference titles — who have started this season with four straight losses to stretch their ignominious streak to a nation’s best/worst seven in a row. Just three other teams have a streak that began during the 2015 season: Florida International, which has lost six in a row and already fired their head coach; Arkansas State, which lost its first four of this season to push its streak to five in a row; and Georgia State, 0-3 on the season to add to a loss in the 2015 Cure Bowl for a four-game losing streak.
Two additional teams are winless on the season after winning their last game of 2015: Miami of Ohio and Rice, which are each 0-4 in 2016.
(*While Kansas’ overall losing streak came to an end, they’ve still lost 17 in a row against FBS opponents, with the last one of those coming in early November of 2015 against Iowa State.)