Steven Bench

Steven Bench calls reported interest in Miss. St. ‘very accurate’

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Friday a report surfaced that Mississippi State was one of a couple of schools to which Steven Bench was considering transferring.

Saturday, the former Penn State quarterback went on the record to confirm as much.

Labeling the report from‘s Joe Schad as being “very accurate,” Bench told Matt Stevens of the Starkville Dispatch that there is “mutual interest” between himself and the Bulldogs.  Bench is also considering USF as a transfer destination as well as an unnamed school or schools from the ACC.

Based on Bench’s comments to Stevens, it appears that the rising sophomore could make a decision on a transfer destination as early as next weekend.

“I want to feel comfortable at my new school and academics will play a part into it, atmosphere will play a part in the decision because obviously I got to live for the next three or four years,” the Cairo, Ga., product told the Dispatch. “I want to feel at home and I want to have fun and I want to get a good education.”

As previously noted, Bench would be eligible to play immediately in 2013 at the FBS level due to the sanctions slapped on the Nittany Lions football program last year.

It’s likely that Bench would have a better opportunity to start this upcoming season with the Bulls than the Bulldogs, although Tyler Russell, MSU’s starter in 2012, is not exactly firmly entrenched at the position.

Bench, who announced he was leaving Penn State late last month, added that he would be willing to use his redshirt season — he played in two games as a true freshman last season — at whichever school he lands, which would still leave him with three years of eligibility beginning in 2014.

Dalvin Cook returns to practice for FSU

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Dalvin Cook #4 of the Florida State Seminoles runs the ball against the South Florida Bulls in the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State defeated South Florida 34-14 as Cook rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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With each passing day, it appears Miami won’t be able to avoid one of the most talented and productive running backs in the country.

Thursday, Dalvin Cook returned to practice for the first time this week.  Cook suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter of Florida State’s win over Wake Forest this past Saturday, and had spent the previous two days of practice riding a bicycle while the rest of his teammates prepped for the in-state and conference rivalry game against The U this Saturday.

The Palm Beach Post wrote that Cook showed “no signs” of the hamstring injury that had some worried about his availability in Week 6.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher, who said Wednesday he doesn’t “ever count Dalvin out” because of his healing ability, will meet with reporters later this evening and could address Cook’s status for the weekend then.  Or, he could play to keep the Hurricanes guessing, even as most assume the All-ACC back will be on the field.

Cook is far and away FSU’s leading rusher, with his 142.5 yards per game good for eight in the country and his six rushing touchdowns tied for 20th.

Gophers down eight starters for game vs. Boilermakers

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 03: at Ryan Field on October 3, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern defeated Minnesota 27-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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It would be an understatement of significant proportions to say that the Minnesota football team is banged up.

How banged up?  On his radio show Thursday, head coach Jerry Kill, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported, revealed his team will be down a whopping eight starters for Saturday’s game against Purdue.

Kill’s revelation comes one day after he confirmed a total of 20 players donned non-contact jerseys in practice earlier in the day.

The coach didn’t specifically identify which starters would be sidelined, with the Pioneer Press writing “[t]he known injuries to starters include safety Damarius Travis (hamstring), cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), tight end Lincoln Plsek (back) and tackle Ben Lauer (knee/hand).”

One injured starter who will play, Kill confirmed, is quarterback Mitch Leidner. While not detailing any specific injury, Kill said Wednesday that Leidner “hasn’t been healthy. He’s been beat up.”

Overall, though, the Gophers’ health, or lack thereof, is bordering on historic.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my 32 years in coaching,” Kill said yesterday. “The toughest thing for me right now is all of these kids that work so hard, and when they get hurt, it kills me. … We are running out of people.”

Coming off an 8-5 season last year, the Gophers are struggling. While they stand at 3-2 after five games, the three wins came by a total of nine points over the likes of Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio. Their second loss — the first was by six to TCU in the opener — was a 27-0 shutout at the hands of Northwestern in the Big Ten opener last weekend.