College kickers, right? We take extra points for granted but every now and then when a team misses one of those assumed extra points it comes back to loom large. That is what happened Thursday night in Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah State lost to in-state rival Utah 30-26, thanks in part to a missed extra point attempt by Utah State kicker Nick Diaz.
Diaz’s unfortunate moment came early in the third quarter. Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton ran 15 yards, tip-toeing the left sideline and stretching for a truly athletic touchdown minutes out of halftime. The score gave the visiting Aggies a 23-14 lead and figured to set the tone for the second half right out of the break. But Diaz missed his PAT and the momentum switched sides almost instantly. Utah would later kick a field goal to cut the lead to 23-17, and the Utes then recovered an onside kick and capitalized. Karl Williams capped the possession with a two-yard touchdown run and Utah did not miss their PAT to take a 24-23 lead.
Diaz did actually give Utah State the lead again int he fourth quarter, successfully kicking a 24-yard field goal for a 26-24 lead,but Utah answered with a 19-yard field goal to regain the one-point advantage at 27-26. Utah added another late field goal for a four-point advantage.
It would be impossible to predict what would have happened with the outcome had Diaz not missed his third quarter extra point attempt. Utah still scored 30 points, which would have meant Utah State would have needed one extra field goal regardless to force overtime. Keeton launched a last second deep pass for the win but it fell incomplete.
In close games like this, kickers will take the brunt of the fallout. It goes with the territory.
Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.
After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.
The post-National Signing Day coaching carousel is now in full tilt.
According to a report from Adam Caplan of ESPN, Wisconsin defensive backs coach Daronte Jones is leaving to become the assistant defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins.
The Badgers already endured a significant loss this winter after defensive coordinator Dave Aranda took a lateral position with LSU. He was replaced in January by former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.
Jones spent but 13 months in Madison, a January 2015 addition to Paul Chryst‘s first staff after spending three seasons at Hawaii.
Wisconsin possessed one of college football’s top pass defenses in 2015; the Badgers ranked seventh nationally in pass defense, tied for sixth in yards per attempt allowed, placed third in opponent completion percentage and finished second in pass efficiency defense.
The past year has been quite a ride for running back Silas Nacita. The former Baylor walk-on is now playing football in Germany after signing a contract with the Marburg Mercenaries.
“Signed a contract today with a professional football team in Germany,” Nacita announced on his Instagram account. “When I said I’d go anywhere to play, I meant it. It’s obviously not the NFL, but this is the opportunity that is in front of me. I have always wanted to travel the world, but because of football I haven’t been able to. Now, because of football, I’ll have that chance. Furthermore, and most importantly, I’ll have the opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to go into all the world and preach the gospel! Upon receiving my college degree, it’s off to Marburg. I’m excited for this next step in my crazy journey!”
For those who do not remember, Nacita was ruled to be an ineligible player by Baylor last spring after accepting help from a friend. After being bounced out of Baylor, Nacita took off for the NAIA, where he once again ran into some eligibility hurdles.
Helmet sticker to Sports Illustrated.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you this was coming. Last week when we learned Jim Harbaugh plans to bring Michigan’s spring football practices to Florida for a week over Michigan’s spring break, I suggested this was news that would not sit well with coaches from the ACC and SEC. Here we are now and the SEC is asking the NCAA to prevent Michigan from following through on their spring break plans.
The SEC has reportedly asked the NCAA to block teams from holding spring practices over that school’s spring break, according to CBSSports.com. The timing speaks for itself, as it comes less than a week after Harbaugh confirmed the spring practice plan to travel to Florida.
“Our primary reaction [is] that, in the face of the time-demand conversations, we’ve got one program taking what has been ‘free time’ away,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said to CBS Sports‘ Dennis Dodd. “Let’s draw a line and say, ‘That’s not appropriate.'”
Sankey and the SEC have asked the NCAA to make a ruling on this situation “as soon as possible.”
There are no NCAA rules about holding spring football practices off campus or out of state. Spring football games are a different story than practices. What Harbaugh has announced falls within the NCAA rules. The SEC company line will be to address the issue of plauyer safety and well-being by suggesting practicing over spring break reduces the down time for players, but it doesn’t take a bloodhound to sniff out the truth behind the request to the NCAA.
The SEC is not necessarily scared of Harbaugh and Michigan. The conference is afraid this will be a trend that catches on with programs throughout the north that can afford to pick up and travel south for a full week in the cold days of March. The last thing the SEC wants to see is half or more of the Big Ten and perhaps other programs located in the north planting flags in their borders for a week.
The question the SEC should be asked is if they would have the same concerns over spring break practice times if it was North Dakota State or Montana traveling south for a week in Florida. You can probably guess the answer to that.