Devin Gardner ditched his old No. 12 for Tom Harmon’s No. 98 on Saturday and for most of the night looked like he was the former Wolverine great reincarnated, as he led No. 17 Michigan to a 41-30 win over No. 14 Notre Dame in front of a Michigan Stadium-record-crowd of 115,109.
Gardner completed 21 of 33 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns (with a pick) and added 68 yards and a score on the ground as Michigan beat the Irish for the fourth time in five years.
How appropriate was it that, on a night when Michigan honored a player (Harmon) known for producing touchdowns in bunches, the player wearing his number ran and passed for five scores?
The Irish played hard on both sides of the ball, but ultimately had no answer for Gardner, who seemed to run at will and find favorite target Jeremy Gallon (eight catches, 184 yards, three scores) whenever he needed a big play. More importantly, Gardner’s performance seemed to signal, once and for all, that this was finally his team. The Wolverines are going to sink or swim by his play.
And with Notre Dame out of the way, Michigan looks like a good bet to enter November at 7-0. That’s when the Wolverines take on rival Michigan State in Lansing before hosting Nebraska and then traveling to play a tough Northwestern team. If Michigan can get by that slate, it could set up a monster match up with Ohio State at season’s end.
Meanwhile, the Irish defense needs to regroup before it hits the meat of its schedule. It can’t depend on Tommy Rees (314 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions) to carry the load week-in and week-out. If Notre Dame can get back to the physical style it exhibited during last season’s BCS run, it might yet find its way back in a major bowl.
The NFL and most NCAA schools have been trying for years to whittle away at the high number of players who declare early for the NFL Draft and then go undrafted.
To that end, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the NFL announced Monday that the two entities have reached an agreement on new guidelines involving scouting underclassmen. This will eventually allow for more information to be shared with both prospects and their potential employers at the pro level.
Beginning this upcoming February, each FBS school can designate up to five underclassmen who will be eligible for additional scouting (some schools may be allowed to designate more). Those players will then be allowed to be tested and interviewed by scouts at a school’s pro day prior to the 2017 NFL Draft.
While it is not quite an “underclassmen combine” that some have advanced, it essentially means talented soon-to-be redshirt sophomores and juniors who are not eligible to declare for the draft will be able to perform at their school’s pro days for scouts.
“The more information our college advisory committee has, the better evaluations they can make for student-athletes who are at a critical juncture of their lives,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in the statement. “While there is no question that obtaining a college degree is a transformative experience for so many people in society and a goal to which we encourage everyone to aspire to, for those talented few individuals that have the ability to succeed in the NFL prior to exhausting their college football eligibility, this new agreement will ensure they have better information with which to make their decision. We appreciate the efforts of our partners at the AFCA in making this new agreement a reality.”
The change is one many top coaches have been clamoring for over the years, from Ohio State’s Urban Meyer to Alabama’s Nick Saban. It should lead to more information for those players who may be thinking about leaving school before their senior season and allow the underclass advisory committee to get a better idea of where they might get drafted.
It may not be a perfect solution for some but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Pro Football Talk also has a little more on this subject right here.
If there was one player Rutgers may not have been able to afford to lose this season, it was Janarion Grant. Unfortunately for Rutgers, Grant has indeed ben lost for the season due to an ankle injury suffered Saturday in a home loss against Iowa.
Grant injured his right ankle on Saturday and returned to the Rutgers sideline on crutches later in the game. That was an ominous sign itself, but Rutgers head coach Chris Ash confirmed the unfortunate news on Monday when addressing the media. Ash did not reveal the specific details of Grant’s injury, but confirming he will miss the rest of the season is a pretty tough pill to swallow for the entire Rutgers program.
Rutgers will look to petition for an extra year of eligibility for Grant.
But wait, there’s more injury news for Rutgers. Ash also announced defensive end Quanzell Lambert will be out for the remainder of the 2016 season due to a knee injury.
Texas has suspended senior offensive guard Kent Perkins for one game after he was arrested for a DWI charge last week.
The suspension will be served during Texas’ next game this weekend against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have lost two out of the last three games, including last weekend’s game at Baylor to drop to 0-1 in Big 12 play to start the season.
The loss of Perkins for one game is a blow to the Texas offensive line, as he is one of the most experienced players in the trenches for the Longhorns. He has started 26 games, with all 26 coming on the right side of the offensive line.
Alex Anderson and Jake McMillon are expected to fill the vacancy at right guard this weekend and Perkins is expected to return to the field next week.
One of the great traditions college football has to offer is when an Ohio State senior sousaphone player parades out to “dot the ‘i'” in The Best Damn Band In The Land’s signature pregame show. On a rare occasion, the honor of completing the script goes to a very special guest. On Saturday, that honor will be given to former Buckeyes head coach Earle Bruce.
“I was floored… I couldn’t believe it,” Bruce said to WTVN in response to the news of the special invite. “I always like to talk about the band. The band is so great.”
A total of 13 people have had the privilege of being the special guest to perform the final piece of Ohio State’s patented pregame routine. He will be the second former Ohio State coach to do so, joining Woody Hayes. Other notable people to have the honor include John Glenn, Jack Nicklaus, and Bob Hope. Perhaps one day Jim Tressel will join the list of special guests.
Bruce was a big influence for current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was a graduate assistant under Bruce from 1986 through 1987.
Helmet sticker to Eleven Warriors.