Boise State has been the little engine that could that all programs not associated with a power conference have been aspiring to be. Fresno State used to be there before Boise State emerged, and Friday night the Bulldogs took a giant step in getting back to that level. In a back-and-forth game from start to finish, Fresno State ended the night with a 41-40 victory in what could be a preview of the first Mountain West Conference championship game later this year.
Boise State mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns to cap a 21-point rally and take a lead after trailing 34-19 late in the third quarter, but Derek Carr guided the fresno state offense down field to retake the lead on a short touchdown pass to Josh Quedaza. The defense held Boise State on a fourth down around midfield to takeover on downs and run out the clock.
Carr finished the night with 460 passing yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah Burse and Davante Adams each had 100 receiving yards, and Adams extended his scoring streak to 11 games.
Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick had his up and down moments, passing for 313 yards and one interception. Southwick made some plays to help the Broncos come back in the fourth quarter but was lucky a video review went in his favor after losing the football on a run down toward the Fresno State end zone. On Boise State’s final possession of the night Southwick succumbed to the pressure brought by Fresno State’s defense and failed to pick up one last first down.
Fresno State moves to 4-0 and now can begin putting together whatever kind of BCS Buster profile they can manage while taking things one game at a time.
Fresno State’s path to an undefeated team has few road blocks standing in the way. With two of the toughest games now behind them (Rutgers, Boise State), the Bulldogs should be in a favorable position moving forward against a relatively weak schedule. Next week Fresno State heads to Hawaii and the final game of the regular season at San Jose State could be another shootout to be cautious of. The Spartans have another of the top quarterbacks in the conference with David Fales. Fresno State should be considered a strong favorite to advance to the conference championship game, and with this win they could very well be hosting Boise State in a rematch, or Utah State.
Undeterred by recent NCAA legislation, Jim Harbaugh is reportedly going international.
As noted by the Detroit Free Press, a post on Rivals affiliate TheWolverine.com reports that Michigan is planning to spend the final week of football spring practice in Rome, Italy. The team would not only practice several times on Italian soil, but would allow the team to visit the sights in the area and even leave players in Europe to study abroad for a semester.
The move would no doubt ruffle even more feathers in the football and NCAA communities after Harbaugh famously took the Wolverines to the IMG Academy down in Florida for spring practice last March. That prompted recent legislation that was passed at the NCAA convention in Nashville this week — a Harbaugh Rule if you will — that prohibited off-campus practice during a vacation period outside of a playing season.
While it would seem that would rule out trips away from Ann Arbor for spring football practices, it appears the Michigan athletic department is going to push forward by exploiting a slight loophole in the language of the rule. While vacation periods may be off limits like spring break, it appears the Wolverines would be looking to leave town at the end of April, which would be after the semester ends and does not fall into any scheduled vacation time.
We’ll see if anything becomes of this report and if Michigan indeed announces such an unprecedented trip. While foreign tours are common in sports like basketball at the NCAA levels, it really hasn’t happened in football aside from occasional games overseas so it will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend, or is just another case of Harbaugh being Harbaugh.
Winning a New Year’s Six bowl and outperforming nearly every preseason expectation typically results in a nice boost to a head coach’s bank account and that is the case at Wisconsin this year.
The Badgers announced on Friday that the school’s athletic board had extended head football coach Paul Chryst another year, running through January 31, 2022. Additional contract terms such as a potential raise or incentives were not announced, meaning this was likely just tacking another year onto the former Wisconsin quarterback’s original deal in Madison.
The move isn’t new for the program, which pulled the same extension almost to the day a year ago after Chryst led the Badgers to a 10-3 year in 2015 that was capped off with a Holiday Bowl victory over USC. The coach one-upped that performance in 2016, winning the Big Ten West title and getting selected for the Cotton Bowl, which the team won over previously undefeated Western Michigan.
Chryst’s original contract he signed two years ago was for a term of five seasons through 2020. He originally made around $2.3 million a year but should be hitting the $2.5 million mark heading into 2017 with various increases incorporated.
New College Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning is staying busy with various ventures now that he’s retired from the NFL and apparently the Vol legend doesn’t mind returning to Tennessee to add another thing to his plate.
According to a report from the Knoxville News Sentinel, Manning will be part of a search committee for the school’s chancellor as she attempts to find a new athletic director following the retirement of Dave Hart at the end of June. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is also expected to be part of the six-person strong committee, which will assist recently hired search firm Turnkey Sports and Entertainment in finding the right candidate to lead the department.
Hart’s retirement has known for some time and the fact that Alabama surprisingly hired Greg Byrne away from Arizona without as much as a sniff from the Vols have made many in the fan base a little anxious about the state of the on-going (and lengthy) search. Manning’s former head coach Phillip Fulmer has reportedly been mentioned as a candidate for the gig but the hire of a search firm and advisory committee suggests that a hire may be a few weeks or months away.
There are few folks connected to Tennessee football more fondly remembered around Knoxville than Manning and you can’t help but wonder if Vols fans longing for some stability and a big name in the AD chair wouldn’t mind pushing the quarterback’s name for the position. If so, perhaps joining the search committee is the first step toward that path and a move that would certainly make a lot more sense than bringing somebody like Fulmer back into the fold.
All three Oregon football players hospitalized this week as the result of grueling offseason workouts have been released.
The news, first reported by The Oregonian, concludes a dramatic week for the program and their new coaching staff after revelations surfaced on Monday that the three were sent to a nearby Springfield, Oregon hospital with symptoms of rhabdomyolysis. The condition primarily affects soft tissue and is triggered by overwork and can eventually lead to damage of the kidneys.
Senior offensive linemen Doug Brenner was actually released on Tuesday per the report, but it took until Friday morning for redshirt freshmen tight end Cam McCormick and offensive lineman Sam Poutasi to be sent home from the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center.
As a result of the workouts, Oregon suspended new strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde for one month without pay and changed the structure on the staff so that Oderinde, who came over from South Florida with Willie Taggart, no longer reports to the Ducks’ coach but the school’s director of performance and sport science.
While you never want to hear about football players going to the hospital, it’s great to hear that the three players who were injured as a result of the workouts have been cleared and sent home.