Neither team has been able to do much of anything on offense in the first half, but Notre Dame managed to take a lead against Michigan State to the break after scoring a late touchdown for a 10-7 lead. T.J. Jones caught a pass from Tommy Rees at the back of the end zone to extend his reception streak to 31 games. If Jones did not bring in that pass the Irish may have gone to the locker room with their heads dropped after a frustrating first half.
Connor Cook‘s 12-yard touchdown pass to a back-peddling Macgarrett Kings Jr. gave the Spartans the lead midway through the second quarter, but Tommy Rees and the Irish moved down field before halftime to grab the lead back. The late score by the Irish was aided by one of three pass interference penalties called against the Spartans in the first half.
This game was expected to be more about the defense than the offense, and for the most part that has held true. Michigan State is finding out rather quickly that the offense they discovered last week against Youngstown State is having a much more difficult time this weekend in South Bend. Neither offense has been able to do much, but neither offense has made any costly mistakes. There were no turnovers in the first half. Given the recent history of this rivalry, the first turnover could become a huge factor in the second half.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah