It was not the prettiest of games, but Mississippi State found a way to hold on for a win against Kentucky Thursday night. A fourth down pass by Kentucky fell incomplete in the final minute of the game, allowing Mississippi State to take over on downs and head in to the victory formation with a 28-22 lead.
Dak Prescott passed for 68 yards and two touchdowns for Mississippi State and he ended up being one of 11 different Mississippi State players to catch a pass in the game.Prescott’s 17-yard catch actually turned out to be the game-winning catch as he scored a touchdown on a pass from junior receiver Jameon Lewis. The touchdown catch and run by Prescott gave Mississippi State a 28-19 lead late in the third quarter. It was the quarterback’s second touchdown catch of the season.
Mississippi State needs to win two more games to become eligible for postseason play for the fourth straight season. Yeah, about that…
Three out of the next four games for Mississippi State will be played on the road. First is a game at South Carolina. Second is a trip to play Texas A&M. After that they return home, but they play host to Alabama. The odds would seem to be stacked against the Bulldogs in each of the next three games, which would theoretically pit Mississippi State with their backs against the wall in their final two games. If Mississippi State can pick up a win against Arkansas, and depending on which Razorback team shows up that is not at all impossible, that would mean Mississippi State would have to defeat their rival, Ole Miss, in a game with even more riding than the Golden Egg. Mississippi State has won three of the last four Egg Bowls, but Ole Miss is looking pretty decent this season.
Even with the win, the future of Dan Mullen continues to be an interesting storyline for the program the rest of the year. Odds are the pressure may be on for Mullen and a season without a bowl trip should only turn up the heat even more. How much the financial impact comes in to play could be enough alone to assure Mullen returns in 2014. To fire Mullen at the end of this season could cost Mississippi State approximately $6 million. Bottom line is it is not likely Mullen’s job is cut short for a number of reasons. First, it makes little financial sense to let go of him before the contract expires (in 2016). Second, even if Mississippi State finishes with a 5-7 record this season, Mullen will have a winning record over a five-year period, which is no easy task for the program. Third, no matter what happens this season he will have a winning record against Ole Miss, although two straight losses to Ole Miss at a time when the Rebels are looking to build some momentum certainly will not go over well with some. But let’s not worry about that right now.
Eventually Nebraska quarterback Taylor Matrtinez is going to return to the field. That day may be this weekend when Nebraska faces Minnesota in a somewhat key Big Ten Legends Division game. It will be a game-time decision for Bo Pelini to determine if Martinez will start or not.
Martinez has been bothered by turf toe for the past few weeks, sitting out each of Nebraska’s last three games. Mobility is a big part of Martinez’s game, and turf toe makes it painfully difficult to move around the way Martinez tends to do. Martinez rushed for over 1,000 yards last season and entered the season with 31 rushing touchdowns, although he has yet to reach the end zone on the ground this season.
While Martinez has been on the sideline, freshman Tommy Armstrong has been started under center. Nebraska has scaled back their offense a bit to avoid putting too much of the offense in the hands of Armstrong. Armstrong passed well in his first two games in relief of Martinez but he threw three interceptions two weeks ago against Purdue.
Nebraska has gone 3-0 without Martinez but his absence came at a somewhat fortunate time on the schedule with Nebraska facing FCS South Dakota State and Big Ten teams Illinois and Purdue. All three were games Nebraska should have been able to win with or without Martinez on the field.
After one of the most impressive overall performance by any team in the country this season last weekend against Clemson, Florida State will look to keep running strong this weekend against North Carolina State. They will have to do so without one of their running backs. James Wilder will miss this weekend’s game due to a concussion.
For Wilder this is just the latest setback in a season that has not exactly been able to stay on track because of nagging injuries. Wilder broke out last season by lading Florida State with 11 rushing touchdowns but is just third on the team this year with just 226 rushing yards and two touchdown runs (fourth on the team). Wilder was hurt in the season opener at Pittsburgh, with his shoulder bothering him to some extent ever since.
Devonta Freeman should continue to start for Florida State as he currently leads the team with 469 yards and is second on the team with four rushing touchdowns. Karlos Williams, who has had a successful transition to running back after starting the year playing defensive back, should be counted on to carry more of the load in the ground game. Williams leads Florida State with six touchdowns and is second in rushing with 263 yards on just 31 rushing attempts.
North Carolina State is right in the middle of the ACC in rushing defenses, ranked seventh and allowing 150.0 yards per game.
Every team has injuries, but what is happening with Maryland is something else.
Five offensive players who started last week for the Terrapins will be out for this weekend’s game against Clemson. Even if Maryland was at full strength it may have been a difficult position to try to knock off Clemson, with the Tigers looking to bounce back after a demoralizing blowout loss at home last weekend to Florida State on the national stage. Maryland may not even be at two-thirds or three-fourths strength this weekend.
Nine players are out for the season including Maryland’s top two wide receivers, Stefon Diggs and Deon Young. A total of 12 additional players are listed out for the Clemson game, including starting quarter CJ Brown and leading rusher Brandon Ross.
Here is the full Maryland injury report for this weekend, courtesy of CSN Baltimore:
- DB Milan Collins | Ankle | Out for the season
- LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil | Upper Body | Out for the season
- WR Stefon Diggs | Leg | Out for the season
- OL JaJuan Dulaney | Knee | Out for the season
- WR Deon Long | Leg | Out for the season
- DB Dexter McDougle | Shoulder | Out for the season
- DL Mike Minter | Knee | Out for the seasom
- DL Kingsley Opara | Shoulder | Out for the season
- DL Ty Tucker | Knee | Out for the season
- OL Silvano Altamirano | Back | Out
- QB C.J. Brown | Trunk | Out
- LS Christian Carpenter | Knee | Out
- WR Tyrek Cheeseboro | Head | Out
- LB L.A. Goree |Back | Out
- K Adam Greene |Quad | Out
- DB Jeremiah Johnson | Toe | Out
- OL Nick Klemm | Foot | Out
- WR DeAndre Lane | Head |Out
- DB Anthony Nixon | Toe |Out
- RB Brandon Ross | Shoulder | Out
- TE Dave Stinebaugh | Knee | Out
- DL Zeke Riser | Ankle | Probable
- LB Matt Robinson | Shoulder | Probable
- LB Alex Twine | Shoulder | Probable
Generally speaking, threatening a university with exposing alleged dirty secrets with the intent of getting a nice cash payout is probably not a good idea. Then again, generally speaking, some people will never cease to amaze you.
Take Thomas Ray for example. Today police in Jackson, Mississippi arrested him for allegedly attempting to extort $3.5 million from Louisville’s athletic department. A federal grand jury accused Ray of using an alias in an email demanding $3.5 million and threatening to expose the university’s supposed dirty laundry if the school did not comply with the demands.
In a statement, Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich said he contacted Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and the NCAA within minutes of reading the email.
“We were confident that there was no truth to the accusations made in the communication,” Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich said. Jurich claims to have contacted the attorney general’s office promptly after receiving the email.
Ray is due in a Louisville district court on November 7 and faces fines up to $250,000.
Perhaps the best part of the story is this is not Ray’s first time being connected to a case of extortion. In 2005 Ray attempted to extort $2.5 million from consumer electronics retail giant Best Buy.
One can only wonder what is next for Ray, and just what or who his next target will be.