Buckeyes easily extend win streak to 21 straight

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If margin of victory on the field equates to style points for voters off of it, then Ohio State has accrued a ton of them the past two Saturdays.

One week after pasting Penn State 63-14, the Buckeyes took woefully undermanned Purdue to the woodshed, going into West Lafayette this afternoon and easily hurdling its way to a 56-0 win. The Buckeyes led the 1-7 Boilermakers 28-0 after the first quarter — Braxton Miller tossed three touchdown passes in the opening stanza — and OSU never looked back.

As dominating as the win looked on the scoreboard, it appeared just as one-sided on the stat sheet.

In the first half alone, the Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 350-87 in total offense.  For the game, the advantage was 640-116 for the visiting Buckeyes.  Driving home the statistical difference specifically and the massive gulf in general between the two programs, the Boilermakers did not eclipse the 100-yard mark in total offense until there were under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Ohio State’s Big Two of Miller and Carlos Hyde played their usual significant roles in the first-half pummeling, with the former passing for 233 yards — on 19-of-22 passing — and four touchdowns and the latter rushing for 91 yards on just seven carries.  Neither played much in the second half after OSU rolled out to a 42-0 halftime lead and Urban Meyer took his foot off the Boilermakers’ throats a bit.  

Miller, in fact, did not play at all the last two quarters, while Hyde played the first possession of the second half and finished with eight carries for 111 yards.  It’s Hyde’s fourth consecutive game with 100-plus yards since missing the first three games of the season because of a suspension.  Hyde now needs less than 300 yards (299 to be exact) in the final three games of the regular season to give Meyer the first 1,000-yard rusher of his coaching career.

With the win, the Buckeyes have now won a nation’s best 21 straight dating back to the first game of the 2012 season, with nine of those coming this season.  Their last loss came 669 days ago in the Jan. 2, 2012, Gator Bowl against Meyer’s former team, the Florida Gators.  OSU can tie the school record of 22 straight, set back in the late sixties, with a win over Illinois Nov. 23 — they have a bye next weekend — then break it at home the following Saturday against Indiana.  

OSU’s current streak is the longest at the FBS level since Texas won 21 straight from 2004-06; ironically enough, it was the Buckeyes that snapped that Longhorn streak.  The Buckeyes still have a ways to go to break the Big Ten’s overall record, however, as the Wolverines won 29 straight in 1901-03.

Incidentally, Alabama (12), Baylor (11) and Oregon (10) — all on byes this weekend — are the only other FBS teams with current double-digit win streaks.  Florida State or Miami can reach 10 straight with a win in tonight’s Top-10 showdown.

Northern Illinois, thanks to its win today over UMass, is on the cusp of double digits at nine straight.

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.