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.

Ken Sparks, fifth-winningest coach at any level in college football history, dies at age 73

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College football has lost a coaching legend of the sport that you may never have heard of.

Carson-Newman announced Wednesday morning that its legendary former head football coach, Ken Sparks, passed away earlier in the day at the age of 73.  Sparks had been battling prostate cancer since being diagnosed in 2012, but doctors stopped treating him in January of this year.

According to WBIR-TV, Sparks had been in hospice care for the last several weeks.

Sparks was the head coach at Carson-Newman from 1980 through November of 2016, when he stepped down because of health concerns. During his time at the Div. II program — the first baker’s dozen years they were an NAIA school — the Eagles went 338-99-2. Sparks laid claim to five NAIA national championships and qualified for the Div. II playoffs 15 times in 24 years, although they failed to win a title at that latter level.

The 338 wins for Sparks are the fifth-most at any level of college football, behind only John Gagliardi (489), Joe Paterno (409), Eddie Robinson (408) and Bobby Bowden (377).

Alabama won’t be rushing Bo Scarbrough back this spring

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Not surprisingly, Alabama is going to err on the side of caution when it comes to one the most productive horses in its backfield stable.

On a second-down carry late in the third quarter of the national championship game loss to Clemson, Bo Scarbrough went down with an injury that turned out to be a fractured bone in his lower right leg.  The rising sophomore running back has recovered enough to be a participant in the Crimson Tide’s spring practice during some drills, albeit in non-contact mode.

Following the fourth practice of the spring Tuesday, Nick Saban made it clear made it clear that, while Scarbrough is getting some work in, the football program won’t be pushing him.

“Bo is doing more and more every day,” the head coach said according to al.com. “He did quite a bit today in practice, non-contact stuff, but he’s sort of gaining confidence. Our goal for Bo is by the end of spring, he’s fully confident that he can do everything he needs to do. Whether he ever scrimmages or is really something that we’re not that concerned about.”

It’s expected Scarbrough, barring a setback between now and then, will be fully recovered well ahead of the start of summer camp in early August.

Scarbrough’s 812 yards rushing year was second amongst Tide backs, while his 11 rushing touchdowns were second on the team.  He ran for 180 of those yards and two of the touchdowns in the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Washington, then had 93 yards and two more touchdowns before going down with the injury in the title game.

Western Kentucky hoops star to give Hilltoppers football a try

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Coming off a season in which he was the best player on Western Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, Justin Johnson is going to try his hand at another sport.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Johnson will practice with the Hilltoppers football team for the remainder of spring practice. The 6-7 forward will, not surprisingly, spend his time at tight end.

At the end of practices this spring, a WKU official told CFT, both sides will determine what if any future Johnson has in the sport.

Johnson admitted in one interview earlier this basketball season that he grew up wanting to play linebacker for Ohio State, and he did play two years of football at his Kentucky high school. Despite the fact that both Kentucky and Louisville had interest in him as a tight end, he ended up signing with WKU’s hoops team in 2014.

That decision has worked out well for both parties as Johnson has led the team in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons. He led Conference USA in the latter category as well as double-doubles, and was named second-team all-conference after his junior season.

Victim of alleged WKU football attack plans to file charges

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A former Western Kentucky fraternity member says he was attacked by a group of Hilltoppers football players and plans to file charges.

Jerald Armfield, an alum of WKU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, told WBKO-TV he was caught in an ongoing feud between the fraternity and the football team:

“I went to the house in the best interest of the fraternity and Western as a whole to prevent any type of violence from occurring. We got up there and realized they were all hiding behind garbage cans, trees, and buildings.”

“I never in my wildest dreams thought they would attack me in the manner that they did. They all started surrounding me. One of them threw a rock at me. It was within a few seconds that one of them punched me in the face.”

“I fell down. I was kicked several times. The whole time they were beating me, I was begging them to stop, telling them I wasn’t here the night before, I had nothing to to do with it, like please stop, please stop, and they didn’t.”

Armfield said between nine and 10 people ultimately attacked him; it isn’t known for sure how many of that group are on the football team, though the program’s involvement in the incident is being investigated.

“We are aware of the allegations involving a few members of our football team,” the program said in the statement when word of the altercation broke three weeks ago. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities. However, at this time, we have not received a police report and cannot provide further comment.”

While the status of the investigation is currently unknown, Armfield told WBKO he would like it to end with multiple charges. “I made it very clear that night when the police arrived on the scene that I wanted charges pressed,” he said. “As far as I know a detective from Bowling Green Police Department has it. As it stands right now, I still want charges pressed. They need to be held accountable for what they did not only as citizens but as students at Western.”