Perhaps as expected, the story of the afternoon in East Lansing has been the play of the defenses in a pivotal game in the Legends Division between in-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State. If you like defense, then the first half has not disappointed, with Michigan State taking a 13-6 lead in to halftime. The only touchdown of the half came late on a Connor Cook pass to Bennie Fowler in the final minute of the half. It broke a 6-6 tie that had been set-up by four field goals earlier in the half.
Michigan opened the scoring with a 49-yard field goal by Matt Wile on the games opening possession and Michigan State answered with a 40-yard field goal by Michael Geiger in the first quarter. The two teams tacked on one more field goal each in the second quarter before the Spartans finally found a way in to the end zone late in the half. Michigan State has also sacked Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner five times already.
The tempers h in the first quarter flared a little more as the game has progressed, with chippy play and smack talk picking up as the game’s moments become more critical by the down.
“We let the lion out of the cage,” Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said during a halftime interview on his way to the locker room.
The winner of this game will take control in the Big Ten Legends Division, moving one step closer to the Big Ten Championship Game for a potential clash with Ohio State. With things looking bad for Nebraksa against Northwestern, the importance of this game in East Lansing could be increasing as a result.
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