Carlos Hyde

Buckeyes tie school record with 22nd straight win

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As expected, Ohio State was able to extend it’s nation’s best winning streak against an overwhelmed Illinois squad in Champaign Saturday afternoon.  This time, though, the extending came with a historical twist.  And, potentially, a punch in the gut to their BCS title hopes.

Running out to a 28-0 lead early in the first quarter, and overcoming an inexplicable malaise that lasted nearly the remainder of the game,the Buckeyes were able to outlast 3-7 Illini by the count of 60-35.  It was the 20th consecutive Big Ten loss for the Illini but, more importantly for a team entertaining BCS title game hopes, it was the 22nd straight win for the Buckeyes.

The win streak ties the longest in OSU history, matching the 22 straight won by the Buckeyes from 1967-69.  The Buckeyes can set the school record against 4-6 Indiana next Saturday in Columbus, and come within six of matching Michigan’s Big Ten record of 29 straight from 1901-03.

At 22 straight, OSU is tied with eight other schools for the 39th-longest winning streak in FBS history.  The last team to win 22 consecutive games was Florida in 2008-09, a team ironically enough coached by Urban Meyer.  With a win over the Hoosiers next weekend, the Buckeyes would match Notre Dame for the longest winning streak by an AQ program since 1989 (non-AQ Boise State won 24 straight from 2009-10).

The longest winning streak ever at the FBS/1-A level?  The staggering 47 straight won by Oklahoma, a streak that began in 1953 and was ended by the Irish in 1957.

Personally, the win was Meyer’s 23 straight as a head coach.  Meyer, who has won his first 22 games since taking over the Buckeyes in December of 2011, has not lost a game since his final season at Florida, a 31-7 loss to Florida State on Nov. 27, 2010.

Allowing Meyer to extend the third 20-plus-game winning streak of his coaching career were, of course, the one-two offensive punch of quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde.  Hyde, who was the only Buckeye who seemed to gain steam as the game wore on, rushed for a career-high 246 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground.  For good measure, Hyde caught an 18-yard swing pass for a touchdown as well.  Hyde is now 53 yards away from giving Meyer the first 1,000-yard running back in his coaching career.

Miller accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) while gaining 184 on the ground.

As will be the case for the remainder of the season, at least until a potential matchup with a highly-ranked Michigan State team in the Big Ten title game, the win will do next to nothing for the Buckeyes when it comes to the BCS standings — and will actually hurt if the stretch of stench from midway through the second quarter through deep into the fourth quarter is taken into account.  After taking that 28-0 lead with 10:20 left in the second quarter, the Buckeyes were outscored 35-32 by the three-win Illini;   Hyde’s two long TD runs very late in the fourth closed that gap significantly.  It was the kind of win that voters, who have allowed Baylor to gain ground on Ohio State in the polls the past three weeks, will use to make that final push and leapfrog the Bears over the Buckeyes when the rankings are released Sunday.

Outside of “style points,” Ohio State’s lone hope of getting back to the title game for the first time since the 2007 season is if, out of Alabama, Florida State and Baylor, at least one of them drops a game at some point between now and the end of the regular season/conference championship weekend.  More than likely, given the Bears’ remaining schedule, the Buckeyes will need two-thirds of that trio to lose.

Regardless, it can’t take away the history Meyer and these Buckeyes are in the midst of creating.  Even if said history were to involve a 25-0 mark and zero BCS titles.

Colorado hires lawyers behind Pepper Hamilton report to investigate Joe Tumpkin response

DENVER - AUGUST 30:  A University of Colorado Buffaloes fag is brought onto the field during the game against the Colorado State University Rams at Invesco Field at Mile High on August 30, 2003 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado defeated Colorado State 42-35. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
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Joe Tumpkin is no longer with the Colorado football program, but the Buffaloes are still sorting through the way he left.

To recap: The longtime girlfriend of Tumpkin called head coach Mike MacIntyre in early December to inform him of a pattern of abuse from his safeties coach, which she later told investigators occurred more than 100 times over a 21-month period. According to the woman’s account given to Sports Illustrated — which the school has not denied — MacIntyre and the woman spoke a couple of times with the coach pledging to handle the situation until the line of communication went dead.

In the meantime, Tumpkin remained on staff and was promoted to interim defensive coordinator for the late-December Alamo Bowl after Jim Leavitt left for Oregon. MacIntyre suspended Tumpkin in mid-January, and Tumpkin resigned a couple weeks after that after a restraining order was filed against him.

However, the SI story created a level of blowback in Boulder that prompted MacIntyre to issue a statement defending the program’s response to the situation.

Still, the CU Board of Regents felt necessary to delay the approval of MacIntyre’s announced extension, and on Friday announced they have hired the two lawyers behind the Pepper Hamilton report that sunk Baylor’s leadership to probe the school’s response to the Tumpkin allegations.

“We are looking at what occurred and when, if our policies were violated, or whether those policies should be modified to better explain the reporting (requirements),” CU Board of Regents Chair Irene Griego said in a statement, via the Boulder Daily Camera.

The probe will be conducted by Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith, a pair of former Philadelphia prosecutors who now work for the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philly. At center of their investigation will be whether MacIntyre, AD Rick George and chancellor Phil DeStefano followed the university’s protocol for reporting sexual assault.

Still, Greigo noted the pair’s hiring doesn’t indicate a predetermined outcome one way or the other.

“Let me be clear, in no way should this decision to wait be viewed as an indication that the Board of Regents has determined that any employee violated a policy or that any disciplinary action is warranted,” Griego said. “We are simply being prudent.”

David Blackburn comes out and says he wants the Tennessee AD job

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the inside of Neyland Stadium during a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers on September 15, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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In reading the tea leaves in and around Knoxville, it seems most in orange want David Blackburn to be the Volunteers’ new athletics director.

Blackburn wants that, too.

A former Vol student and administrator, Blackburn has racked up an impressive resume as the AD at Chattanooga. Considering his only competition for the job at this point seems to be former Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer — who has zero AD experience — that seems like a logical choice for Big Orange.

While Blackburn has hemmed and hawed around the idea of becoming Tennessee’s next AD over the past, oh, six months since it was announced back in August Dave Hart was on his way out, Friday was the first time he came out and said he’d like to be the next head Vol.

“If asked to be a part of this process officially, in terms of an interview I would love to,” Blackburn, said Friday on WNML FM 99.1 (via SEC Country).

“It would mean the world to me to be able to lead the institution that led me, by all the people that allowed me the opportunity to do what I do.”

The AD search has, understandably, been stuck in a holding pattern until the university could hire and install a new chancellor — which it has now done. Beverly Davenport took office Wednesday and said the school was working “very quickly” to hire a new AD, and seemed to outline Blackburn as the type of leader she’d want to fill the post.

“I’m looking for a leader with a proven track record of success on and off the field,” Davenport said in a statement. “I will hire someone who is committed to maintaining the integrity of our program and is dedicated to the success of all of our student-athletes and all of the management of our nationally recognized athletic programs.”

It seems like Blackburn will be the eventual choice for Tennessee. Young-ish career administrators with fundraising chops are the new mold for big-time athletics directors — see Florida’s hiring of  Scott Stricklin and Alabama’s of Greg Byrne — but this is Tennessee. The Volunteers haven’t been good in football since Fulmer was the head coach, so would it really be any surprise if they turned to him to be their AD?

Former Washington LB Pslam Wooching eschews NFL Draft for rugby

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 19:  Psalm Wooching #28 of the Washington Huskies leaves the field following the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 19, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Huskies defeated the Sun Devils 44-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Former Washington linebacker Psalm Wooching will be going pro in something other than… well, football. Wooching announced Thursday he is passing up an opportunity to become a late-round NFL Draft pick in order to pursue a career in rugby, with an eye on making the U.S. Olympic team.

“I’ve been in deep thought and pray about whether I wanted to continue to play football and I’ve come to a conclusion that it is time to turn the page in my life,” Wooching wrote in a Twitter post. “I will be exchanging shoulder pads for short shorts and rugby boots. My first love and sport I excelled in was rugby, and it is time for me to follow my heart.”

As a senior in 2016, Wooching finished eighth on Washington’s No. 8-ranked defense with 42 tackles out of his linebacker position. Signed as a running back out of Hawaii, Wooching stepped up to lead the Huskies’ injury-depleted front to lead the team with six sacks on the year.

Wooching’s pursuit of rugby continues his love affair of a sport he has already played at a high level. The Seattle Times noted Wooching played on the U.S. rugby junior national team as a high schooler and helped Washington’s club rugby team to a national championship in 2014.

Michigan State expresses support for Mark Dantonio despite criminal investigations

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio looks on against the Stanford Cardinal during the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Despite four members of the football program under criminal investigation, Michigan State says its support of its head coach has not wavered.

Michigan State announced Friday it has approved a 1-year contract extension for Mark Dantonio, a rollover provision in his contract. There was question of whether the Spartans would, uh, look into that provision as three unidentified football players and staffer Curtis Blackwell are now under investigation from multiple entities for alleged sexual assault. One of those investigations has resulted in arrest warrants sought by the Michigan State University Police Department.

“My sense is that, if we had anything to be concerned about, we wouldn’t have moved forward with the action today,” Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon told the Lansing State Journal. “We’re still looking at everything, because it’s in his interest, as well.”

The extension means Dantonio is now signed with the Spartans through 2023 on a $4.3 million salary with a $700,000 annual retention bonus.

Heading into his 11th season on campus, Dantonio is 90-42 with the Spartans with two Big Ten championships in the past four seasons but is coming off a 3-9 campaign, his worst in 13 seasons as a head coach.