One of the more fierce under-the-radar rivalries with an in-state twist won’t be going away anytime soon.
Wednesday afternoon, BYU and Utah State announced that the two schools have reached an agreement to extend the existing series between the two football programs. The Cougars will travel to Logan Sept. 29, 2017, while the Aggies will head to Provo Oct. 5, 2018.
The agreement means the two programs now have games scheduled for 2014-2018.
“I appreciate the working relationship I have with Scott Barnes at Utah State,” said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe in a statement. “Scott has done an outstanding job at USU and is great to work with. We value the longstanding in-state rivalry with Utah State and look forward to these future games.”
Outside of the University of Utah, BYU-USU is the most-played rivalry for both sides. The two teams have played a total of 83 times, with the first coming in 1922 and the last coming this season.
The Cougars hold a 46-34-3 edge in the all-time series, although they have won 23 of the last 25 times the two teams have met.
“We are excited to continue our home and home series with BYU long-term,” USU AD Barnes said. “This rivalry is important to both institutions and the state of Utah.”
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury