Ohio State came into The Game with Michigan knowing it would be in for a fight as it looked to extend it’s nation’s best winning streak and remain in BCS title contention. And a fight is exactly what the Buckeyes have gotten… literally.
Through two quarters of play, the Buckeyes and Wolverines combined for 611 yards of total offense — 308 for the former, 303 for the latter — as the bitter rivals entered halftime locked in a 21-all tie.
Braxton Miller was responsible for all three of OSU’s scores, passing for one and rushing for two more. The junior nearly hit the century mark in the first half with 82 yards rushing; teammate and leading rusher Carlos Hyde did top the century mark (115 yards on 15 carries), his second straight game with 100-plus yards.
On the other side, Devin Gardner — and a tremendous game plan from embattled coordinator Al Borges — has consistently torched a Buckeyes’ defense that has spent most of the first two quarters looking dazed and confused. Gardner passed for 238 yards on just 11 completions. He accounted for two of UM’s three first-half touchdowns.
The highlight of the first half, though, didn’t involve any type of offensive fireworks.
Early in the second quarter and at the end of a kick return, a fight that seemingly involved the entire populations of the states of Michigan and Ohio broke out. Punches were thrown, helmets were ripped off as the melee seemed to last for close to a minute. While there were offsetting penalties, the Buckeyes got the worst of it on the flag end as starting offensive lineman Marcus Hall and dynamic playmaker Dontre Wilson were ejected for throwing punches. A reserve linebacker was the only Wolverine given the boot following the fracas.
Hall’s departure did provide a PG-13 moment as the ESPN cameras caught the lineman delivering a two-handed, single-finger salute as he headed into the tunnel.
On off-field incident late last week will cost FAU one of the top offensive linemen in Conference USA moving forward.
Over the weekend, FAU confirmed that Reggie Bain sustained injuries that were described as “not life threatening” in a car accident Friday. However, the non-specified injuries will likely sideline the true junior offensive tackle for the entire 2016 season.
“I have been in constant contact and have visited with both Reggie and his family,” a statement from head coach Charlie Partridge began. “His FAU football family has surrounded him with support and will continue to do so. Out of respect for Reggie, his family and our team, all questions should only be directed to me. I know that inquiries may be well-intentioned, under the HIPPA law, and per the request of Reggie and his family, there is very little I can disclose.”
No details surrounding the accident have been released.
Bain has started all 24 games in his two-year career with the Owls, earning second-team all-conference honors following the 2015 season. Coaches made Bain a preseason all-league selection last month.
It appears someone else will have to ease the load for a newly-minted starter under center and a Heisman Trophy contender, at least in the very early portion of the season.
According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford head coach David Shaw has deemed it “unlikely” running back Bryce Love will play in the season opener Friday against Kansas State. Love sustained what was described as a lower-body injury at some point during summer camp.
The good news for the program and the player is, after the opener, the Cardinal goes on a bye before hosting 20th-ranked USC Sept. 17.
Wilner writes that “Love… is considered central to eighth-ranked Stanford’s efforts to take the pressure off new quarterback Ryan Burns and tailback Christian McCaffrey.” Burns has thrown one career pass and will be making his starting debut against K-State.
Last season, Love averaged 7.8 yards on his 29 carries. He added 15 receptions for 250 yards, and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).
South Carolina has seen one of the most experienced members of its secondary not only leave the program but the sport as well.
Rico McWilliams has decided to leave the Gamecocks and give up football, first-year USC head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday. No reason was given for the decision.
McWilliams had started 18 the past three seasons, but began to tumble down the depth chart in the spring and failed to gain much ground in summer camp. He had left camp early on for what were described as personal reasons, but eventually returned.
“I am back with the team and have to stay focused,” the cornerback said just three days ago.
As a redshirt junior last season, McWilliams started 10 of USC’s 12 games, the lone exceptions being the contests against Georgia and Texas A&M. He was credited with 32 tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Additionally, Muschamp announced that redshirt freshman wide receiver Christian Owens had left his team as well. A three-star 2015 signee, Owens didn’t play as a true freshman.
Via social media, Jim Harbaugh has attempted to walk back some of his strong talk.
Monday, the Michigan head coach was asked to comment on one of his former San Francisco 49er players, Colin Kaepernick, who kicked up quite the controversy this past week by sitting down during the playing of the national anthem to protest what he believes to be the mistreatment of African-Americans in this country. Not surprisingly, the outspoken Harbaugh didn’t mince many words.
“I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” the coach said.
A short time later, Harbaugh took to Twitter to offer a clarification that he had no issue with Kaepernick’s motivation, merely his methods.