Cincy QB Gunner Kiel conscious, moving all extremities following vicious hit

20 Comments

A serious-looking injury has cast a pall over a game that began with a high amount of anticipation and excitement.

Late in the first quarter of the Cincinnati-Memphis matchup, Bearcat quarterback Gunner Kiel was met by Tiger defender Chauncy Lanier.  As Kiel gave himself up in a slide, Lanier laid him out with a vicious hit to the signal-caller’s head.  It looked as if both Lanier’s head and shoulder pads made contact with Kiel’s helmet, leading to the officials throwing a flag for targeting.

Kiel, who sustained a concussion last weekend but was cleared for tonight’s game, lay motionless on the turf almost from the moment he was hit.  Medical personnel from both sidelines assisted in getting Kiel strapped to a board and carted off toward an awaiting ambulance.

While none of the television shots showed any movement below the neck, an ESPN sideline reporter claimed to have seen Kiel’s toes move.  He was also communicating with emergency personnel before, instead of being taken to a local hospital for further observation, he was taken into the locker room.  In an update, UC stated that Kiel is awake and moving all four limbs.

As for the hit itself, it looked like the dictionary-definition of targeting, which the American Football Coaches Association defines as “[n]o player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, fist, elbow or shoulder.” Based on the video evidence…

… that’s clearly a targeting foul. However, upon further review, the AAC officiating crew decided to overturn the initial call, wiping out the penalty and allowing Lanier to remain in the game. With social media grabbing its pitchforks and torches ready to mount a protest, the conference attempted to explain the decision to rescind the targeting call.

Kiel’s legs and backside were clearly on the ground prior to the hit, so the league’s explanation doesn’t hold much if any water.  By definition, per the SEC’s coordinator of officials Steve Shaw, a sliding player is defenseless.

As for the game, Kiel’s replacement, Hayden Moore, hit on a 68-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to give the visiting Bearcats a 17-14 lead in what’s a key AAC matchup.  Memphis scored three minutes later to take a 21-17 lead with 11:03 remaining in the half.

As of this posting, UC is driving inside Memphis territory with just over nine minutes remaining as they look to retake the lead.

UPDATED 9:08 p.m. ET: Kiel has been transported via ambulance to a local Memphis hospital for further evaluation.  Per UC officials, Kiel remains conscious and has movement in all of his extremities.

UPDATED 9:26 p.m. ET:  As for the game itself, the wildly entertaining matchup has gone to halftime, with Cincinnati holding a 30-28 lead on Memphis.  The teams traded the lead six different times, with the Bearcats striking last in the half with under two minutes remaining.

UC holds a decided 419-264 edge in total offense.  Moore, who replaced the injured Kiel, has thrown for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  The freshman came into tonight’s game with a career total of 225 yards passing and one touchdown.

UofM’s Paxton Lynch has thrown for 189 yards and a touchdown.

After leaving Michigan State, Hunter Rison lands at K-State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Less than two weeks after leaving East Lansing, Hunter Rison is headed a little bit further west to continue his collegiate playing career.

On his personal Twitter account this weekend, Rison revealed that he “will be furthering my athletic and academic career at Kansas State University.” The announcement came nearly a dozen days after Rison’s father, former Michigan State wide receiver Andre Rison, confirmed during a radio interview that his son would be transferring from his alma mater, citing a desire for more playing time.

After sitting out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, the wide receiver will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Rison was a four-star 2017 signee, rated as the No. 46 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Michigan. The 5-11, 200-pound Rison was one of four four-star recruits signed as part of MSU’s February 2017 recruiting class.

As a true freshman, he caught 19 passes for 224 yards. In the September loss to Notre Dame, he set career highs in receptions (four) and receiving yards (73).

Former Ohio State assistant leaving Minnesota for Michigan

Getty Images
Leave a comment

An assistant with history on one side of The Game rivalry is headed to the other side. reportedly.

FootballScoop.com first reported that Minnesota’s Ed Warinner (pictured, center) is leaving Minnesota to take an unspecified job at Michigan. SI.com‘s Bruce Feldman subsequently confirmed the initial report.

While the Wolverines have not yet confirmed the addition of Warinner, the coach’s updated Twitter profile indicates that he’s now at U-M. As Jim Harbaugh already has his allotment of 10 on-field assistants, it appears likely that Warinner will serve as some type of offensive analyst.

Warinner spent the 2017 season as the offensive line coach and running-game coordinator at Minnesota. Prior to that, He was the line coach at Ohio State from 2012-16. In 2015, he added the title of co-offensive coordinator.

Oregon officially confirms swiping of assistant from Wazzu

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Washington State’s coaching loss will prove to be a fellow Pac-12 member’s gain.

Following up on reports that had surfaced throughout the latter part of this past week, new head coach Mario Cristobal announced that he has hired Jim Mastro as his new running backs coach. Mastro will also serve as the Ducks’ run-game coordinator.

Mastro had spent the past six seasons as the running backs coach at Washington State.

“We are thrilled to add Jim to the staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He has extraordinary leadership skills which will be of great benefit in developing our talented group of running backs. Jim possesses a wealth of experience both coaching and recruiting on the West Coast, and he has consistently been a tremendous innovator on the offensive side of the ball.”

Prior to Wazzu, Mastro spent one season (2012) as the tight ends coach at UCLA. For the 11 seasons prior to that first taste of the Pac-12, Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada.

Mastro has also spent time on FBS coaching staffs at Idaho (1998-99) and San Jose State (1995).

QB Keller Chryst announces transfer from Stanford

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.

Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.

Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.

Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter.  While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State.  Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.

Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello.  In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.