Facing Fournette this week, college football fans already praying for Eastern Michigan

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After playing run-heavy Army yesterday, Eastern Michigan has now allowed a nation-worst 1,493 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns through just four games. Brace yourselves Eastern Michigan, because this week that swiss cheese run defense heads to Baton Rouge to take on the Heisman Trophy front-runner, Leonard Fournette of LSU.

Fournette has the nation’s top rushing average with 210.33 yards per game in three games. That is about 42 yards more per game than Indiana’s Jordan Howard, who is second in the nation in rushing average. Four weeks into the season there are four running backs with at least 600 rushing yards; Howard of Indiana (675 yards) , Tyler Ervin of San Jose State (641 yards), Fournette (631 yards) and C.J. Prosise of Notre Dame (600). Howard, Ervin and Prosise have accumulated 600 rushing yards in four games, while Fournette has done so in just three. Fournette became the first player in LSU history to rush for 200 yards in back-to-back games this weekend. With Eastern Michigan on deck he has as an excellent chance to become the first back-to-back-to-back 200-yard rusher in school history.

On paper, Fournette against Eastern Michigan’s run defense is about as big of a mismatch as you may see. This is a great spot to pad the stats a bit for Fournette if LSU head coach Les Miles chooses to do so. Do not be surprised if Fournette’s rushing total against the Eagles is lower than expected though. With the calendar flipping from September to October this week, LSU finds itself in the thick of the playoff race and looks to be a strong contender in the SEC. Having Fournette healthy for conference play will be vital for LSU’s chances later on, and LSU should be able to put aside Eastern Michigan without him. It would not be a shock to see Fournette get an early rest in this one, so he may have to pile up the rushing yards in the first half while he can. There should be no reason for Fournette to be playing in the fourth quarter, or most of the third quarter.

College football fans are already sending their best wishes to the Eastern Michigan Eagles this week.

Suspended Michigan State staffer receives another contract extension

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Michigan State has added another one-month extension to the contract of suspended football staffer Curtis Blackwell as the school continues to investigate several sexual assaults involving the Spartans.

A schools spokesman confirmed the extension to the Detroit Free Press on Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a previous one-month contract extension for Blackwell that came at the end of March. His official title is that of the team’s director of college advancement and performance and he was hired by head coach Mark Dantonio back in 2013 after running a number of major recruiting camps in the region.

Blackwell was originally suspended back in February as the school and police began multiple investigations related to sexual assaults. According to reports, one Michigan State staff member had an arrest warrant issued for obstructing an investigation but he was never publicly identified by the school.

Probes into the matter, including a Title IX investigation, remain ongoing in East Lansing. The football team recently wrapped up practice missing over a dozen players in the spring game so it appears this wide-ranging scandal that has embroiled the Spartans is not going to be over anytime soon.

Ex-USC coach finally lands court date with NCAA over Reggie Bush case

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After years and years of meandering through the court system, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair finally has his day in court with the NCAA.

ESPN is reporting that the two parties will meet in Los Angeles County Superior Court on April 18, 2018. The trial will finally get underway next year after nearly a decade of appeals on both sides.

McNair was the Trojans’ running backs coach during the glory days under Pete Carroll and responsible for coaching or recruiting many of the team’s top players. He was one of the few links to the program that the NCAA cited when determining that former star Reggie Bush received extra benefits, later leading to brutal sanctions back in 2010. McNair was given a one-year show-cause as a result of the Committee on Infractions findings and never coached again after the school let his contract expire shortly thereafter.

That wasn’t the end of the story however, as McNair later filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA in which he accused the association of violating protocol and showing bias against himself and the program in order to level unprecedented sanctions. Documents in the case have continued to seep out that have given credence to McNair’s case and the NCAA’s lawyers have fought bitterly at every turn in order to prevent the trial from actually getting underway.

Those efforts were unsuccessful however and it appears an already nasty legal battle is still not over. It remains to be seen if the trial will even happen, as a settlement could eventually take place between now and next April. If it does indeed go in front of a jury though, it just might be one of the most fascinating insights into one of the biggest NCAA scandals of the past few decades.

Biletnikoff Award semifinalist Jonathan Giles announces transfer from Texas Tech

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Thursday may have been a high point for the Texas Tech football program upon learning that former quarterback Patrick Mahomes was taken in the top 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft.

On Friday afternoon though, the Red Raiders dipped right back down as star wide receiver Jonathan Giles took to Twitter to announce that he was leaving the program and transferring out of Lubbock.

Giles was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist a season ago after catching 69 passes for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those numbers led the team in each category despite trailing off a bit down the stretch as Tech missed out on a bowl game.

Playing time could have been a big factor in the decision to leave the program as both Cameron Batson and Keke Coutee emerged as the top receiving targets and Giles was relegated to second-team status coming out of spring practice.

Tech’s Air Raid system and NFL quarterbacks had a lot to do with Giles’ big numbers but it’s fairly rare to see such highly touted and productive wideouts hit the transfer markets. While the decision probably isn’t what some Red Raiders fans wanted to hear on Friday, the receiver probably won’t be lacking for options when it comes to his next stop.

Pitt dismisses senior defensive tackle for disciplinary reasons

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Bad news in college football is typically reserved for Friday and it appears the Pitt Panthers just got a taste of some.

Per Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Jerry DiPaola, head coach Pat Narduzzi has dismissed starting defensive tackle Jeremiah Taleni for disciplinary reasons.

Taleni emerged as a starter down the stretch for the Panthers and will be a big loss up front for the team as they already have to replace the stellar production from the soon-to-be-drafted Ejuan Price.

No further comments were given when the school confirmed the news so it might be a while before we find out what led to Taleni’s dismissal and whether he plays college football at all next season.