A year ago, it seemed Nebraska was unable to find a way to close out a game in the fourth quarter. It was one of the reasons Nebraska struggled in the first year under Mike Riley, but the Cornhuskers are having little problem late in games this season.
Through the first five games of the 2015 season, Nebraska was out-scored by opponents in the fourth quarter by a cumulative score of 45-55. It is worth mentioning that included a 23-3 fourth quarter advantage for Nebraska on the road against Miami, a game that was lost in overtime. After five games, Nebraska stood at an underwhelming 2-3 with an overtime loss at Miami, a loss on a Hail Mary by BYU and a fourth quarter stunner at Illinois. The only wins came against South Alabama and Southern Mississippi (who scored 21 points on the Cornhuskers in the fourth quarter). Three more opponents, including UCLA in a bowl game, would go on to out-score Nebraska in the fourth quarter in 2015. So far, through five games of the 2016 season, Nebraska seems to have improved in the final quarter, which is a key reason why the Cornhuskers are off to a nice 5-0 start.
Nebraska has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter by a dominating 78-6 margin. It started with Nebraska pulling away from Fresno State by turning a 21-10 lead into a 43-10 victory in Week 1. In Week 2, Nebraska pulled away from Wyoming with a 28-0 outburst to go from a 24-17 lead to a 52-17 victory. Oregon has been the only team to score on Nebraska in the fourth quarter, but the Huskers scored one more point in the final quarter of a 35-32 victory. Yesterday, against Illinois, Nebraska pulled away once again by turning a 16-10 deficit into a 31-16 victory.
The stiffest challenges are still likely to come later for Nebraska, with Indiana and Purdue up next before getting to Wisconsin and Ohio State in the coming month, but this is a noticeable difference in Nebraska this season, and could be what helps power them to a run in the Big Ten West.
Helmet sticker to Reddit for the stat.
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).
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.
Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.
He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.
On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.
From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:
The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.
Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.
Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.
We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:
1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.
2) His penchant for winning games.
3) His hair.
You can now scratch one of those off the list.
“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”
Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.
Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.