Associated Press

Michigan State rains on No. 7 Michigan’s unbeaten season, upsets Wolverines in storm-swept Big House

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With the first-ever Michigan-Michigan State night game looming at the Big House, both athletic directors were concerned over fans’ actions off the field.  When it came to one of the ADs, they should’ve worried more about their players’ play — and the weather — on the field.

With a torrential downpour weighing heavy on a portion of the last 15 minutes of action, 10-point underdog MSU went into Ann Arbor and stunned their in-state counterparts in a 14-10 win.  The loss is the seventh-ranked Wolverines’ first of the season, one that will likely knock them out of the Top 10 when the new rankings are released early Sunday afternoon.

UM turned the ball over a whopping five times — MSU came in having forced just four turnovers, total, the first four games this season — but the Spartans converted those gifts into just seven points.  John O’Korn, starting at quarterback in place of the injured Wilton Speight, threw interceptions on back-to-back-to-back possessions late in the third quarter and on into the fourth, but Sparty failed to produce points on any of those turnovers in keeping the game closer than it could’ve been.

Right up to the very end, as it turned out.

The Spartans, which held a 14-3 halftime lead, had zero first downs in the second half until less than three minutes were remaining in the fourth quarter, and then picked up a second, on a crucial third down no less, with under two minutes left that essentially sealed the upset win for MSU in the in-state rivalry game.  The key word there is “essentially” as MSU did their damnedest to hand the game back to its rivals, from a holding penalty on their last offensive possession that kept them from, basically, running out the clock to an inexplicable personal foul penalty on their last defensive possession that helped give the Wolverines one shot at a (failed) Hail Mary with no time left.

Even prior to the weather rolling in, it was a defensive battle from start to finish.  The Wolverines actually outgained their counterparts 300-252, with the Spartans converting just two of 14 on third-downs.  Two scores less than 10 minutes apart, though, proved to be the difference — quarterback Brian Lewerke‘s 14-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, his 16-yard touchdown pass to Madre London in the middle of the second quarter.

While the loss put a dent in Michigan’s College Football Playoff hopes, it did the same for its biggest rival.

Thanks to its Week 2 loss, Ohio State needed, in part, Oklahoma and Michigan to run the table.  Not only did the Wolverines lose in Week 6, the Sooners did the same as 30-point home favorites earlier in the day in Norman.

It’s far too early for both UM and OSU to be excluded from the playoff discussion, but the former did neither of the Big Ten East schools any favors with this home loss.

Oh, and there’s this bit of trivia to chew on:

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.