Associated Press

Iowa extinguishes No. 6 Ohio State’s playoff hopes in blowout win

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Last week, Ohio State played with fire but escaped unscathed.  This week, they got burned — and essentially torched their playoff hopes in one fell swoop.

In the thrilling 39-38 win over No. 2 Penn State last weekend, OSU rallied back from deficits of 28-17 at halftime and 35-20 at the end of the third quarter.  There would be no magic this weekend, however, as Iowa took a 31-17 halftime lead, then stepped on the Buckeyes’ throats in the third quarter and never let up en route to a dominating 55-24 win over what was the sixth-ranked team in the country in the first College Football Playoff poll.

The visiting Buckeyes actually tied the game at 17-all early in the second quarter before the Hawkeyes ripped off 31 straight points in a run that extended through early in the fourth to essentially seal the stunning upset.

The usual stout OSU defense simply had no answer for Nathan Stanley, who tied a career-high with five touchdown passes in the game.  Nearly as important was the running of Akrum Wadley, who churned out a tough 115 yards on the ground, and an Iowa defense that limited the high-flying Buckeyes — they were second in the country at 571.3 per game — to 371 yards of offense.  Add in the interception trifecta from Josh Jackson, and it was an all-around dominating performance for the 6-3 Hawkeyes.

The visitors didn’t exactly do themselves any favors as, in addition to turnovers, the Buckeyes were once again hurt by penalties — nine on the night for 95 yards.  OSU came into the game an undisciplined team, ranking 107th in the country in penalties committed and 117th in penalty yards.

The first four possessions of the second half perfectly encapsulated the Hawkeyes’ defensive dominance as the Buckeyes went three and out on the first three, then coughed it up on a J.T. Barrett interception on the fourth.  It served as Barrett’s third pick of the game, which led to 17 of IU’s points; the fifth-year senior added a career-high fourth in the fourth quarter.  Barrett had come into this game with just one interception in 246 pass attempts this season and seemingly put himself squarely in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

And, just as quickly as he’s out of that conversation, so the same can be said for OSU and the playoffs.

At sixth in the initial CFP rankings, the Buckeyes held their postseason destiny in their own hands.  Win out the remainder of the regular season, claim the Big Ten championship, and earn a third trip to a playoff semifinal in four years.  Instead, the best OSU can hope for, barring an epic collapse from myriad teams, is an at-large berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game as no two-loss team has ever qualified for the playoffs.

WATCH: Penn State players danced to Backstreet Boys and Nicki Minaj at THON

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Everybody, rock your body! Penn State football players put on an impressively choreographed performance during a brief skit at Penn State’s annual THON dance marathon.

Although Penn State players were unable to participate in a separate THON-related event due to a scheduling oversight and an NCAA rule, a handful of representatives from the football program took the stage to show off their best dance moves (as did every other Penn State sports team, and more). The mix started off with some Backstreet Boys and ended with some Nicki Minaj, with one player dressed for the part.

The results from Penn State’s annual dance marathon are in too. Penn State students raised $10,151,663.93 to put toward fighting pediatric cancer.

Florida players say they are working harder than ever before in offseason workouts

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It did not take very long for Dan Mullen to prove his way of working in the offseason is going to be a little different from what Florida players had become accustomed to. Judging by a few tweets from Gators players coming out in recent days, Mullen has Florida players working harder than they have in quite some time.

It is not all that uncommon to have a completely new approach to training and physical conditioning any time there is a coaching change at a football program, and the mere change in workout approach alone can be enough to send a jolt through an entire program. Not to suggest workouts under former head coach (and new Michigan offensive assistant) Jim McElwain were easy, but some players on Florida’s roster are claiming on Twitter the workouts they are going through now are getting the job done.

Mullen brought strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage with him from Mississippi State, and you probably see why. Savage has quickly earned the respect of a number of the Florida football players after some intense workouts. Mullen and Savage are out to raise the bar when it comes to both toughness and physical endurance. That could have been seen as an area of weakness for Florida the past couple of years against certain teams (Alabama and Michigan, for example).

The work being put in now is just the beginning for how Mullen wants to get Florida back to the top of the SEC. Getting the team stronger now will have to lead to on-field development as well, especially on offense. Fortunately for Mullen, the offense has been one of his specialties.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.

Iowa State starting offensive lineman busted for being in bar while underage

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Somebody needs a new fake ID.

Iowa State offensive lineman Sean Foster spent some time in jail overnight after being arrested for being in a bar while underage and interfering with an official. He was charged with two counts; one for “minors prohibited on certain premises” and another for “interference with official acts,” according to an Ames Tribune report. Foster was released from jail with $600 in total bonds for his two charges.

A redshirt sophomore right tackle, Foster started six games for the Cyclones in 2017, including the final four games of the season that concluded with the Liberty Bowl against Memphis. He remains in line for the starting job at right tackle again in 2018, beginning with a chance to start the spring as the expected starter. This particular incident may not affect that outlook all that much in the grand scheme of things, so long as Foster stays out of additional trouble and there isn’t more to the story behind the scenes.

According to the Ames Tribune, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was not expected to release any comment or statement about the incident. Foster’s status with the Iowa State program is unchanged until given further notice, although some form of internal discipline for an act like this is likely to occur in some capacity at some point in time.

Jim McElwain reportedly signs deal to join Michigan coaching staff

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The Jim McElwain watch in Ann Arbor is essentially done. ESPN reports the former head coach of the Florida Gators has signed a deal to join Jim Harbaugh as a new member of the Michigan coaching staff. Michigan has not formally announced the new addition yet, but McElwain told ESPN he is getting to work right away as a wide receivers coach.

I’m excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better,” McElwain said to ESPN‘s Chris Low, who reported the latest update in the ongoing McElwain-To-Michigan story. It has been quite a year for McElwain, who has now gone from wanting to “beat the heck out of Michigan” to joining Harbaugh as an offensive assistant (Harbaugh was 2-0 against McElwain in head-to-head meetings between Michigan and Florida).

McElwain was fired by Florida last October in the midst of a disappointing season after discrepancies in McElwain’s claims about receiving death threats could not be backed up by the coach. Florida bought out McElwain’s contract at a reported $7.5 million.

Michigan had been looking to fill the role of receivers coach following the abrupt departure of Dan Enos to Alabama. Enos joined the Michigan coaching staff for a cup of coffee, getting hired in January after the Arkansas coaching staff was given an overhaul with the firing of Bret Bielema only to leave for a job with Nick Saban. McElwain, of course, is one of many coaches to jump into head coaching off the Saban coaching tree in recent years, first with Colorado State and most recently with Florida.

Previous reports have floated the idea McElwain will call plays for the Wolverines, but that remains unconfirmed.