Maryland Terrapins

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2015, file photo, Penn State's Joey Julius kicks a field goal during an NCAA college football game against Army in State College, Pa. Joey Julius, the 258-pound redshirt sophomore,  disclosed in a Facebook post on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016,  that he received treatment for an eating disorder this summer. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via AP, File)
Associated Press

Maryland suspends LB for late hit on Penn State kicker


Maryland’s first-year head coach is laying out his own brand of tough discipline on one of his players.

During Maryland’s 24-point loss to Penn State this past weekend, Isaiah Davis was flagged for a late hit on Joey Julius, the Nittany Lion’s hefty kicker.  Additionally, the Terrapins linebacker was ejected from the contest.

Tuesday, D.J. Durkin announced that, because of the hit, Davis has been suspended for this Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

“Isaiah is a great young man, he’s a great member of our team. We love him. He made a very bad decision. We are a work in progress in learning what our team is about, what our culture is about. I spend a lot of time talking to our guys and trying to educate them on respecting the game we play. Respecting our team and being accountable to each other,” the Terps coach said according to the Washington Post. “And that really violates all of those things.”

This was the second week in a row that the 258-pound Julius was on the receiving end of what was deemed over-the-line rough play on a kickoff.  Minnesota linebacker Jaylen Waters was ejected after delivering a late blow to the kicker that nearly caused a melee between the teams.

Minnesota lists starting QB Mitch Leidner as out for Maryland game

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 24: Mitch Leidner #7 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers throws the ball for a gain in the first quarter against the Colorado State Rams at TCF Bank Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

A big offensive shakeup appears to be in the offing for Minnesota heading into Week 7.

On its depth chart released Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s game against Maryland, starting quarterback Mitch Leidner is listed as out for the Big Ten matchup.  The nature of the injury that will keep the starting quarterback out was not detailed.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes that “[o]n Sunday, when asked about Leidner’s health, Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said the senior quarterback was not banged up” although “Claeys had yet to meet with his team’s medical staff when he made that comment.”

If Leidner is unable to go, Conor Rhoda would get the start under center. The former walk-on has attempted two passes in hs collegiate career, and would be making his first collegiate start.

In a tweet, though, the football program noted that the depth chart is “[s]ubject to change prior to the game,” leaving the door open for Leidner to play against the Terps.

Leidner has started 34 games in his Gophers career, including a streak of 27 in a row that could come to an end this weekend. His 120.1 pass efficiency this season is currently 90th nationally.

Big Ten to use commemorative coin to honor Sam Foltz, Mike Sandler

Nebraska athletics
Leave a comment

Tributes to Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have seemingly been a weekly occurrence across college football the first four weeks of the season, and the players’ conference will get on board in Week 5.

A commemorative coin will be used to honor both Foltz and Sadler at all seven Big Ten games this weekend, the league announced Wednesday.  As this is the first full weekend of conference action, the coins, with Foltz on one side and Sadler on the other, will be used for the coin flip prior to each league matchup.

The Cornhuskers have decided to use the coins for the remainder of the season.

Folks and Sadler were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.

Below are the coins that will be used, courtesy of the Big Ten:



CFT Previews: The Big Ten

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 15: J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes carries the football during the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on November 15, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Getty Images

If there was ever a season the Big Ten looked like the Big Two and the Little Ten, this was it. Michigan State is reloading, while the rest of the conference scraps for space amongst themselves as Ohio State and Michigan take off into their own stratosphere.

Here’s a quick glance at how we think the Big Ten shakes out.

1. Ohio State (12-1 overall in 2015, 7-1 Big Ten): Losing all but six of your 22 starters would be a problem for anyone but Ohio State. If the 2014 team played like a pack of lions, the 2015 bunch was a pack of lions playing with a belly full of antelope: the ability was there, the desire wasn’t. This year’s group is just as talented, they just haven’t had the chance to prove it yet.

2. Michigan (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Many think next year will be The Year for Michigan. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t like working on other people’s timelines. I like this year’s team to lose to Ohio State but still reach the College Football Playoff.

3. Michigan State (12-2, 7-1 Big Ten): Seemingly every year Michigan State reaches a height previously thought to be unattainable, but last year’s second-in-three-years Big Ten championship and CFP appearance feels like the farthest Mark Dantonio can take this team now that Michigan is no longer out to a decade-long lunch.

4. Penn State (7-6, 4-4 Big Ten): With college football’s most miserable marriage of James Franklin and Christian Hackenberg at long last over, this should be the year Penn State starts to look like the Penn State Franklin wants it to be, especially with Joe Moorhead running the offense. The residual effects of the sanctions, though, say 2017 may be more like it.

5. Maryland (3-9, 1-7 Big Ten): Might as well place a giant “Under Construction” sign out side the program as D.J. Durkin works to build Maryland into a program after Jim Harbaugh‘s image.

6. Rutgers (3-9, 1-7 Big Ten): Ditto as above, but with an even larger “Under Construction” sign and Harbaugh’s mug crossed out from it and Urban Meyer‘s pasted crudely on top.

7. Indiana (6-7, 2-7 Big Ten): Kevin Wilson has done some nice things in Bloomington. He’s run the ball as well as anyone in the conference, he put a scare into Ohio State last season and he took the Hooisers to a bowl game. The rest of the Big Ten East is getting better, though, and Indiana is, well, Indiana.

1. Nebraska (6-7, 3-5 Big Ten): In a division that will largely come down to who gets lucky at the right time, go with a team whose luck is due to flip after losing six one-score games in 2015.

2. Northwestern (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Normally Northwestern takes a tumble after Pat Fitzgerald‘s bunch builds to a 10-win peak, needing to reload after losing the bulk of a senior-laden team. The 2016 Wildcats bring back enough to contend again.

3. Iowa (12-2, 8-0 Big Ten): Kirk Ferentz‘s teams zig when they’re supposed to zag, and zag when they’re supposed to zig. Last year’s undefeated regular season, coming one stop shy of an improbable Cotton Bowl run, was a zig. Most expect the Hawkeyes to zig again this year. We know better.

4. Wisconsin (10-3, 6-2 Big Ten): Feels like Paul Chryst, while a solid coach, will only take the Badgers to heights seen previously under Gary Andersen and Bret Bielema, but not above them.

5. Illinois (5-7, 2-6 Big Ten): New AD Josh Whitman made a bold move in hiring longtime NFL coach Lovie Smith to head a program to which he had no prior connection. Building the Illini to a contender will take time, but keeping Wes Lunt healthy may be all Illinois needs to reach a bowl game this fall.

6. Minnesota (6-7, 2-6 Big Ten): ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has the Gophers winning the Big Ten West. I’m willing to be wrong in saying he’ll be way, way wrong.

7. Purdue (2-10, 1-7 Big Ten): Make no mistake: this is a make or break year for Darrell Hazell, especially with new AD Mike Bobinski now in place. I think he’ll break.

Maryland names starting QB, adds UNC transfer QB Caleb Henderson

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 07: Quarterback Perry Hills #11 of the Maryland Terrapins makes a pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first half at Byrd Stadium on November 7, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There were a couple of developments on the quarterback front for Maryland Wednesday morning.

The one with the most immediate impact was the announcement that Perry Hills has been named the Terps’ starter at the position.  Hills, a senior, had been involved in an offseason-long competition with fellow senior Caleb Rowe for the starting job.

Hills started eight games last season and ran for 535 yards, the fourth-most by a quarterback in the program’s history.  He also tossed 13 interceptions; in fact, Hills and Rowe, who started the other four games, combined to toss a staggering 28 interceptions.

Of the 114 quarterbacks in passing efficiency listed on the NCAA’s stats website, Hills was 109th.  The 114th?  Rowe.

“After an open competition through the spring and the first two-plus weeks of training camp, we’re excited to move forward with Perry as our starting quarterback,” said first-year head coach DJ Durkin in a statement. “Perry has embraced this challenge from day one and has put in the work and shown improvement every day. He’s grasped our offense and the way we want to do things, and has shown tremendous leadership.”

In addition to the Hills news, the U of M also announced the addition of transfer Caleb Henderson.  The quarterback had just confirmed via Twitter four days ago that he would be transferring from North Carolina.

A four-star member of UNC’s 2014 recruiting class, Henderson was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Virginia.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Henderson played in a pair of games last season.  He attempted one pass, which fell incomplete.

Henderson will be forced to sit out the 2016 season.  He’ll then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.