Jeremy Clark started the first three games of the 2016 season for Michigan because All-American Jourdan Lewis was battling through some nagging injuries.
Lewis (pictured, No. 34) returned to the lineup Saturday against Penn State, but, unfortunately, it appears his replacement has been lost for a substantial period of time. In fact, after the beatdown of the Nittany Lions, head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t shy away from the fact that the senior cornerback is likely gone for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL.
“Sad right now about Jeremy Clark, I don’t think we’re going to be able to dodge a bullet on that one. That’s got everyone in the locker room a little sad right now,” Harbaugh said. “We think it’s a season-ender, we think it’s an ACL. We’ll know more tonight.”
A fifth-year senior, whether Clark would qualify for a sixth season is decidedly unclear.
While Clark stepped aside for the return of Lewis, he would’ve been a consideration for the starter at the corner position opposite the All=Big Ten performer. At the very least, he likely would’ve served as the nickel corner.
Prior to this season, Clark had made 13 starts for the Wolverines.
If you’re listening closely, you can hear the heat underneath James Franklin‘s seat warming ever so slightly. Still.
Saturday afternoon, Penn State never had a chance against Michigan in Ann Arbor, falling behind 28-0 in the first half before the Wolverines hit cruise control to ease into an embarrassingly easy 49-10 win in the Big House. The Nittany Lions, with a rash of injuries up front, were outgained 298-40 in rushing yards, a microcosm of how dominated the visiting team was on the day.
Even more disturbing is this game merely continued a trend under Franklin.
Franklin-led Penn State teams have faced the Big Ten East’s heavyweights Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State seven times. Not only have the Nittany Lions lost all seven, they’ve lost those seven by an average of 22 points per game. Five of those losses were by 12 points or more, with four of those coming by 24 or more.
In other words, the Nittany Lions under Franklin aren’ even remotely ready to compete in their own division let alone climbing back onto the national stage once again. It seems doubtful that, unless the wheels and transmission and engine completely fell off between now and the end of November, the athletic director would pull the trigger on a move after three seasons.
Should the struggles against the Big Three continue into the 2017 season? That’s a situation that will bear watching, especially as Franklin’s struggles against good teams stretch all the way back to his Vanderbilt days.
For future reference, Nyeem Wartman-White might want to avoid making appearances on special teams moving forward — especially if Temple is involved.
The Penn State linebacker injured his knee covering a punt in the 2015 season opener against Temple and missed the remainder of the year. A little over a year later, Wartman-White’s season has met a premature end because of yet another knee injury.
Wartman-White suffered the injury in the Week 3 win over Temple. The Owls were forced to punt, but Wartman-White remained on the field as the Nittany Lions went to a “punt-safe” formation in defending against a possible fake. The fifth-year senior’s knee buckled in what was described as a non-contact injury.
Perhaps the only silver lining for Wartman-White is that he will be a slam dunk for a medical waiver that would grant him a sixth season of eligibility he could use next year.
Wartman-White had started the first three games of the 2016 season for the Nittany Lions. He started the opener last year as well before the injury. The two years prior to that, Wartman-White had started a total of 20 games.
As a true freshman in 2012, Wartman-White’s season came to an end after just two games as he sustained a knee injury on the opening kickoff of the second game.
This current injury is the latest to hit PSU’s linebacking corps as starters Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell missed the Temple game because of their own health issues. Their statuses for this weekend’s game against Michigan remain very much up in the air.
As the Lamar Jackson Heisman hype train hurtles down the tracks, at least one wagering establishment has wholeheartedly hopped aboard.
In its latest set of odds released Tuesday afternoon, Bovada.lv has pushed the Louisville quarterback to its pole position for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. In fact, Jackson, whose 18 touchdowns this season are more than all but seven teams have scored through three weeks, is the site’s overwhelming favorite at 1/2 after being at 6/1 just one week ago.
The Sept. 13 favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has gone from 5/1 to 8/1. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (9/2) has slightly longer odds at 11/2, while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett held steady at 6/1.
Greg Ward Jr. saw one of the biggest surges as the Houston quarterback went from 25/1 a week ago to 16/1.
Leonard Fournette was Bovada‘s preseason Heisman favorite at 4/1. The LSU running back dropped to 12/1 after Week 2 and 20/1 after Week 3. Around this time last year, Fournette was the Bovada favorite for the Heisman that ultimately went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who couldn’t even crack the top six 12 months ago.
Two players that were off the board last go ’round were added: San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey (25/1) and Washington quarterback Jake Browning (40/1). A handful of players were taken off the board, most notably quarterbacks Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).
Below is the complete list of Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:
Penn State’s decision to honor their disgraced former head coach didn’t sit well with a lot of folks, including their Week 3 opposition’s fans.
The university announced earlier this month that it would be commemorating Joe Paterno‘s first head-coaching victory 50 years ago this month during the Sept. 17 game against Temple in Happy Valley. Athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a subsequent statement partially explaining the reasoning behind the the controversial commemoration that the “activities will focus on the commitment he had to student-athletes and academics.”
The Temple fans in attendance at Beaver Stadium, however, opted to remind those in attendance of the perceived negligence on the part of Paterno during a videoboard presentation honoring the legendary head coach.
Five years ago, Paterno was fired in disgrace amidst the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.