Mid-American Conference

Sackless in South Bend: Irish lone remaining FBS team without a sack

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And then there was one.

Entering Week 4, Nevada and Notre Dame were the lone FBS teams that had yet to register a sack during the first quarter of the 2016 season.  Midway through the second quarter of the game against Purdue today, however, Nevada’s Korey Rush sacked David Blough for a four-yard loss.

With Notre Dame not playing until 3:30 ET this afternoon (on NBC), that leaves the Irish standing alone as the only sackless team left at the FBS level.

Ironically enough, Purdue entered today’s game as one of five FBS teams, along with East Carolina, Northern Illinois, Texas State and West Virginia, that had recorded just one sack on the year.  And, for those who are curious, Florida came into Week 4 leading the nation in sacks with 16.

No. 2 in that category?  The Irish’s opponent this afternoon, the Blue Devils (tied with Ball State).

UPDATED 6:11 p.m. ET: And then there were none.

Early in the third quarter of the game with Duke, Nyles Morgan sacked Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones, giving the Irish their first sack of the season 14 quarters after it started.

Racial graffiti triggers peaceful protest at EMU game; SMU band members kneel during anthem

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 23:  A member of the against the Southern Methodist Mustangs marching band kneels during the playing of the national anthem before the Southern Methodist Mustangs take on the TCU Horned Frogs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 23, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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An off-campus incident in Ypsilanti earlier in the week prompted an on-field reaction from Eastern Michigan students Friday night.

Wednesday, someone spray painted the letters “KKK” in red, white and blue on a campus building.  Another message that read “Leave N******” was left on a courtyard wall.

During last night’s game, a 27-24 win over Wyoming, EMU students chanted “We stand up! We fight back, when black lives are under attack!” as play went on, with the university’ president talking to the students at one point during the second half of the contest.  After the game, the protest bled onto the field as fans gathered peacefully around midfield to further drive home their message.

The protests weren’t limited to Ypsilanti as several members of the SMU marching band took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the game against TCU.

The state of Michigan? Just one loss amongst five FBS teams

EVANSTON, IL- SEPTEMBER 03: P.J. Fleck head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos reacts after his teams win against the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2016 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. the Western Michigan Broncos won 22-21. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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If you’re an FBS program in the state of Michigan, you’re off to a pretty good start to the 2016 season. In fact, it’s damn-near perfect.

Eastern Michigan, amidst a peaceful protest, was able to hold off Wyoming Friday night to push its record to 3-1 on the young season. That marks the first time in more than two decades that the Eagles have started a season at 3-1.

Not only that, but it continues into Week 4 what’s been a rather remarkable first three weeks of the season for the FBS teams in the state.

Michigan and Michigan State of the Big Ten are 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, thus far. EMU’s directional counterparts, Central Michigan and Big Ten West leader Western Michigan, are each 3-0.

Add it all up, as Bruce Feldman did on his Twitter account, and the five FBS teams from the state of Michigan are a combined 14-1 heading into a Saturday that will see UM (Penn State, 2-1), MSU (Wisconsin, 3-0), CMU (Virginia, 0-3) and WMU (Georgia Southern, 3-0) look to push that mark to 18-1.

In the here and now, though, how does that .933 winning percentage compare to other states with three or more FBS teams at this juncture of the 2016 season? Let’s take a peek.

Colorado — .750 (6-2)
Tennessee — .727 (8-3)
Georgia — .692 (9-4)
Kentucky — .667 (6-3)
Utah — .667 (6-3)
Florida — .619 (13-8)
California — 12-8 (.600)
Indiana — .600 (6-4)
Texas — .595 (22-15)
Alabama — .583 (7-5)
Oklahoma — .555 (5-4)
Pennsylvania — .555 (5-4)
North Carolina — .542 (13-11)
Ohio — .542 (13-11)
New York — .500 (4-4)
Louisiana — .467 (7-8)
Mississippi — .444 (4-5)
Illinois — .222 (2-7)

One note before somebody starts whining despite the three-team stipulation: the state of Maryland is undefeated but has “just” two FBS programs, with both Maryland and Navy sitting at 3-0 each.

ArDarius Stewart questionable for Alabama’s Week 4 game

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Branden Leston #31 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers tackles ArDarius Stewart #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The play was called back on a penalty at the line of scrimmage.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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After ArDarius Stewart sustained what was thought to be a knee injury in the Week 3 win over Ole Miss, it was thought that Alabama would err on the side of caution when it came to the wide receiver’s availability in Week 4.  With Week 4 fast approaching, that still appears to be the Tide’s tack.

Wednesday, Nick Saban labeled Stewart as questionable for this Saturday’s game against the head coach’s alma mater Kent State.  Given the level of competition, and with the continuation of SEC play on the horizon — it’s Kentucky, but still — seeing Stewart on the field against the MAC opponent would be borderline stunning.

In the early portion of the season, Stewart has shown that his offensive production will be necessary, if not crucial, once the Tide gets into the meat of their conference schedule.

Through three games, Stewart leads the Tide with 203 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns and a 22.6 yards per catch average.  His nine receptions are second to All-SEC receiver Calvin Ridley‘s 11.

LOOK: Mississippi State will dress Patriotic for visit to UMass Saturday

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the first quarter of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, Mississippi State and Adidas are huge fans of the New England Patriots.

The Bulldogs will pay Massachusetts a visit — and not for a vacation, an actual football game — on Saturday, and the Minutemen will use the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium as their own.

So Mississippi State will dress like the Patriots.

Take a look, and then compare with the shot of the Patriots’ uniform above.

Mississippi State and UMass have never met previously, so how is this a “homecoming,” as Adidas describes it? Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen grew up in Manchester, N.H., which Google Maps tells me is just a short two-hour drive from Foxborough.

Anything you can do to psyche yourself up to play UMass in an empty stadium, I guess.