Bowling Green Falcons

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 15: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is seen during the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on October 15, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 17-10. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

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Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Bowling Green suspends S CJ Pickrom after assault arrest

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This is normally the point in the program where we note a triggering of the resetting of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker but, that was already been taken care of earlier today so we’ll just go ahead and move on.

Bowling Green has announced that rising true sophomore CJ Pickrom has been indefinitely suspended from head football coach Mike Jinks‘ program.  The Toledo Blade reports that the suspension stems from an incident that occurred Jan. 18 at a local drinking establishment.

From the Blade‘s report:

According to a Bowling Green police report, Pickrom consumed a shot of an alcoholic beverage, then was preparing to consume another shot when “an unknown person bumped into him and spilled the second shot.”

The report said Pickrom “became angry and struck a female that was standing nearby.” The report added that the female said she was not injured at the time, but later the mother of the female Pickrom allegedly struck said the female had a “minor concussion and incurred some medical bills” and also had sustained a black eye.

While Pickrom was initially charged with disorderly conduct, it was subsequently upgraded to misdemeanor assault.  The 18-year-old defensive back is also facing an underage drinking charge.

“We are aware of an incident involving CJ Pickrom,” Jinks said in a statement. “He has been indefinitely suspended from the team and will take part in the University’s student code of conduct process.

“We do not, and will not, condone this type of behavior in our program.”

As  true freshman, Pickrom played in five games.

Pick problems lead Bowling Green to make a change at QB

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 3:  James Knapke #3 of the Bowling Green Falcons is sacked by Nick Bosa #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the fourth quarter on September 3, 2016 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Bowling Green 77-10. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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In 118 pass attempts this season, James Knapke has tossed nine interceptions, the most of any FBS quarterback through Week 4.  Entering Week 5, Bowling Green isn’t planning on allowing the senior quarterback to add to that total.

In a brief statement Thursday morning, BGSU head coach Mike Jinks announced that redshirt freshman James Morgan will start at quarterback Saturday against Eastern Michigan.  Morgan replaced Knapke in the loss to Memphis last week after the starter tossed three interceptions.

Morgan himself hasn’t been averse to turnovers, however, as he has thrown three in 46 attempts.

After Matt Johnson went down with a season-ending injury in the 2014 opener, Knapke took over as the starter and threw for 3,173 yards, 15 and 12 interceptions.  A healthy Johnson (shut it, 12-year-olds) reclaimed his job in 2015, but Knapke took over again in 2016 as Johnson’s eligibility expired.

Not only are Knapke’s interceptions the most in the country, but his pass efficiency rating of 88.4 is the worst of the 121 FBS quarterbacks listed on the NCAA.com stats page.

LOOK: Teams across the country commemorate 9/11 anniversary

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As you are no doubt aware, tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of one of the darkest days this country has ever faced.

To commemorate and honor those souls lost in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, as well as the military that continues to keep us safe, teams all across the country used the Week 2 game-day stage to wear helmets and uniforms — and gloves and cleats — in remembrance of 9/11.  Below are but a few of those:

(Writer’s note: schools or fans, if I’m missing any — and I’m sure I am — forward them to me at John.Taylor AT nbcuni.com and I’ll add them.)

J.T. Barrett accounts for five first-half TDs, but OSU loses starting D-lineman to potentially serious injury

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 3:  J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes warms up prior to the start of the game against the Bowling Green Falcons on September 3, 2016 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t the start either J.T. Barrett or Ohio State hoped to have, but, suffice to say, the redshirt junior found a way to very loudly bounce back.

The quarterback’s second pass of the season was intercepted by Bowling Green’s Brandon Harris and returned 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons an early 7-0 lead in Columbus.  After that, and with the exception of another pass that should’ve been picked and could’ve been another Pick Six, it was all Barrett.

Barrett, who inexplicably lost his starting job to Cardale Jones last season before rightfully regaining it, tossed four first-half touchdown passes in helping to lead the Buckeyes to a 35-7 halftime lead over the MAC school.  All four of those touchdowns went to four different receivers, and it marked the fifth four-touchdown game of his career.  That breaks the school record previously held by Troy Smith.

Barrett also added a late touchdown run to push the lead out to four touchdowns.

In addition to the touchdowns, Barrett also passed for 244 yards in completing 66 percent of his 21 pass attempts. Barrett also added 30 yards on six carries for good measure as well.

Mike Weber, making his first career star, led both teams with 84 yards on the ground.  All-purpose back Curtis Samuel led the team with 94 receiving yards, while also adding 67 yards on the ground

It wasn’t just the offense and its 456 yards as the defense held the Falcons’ potent attack to just 166 total yards while also producing one highlight turnover.

It wasn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows for the Buckeyes, unfortunately, as starting defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle went down with a right knee injury in the first quarter of the contest. Sprinkle has already been ruled out for the remainder of the game, and the tackle could be sidelined for an extended period of time.