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Western Michigan TE explains sister’s premature field rush and hug that went viral

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An explanation has been given for one of the most memorable moments of not only Week 6 but the entire 2017 college football season.

In the first overtime of what turned into a seven-overtime affair this past weekend, Western Michigan tight end Donnie Ernsberger scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass that, with the successful extra point, sent the game into a second overtime. Moments after the catch, Ernsberger’s sister, Shalene, wearing a No. 85 Ernsberger jersey, came onto the field during the game to give her brother a celebratory hug.

Again, during the game.

“She thought the game was ended by my touchdown,” the football-playing Ernsberger explained to the Buffalo News. “I was astonished that she got down there so fast. I was in disbelief that she was there before all of my teammates. …

“She was excited for her brother, and it just shows the family love we have.”

One of those teammates had a classic response to the development.

“It was hilarious,” WMU running back Jarvion Franklin told ESPN.com. “She ran right past me on the field and I was like ‘Girl, you’re crazy.’ I wasn’t mad. People were laughing and kind of got us a little more energized.”

Shalene Ernsberger was escorted off the field and out of the stadium by security, although no charges were filed. Initially, the officiating crew threw a flag and penalized the Broncos 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, but ultimately picked up the flag when it was discovered that the field rusher in question was not a part of the WMU football program.

WATCH: sister of WMU TE rushes the field DURING THE GAME to hug brother after his overtime TD

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College football is simply the best.

Example No. 18, 485?  In the first overtime of Western Michigan’s wild MACtion romp with Buffalo, tight end Donnie Ernsberger scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass that, with the successful extra point, sent the game into a second overtime.  What made this post-worthy is the fact that, apparently, Ernsberger’s sister came onto the field during the game to give her brother a celebratory hug.

Seriously.

I don’t care who you are — well, unless you’re an Ernsberger — that’s flat awesome.

As for the game itself?  It went on for six additional overtimes after the Hug Hear ‘Round the MAC, with WMU winning 71-68 in the seventh overtime on a Jarvion Franklin 12-yard touchdown run.  Bulls quarterback Drew Anderson passed 597 yards and seven touchdowns, both school records, in a losing effort.

The seven-overtime game, incidentally, tied the FBS all-time record as well, matching 2001 Arkansas-Ole Miss, 2003 Arkansas-Kentucky and 2006 Florida International-North Texas.  The 139 combined points and the 68 points by the losing team also broke the previous FBS records.

Injury won’t hamstring starting corner Antoine Winfield in Minnesota’s opener

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At least when it comes to Minnesota, there’s actually some positive news on the injury front for a Power Five team.

Nearly three weeks ago, Antoine Winfield Jr. suffered an injury to his hamstring that was described at the time as a “tweak.” The injury ultimately forced the sophomore cornerback to either miss or be limited for the remainder of summer camp.

With the opener against Buffalo just a couple of days away, though, P.J. Fleck confirmed in a radio interview over the weekend that the starting corner will indeed be good to go against the MAC school.

“He’s a phenomenal player,’’ the first-year Gophers head coach said of the sophomore according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’ll continue to watch him.”

Winfield, the son of former Ohio State and NFL star Antoine Winfield Sr., started nine of the 12 games in which he played as a true freshman last season.

Toledo and Ohio top preseason MAC coaches poll

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While most of the 2017 conference predictions and preseason polls have been out there for over a month from the media day circuit, the MAC has held off until today to reveal its preseason coaches poll. As it turns out, the coaches in the MAC have some varied opinions on how things will shake out in the MAC this football season.

Ohio and Toledo were each selected to win the MAC East and West Divisions, respectively, by the coaches of the MAC, although a few others received first-place votes in each division as well. Ohio picked up nine first-place votes in the East to pull ahead of Miami. Ohio won the division last season and hopes to clinch its first MAC championship since 1968. Ohio has never played in back-to-back MAC Championship games, so returning to the game this year would mark a first for the Bobcats.

Toledo last won the MAC in 2004 but the Rockets are widely considered a conference favorite this season. Still, the coaches in the MAC have a different take on the West Division with four other teams receiving first-place votes. Toledo still received seven first-place votes, but defending conference champion Western Michigan picked up two, and Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Ball State each received a first-place vote from the MAC coaches.

Here is how the MAC coaches poll looks. For reference, the preseason media poll also tabbed Ohio and Toledo, with the Rockets being named the preseason conference championship favorite. The coaches did not vote on a preseason conference champion.

2017 MAC Head Football Coaches Preseason Poll

Team (First Place Votes)  Points

MAC East Division       

  1. Ohio (9)                                 69
  2. Miami (3)                              61
  3. Bowling Green                    45
  4. Akron                                     41
  5. Buffalo                                   20
  6. Kent State                            16

MAC West Division

  1. Toledo (7)                             66
  2. Western Michigan (2)        58
  3. Northern Illinois (1)            45
  4. Eastern Michigan               35
  5. Central Michigan (1)          31
  6. Ball State (1)                        17

Buffalo reportedly receives state approval for new $18 million football field house

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If it seems like every college football program has an indoor facility nowadays, that’s because it’s a statement that is pretty close to being true. Now it’s time to cross one of the few remaining FBS holdouts off the list of those without one as Buffalo has finally gotten a thumbs up to build one just across the street from the school’s football stadium.

Buffalo Business First reports that the state has given the green light to a nearly $18 million field house project and that the university could issue construction bids for the building as soon as next week.

The project will check off a lot of boxes for the athletic department and the football team in particular. It reportedly will result in a 90,000-square-foot facility that includes both a full turf field and a small track. The exact timeline still appears to be up in the air a bit but it seems as though the school will receive bids soon and then commence construction sometime in early 2018.

That’s welcome news for head coach Lance Leipold as the Bulls were the lone MAC school without an indoor facility as of 2017. Given the winters (and fall’s and spring’s…) in upstate New York, the addition of a place to practice and train away from the elements should be a boon for the program going forward.