Nevada Wolf Pack

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.

Notre Dame’s Shaun Crawford tears Achilles; season likely over

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 04:  Shaun Crawford #20 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball after making an interception during the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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For the second straight year, Shaun Crawford has sustained a significant injury to one of his legs.

In the first quarter of Notre Dame’s game against Nevada, Crawford went down with an injury to his left leg.  It was subsequently reported that Crawford had sustained a torn Achilles tendon.

The injury will likely put an end to the redshirt freshman cornerback’s season.

Crawford sustained a torn ACL in summer camp last year that cost the four-star recruit his entire true freshman season. The good news, if you want to call it that, is Crawford would be a sure-fire candidate for fifth and sixth seasons of eligibility from the NCAA.

The injury is a blow to the Irish defense, our own JJ Stankevitz writes for CSNChicago.com, as Crawford had been “a big part of Notre Dame’s secondary, with a much-needed ability to excel both as a nickel and outside cornerback.”

In his first career game, Crawford intercepted a pass in the season-opening loss to Texas last weekend.

Torii Hunter ruled out of Notre Dame’s game with concussion symptoms

Notre Dame wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (16) lies on the turf after he was injured during a play during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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A questionable play in Notre Dame’s opener will cost the Irish a playmaker in Week 2.

Head coach Brian Kelly revealed Friday night that Torii Hunter will not play in today’s game against Nevada because the wide receiver is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Late in the third quarter of the loss to Texas in the opener, Hunter was hit high by Longhorns defensive back DeShon Elliott on a play that most thought warranted a targeting call.

A review inexplicably deemed it a legal hit.

What went from a potential Irish touchdown morphed into a field-goal attempt that was blocked. The Longhorns went on to win 50-47 in a double-overtime thriller.

Prior to the hit that sent him into the locker room for evaluation, Hunter had caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Mountain West to consider expansion with or without Big 12 poaching

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05:  The Championship Trophy, with the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Game trophies, sit on a table fieldside prior to the Mountain West Championship game between the San Diego State Aztecs and  the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Regardless of what happens in one Power Five conference, one Group of Five league could be expanding.

Air Force and Colorado State of the Mountain West have reportedly made the cut as the Big 12 looks to expand by at least two teams and possibly four.  That conference could make their expansion decision as early as the next month.

In the meantime, the MWC won’t be sitting idly by waiting to be poached as commissioner Craig Thompson confirmed Saturday that his conference will look to expand independent of what the Big 12 does.  And, more to the point, Thompson doesn’t hide the fact that the league would like a presence in the state of Texas.

“I can say this — and I said it at our [football] media days. We have a lot of people saying, ‘If there’s an opportunity to be in your league, we’re interested.’ So there are numbers there,” Thompson said, without getting into any specifics. “I’ve challenged our membership to think about expansion — with or without losing [current] members. Do we look east? Do we look at the state of Texas, for example?

“So that’s probably going to be something we have to confront this year.”

The Salt Lake Tribune mentions current Conference USA members North Texas, Rice, UTEP and UT-San Antonio as possibilities from the state of Texas.  The Sun Belt’s Arkansas State is also considered a viable option.

Iowa strength coach’s salary more than 29 FBS head coaches

The Strength and Conditioning Center in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 in Iowa City.  (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)
Iowa athletics
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They take their strength program seriously at Iowa.  How seriously?

According to a report from USA Today, Iowa football strength & conditioning coach Chris Doyle “will make $595,000 in base compensation from the university for a one-year period that began July 1.”  The information was obtained as part of an open-records request by the newspaper’s website..

The newspaper’s website notes that total is more than 29 FBS public-school head coaches made in base salary last year.  Nevada’s Brian Polian ($578,000), Ohio’s Frank Solich ($564,000) and Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz ($517,000) are among the two dozen coaches who earned less in 2015 than what Doyle will make in 2016-17.

Additionally, Doyle will make as much as Hawkeyes offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Phil Parker are scheduled to make.

 

CHA STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING CENTER“Most of the people who follow our program know that what’s very important to Kirk is student-athlete development — physically, mentally, leadership,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta told the paper. “He relies heavily on Chris’ role in that.”

In comparison to his peers, Doyle’s salary is more than double the salaries of other Big Ten S&C coaches.  He also makes $70,000 more than Alabama’s Scott Cochran.

The 48-year-old Doyle has been Iowa’s strength coach for every one of Kirk Ferentz‘s 18 seasons with the Hawkeyes.