Rutgers grabs comfortable win against Iowa State in Pinstripe Bowl

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Much of the story of the second Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Friday was written in the opening quarter. The central theme from Iowa State’s perspective was its inability to cash in on field position against the 12th-best scoring the defense in the country. As a result, when the Cyclones fell behind, they could not make up enough ground in what would be a 27-13 loss to Rutgers in front of an announced crowd 38,328.

While they came away with points, the Cyclones had to settle for a pair of Zach Guyer field goals on their first two drives despite reaching at least the Scarlet Knights’ 25-yard line both times. The Rutgers defense, which was allowing only 18.7 points per game coming in, bent but did not break. When Jawan Jamison plunged in from a yard out early in the second quarter, Rutgers had a 7-6 lead and an advantage it would not relinquish.

“We were controlling the football game, but had only six points,” said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who signed a 10-year extension on Dec. 16. “We had our opportunities and failed to execute.”

Limiting the damage to six points was huge for Rutgers, which did not change up its schemes despite Iowa State’s ability to move the ball on those first two drives.

“We didn’t make any adjustments,” said coach Greg Schiano. “We just got acclimated to the speed of the game. Our kids calmed down and played big on third down.”

The Cyclones not only squandered field position – they reached the Rutgers 26 late in the first half and came away with nothing to show for it – but penalties also hurt the cause. After San San Te’s 26-yard field goal put Rutgers up 10-6, Iowa State appeared to take the lead when Jarvis West returned the ensuing kick 93 yards. However, Iowa State was guilty of holding. With Steele Jantz having taken over for Jared Barnett at quarterback, Iowa State (6-7) shook it off and moved the ball. Guyer, though, missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. The Scarlet Knights (9-4) took over and pieced together a 10-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by Jamison’s 12-yard touchdown run for a 17-6 lead. Jamison finished with 134 yards on 27 carries.

The teams spent most of the third quarter trading punts before Te drilled a 29-yard field with 13:21 remaining in the fourth quarter to increase Rutgers’ lead to 20-6. Rhoads’ team still had some fight in it, however. Jeff Woody’s 20-yard TD run with 10 minutes remaining polished off a 76-yard drive and cut the deficit to 20-13. After the Cyclones failed to threaten on their next possession despite starting their next drive at their 42, they had Rutgers pinned deep in their own territory. But Chas Dodd, who started and then alternated at quarterback with Gary Nova, connected with Brandon Coleman on an 86-yard touchdown with 5:47 to play. The 6-foot-6 Coleman was covered by 5-foot-7 corner Jimmy Reaves.

“I thought that was a great play call,” said Schiano, citing offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. “It was a gutsy call and it was a huge turning point in the game.”

The Cyclones would march into the red zone with a chance to again make it a one-score game, but Darius Reynolds could not hold onto Jantz’s fourth-down pass in the end zone with 4:31 remaining.

Rutgers, playing its second game at Yankee Stadium this season, has the longest active bowl winning streak at five. They are 5-2 all-time in bowls. The Cyclones fell to 3-8 and were denied their 500th all-time win.

Royal Wedding barely beats CFP title game in TV ratings

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In case you didn’t already know, allow me to be the first to tell you there was a Royal Wedding over the weekend. The audience interested in watching Prince Harry wed Meghan Markel had next to nothing in common with those interested in watching Alabama and Georgia play football, but it turns out the two groups are nearly the exact same size.

According to a tweet by Front Office Sports, the Royal Wedding stands as the eighth most popular viewing spectacle of 2018 to date at 29.2 million viewers, just edging out the College Football Playoff Championship’s 28.4 million viewers.

Another similar dynamic played out when This Is Us‘s finale (on NBC!) nudged out Georgia’ Rose Bowl comeback over Oklahoma — 27 million to 26.9 million — for the No. 12 spot to date.

The good news here is that there shouldn’t be another Royal Wedding for, oh, another 25 years or so, so the 2019 CFP title game should have less competition for the No. 8 spot moving forward.

Former WKU offensive lineman will finish career with “Brohmsquad”

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Western Kentucky offensive lineman Dennis Edwards says he is going to finish his college football career with the same coach he started it with. In a message posted on Twitter, Edwards announced he will reunite with head coach Jeff Brohm, now at Purdue.

As a graduate transfer, Edwards will be eligible to play immediately this fall, which will be a nice boost to the depth at the offensive line position for Purdue. Unless he changes position, however, Edwards will likely be a backup center to provide depth. Kirk Barron returns to anchor the center of the line, one that loses just one starter from a year ago. But for a program that is still in the early stages of a rebuilding plan under Brohm, padded the depth on the offensive line can be instrumental in the sustained success for the program.

LSU officially welcomes Joe Burrow from Ohio State

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Last week, quarterback Joe Burrow announced his commitment to LSU as he prepares to move on from Ohio State. Today, LSU made it officially official.

LSU has announced it has officially signed graduate transfer Burrow for the 2018 season, making the quarterback transfer eligible to play immediately this fall. Burrow will also have two years of eligibility with the Tigers, which could be a potential boost to the entire LSU offense in 2018 and potentially in 2019.

Burrow was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2015, but he could not get ahead of J.T. Barrett on the depth chart. He did, however, serve as Barrett’s backup in 2016 and would have carried the same responsibility in 2017 if not for a broken bone in his right hand.

At LSU, Burrow will jump head first into a quarterback competition with Myles Brennan, Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse. However, it is expected Burrow will soar to the top of the depth chart fairly quickly, and in time for LSU’s season opener in Arlington, Texas against Miami on Labor Day weekend. Nothing will be a given though, so Burrow needs to get to work right away and establish himself as the best option for Ed Orgeron and the Tigers.

Jim Harbaugh says Michigan is going on safari in South Africa next spring

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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has said he wants to make a spring trip for the football program an annual event. Staying true to his word, Harbaugh announced Michigan will be heading to South Africa next spring.

“We’re going to (South) Africa,” Harbaugh said in a radio interview with WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor, according to The Detroit Free Press. “We’re going to Johannesburg and Cape Town and we’re going to do a safari. How about that? How about a safari?”

This spring, Michigan visited Paris. Last year, the team took a trip to Rome. This all started becoming a thing after opposing football coaches in the south caused an uproar over Michigan packing up the program and heading to Clearwater for some spring football practices.

Each of the past two trips for Michigan have been covered by donations from some big-money donors to the program. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and The Graham Group founder Don Graham split the bill for Michigan’s trip to Paris this spring. Kotick also took up the expenses for Michigan’s trip to Rome in 2017. It is unknown how Michigan is covering the pending expense of a trip to South Africa at this time, but if donors with deep pockets keep taking care of the charges, there is no reason not to take advantage of the travel opportunities.

In the meantime, Harbaugh has plenty of time to pick out a good safari hat to go with his finest pairs of khaki pants. Of course, he’ll probably stick to the blue Michigan cap to keep with his style abroad.