Football can as cruel a sport as it is gratifying. No one showed that more today than Army quarterback Trent Steelman.
The Black Knights, which had lost 10 consecutive games to Navy, led the Midshipmen 13-10 with just under seven minutes remaining in the game. It would have been a six-point game had Eric Osteen, already 2-for-2 on the day made a 37-yard field goal.
Instead, Osteen’s third attempt sailed wide left, and Navy mounted a seven-play, 80-yard drive to score a touchdown in just over two minutes. Given that Navy had just over 200 yards of offense the entire game until that point, the Midshipmen’s scoring drive was surprising as it was quick. Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds connected with Brandon Turner for a 49-yard gain and Reynolds punched it in one play later.
That left Army with 4:41 left. Steelman orchestrated a 70-yard drive to put the Black Knights inside the Navy 15. Needing a touchdown — remember the Osteen miss — Steelman handed off to running back Larry Dixon, who fumbled. Navy recovered. It was Army’s third turnover of the game.
Just like that, the game was over. Navy won 17-13, its 11th straight over Army to take Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, and another class goes through West Point without beating its rival.
Steelman was inconsolable. A four-year starter, Steelman’s had a fantastic career at West Point. He gave everything he had today and came up short. Again.
You don’t want to get too caught up in the drama of the moment, but the image of Steelman sobbing during the playing of the alma maters was equal parts heartbreaking and powerful.
And that’s why Army-Navy, no matter the records or the win streaks, still ranks among the great games in college football.
It’s déjà vu all over again for the Big 12.
In late April, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was selected first-overall in the 2018 NFL draft. In early June, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was taken with the No. 9 pick of the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. Thursday night, Oklahoma basketball quarterback Trae Young — some people call his position in that sport a point guard, but whatever — was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 5 pick of the 2018 NBA draft.
All of that draft action over the last two months gives the Sooners three Top-10 picks in those three sports in the same calendar year, the first time that’s happened since… OU’s Red River Shootout rivals pulled off the exact same draft trifecta more than a decade ago.
Young was the third player taken by the Tennessee Titans in that year’s draft, while Huff was grabbed at No. 7 overall by the Oakland Raiders. Stubbs, meanwhile, was the No. 8 pick of the Cincinnati Reds while the Chicago Bulls used the No. 2 overall pick on Aldridge.
So there’s that do-it-again for the Big 12, which is nice.
Even as Florida Atlantic has made a significant commitment to Lane Kiffin — and vice versa — it still won’t cost Power Five programs a sizable amount of money to pry him away from the Conference USA school.
It was confirmed in December of last year that Kiffin and FAU had reached an agreement in principle on a new 10-year contract, although very few, if any, particulars were made available. Fast-forward six months, and fauowlaccess.com is reporting that not only is the deal now official, but there are also some specifics contained in the revamped contract that can now be revealed.
Most notably, given the fact that most expect Kiffin to bolt for a bigger job at some point after the 2018 season ends — of course, those same observers thought the same after the 2017 season ended — is the buyout language contained in the new contract. Specifically, it remains the same language contained in the old five-year deal the new 10-year pact replaced.
From the website’s report:
FAU elected not to alter the buyout clause in Kiffin’s contract. Leaving between now and January of 2019 would cost Kiffin $2 million. The buyout drops $500,000 per year through 2021.
A $2 million buyout, of course, would not prevent most Power Five schools from pursuing Kiffin if they’re looking for a head coach as the 2018 regular season winds down.
As for pay, Kiffin’s annual base salary of $950,000 remains unchanged from the terms of his previous deal, fauowlsaccess.com is also reporting. That $950,000 is also what he was paid in 2017, a number that was third in the conference behind UT-San Antonio’s Frank Wilson ($1.137 million) and North Texas’ Seth Littrell ($991,000).
Taking over a program that was coming off of back-to-back-back 3-9 seasons, Kiffin led the Owls to an 11-win campaign in 2017 that included a 10-game winning streak that they’ll carry into 2018. The wins set a school record and the football program also claimed its first-ever conference championship.
Berkley Edwards, the younger brother of former Michigan standout Braylon Edwards, is apparently following in his brother’s footsteps. According to a report from The Michigan Insider, Berkley Edwards is planning on transferring from Central Michigan to walk on with the Wolverines.
Edwards will be using a sixth year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to play his final season for the same program his brother and father Stan Edwards once did.
Edwards began his college career at Minnesota in 2013. He spent one year as a redshirt and later sat out the 2016 season as a transfer to Central Michigan. Edwards was a part of the Central Michigan special teams unit last season and has previously handled rushing duties at Minnesota. At Michigan, Edwards will likely fill a spot on the depth chart at running back and special teams, although his role is expected to be as a reserve option for each as he gets started with the Wolverines.
Edwards will be eligible to play for Michigan this season. Michigan has not formally announced the addition of Edwards to the football program at this time.
Western Michigan running back Matt Falcon just can’t seem to catch a break, it seems. After injuring his knee last season, Falcon has been medically disqualified to play for the Broncos this fall, according to a Battle Creek Enquirer report. Western Michigan will also be without redshirt freshman defensive lineman Dezmond Lance, who has also been medically disqualified.
Falcon redshirted for Western Michigan in 2016 under former head coach and current Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck. Falcon came to Minnesota after being offered a medical scholarship at Michigan after a second ACL injury in his senior year of high school. He injured the same knee during camp prior to the 2017 season and managed to make just one appearance for the MAC program. Falcon rushed for 37 yards on 10 rushing attempts.
Due to his injury history, Falcon was likely only to play a reserve role in the running game for Western Michigan this fall. Regardless, not being able to contribute this fall has to be disappointing for a player that was once rated as a four-star recruit in high school. In terms of his eligibility, the time to petition for a medical exemption for an extra year of eligibility could eventually be on the table for Falcon, although that does not need to be decided just yet.
Junior defensive back Brad Tanner has also been confirmed to have left the program.