Seven-year-old battling brain cancer scores TD in Nebraska’s spring game

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By and large, the handful of spring games contested Saturday were rather pedestrian and mundane affairs, as should be expected.

Then there was Nebraska’s spring closer.

In the fourth quarter of the Cornhuskers’ annual spring game, No. 22 Jack Hoffman trotted off the sidelines and onto the field as the Red team was facing a critical fourth-and-one.  Now, you won’t find Hoffman in your game-day program or on any online roster; you see, Jack is a seven-year-old little boy who is battling pediatric brain cancer and has been adopted by the NU football family.

With quarterback Taylor Martinez lined up in the shotgun, and Jake lined up directly to his left, well, the following happened:

 

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“That was awesome for the team and for Jack,” Martinez said after the game in quotes distributed by the school. “He’s going to remember that for the rest of his life and so will I. It was awesome for him to score that touchdown.”

“Yeah, we drew up the play probably 30 seconds before so I’m sure it was all a blur for him,” fullback C.J. Zimmerer, who has been involved with Team Jack for several months, said. “I was telling some of the other reporters that he did a great job. We wanted to get him around the edge, giving him a nice lane to the end zone. He did a great job running his little legs there. He’s fast for a little guy. He did a great job for the pressure of 60,000 fans. I’m sure it was not very easy for a 7-year-old.”

To put an official stamp on the heartwarming, lump-in-the-throat gesture, here’s a portion of the box score Nebraska sent out following the spring game.  Pay particular attention to the Red team’s leading rusher:

Jake Hoffman Box Score

God bless little Jack as he continues his brave fight against this insidious disease.  And God bless the Nebraska football program for what they have done, did and will continue to do for that little boy and his family.

Just, wow.

Jim Thorpe Award reveals 14 semifinalists for 2018 honor

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You know how I know we’re getting close to the end of another regular season? Award semifinalists are being announced.

The first major award to do as such is the Jim Thorpe Award, with the trophy going to the nation’s top defensive back announcing a 14-player list of semifinalists. None of this year’s group were finalists or semifinalists for an award claimed last year by Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The SEC leads the way with three of the 14 semifinalists, followed by two apiece from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12. Two Group of Five conferences, the AAC and Conference USA, have one each. Notre Dame is the lone independent to make the in-season cut.

Miami, LSU and Texas are the lone teams with two semifinalists — Michael Jackson Jr. and Jaquan Johnson for the Hurricanes; safety Grant Delpit and cornerback Greedy Williams (pictured) for the Tigers; and cornerback Kris Boyd and safety Caden Stearns for the Longhorns.

Nearly half of the announced semifinalists (six) are seniors. Another three each are juniors and sophomores, while there is one freshman — the Longhorns’ Stearns.

As far as specific positions, eight are corners and six are safeties.

Below is the entirety of the players eligible to claim the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award:

Ugochukwu Amadi, Oregon, Safety, Sr.
DeAndre Baker, Georgia, Cornerback, Sr.
Kris Boyd, Texas, Cornerback, Sr.
Nate Brooks, North Texas, Cornerback, Sr.
Grant Delpit, LSU, Safety, So.
Richie Grant, UCF, Safety, RSo.
Lavert Hill, Michigan, Cornerback, Jr.
Michael Jackson, Sr., Miami (FL), Cornerback, Sr.
Jaquan Johnson, Miami (FL), Safety, Sr.
Julian Love, Notre Dame, Cornerback, Jr.
Amani Oruwariye, Penn State, Cornerback, Sr.
Taylor Rapp, Washington, Safety, Jr.
Caden Sterns, Texas, Safety, Fr.
Greedy Williams, LSU, Cornerback, So.

Duke loses starting LT to fractured ankle

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Duke’s fairly astonishing spate of injuries to starters shows no signs of abating anytime soon.

The Blue Devils announced over the weekend that Jaylen Miller underwent surgery Sunday morning to repair a fractured right ankle. Miller suffered the injury in Saturday’s loss to Virginia.

As a result, the redshirt sophomore offensive tackle will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Miller had played in all seven games this season, starting each of the last three contests at left tackle. Those were the first starts of his career. Prior to this season, the 6-3, 310-pound Miller had played in just two games.

Miller’s ankle is just the latest in a long line of injuries that have hit the Blue Devils this season. From the football program’s release:

Miller becomes the 11th Blue Devil with starting experience to miss at least one game this season due to injury, joining running back Brittain Brown, cornerback Michael Carter II, defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord, cornerback Mark Gilbert, center Zach Harmon, safety Jordan Hayes, quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive end Drew Jordan, safety Jeremy McDuffie, linebacker Koby Quansah and wide receiver Aaron Young.

Report: USC starting QB JT Daniels expected to play vs. Arizona State

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Could it be much ado about nothing?

With starter JT Daniels in concussion protocol and his backup, Matt Fink, nursing three broken ribs, it was appearing somewhat likely that USC would be forced to turn the offense over to No. 3 quarterback Jack Sears. According to one report, however, the redshirt freshman may not be needed this weekend after all — at least to start with.

Obviously, the Trojans’ quarterback situation/predicament will be fluid throughout the rest of the week leading up to the Week 9 matchup with Arizona State this Saturday and possibly not decided until we get closer to kickoff.

Daniels, the true freshman who has started every game this season, suffered his head injury in the loss to Utah this past Saturday. Fink injured his ribs in the same game.

Sears, meanwhile, has not attempted a pass in his collegiate career.

Warde Manuel essentially claims ‘SCOREBOARD!’ in latest Michigan-Michigan State salvo

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The most recent public pissing match between a pair of in-state rivals shows no sign of abating anytime soon.  At all.

To recap:

In response to that statement, U-M athletic director Warde Manuel released his own statement Monday night.  In it, Manuel began by writing about a pregame conversation with his MSU counterpart, Bill Beekman, that he preferred to keep private.  To end it, Manual not-so-discreetly declared “SCOREBOARD!” on his rivals.

“It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played and,” wait for it… “the final result.”

Well played, Mr. Manuel.  Well played.

I had a conversation on the field with Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman prior to the game regarding the situation that occurred during pregame warmups. My preference is to keep that conversation and any further discussions between us. I will work with our staff and the conference to see how this situation can be prevented from happening in the future. It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played, and the final result.