So much is on the line in Big Ten title game


Did even the most rabid Ohio State fan think the Buckeyes would be where they are today when it was announced that Urban Meyer was coming to Columbus a couple years ago?

Almost two full seasons after taking over a program that finished 6-7 back in 2011, Meyer has Ohio State on the verge of its first appearance in the BCS title game since 2007.

The Buckeyes have won 24 games in a row under Meyer.

Ohio State’s offense is averaging 48 points per game and it topped the 40-point mark in conference play six times. The Buckeye defense has been better than many expected, allowing an average of just 20 points while finishing fifth in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game. Quarterback Braxton Miller has had an outstanding season, passing for 1,759 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 891 yards and eight scores. If not for missing three early-season games, he would be the hands-down favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. And running back Carlos Hyde has been a beast, rushing for 1,290 yards and 14 touchdowns.

All No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) has to do now to put a capper on another perfect regular season is beat No. 10 Michigan State (11-1) in Indianapolis on Saturday in the Big Ten title game.

That won’t be easy.

The Spartans defense is downright nasty. It leads the FBS in total defense (237.7), pass efficiency defense (91.79) and rushing defense (64.75) and is third in scoring defense (11.8 ppg). All star corner Darqueze Dennard is a Thorpe Award finalist, while Max Bullough is one of the country’s finest linebackers. Miller and Co. will have their hands full trying to move the ball on this unit.

The Michigan State offense is, well, fairly bland. But sophomore quarterback Connor Cook has quietly put together a nice season with 2,119 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. As usual, the Spartans can run the ball, too, with Jeremy Langford leading the way with 1,210 yards and 16 scores.

If Michigan State can rein in the dynamism of Miller and Hyde and win the field position battle, this could be a classic. The Spartans have a chance to spoil Ohio State’s national title dreams and send the winner of the SEC title game to Pasadena to face (most likely) No. 1 Florida State for the BCS title. Plus, it would clinch Michigan State’s first Big Ten title since 1987.

A win for Ohio State would continue an amazing run — 25 wins in a row — and give the Buckeyes a shot at their first national title since 2002. With Ohio State’s program starting to turn into a juggernaut under Meyer, it may be just a taste of what’s to come.

Former FIU DB Emmanuel Lubin dies in car accident, program confirms

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FIU announced on Sunday that former Panthers defensive back Emmanuel Lubin died in a car accident on Saturday night.

Lubinn (jumping, left) played in 45 games over four seasons for FIU, the most recent coming in 2018. He started all 13 games last season, collecting 31 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, one sack and four pass breakups. For his career, Lubin compiled 86 tackles, 11 pass breakups and one interception.

“Tragically, we lost a great young man in Emmanuel Lubin last night,” FIU head coach Butch Davis said. “He was a hard worker, great teammate and was respected and loved by his teammates, coaches and staff at FIU. His character, work ethic and leadership were instrumental in leading our program to success these past two seasons. Our football program is mourning his loss and we will honor Emmanuel every day moving forward. Our hearts and prayers go out to his friends and family.”

Added former teammate Tyree Johnson: “Anybody who knows you would never say anything bad on your name because you literally lit up any room you were in…I never told you this because I assumed you knew, but you made me the man I am today. If it wasn’t for you, I’ll still be the same Teejayy from four yeas (sic) ago.”

The North Miami Beach native was 22 years old.

Ex-Clemson DB Kyler McMichael headed to North Carolina

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The Portal is as mysterious as it is powerful. Some souls enter never to be heard of again, others are out as quickly as they entered. The Portal blesses whom it decides to bless, and it’s not for us humans to understand. All we know is The Portal must be questioned.

For instance, there’s the case of Kyler McMichael.

On Friday, the former 4-star recruit was a Clemson Tiger. By Saturday, he was a North Carolina Tar Heel.

Roughly 24 hours after announcing his intent to transfer, McMichael had announced his new destination. “Beyond blessed and grateful to be apart (sic) of such an amazing team last year at Clemson, however today I begin my next Chapter in life as I redirect my journey and travel to Chapel Hill, to the University of North Carolina and become a Tar Heel.”

McMichael didn’t make a major impact on Clemson’s national championship team, but that’s largely because he was a true freshman playing for the eventual national champions.

The Atlanta native played in 101 snaps according to his Clemson bio, which was still live as of this writing, spread across 12 games, where he made two tackles.

Barring a waiver, McMichael will sit out the 2019 season and compete for the Tar Heels as a redshirt sophomore in 2020.

Colorado lands Nebraska transfer LB Guy Thomas

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There’s a new Guy on the team at Colorado.

On Saturday, former Nebraska linebacker Guy Thomas announced his commitment to Colorado. “I give thanks to everybody that has been influential, and supportive in my life,” Nyon said in a graphic posted to his Twitter account. “I am taking this time to announce that I will be committing to the University of Colorado.”

Thomas first announced his transfer back in November; he appeared in just four games over two years on the club. He posted four tackles in as many games as a redshirt freshman in 2018, with three coming against FCS Bethune-Cookman.

“It’s not working out,” Thomas told the Omaha World-Herald upon his transfer.

Barring a waiver, Thomas will have to sit out the 2019 season and compete as a redshirt junior in 2020. He figures to contribute as a pass-rushing outside linebacker whenever he is cleared to play.

As of now, Jim Harbaugh plans to play Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game

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Michigan does not open training camp until Aug. 2 and does not play its first game until Aug. 31, so any “as of right now” statements are devoid of 20-odd practices worth of context.

Still, as of Big Ten media days, Jim Harbaugh plans to play both Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game.

“Yeah, I do (see games where they’ll both play). Where it stands right now, and that could change later or not, is I see them both playing,” Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press. “Where it stands right now, I see it as maybe redefining what a starter is…. I’m really not talking about playing them both at the same time (on a play), when I say both in games it’d be they’re both playing quarterback during the same game. And in the way it stands now, in every game.”

Harbaugh has been a one-quarterback man for the entirety of his career, but Patterson’s inconsistency and McCaffrey’s talent may demand a change. Michigan did juggle quarterbacks in 2017 — John O’KornBrandon Peters and Wilton Speight each threw at least 81 passes — but that was due to necessity, not strategy.

Patterson completed 64.6 percent of his passes last season for 2,600 yards (on 8.0 per attempt) with 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions while rushing 76 times for 273 yards and two touchdowns. In his second year in the program, McCaffrey completed 8-of-15 passes for 126 yards with two touchdowns whilst rushing 10 times for 99 yards and a touchdown.

The son of Ed McCaffrey and brother of Christian McCaffrey is certainly the heir apparent in Ann Arbor, and it appears Harbaugh isn’t willing to wait for the future to arrive in order to unleash arguably his most talented quarterback recruit since Andrew Luck.