Utah State shuts down Jordan Lynch and NIU in Poinsettia Bowl

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Utah State scored two second half touchdowns and shut down Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois to score a victory in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Thursday night. Darrell Garretson had his moments to forget in the victory but tossed a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and a two-point conversion attempt to follow Joey DeMartino‘s fourth quarter touchdown run to send Utah State to the 21-7 victory. DeMartino rushed for 143 yards to power the Aggies to the win, the second straight bowl victory for the program.

The NIU defense was actually pretty strong in the first half, holding the Aggies to a pair of field goals and fewer than 130 yards of offense, but the halftime adjustments made by Utah State proved to be too much for the Huskies. Utah State’s offense turned the table sin the second half by holding down the Huskies offense and not allowing Lynch to hurt them. Utah State succeeded in forcing Lynch to beat them through the air, and that has generally been a successful strategy for those who have defeated Northern Illinois, including Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game. Lynch did drive the Huskies down the field in the final minutes of the game, just after Utah State took a 21-7 lead with a little over four minutes to play, and he completed a touchdown throw to Juwan Brescacin, but an onside kick attempt by NIU was recovered by Utah State to allow the Aggies to run the clock out.

Lynch ended his collegiate career with just 39 rushing yards and a touchdown and 216 passing yards and a touchdown. It was not exactly the type of performance Lynch had been accustomed to this season, but it should be a credit to Utah State’s defense to hold him to 39 rushing yards on 18 attempts. What back-to-back losses will do to his draft stock will be best left to break down by the NFL Draft scouts, but his last two performances do leave some room for criticism when discussing where he fits at the next level.

The MAC is now 0-4 in the postseason after seeing both conference championship participants, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green, suffer losses on Thursday. The conference’s last chance to win a bowl game will be placed in the hands of Ball State, a program that has never won a bowl game.

The Mountain West Conference is now 3-2 this postseason. Both losses have come against the Pac 12. The MWC i 2-0 against the MAC, including Colorado State’s wild finish against Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl.

Syracuse great Floyd Little diagnosed with cancer

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One of the famed 44s of the Syracuse football program is in the midst of the “toughest fight of his life.”

On a GoFundMe page created by one of his former teammates, Pat Killorin, it’s was revealed that Floyd Little has been diagnosed with cancer. It wasn’t divulged what specific cancer Little is battling, but Killorin described it as “a treatable but aggressive form of” the disease.

“No doubt it will be the toughest fight of his life,” Killorin wrote. “Although he has lived a full life admired and enjoyed by many, Floyd doesn’t believe he has yet written, with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the final play of his life.”

Thus far, the fundraising effort has brought in over $15,000 toward the stated goal of $250,000.

Little was a three-time All-American for the Syracuse football team in the mid-sixties.  He’s the only three-time All-American at the running back in Orange history.  During his time at the school, Little ran for 2,750 yards and 35 touchdowns.

In 1983, Little was inducted into the College Football Hal of Fame.  The sixth-overall pick of the 1967 NFL Draft, Little landed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2005, the Syracuse football program retired number 44 to honor Little, Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and the other players who wore the number.  A decade later, that number was brought out of retirement.

Little returned to his alma mater in 2011 as the special assistant to then-athletic director Daryl Gross.  The Connecticut native left that position in 2016.

“Floyd Little is a fighter,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. “I know he will face this disease with the same courage, dignity and strength with which he met all of life’s challenges. “The entire Syracuse Football family is in his corner.”

Ohio State, Georgia in Final Four for top-rated corner in 2021 recruiting class

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Ohio State already owns the top recruiting class in the next cycle.  The Buckeyes could be set to add to its prospect riches.  Maybe.

On Twitter Sunday, Virginia high schooler Tony Grimes used a video posted on Twitter to reveal his Final Four potential destinations.  And those four potential landing spots?  Georgia, North Carolina and Texas A&M.  And, of course, Ohio State.

That quartet, though, will very likely have to wait a while for a decision.

“So far it is still Dec. 1,” Grimes told 247Sports.com when asked about Decision Day. “I am looking for more of a connection and knowing that there is someone there, that when I get there, I can trust, and someone who is going to develop me. Who is going to develop me more and who is going to put me in a position where I can play, ball out and get developed for the next level?”

Whichever school ultimately signs Grimes, they’ll be getting one of the highest-rated 2021 prospects.

Grimes is a five-star recruit in the next cycle according to the 247Sports.com composite.  He’s the top-rated cornerback in the country.  And in his home state of Virginia, regardless of position.  On that same composite, he’s the No. 7 prospect in the country overall.

Ohio State currently holds the top-rated class in the country.  The Buckeyes currently hold verbals from four five-star 2021 prospects.  The next 11 schools have a combined four such commitments.

As for the other three schools involved in the chase for Grimes?  North Carolina holds the No. 4 class, while Georgia is 12th and Texas A&M is 24th.

Mississippi State transfer who committed to Ole Miss flips to Florida State

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Florida State is the beneficiary of a relatively rare football portal flip.

In mid-May, Jarrian Jones became the fifth Mississippi State football player to enter the NCAA transfer database in seven weeks.  May 23, he became the latest MSU player to find a new home as the defensive back moved to the Ole Miss side of the Egg Bowl rivalry.

Friday morning, however, Jones flipped.  On his personal Twitter account, Jones revealed that he has committed to the Florida State football team.

Jones was a four-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019.  The Mississippi native was the No. 18 safety in the country on the 247Sports.com composite.  He was also the No. 13 prospect regardless of position in his home state.  Only three signees in the class that year for MSU were rated higher than Jones.

As a true freshman, Jones started one of the dozen games in which he played.  In those appearances, he was credited with 12 tackles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

After sitting out the 2020 season, the defensive back will have three years of eligibility to use starting in 2021.  Barring a waiver for immediate eligibility, of course.

Jones would actually be the second Mississippi State player to transfer into the Florida State football program in less than two months.  In mid-April, Fabien Lovett announced he was transferring to the Seminoles.  While it was reported that the defensive lineman would likely flip to Ole Miss, he confirmed he signed with FSU.

Vanderbilt mourns death of beloved staffer Osia Lewis, 57, after lengthy battle with liver cancer

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Vanderbilt football is mourning the loss of one of its own.

In February of 2017, Vanderbilt announced that football assistant Osia Lewis was battling a form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.  This weekend, the Commodores have been forced to make the sad announcement that Lewis has lost his three-year-plus battle with the insidious disease.

Lewis was 57 at the time of his death.  He leaves behind a wife and two children.

“We are deeply saddened for the loss of our heart and soul, Osia Lewis,” the Vanderbilt football program wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and love are with Osia’s family and friends.

“Rest in paradise.”

In 2016, Lewis joined the Vanderbilt football staff as senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach.  Following his diagnosis, Lewis stepped away from his on-field coaching role but continued his duties as a senior defensive assistant.  He also carried the title special consultant to head coach Derek Mason.

Prior to his time at Vandy, Lewis was the defensive line coach at San Diego State.  He also served a pair of stints as a defensive coordinator, first at New Mexico (2003-07) and then at UTEP _2008-09)

The Tucson native began his coaching career as the special teams coach and linebackers coach at Oregon State.  Lewis then moved on to Illinois as linebackers and defensive line coach from 1997-02.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lewis’ death.