Late rally falls short as No. 10 Michigan State survives No. 19 Nebraska

6 Comments

As the fourth quarter began in East Lansing, Nebraska looked like it was cooked and ready to be served on a platter. The Cornhuskers trailed 27-3 and hadn’t accomplished much of anything offensively. The ABC broadcast team moved on to blowout talk, half the Spartan Stadium crowd went home to catch the end of Nats-Giants, and the Spartans’ minds apparently started wondering where they’d be in the polls on Sunday morning.

And then Ameer Abudullah punched in a two-yard touchdown with 12:49 remaining to pull Nebraska to within 18. Then he scored again with 4:10 to go to make it 27-16. Then Nebraska forced a punt, and De’Mornay Pierson-El returned it 62 yards to make the score 27-22 with 3:22 remaining.

Michigan State, by now aware Nebraska had not consented to an easy ending, recovered the ensuing onside kick and moved the ball to Nebraska’s 19, but Michael Geiger missed a 37-yard field goal that would have ensured Nebraska could do no more than force overtime. Suddenly the Cornhuskers had the ball with a chance to win the game, and 67 seconds to make it happen.

After an incompletion on first down, Tommy Armstrong, Jr. found Alonzo Moore down the sideline for 43 yards, putting the ball at the Michigan State 37. Alas, after a first-down incompletion, Armstrong was intercepted by Trae Waynes at the 17-yard line, ending what would have been the cherry on top of a crazy Saturday in college football.

Final score: No. 10 Michigan State 27, No. 19 Nebraska 22.

The 19-0 fourth-quarter rally by Bo Pelini’s bunch makes you wonder what could have happened had Nebraska produced zero points on three first half Michigan State turnovers inside its own territory.

Michigan State’s defense was, obviously, dominant for most of the night, temporarily suspending Abdullah’s Heisman Trophy campaign by limiting the runner to just 45 yards on 24 carries. Armstrong completed 20-0f-43 throws for 273 yards with two interceptions while being credited for seven rushing yards on 11 attempts.

Jeremy Langford and Tony Lippett carried the day for Michigan State, producing all three of the Spartans’ touchdowns on the night. The former rushed 29 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, while the latter caught three passes for 104 yards and a touchdown while rushing once for a 32-yard score.

While the battle of talented running backs did not live up to billing, each of the All-America candidates at defensive end made their respective presences felt. Nebraska’s Randy Gregory intercepted Connor Cook on the second play of the game, while Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun scooped up an Abdullah fumble and returned it 38 yards, sparking an exchange that could have seen Nebraska pull within 14-7 to a Michigan State extending its lead to 17-0.

The loss denies Nebraska its chance to start 6-0 for the first time since 2001, but the Huskers still appear to be the class of the Big Ten West following Wisconsin’s loss to Northwestern earlier Saturday. Nebraska will get a week off before traveling to Evanston to face those Wildcats on Oct. 18.

Michigan State, meanwhile, visits Purdue on Saturday and will presumably play all 60 minutes of that game.

Texas LB Ayodele Adeoye to miss spring practice with foot injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

New Texas coordinator Chris Ash’s task at turning around the team’s defense got a tad bit harder on Saturday.

According to a release from the school, linebacker Ayodele Adeoye suffered a foot injury and will undergo surgery to correct it. While he is expected to be back in time for summer workouts, the upcoming trip under the knife will knock him out for all of spring practice in Austin.

Adeoye was a top recruit out of high school in 2018 but played in just four games and redshirted his first year on the Forty Acres. He turned into a regular starter (nine games) last season however and was fifth on the team in tackles (45) while recording an interception and 2.5 sacks.

With the redshirt sophomore out, the Longhorns depth this spring as they re-tool under Ash will certainly be tested. Fellow rising sophomore David Gbenda likely will take on an increased role based on the depth chart — though he might have to earn his way back after being sent home from UT’s Alamo Bowl win over Utah due to a violation of team rules.

Texas opens the 2020 season at home against USF and new head coach Jeff Scott before heading to Baton Rouge for a must-see game against reigning national champion LSU in Week 2.

Miami DL Scott Patchan enters transfer portal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The transfer portal has giveth for Miami football and it’s taken away.

Less than a week after Hurricanes got a big pickup in the form of Temple grad transfer DL Quincy Roche, the program learned that veteran defensive end Scott Patchan had entered his name into the transfer portal via an announcement on social media:

Patchan started six games last season and played in all 13 for Miami in 2019. He recorded 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks while in the lineup but ultimately took a back seat to star pass rusher Greg Rousseau and a host of others.

The loss of Patchan certainly hurts the depth head coach Manny Diaz has to play with but is by no means a killer given what will return in 2020 along the line. In addition to Rousseau (coming off a 15.5 sack campaign) and former AAC Defensive Player of the Year Roche, rising sophomore Jahfari Harvey saw action and former five-star Jaelan Phillips will be eligible after transferring from UCLA.

Patchan, who received a waiver from the NCAA for a sixth-year after injuries hampered his career, will be immediately eligible for his new school.

Miami opens the 2020 season with a game against Temple as part of a three-game homestand against Group of Five opponents before traveling to Michigan State for a big non-conference test.

Buyouts and Chip Kelly’s grocery bill lands UCLA with $18.9 million deficit in 2019

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A difficult year for UCLA on the football field was just as difficult on the balance sheet.

According to details obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, the Bruins reported a shocking $18.9 million deficit for the recent 2018-19 fiscal year. This was the result of $108.4 million in revenue and $127.3 million in outgoing expenses.

“A confluence of events over the past two years led us to this point,” AD Dan Guerrero said in a statement to the paper, “and while it is unusual for us, we expect this shortfall can be mitigated.

“The investments made into our football and men’s basketball programs will pay off, ticket sales will normalize and one-time expenses will be paid.”

Those investments included a nearly 30 percent increase in the football program’s funding since the hire of Chip Kelly in late 2017. While former head coach Jim Mora’s buyout (nearly $12.5 million) was recorded in the previous year’s budget, the effects of it naturally carried over and created an even tricker situation when basketball coach Steve Alford’s buyout was thrown in for 2019.

In addition to buyouts, the grocery bill seemed to play a pretty big factor in the deficit as well. While this doesn’t appear to just be the case of switching from Albertsons to Whole Foods, under Kelly the program’s budget for nutrition ballooned from just a shade under $1 million to nearly $5.4 million last year. Add in decreased ticket sales in football (down $3.5 million from projections) after a disappointing year and increased costs from other places in the department and you can see how UCLA quickly went from being in the black into the red.

Needless to say, that puts even more pressure on Kelly and company to help turn things around in 2020. Things in Westwood haven’t been rosy in some time in the major revenue-producing sports and it seems it’s finally caught up to the folks in powder blue.

Former UNC head coach Larry Fedora expected to take Baylor OC job

Getty Images
Leave a comment

New Baylor football head coach Dave Aranda has been busy assembling his new coaching staff and filling it with familiar faces from his days at LSU.

One looming question that was still in the wind however was just what direction the defensive-minded coach would be taking on the other side of the ball. Now it appears we know.

As first reported by Yahoo! Sports and confirmed by a number of other outlets, the Bears are set to bring in former North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora as the program’s new offensive coordinator.

Fedora is no stranger to the Lone Star State, having grown up in College Station and spent the 2019 season as an offensive analyst at Texas. He also coached at Baylor from 1991-1996 as a position coach responsible for, at times, the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs.

The 57 year old previously served as OC at Middle Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma State and is well versed in running a high-flying spread offense. He took over as head coach of Southern Miss and quickly got the program back on track before heading to Chapel Hill. While in charge of the Tar Heels, he guided UNC to a 79-62 record that included a division title in 2015.

While it’s assumed that Fedora will be calling plays while in Waco, he does join a previously announced hire in Jorge Munoz on the Bears staff. The latter was a coordinator himself at UL-Lafayette and recently served as an analyst at LSU helping develop Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.