Buckeyes hold off Gophers, remain in thick of playoff hunt


There were many in and around the Ohio State football program worried about a hangover from last Saturday’s huge win over Michigan State bleeding into this Saturday.  Shaking off a first-half headache that was part Minnesota-induced and part weather-related, OSU (mostly) allayed those fears over the course of the last two quarters.

Up by a scant three points at halftime, the Buckeyes outscored the home-standing Gophers 14-10 in the second half to head back to Columbus with a 31-24 win.  And, sounding eerily similar to a broken record on a weekly basis, it was the play of J.T. Barrett that played a significant role in OSU’s ninth win in 10 games this season.

The redshirt freshman quarterback had four total touchdowns — three passing, one rushing — to give him 37 on the season, breaking the school record of 36.  He also has 29 touchdown passes on the year, one shy of tying Troy Smith‘s school record of 30 set in 2006.

Barrett also accounted for 375 yards of offense — 198 passing, 189 rushing.  310 of those yards came in the first half, and the rushing yards set another school single-game record for a quarterback.  In the first half, he set a school mark for longest touchdown run by a quarterback with his 86-yarder.

Both the marks Barrett broke had been held by Braxton Miller, who, while his replacement is in the midst of the Heisman race, is in the midst of getting Pipp’d.

The Buckeye defense intercepted a pair of Mitch Leidner passes in the second half, with the offense converting one of those into a touchdown.  The Gophers managed 303 yards of offense, while the Buckeyes posted 489.

Leidner threw for just 85 yards; it was the second time this year he’s thrown for under 100 yards in a game.  Gopher running back David Cobb ran for three touchdowns in a losing effort.

In extending its conference-record winning streak to 22 straight, Ohio State moves to within one victory — or a Michigan State loss — of clinching the Big Ten East and a spot in the conference championship game the first weekend of December.  Given the remaining schedule that looks to be a near-certainty as OSU closes out the regular season with home games against 3-6 Indiana and 5-5 Michigan.

The Buckeyes also kept themselves very much in the thick of the College Football Playoff.  What will be interesting is how the committee views this win.

The Gophers came into this game 25th in the latest CFP rankings and tied for first, with Nebraska and Wisconsin, in the Big Ten West.  Not only that, but Minnesota is a common opponent for No. 8 OSU and No. 5 TCU as the Horned Frogs beat the Gophers 30-7 at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth in mid-September.

Many were touting that non-conference win as one of the reasons TCU should be ranked ahead of the likes of Alabama and Baylor, and it was no doubt part of the equation for the committee. With their win coming on the road against the same team, the Buckeyes will no doubt, and rightly so, be looking for a boost in its résumé on which the committee will lean to set the four-team playoff field on down the road.

Also unknown?  How the committee views the seven-point win.  The Buckeyes led by 17 early in the fourth quarter before the Gophers scored 10 points in the last seven minutes to make the score closer than the game actually was.

Still, the Buckeyes’ best playoff hopes, in tandem with winning out, rests on chaos ahead of them the last three weeks of the season as well as a one-loss Nebraska in the Big Ten title game.  Anything less than that and OSU will be on the outside of the playoff window looking in.

Former Boise State RB Keegan Duncan tweets transfer to Utah State

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Instead of playing against Utah State, Keegan Duncan will now play with them moving forward.

Late last month, Duncan decided to leave Boise State and continue his collegiate playing career at an undetermined elsewhere. Over the weekend on Twitter, the running back announced that USU will be the elsewhere as he has decided to transfer to the Aggies.

Duncan won’t play against his former school this season — the Aggies host the Broncos in Logan — as he will have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, but he’ll get to face them the following season as USU travels to Boise’s Albertsons Stadium in 2020. Beginning next season, Duncan will have four seasons of eligibility to use.

Even if it weren’t for the NCAA bylaw, Duncan wouldn’t have been able to play for the Aggies this season as he recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL.

A three-star member of the Broncos’ 2019 recruiting class, Duncan was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Idaho.

Another player who left the Broncos around the same time as Duncan, quarterback Kaiden Bennett, also landed at another Mountain West school as Bennett transferred to Nevada. Bennett’s decision to move on came around the time he lost out on the starting job to true freshman Hank Bachmeier.

Indiana QB Michael Penix could be a game-time decision again this week

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A week after being a game-time decision against Ohio State, Indiana quarterback Michael Penix appears to be heading to a similar fate this week. Only this time, the Hoosiers are hoping to get their starting quarterback on the field this week.

Indiana head coach Tom Allen the likely plan this week will be to leave a decision on whether or not to play Penix as a game-time decision, similar to last week. Just before the Hoosiers kicked off at home against the buckeyes, Penix was ruled out for the game. Peyton Ramsey took over the offense for the game. Ramsey would likely get the starting nod if Penix is ruled out for this weekend’s game against UConn. Jack Tuttle also played for Indiana against Ohio State and could be used as well.

“I don’t foresee it, hopefully, not being a day-to-day thing the rest of the season, but at the same time, for this Saturday’s game, we definitely aren’t going to know for several more days,” Allen said to reporters on Monday. “He probably will eventually be a game-time decision with him, but I don’t expect that to keep being the case every single week.”

The nature of the injury that has sidelined Penix has not been confirmed by Allen. Penix started the first two games of the season.

Texas Tech announces QB Alan Bowman to miss “several weeks” due to shoulder injury

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As reports were swirling around about a possible injury to their starting quarterback, Texas Tech has announced Alan Bowan will be out for “several weeks” as a result of a shoulder injury. The injury occurred during Texas Tech’s road game at Arizona this past weekend.

Bowman was examined briefly on the Texas Tech sideline during a road trip to Arizona last weekend (which resulted in a loss to the Arizona Wildcats). Bowman did not miss any playing time, so news of a potentially lengthy injury comes as a bit of a surprise. Bowman was taken to the ground by a defender. No penalty was called on the play.

The Red Raiders will now likely go with Jett Duffey to lead the offense at the position. Texas Tech is off this week. While Texas Tech has not shared an expected timeline for Bowman’s return, prior rumors surrounding the injury were suggesting it could be anywhere from six to eight weeks before Bowman returns to the field.

If Bowman is out for six weeks, he would potentially miss games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas. If absent for eight weeks, tack on a game at West Virginia to the mix (Texas Tech has another bye week between road games at Kansas and West Virginia. That would be quite a tough stretch for Texas Tech to be without its starting quarterback, whether for six or eight weeks.

Bowman has thrown for 1,020 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions in three games this season.

FSU loses linebacker Kaindoh to season-ending ankle injury

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As if losing a game to Virginia was not bad enough for the Florida State Seminoles, head coach Willie Taggart announce don Monday linebacker Joshua Kaindoh will miss the remainder of the season. Kaindoh, a former five-star recruit and a starter for the Seminole defense, is out for the year due to a lower-body ankle injury, according to Taggart.

Kaindoh suffered the injury in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss at Virginia. He was carted off the field. Kaindoh has appeared in every game since his arrival at Florida State in 2017. Because he has only appeared in three games this season, he is eligible to use a redshirt season this year to preserve two more years of eligibility beginning in 2020. The NCAA modified the redshirt rule last season to allow players to save a redshirt season as long as they appear in four games or fewer during the season.

With Kaindoh out of action, that will likely lead to Florida State using Janarius Robinson on more plays, as the two had been splitting playing time this season. But depth on the defensive line has become a growing concern for Florida State, who has been dealing with all sorts of issues on defense to start the season.

Kaindoh’s season comes to an abrupt end with nine tackles and a sack.

Taggart also made note that left tackle Jauan Williams is now “week-to-week” while he bounces back from an ankle injury form Week 2, the severity of which is far less troublesome than the injury to Kaindoh.