Sometimes it can be a little too cliché to say a team let a game slip through their fingers, but no other phrase may explain how No. 23 Nebraska (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) lost to No. 25 Minnesota (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) better than such a phrase. Nebraska fumbled away two balls around the Minnesota end zone and the Gophers managed to escape Lincoln with a 28-24 victory to remain in the running for the Big Ten West Division.
With Nebraska leading 21-7, De’Mornay Pierson-El caught a pass for a 25-yard gain inside the red zone before fumbling away the football in the second quarter. Minnesota recovered the loose football and returned it 24 yards. Minnesota was unable to do anything with it late in the first half, but it prevented Nebraska for tacking on a few more points. Pierson-El again lost control of the football in the fourth quarter, this time at the two-yard line with Nebraska trailing 28-24. The fumble was again recovered by Minnesota, and one first down later the Gophers were able to run the clock out on Nebraska.
Those fumbles were the only two turnovers in the game, and it proved costly for the Huskers, who now once again are starting to stare right in the face of another nine-win season to keep some pressure on Bo Pelini as head coach. Nebraska was unable to keep wraps on Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner, who had a terrific afternoon. Leidner was not particularly accurate, but he passed for 135 yards and led the team running for 110 yards and two touchdowns. David Cobb added 80 rushing yards and a touchdown. Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown. Abdullah and a handful of Huskers had to be treated for medical attention at various points during the game. It was a rough afternoon for Nebraska.
Now, Minnesota is in a winner-take-all situation next week against rival Wisconsin. Minnesota will hit the road once more to take on the Badgers for Paul Bunyan’s Ax and a share of the Big Ten West championship. Wisconsin still has a game to play, but the result of that game will not matter, at least in terms of the Big Ten West. No matter how next week plays out, Jerry Kill has to be gaining some consideration for coach of the year recognition.
Nebraska will play its final game of the regular season next Friday, after Thanksgiving, at Iowa. The Huskers cannot win the Big Ten West, but Iowa is still alive with a win over Wisconsin.
The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.
In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.
So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 4, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.
(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section. Mailbag, maybe?)
THE HEADLINE: Five-star 2020 LSU commit probably would’ve committed to Ohio State if Urban Meyer hadn’t left
THE SYNOPSIS: Elias Ricks is the recruit in question. The cornerback ended up signing with LSU earlier this year. Ricks, expected to contribute to the defending national champs immediately, underwent offseason surgery for a torn labrum.
THE HEADLINE: Fox, BTN reportedly among those making run at Paul Finebaum
THE SYNOPSIS: Yeah, that didn’t work out as the SEC mouthpiece remains at ESPN.
THE HEADLINE: Penn State suing Tennessee DC Bob Shoop for breach of contract
THE SYNOPSIS: Nittany Lions were seeking $900,000 the university said Shoop owed after he left as the defensive coordinator at Penn State for the same job at Tennessee in January of 2016. In February of 2018, the two sides settled their dispute. Terms of the settlement weren’t divulged.
THE HEADLINE: Alabama self-reports multiple secondary violations
THE SYNOPSIS: “Alabama” and “NCAA violations” always bring out the commenters. This was no exception.
THE HEADLINE: Tragic: new Ole Miss OL killed in car accident
THE SYNOPSIS: Park Stevens’ truck collided with the back of a semi-truck attempting to cross a four-lane highway. The lineman was a 20-year-old junior college transfer.
THE HEADLINE: Experts not ready to say Toomer’s oaks are ‘definitely not going to make it’
THE SYNOPSIS: Thanks to Alabama “fan” Harvey Updyke, the iconic trees at Auburn definitely didn’t make it.
THE HEADLINE: Purdue player missing; last seen swimming in Indiana lake
THE SYNOPSIS: Sadly, 22-year-old running back Sean Matti‘s body was found a day later.
The coronavirus pandemic has already impacted the 2020 season for Western Michigan football.
Western Michigan was scheduled to open the upcoming football season against Colgate on Sept. 4. However, the Patriot League, Colgate’s conference, mandated late last month that all of its member schools not be permitted to travel by air or stay overnight in another locale. As the distance between Hamilton, NY, to Kalamazoo, Mich., is nine-plus hours, that opener was certainly in jeopardy.
This week, Western Michigan confirmed that it will now open the 2020 college football season against Stony Brook. The game will still be played Sept. 4 at Waldo Stadium, the football home of the Broncos.
“We are looking forward to opening the 2020 season with Stony Brook,” WMU head coach Tim Lester said in a statement. “We know coronavirus has changed, and will keep changing, how we operate this season. We will continue to operate with an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff members, fans and WMU community.”
It should be noted that Syracuse is also supposed to open its home schedule Sept. 19 against Colgate. It’s unclear if that game will be played, although distance certainly isn’t as much of an issue as it was for Western Michigan.
WMU is coming off a second consecutive 7-6 season under Lester, who will be entering his fourth season with the Broncos. That 2019 campaign also included narrowly missing out on a berth in the MAC championship game.
The Oklahoma State football depth chart has seen its offensive line take a significant hit. But, hey at least it’s not some of the other headlines the school has seen of late.
In a text message to SI.com this week, Dylan Galloway revealed that he has decided to retire from the sport due to injuries. The offensive lineman has dealt with multiple shoulder injuries the past couple of seasons as well as a right leg injury last season.
Galloway will be leaving the Oklahoma State football team and Stillwater as a graduate.
“I’m done with football,” Galloway told the website. “I was getting hurt so much and I felt like all of my injuries were piling up to where they were effecting me too much on and off the field.”
Galloway was a three-star member of the Oklahoma State football Class of 2016. As a redshirt, the Dallas native took a redshirt.
All told, Galloway played in 31 games during his time with the Cowboys. He started five games at left tackle in 2018 and another nine this past season. The 6-5, 297-pound lineman missed three games in 2019 because of the injury to his right leg.
As noted by SI.com, “[t]he Preseason Athlon’s College Football Preview has Galloway listed as second-team All-Big 12.”
Toledo is the new home for a former Michigan State football assistant. Reportedly.
When Mel Tucker took over for Mark Dantonio earlier this month, the former Colorado head coach retained just two of his predecessor’s assistants, Mike Tressel and Ron Burton. Two other former Dantonio assistants, Terrence Samuel and Paul Haynes, took jobs at UNLV and Minnesota, respectively.
This week, it’s being reported that a third former Dantonio assistant has landed on his coaching feet as Mark Staten is now a member of the Toledo football staff. Staten is expected to coach tight ends and offensive tackles for the Rockets.
Interestingly, Michigan State is set to host Toledo on Sept. 19 of the college football season.
If the hiring comes to fruition, it will mark the first time since 2003 that Staten is not part of a Dantonio-led coaching staff. From 2004-06, Staten was at Cincinnati. He spent the past 13 seasons at MSU. From 2007-10, Staten coached tight ends and offensive tackles for the Spartans. Staten moved to offensive line coach in 2011, a position he held until 2018. Amidst a reshuffling of Dantonio’s offensive staff, Staten became tight ends coach for the 2019 season.
Prior to Michigan State and Cincinnati, Staten had served as a graduate assistant at Ohio State (2002-03) and Miami of Ohio (2001).