The Marshall Plan: Buckeyes regroup, stake claim to B1G East title

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It was far from pretty, and featured very little (ahem) “game control” on the favorite’s part throughout most of it, but a win is a win is a win.

Thanks in large part to an embattled and beleaguered special teams until, No. 6 Ohio State, anywhere from 32- to 35-point favorites coming in, was able to flip momentum midway through the third quarter and rode it to a closer-than-expected 42-27 win over 3-8 Indiana in Columbus.  IU now has a 22-game winless streak against OSU dating back to 1988.

The win clinches the Big Ten East for the 10-1 Buckeyes, and sends them to the Big Ten championship game next month.  Were it not for a pair of plays from the special teams, however, OSU very well could’ve been forced to wait until Week 14 to clinch.

Trailing 14-13 at the half, the Hoosiers stunned the Ohio Stadium crowd with 7:17 left in the third quarter as Tevin Coleman raced 90 yards for a touchdown to put IU up 20-14.  While the Buckeyes were forced to punt on the ensuing possession, Ray Guy Award candidate Cameron Johnson pinned the Hoosiers on their own one-yard line.  The Buckeyes’ defense stiffened in forcing a three-and-out and a punt, which was promptly returned 54 yards for a touchdown by Jalin Marshall.

Up 21-20 with just over two minutes left in the third, OSU gradually pulled away as Marshall scored a second touchdown — a six-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett that was the quarterback’s 31st of the season, breaking Troy Smith school record — very early in the fourth quarter… and then a third, a one-handed scoring catch from 15 yards out… and then a fourth on a short “pass” he took 54 yards to the end zone to account for the final score on the OSU side of the ledger.

Barrett, in the running for a mid-December road trip to New York City for the Heisman ceremony, rebounded from a miserable two-pick first half to put together a solid albeit unspectacular game, at least based on the high standards he’s set for himself since the Week 2 loss to Virginia Tech.  In completing 25-of-35 passes, Barrett threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns.  He’s now tied with Purdue’s Drew Brees for the Big Ten record of total touchdowns in a season (42) as the redshirt freshman now has 33 passing and nine rushing scores in his first year as a starter.

The breakout star of the game, however, was Marshall.  He accounted for four touchdowns, all in the last two quarters, after entering the game with four touchdowns in the first 42 quarters of the season.  The most remarkable aspect of Marshall’s scoring outburst?  He only touched the ball seven times all game, and ended up with 151 all-purpose yards.

Ezekiel Elliott paced the Buckeyes’ running attack with 107 yards, his fifth 100-yard effort of the season.  Coleman, one of the most underrated backs in the country, gashed the Buckeyes’ defense for 228 yards on 27 carries, his fourth 200-yard game of the season.  The last two weeks, both losses, Coleman totaled 535 yards on the ground.

Coleman also accounted for all three of the Hoosiers’ touchdowns, with two of them coming on runs of 90 yards and 52 in the second half to close out the scoring.

As stated earlier a win is a win is a win, but it’s a win that could very well spell trouble for the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff rankings.

After struggling on the road against woeful Kansas last week, TCU was dropped to No. 5 in the most recent rankings by the CFP committee.  OSU, sitting at No. 6 in those rankings, could very well suffer a similar fate and be leapfrogged by the likes of Baylor come Tuesday.  One thing is all but certain: barring upsets later today and even as the win over Minnesota last week looks even better today, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes won’t be moving up when the Top 25 is released in three days.

Another known is that OSU, which closes out the 2014 regular season next week in The Game against Michigan, will be playing in its second consecutive conference championship game.  Just who its opponent will be won’t be decided until next week as the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game — in Madison — will claim the Big Ten West and a spot opposite OSU in Indianapolis.

Greg Schiano completes Rutgers coaching staff by hiring Adam Scheier as special teams coordinator

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Nearly two months after returning as the Rutgers football head coach, Greg Schiano has put the finishing touches on his second first staff.

Tuesday, the Scarlet Knights announced that Adam Scheier has been hired as Schiano’s special teams coordinator. Scheier has spent the past two decades working with special teams in various capacities.

“Adam is an accomplished, veteran special teams coach who will be a great asset to our coaching staff,” the Rutgers football head coach said in a statement. “In our time working together, I saw how passionate Adam is about teaching and mentoring young men. We look forward to welcoming Adam, his wife Erica and their children to our Rutgers family.”

Scheier has spent time as a special teams coordinator with three different FBS programs:

  • Texas Tech (2018)
  • Wake Forest (2014-16)
  • Bowling Green (2009-13)

Last season, Scheier served as a special teams consultant at Mississippi State.  In 2017, Scheier worked at Ohio State as a special teams quality control coach.

In Scheier’s lone season at OSU, Schiano was in the second of his three seasons as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator.

“I am fired up to be back home,” the Bronx native stated. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Schiano and I look forward to working with him again. I appreciate the opportunity he has given me to coach at Rutgers in the great state of New Jersey.”

With this hiring, Schiano has now filled all 10 positions on his 10-man on-field coaching staff.  The others whose hirings have already been announced are:

  • Sean Gleeson — offensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Nunzio Campanile — offensive assistant (HERE)
  • Augie Hoffman, offensive assistant (HERE)
  • Tiquan Underwood — wide receivers (HERE)
  • Andrew Aurich — offensive line (HERE)
  • Robb Smith, defensive coordinator (HERE)
  • Jim Panagos — defensive line (HERE)
  • Bob Fraser — linebackers coach (HERE)
  • Fran Brown — co-defensive coordinator/secondary (HERE)

Exactly two dozen UConn football players have hit the transfer portal this cycle

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When it comes to the transfer tote board, there’s been another update for the UConn football program.

Last week, it was confirmed that three members of the UConn football team, redshirt junior offensive lineman Cam DeGeorge, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Garrison Burnett and junior defensive back Oneil Robinson, had entered their names in the NCAA transfer database.  That trio pushed the number UConn football players who had entered their names into the portal to 23.

Monday, that number officially reached an even two dozen.  According to 247Sports.com, running back Donevin O’Reilly has now made his way into the portal to kick the number of potential transfers up to 24.

O’Reilly originally walked on to the UConn football team just after the start of the 2017 season — he carried the ball once and returned a pair of kickoffs that year — before breaking out during spring practice the next offseason, not only earning a scholarship from the university but also claiming a majority of the reps with the No. 1 offense during summer camp. Unfortunately for the running back, however, his Cinderella story ended because of a torn ACL in his left knee.

In 2019, O’Reilley ran for 17 yards on five carries.

Among those who have entered the portal before this current quartet is Tyler Coyle. This past season, the starting safety led the Huskies in tackles (86), pass breakups (10) and forced fumbles (two).

In the third season of his second stint as the UConn football head coach, Randy Edsall went 2-10 in 2019. The Huskies have just six wins since Edsall returned in 2017; that’s the worst three-year stretch in the program’s FBS history.

In June of last year, it was confirmed that UConn football would be leaving the AAC following the 2019 season and playing as an independent in the sport.

Alabama the favorite to reel in North Carolina transfer TE Carl Tucker

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In the coming days, it might not just be high school signees who will be bolstering the Alabama Crimson Tide football roster.

Earlier this offseason, Carl Tucker took the first step in transferring from North Carolina by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database.  As a graduate transfer, the tight end would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2020.

Over the weekend, Tucker took a visit to the Alabama Crimson Tide football facilities.  Following said visit, it was reported that the Tide is “in good shape” to land the transfer.  If nothing else, the player’s dad came away impressed.

“The visit was awesome,” Tucker’s father, Carl Tucker Sr., said according to al.com “Obviously the stature of Alabama football is so huge that we really didn’t know what to expect, but we knew it would be something that we hadn’t seen before. … But it was really good. They really wanted to figure out what questions and concerns we had for Alabama. And they did a really good of explaining why they wanted Carl, what they saw in Carl and where they felt he would be able to help Bama. …

“He could see himself playing at Alabama.”

Alabama was the second school Tucker has visited, with Florida State being the first.  Tucker took a trip to Tallahassee the weekend before last.  Missouri, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Washington have also expressed interest. At this point, it’s unclear if Tucker will take any additional visits.

Tucker was a three-star 2015 signee for the Tar Heels.  He was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA.

In 38 career games, the North Carolina product caught 36 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns.  His most productive season came in 2018.  That year, Tucker totaled 265 yards and two touchdowns on 16 catches.

Tucker started 20 games during his time with the Tar Heels.  Four of those came in 2019.

FCS coordinator suspended over Adolf Hitler comments

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I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say, to college football coaches in this case, it’s best not to invoke the name of Adolf Hitler.  In any form or fashion.  Ever.

On Jan. 20, Morris Berger was hired as the offensive coordinator at Grand Valley State after a stint at Texas State.  In an interview published by the FCS school’s student newspaper three days after the hiring, Berger, who has a degree in history, was asked, “If you could have dinner with three historical figures, living or dead, who would they be?”

Berger’s response?

This is probably not going to get a good review, but I’m going to say Adolf Hitler. It was obviously very sad and he had bad motives, but the way he was able to lead was second-to-none. How he rallied a group and a following, I want to know how he did that. Bad intentions of course, but you can’t deny he wasn’t a great leader.

Monday, the day that the interview went national, was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As a result of the uproar over the coach’s response in the interview, Grand Valley State announced that Berger has been indefinitely suspended.  The school has also launched a probe into the situation.

The comments made by Offensive Coordinator Morris Berger, as reported in The Lanthorn student newspaper, do not reflect the values of Grand Valley State University. Berger has been suspended and the university is conducting a thorough investigation.

In October of 2008, former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach Lou Holtz, in his role as a college football analyst for ESPN, caught heat for lauding Adolf Hitler as “a great leader.” In February of last year, the controversial head coach of a “Last Chance U” school, Jason Brown, resigned after texting “I’m your new Hitler” to a German player on the junior college team.