No running game? No problem for Baylor, at least thus far.
Despite averaging exactly minus-one yard per carry, Baylor overcame an early seven-point deficit to rally and take a 24-14 lead into halftime. The Bears ran for minus-six yards, although the running game, which came into the postseason 20th in the country at 235.2 yards per game, was seemingly an unused decoy as they had just six rush attempts.
What the Bears lacked in rushing they more than made up in the passing game, though. BU passed for 298 yards in the half, with Bryce Petty passing for 245 yards and a touchdown. The yardage set a Cotton Bowl record for one half of play. Petty also added, oddly enough, a rushing touchdown.
The other 53 yards passing in the half came on a touchdown throw from wide receiver Jay Lee to Corey Coleman on a double-pass play.
The Spartans scored a touchdown on each of its first two possessions on drives that totaled 135 yards, but went scoreless on its next four drives as they managed just 123 yards of offense. MSU’s fourth drive of the game could’ve resulted in at least three points, but a bizarre option play on third down from the BU 27 that lost six yards gave way to a failed fourth-down run off a fake field goal.
One of the bright spots for Sparty’s first-half offense was running back Jeremy Langford, who ran for 113 yards on 15 carries. It was Langford’s 10th straight 100-yards game after failing to break that plateau in the season’s first three games.
Unfortunately for the team on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Baylor will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. More bad news for Michigan State? Baylor has never lost a game during the Art Briles era when leading by at least 10 points at halftime.
Former Missouri and Toledo head coach Gary Pinkel revealed in a TV interview on Sunday night that he is once again undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I’m doing good. I had to get treatment again for the first time in four years. My cancer came out of remission, and so I had treatment last month. I’m doing fine,” Pinkel told KMIZ. “With my type of lymphoma, you’ll never be healed. But that’s kind of why I retired when I did – I just wanted to not go back and regret working 85 hours a week, 35 weeks out of the year when I could be doing other things with my family and my eight grandkids.”
Pinkel was originally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May of 2015 and stepped down after that season. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that begins in the lymph nodes and then spreads throughout the body.
“You keep battling it. I’m going to battle it, Pinkel said. “I’ve got a very positive approach to it, and I’m around a lot of good people that are helping me. There’s a lot of people out there with a lot worse cancers than Gary Pinkel has, and so prayers to all of them.”
Since retiring, Pinkel has used his time as a fundraiser for Missouri and also running the GP M.A.D.E. Foundation, which supports children with cancer and also provides mentoring for at-need kids.
Pinkel, 63, was 191-110-3 as a head coach at two schools over 25 seasons.
Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is joining Florida’s staff as an analyst, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Benoit.
Zampese spent the 2016-17 seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator after serving 13 seasons as Marvin Lewis‘s quarterbacks coach. Cincinnati went 13-18-1 in Zampese’s two seasons running the offense, which is why he spent 2018 as the Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks coach and the first part of 2019 as the offensive coordinator for the AAF’s Atlanta Legends.
He is the son of former Chargers, Rams, Cowboys and Patriots offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese.
It is not immediately known what the younger Zampese’s role will be with the Gators, but his experience indicates he’ll work with Dan Mullen and coordinators John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales to develop Florida’s offensive plan and help Brian Johnson tutor the quarterbacks, or perhaps use his coordinator experience to self-scout Florida’s offense and scout Florida’s future opponents.
All the reporting that came out since the bombshell reports saying Connecticut is looking to leave the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the non-football Big East have confirmed that, yes, this is really happening, likely in time for the 2020-21 athletic year. The reporting has also said that UConn’s soon-to-be-homeless football program will not drop down to FCS, but instead join a different conference or try to make it as an FBS independent.
On Saturday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that UConn has determined it will not return to FCS, where the program competed for most of its history before joining the then-power conference Big East in 2004.
On Sunday morning, NCAA.com’s Andy Katz followed with a note saying it looked like the Huskies will try to make a go of it as an independent, writing that UConn will attempt to schedule neighbors like UMass (a fellow independent), Boston College, Syracuse and Rutgers while honoring existing contracts for home-and-homes with Duke, Illinois, NC State and others.
For a check in with someone who might actually know something, let’s see what Huskies head coach Randy Edsall has to say.
Either way, it sounds like the train is moving and we could hear something official sooner rather than later.