Wild fourth quarter sees Washington State edge Rutgers

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For a second season in a row, Washington State (1-1) and Rutgers (1-1) put together a wild and crazy fourth quarter in non-conference competition between the Big Ten and Pac-12. This year, the road team once again prevailed as Washington State wiggled its way out of New Jersey with a 37-34 victory.

Let’s just fast forward to the fourth quarter fireworks between Washington State and Rutgers, because it was pretty much a snooze fest before that. The two teams combined for 39 fourth-quarter points and 411 yards on scoring drives alone.

Rutgers struck first in the fourth quarter when Chris Laviano completed a pass to Matt Flanagan for a short touchdown pass to tie the game. The touchdown was the final play of a six-play, 68-yard drive by the Scarlet Knights. Washington State reclaimed the lead, 23-20, a couple of minutes later off the leg of kicker Erick Powell from 37 yards out. The lead was as short-lived as it could be, because Rutgers returner Janarion Grant returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a 27-213 lead.

That put Washington State right back on the field with the offense, and the Cougars took advantage of having the Rutgers defense back on the field. Washington State capped an eight-play drive that spanned 82 yards with Luke Falk completing a touchdown pass to Gabe Marks for a 23-yard score. Following the Washington State score, it looked as though the Cougars defense would do its part to seal a victory. Rutgers fumbled away the football on its fourth play, but the Cougars turned the ball over on downs at the Rutgers 39-yard line. After the teams exchanged punts, Washington State was once again forced to punt the ball back to Rutgers. For the second time of the quarter, Rutgers special teams came through when Grant returned a Washington State punt 55 yards for a score. With 1:31 to play though, that was more than enough time for Mike Leach and his offense to get the last laugh. They had to earn it though.

Falk guided the Washington State offense on a 10-play, 90-yard drive in just under 80 seconds. It ended with Falk finding River Cracraft in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead and game-winning touchdown.

Falk ended the game with 47 completed passes (out of 66 attempts) for 478 yards and four touchdowns. Both Marks and Cracraft hit triple digits with 146 yards and 121 yards, respectively.

Washington State now has a chance to put together an early winning record with a home game against Wyoming next week. Rutgers will hit the road for the first time this season to open Big Ten play at Penn State. Rutgers lost a tight one against the Nittany Lions last season in New Jersey. Rutgers has not won at Penn State since 1988.

Mike MacIntyre didn’t know Colorado scored a TD when Buffs went for two-point conversion vs. USC

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Colorado lost for the first time late Saturday on the road at USC. The result was not entirely puzzling given Colorado may have been due for a loss and USC can be difficult to top in Los Angeles, but a decision to go for a two-point conversion after a late Colorado touchdown cut into the USC lead left many watching scratching their heads. After the game, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre explained the rationale behind the two-point conversion attempt, and it was rather simple.

MacIntyre didn’t know Colorado scored a touchdown and thought it was a first-and-goal situation.

The two-point conversion attempt came following a Steven Montez 19-yard touchdown run with 3:23 to play. The touchdown cut the USC lead to 31-20. A successful two-point conversion would have made it a nine-point game whereas an extra point would have created a 10-point deficit for Colorado. You could argue Colorado still needed two scores in the final minutes anyway and a two-point try would allow for the possibility of a win. The conventional logic, however, suggests there is a better win probability if you only need a touchdown and a field goal. Not that Colorado had a great chance either way to come back and win (which of course, they did not), but the decision to go for two points was a bizarre one. And now we know why.

So, was MacIntyre given incorrect information on the field? Shouldn’t somebody on Colorado have known the team just scored a touchdown, be it an official, a staffer, or one of the players on the field? Who is to blame for this messy situation? The fault should fall on the shoulders of the head coach here. It may not have ultimately altered the outcome of the game, since Colorado did recover the onside kick after all fo this but failed to pick up a first down.

Mark Richt to assess entire State of the U during bye week

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Miami head coach Mark Richt is going to be busy on Miami’s bye week taking a good hard look at his football program. After following up a wild come-from-behind victory against rival Florida State, Miami went on the road and took a difficult loss at Virginia. Just like that, Miami followed up an opportunity to take steps forward as a program by taking a step back. In his third season at Miami, Richt does not want to waste much time attempting to steer things back in the right direction.

“But maybe that’s exactly what we need, to assess everything top to bottom,” Richt said after Miami’s 16-13 loss at Virginia, according to The Miami Herald. “If there is a time in the season to make certain changes you can do them, whether it’s just scheme or maybe personnel or whatever it may be.

“Certainly there will be a couple sleepless night for me, I know.’’

Miami has a number of issues they are trying to overcome. Recent history against teams from power conference programs and simply playing on the road. The frustrations came to the table at the end of the 2017 season when Miami finished the regular season by being upset on the road at Pittsburgh and was followed by a loss in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson. Miami’s 2017 season ended in their home stadium for the Orange Bowl, but with a loss to Big Ten championship runner-up Wisconsin.

This season looked to get started on the right foot for Miami but the Hurricanes fell in Arlington, Texas against LSU. Now, with the most recent road loss to Virginia and ahead of a road trip to Boston College after the bye week, Richt has no area of the program that cannot benefit from a bit of self-assessment and reflection. Miami still has a good shot to return to the ACC championship game but that won’t happen if Richt and the Hurricanes don’t fix a few problems in the coming weeks.

Bowling Green fires Mike Jinks, names Carl Pelini interim head coach

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The first head coaching change of the 2018 season has been made. Bowling Green announced on Sunday it has removed Mike Jinks from the position of head coach of the Falcons. Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini will take on the role of interim head coach for Bowling Green for the remainder of the season.

“I want to thank Coach Jinks for all of his efforts with our football program and in the BG community,” Bowling Green Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger said in a released statement. “However, we felt it was time to make a change in leadership. These are not easy decisions and we do not take this lightly. This affects 11 coaching families, 112 student-athletes and numerous support staff. We wish Mike and his family the best in their future endeavors.”

Jinks took on the role of head coach of Bowling Green after the 2015 season after serving as an assistant running back coach at Texas Tech from 2013 through 2015. Jinks replaced Dino Babers, who was hired away by Syracuse, and the hope was he would be able to continue the offensive momentum Babers had established following Dave Clawson. That just never materialized.

The last two and a half years have been tough for the program. Bowling Green went 4-8 in the first season under Jinks and followed that last season by going 2-10. Bowling Green dropped to 1-6 after a 42-35 loss at home against Western Michigan on Saturday. The only win of the 2018 season came against Eastern Kentucky, a 42-35 victory in Week 3.

Bowling Green will be on the road this week to play Ohio as Pelini steps into the head coaching role for the first time since being the head coach of Florida Atlantic in 2012 and 2013.

Minnesota RB Shannon Brooks arrested for suspected domestic assault

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A day after Minnesota lost a road game at Ohio State, head coach P.J. Fleck has an off-field situation to be concerned about. Running back Shannon Brooks was arrested early Sunday for suspected domestic assault stemming from an alleged fight with a roommate.

According to a Hennepin County jail records website, Brooks was charged by Minneapolis Police Department on probable cause for domestic assault. A report from the Pioneer Press says the other man involved in the incident was not a member of the football team. No court appearance has been set at this time.

Brooks is not playing this season due to an injury suffered during the spring. The non-contact injury to his leg occurred in early March at the end of Minnesota’s conditioning drills just before the formal start of spring football practices. He was using his redshirt year this season to preserve the opportunity to return in 2019 on his fifth year of eligibility.

Brooks played in six games for the Gophers in 2017, in which he rushed for 369 yards and five touchdowns.