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J.T. Barrett grabs keys to offense, drives Buckeyes to comfortable win


Seven down, three to go before the defending national champs get to the real meat of their 2015 schedule.

For two quarters of play, the second and fourth quarters, Ohio State looked like the team that claimed the first-ever College Football Playoff, scoring 38 of their points against Penn State. In the other two, the Buckeyes did just enough to avoid undoing their second and fourth quarters of work in securing a 38-10 win over the Nittany Lions.

Call it coincidence, call it happenstance, but OSU’s most productive quarters coincided with J.T. Barrett being heavily involved.

The backup to starter Cardale Jones, Barrett either passed or ran the ball 15 times, accounting for 132 yards of offense.  Of that, 101 came on the ground on 10 carries as he, once again, provided an element of which the starter simply isn’t capable.  Most of all, Barrett was responsible for four touchdowns — two rushing and two passing, one of which came on a Tim Tebow-esque jump pass to Braxton Miller in the fourth that essentially put the game out of reach.

That score was the culmination of an eight-play, 85-yard drive that followed the Nittany Lions handing the ball over on downs when they were within striking distance of making it a one-score affair.  Down just two scores at 24-10, and after quickly getting into the red zone on a 56-yard run by the superb true freshman Saquon Barkley, Penn State couldn’t convert on a fourth-and-two from the OSU 13 as Christian Hackenberg was sacked and set the stage for more Barrett heroics.

The biggest thing to come out of this game?  Barrett showed beyond any reasonable doubt that he should be the starter moving forward.  Whether Urban Meyer agrees with that assessment remains to be soon.

Ezekiel Elliott secured his 12th consecutive 100-yard game, contributing a team-high 153 yards and a touchdown to the victory.  Barkley ran for a career-high 196 yards in the loss.

The win was the 20th straight for the Buckeyes, the longest current streak in the country.  It’s also the fourth streak of at least 20 straight wins for Meyer in his career, the most of any coach in history.

With Penn State wrapped up, Ohio State will move on to a road trip to Rutgers in Week 8 and, following a bye, host Minnesota Nov. 7 and play at Illinois the week after.  The next two weeks after that, though, will determine OSU’s postseason fate as they will get No. 7 and unbeaten Michigan State in Columbus Nov. 21 and No. 12 Michigan in Ann Arbor the following weekend.

Conference championship Saturday now locked in with confirmed kickoff times

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Feel free to update your planner accordingly, because the ACC and Big 12 championship games now have confirmed start times.

The Big 12 Championship Game will kick off Championship Saturday on Dec. 7 with a noon eastern kickoff. The game will be televised on ABC and will share a time slot with the MAC Championship Game (on ESPN or ESPN2).

The ACC Championship Game will once again be played in primetime with a 7:30 p.m. eastern start time scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7 on ABC. It will once again go opposite the Big Ten Championship Game on FOX, although the ACC will get a half-hour jump on the Big Ten title game.

With the ACC and Big 12 now on the schedule, here is the updated look at the conference championship game schedule:


  • Pac-12: 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Santa Clara, CA)


  • Big 12: 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC (Arlington, TX)
  • MAC: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN 2 (Detroit, MI)
  • Sun Belt: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN or ESPN2 (TBD*)
  • Conference USA: 1:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network (TBD*)
  • American: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC (TBD*)
  • Mountain West: 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN (TBD*)
  • SEC: 4:00 p.m. ET, CBS (Atlanta, GA)
  • ACC: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC (Charlotte, NC)
  • Big Ten: 8:00 p.m. ET, FOX (Indianapolis, IN)

* = The highest-seeded team in the conference hosts the conference championship game

Mark Dantonio responds to accusation made by former staffer

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A day after an alarming story accused Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio of recruiting a player he was warned could be a potential problem, Dantonio has responded alongside his lawyer. Dantonio defended himself against the claims of former assistant Curtis Blackwell and re-directed to previous comments Dantonio made regarding the player in question.

“The fact that Mr. Blackwell’s contract was not renewed has nothing to do with Auston Robertson,” Dantonio said in a statement on Friday. “Two years ago, I spoke at length about Auston Robertson when he was dismissed from the team in 2017. Rather than engage in a public argument with a former staffer, I refer you to those previous statements. Further, there have been multiple investigations into the program’s handling of sexual assaults, including Jones Day in 2017 and the NCAA in 2018, and they concluded that the program and myself committed no violations.”

Blackwell, a former Michigan State recruiting director, claimed he and multiple coaches asked Dantonio not to continue recruiting Robertson, who was guilty of misdemeanor battery in high school and later was arrested and charged with assault to his girlfriend just after his freshman season in East Lansing. Robertson was later removed from the program.

Dantonio concluded his statement by saying he will have no further comment due to ongoing litigation.

“Mr. Blackwell’s lawsuit concerns his allegations that his contract was not renewed because he refused to co-operate with investigations being conducted by the MSUPD and a law firm hired to evaluate the MSU football program’s compliance with sexual assault reporting policies,” Dantonio’s lawyer, Tom Kienbaum, said in a separate statement. “The lawsuit has nothing to do with the recruitment or actions of any student athletes, including Auston Robertson.”

Kentucky LB Kash Daniel will play after video of alleged intent-to-injure surfaced

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After video surfaced seemingly suggesting Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel tried to hurt a Florida football player last weekend, head coach Mark Stoops confirmed Daniel will be on the field again this weekend against Mississippi State. What has not been confirmed, however, is whether or not Daniel will start the game for the Wildcats.

Video footage from last weekend’s victory over the Gators appeared to show Daniel attempting to twist the ankle of Florida quarterback Kyle Trask at the bottom of a pile at the end of the play. Trask denied any intent to injure to Trask but did admit he gets caught up in some smack talk on the field, which of course is perfectly normal in sports.

Stoops said he has discussed the alleged incident with Daniel and the SEC office. Whatever came out of those discussions will remain behind closed doors, because Stoops has decided to keep that all in-house. So if Daniel is not on the field to start the game for Kentucky’s defense, this may not be a coincidence. However, regardless of what happens, Daniel will be playing against Mississippi State.

New Mexico State locks in bowl agreement with New Mexico Bowl

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New Mexico State may not have a rich bowl history, but the independent college football program has worked out an arrangement to secure a spot in a postseason bowl game in the next few years.

New Mexico State has reached an agreement with ESPN Events to reserve a spot in the New Mexico Bowl from 2020 through 2025, as long as the Aggies meet the NCAA bowl-minimum win total.

“New Mexico State University and our football program are excited to enter into an agreement with the New Mexico Bowl from 2020 through 2025,” New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said in a released statement. “The proximity of the game from our campus as well as Albuquerque and the surrounding areas having the largest population of NM State alumni in the country outside of Doña Ana County is a perfect opportunity for our football program and Aggie Nation.”

New Mexico State would face a team from either the Mountain West Conference or Conference USA. In addition, New Mexico State can be chosen to play in any other bowl game not owned by ESPN if an opportunity is available to them.

New Mexico State is an independent program, which makes them free to work out their own bowl deals. But because most bowl games have deals in place with conferences, there are typically few bowl spots to go around for independent programs (unless you happen to be Notre Dame).

The Aggies played in a bowl game at the end of the 2017 season, which was the first bowl game for the program since 1960.