Getty Images

Sparty wow! Mich. St. stuns Michigan with late TD

50 Comments

All offseason, No. 7 Michigan State had to bite its tongue and just listen as media far and wide talked incessantly about the addition of Jim Harbaugh to the Michigan football program.  Even into the season, even as the Spartans were undefeated, they had dropped in the polls as the Wolverines were rising, leading some to argue that “Big Brother” was the best the Big Ten had to offer.

After all of that off-field talk, Sparty was about to add to the narrative with an on-field loss in the rivalry game… before one of the most astounding game-ending plays you’ll ever see went down.

Up 23-21 with just 10 seconds left on the clock, all No. 13 Michigan had to do was handle the punt snap and get the kick off cleanly to secure the win.  The punter bobbled the snap, but still not a huge deal; just fall on the ball and force the Spartans to complete a Hail Mary to win from just shy of the 40-yard.

Instead, Blake O’Neill attempted to punt the ball and, well…

Unbelievably, the botched punt attempt was recovered by MSU’s Jalen Watts and returned for 38 yards for the walk-off touchdown.  Even more unbelievably, the Spartans’ first lead of the game came with no time left on the clock, which means they never led in a game for a full 60 minutes — and won.

The loss was arguably the most gut-wrenching for the Wolverines in the rivalry’s long history, and served as its third straight in the series.  Throughout most of the game, though, it appeared Harbaugh was ready to hoist his Wolverines onto the national stage in his first season in Ann Arbor.

Trailing 10-7 at halftime, the Spartans saw the Wolverines push their lead to their biggest of the game, with Sione Houma‘s second short touchdown run of the game pushing the score to 17-7. Over the next 15 minutes or so of play, MSU outscored UM 14-6 as a Connor Cook touchdown pass and L.J. Scott touchdown run — set-up by a beautiful 74-yard catch-and-run by fullback Trevon Pendleton —  cut the lead to 23-21 with 8:56 left in the fourth quarter.

Three three-and-outs, two by U-M, followed Scott’s touchdown run.  The Wolverines’ last punt gave the Spartans the ball at their own 28 with 4:54 remaining.  Six plays later, MSU was knocking at the door of a game-winning field goal attempt at the U-M 36-yard line.  A sack on first down and three subsequent Cook incompletions, however, ended any hopes for a come-from-behind win — or so everyone thought as O’Neill’s gaffe and Watts’ heroics rewrote a script that even Hollywood would pass on as unbelievable.

Tua Tagovailoa’s injury means little brother won’t be able to redshirt at Alabama this season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tua Tagovailoa‘s Injury Heard ‘Round the College Football World last Saturday, as it turns out, won’t just impact Alabama’s push for a sixth consecutive playoff berth.

Prior to Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, Alabama had planned on redshirting Tagovailoa’s younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa, who had been serving as the Crimson Tide’s No. 3 quarterback as a true freshman this season.  As the third-string quarterback, the younger Tagovailoa had played in four games in 2019, the threshold of appearances for a player to still maintain the ability to redshirt.

Because of the injury to his brother, however, Nick Saban confirmed Thursday that Tagovailoa will play Saturday against FCS Western Carolina, meaning a redshirt will officially be off the table.

We’re gonna play him this week in this game some kind of way regardless of how the game goes to try to get him some experience, some playing time and hopefully some confidence,” the head coach said on his weekly radio show. “When we had the unfortunate injury last week to Tua, that kind of negated the opportunity to be able to redshirt to Taulia. …

“With him being now the backup quarterback, we thought we needed to play him, because if something happens to this quarterback, Mac Jones, he’s going to be the guy that’s got to go in the game and try to win the game for us.”

A four-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2019 recruiting class, Tagovailoa was rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Alabama (he and his family moved to Tuscaloosa when his brother joined the Tide in 2017).  In limited action this season, Tagovailoa has completed seven-of-nine passes for 72 yards.

Tagovailoa will now serve as the redshirt sophomore Jones’ primary backup moving forward, and those two will compete for the starting job next year if the older Tagovailoa brother does the expected and enters the 2020 NFL Draft.

DB Deon White leaving Cal as a grad transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a stellar spring game, the stage seemed to be set for Deon White to shine in what would’ve been his last season at Cal.  Instead, the defensive back will finish his collegiate career at an undetermined elsewhere.

Via Twitter earlier this week, White announced that he has decided to leave the Golden Bears and transfer to another school.  As White would be departing with a bachelor’s degree in hand, he would be eligible to play at another FBS school in 2020.

Next season would serve as White’s final year of eligibility as he will take a redshirt for the 2019 campaign.

After beginning his career at a California junior college, White played in a dozen games during his first season with the Bears in 2018.  During this year’s spring game, he totaled a team-high seven tackles and two tackles for loss.

Despite all of that, White had played in just one game this season prior to his decision to enter the portal.

Broken jaw leaves Pitt’s top WR a game-time decision

Getty Images
Leave a comment

If Pitt is to keep its ACC Coastal hopes alive this weekend, they may have to do so (again) without a very productive piece of its offensive puzzle.

Maurice Ffrench suffered a broken jaw in Pitt’s Nov. 2 win over Georgia Tech, then was sidelined for this past week’s win over North Carolina.  With a trip to Blacksburg on tap for this Saturday, Ffrench is official a game-time decision for the matchup with Virginia Tech.

“He’s practiced this week,” head coach Pat Narduzzi said, noting that the senior was in non-contact mode. “His jaw is better than it was before.”

Ffrench had a steel plate inserted into his broken jaw, which will give him a better chance of seeing the field this weekend.

Ffrench currently leads all ACC players in receptions (75) and receptions per game (8.3).  The receptions per game are also third nationally.

Pitt is 4-2 in ACC play entering Week 13, tied with Virginia Tech for second place in the Coastal and a half-game behind first-place Virginia (5-2).  The Panthers have already lost the Cavaliers this year, meaning they would need UVa to lose its last conference game of the regular season (Nov. 29 against rival Tech) in addition to winning each of their last two games (at Tech, home vs. Boston College) in order to earn a spot opposite Clemson in the ACC championship game.

Dismissed by South Carolina, ex-USC DB Jamel Cook enters the portal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jamel Cook‘s roller coaster ride of a collegiate career officially includes a stop at the portal; whether it’ll include a third stop at an FBS school remains to be seen.

Late last month, following an arrest on one count of second-degree domestic violence, Cook was dismissed from the South Carolina football program.  Following up on speculation from earlier in the week, an East Coast USC official has confirmed that the defensive back’s name is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.

Cook was originally a four-star member of the Left Coast USC’s 2016 signing class, rated as the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Florida.  He played in three games in two years for the Trojans before transferring to the Gamecocks following the 2017 season.  Because of NCAA transfer rules, the defensive back was forced to sit out the 2018 season.

This year, Cook had appeared in one game prior to his off-field issue.