No. 23 Duke escapes Blacksburg with quadruple OT win

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With the game on the line in the first four-overtime game in ACC history, Thomas Sirk pushed up the middle of a short field for a game-winning two-point conversion attempt to keep No. 23 Duke perfect in ACC play. The wild 45-43 victory at Virginia Tech keeps the Blue Devils in a favorable position in the ACC Coastal Division and helps them keep pace with Pittsburgh and North Carolina in the division standings.

Duke and Virginia Tech exchanged field goals in the first overtime, and then traded touchdowns in the second. Bucky Hodges scored one for the Hokies from 11 yards out and Anthony Nash hauled in a short touchdown pass from Thomas Sirk to force the game to a third overtime on Duke’s possession. In that third overtime, the teams once again exchanged field goals to lead to a fourth overtime. It was the first four-overtime game for both schools.

Duke seemed to take firm control of the game in the third quarter when Shaun Wilson ripped off a 58-yard touchdown, putting Duke up 21-10. However, the Hokies put together a time-consuming 20-yard play to cover 95 yards for a gritty touchdown, with Travon McMillian doing the honors on a short two-yard run to make it a one-score game late in the third quarter. Duke added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to extend its lead to eight points. Virginia Tech strung together another long touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, going 83 yards on 12 plays, the last being a 23-yard touchdown catch for Bucky Hodges from Michael Brewer.

Duke is now bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season.The Blue Devils have lost each of the last three bowl trips and will continue looking for the first postseason bowl victory in school history since winning the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1960 season. Where that bowl game will be still remains to be seen. For now, Duke still has other business to attend to.

Next up for Duke will be another important ACC Coastal Division game. The Blue Devils will host Miami in Durham next week, with the Hurricanes coming in looking to move on from an awful 58-0 home loss to Clemson. Miami won last year’s game, 22-10, and has not lost in Durham since 1976. This is a pivotal, make-or-break stretch for Duke. After Miami, Duke plays at North cArolina and then hosts Pittsburgh. Duke’s fate in the ACC Coastal Division could be set in these next three games.

Virginia Tech will hope to rebound on the road next week when the Hokies head north to take on Boston College. The Hokies are starting to flirt with an unfortunate postseason fate. Three wins shy of bowl eligibility, Virginia Tech must win three of their final four games. With road trips to Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia to go with a home game against North Carolina, a bowl trip is still within reasonable reach for Virginia Tech. The Hokies have not missed the postseason since 1992. The end of the Frank Beamer era in Blacksburg appears to be ending on a disappointing note.

Iowa lands Division II graduate transfer

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The graduate transfer has become a great vehicle for Group of 5 and FCS players who over-perform at their level to shoot their shot at a Power 5 program. But Iowa this weekend added an extremely rare Division II-to-Power 5 graduate transfer.

Zach VanValkenburg on Saturday pledged his commitment to Iowa after being pursued by multiple Big Ten programs.

“So thankful for all the people who have gotten me to this point; my parents, my coaches in high school, and my coaches at Hillsdale,” VanValkenburg in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “Leaving Hillsdale is bittersweet but I have reached the end of the road here educationally and my goals are uncompromising. I will always cherish the experiences I had here and the friendships I have made. With that said, I’m very proud to announce that I will be continuing both my academic and football careers at the University of Iowa this fall! Go Hawkeyes!”

Playing at Hillsdale College, a private college in an eponymous Michigan town, the 6-foot-4, 266-pound defensive end collected 70 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2018.

He will be expected to add depth along Iowa’s defensive line after losing all four starters from last year’s team.

VanValkenburg will have two seasons to compete for the Hawkeyes.

Idaho WR diagnosed with kidney cancer

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Idaho wide receiver Collin Sather is battling advanced renal cancer, the program has announced. Renal cancer attacks the kidneys and most commonly attacks older men.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Sather began experiencing stomach pains on Jan. 17, and by Jan. 21 the pains had progressed to the point where he had to be hospitalized. He is currently undergoing dialysis and chemotherapy at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, and once he is stabilized will be transferred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“We are with Collin every day during this fight,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “He is a great young man and the model of a great teammate. Everyone in our program cares a lot about him, and he will always be a valued member of this team.

“We keep Collin and his family in our thoughts and prayers each day. We are here to help him keep fighting, and we will be here to welcome him back when he wins his battle.”

A Spokane, Wash., native, Sather was an all-conference player in football and basketball at West Valley High School before signing with Idaho in 2018. He redshirted last fall.

Mark Dantonio approved for rolling 1-year extension

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Mark Dantonio signed a 6-year contract in 2016 that was essentially an indefinite contract. Under the provisions of the deal, MSU’s Board of Trustees each February have the option to tack another year onto the contract, making it essentially a rolling 6-year contract, and for the second straight year they have done just that, according to the Lansing State Journal‘s R.J. Wolcott.

Though he is 2-for-2 on automatic rollovers (the deal would remain a 5-year contract if MSU’s trustees for some reason did not approve the rollover), both extensions have come amid a fair level of turmoil around the program.

In 2017, Dantonio successfully rebounded from Sparty’s 3-9 2016 campaign to go 10-3 with a No. 15 finish in the AP poll, but he was dogged by accusations that he mishandled sexual assault allegations against a handful of Spartan players — amid a complete mishandling (to put it lightly) of sexual assault allegations elsewhere in the athletics department, against gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar.

In 2018, Dantonio watched Michigan State’s record slink to 7-6 and, instead of making changes on the offensive staff, he opted to retain his entire roster of offensive coaches, though in different spots.

Still, Dantonio secured his extension. The 2025 season would take Dantonio to his 19th season at Michigan State and past his 69th birthday.

He is 107-51 with three Big Ten championships, two AP top-5 finishes and one College Football Playoff appearance in a dozen seasons as the head Spartan.

Georgia State pulling new offensive coordinator from FCS ranks

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After losing Travis Trickett to his old country roads of West Virginia, Georgia State’s new offensive coordinator is a name unfamiliar to most fans, but not to Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott.

Georgia State will hire Brad Glenn as its new offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to CFT.

Glenn is currently the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina. Prior to that, he spent seven years on staff at Appalachian State, at times coaching the Mountaineers’ slot receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks. Elliott was App State’s offensive line coach from 2001-09.

Georgia State ranked No. 76 nationally in yards per play (5.57) and No. 104 in scoring (23.9 points per game) en route to a 2-10 season in 2018.