Associated Press

Kizer dazzles as No. 9 Notre Dame outlasts No. 21 Temple

20 Comments

In the City That Birthed Rocky Balboa, No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 21 Temple staged a back-and-forth slugfest that made Philadelphia proud. But it was the visiting Irish that punched last, ending he feisty Owls’ unbeaten run with a 24-20 win.

Freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer spent the night see-sawing between saving and ending Notre Dame’s chances. On one hand, he tossed two interceptions – both of them in the red zone – the first of which immediately sparked a 94-yard touchdown drive to give Temple a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. His second pick forced Notre Dame to settle for a 14-10 halftime lead instead of hitting the break with a possible seven or 10-point advantage.

But outside of those two throws, the redshirt freshman was fantastic. He opened the game guiding Notre Dame on a 12-play, 74-yard, six-minute touchdown drive, finishing the charge off with a four-yard touchdown spurt. Then, after his pick allowed Temple to take its first lead of the night, he immediately responded with a 79-yard touchdown run to put Notre Dame back on top.

Justin Yoon knocked in a 23-yard field goal to give Notre Dame a 17-10 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Temple grabbed the lead, this time on a one-yard Jahad Thomas run and a 36-yard Austin Jones field goal with 4:45 remaining.

And again Kizer answered.

This time he moved the Irish 75 yards in six snaps, hitting Philadelphia native Will Fuller for the game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass.

For the game, Kizer hit 23-of-35 throws for 299 yards with a touchdown and two picks while rushing 17 times for a game-high 143 yards and two scores.

Temple took the ball at its own 24 and 2:09 remaining needing a touchdown to win the game, but Notre Dame’s KeiVarae Russell intercepted a P.J. Walker heave at the Irish 35. Walker completed 13-of-30 passes for 188 yards with a touchdown and an interception to go with 38 yards on six carries, while Thomas rushed 21 times for 82 yards and a score.

The loss drops Temple to 7-1 on the year, but the Owls (3-0 AAC) remain in the driver’s seat to meet Memphis, Houston or Navy in the AAC championship game and a New Year’s Six berth regardless of tonight’s loss.

Notre Dame improves to 7-1 on the year and remains in the College Football Playoff hunt, needing wins at Pittsburgh next week, home against Wake Forest, then against Boston College at Fenway Park and, finally, at Stanford to reach the final four.

WATCH: TCU RB Sewo Olonilua squats 705 lbs…. twice

Getty Images
2 Comments

If you ever have the pleasure of standing in the presence of a high-level college or professional football player, you’ll be struck at just how big those dudes are. Obviously, they’re larger than the average male and especially so the closer you get to the ball — but if your only exposure to this small slice of the population is what you see on television, it’s easy to lose perspective at just how much larger they are than the remainder of the human population.

And any time I happen to be in the presence of a Power 5 or NFL player, one thought comes to my mind: “It’s someone’s job to move him in a direction he very much does not want to go.”

Case in point: TCU running back Sewo Olonilua. At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, Olonilua is among the largest running backs in college football. And as the video below shows, he’s also among the strongest.

Now consider the following: Olonilau totaled 135 carries for 635 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. This means that on 133 of his 135 carries — 98.5 percent of his attempts — someone (or someones) brought Olonilau — again, a 231-pound running back who can squat 705 pounds twice — to the ground or pushed him out of bounds.

Iowa lands Division II graduate transfer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
1 Comment

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

Getty Images
2 Comments

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.