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And then there were two: undefeated Toledo upended by NIU


Entering Week 9 this past Saturday, there were four unbeaten Group of Five teams.  Three days later as Week 10 officially kicked off, that number has been sliced in half.

Trailing by one at halftime and without their starting quarterback and a starting wide receiver for the entire second half, Northern Illinois outscored previously-unbeaten Toledo 16-10 over the last two quarters to hand the homestanding Rockets a 32-27 win.  The Tuesday night affair was the Huskies’ sixth consecutive win over the Rockets.

A field goal early in the fourth quarter stretched UT’s lead to a game-high eight at 27-19.  However, two NIU touchdowns over the last 9:27, the last coming with 1:59 remained, nearly sealed the Rockets’ first blemish of the year.  UT had a chance to take the lead in the last two minutes, but a Phillip Ely interception on the ensuing drive officially sealed the loss.

Not only did UT suffer its first loss mere hours after appearing at No. 24 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, but they handed control of the MAC West over to Western Michigan.  The Broncos are the only unbeaten team in the division at 4-0, while the Rockets (4-1), Central Michigan (4-1) and NIU (4-1) have one loss each.  Those four teams will play each other a handful of times over the next four weeks, so that division will likely remain muddled until the end.

With Toledo’s loss to NIU tonight and Temple’s loss to Notre Dame Saturday, there are now two unbeaten G5 teams: Memphis and Houston.  The Tigers came in at No. 13 in the initial CFP rankings, the Cougars No. 25.  Despite the loss to the Irish, the Owls cracked those rankings at No. 22.  Toledo likely won’t be that lucky as they will undoubtedly tumble out of the Top 25 when they are released next Tuesday.

Gary Patterson wants names of NCAA employees approving transfer waivers

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Unless I’m missing someone, the coaches that have spoken out about the glut of high-profile transfer waivers that have been approved lately are all against them. Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin said just one day ago that players are transferring because it’s “sexy” and now TCU’s Gary Patterson has cannonballed into the pool with some strong comments of his own.

“I want the names of all those people [at the NCAA] that are deciding to do that, so everybody knows their names when they ruin the game,” Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I don’t care if there’s lawyers involved. I don’t care if any of that’s involved. The bottom line to it is we need to do what’s best for the game.

Patterson’s point, and it’s not necessarily a wrong one, is that coaches who believe tough love is the best way to mold players — i.e. Gary Patterson — will then see all their players leave before that love can appropriately toughen them up.

“After they get away from here, as a general rule, they come back as they mature and understand, they figure out what we were trying to do and accomplish,” Patterson said. “If you can’t go through that process with a young man, and grow them up just like a parent does, then we’re cheating them to be honest with you. That’s my personal opinion about it.”

The good news for Patterson and his ilk: if free agency is truly here, it’s likely not here for long. The NCAA announced last month it will take another look at its loosened transfer protocol, and it’s unlikely you’d make such an announcement if you planned on loosening those restrictions even more.

North Carolina CB KJ Sails, Jr., embarks toward transfer portal

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North Carolina cornerback KJ Sails, Jr., is sailing away from Chapel Hill and voyaging toward a new destination.

The Tampa native on Friday announced he will enter his name onto the transfer portal for his final collegiate season. “Thank you to my Carolina family for giving me the opportunity to play the game that I love this is a great school and I will forever love the university,” he wrote in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “My family and I have decided that it is best for me to seek other opportunities.”

After playing sparingly as a true freshman in 2016, Sails started 11 games for the Tar Heels in 2017, collecting 30 tackles while ranking ninth in the ACC with 13 pass break-ups.

He started three games in four appearances in 2018, but an injury knocked him out for the remainder of the year.

Given that he played in only four games, Sails can use last season as a redshirt and play a second senior season elsewhere in 2019, provided he receives a waiver or graduates from North Carolina.

Michigan CB Benjamin St-Juste medically retires

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Cornerback Benjamin St-Juste was not listed on Michigan’s spring roster, and there’s a reason for that. St-Juste has medically retired from football, the program confirmed to the Detroit Free Press.

A 4-star recruit from Quebec, St-Juste appeared in 12 games as a redshirt freshman, primarily on special teams.

He suffered a hamstring injury ahead of the 2018 campaign and did not see any game action. With a similar prognosis ahead of him for 2019, St-Juste has decided to hang up his cleats for good.

LB Jaden Hunter was second Georgia player arrested in March

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A member of the Georgia football program was arrested Wednesday night. Linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was also charged with stopping, standing, or parking in a prohibited area.

Hunter spent just two hours in jail after being released on bond late Wednesday night.

The charges are misdemeanors and his status with the Bulldogs has not been confirmed with regard to any possible suspensions or other forms of discipline by head coach Kirby Smart. Given the nature of the charges, it would seem this would be far from calling for removal from the program or any significant form of discipline unless there is more to the story behind the scenes.

Hunter did become the second Georgia football player to be arrested in the month of March. Earlier in the month, redshirt freshman Latavious Brini was arrested on one count of simple battery.