Associated Press

Controversial ending sends Mich. St. to first loss

35 Comments

Another week, another ending that will be talked about for years to come.  This one, though, will have a direct impact on both the Big Ten Eest race and the national playoff picture.

With :17 seconds left and No. 7 Michigan State leading 38-33, Nebraska’s Brandon Reilly was on the receiving end of a 30-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Armstrong that gave the Cornhuskers a 39-38 lead.  However, replay clearly showed that Reilly stepped out of bounds — he was not forced out by the MSU defensive player — and was the first player to touch the ball when he came back in.

The touchdown should’ve been nullified; instead, it was allowed to stand after it was sent up to the booth for review.  Even one of the Big Ten Network’s own in-house mouthpieces publicly questioned the sanity of the call.

https://twitter.com/BTNRickPizzo/status/663199354421809152

The Spartans had one last chance from their own 40-yard line with :14 remaining, completing a pass on the first play of their last possession into Cornhusker territory at the 41-yard line.  With :08 left and armed with a timeout, all MSU needed was 5-10 yards for a reasonable attempt at a game-winning field goal; instead, senior Connor Cook took way too long in getting rid of the ball on the second play of the drive, throwing the ball out of bounds as the clock expired on both the game and, potentially, MSU’s playoff hopes.

The loss brought an end to MSU’s 12-game winning streak and dropped them to 4-1 in Big Ten play, tied with Michigan and one game behind 5-0 Ohio State.  The Spartans will face the Buckeyes in two weeks in Columbus.  MSU, in addition to handling Maryland and Penn State, would need a win there, and then hope Michigan can take down the Buckeyes the following weekend if they hope to claim the West and a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

For the Cornhuskers, it was a much-needed boost after a couple of heartbreaking, last-second losses in Mike Riley‘s first season with the Big Red.  Coming into the game at 3-6, the Cornhuskers needed to win their last three games to become bowl-eligible.  The MSU win was the first step, with steps against Rutgers and unbeaten Iowa remaining to avoid going bowl-less for the first time since 2007.

Wisconsin TE Kyle Penniston enters transfer portal

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Leave a comment

I have never seen it myself, but the transfer portal must be the place to be. Wisconsin tight end Kyle Penniston is just one of the many players putting his name in the transfer portal, as reported Wednesday, as he begins to look for a new place to finish up his college football career.

First reported by 247 Sports, Penniston will have one year of eligibility left to use for the 2019 season. He will be eligible to play right away this fall as a graduate transfer. Penniston enrolled at Wisconsin in 2015 after accepting an offer from Wisconsin over offers from Oklahoma and a handful of other top programs in the Class of 2015.

Penniston appeared in 13 games for the Badgers in 2018 with three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. The instant rise of Jake Ferguson at the tight end position on his way to becoming the second-leading receiver for Wisconsin meant Penniston likely wasn’t going to play a pivotal role in the offensive gameplan in 2019. Wisconsin should still be in decent shape at the tight end position this fall, not that losing an upper classmen at the position is ever a good situation for a program. It’s worth noting Penniston was recruited under former head coach Gary Andersen, who adopted a different type of offensive scheme that would have potentially been a better fit for Penniston.

Where Penniston goes next remains to be seen.

Reports: ‘Medical condition’ prompts Royal Silver to leave Minnesota

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears Minnesota won’t have a sizable piece of its defensive line rotation moving forward.

Both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press are reporting that Royal Silver has left P.J.Fleck‘s football program because of what were described as “medical reasons.” The specific health issue or issues with which the defensive lineman is dealing hasn’t been divulged.

Thus far, the university has declined to discuss Silver’s status with the team moving forward.

Silver spent his first two seasons at an Iowa junior college, then took a redshirt for the 2017 season after transferring to Minnesota.  This past season, the 6-3, 300-pound lineman started five of the 11 games in which he played.

Amid reports of transfers, including QB Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech issues statement

Getty Images
1 Comment

This is certainly an odd development that, given the plethora of transfers that only continues to rise, could actually become the norm.

Tuesday night, a pair of Virginia Tech football players, including second-leading receiver Eric Kumah, took to Twitter to announce that they had decided to transfer/enter their name into the NCAA transfer database.  A day later, it’s being reported that Josh Jackson, who, after going through a tumultuous offseason, began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury, has placed his name in the transfer database as well.

Given all of the abrupt roster upheaval, Tech head coach Justin Fuente issued a statement Wednesday afternoon somewhat addressing the developments over the last 24 hours or so.

Pitt announces hiring of ex-Maryland WRs coach Chris Beatty

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nearly three weeks after clearing out a pair of spots on his offensive coaching staff, Pat Narduzzi has filled in those self-created holes.

Jan. 4, Shawn Watson was fired as Pitt’s offensive coordinator, replaced a little over a week later by former UMass head coach Mark Whipple.  The same day Watson was fired, Kevin Sherman was dismissed as wide receivers coach; Wednesday, Pitt confirmed that Chris Beatty has been hired as Sherman’s replacement.

Sherman spent the past three seasons at Maryland as receivers coach.  He also served as co-offensive coordinator and held the title of associate head coach while with the Terrapins.

“Chris is an absolutely outstanding addition to our staff,” Narduzzi said in a statement. “His expertise goes well beyond one position on the offensive side of the ball. That diverse experience is going to be an incredible asset for our players and entire coaching staff. He is also a highly driven recruiter with valuable contacts in so many key areas. We are looking forward to welcoming Chris, his wife Kris and his son Aaron to both Pitt and Pittsburgh.”

Prior to Maryland, Beatty spent time on Power Five coaching staffs at Virginia (2015), Wisconsin (2013-14), Illinois (2012), Vanderbilt (2011) and West Virginia (2008-10).  In addition to receivers, he’s also coaching quarterbacks and running backs.