Associated Press

Controversial ending sends Mich. St. to first loss

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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.

Bowling Green loses part-time starting corner to transfer

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As you’re likely well aware already, it’s not just Power Five programs who see a roster reshuffling this time of the year.

The latest Group of Five school to experience that personnel phenomenon is Bowling Green, with Cam Jefferies announcing on his personal Twitter account that, “[a]fter a countless amount of prayer and conversation with those closest to me,” he will be transferring from that Falcons. The cornerback gave no specific reason for the decision to move on from the MAC school.

According to his tweet, Jefferies is set to graduate from the university in August. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

A two-star recruit coming out of high school in Ohio, Jefferies took a redshirt as a true freshman in 2015. The past two seasons, the defensive back started 12 of the 21 games in which he played. Seven of those starts came this past season.

Dabo Swinney, Hunter Johnson address QB’s transfer

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Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.

Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.

“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.

“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”

Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.

“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”

The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.

It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.

Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair loses defamation lawsuit vs. NCAA

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By a vote of 9-3, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair has lost his defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. Following six days of deliberation, the verdict brings to a close the Reggie Bush scandal that began more than a decade ago, a scandal that saw the Trojans lose their 2004 BCS national championship and Bush be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

McNair sued the NCAA after it found him guilty of unethical conduct while Bush received impermissible benefits. He was given a 1-year show-cause penalty, and has not worked since his contract expired in the summer of 2010.

McNair sought $27 million in damages from the NCAA.

McNair’s attorney Bruce Broilett told ESPN his team was “very disappointed … disappointed in the result. Assessing the situation and considering our next steps.”

David Beaty releases statement on firing of KU AD Sheahon Zenger

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Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger earlier today. If the move was immediately greeted as a vote of no-confidence in Zenger’s ability to find and hire the next Jayhawks football coach — and, thus, a vote of no-confidence in the David Beaty era — that’s because it pretty much is.

“But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in his statement announcing Zenger’s firing.

The playbook is well documented by now: to replace the head coach, you must first replace the AD who hired the head coach, and the replacement will then hire the new head coach. We’ve seen it play out at a number of places, most recently Nebraska, where Bill Moos was brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst, and Moos promptly fired Mike Riley and hired Scott Frost.

Beaty is a well-liked coach, but college football is a results business and a 3-33 record speaks for itself. Beaty surely knows that score better than anyone.

Hours after the news went public, Beaty released a statement of his own on Monday afternoon.

As if the 3-33 mark wasn’t obvious enough, the beginning of the end of the Beaty era likely came on Monday.