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Gophers clip Chips in Quick Lane Bowl

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If you were worried that five-win teams might embarrass themselves in the bowl season, think again. Minnesota (6-7) became the third 5-7 team to score a bowl victory with a 21-13 victory over Central Michigan (7-6) in the Quick Lane Bowl Monday. Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner scored on a quarterback keeper right up the middle fo Central Michigan’s defense in the fourth quarter to take a 21-14 lead following a two-point conversion. The game, which featured four lead changes, improved the Big Ten to 2-1 this bowl season with both wins coming from teams entering the postseason with a losing record of 5-7 (Nebraska, Minnesota).

Cooper Rush scored the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter to give Central Michigan a 7-3 lead on the first play of the quarter, but the Gophers answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Leidner completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to KJ Maye to retake the three-point advantage. Minnesota tacked on three points midway through the third quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Ryan Santoso.

Down by one, 14-13, Minnesota put together a 13-play scoring drive capped by Leidner’s touchdown run. To go up by seven points, Minnesota opted to go for a two-point conversion. As coverage appeared to break down on the conversion attempt, Leidner sent a pass to the back of the end zone and Maye somehow got his hands on it to tack on the two extra points. Central Michigan appeared to have something working on the ensuing possession, but the momentum was lost when Rush had a pass intercepted by Briean Boddy-Calhoun at the Gophers’ 35-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the game. That allowed Minnesota to force Central Michigan to burn their remaining timeouts.

Minnesota won its first bowl game since the 2004 season, when Glen Mason was the head coach of the Gophers. Minnesota had lost seven consecutive bowl game appearances since then. This is also the first bowl victory for Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys, who took over for the retired Jerry Kill in the middle of the season. Kill was on the Minnesota sideline as a special guest, and this was likely a proud moment for him as well.

Minnesota will kick off the 2016 season at home against Oregon State on Thursday, September 1, 2016. Central Michigan opens at home on the same night, against Presbyterian.

Report: USC starting QB JT Daniels expected to play vs. Arizona State

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Could it be much ado about nothing?

With starter JT Daniels in concussion protocol and his backup, Matt Fink, nursing three broken ribs, it was appearing somewhat likely that USC would be forced to turn the offense over to No. 3 quarterback Jack Sears. According to one report, however, the redshirt freshman may not be needed this weekend after all — at least to start with.

Obviously, the Trojans’ quarterback situation/predicament will be fluid throughout the rest of the week leading up to the Week 9 matchup with Arizona State this Saturday and possibly not decided until we get closer to kickoff.

Daniels, the true freshman who has started every game this season, suffered his head injury in the loss to Utah this past Saturday. Fink injured his ribs in the same game.

Sears, meanwhile, has not attempted a pass in his collegiate career.

Warde Manuel essentially claims ‘SCOREBOARD!’ in latest Michigan-Michigan State salvo

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The most recent public pissing match between a pair of in-state rivals shows no sign of abating anytime soon.  At all.

To recap:

In response to that statement, U-M athletic director Warde Manuel released his own statement Monday night.  In it, Manuel began by writing about a pregame conversation with his MSU counterpart, Bill Beekman, that he preferred to keep private.  To end it, Manual not-so-discreetly declared “SCOREBOARD!” on his rivals.

“It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played and,” wait for it… “the final result.”

Well played, Mr. Manuel.  Well played.

I had a conversation on the field with Michigan State Athletic Director Bill Beekman prior to the game regarding the situation that occurred during pregame warmups. My preference is to keep that conversation and any further discussions between us. I will work with our staff and the conference to see how this situation can be prevented from happening in the future. It is a great rivalry between two Michigan Universities, and the focus should remain on the game, the way it’s played, and the final result.

Report: TCU WR/KR KaVontae Turpin also also arrested in March

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TCU wide receiver/kickoff returner KaVontae Turpin was suspended Monday after he was arrested for allegedly dragging his girlfriend across a parking lot and slamming to the ground at an apartment complex in Fort Worth on Saturday night.

“Texas Christian University is aware that one of its students was recently arrested for a reported domestic situation,” the university said in a statement. “The university takes these types of reports very seriously and is continuing to gather information to determine next steps. TCU expects its students to behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law.”

But it appears that isn’t all.

According to 

Turpin failed to appear at a July 16 pre-trial hearing and is now subject to a bench warrant by the Las Cruces Magistrate Court.

If convicted, Turpin would face up to six months in prison for battery of a household member. He entered not guilty please to battery of a household member and criminal damage to the property of a household member under $1,000.

Michigan State releases statement on field altercation vs. Michigan

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Now more than two days after it happened, the (don’t call it a -gate, don’t call it a -gate) field altercation before the Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday continues to live.

Jim Harbaugh addressed the controversy on Monday, this time taking a personal shot across the bow at Mark Dantonio. “I’ll go one step further and use Coach Dantonio’s words from a few years back,” Harbaugh said. “‘It’s not a product of the team, but their program.’ Again, that’s using his words. That could’ve been an unfortunate deal. I’m proud of our guys for keeping their cool.”

To recap: During the Spartans’ traditional arm-in-arm walk across the field before the game, Michigan players came away accusing Michigan State of clotheslining defensive lineman Lawrence Marshall and ripping the headphones out of defensive back Lavert Hill‘s ears.

Which led to linebacker Devin Bush tearing up the Spartans’ midfield logo.

On Monday, Michigan State released a statement that basically amounts to: Yeah, but you shouldn’t have been standing there.

According to the Spartans, Michigan State released a pre-game schedule of events, which both teams agreed upon ahead of Saturday and which is part of the norm for every Spartans home game. According to said schedule, Michigan State opens up the field more than two hours before the game, with the understanding the field will be cleared before Michigan State conducts its Spartan Walk.

And that’s where Michigan State’s explanation of events pretty much ends.

So, yeah. There’s no disputing of Michigan’s account, just that they shouldn’t have been standing there.

Michigan won the game, 21-7.