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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.