Mark Dantonio still remembers his only loss in 2013, vs. Notre Dame

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You do not need to give Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio any incentive to win on any given week. That is especially true this week as he leads his Spartans into Notre Dame Stadium in 2013 for the first time since losing his only game of the season. Michigan State left with a bitter-tasting 17-13 defeat, as the Fighting Irish took advantage of a number of pass interference penalties to keep key drives alive.

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees completed just 14 of his 34 pass attempts against the Spartans that day, but five critical pass interference penalties proved to be death blows to the Spartans, who were challenged at offense at the time. Dantonio has not forgotten about what he felt cost his team a road win in South Bend that day.

“From my perspective, we made plays. You know, flags came out a little bit, but from my perspective, we made plays on the ball,” Dantonio said when asked about pass interference penalties, according to Chris Vannini of CoachingSearch.com. “Sometimes those are bang-bang type situations where you’re trying to — everybody’s trying to do the right thing, so not looking backwards. But at the same time, regardless of what happens, you need to move on and play the next play. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Things did work out well for the Spartans following that loss in South Bend in 2013. Michigan State went on to win the Big Ten West Division and then upset Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, which was the first loss for the Buckeyes in two seasons under Urban Meyer. Michigan State went on to defeat Stanford in the Rose Bowl.

Michigan State is looking to snap a three-game losing streak against the Irish. While Michigan State has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success under Dantonio, the Spartans are 3-4 against Notre Dame with losses in four of the last five meetings, all under Dantonio.

Dabo Swinney turns Georgia Tech’s loss to The Citadel into swipe at Alabama, South Carolina, SEC

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The Citadel beat Georgia Tech on Saturday. It’s not great for the ACC, and particularly not great if you’re a College Football Playoff contender with the Yellow Jackets on your schedule, as Clemson is.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked about that game on Tuesday, and he deftly pivoted from a black mark on the ACC’s resume into a swipe at the entire SEC.

“That’s college football,” Swinney told 247Sports. “I mean heck, The Citadel was probably Alabama’s toughest game last year until Georgia. I mean I’m just telling the truth. The Citadel beat South Carolina somewhere here in the not-too-long-ago (past). That’s not a shocker. Georgia State went over and beat Tennessee. I mean that’s college football. Anything can happen, especially early, especially early in the season. Because nobody knows anything about anybody at this point.”

The Citadel played Alabama to a 10-10 halftime score last November… before the Tide pulled away for a 50-17 win, and the military academy did beat South Carolina in 2015.

But it wasn’t Alabama’s closest pre-Georgia game, but arguing facts when you’re in a troll-esque argument proves you’ve already lost, doesn’t it?

Florida to host Florida Atlantic in 2021

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Florida will host Florida Atlantic in 2021, FAU announced Tuesday. The game will take place on Sept. 4 and serve as the season-opener for both schools.

The schools have met three times previously, all of them in Gainesville. Florida won 59-20 on Nov. 17, 2007, 41-3 on Sept. 3, 2011, and 20-14 on Nov. 21, 2015.

The game will round out both schools’ non-conference schedules.

Florida will visit USF on Sept. 11, host Florida State on Nov. 27 and has a TBD home game against Samford, most likely on Nov. 20.

Today’s news means Florida has a future game on the schedule with every FBS program in the Sunshine State except UCF and Florida International. Florida beat Miami in Orlando to open this season and will play a home-and-home with the ‘Canes in 2024-25.

Florida Atlantic will follow its Gainesville trip with an excursion to Colorado Springs to play Air Force. After that, the Owls will host Fordham and Georgia Southern to round out September.

 

With Husky mascot retiring in 2021, Northern Illinois to introduce successor on Tuesday

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Northern Illinois’ husky mascot, Mission, is retiring in 2021, and on Tuesday the school will introduce his successor.

Mission II, born on July 6 and weighing a tender 14.5 ounces, will replace Mission two years from now, and the puppy will begin his official duties as NIU’s next official mascot on Tuesday.

“We have long been searching for the heir apparent to Mission, and there is no question that we have found the right Huskie,” NIU Alumni Association Executive Director Reggie Bustinza said. “Mission has set very high expectations, but there is no doubt in my mind that Mission II cannot only meet those demands, but surpass them.

“We are happy that Mission will have plenty of years to enjoy his retirement.”

Mission will turn 10 years old in 2021, and by that time Mission II will be fully versed in all the expectations placed upon the Official Northern Illinois Husky.

Mission II, a Siberian husky born in southern Wisconsin, will accompany Mission “to all eligible events for experiential learning and proofing,” which begins at a tasting for an NIU-branded beer on Tuesday evening in DeKalb.

The school has not revealed when Mission II will make his debut at a Husky football game, and in the meantime he’ll continue training with Lisa Boland while also attending daily puppy classes.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing Mission and Mission II do the job together during the training period,” Boland said. “It will be wonderful to watch ‘Mini-Mish’ learn from Mission, and see them work as a team. Mission has set a very high bar in mascotting, and Mission II will be working very hard to follow in his footsteps. I am so proud of Mission and the work that he’s done as the official NIU mascot.

“I am thrilled to have the privilege of guiding his successor to best represent Huskie Nation.”

Troy loses RB B.J. Smith, SBC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, to season-ending injury

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This one will certainly leave a lasting mark.

Over the summer, Troy’s B.J. Smith was named as the Sun Belt Conference’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Two months later, the football program confirmed, the running back will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2019 season because of an injury sustained in the Week 3 loss to Southern Miss.

While the specific nature of the injury wasn’t divulged by the school, it’s believed Smith injured his knee midway through the second quarter of last Saturday’s game.

Last season, Smith led the Trojans with 1,186 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.  This season, the fourth-year senior had rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries in two games.

Because of the timing of the injury, Smith can take a redshirt for the 2019 season and return to the Trojans next season.