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Riley Bullough returning to Mich. State after three-game injury absence

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Desperately looking to snap a three-game losing streak, Michigan State will be getting back a defensive leader who, coincidentally or not, hasn’t played during the skein.

According to mlive.com, a school official has confirmed that Riley Bullough will play in MSU’s game Saturday against Northwestern.  The starting linebacker has missed the last three games, losses to Wisconsin, Indiana and BYU in Weeks 4-6, respectively.

Prior to the Wisconsin game, Bullough, a senior, was tied for the team lead in tackles.

As for the nature of the injury that has kept Bullough on the sidelines for a third of the regular season?  MSU has yet to divulge any specifics, although the program stated that it dates back to before the start of the season and was aggravated in the Week 3 win over Notre Dame.

Last season, Bullough was named second-team All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches.

TCU safety Innis Gaines out for Oklahoma showdown and more likely done for season

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TCU will be without a key member of its defense for this weekend’s showdown against Big 12 rival Oklahoma as starting safety Innis Gaines will not play on Saturday — and possibly not again this season.

Speaking on his radio show on Thursday night in the DFW Metroplex, head coach Gary Patterson ruled the junior out against the Sooners and cautioned that he was “likely” done for the year after suffering a leg injury against Texas Tech last week.

Gaines himself seemed to suggest that he also will be out a significant amount of time with the injury in a Twitter post.

Gaines has been a key member of the Horned Frogs defense the past two years and has been one of the program’s best players on defense in 2018, ranking second on the team in tackles (31) and tackles for loss (6.5), as well as recording one interception, a forced fumble and a sack.

Compounding the loss of Gaines is the fact that fellow safety Niko Small has been out since the loss to Texas, leaving TCU fairly thin in the one area that you can typically count Patterson’s defense to be strong in. Freshman La’Kendrick Van Zandt is likely to be elevated into the starting role based on the team’s depth chart but you could also see an increase in playing time for Trevon Moehrig-Woodard as well.

Either way, this is not exactly the kind of news you want to hear just days before facing off against Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma offense.

Arkansas will reportedly be without starting QB Ty Storey for Tulsa

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Arkansas will continue feeling the effects of its Week 7 loss to Ole Miss on into Week 8.

Ty Storey suffered a head injury in the 37-33 loss to the Rebels this past Saturday, although head coach Chad Morris had been optimistic about the starting quarterback’s availability for this Saturday’s non-conference game with Tulsa.  Friday, however, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, citing a source with knowledge of the decision, is reporting that Storey will not play against the Golden Hurricane.

Storey has started five games this season — the Week 2 loss to North Texas as well as the last four losses in a row.  The junior has thrown for 983 yards and seven touchdowns this season, but his 124.4 pass efficiency rating of 124.4 is 11th among SEC quarterbacks and 89th nationally.

As a team, the Razorbacks are 105th in the country and last in the SEC in passing efficiency at 118.7.

If Storey is indeed sidelined as the reports suggest, either redshirt sophomore Cole Kelley or true freshman Connor Noland would get the start.  Kelley started the opener this year as well as a Week 3 loss North Texas before losing the job a second time to Storey.  Noland has attempted seven passes on the season.

While Kelley certainly has the edge in experience, the Democrat-Gazette writes that “Noland was seen taking first-team reps as media members left at the end of the viewing period on Wednesday.”

Reports: FAU loses Azeez Al-Shaair to ACL tear

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Just past the halfway point of the 2018 season, Florida Atlantic’s defense has taken a very steep and significant hit.

First reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and subsequently confirmed by OwlAccess.com, Azeez Al-Shaair has been diagnosed with a torn ACL.  The linebacker suffered the injury during practice earlier this week.

As a result of the injury, Al-Shaair will miss the remainder of the season.  Additionally, because this is his final season of eligibility, Al-Shaair will see his collegiate career come to an end as well.

This season, Al-Shaair is second on the team in tackles with 43 and tied for the team lead in quarterback hits with three.  The fourth-year senior will finish as the Owls’ all-time leader in tackles.

Al-Shaair was named as the Conference USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year over the summer after leading the league with 147 tackles in 2017.

Div. II’s No. 2 team used ineligible player who was a transfer from Kent State, ex-Michigan wrestler

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On the field, Ferris State finds itself unbeaten and in line for a shot at a national championship. Something off the field, however, could potentially derail those dreams.

Ferris State acknowledged in a statement Wednesday night that it had used a football player this season who had been certified as eligible by the university but was, in fact, ineligible. That player had played in the first four games of the 2018 season before the issue came to the university’s attention.

“By design, the eligibility of every student-athlete is certified by the University, independent of the Athletics Department,” Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanine Ward-Roof said in a statement. “The student-athlete’s transfer history was complex, and the error by the department that certifies student-athlete eligibility was the result of a misinterpretation of a transfer rule.”

While the Div. II school did not name the player involved, mlive.com subsequently confirmed that it is defensive lineman Dan Perry. Perry was originally a true freshman wrestler at Michigan during the 2016-17 academic year, then transferred after wrestling season and was on the football roster at Kent State during the 2017 football season. After redshirting at Kent, he then transferred to Ferris State after the 2017 football season to play football for the Bulldogs.

Because of the two transfers in 2017, Perry should’ve been required to sit out the 2018 season despite dropping from the FBS to Div. II level of football.

Ferris State reported the violation to the NCAA, which will determine whether or not they will face sanctions for playing an ineligible player. The punishment for such a violation could include, among other things, forfeiting wins in the four games in which Perry played.

After seven games, Ferris State is 7-0 and ranked second in the latest Div. II Top 25 behind fellow 7-0 Minnesota State. In those most recent rankings, Ferris State, with five, was the only other Div. II team to garner first-place votes outside of Minnesota State’s 25.