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Justin Jackson’s career day helps Northwestern nip No. 23 Pitt in Pinstripe Bowl

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If you’re a fan of Northwestern football, go ahead and send all of your thank you notes and/or cards to Justin Jackson, c/o NU athletics.  Although, you could save some for the secondary as well.

Thanks in very large part to Jackson’s career day, Northwestern (7-6) was able to hold off No. 23 Pittsburgh (8-5) and stake its claim to the 7th annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium with a 31-24 win.  The victory was the Wildcats’ first in a bowl game since 2012 and just the third ever since the program was established in 1892.

And, again, thanks be to Jackson.  The junior running back gashed the Panthers defense for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.  His previous career-high was 188, set in a mid-October win over Michigan State earlier this season.

Jackson was part of a back-and-forth second half, with the lead changing hands four times in the last two quarters after the Wildcats had taken a 14-10 lead into the halftime locker room.  What turned out to be the final lead change didn’t involve Jackson, though, as Clayton Thorson connected with Garrett Dickerson for a 21-yard touchdown pass on a fourth and one with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers a four-point lead.

On the first play of the ensuing possession, Quadree Henderson, playing in pace of the injured James Conner, fumbled the ball back to the Wildcats at the Panthers’ 27-yard line; four plays later, a Jack Mitchell 37-yard field goal extended the lead to seven.

Pitt’s second-to-last chance to tie the game nearly ended in a touchdown but for a tremendous defensive play in the end zone and instead came to a halt on an interception tossed by Ben DiNucci, who prior to this game had never attempted a pass at the collegiate level.  The redshirt freshman was in the game because starter Nathan Peterman sustained a third-quarter head injury and didn’t return.  Conner suffered the same fate on the same type of injury in the same quarter.

Another DiNucci interception with 1:22 left sealed the Panthers’ third consecutive bowl loss.  The 24 points were the fewest for a Pitt offense this season that came into the game 11th in the country in scoring at 42.3 points per game.

Interestingly, with Pitt’s loss, ranked teams are off to an 0-3 start to the bowl season.  The Big Ten is 2-1 this postseason, while the ACC suffered its first loss after winning its first three.

Former Miami QB Augie DeBiase transferring from USF, too

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An already well-traveled member of the USF football program is on the move.  Again.

On Twitter over the weekend, Augie DeBiase announced that he has decided to enter the transfer database.  DeBiase will be leaving the Bulls as a graduate transfer.  Not only that, but he’ll have another year of eligibility to use in 2021 as well.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

DeBiase began his collegiate career as a two-star walk-on at Miami.  The Jacksonville native chose the walk-on approach over scholarship offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech.

In 2018, DiBiase left The U for junior college.  At Tyler College, he was the starting quarterback for the first half of the 2018 season.  An injury sidelined him for the latter portion of the schedule.  In eight games, DeBiase passed for 793 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran for three touchdowns.

DeBiase then joined the USF football program during the 2019 offseason.  He didn’t play a snap for the Bulls this past season.

DeBiase is the fourth Bull to enter the transfer portal in less than two weeks.

Citing “financial reasons,” quarterback Kirk Rygol entered the NCAA transfer database May 12.  A couple of days later, wide receiver Zion Roland did the same.  May 20, it was confirmed that defensive end Tyrik Jones had followed his teammates into the portal as well.

Notre Dame still very much in play for Stanford transfer RB Trevor Speights

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Courtesy of a rival, Notre Dame could very well be adding some talent to its football roster.  Still.

In early JanuaryTrevor Speights became one of more than a dozen Stanford players who had entered the NCAA transfer database. A month later, it was reported that Notre Dame football was viewed as the front-runner early on in the process.

The coronavirus pandemic, though, has slowed the process.  It, hasn’t however, caused the running back’s interest in the Fighting Irish to wane.

“Things are going well with my second recruitment. I’m very happy with my options,” Speights told 247Sports.com. “I have an opportunity to play at a prestigious school like Notre Dame and pursue my Masters in Business. … I am in a great position and I’m extremely blessed. …

“I’m just taking things slow. I didn’t really have the chance to visit Notre Dame, so I got to hop on the Zoom with [running backs] coach [Lance] Taylor and [offensive coordinator Tommy] Rees, and just talk ball with those guys and how I’d fit in the system.”

Taylor was the running backs coach at Stanford before taking the same job with Notre Dame football in January of last year.  He was Speights’ position coach and helped recruit him to the Cardinal.

Rice is also in the mix for the graduate transfer.  Speights stated he hopes to make a decision “within the next couple of weeks.”

Speights was a three-star 2016 signee.  After rushing for 363 yards and a touchdown on 95 carries in 2017-18, Speights didn’t record a carry in 2019.

San Jose State’s Kyane Schmidt suffers ‘major brain injury,’ in a coma after being ejected from vehicle in rollover accident

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If prayers are your thing, maybe set one aside for a member of the San Jose State football program.

May 20th, the San Jose State football program confirmed this weekend, Kyane Schmidt was involved in a single-car rollover crash, which caused him to be ejected from the vehicle.  Details surrounding the wreck itself haven’t been divulged.

The aftermath, however, is horrific.

“[Schmidt] suffered a major brain injury,” the redshirt freshman defensive lineman’s parents wrote on the Caring Bridge website. “He was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in a deep coma. The doctor said he will be in a coma for multiple weeks. He’s going to need to fight… We believe in him.

“Our broken hearts are full with all the love and support that you- Kyane’s family, friends, and community- have provided by reaching out with concern and prayer. We wanted to provide a means of updating everyone who anxiously awaits to see how he is doing and we will be updating this site with each new information that we receive so that you all can see how he is doing immediately until we are able to reach out personally, thank you in advance and patience as we navigate this new territory. Thank you all for your support and with everyone’s prayers he will be back with us all very soon.”

San Jose State also released a brief statement regarding the injured football player.

“Spartan Nation, we need you!” the Twitter missive began. “Our brother Kyane needs our support while he fights! Please follow the link below to send a message to him and his family with your prayers and good thoughts of support, strength, healing and love.”

As a true freshman, Schmidt was a walk-on offensive lineman.  He didn’t play a down for the Spartans this past season.

Prior to the coronavirus shutting down the sport, Schmidt was transitioning to the other side of the line.

Reggie Bush: Paying players has potential to ‘destroy some people’

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If irony is your thing, Reggie Bush is serving up a heaping cup this Memorial Day.

The NCAA has charted a course that, likely sometime next year, will allow student-athletes, including football players, to profit off their names, images and likenesses.  In an interview with Playboy that appeared online this past week, though, Reggie Bush sounded a word of impending doom for some individuals.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” the former All-American USC running back stated. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place. …

“It’s a nasty world out there, and it’s about to get nastier. You’re going to really start to see the true colors of a lot of people, and a lot of businesses too. You’re going to see people doing some crazy stuff to make money, because our market is crashing.”

In June of 2010, the NCAA, citing lack of institutional control and failure to monitor, levied historic sanctions on the USC football program as a result of Bush — and his family — accepting impermissible benefits from “unscrupulous agents.” The stiff sanctions were a result of the NCAA finding Bush had received in the neighborhood of $300,000 in illegal benefits from would-be marketers while a member of the football program.  The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner voluntarily relinquished his award from that year in September of 2010.

As part of the punitive measures, USC was forced to permanently dissociate itself from Bush.  That “permanent” disassociation, incidentally, ends next month.