Mark Dantonio broke his silence Tuesday to talk about all the things he couldn’t talk about.
Speaking publicly for the first time since National Signing Day, Dantonio said more players have been suspended in addition to the three players and one staff member already suspended in connection with an ongoing sexual assault investigation. There are actually three investigations ongoing — a criminal probe, a Title IX investigation and an outside evaluation of the football program.
How many additional players were suspended in conjunction with the investigations? Dantonio couldn’t say.
When were they suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.
When were the original three players suspended? Dantonio couldn’t say.
How, one may wonder, has Michigan State managed to keep the suspended players’ identities secret despite spring practice now being a full month old? Easy: the Spartans have essentially shielded a black cloak around the entire program. The media hasn’t been allowed to watch practice. No depth charts or rosters have been released. No photos or videos have been produced. The content on @MSU_Football has vaguely referred to the ongoing spring practices by referencing the April 1 spring game, but all other tweets have centered around Michigan State’s involvement in the NFL Draft or the basketball Spartans’ NCAA Tournament berth. The program didn’t even comment on two players’ announced transfers throughout the offseason.
Dantonio even deemed it “trivial” to discuss Michigan State’s quarterback derby. The one piece of actual Spartans football news Dantonio revealed? Linebacker Drake Martinez, he of the one tackle in two appearances last season, has transferred.
All good things, streaks in this particular case, must come to an end.
Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Notre Dame will play host to Navy in the 93rd renewal of their football rivalry. And, according to the South Bend Tribune, the game won’t be played in front of a sellout crowd at Notre Dame Stadium (capacity: 77,622), which is actually a startling development.
This weekend, you see, will mark the first time since Thanksgiving Day 1973 (vs. Air Force) that the Fighting Irish haven’t sold out a home football game, snapping a streak of 273 straight sellouts. Ahead of that streak being snapped, the Irish’s athletic director for the past dozen years, Jack Swarbrick, attempted to downplay the development.
From the Tribune:
It was never sort of important to me to keep it alive, but I understand why other people thought so. It’s a point of distinction to a lot of people and our fans.
“For me it’s always been: What’s the stadium environment like? Are we creating a great environment for our team and for our student-athletes? That you can say it’s also sold out is sort of a byproduct of that.
“But if my choice is (77,622) people in an environment that’s not really good versus 75,000 in a raucous environment, I’ll take the latter every time.
Notre Dame’s 237-game streak had been the second-longest active streak in college football behind Nebraska’s 373, which will move to 374 when Big Red hosts Wisconsin this weekend. The last time the Cornhuskers failed to sellout Memorial Stadium was during the 1962 season.
The field for the award that fetes the nation’s most versatile college football player has been whittled down significantly.
Earlier Thursday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the four finalists for the 2019 Paul Hornung Award that have been chosen by the 17-member selection committee. And (surprise!), all four of the finalists come from Power Five conferences: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Joe Reed (Virginia) and Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska).
All four of the finalists come from the offensive side of the ball and have spent time as return specialists as well. Because of injuries at the position, Bowden, listed as a wide receiver to start the season, has started the last three games at quarterback for UK, with the Wildcats going 2-1 in that span.
Reed is primarily a wide receiver and Edwards-Helaire a running back, while Robinson has split his time between both positions.
The 2018 winner of the Hornung Award was Purdue’s Rondale Moore, who likely would’ve been given serious finalist consideration again this year if not for his season essentially being derailed by a lingering hamstring injury.
For all of the statistical particulars for each candidate, click HERE the award’s press release:
It appears Kansas State will have to settle for a mea culpa.
In the second half of last Saturday’s game, Texas cornerback Jalen Green (pictured) leveled K-State wide receiver Wykeen Gill (not pictured) on a play away from the ball and was ejected from the contest after (eventually) being flagged for targeting. The play will cost Green the first half of UT’s game this Saturday against Iowa State per NCAA targeting rules, but will likely cost Gill at least one full game as he will be sidelined for the Week 12 matchup with West Virginia as the receiver is currently in concussion protocol.
That disparity didn’t sit well with K-State’s head coach.
“It’s unfortunate because it was away from the play, didn’t have anything to do with the play, and Wykeen is probably going to miss a game,” Chris Klieman stated at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “When you have a hit like that and somebody only misses a half, I don’t think that’s very fair.”
Wednesday afternoon, Green issued an apology in which he stated, in part, that he “realize[s] how it may have looked” but “I do want everyone to know I was not trying to take a cheap shot.”
As for “not trying to take a cheap shot,” you be the judge.
When it comes to the semifinalists for one of the most prestigious quarterbacking awards in college football, they are who you thought they’d be (for the most part).
Wednesday afternoon, the Davey O’Brien Award released its list of 16 semifinalists for a trophy named in honor of the former TCU College Football Hall of Famer. Headlining this year’s group is LSU’s Joe Burrow, who enters Week 12 of the regular season as the overwhelming favorite to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
One finalist from a year ago, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, is a semifinalist this year as well. Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts is the only two-time semifinalist again in the mix, although this is his first time as a Sooner as the first two came while he was a member of the Crimson Tide.
Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence are also former semifinalists who are up for this year’s award.
The Big 12 leads all conferences with four semifinalists, followed by three apiece from the AAC, Pac-12 and SEC. The Big Ten accounted for two while the ACC had one.
The 2018 winner of the Davey O’Brien Award was Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Below is the complete list of semifinalists for the 2019 award.
- Charlie Brewer (Baylor)
- Shane Buechele (SMU)
- Joe Burrow (LSU)
- Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
- Justin Fields (Ohio State)
- Jake Fromm (Georgia)
- Anthony Gordon (Washington State)
- Justin Herbert (Oregon)
- Tyler Huntley (Utah)
- Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
- Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
- Tanner Morgan (Minnesota)
- Malcolm Perry (Navy)
- Brock Purdy (Iowa State)
- Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama)
- Brady White (Memphis)