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Troy snaps No. 25 LSU’s 49-game home non-conference winning streak

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It had to end at some point, but it wasn’t supposed to end like this.

The Mighty Trojans of Troy entered Tiger Stadium as 20-point underdogs and beat No. 25 LSU, 24-21.

Troy opened the game by forcing a Nick Brossette fumble on LSU’s first play, then taking a 7-0 lead five plays later on a 1-yard Brandon Silvers plunge. The score remained there until the final play of the first half, when Evan Leggassey punched in a 37-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 10-0 lead at the break — a kick that came only after a replay review discovered two seconds remaining in the half, after both teams had already headed to their respective locker rooms.

The lead expanded to 17-0 on the opening drive of the second half as Troy moved 75 yards in six plays, culminating in a man-up 1-yard Jordan Chunn plunge on fourth-and-goal. Troy had a chance to completely close the door on LSU when it recovered an LSU fumble deep inside its own territory, but the Trojans immediately gave the ball back with a fumble of their own inside the 10-yard line, and LSU notched its first touchdown of the game two plays later.

No matter, Marcus Jones intercepted a Myles Brennan pass (he briefly replaced an injured Danny Etling, who later returned) and the Troy offense moved 64 yards, ending in the Trojans’ third rushing touchdown of the night, a 7-yard Josh Anderson burst to give Troy a 24-7 lead with 8:14 left in the fourth quarter.

It was at that point that those who assembled at Tiger Stadium decided to bail.

LSU scored quickly in response, finding pay dirt on a 34-yard strike from Etling to Russell Gage, pulling the Tigers within 10 with 7:41 to play.

Troy appeared ready to put the game away with another touchdown, but Chunn fumbled at the LSU 15-yard line, and LSU answered by moving 92 yards in 13 plays, pulling within 24-21 on a 20-yard strike from Etling to Foster Moreau with 1:59 to play. Troy expired all but the final 18 seconds off the clock after recovering an onside kick, but Etling’s last-gasp pass was intercepted at the Troy 37-yard line with five seconds left.

The loss is LSU’s first non-conference loss in Tiger Stadium since falling 13-10 to UAB on Sept. 23, 2000, Nick Saban‘s first season in Baton Rouge. It was Troy’s first win over an SEC opponent since toppling Mississippi State 21-9 on Oct. 13, 2001, ending an 18-game losing streak, and its first win over a ranked team since upending then-No. 17 Missouri on Sept. 9, 2004. But they weren’t in the SEC (at least not then). And while Troy is a solid team at 4-1, this is a team that beat Akron by five points at home a week ago — and LSU just lost to them.

Simply put, it’s the type of loss that would have gotten Les Miles fired — except that happened a year ago, and it would cost LSU $12 million to do the same to Ed Orgeron.

Central Michigan loses one of its highest-rated 2018 signees to the transfer portal

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One of the highest-rated signees for Central Michigan football a couple of years ago is leaving the MAC program.  Or, at least, he is exploring the option of doing as much.

According to 247Sports.com, George Pearson is listed in the NCAA transfer database.  That would be the first step in the redshirt sophomore quarterback’s potential departure from the Central Michigan football team.

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.

Pearson was a three-star member of the Central Michigan football Class of 2018.  Only one offensive signee in that cycle for CMU, wide receiver Keonta Nixon, was rated higher than the New Jersey product.  As a true freshman, Pearson completed 12 of his 24 passes for 94 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pearson didn’t play a down for the Chips in 2019.

In 2018, Central Michigan lost a school-record 11 games.  In Jim McElwain‘s first season in 2019, CMU won went 8-6.  Included in the losses was a New Mexico Bowl beatdown at the hands of San Diego State.

Ole Miss pulls in second transfer from a university in Canada

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From Oh Canada to Ole Miss football?  I’m thinking one recruit might be in for a little culture shock.  Actually, make that two.

Last month, a Canadian college football player, the University of Guelph’s Tavius Robinson, committed to Ole Miss football.  On Twitter Wednesday, Deane Leonard did the same. The cornerback comes to the SEC school from the University of Calgary.

“First off I’d like to thank my friends, family, and coaches that have supported me through this process,” Leonard wrote. “I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for all that you’ve done for me over the years. Love you guys!

“With the cancellation of the USports season I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to look at my options down south.

“With that being said, I’ll be transferring to Ole Miss to complete my collegiate career.”

During his time at That Country Up North, Leonard appeared in 23 games.  In that action, the defensive back was credited with 47 tackles, 19 passes defensed, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, one tackle for loss, one sack and one block.  He also returned five kicks for 124 yards (24.8 average) and 19 punts for 195 yards (10.3 avg.).  One of those punts was returned for a touchdown.

Both Leonard and Robinson are expected to be immediately eligible for new head coach Lane Kiffin and the Rebels.

SEC commish issues statement in wake of Big Ten’s seismic announcement

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It didn’t take long for the most powerful man in SEC football country to respond to what the B1G wrought.

As you may have heard, the Big Ten confirmed Thursday afternoon that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  That was the first significant Power Five domino to tip, but it certainly won’t be the last.  In the coming days, or perhaps next week, the ACC and Pac-12 are expected to make a similar announcement.  The Big 12 and SEC, though, are widely expected to kick that football scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.

Not long after the B1G announcement, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement addressing just where his conference is at decison-wise.

The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to SE Fall sports.  We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.

Again, it’s expected that the SEC will make a decision on the football path it will take later this month.  Barring unforeseen circumstances pushing up that timeline, of course.

Big Ten commish, Ohio State AD decidedly pessimistic on B1G having a 2020 college football season

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The Big Ten toppled the first significant domino earlier in the day.  Now, two of the most powerful men in the conference are expounding on the development.  And, if you’re a fan of the sport, you might want to close your eyes when reading the next few paragraphs.  Or take several shots of an adult beverage before proceeding.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.

In television appearances following the announcement, the B1G’s commissioner didn’t put a positive spin on football’s immediate future.

“One thing we have to realize is that this is not a fait accompli that we’re going to have sports in the fall,” Kevin Warren flatly stated. “We may not have sports in the fall, we may not have a college football season in the Big Ten. …

“We made a vow early on that, first and foremost, we would put the health, the safety and the wellness of our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions.

Gene Smith was equally pessimistic.

“I can’t reiterate enough the fact that we might not play,” the Ohio State athletic director said in discussing football in 2020. “We just might not, and I think people need to understand that.”

It’s expected that other Power Five conferences will follow the lead of the Big Ten.  In the coming days, both the ACC and Pac-12 will most likely announce a conference-only football schedule.  The lone exception will be the ACC including Notre Dame, which already has six games against the conference on its 2020 slate, in any revamped schedule.

The Big 12 and SEC are widely expected to kick the scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.  In the end, however, both of those Power Fives are likely to come to the same scheduling conclusion.