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J.T. Barrett rallies No. 6 Ohio State past No. 2 Penn State, 39-38

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Whew!

After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter after a blazing fast start by No. 2 Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten), No. 6 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) pulled together a 19-3 fourth quarter against one of the best second-half teams in the nation to capture a monster 39-38 win in the Big Ten race, and the College Football Playoff race. J.T. Barrett was incredible with 33-of-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns and 95 rushing yards.

After Penn State had a 10-play drive to tack on what seemed to be a pivotal field goal to take a 38-27 lead, Ohio State and Barrett would not be stopped. The Buckeyes scored two touchdowns on their next two possessions while the defense put the clamps down on the Nittany Lions. Penn State had two straight possessions with negative yardage with the game still on the line, and Ohio State made them pay for it.

For Penn State, it was reminiscent of the Rose Bowl against USC, where a game that looked to have a favorable ending coming together came crashing down without a killer instinct to make a key play or two on either side of the football to close the book. It was a tough loss to take for Penn State, but how damaging it ultimately ends up being will now be left in the hands of the College Football Playoff selection committee starting next week.

Saquon Barkley returned the game’s opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and he had a 36-yard touchdown run in the first half as Penn State was making the big plays while Ohio State was dominating the offensive yardage in the box score. Ohio State bottled up Barkley for the majority of the game outside of those two plays as he ended the day with 44 rushing yards and 23 receiving yards (and 105 kickoff return yards). Barkley should still be heading to New York, but he will very likely have some company from the Big Ten joining him as Barrett should be in the conversation now as well.

Ohio State out-gained Penn State 529-283 and racked up 27 first downs to Penn State’s 17. That helped wear Penn State down and to overcome two turnovers and 10 penalties for Ohio State. Ohio State also had two interceptions of Trace McSorley in the end zone overturned by replay review. Both overturned picks were led by Penn State touchdowns, including one that occurred on the same play. It was a game that Penn State shouldn’t have won and the fates tried hard to prevent Ohio State from winning. But college football is goofy sometimes, and then things like Penn State squandering an 11-point lead in the final five minutes happens.

Ohio State now owns the inside track to the Big Ten championship game with a head-to-head win against Penn State. Ohio State would have to lose twice if Penn State wins their remaining games in order for the Nittany Lions to get a chance to return to the Big Ten championship game. And with the playoff rankings about to be unveiled, Ohio State should feel confident they will be ranked in the top four from the selection committee.

Ohio State will have to keep the momentum going next week with a road game at Iowa. Penn State will look to rebound next week on the road against Michigan State. The Spartans dropped an overtime game at Northwestern and will also be looking for a rebound win. There is still a lot of football to be played, but Ohio State is rolling right now.

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.