The second half of the season for Notre Dame is quite simply a gauntlet of tough games. Everywhere you look there’s a highly ranked opponent or a difficult game — making the path to the College Football Playoff an obtainable one but one littered with landmines.
The Irish are looking more and more like they’re plenty capable of navigating such a road however, turning in their second straight statement win over a top 15 team in South Bend on Saturday, topping No. 14 N.C. State 35-14.
Leading the way once again was big No. 33. On a day where Saquon Barkley was running wild over in Columbus, Notre Dame’s star running back reminded Heisman voters that he’s right there with the Penn State tailback too. All told, Josh Adams racked up 202 yards rushing and found the end zone on a 77-yarder that broke things open in the third quarter. The touchdown was Adams’ sixth run of over 60 yards this season and capped off a heck of a day.
Elsewhere in the Irish backfield, quarterback Brandon Wimbush continued to play off his teammate and make life difficult for opposing defensive coordinators. While his passing numbers weren’t eye-popping (10/19, 104 yards, two touchdowns), they were quite effective and he made several highlight reel throws along the sidelines for big plays. His legs also were a factor as he had a rushing touchdown and a 20 yard scramble before staying in the pocket more down the stretch after rolling his ankle slightly.
As effective as the offense was for Notre Dame, the real story of the win was the team’s defense. They only recorded one sack but they kept the Wolfpack’s offense in check all day long and really only allowed seven points — their other touchdown came on a first quarter blocked punt. All-purpose threat Jaylen Samuels was bottled up at an impressive rate and had only 39 yards of offense, while quarterback Ryan Finley threw a rare interception and passed for 213 yards and a touchdown.
At least N.C. State’s offense made their only trip to the end zone a memorable one.
The victory was Notre Dame’s sixth straight since their lone loss of the year and all have come by 20+ points as well. The past two Saturday’s have featured their most impressive wins yet however and are quite the statement made ahead of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s initial set of rankings being released on Tuesday. It’s been a dream of a turnaround for a team that went 4-8 a year ago and it’s one that will keep going for another week ahead of a matchup against Wake Forest.
The graduate transfer has become a great vehicle for Group of 5 and FCS players who over-perform at their level to shoot their shot at a Power 5 program. But Iowa this weekend added an extremely rare Division II-to-Power 5 graduate transfer.
Zach VanValkenburg on Saturday pledged his commitment to Iowa after being pursued by multiple Big Ten programs.
“So thankful for all the people who have gotten me to this point; my parents, my coaches in high school, and my coaches at Hillsdale,” VanValkenburg in an iPhone note posted to his Twitter account. “Leaving Hillsdale is bittersweet but I have reached the end of the road here educationally and my goals are uncompromising. I will always cherish the experiences I had here and the friendships I have made. With that said, I’m very proud to announce that I will be continuing both my academic and football careers at the University of Iowa this fall! Go Hawkeyes!”
Playing at Hillsdale College, a private college in an eponymous Michigan town, the 6-foot-4, 266-pound defensive end collected 70 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2018.
He will be expected to add depth along Iowa’s defensive line after losing all four starters from last year’s team.
VanValkenburg will have two seasons to compete for the Hawkeyes.
Idaho wide receiver Collin Sather is battling advanced renal cancer, the program has announced. Renal cancer attacks the kidneys and most commonly attacks older men.
According to the Idaho Statesman, Sather began experiencing stomach pains on Jan. 17, and by Jan. 21 the pains had progressed to the point where he had to be hospitalized. He is currently undergoing dialysis and chemotherapy at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, and once he is stabilized will be transferred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
“We are with Collin every day during this fight,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “He is a great young man and the model of a great teammate. Everyone in our program cares a lot about him, and he will always be a valued member of this team.
“We keep Collin and his family in our thoughts and prayers each day. We are here to help him keep fighting, and we will be here to welcome him back when he wins his battle.”
A Spokane, Wash., native, Sather was an all-conference player in football and basketball at West Valley High School before signing with Idaho in 2018. He redshirted last fall.
Mark Dantonio signed a 6-year contract in 2016 that was essentially an indefinite contract. Under the provisions of the deal, MSU’s Board of Trustees each February have the option to tack another year onto the contract, making it essentially a rolling 6-year contract, and for the second straight year they have done just that, according to the Lansing State Journal‘s R.J. Wolcott.
Though he is 2-for-2 on automatic rollovers (the deal would remain a 5-year contract if MSU’s trustees for some reason did not approve the rollover), both extensions have come amid a fair level of turmoil around the program.
In 2017, Dantonio successfully rebounded from Sparty’s 3-9 2016 campaign to go 10-3 with a No. 15 finish in the AP poll, but he was dogged by accusations that he mishandled sexual assault allegations against a handful of Spartan players — amid a complete mishandling (to put it lightly) of sexual assault allegations elsewhere in the athletics department, against gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar.
In 2018, Dantonio watched Michigan State’s record slink to 7-6 and, instead of making changes on the offensive staff, he opted to retain his entire roster of offensive coaches, though in different spots.
Still, Dantonio secured his extension. The 2025 season would take Dantonio to his 19th season at Michigan State and past his 69th birthday.
He is 107-51 with three Big Ten championships, two AP top-5 finishes and one College Football Playoff appearance in a dozen seasons as the head Spartan.
After losing Travis Trickett to his old country roads of West Virginia, Georgia State’s new offensive coordinator is a name unfamiliar to most fans, but not to Panthers head coach Shawn Elliott.
Georgia State will hire Brad Glenn as its new offensive coordinator, a source confirmed to CFT.
Glenn is currently the associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina. Prior to that, he spent seven years on staff at Appalachian State, at times coaching the Mountaineers’ slot receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks. Elliott was App State’s offensive line coach from 2001-09.
Georgia State ranked No. 76 nationally in yards per play (5.57) and No. 104 in scoring (23.9 points per game) en route to a 2-10 season in 2018.