Getty Images

No. 24 Michigan State waits out weather delay to upset No. 7 Penn State

4 Comments

It took seven long hours but the Big Ten East altered course significantly on Saturday afternoon.

In fact, it went from Happy Valley to Columbus to East Lansing on a chaos-filled weekend that was finished off by a game-winning Matt Coghlin field goal to give No. 24 Michigan State an improbable 27-24 win over a rain-soaked crowd at Spartan Stadium.

Mark Dantonio’s team navigated a nearly three-and-a-half hour weather delay in the first half to rally in the second, pitching a fourth quarter shutout and doing just enough on offense to eek out a shocking win that puts them in the division’s driving seat. Quarterback Brian Lewerke had a career day, throwing for 400 yards on 56 (!!) attempts with two touchdowns and an interception. The normally conservative Spartans went full Air Raid in a game where conditions called for anything but, rushing for only 74 yards but improbably throwing for 12.1 per completion.

Key to the win was also a mistake by the Nittany Lions, who committed a roughing the passer penalty that helped extend the game-winning drive 15 yards. Coghlin eventually booted through the 34-yarder right down the uprights for the victory.

The effort was also a vintage performance by Dantonio’s defense. While MSU gave up 466 yards to the high-powered Penn State offense, they recorded three turnovers and three sacks while also keeping the Nittany Lions out of the end zone. Most impressively, they bottled up Heisman front-runner Saquon Barkley to just 63 yards rushing on 14 carries. That put a lot of pressure on QB Trace McSorley, who managed to throw for 381 yards and three touchdowns but also tossed a trio of bad interceptions.

The end result of all that chaos, including No. 6 Ohio State’s terrible loss on the road at Iowa a few minutes prior, means Sparty is suddenly in control of their Big Ten destiny. They can all but secure the division title with a win next week in Columbus and might be in line to make a New Year’s Six bowl if they keep winning at the very least. Given where the program was last year and over the offseason, Saturday’s result at home to upset a top 10 team was quite the sign of progress in East Lansing.

Les Miles adds Jonathan Wallace as newest Kansas assistant

Kansas football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

After one of his Kansas football assistants left and created a hole in his staff, Les Miles moved quickly to fill it.

Last week, Tony Hull exited the Kansas football program.  Tuesday, it was confirmed that Hull had taken a job at Hawaii.  That hiring completed Todd Graham‘s first coaching staff at the Mountain West Conference school, incidentally.

The same day Hull’s Hawaii hiring was announced, Kansas football confirmed that his replacement, Jonathan Wallace, was been hired.  The former Auburn quarterback/wide receiver will coach KU’s running backs.  The Alabama native will also serve as special teams coordinator.

“Jonathan is a detail-oriented coach, who is also a dynamic recruiter,” the Kansas football head coach said in a statement. “He has experience with a championship-caliber football program as both a player and a coach and knows the intricacies of the offensive scheme we want to run. Additionally, he has a strong understanding of what we want to accomplish in all phases of the kicking game.”

In 2019, Wallace was the tight ends coach at Air Force.  That was his first on-field job at the FBS level.

The year before that, Wallace was on the coaching staff at NAIA Bethel as wide receivers coach.  That program’s head coach?  Current Jayhawks offensive current Brent Dearmon.

Wallace began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant coach at Auburn from 2016-17.  He worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers during the 2017 season.

During Wallace’s time as an Auburn football player (2012-15), Miles was the head coach at SEC West rival LSU.

Concussions force Baylor’s Bralen Taylor to retire

Baylor football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport.  Permanently.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football.  Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.

“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”

Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018.  He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games.  Four of those appearances came this past season.  In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.

Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season.  The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.

Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

USC makes hiring of Virginia’s Vic So’oto official

USC football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.

Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia.  As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.

Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff.  As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.

The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons.  Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.

So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010.  After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.

For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.

LSU confirms hiring of Scott Linehan as new passing-game coordinator

LSU football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.

Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.

Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.

Linehan was out of coaching this past season.

“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”

In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.

  • Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
  • Detroit Lions, 2009-13
  • Miami Dolphins, 2005
  • Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04

In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).

Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.