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Iowa State’s late TD push sends game with Oklahoma State to halftime tied 21-21

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Iowa State got off to a great start in yet another key Big 12 game, but Justice Hill and the Oklahoma State offense roared back with 21 straight points. But a late touchdown push by Iowa State sends this pivotal Big 12 game to halftime knotted at 21-21.

Allen Lazard did not waste much time having an impact on the game. Five minutes into the game, Lazard got his hands on a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Cyclones on the board. After Iowa State’s defense forced a three-and-out on Oklahoma State’s first offensive series of the game, the Cyclone offense went back to work with another methodical drive, traveling 64 yards on eight plays for another touchdown to go up 14-0. David Montgomery capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run.

Perhaps going down 14-0 was the wakeup call Oklahoma State needed. On the ensuing possession, the Cowboys got on the board with a 21-yard pass from Mason Rudolph to Marcell Ateman. After forcing a three-and-out, and taking over at the Iowa State 32-yard line, Hill scored a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter. Another three-and-out by the Cyclones led to another touchdown drive by Oklahoma State, with Hill once again capping the drive with a run to the end zone.

Iowa State tied things up in the final minute of the first half when Joel Lanning, the 6′-2″ 230 lb. quarterback, stepped in at quarterback for q short-yardage push at the goal line. It worked as Lanning and the Cyclones muscled forward for the touchdown on the ground.

A win by Iowa State will keep the Cyclones in the running to make the Big 12 championship game, thank in large part to head-to-head tiebreaker with both Oklahoma and TCU. If they can get one more this afternoon against Oklahoma State, that would be huge. Oklahoma State also needs this win to stay in the Big 12 title hunt as well. Stay tuned for a wild second half.

Michigan, USC added to Fresno State’s future schedules

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A common opponent has been added to the schedules of both the Michigan and USC football teams.

Thursday, Fresno State announced that it has reached an agreement with the Michigan and USC football programs for future games.  The Wolverines game will be played in 2024 while the Bulldogs will face the Trojans.

Obviously, both of those contests will be road games for Fresno State.

The game against Michigan will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.  Fresno State and USC have met five times previously, the first coming the first in 1992 and the most recent in 2019.  The Trojans own a 4-1 record in the mini-series, with that lone loss coming in the first-ever meeting.

This past season, the Trojans got past the Bulldogs but lost starting quarterback JT Daniels to torn ACL.

Fresno State and USC had also been scheduled to meet again in 2022 and 2025.  According to USC, that 2025 game has been moved to 2026.

Texas A&M pulls LBs coach from Wake Forest

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For its newest assistant, Texas A&M football turned to an ACC school.  And, a familiar face for that matter.

Thursday, A&M announced that Tyler Santucci has been hired by Fisher as linebackers coach.  Santucci will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who was still under contract but won’t return for the 2020 season.

Santucci’s hiring marks a homecoming of sorts as the assistant spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst for the Texas A&M football program.

Last season, Santucci was the linebackers coach at Wake Forest.  That was his first on-field job at the Power Five level.  His first on-field job at the FBS level came as linebackers coach at Texas State in 2016.

In 2017, Santucci was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame.  During that brief stint in South bend, Mike Elko was the Fighting Irish’s defensive coordinator, the same position he’s held with the Aggies since he was hired in January of 2018.

The first coaching job for Santucci, who played his college football at Stony Brook, was at his alma mater as safeties coach.

In Jimbo Fisher‘s second season in College Station, the Aggies posted an 8-5 record.  A&M has won both bowl games since Fisher took over the program.  After finishing tied for second in the SEC West his Fisher’s inaugural season, the Aggies dipped to fourth in 2019.

Ex-Michigan RB Jordan Castleberry transfers to Maryland

Jordan Castleberry is transferring from Michigan to Maryland.
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After one semester at Michigan, freshman running back Jordan Castleberry has transferred to Maryland. Castleberry announced his transfer decision on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Castleberry originally committed to West Virginia during his recruiting process out of high school. Shortly after his commitment to West Virginia, Michigan became a more likely recruiting victor. Castleberry enrolled at Michigan in July 2019.

Castleberry did not play for Michigan in 2019, so he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year to preserve a year of eligibility. However, NCAA transfer rules will force Castleberry to sit out the 2020 season. This will not make Castleberry eligible for Maryland until the 2021 season, at which point he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Ruffin McNeill steps away from Oklahoma and football to be with family

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Family will always be more important than football, which is why Ruffin McNeill will be putting football on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Oklahoma announced on Thursday that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach McNeill will leave football to help take care of his father.

“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” McNeill said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “But in the end, being near my dad was a necessary choice. Right now I need to be a son again and I need to help my brother and other family members take care of my dad, who is battling significant health issues. This is not retirement for me. I still want to coach in some form or fashion. But right now that can’t be the case. My focus needs to be on my dad back in North Carolina.”

“Ruffin means so much to me and to my family, and his family means so much to him,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “I know his decision to leave OU was a very difficult one, but was one he felt he had to make.”

Although McNeill said this is not a retirement decision and expressed a desire to continue coaching when the time is right, Riley confirmed the Sooners will be looking for a replacement on the staff.

“I still want to coach in some form or fashion,” McNeill said. “But right now that can’t be the case.”

McNeill joined the Oklahoma coaching staff under Riley in 2017.