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Toledo punches ticket to MAC Championship Game to face Akron

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The preseason favorite to win the MAC is now one step closer to coming through on that expectation. Toledo (10-2, 7-1 MAC) clinched the MAC West Division on Friday afternoon by defeating the defending MAC champ, Western Michigan (6-6, 4-4 MAC), by a score of 37-10.

Toledo will play Akron, the East Division champion, in the MAC Championship Game on Dec. 2 at Ford Field in Detroit. Toledo will be playing in the MAC Championship Game for the fifth time, but this will be their first trip since 2004. Akron is also ending a championship game drought by making their second appearance and their first since 2005. The two schools have not faced each other in the MAC Championship Game until this season.

Western Michigan represented the MAC in the New Years Six bowl lineup a year ago after going undefeated in the regular season and being the highest-ranked conference champion among the Group of Five conferences. The stakes will not be that high this season for Toledo or Akron. With two ranked teams in the American Athletic Conference expected to play for the AAC championship (UCF and Memphis are currently ranked, but USF would likely be ranked with a win over UCF), and Boise state floating in the bottom of the top 25 from the selection committee, even a Toledo blowout of the Zips would not likely be enough to make a push in the final week.

Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the win. The Rockets were 7-of-14 on third down conversions in the game. The Rockets are expected to be a sizable favorite against Akron next week.

At 6-6, Western Michigan is bowl eligible.

Five Wisconsin DBs listed as questionable on initial injury report

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When Wisconsin takes the field this weekend looking to bounce back from a stunning beating at the hands of Michigan in Week 7, the Badgers’ secondary could have decidedly different — and depleted — look to it.

UW released its initial injury report for this coming Saturday’s homecoming game against Illinois, and a whopping five defensive backs were listed on it.  The injured fivesome are safeties D’Cota Dixon (right leg), Scott Nelson (right leg) and Reggie Pearson (left leg) and cornerbacks Travian Blaylock (right leg) and Faion Hicks (left leg).

Hicks, Nelson and Pearson were all injured in the loss to Michigan.  Dixon sustained his injury in the Oct. 6 win over Nebraska and didn’t play against U-M.  Blaylock, after playing in the first four games this season, hadn’t seen any action in the last two.

Hicks and Nelson, both redshirt freshmen, along with the senior Dixon were listed as starters ahead of the Wolverines game.  Pearson made his first career start in place of Dixon, who hadn’t been listed on the injury report heading into that game.

The Badgers will update the status of all five defensive backs later on in the week.

Duke DT Edgar Cerenord’s season ends after surgery for ruptured Achilles

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The depth along the interior of Duke’s defensive line has taken an injury hit.

Earlier this week, Duke confirmed that Edgar Cerenord suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in this past Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech.  The defensive tackle underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair the damage.

Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.

Cerenord could pursue a sixth season of eligibility if he so chooses.  It’s unclear at this point if he’ll utilize this option.

Thus far, Cerenord, who started all 13 games last season, has played in 41 games during his Blue Devils career.  Four of those appearances came this season, and he was credited with 14 tackles in that action.

According to the school, he’s the lone senior on the Blue Devils’ defensive line.

Iowa State to appeal $25,000 for field storming after upset of WVU

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Iowa State’s not going to take the monetary hit lying down.

Earlier Tuesday, the Big 12 announced that ISU has been fined $25,000 after their fans stormed the field this past Saturday.  The field storming came in the aftermath of ISU’s huge upset of then-No. 6 West Virginia in Ames.

In a statement announcing the fine, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the league “[has] a duty to provide a safe game environment” and that ISU “has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants” — a sentiment with which WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is likely to agree.

Not long after the league’s announcement, ISU president Wendy Wintersteen confirmed in a statement that the university will appeal the fine.

Our institution takes the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, officials and fans very seriously. We have reviewed all of our procedures, including several videos of the post-game celebration, and we do not agree with Commissioner Bowlsby’s assessment of the events that evening,. Chief [Michael] Newton, of the Iowa State University Police Department, and the CSC staff had a very thorough and specific plan.

“Those plans were discussed and implemented prior to the game and were evaluated and adjusted during the game to ensure the safest atmosphere for everyone attending the game, including the West Virginia players and staff.

According to school officials, it took security less than 90 seconds to safely get the WVU football contingent off the field and into the locker room.  No injuries have been reported on either side.

Big 12 fines Iowa State $25K for West Virginia field rush

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No one ever wants to lose $25,000, but the guess here is Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard will be happy to cut this check. (And, yes, we know no one really cuts a check in these instances. Just roll with us here.)

The Big 12 on Tuesday slapped Iowa State with a $25,000 fine for the rushing of Jack Trice Stadium’s field following the Cyclones 30-14 destruction of No. 13 West Virginia on Saturday.

“We have a duty to provide a safe game environment,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “The Iowa State Department of Athletics has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants. Although the Big 12 conference does not currently have a policy prohibiting spectators from entering playing areas for post-game celebrations, it is of utmost importance that home game management provide adequate security measures for our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators.”

Iowa State is the second school to receive such a fine this week. No. 5 LSU was fined $100,000 for the rushing of Tiger Stadium’s field following the Bayou Bengals’ 36-16 blowout of No. 8 Georgia.

Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen said the field rush was “very unprofessional” during the Big 12 teleconference on Monday.

“Our job is to keep student-athletes in a safe place. When you have thousands of people coming at you, it’s not good,” he said. There are league rules and a league ban against that for a reason. Our job is to keep players safe, and we didn’t have time to get them off the field. That was not good.”