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No. 9 Penn State tops No. 11 Washington in Fiesta Bowl as B1G sweeps Pac-12

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No. 9 Penn State burst to a 28-7 lead and held on for a 35-28 win over No. 11 Washington to take the Fiesta Bowl. The triumph clinched back-to-back 11-win seasons for Penn State for the first time since 2008-09 and moved the Nittany Lions to 7-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl, but it was hard to limit Saturday’s result strictly to what happened on the field.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 were both left out of the College Football Playoff this winter, and the leagues responded in completely opposite fashions. Penn State’s win lifted the Big Ten to 6-0 with two games still to go, while the Pac-12 completed its postseason with a dismal 1-8 mark, including losses in all four contests against the Big Ten. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, the 1-8 record is the worst bowl season ever by a Power 5 conference.

The Nittany Lions accepted the ball to open the game and promptly moved 83 yards in eight plays, the final 48 on a Trace McSorley dime to DaeSean Hamilton. McSorley fired an interception in the end zone on Penn State’s next possession, but made up for that mistake by piloting an 11-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard Saquon Barkley rush to put the Lions up 14-0 just over a dozen minutes into the game.

Needing a score, Chris Petersen cracked open his book of trick plays. Jake Browning fired a backward pass to wide receiver Andre Baccellia, who then lofted the ball to defensive lineman Will Dissly for a 52-yard gain down to the Penn State 12. Browning put the Huskies on the board two plays later on a 1-yard keeper. 

Though Washington (10-3) was back in the game, that didn’t last long. Penn State pushed the lead back to two scores with a 7-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, then broke it open when Barkley charged for a 92-yard touchdown run to give the Nittany Lions a 28-7 lead at the 9:01 mark of the second quarter.

The Huskies cut back into the deficit with help from Penn State, thanks to a fumbled exchange between McSorley and backup running back Miles Sanders at their own 33. Myles Gaskin pulled the Huskies back within 14 with a 13-yard scoring jaunt with 4:15 to play in the half. Washington then opened the second half with a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended on a 28-yard toss from Browning to Aaron Fuller.

Their deficit shrunk to seven points for the first time since it was 7-0, Penn State responded with a 70-yard touchdown drive, culminating in Hamilton’s second touchdown catch of the game and the 212th total grab of his career, setting the Penn State career record. The Nittany Lions had a chance to push their advantage to three scores early in the fourth quarter, marching to the Washington 18, but McSorley’s 2nd-and-5 pass was tipped and intercepted.

Washington could not immediately capitalize but did on its next possession, as Gaskin burst free for a 69-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 35-28 with 6:52 to play. Penn State consumed all but 34 remaining seconds on its ensuing drive, setting up a 4th-and-1 that would have clinched the game. However, the Nittany Lions were flagged for a false start and, faced now with a 4th-and-6, Tyler Davis‘s 45-yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Washington the ball back at its own 28.

Armed with no timeouts, Washington attempted a hook-and-ladder play but, playing on the same field as the mythic 2007 Fiesta Bowl, no miracle was in order for Petersen’s team this time. Dante Pettis crossed midfield with the opportunity to go out of bounds and regroup for a Hail Mary, but his lateral attempt back toward the middle of the field was intercepted by Penn State’s Brandon Smith.

In (probably) the final game for college football’s best backfield tandem, McSorley and Barkley were as good as ever. McSorley completed 32-of-41 passes — including a perfect 12-of-12 on third down — for 342 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 12 times for 60 yards, and Barkley rushed 18 times for 137 yards and two scores while catching seven passes for 38 yards. Hamilton added five grabs for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Facing a defense that ranked in the top five nearly across the board, Penn State gained 545 yards on 6.9 yards per play with 25 first downs and 13 third-down conversions on 17 tries.

Browning completed 18-of-28 passes for 175 yards and a score, while Gaskin led the Huskies with 14 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

Urban Meyer confirms surgery for Nick Bosa

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With a key road trip to Happy Valley looming, this isn’t the news Ohio State or its fans wanted to hear.

During his return to his weekly radio show Thursday, Urban Meyer confirmed that Nick Bosa underwent surgery because of what the head coach described as a “core muscle injury.” The standout defensive end suffered the injury, believed to be either a groin or abdominal issue, in the Week 3 win over TCU.

The brother of Joey Bosa had already been ruled out of the Week 4 game against Tulane, and there’s no timeline for a return.

While Bosa, one of the top defensive linemen in the nation and a likely Top Five pick in the 2019 NFL draft, won’t be missed this weekend, the same can’t be said for No. 4 OSU’s Week 5 matchup against No. 10 Penn State.

As far as replacing Bosa in the short-term, the Columbus Dispatch wrote that, per Meyer, “Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young are expected to start at defensive end on Saturday against Tulane.” The head coach also “mentioned freshmen Tyreke Smith and Tyler Friday as players who could see increased action” because Bosa is sidelined.

WATCH: Colorado mascot Chip takes groin shot from t-shirt gun

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Yep, if you saw “Colorado mascot Chip takes groin shot from t-shirt gun,” you absolutely read it correctly.

Ralphie is Colorado’s much-beloved live animal mascot.  Chip, on the other hand, is Colorado’s equally beloved costumed human mascot.  And it was the latter who, during this past weekend’s win over FCS New Hampshire, took a direct hit very near no man’s land when a t-shirt gun he was operating somehow malfunctioned and backfired.

Not surprisingly after that turn of events, Chip was carted off the field for further examination, but not before giving a thumbs-up to the crowd on his way out of the stadium.

The good news is that, one, Chip is good to go and, two, Colorado is on a bye this weekend anyway, so any lingering aftereffects of the shot to the beanbag brothers should subside by game-time.

Adrian Martinez ‘looks better and better every day’ for Nebraska vs. Michigan

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As Nebraska looks to reverse its worst start to a season in over six decades, they appear likely to have the triggerman of their offense back under center in the Big House this weekend.  Possibly.

Adrian Martinez suffered a mildly controversial leg injury in their season-opening loss to Colorado and didn’t play in last weekend’s humbling loss to Troy.  With a trip to Ann Arbor to face No. 19 Michigan on tap this Saturday, Martinez had been deemed a game-time decision earlier this week, although it appears more and more likely as kickoff gets closer that the true freshman quarterback will take the field for the Cornhuskers against the Wolverines.

Maybe.

“He’s making progress,” offensive coordinator Troy Walters said Wednesday by way of Rivals.com. “He looks better and better every day, so we’ll see come Saturday what his status is, how he’s feeling. We’re going to make the best decision with the team in mind and our future in mind, so we’ll see where that goes. But he’s making progress each day…

“We want to make sure he’s healthy. We want to make sure he’s close to 100 percent. We’re going up against a good defense. They fly around and they’re physical, so we’re not going to put him in any harm or any danger. He’s got be able to make all the throws and make all the runs and things of that nature, so we’ll take our time and make sure that he’s healthy and he gives us the best chance to win.”

Prior to being injured against the Buffaloes, and in his first career start at the collegiate level, Martinez connected on 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards, a touchdown and an interception while rushing 15 times for a game-high 117 yards and two more touchdowns.  His replacement, walk-on Andrew Bunch, threw a pair of interceptions in his first career start in the 24-19 home loss to Troy the following week.

Martinez is the only scholarship quarterback currently on NU’s roster available to play this season.

FCS was landing spot for Michigan State transfer Darien Tipps-Clemons

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky
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Unbeknownst to many, one of the handful of Michigan State transfers this past offseason had already quietly found a home.

As noted by mlive.com, Darien Tipps-Clemons is now playing his collegiate football for Eastern Kentucky. As the Colonels play at the FCS level, the linebacker was eligible to play immediately this season.

Tipps-Clemons has played in all three games in 2018 for the Colonels, and has been credited, per the team’s official website, with three tackles, one quarterback hit and one blocked kick.

In late February of this year, Tipps-Clemons announced via Twitter that he had decided to transfer from Michigan State.

A three-star member of the Spartans’ 2017 recruiting class, Tipps-Clemons was rated as the No. 45 player at any position in the state of Ohio. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Including this season, Tipps-Clemons will have three years of eligibility he can use.