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Colorado storms back to ruin Scott Frost’s debut at Nebraska as QB Adrian Martinez injured

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Nebraska fans had to wait an extra week for the start of the Scott Frost era at the school. They’ll have to wait at least one more to see a win.

Steven Montez lofted a perfectly thrown ball into the arms of Laviska Shenault along the sidelines for a 40 yard score with the clock ticking down in the final quarter as Colorado stunned the crowd at Memorial Stadium to escape with a 33-28 win against their old rival in Lincoln.

The Buffs struck first on the scoreboard and had briefly stunned Big Red after capitalizing on a pair of fumble recoveries to quickly take a two-score lead before Nebraska was even able to really get going. Montez was quite the playmaker in throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns despite an iffy offensive line and carried the team at times during the game. Shenault remains a nice revelation for the CU offense and caught 10 passes for 177 yards — none bigger than the final reception that he caught over a defender and took into the end zone. The dynamic threat was also effective on the ground, carrying the ball twice for five yards and a touchdown.

The late heroics took the load off 31-year-old (yep) kicker James Stefanou, who missed two field goals that would have given the team the lead down the stretch but wasn’t needed in the end.

Such an ending certainly put a damper on the homecoming for Frost in his first game in charge of his alma mater and was a double blow for Big Red considering the emergence of true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. The electric Californian dazzled with the ball in his hands, throwing for 187 yards and a touchdown (one interception late) while rushing for 117 more on the ground and adding two more scores. He scored the first points of the season after the team had their opener cancelled, keeping it on the option and scampering 41 yards around the edge before vaulting into the end zone to ignite the crowd.

As great as Martinez was though, there was concern throughout Nebraska’s program after he suffered a knee injury in the final few minutes of the game while running the ball. He failed to put much weight on his leg and needed to be helped off the field. Thanks to transfers over the past few weeks, there’s zero depth behind the freshman as Andrew Bunch, a sophomore walk-on, took reps trying to close the game out but couldn’t quite find the end zone on a final play Hail Mary.

All told, the team still racked up 565 yards of offense and averaged nearly seven yards a play — numbers rarely seen under Frost’s predecessor Mike Riley. Greg Bell flashed on some big runs and recorded 104 yards rushing while fellow tailback Devine Ozigbo chipped in with 60 more and scored an eight yard touchdown.

Maybe more encouraging for the team moving forward was also the reemergence of the Blackshirt defense. The group stepped up with several critical stops as the game went on and had seven sacks on the day as they looked as swarming as ever.

As entertaining as the back-and-forth game was, it was even nicer to see the two teams play each other again between the lines. The last time Colorado and Nebraska met on the gridiron, Frost was the wide receivers coach at Oregon, Mike MacIntyre was just finishing his first season leading San Jose State, and the two schools were going head-to-head in the now-defunct Big 12 North division. Things have changed quite a bit since, with both head coaches moving on to their current jobs and each side having joined a new conference.

The two proved that fun things happen when two rival hook up again in the non-conference schedule and certainly raise the bar for next year’s edition in Boulder.

Third Virginia Tech transfer this offseason lands at Maryland

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Blacksburg has become quite the fertile recruiting ground for Mike Locksley’s first-year Maryland football program.

In January, wide receiver Sean Savoy completed his transfer from Virginia Tech by moving on to Maryland; four months later, Savoy’s former teammate, Josh Jackson, became his current teammate yet again as the quarterback moved to the Terrapins from the Hokies. Wednesday, Dejuan Ellis indicated that he will join those former teammates as he too has decided to transfer to the Terps.

The wide receiver had opted to transfer from the Hokies earlier this offseason.

Ellis was a three-star member of Tech’s 2018 recruiting class. The Owings Mills, MD, native took a redshirt as a true freshman.

It’s believed the receiver will be forced to sit out the 2019 season, leaving him with three years of eligibility moving forward.

Another family takes issue with Michigan’s handling of a transfer

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Here we go. Again.

Quite the kerfuffle was kicked up earlier this month when Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell and the family of James Hudson, who transferred from Michigan to UC late last year, accused the offensive lineman’s former school in general and its head football coach specifically of not doing enough — or doing the absolute bare minimum — when it came to an immediate-eligibility waiver being sought by the player. Despite the citing of mental health issues, that appeal was denied.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Myles Sims had his appeal for a waiver for immediate eligibility at Georgia Tech denied as well. The defensive back had transferred to Tech from Michigan earlier this offseason.

In a conversation this week with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sims’ parents laid the onus for their son’s denial squarely at the feet of the University of Michigan, intimating, as Hudson’s family did, that U-M did the absolute bare minimum when it came to the waiver process. Even worse, Sims’ family claimed U-M misled the NCAA by providing inaccurate information.

From the Journal-Constitution:

They also believe that a statement from Michigan regarding his transfer – a required part of the application process for a waiver – included inaccurate information about his reasons for leaving that could have damaged his chances for receiving a waiver.

“The disappointment is in knowing that they included just a few words outside of what we said to mislead the NCAA in their decision-making,” Katrina Sims, Myles’ mother, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “Whether that weighed in heavily or not on the documentation that we provided, we take issue with that.

The newspaper also wrote that “[a] Michigan team spokesman stated that the school, as is the case with all transfers leaving the school seeking waivers, did not oppose Sims’ waiver request and followed standard policy.”

I don’t know who’s right or who’s wrong in these situations, but I do know it’s something that will be discussed on the recruiting trail and used by rival schools in luring and/or flipping potential prospects.  So, do the bare minimum in such situations at your own peril.

Lack of class credits behind eligibility issue as Quintez Cephus returns to football practice at Wisconsin

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Now we officially know the rest of the story. How it will ultimately all play out, though, is decidedly uncertain.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Monday that Quintez Cephus had been reinstated and is again a student in good standing at the school, two weeks after being found not guilty on a pair of sexual assault charges and almost immediately seeking reinstatement.  Initially, there was some uncertainty when it came to the wide receiver’s status with the football team; in a statement released a few hours after the reinstatement affirmation, UW confirmed that Cephus had indeed rejoined the Badgers team.

The school did note in that release, though, that they “are working through eligibility issues before he can participate in a game.” Wednesday, the same day Cephus returned to practice with the rest of his Badger teammates, Paul Chryst expounded on the eligibility issue, telling reporters that it revolves around the lack of class credits, which stemmed from his expulsion from the school before the spring semester this year ended.

At this point, whether the credit issue can be successfully navigated before the Badgers’ open the 2019 season the weekend after next remains to be seen.

Two days after very loudly proclaiming his innocence and announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the Wisconsin football team, Cephus was charged in late August of last year with felony sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and felony sexual assault.  The criminal complaint filed against him stated that he allegedly “sexually assaulted two drunken women at once in the bedroom of his apartment in April” of 2018.

It took a jury of his peers less than 45 minutes to acquit him on both of those counts earlier this month.

Cephus was initially suspended by the Badgers football program before being expelled by the university last semester.  In October of last year, Cephus sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison in U.S. District Court, claiming that the school violated his constitutional rights.  That suit was dropped in March of this year.

In 2017, and despite missing the last five games because of a broken leg, Cephus led the run-centric Badgers in receiving touchdowns with six and yards per catch at 16.7.  His 501 receiving yards were good for second, while his 30 receptions were third on the team.  Because of the off-field situation that led to the suspension, Cephus didn’t play at all in 2018.

Including this season, Cephus has two years of eligibility he can use.

RB who transferred from UTEP to Georgia Southern this offseason reverses course, returns to Miners

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Who says you can’t go home again, even in the same offseason?

Joshua Fields left UTEP earlier this offseason and, in June of this year, enrolled in classes at Georgia Southern as he was set to continue his collegiate playing career with the Eagles. It was also reported that the running back would seek a waiver from the NCAA that would grant him immediate eligibility at the Sun Belt Conference school.

Fast-forward two months, though, and it’s now being reported that Fields has decided to reverse course and return to the Miners. That development came a couple of days after the Eagles confirmed in a statement that Fields was no longer a part of the program.

Joshua left the team early in camp. We wish him the best of luck moving forward.

According to the El Paso Times, Fields initially left the Miners because of a family member’s health issue, “but those circumstances changed and now he is back with his family in El Paso.” The Times also reports that Fields should be eligible to play for UTEP this season, presumably because he never attended classes at GSU despite enrolling at the university.

Clarification on his status could come as early as Thursday.

In 2017, Fields’ 362 yards rushing (on 89 carries) were tops on the Miners. According to the school at the time, Fields was the first true freshman to lead the team in rushing since 2013.

This past season, however, Fields’ production dipped to 57 yards on 31 attempts, which works out to just 1.8 yards per carry. That yards-per-attempt figure was the lowest among all FBS running backs with at least 30 carries last year.