Herm Edwards heard all the naysayers about his hire at Arizona State. So did the rest of his football team.
All had a nice laugh Saturday night about those doom-and-gloom predictions while celebrating a surprisingly entertaining 16-13 upset of No. 15 Michigan State that gave the Pac-12 a badly needed marquee non-conference win in the process.
Not surprisingly, quarterback Manny Wilkins led the way offensively for ASU as he threw for 380 yards, a touchdown and an interception. While he was hit-or-miss with his downfield passing most of the night, he came up with some big plays down the stretch and was the team’s leading rusher on the night as well. Kyle Williams was his favorite target early but as the game wore on it was star wideout N'Keal Harry who started to gradually take over as the clock started to wind down and finished with 89 yards and a leaping touchdown catch.
Though it wasn’t an official stat, Harry also drew numerous pass interference penalties and was the focus of the Spartans defense from the opening kickoff.
The outcome spoiled the homecoming of Phoenix native Brian Lewerke, who was MSU’s only source of offense because they couldn’t really run the football at all. The quarterback finished with a solid 314 yards with a touchdown but threw an early interception in the end zone and didn’t get an opportunity to lead a game-winning drive like he did last week.
Mark Dantonio’s defense played fairly well all night but allowed 13 points in the fourth quarter and gave up a few big plays that led to ASU’s game-winning field goal at the gun. The loss is a big blow to a team that was a dark horse to make the College Football Playoff considering how many starters returned from last season’s 10-win team and the fact that a brutal Big Ten slate awaits over the coming months. The inability to finish will certainly be brought up on the long flight back to East Lansing as a season filled with such promise has so far fallen short after two lackluster performances in 2018.
If there’s one silver lining for the green and white, at least they’re not completely out of the hunt for hardware with a number of opportunities to get top 25 wins ahead but they’ll be in no position to do so if they don’t play better than they have been.
As for Edwards, the victory might just make his team the favorite in the suddenly wide-open Pac-12 South this year. The Sun Devils have a feisty defense with an active front-seven, a veteran quarterback who has knocked off his share of top 15 teams and a host of playmakers like Neal who are electrifying in space.
Suddenly all those laughing at ASU for making the outside the box hire of Edwards are now very much taking Arizona State seriously. As well they should after knocking off a team like Michigan State.
This isn’t exactly optimal.
Due to the forecast of inclement weather, Major League Baseball announced that Game 4 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday night between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees has been moved to Thursday night. That means Game 5 of the ALCS, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been pushed to Friday night and will be televised on FS1, with first pitch set for 7:08 p.m. ET.
So, why is news on the postseason of a stick-and-ball sport appearing on a college football website?
Ohio State is scheduled to travel to Evanston to square off with Northwestern Friday. On FS1. With kickoff set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
The ALCS is airing on FS1 because FOX is televising its newly-acquired WWE Friday Night Smackdown franchise, so a network broadcast won’t be possible for the Big Ten matchup. More than likely, the game will air on either the Big Ten Network or FOX business.
As of this posting, neither the conference nor FOX has offered up exactly where the game will air.
Regardless of how it ultimately plays out, this will be a huge black eye for a league that shouldn’t be hijacking high school football’s night in the first place, regardless of how few games there are on Fridays (for now).
The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball that ran into injury issues during Wake Forest’s first loss of the 2019 campaign.
An injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder knocked Jamie Newman out of the Week 7 loss to Louisville. An on-site X-ray, as well as other further testing, showed no significant structural damage to the joint.
As Wake looks to bounce back from that loss against Florida State Saturday, though, the sophomore’s status is officially to be determined.
“He’s kind of day-to-day,” head coach Dave Clawson said. “He got hurt at the end of the second quarter. We had X-Rays to try and eliminate the worst thing that could have happened to him and that was eliminated. He was able to return. He’s sore and we’ll just take it day-by-day and see how he feels later in the week. It’s been one practice and we’ll have a better feel later in the week.”
“And we won’t share that when we know it. I don’t have to,” Clawson added, presumably in a middle-school-boy-at-recess voice.
This season, Newman leads the ACC in passing yards (1,772), passing touchdowns (17) and passer rating (160.7). He’s ninth, tied for sixth and 17th nationally in those respective categories.
Should Newman be unable to go against the Seminoles, Sam Hartman would get the nod. In relief of Newman this past weekend, the sophomore threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Demon Deacons nearly pulled off a stunning comeback on the Cardinals.
Last season as a true freshman, Hartman started the first nine games before going down with an injury, opening the door for Newman to take over the job.
An officiating error involving what was ruled an illegal snap but shouldn’t have been during the first possession in the first overtime of Saturday’s Texas Tech-Baylor game could very well have cost the Red Raiders a win. In a statement Sunday night, Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt revealed that the university had “been in constant communication with the Big 12 Conference office from the immediate end of the game and throughout Sunday regarding the illegal snap call in the first overtime” and that it had “been confirmed that the ruling on the field of an illegal snap was incorrect.”
Instead of an illegal snap, it should’ve been ruled a fumble that was recovered by Tech, which would’ve given the Red Raiders possession of the ball and a golden opportunity to win the game during their first drive in the initial overtime.
Also, instead of allowing the blunder to die right there, the Big 12 has kept the officiating boner in the headlines by announcing Wednesday morning that the conference has, in accordance with the league’s sportsmanship policies, fined Hocutt $25,000. Additionally, the AD was issued a public reprimand.
For publicly acknowledging that the conference had privately admitted its officials were wrong.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the development in a statement.
The Big 12 Conference members have developed policies governing the officiating of our contests. It is vital that senior administration officials, especially the Directors of Athletics, adhere explicitly to these policies. It is very difficult to balance support for an institution’s teams while fully complying with the imperative created by schools acting together to manage athletics competition. On this occasion, the required discipline was not exercised. Kirby Hocutt is one of the very best athletics administrators in the nation, and I am grateful for his assistance and support in resolving this matter.
It should be noted that, in an email obtained by RedRaiderSports.com, Big 12 executive associate commissioner Ed Stewart reminds Hocutt that, “[c]onsistent with past practice, we typically do not publicly address judgment issues.”
Well, as long as there was a valid reason.
Earlier this week, a freshman student at the University of Alabama, Connor Bruce Croll, 19, was accused of phoning in a bomb threat on Tiger Stadium during last Saturday’s Florida-LSU football game. It was reported at the time that Croll “was booked into jail early Sunday, where records listed him as a ‘fugitive from justice.’” Croll, who remains jailed in Tuscaloosa without bond, could be facing a felony charge, at least initially, when the case moves to the state of Louisiana.
While no details were available initially, and based on a police affidavit, WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge has now reported that Croll, a native of Virginia, admitted to police that he phoned in the bomb threat because “his friend was on the verge of losing a large bet.”
Subsequent to that, LSU issued a statement that sheds some light on university’s and law enforcement’s actions in the aftermath of the threat being phoned in.
While LSU cannot discuss specific security measures, it is important for the general public to know that LSU Police and officials, along with federal and local law enforcement agencies on location, have protocol in place to respond immediately and appropriately to real and perceived threats at Tiger Stadium and all campus facilities. In this case, protocol was followed efficiently and effectively to quickly ascertain the source of the threat. That protocol including an immediate sweep of the stadium and a multi-agency investigation, which led to the suspect being identified within minutes and arrested soon thereafter. LSU appreciates the cooperation of all agencies and the University of Alabama and UAPD in this very serious matter. There is nothing more important than the safety and wellbeing of the public on campus.