Associated Press

Akron upsets Northwestern, beats Big Ten team for first time since 1894


And, yep, that’s not a typo in the headline.

Northwestern, coming off a 10-win 2017 season and after starting 2018 at 1-1, was expected to handle its business this weekend with a non-conference matchup versus Akron in Evanston on tap.  After 30 minutes of play, the expected was happening as the Wildcats took a 21-3 lead into halftime.  Then the wholly unexpected happened.

On the strength of a stunning 36-point second half — including Allen Davis‘ two interception returns for touchdowns — Akron scored a monumental 39-34 win over Northwestern.  Again, to put a finer point on one of the day’s most stunning turn of events, a MAC school hung 36 points in the second half on a Big Ten school on that Big Ten school’s home field.

It marks the first time Akron, then known as Buchtel College, has beaten a team from the Big Ten since they got past Ohio State 12-6 in 1894.

Eighteen.  Ninety.  Four. 

Grover Cleveland was President of the United States the last time Akron beat a team from the Big Ten.  The price of a car sold in the United States at the time of that win? That’s a trick question as the first car sold in this country didn’t come until two years later.

And Akron/Buchtel College’s head coach at the time of its win over a Big Ten team? John Heisman, who’d go on to have a relatively famous college football award named in his honor.

Northwestern’s come-from-ahead loss was symbolic of what was essentially a lost weekend for the Big Ten West division.

In addition to Northwestern, conference and divisional heavyweight Wisconsin lost at home to BYU while Nebraska did the same in Lincoln to Troy.  Illinois lost at home (to USF), as did Purdue, although at least they lost to a Power Five team in Missouri.  The West’s saviors in Week 3 were Minnesota, which dropped the Miami of the MAC, and Iowa, which dropped an FCS team.

The B1G East fared much better, especially Ohio State as the Buckeyes went into the heart of TCU territory and claimed an impressive win over the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs.  Michigan (over SMU), Penn State (over Kent State) and Indiana (over Ball State) all handled business as well, even as previously unbeaten Maryland stumbled against previously winless Temple and Rutgers got embarrassed by previously embarrassing Kansas.

Regardless of the highs, it was still a historic night of overall lows for the conference as a whole.

As USC struggles, can Chip Kelly and UCLA seize an opportunity?

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No matter what happens this weekend, UCLA will not be going to a bowl game in the first season with Chip Kelly as a head coach. At 2-8, that end result was determined weeks ago. Despite taking a while to get things seemingly together, UCLA will meet with their crosstown rivals from USC this week, and the timing could not have been better for Kelly and the Bruins.

USC was officially ruled out of the running for the Pac-12 South Division last week as they fell to 5-5 this season. The pressure on head coach Clay Helton has seemed to be on the rise as frustrations about the Trojans continues to build this season. The possibility of a coaching change has become a bit of a popular talking point for some as college football gets the coaching carousel greased up and ready to go at full force. And with Notre Dame coming to Los Angeles next week with their own College Football Playoff hopes potentially on the line, this week against the Bruins feels like it could be a must-win game for USC.

That alone makes this a pretty important game for Kelly and UCLA as well, even more so than it already was destined to be by default. Kelly will have an opportunity to really stick it to his new rival with an opposing head coach under an increasing amount of pressure by putting USC’s own bowl hopes on the edge of a cliff, with the Irish coming to town to give the final nudge.

A win for Kelly would help give UCLA’s recruiting efforts an extra sales pitch to make. As UCLA is looking to build something, they could be responsible for potential changes going on at USC. USC is rarely going to lose out in the recruiting battles and the Trojans will always have quality recruiting hauls, but Kelly would benefit by having a head-to-head win against USC, and this year would be a great way to end his first season at UCLA.

UCLA DL Moses Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended

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UCLA defensive lineman Moses Robinson-Carr has apparently been in the doghouse of Chip Kelly for a few weeks. The head coach of the Bruins confirmed to reporters today Robinson-Carr has been indefinitely suspended for violation of team rules.

The news of the suspension appears to answer some questions about his lack of availability in the last few weeks, as Kelly confirmed the suspension is a couple of weeks old. This would be the second time this season Robinson-Carr has been suspended by Kelly this season. Robinson-Carr was one of six players suspended by Kelly for UCLA’s season opener against Cincinnati.

Robinson-Carr previously played tight end and special teams for the Bruins, but he was converted to the defensive line to provide some depth. Robinson-Carr ha splayed in six games for UCLA this season.

UCLA faces rival USC this weekend.

Academics force App State’s Jermaine McDaniel to take sabbatical

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A familiar face in Appalachian State’s defensive line rotation early on in the season hasn’t been seen around of late, and now we know why.

Following practice Tuesday, Scott Satterfield confirmed that Jermaine McDaniel has left the football team as he focuses on getting his academic house in order.  The head coach did, though, leave the door open for the defensive end to return — if he decides to return to the sport.

“Well, No. 1, I love Jermaine,” Satterfield said according to the Winston-Salem Journal. “Awesome player for us. He just wants to focus on academics, and I’ll support him and whatever his decision is.

“That’s what he wanted to do, so we’ll just support him and wish him well finishing his academics and whatever career he decides to go into.”

The redshirt freshman played in the first six games of the 2018 season, recording a pair of sacks in that span.  However, he saw action in just one of the last four.

Despite missing all of that action, his two sacks are still tied for third on the Mountaineers.

2017 finalist Jonathan Taylor headlines Doak Walker Award semifinalists

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Not surprisingly, Jonathan Taylor will get another crack at claiming a piece of running back hardware.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Taylor was announced as one of the 10 semifinalists for the 2018 Doak Walker Award.  The Wisconsin sophomore was one of the three finalists for the 2017 award won by Stanford’s Bryce Love.  Despite the fact that Love returned for another season,  he’s not one of this year’s semifinalists as nagging injuries have hampered the senior all season long.

The nation’s top four backs in terms of rushing yards are represented, including Taylor (first, 1548 yards), Memphis’ Darrell Henderson (second, 1,446), Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin (third, 1,295) and Arizona’s J.J. Taylor (1,221).  Two others in the Top Ten — FAU’s Devin Singletary (sixth, 1,169), Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams (eighth, 1,159) — are included as well.

The other four to make the cut are Kentucky’s Benny Snell (11th, 1,089), Clemson’s Travis Etienne (13th, 1,076), Michigan’s Karan Higdon (18th, 1,005) and Boston College’s AJ Dillon (24th, 936).  Dillon moves up to ninth in yards per game (117) as he’s battled a leg injury for the last few weeks.

Higdon is the only senior in the group, while Benjamin, Dillon, Etienne and both Taylors are sophomores.  The other four are juniors.