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Big throws by Clayton Thorson help Northwestern take halftime lead at No. 20 Michigan State

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A week after jumping out to a big lead over Michigan, Northwestern is once again flexing early on against Michigan State. The Wildcats lead the No. 20 Spartans 14-6 at halftime in East Lansing, thanks to some big plays through the air in the first half.

Clayton Thorson found a wide open Kyric McGowan behind the Michigan State secondary and capitalized on the opportunity with a 77-yard touchdown play to take a 7-3 lead later in the first quarter.

Thorson was not done making big plays through the air. Early in the second quarter, Thorson completed a 34-yard pass to JJ Jefferson that was even more impressive. This one also went for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 14-3 lead.

Thorson has already thrown for over 200 yards with the two touchdowns, but the Wildcats have -20 rushing yards in the first half.

Michigan State had a chance to cut into the lead with a drive that was forced to settle for a field goal after getting inside the 10-yard line. A late drive in the half also ended with a Brian Lewerke pass being picked off at the Michigan State 20-yard line.

Northwestern will now look to avoid the second-half struggles that have cost them this season, including last week against Michigan.

Devin Singletary motors from FAU into NFL draft pool

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For the second time today, a highly-productive running back has decided to ply his wares in the NFL.

Via Twitter, Devin Singletary announced that, as expected, he will be leaving Florida Atlantic early in order to enter his name into the 2019 NFL Draft pool. “I hope I left a lasting impression on The University, football program, and the entire community,” Singletary wrote.

Singletary has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 1,920 in 2017.  He’s also been an absolute scoring machine, totaling 66 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Those touchdowns, 54 of which came the past two years, put Singletary sixth on the NCAA’s all-time list in that category.

Ben Hicks, three-year starter at QB at SMU, to transfer from Mustangs

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The past three seasons, Ben Hicks has been SMU’s starting quarterback.  Thanks to a surprising development, he won’t get the opportunity to make it a fourth next season.

In an interview with 247Sports.com, Hicks confirmed that he has informed head coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee of his decision to transfer from the Mustangs.  The redshirt junior has one season of eligibility remaining, which he can use at another FBS program next year as a graduate transfer.

As for why he pulled the trigger on a decision to transfer?

“Looking for a new opportunity, new growth,” Hicks told the website. “Just a chance to really start fresh in my last year and move forward with the rest of my life, whether that be football or whether that be finding out where I’m at.

“The decision was obviously very difficult because I’ve been extremely fortunate to play a lot of football here and meet great friends. I’ve always had a great support staff so the decision was very difficult. You got to make some tough decisions sometimes and this was one I felt like I needed to make.”

Hicks will leave the Mustangs as its leader in a significant number of major statistical categories, including passing yards (9,081) and passing touchdowns (71).  Conversely, he also threw 34 interceptions and completed just over 56 percent of his passes.

With Hicks’ departure, the Mustangs are now left with four scholarship quarterbacks, all either true or redshirt freshman, on the roster — William Brown, Derek Green, Jacob Oehrlein and Austin Upshaw.  Brown, who served as Hicks’ primary backup, completed 53-of-85 passes for 625 yards, seven touchdowns and an interception.  Upshaw attempted a pair of passes this past season.

App State DC Bryan Brown officially takes same job at Louisville

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Not surprisingly, Louisville’s new coaching staff under Scott Satterfield will have a decidedly Appalachian State feel at an important position.

Following up on reports that had been making the rounds over the last several days, Louisville confirmed Wednesday that Bryan Brown has been hired by Satterfield as the U of L’s defensive coordinator.  Brown spent the 2018 season as the Mountaineers’ coordinator under Satterfield after serving as cornerbacks coach the previous six seasons.

“Bryan Brown is a young, upcoming star coach,” Satterfield, officially named as the Cardinals’ head coach earlier this month, said in a statement. “He’s an excellent recruiter who knows how to develop relationships with all the players. Defensively, his defense was ranked in the top 10 of many different categories. He’s well-respected among his peers and he will do a great job for us.”

Brown, who played his college football at Ole Miss (2003-06), spent two seasons at his alma mater as a grad assistant and defensive administrative assistant prior to heading to App State for his first on-field job.

In addition to Brown’s hiring, the U of L also confirmed that ShaDon Brown has been added as Satterfield’s safeties coach.  Brown, no relation to the new coordinator, spent the past two seasons as secondary coach at Colorado.

Michigan announces dismissal of RB O’Maury Samuels days after domestic violence arrest

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An alleged off-field incident has proven very costly for one now-former member of the Michigan football program.

In a very brief and terse press release — 11 words to be exact — U-M announced that O’Maury Samuels has been dismissed from Jim Harbaugh‘s team.  While no specific reason for the dismissal was given, it comes just days after the running back was arrested on a pair of charges, including one involving domestic violence.

A four-star member of the Wolverines’ 2017 recruiting class, Samuels was rated as the No. 20 running back in the country and the No. 1 player at any position in the state of New Mexico.  He was the highest-rated of the three backs in U-M’s class that year.

This season, Samuels ran for 66 yards on 13 carries.  As a true freshman last year, he totaled 13 yards on eight carries.