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No. 5 Michigan’s revenge tour adds No. 14 Penn State to the list

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The revenge tour for No. 5 Michigan (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) had quite the second half performance against No. 14 Penn State (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) on Saturday. The Wolverines dominated the hapless Nittany Lions 42-7 in a loud statement game in the latest game on Michigan’s revenge tour this season. Now with wins nailed down against three of the four teams to beat them last year (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State), the eyes in Ann Arbor are already looking forward to the regular season finale against Ohio State for the grand finale.

Michigan’s defense, led by revenge tour frontman linebacker Chase Winovich set the tone in the first half by allowing just one third-down conversion to the Nittany Lions before halftime. Winovich sacked Trace McSorley and recovered a fumble in the first half as Michigan took a 14-0 lead into halftime with a Shea Patterson touchdown run and a pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Michigan continued to wear down Penn State on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the field, with the offense staying on the field for 11 minutes in the third quarter alone and doubling the lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Michigan delivered what felt like the knockout blow at the end of the third quarter when Patterson tossed a touchdown pass to Zach Gentry at the end of a 90-yard drive. Penn State’s defense appeared to be gassed on the drive after spending over 11 minutes on the field in the third quarter. But just moments later, that lopsided 21-0 lead became 28-0 when Tommy Stevens came in to replace McSorley at quarterback and Stevens tossed a pick-six to Brandon Watson.

With memories of Penn State running up the score on them a year ago in Happy Valley, Michigan continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter with more big plays on the ground. Karan Higdon (132 rushing yards) and Chris Evans (57 rushing yards) each scored a short touchdown run to pad the lead as Michigan continued to look like the class of the Big Ten. A late touchdown run by Stevens allowed Penn State to avoid being shutout for the first time since 2001, against Michigan.

The home team in this series has won by a lopsided score in each of the last three meetings, and the winning team has scored at least 42 points in each.

Michigan continues to build a steady place atop the Big Ten East standings. Now at 6-0 in Big Ten play, Michigan owns a one-game lead over Ohio State and a two-game lead over Michigan State with a head-to-head tiebreaker on the Spartans already under their belt. Penn State falls to 3-3 in Big Ten play and is now eliminated from contention for the Big Ten championship game with head-to-head losses to all three teams in front of them (Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State). With just Rutgers and Indiana left to play before ending the year on the road against Ohio State, it sure looks as though the Big Ten East could be decided in the regular season finale in Columbus, but Ohio State has been cracking and the possibility exists Michigan could clinch the East division before having to face Ohio State.

Michigan will be on the road against Rutgers next week. Penn State will look to rebound next week at home against Wisconsin. It will be the toughest game remaining for Penn State.

Attorney: Dozens of former Buckeye football players among ex-Ohio State team physician’s victims

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An attorney preparing a lawsuit against Ohio State says that most of his 50 clients victimized by former Buckeye team Dr. Richard Strauss were former Buckeye football players.

Dayton-based attorney Michael Wright told the Associated Press some of his clients, all of whom remain anonymous at this time, went on to play in the NFL. “Clearly they had good relationships with the university, and they believe the university will either retaliate or significantly distance themselves from these athletes,” Wright said.

Strauss’ abuse of Ohio State athletes has been in the news lately, but his actions have been primarily focused on the Buckeyes’ wrestling program. Former wrestler Mike DiSabato met with Ohio State in March 2018 to discuss the abuse he says he and other athletes suffered at Strauss’ hands, prompting the school to hire the Seattle-based Perkins Coie law firm. That firm released a 232-page report on Friday that found Strauss abused at least 177 male students; the report made one specific reference to football, and said three former football players were interviewed.

“We find that University personnel had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979, but the complaints about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department of Student Health until 1996,” the report stated.

Strauss worked for Ohio State from 1979 through 1998. He committed suicide in 2005.

“Although a weight has been lifted off my back, I am deeply saddened to hear and relive the stories of so many others who suffered similar abuse by Dr. Strauss while Ohio State turned a blind eye,” DiSabato’s said in a statement.

Part of the reason the public discourse has centered on Ohio State’s wrestling program is because Jim Jordan, a U.S. Representative from Ohio’s fourth district, served as an assistant coach for the Buckeyes’ wrestling team from 1987 through ’95. Jordan maintains he knew nothing of Strauss’ actions.

But Wright’s lawsuit could broaden the scope and discussion of Strauss’ abuse and Ohio State’s knowledge therein, particularly if any of the victims come forward. Wright told the AP he plans to file his lawsuit late next week.

Former Oregon WR Keanon Lowe thwarts potential school shooting

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Former Oregon wide receiver Keanon Lowe performed an all-too-common act of heroism on Friday when he thwarted a potential school shooting before it could begin.

The incident occurred at Portland’s Parkrose High School, where witnesses saw 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias dressed in a dark trench coat and brandishing a shotgun in the doorway of a classroom. Students immediately began fleeing the room, but Lowe managed to tackle Dias before he fired any shots. Dias did not fire any shots or point the gun at anyone, according to the Portland Police Department. He was taken into police custody early Sunday morning, according to The Oregonian.

“Incidents such as the one that occurred today strikes the worst fear in the hearts of students and parents,” Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “The officers and school staff worked together to respond quickly and ensure the safety of all involved. I commend the school staff member who displayed quick actions and bravery when he confronted the subject.”

“At some point, a staff member at the high school confronted him,” police said in a statement. “A Portland Police School Resource Officer and other officers arrived and immediately entered the school and found the staff member detaining the subject in the hallway.”

Lowe played wide receiver for the Ducks from 2011-14, where he caught 68 career passes for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a member of the 2014 Oregon squad that won the Pac-12 championship and the Rose Bowl and reached the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, Lowe hauled in 28 grabs for 414 yards and five touchdowns. Lowe worked as an analyst for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers before joining the Parkrose staff. The 2018 campaign was his firs at the school.

“I think (Lowe) deserves a lot of credit for his bravery,” Parkrose student Elijah Reginald told The Oregonian. “If it wasn’t for him, someone could have gotten hurt or potentially lost their life.”

Iowa, Iowa State football accounts knocked off Twitter

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If you’re in charge of communications for a major college football program, the third Saturday in May should be one of the rare times in the year when you can relax. Spring football is over, and the season is still months in the distance.

Except if you’re in charge of messaging for a major program in the state of Iowa. Then you’ve had quite a Saturday.

Both Iowa and Iowa State saw their football programs’ official Twitter accounts shut down on Saturday. Both accounts, @HawkeyeFootball and @CycloneFB, were suspended, with a standard note saying, “Twitter suspends accounts that violate the Twitter Rules.” Each account remains shut down as of this writing, hours after they were originally knocked offline.

Twitter’s landing page for suspended accounts says accounts are commonly shut down for one of three reasons:

Spam: Most of the accounts we suspend are suspended because they are spammy, or just plain fake, and they introduce security risks for Twitter and all of our users. These types of accounts are against our Twitter Rules. Unfortunately, sometimes a real person’s account gets suspended by mistake, and in those cases we’ll work with the person to make sure the account is unsuspended.

Account security at risk: If we suspect an account has been hacked or compromised, we may suspend it until it can be secured and restored to the account owner in order to reduce potentially malicious activity caused by the compromise.

Abusive Tweets or behavior: We may suspend an account if it has been reported to us as violating our Rules surrounding abuse. When an account engages in abusive behavior, like sending threats to others or impersonating other accounts, we may suspend it temporarily or, in some cases, permanently.

Since neither account was engaged in spam or abusive behavior, the most likely factors are that a rogue actor was attempting to hack the accounts, or that they were unwittingly posting copyrighted material. The fact that both programs in the state of Iowa were the only ones among the 24 combined Big Ten and Big 12 programs is certainly suspicious.

Both programs told the Des Moines Register they are looking into the matter.

 

EA Sports would be interested in reviving ‘NCAA Football’ franchise if rules change

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College sports is a big business, as everyone including Dabo Swinney knows. So big, in fact, that it served as the inspiration for a major video game franchise you may have heard of: NCAA Football, by EA Sports.

EA Sports began producing college football titles with Bill Walsh College Football in 1993, an obvious companion to the NFL’s Madden series. The franchise rebranded to NCAA Football in 1997 and continued until the final edition, NCAA Football 14, which hit shelves on July 9, 2013.

And then it all stopped.

The Ed O’Bannon suit ended the gravy train, when a federal court ruled EA Sports had illegally licensed college football players’ likenesses without compensating them. EA paid out $60 million in settlements and promptly stopped licensing the game from the NCAA.

But that could change, maybe.

With Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) launching separate crusades against the NCAA’s amateurism model, the NCAA announced last week it has formed a committee to review its NLI rules before the federal government does it for them. And if the NCAA grants NLI athletes to its athletes? Hello, NCAA Football 21. Said former NCAA Football executive producer Ben Haumiller to 247Sports:

“We loved making college football games. If the opportunity ever presented itself we’d be very interested in potentially getting back into that space.”

Now, we’re still a long way from the NCAA opening the floodgates on NLI payments. Amateurism is the core tenet of the NCAA until it’s not.

But if and when the day comes when college sports no longer demands its players play something other than cash, well, college sports is a big business and EA would like to cash in just as much as everybody else.