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No. 23 Fresno State holding slim halftime lead over Boise State in battle for the Milk Can

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Nobody outside of UCF is better positioned to secure this year’s Group of Five bid than No. 23 Fresno State but Jeff Tedford’s team is locked into a battle on the blue turf against rival Boise State and hold a slim 10-3 lead at halftime of this critical Mountain West game on Friday night.

Marcus McMaryion led the way on the lone touchdown drive of the first half for the Bulldogs, capping things off with a toss to the back of the end zone to favorite target KeeSean Johnson (41 total yards to go with that score). The veteran quarterback wasn’t too sharp early on but eventually rebounded as the game went on to finish 12-of-15 for 125 yards while chipping in with another 13 on the ground. Tailback Jordan Mims did have 33 yards rushing but most of the team’s offensive damage was done through the air against that stout Boise defensive line.

The Broncos did what they could to stay in this game and take a lead, that much is for sure. Bryan Harsin’s group looked like they had no issues pulling out all the stops in this one, running both a flea flicker and a double reverse pass back to quarterback Brett Rypien. Just for good measure, there was also a fake field goal but that attempt went absolutely nowhere.

Despite the lack of scoring drives, it was still a solid half for Rypien in throwing for 149 yards with just three incompletions. He did throw an ill-advised interception in the final few minutes of the half but he was able to move the ball. Running back Alex Mattison also was ripping off chunks of yards with each carry and finished with 53 between the tackles.

In addition to all of the conference and national implications that this game carries, keep in mind that Fresno State has never won on the blue turf and are seeking revenge for last year’s loss at the same place in the Mountain West title game. Both programs are certainly very much in this one and the potential is brewing for a fun second half between these two rivals on a chilly night in Idaho.

From DeBord to DeBoer: Indiana confirms hiring of Fresno State OC

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(Pardon me while I do a bit of extended weekend housecleaning.)

In late December, it was confirmed that Indiana offensive coordinator Mike DeBord would be retiring from the coaching profession. Three weeks later, the Hoosiers confirmed that Kalen DeBoer has been brought onboard as DeBord’s replacement.

DeBoer has spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Fresno State.

“Kalen DeBoer is a proven winner,” Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He has had great success as a head coach and coordinator at every stop and every level throughout his career. Kalen is an exceptional leader of young men and an experienced play-caller who has taken the offenses he has inherited to new heights. Thanks to the incredible support of Fred Glass and our administration we welcome him, Nicole and their daughters, Alexis and Avery, to the IU family.”

Prior to his two-year stint at Fresno State, DeBoer spent three seasons (2014-16) at Eastern Michigan as the MAC school’s coordinator. He also served as quarterbacks coach at that stop.

“I am honored for the opportunity to join Coach Allen and his staff,” DeBoer said. “They are great coaches and master teachers who are passionate about making Indiana football special. I can’t wait to get to campus, meet the team and help take this program to the next level.”

Florida State apologizes for MLK Day tweet

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As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.

Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.

Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.

Rutgers hires Andy Buh to coordinate defense

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Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.

“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”

Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.

Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.

Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.

North Texas inks home and homes with Baylor, Tulane

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North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.

The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.

A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.

Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.

“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”

North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.

The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.

Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.