Northwestern (6-4, 6-1 Big Ten) is heading to the Big Ten championship game. The Wildcats clinched the Big Ten West Division crown on Saturday with a 14-10 win at Iowa on the same day Wisconsin and Purdue each lost, eliminating the Badgers and the Boilermakers from the running.
Clayton Thorson completed a 32-yard pass to Bennett Skowronek with 9:27 to play in the fourth quarter to give Northwestern a 14-10 lead after an instant replay confirmed the call on the field and an extra point. It is a play that will likely be played in the Northwestern highlights for years to come.
Northwestern still had some football to be played though, and the defense rose to the occasion by forcing Iowa to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession. With a chance to add to the lead, however, Northwestern quickly saw their next drive stall in part due to a false start penalty on a 3rd & 1. With Iowa making their way to midfield on the following possession, the Northwestern defense forced Mekhi Sargent to fumble and Cameron Ruiz came up with the loose ball with 4:26 to play in the game. With one more chance, Iowa again fumbled away the football around midfield in the final minutes of the game.
Thorson completed 15 of 30 passes for 122 yards and the go-ahead touchdown, more than making up for the two interceptions he tossed earlier in the game on this particular day. Freshman running back Isaiah Bowser had a career day with 165 rushing yards and a touchdown. A fourth down run to pick up a first down in the final minute allowed Northwestern to run out the clock on the clincher.
Northwestern still has two more games to play in the regular season, beginning next week on the road at Minnesota. The Gophers just demolished Purdue, helping Northwestern accelerate their division-clinching scenario in the process. No matter what happens next week against Minnesota or the week after at home against Illinois, Northwestern will be heading to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 1. Their opponent is still to be determined, although it will pit the Wildcats in a rematch against Michigan or against Ohio State. The Big Ten East Division may not be decided until the final day of the regular season when Ohio State hosts Michigan, although it is possible for the Wolverines to wrap up the East division next week with a win and an Ohio State loss.
Iowa has now lost three straight games and will have to try snapping their losing ways on the road next week at Illinois.
The scheduling tear for Troy football continues.
Troy and UAB announced a future home-and-home football series in early May. Then another earlier this month. In between, future games versus Missouri (HERE), Iowa (HERE) and Army (HERE) were added as well. Late last week, Troy was at it again as the football program confirmed yet another home-and-home, this one with UMass.
Friday, Troy announced yet another future matchup. According to a release, the Sun Belt Conference school will square off with Nicholls State Aug. 30 of 2025. The matchup with the FCS opponent will be played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.
The two programs, former conference rivals, are very familiar with one another. From the school’s release on the renewal:
Troy and Nicholls State have a long history dating back to 1973 and continuing through Troy’s years as a member of the Southland Conference. The Trojans have enjoyed the upper hand with a 20-6-1 advantage in the series including four straight victories before the series halted in 2001.
After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019. That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey. Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.
After landing a couple early on in the offseason, Georgia State football finds itself on the wrong side of the portal this go ’round.
According to 247Sports.com, offensive tackle Connor Robbins has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. While he didn’t confirm it on his personal Twitter account, the Georgia State football player did retweet the report.
The 6-9, 310-pound lineman will be leaving the Panthers as a graduate transfer.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Robbins was a three-star member of the Georgia State football Class of 2017. He was the highest-rated signee for the Panthers that cycle.
Robbins took a redshirt as a true freshman. The past two seasons, the Florida native played in 15 games. Most of that action, though, came on the point-after and field goal units.
In the third season under Shawn Elliott, GSU went 7-6 this past year. It was a five-win improvement from the 2-10 record the year before. In Elliott’s first season, the Panthers went 7-5. The seven wins are the best-ever for the Georgia State football program since moving to the FBS level in 2013.
The Power Five transfer train has officially made yet another stop at the Tulane football program.
In late March, Ajani Kerr entered his name into the NCAA transfer database. Three months later, Tulane confirmed in a release that the Georgia Tech defensive back has officially signed and been added to the football roster.
Kerr comes to the Green Wave as a graduate transfer. This coming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
Kerr was a two-star member of Tech’s 2016 recruiting class coming out of high school in Georgia. After redshirting as a true freshman, Kerr played in 29 games the past three seasons. Five of those appearances came in 2019.
In that action, Kerr had been credited with 66 tackles (55 solo, 11 assisted) and one fumble recovery.
Kerr is one of four Power Five transfers to join Tulane football this offseason.
Jan. 24, Tulane football officially welcomed Oklahoma State transfer linebacker Kevin Henry. Four days later, former Oklahoma wide receiver Mykel Jones was formally added to the roster as well. In late January, Florida State cornerback Kyle Meyers tweeted his move to the Green Wave. Last month, Tulane confirmed the signing of Duke transfer offensive lineman Jaylen Miller.
Additionally, running back Corey Dauphine was granted a sixth season of eligibility in March. Dauphine has been the Green Wave’s second-leading rusher each of the past two seasons.
Not surprisingly, it will pay handsomely for Clemson and Georgia to open up next season’s slate.
In February of this year, both Clemson and Georgia announced that the two football programs will kick off the 2021 season against each other. The game will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
According to information obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, “[e]ach school will receive the greater of $4 million or 45 percent of the event’s net revenue” for the non-conference, neutral-site affair. The Banner-Herald added that “[p]art of the event’s revenue is expected to be generated by media rights, ticket sales and sponsorships.”
The fact that each school will receive at least $4 million will help to offset the cost of getting this game on the schedule. To make room for the non-conference matchup, Clemson canceled a previously-scheduled tilt with Wyoming while Georgia did the same with one against San Jose State. Because of the cancellation, Clemson will pay Wyoming $1.1 million and Georgia will cut San Jose State a $1.8 million check.
That said, it’s the cost of putting on such a quality matchup. One that has been and will continue to be must-see TV for the foreseeable future.
Along with the addition of a new home-and-home announced in April of last year, the Tigers and Bulldogs are now scheduled to face each other six times between 2021 and 2033, including the 2024 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. There’s also a previously announced home-and-home series scheduled for 2029 (in Clemson) and 2030 (in Georgia).
The two football programs have met 64 times previously, the first in 1897 and the most recent in 2014. UGA leads the all-time series 42-18-4.