The Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy isn’t leaving upstate New York anytime soon.
Syracuse notched victory No. 10 for the first time since 2001 and beat their old regional rivals West Virginia 34-18 in the process, turning what was supposed to be a shootout into much more of a good old-fashioned slugfest down at the Camping World Bowl in Orlando.
Leading the way for the 20th-ranked Orange was not surprisingly quarterback Eric Dungey. Though it was far from his best performance between the lines, the senior stood in the pocket and delivered a number of big throws, ending the night with 303 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Those final numbers, though off his normal pace, were still good enough for Dungey to become the school’s all-time leading passer, moving past Ryan Nassib in the record books and also securing the program’s first postseason victory since 2013.
Syracuse didn’t have much offense outside of Dungey scrambling around making plays, though tailback Abdul Adams added a pair of short touchdown runs near the goal line and Moe Neal finished with a team-high 42 yards on the ground. Lou Groza Award winner Andre Szmyt chipped in with a pair of field goals from 39 and 34 yards out too.
Playing without their starting quarterback, best offensive lineman and several others, No. 16 West Virginia predictably struggled to move the ball consistently. Starting quarterback Jack Allison showed a few flashes of what’s to come for the Mountaineers in the future but also had his share of struggles in throwing for 277 yards and an interception. Top target David Sills V did play in the game but had a fairly quiet outing by his standards with four catches for 90 yards and only one really big gain.
Tailback Martell Pettaway was bottled up to the tune of 61 yards and Kennedy McCoy was the only one to find the end zone, doing most of his damage early as a wildcat quarterback.
The end result and overall slide to the year (losing their final three games) no doubt puts a bit of a hamper on 2018 overall for WVU but it was still a pretty stellar campaign in the grand scheme of things as Grier put up big numbers and the team flirted with College Football Playoff and Big 12 title contention for most of the season.
They’ll still had to sit back and see their old rivals get the last laugh on Friday night though as Syracuse capped off head coach Dino Babers’ impressive turnaround upstate with a big bowl win.
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 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 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.
Boise State became a household name through playing on its trendsetting blue turf (and winning a lot), such that the school now owns a trademark for any non-green collegiate field.
The current blue playing surface is set to go away this spring, only to be replaced by a newer, bigger, bluer (probably) version.
“It’s needed,” Boise State AD Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman. “We’re not just doing it to do it. It’s near the end of the usual lifespan.”
The current playing surface was installed ahead of the 2010 season; FieldTurf surfaces usually have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.
“The field is shredding,” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin told the paper last summer. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”
Boise State has played on a blue surface since 1986, when then-AD Gene Blaymaier put in blue AstroTurf at a cost of $750,000. The school did not even join FBS until a decade later.
The new surface will extend beyond the playing field to cover the area that previously held the Broncos’ track. It is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million, but the school is approved to spend $600,000 as of now.