It wasn’t so long ago that it looked as though Maryland was going to be a team capable of pulling a significant upset within the Big Ten. But Friday night showed Maryland may not be quite ready for prime time after all. No. 12 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) smashed Maryland (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten), 59-0, in the Big Ten opener for each team.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford got an early exit midway through the third quarter after a stellar performance. Clifford passed for 398 yards and three touchdowns while completing 26-of-31 pass attempts (he was also picked off once on a terrific effort by Maryland’s Nick Cross. Clifford’s passing total was the most in school history for a road game and ranked up near the top of the school’s all-time record book. Penn State also spread the ball around with 13 different players catching a pass in the rout. KJ Hamler, who scored on a 58-yard pass, led all players with 108 receiving yards. Clifford was also the team’s leading rusher with 54 yards and a touchdown.
Maryland had three turnovers (two interceptions by Josh Jackson and one fumble by Tayon Fleet-Davis) and managed just 124 yards of total offense while giving up 598 yards to the Nittany Lions. For a team that won its opener 79-0 and then scored 63 points against Syracuse, Maryland has come crashing back to earth at the hands of two teams from Pennsylvania. Mike Locksley may still have what it takes to turn things around at Maryland, but losing to two teams north of the Mason-Dixon line stings in recruiting for now.
Penn State has now defeated Maryland 59-0, 38-3, 66-3, and 38-14 in their last four meetings. Since 1991, Penn State has outscored Maryland 242-17 in their last four games played in College Park, Maryland dating back to 1991 (including two meetings since Maryland joined the Big Ten). Penn State leads the series 40-2-1 all-time and 5-1 since Maryland joined the Big Ten. Penn State has won the last five meetings.
Penn State managed to avoid a slow start that has hindered them in their last couple of games against Buffalo and Pitt, and the talent difference between the two rosters showed. Whether this makes Penn State a top contender in the Big Ten in the same boat with Ohio State remains to be determined, but this was easily the best all-around performance by the Nittany Lions in the first month of the season.
Penn State will return home next week to face Purdue. Maryland will look for a rebound win next week when they head to New Jersey to face Rutgers.
After a run on bringing in assistants from Boone, Eli Drinkwitz has gotten about the business of retention in Columbia.
In a press release, Missouri confirmed that Drinkwitz has decided to retain Brick Haley as part of his first coaching staff with the football program. Haley wil continue on as the Tigers’ defensive line coach, and will carry the title of assistant head coach as well.
“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”
Haley has spent the past three seasons with the Tigers. Prior to that, he was the line coach at Texas (2015-16), LSU (2009-14) and Mississippi State (2004-06) at the collegiate level.
From 2007-08, Haley was the line coach for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things.”
It seems Alex Hornibrook‘s college career is complete.
Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins said on Saturday that Hornibrook is no longer with the Seminoles as the club prepares for the Sun Bowl
He will join (former) teammate Cam Akers in that regard.
A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Hornibrook appeared in five games this season. His peak as a Seminole came on Sept. 28, when he completed 29-of-40 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. For the year, Hornibrook hit 84-of-122 throws for 986 yards with seven scores versus two picks.
In three years at Wisconsin, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.
SMU wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr., will return for his senior season in 2020, he announced earlier this week.
Roberson did so through a statement that at first read as if he would leave the Hilltop. “In the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I am able to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. I want to thank Coach Dykes for giving me the opportunity to come to SMU, and play the game I love in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” it began.
However, like a a classic Roberson open field move, he quickly changed directions and sprinted toward opportunity. “I have decided to come back and play my senior year at SMU. There is a lot of unfinished business that I left on the field that I need to take care of next season.”
A native of DeSoto, Texas, just south of Dallas, Roberson was one of SMU’s top players before he was lost to a foot injury in October. He caught 11 passes for 180 yards in the Ponies’ opening week win over Arkansas State and hauled in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 drubbing of Temple on Oct. 19.
For the year, Roberson caught 43 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns over seven-plus games. Spread over a 13-game season, he was on pace to end the year in the neighborhood of 80 receptions for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Roberson originally signed with West Virginia out of high school.
It’s become A Thing ever since Christian McCaffrey bailed on Stanford for that Sun Bowl: Draft eligible players announcing whether or not their prep for the next level begins for or after their team’s upcoming bowl game.
For Utah running back Zack Moss, that will begin after the Alamo Bowl.
“I just wanted to play with my guys,” Moss told KSL Sports. “That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come back was to play with these guys and I definitely want to finish it off. I am healthy enough to play and that’s exactly what I want to do.
“I love this team, I love the program, coaching, fans and community, so why not give everyone one last game.”
Moss’s teammate Jaylon Johnson previously announced he will skip the game.
The senior will look to polish off a career in which he’s carried for 4,010 yards and 38 touchdowns.
No. 11 Utah will close the career of Moss and backfield mate Tyler Huntley opposite Texas on Dec. 31 (7:30 p.m., ESPN).