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Western Michigan loss gives Central Michigan MAC West life

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It was all there, right in front of Western Michigan for the taking.  And then, on a rain-swept night at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, it was ripped away.

The “it” in the lede was control of its own destiny, with Western Michigan, at 5-2 in MAC play coming in, needing just a win over 4-7 Northern Illinois to secure its fourth appearance in the conference championship game.  Instead, the Broncos saw their divisional hopes severely damaged as the Huskies, eight-point home underdogs, stole a 17-14 win Tuesday night.

The Broncos never led in the game, coming to within three points on two different occasions.  The last came on a LeVante Bellamy 16-yard touchdown run, his second on the night and nation’s-best 23 on the season, with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.  WMU had two more possessions after that score to tie or win the game, the second of which came after a fumble, recovered by WMU, on a carry by NIU quarterback Marcus Childers that would’ve netted a first down and iced the game as the Broncos had no timeouts and there were just over two minutes left on the clock.

Taking over possession at their own 22-yard line with 2:10 left, Jon Wassink completed a 26-yard pass to DaShon Russell on the first play of the drive… but the ball was promptly fumbled right back to the Huskies, ending the Broncos’ comeback hopes.

With the loss, WMU’s MAC West hopes now lay in the hands of directional rival Central Michigan.

If CMU (5-2) beats Toledo (3-4, 6-5) Friday night, the Chippewas will face MAC East champion Miami (OH) in its first conference championship game appearance since 2009 and its fourth overall.  A Chips loss to the Rockets would send the Broncos to the MAC title game for the first time since 2016 and fourth time overall.

For Northern Illinois, the win pushed them to 5-7 on the season and helped avoid the program’s worst record since going 2-10 in 2007.

Appalachian State and Liberty schedule future home-and-home series

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Appalachian State and Liberty have agreed to a future home-and-home series beginning in 2024. The schools announced future games to be played at Appalachian State in 2024 and at Liberty in 2025.

Appalachian State will host the Flames on Sept. 28, 2024. Liberty will host the Mountaineers the following fall on Oct. 11, 2025. Although this will not be the first time the two programs have played each other, it will mark the first time the two schools have faced each other with both being full FBS members.

Appalachian State and Liberty have faced off 10 times before. The most recent meeting in the series took place on Oct. 11, 2014, when Appalachian State was in its first season transitioning to from the FCS to the FBS. Liberty won an overtime shootout, 55-48. Liberty made the move from FCS to FBS in 2018 and is coming off its first bowl appearance, and victory, this past season against an Appalachian State rival, Georgia Southern.

“One of our goals in football scheduling is to play regional opponents to which our fan base can easily travel, and we’ve been able to do that with series like this one,” Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said in a released statement.

The addition of Liberty to Appalachian State’s future schedules fills the non-conference portion of the 2024 schedule for the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions. Appalachian State will also host East Tennessee State and play road games at Clemson and East Carolina in 2024. Appalachian State has two openings on its 2025 schedule, as of now. A home game against South Carolina is also booked for 2025 in addition to the road game at Liberty.

Liberty now has seven games booked for the 2024 season. The independent program will also host Coastal Carolina and Marshall and play road games at North Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, and UMass in 2024. Liberty still needs three more games to fill up the 2025 schedule, which is highlighted by road games at Army and Duke and a home game against Wake Forest.

Second Oklahoma State WR this week enters transfer portal

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Thanks to the portal, the ranks of the Oklahoma State football receiving corps has been thinned a bit over the past couple of days.  Again.

On Twitter TuesdayTyrell Alexander announced that he has decided to transfer from the Oklahoma State football team and “reopen my recruitment process.” The wide receiver would be leaving Stillwater as a graduate transfer for his final season of eligibility.

Thursday, it’s now being reported that teammate and fellow receiver LC Greenwood has entered the portal as well.  On his personal Twitter account late Thursday morning, Greenwood confirmed his impending departure.

“I have built relationships and bonds that will last me a lifetime,” Greenwood wrote. ” My time here has been amazing and I enjoyed every minute of being a [C]owboy.”

A four-star member of the Oklahoma State football Class of 2017, Greenwood was rated as the No. 35 receiver in the country and the No. 42 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, however, Greenwood never lived up to the four-star rating.  Greenwood played in three games in 2018 but didn’t record any statistics.  This past season, he caught three passes for 12 yards.

Greenwood and Alexander were actually the second and third wide receivers to leave the Oklahoma State football team this cycle, joining Patrick McKaufman. All told, 11 Cowboys have left the program.

Tight end Grayson Boomer was another of those transfers.

Boston College’s leading receiver reverses course, pulls out of portal

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Like Stanford, the Boston College football program is on the receiving end of a positive portal flip.

Earlier this month, Kobay White entered his name into the NCAA transfer database, signaling his intent to move on from the Boston College football team.  As we continuously note, players are permitted to pull their name from the portal at any point and remain with their original school.

Apparently, that will be the case with White as it’s now being reported that the wide receiver has withdrawn his name from the database.  Such a move is an indication that White will return to the Eagles, although that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

White came to the Boston College football team as a three-star 2016 signee.  Only one offensive player in the Eagles’ class that year, quarterback Anthony Brown, was rated higher than White.  Brown, incidentally, entered the portal last month.

This past season, White led Boston College with 29 receptions and five receiving touchdowns.  His 460 receiving yards were second on the team as well.  In 2018, he was the Eagles’ leader in both catches and yards.

For his career, the Pennsylvania native has totaled 1,409 yards and 10 touchdowns on 96 receptions.

Nebraska loses one player to transfer portal, another to architecture

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Congratulations, Nebraska Cornhuskers football.  You’re the latest subject of a portal post.

On his personal Twitter account Wednesday, Pernell Jefferson announced that he has decided to enter his name into the NCAA transfer database.  If he opts to leave the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  2020 would be his final season of eligibility.

“First off, I’d like to thank the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the opportunity to play football and obtain an education from this prestigious university,” the linebacker wrote. “Sometimes in life you need to move on to new opportunities.”

Jefferson was a three-star 2016 signee.  According to the Omaha World-Herald, Jefferson’s departure leaves the Huskers with eight scholarship outside linebackers.

The move by Jefferson into the portal is the second personnel paring in a week for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football roster.

Last Friday, John Raridon confirmed that he has decided to retire from the sport of football.  According to the offensive lineman, he’s leaving in order to pursue a career as an architect.

Raridon came to the Cornhuskers as a four-star member of NU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 5 guard in the country and the No. 1 player regardless of position in the state of Iowa.  Despite that recruiting pedigree, Raridon played in just six games for the Cornhuskers.

Jefferson, incidentally, is the third Nebraska Cornhusker football player to leave the program via the portal, although the first two did so because of off-field issues.  Another two players, HERE and HERE, have been dismissed from the team since mid-November.