The television gods may have prevented any scoreboard watching until the end but No. 19 Boise State certainly stated their case to earn the Group of Five bid on Saturday afternoon after thumping Hawaii 31-10 in the Mountain West Championship Game.
The Broncos avenged last year’s loss in the game (to Fresno State) on the Blue Turf by turning in an impressive all-around effort to remain perfect in MWC play in 2019, netting a second title in the past three seasons in the process.
QB Jaylon Henderson, the third-stringer who has come on under center down this stretch run for the team, was impressive after a slow start and wound up throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns (one interception). The signal-caller was quite the threat with his legs as well in rushing for 51 yards and one John Elway-esque goal line spin into the end zone after getting hit by two defenders late in the third quarter.
That touchdown was part of a run of 31 consecutive points for BSU to take firm control of the contest, which spoke to the offense shifting into high gear and the defense continuing to play stellar. Linebacker Riley Whimpey was a tackling machine and all over the field while Demitri Washington led a pass rush that was a constant disruptor behind him and fellow end Curtis Weaver.
The Rainbow Warriors played much better in their second trip to Idaho than they did in this year’s earlier meeting, a 59-37 turnover-filled effort. Cole McDonald was less prolific than usual in throwing for 241 yards and also tossed a pick as the offense was unable to move the chains much on third down. Miles Reed was a bright spot out of the backfield with 87 yards rushing but it was just too little and too late as missed chances doomed the visitors from the islands in a game where they had to play near perfect to emerge with their first ever win on the most famous home field in college football.
As for Boise State, all that’s left for them to do is celebrate and wait the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s decision on Sunday as to who earns the Cotton Bowl berth as the Group of Five selection. They certainly have made life difficult for the group assembled in a conference room in North Texas, having beaten Florida State to start the season while suffering their only loss to BYU on the road with one of their backup quarterbacks.
Who knows if that’s enough to slide past the AAC champion or a 12-1 Appalachian State that had their own impressive conference title victory earlier in the day but for now, the Broncos will focus mostly on just lording over the Mountain West once again.
For its newest assistant, Texas A&M football turned to an ACC school. And, a familiar face for that matter.
Thursday, A&M announced that Tyler Santucci has been hired by Fisher as linebackers coach. Santucci will replace Bradley Dale Peveto, who was still under contract but won’t return for the 2020 season.
Santucci’s hiring marks a homecoming of sorts as the assistant spent the 2018 season as a defensive analyst for the Texas A&M football program.
Last season, Santucci was the linebackers coach at Wake Forest. That was his first on-field job at the Power Five level. His first on-field job at the FBS level came as linebackers coach at Texas State in 2016.
In 2017, Santucci was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame. During that brief stint in South bend, Mike Elko was the Fighting Irish’s defensive coordinator, the same position he’s held with the Aggies since he was hired in January of 2018.
The first coaching job for Santucci, who played his college football at Stony Brook, was at his alma mater as safeties coach.
In Jimbo Fisher‘s second season in College Station, the Aggies posted an 8-5 record. A&M has won both bowl games since Fisher took over the program. After finishing tied for second in the SEC West his Fisher’s inaugural season, the Aggies dipped to fourth in 2019.
After one semester at Michigan, freshman running back Jordan Castleberry has transferred to Maryland. Castleberry announced his transfer decision on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Castleberry originally committed to West Virginia during his recruiting process out of high school. Shortly after his commitment to West Virginia, Michigan became a more likely recruiting victor. Castleberry enrolled at Michigan in July 2019.
Castleberry did not play for Michigan in 2019, so he can use the 2019 season as a redshirt year to preserve a year of eligibility. However, NCAA transfer rules will force Castleberry to sit out the 2020 season. This will not make Castleberry eligible for Maryland until the 2021 season, at which point he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.
Family will always be more important than football, which is why Ruffin McNeill will be putting football on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Oklahoma announced on Thursday that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach McNeill will leave football to help take care of his father.
“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” McNeill said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “But in the end, being near my dad was a necessary choice. Right now I need to be a son again and I need to help my brother and other family members take care of my dad, who is battling significant health issues. This is not retirement for me. I still want to coach in some form or fashion. But right now that can’t be the case. My focus needs to be on my dad back in North Carolina.”
“Ruffin means so much to me and to my family, and his family means so much to him,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “I know his decision to leave OU was a very difficult one, but was one he felt he had to make.”
Although McNeill said this is not a retirement decision and expressed a desire to continue coaching when the time is right, Riley confirmed the Sooners will be looking for a replacement on the staff.
“I still want to coach in some form or fashion,” McNeill said. “But right now that can’t be the case.”
McNeill joined the Oklahoma coaching staff under Riley in 2017.
As we are quickly learning with the new day and age of college football, the minute a new quarterback arrives on the scene by way of a transfer, another may soon be on the move. Case in point, the current situation at Miami. Quarterback Jarren Williams will be entering the transfer portal, according to a report from Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).
This news is hardly shocking given the attention given to the arrival by D’Eriq King from Houston earlier this week. King, a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for this fall, is widely expected to step in and be Miami’s starting quarterback in 2020. Naturally, that would reduce the playing time Williams or any other Miami quarterback would be likely to see in the fall.
As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Williams was Miami’s leading passer with 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Williams is the only Miami quarterback who played in as many as 12 games last fall. If not for the addition of King, Williams may have been Miami’s most likely starter this season.
If Williams, a former four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, does indeed enter the transfer portal and ultimately decides to leave the Hurricanes for a new school, he will have to sit out the 2020 season. He would then have two years of eligibility left to use beginning in 2021.