David Bell

Associated Press

Nebraska’s bowl hopes dim as Purdue sends ‘Huskers to fourth loss in five games

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So much for those high hopes the first month of the season.

Through four games, Nebraska was sitting at 3-1, with the lone negative being a bizarre come-from-ahead loss to Colorado on the road.  The next four, though, produced a 1-3 record, with two of the losses coming by a combined 68 points and the lone win coming by three points against 1-6 Northwestern at home.  Following the third loss, a 38-31 setback to Indiana, head coach Scott Frost and his players took turns exchanging apologies.

Even with the mea culpas, The Big Red train refused to get back on track in Week 10 as Nebraska squandered a pair of fourth-quarter leads en route to a 31-27 loss Saturday afternoon over a Purdue team that came into the contest at 2-6.  The Cornhuskers went up 27-24 with just over four minutes remaining on quarterback Adrian Martinez‘s four-yard touchdown run, only to see the Boilermakers go 82 yards on 12 plays in a drive that culminated in David Bell‘s game-winning touchdown run from nine yards out with 1:08 remaining.

The latest loss drops Nebraska to 4-5 on the season with three games left — No. 18 Wisconsin, at Maryland, No. 19 Iowa.  In order to become bowl-eligible, the Cornhuskers will have to win at least two of those three.

If they don’t, the football program will fail to qualify for a third straight postseason.  That would mark the longest bowl-less streak for the ‘Huskers since way back 1955-61.

Speaking of which, how much do you think the Cornhuskers and their faithful would pay for a 9-3 Bo Pelini Special right about now?  From this vantage point, the over/under is a kidney or some other mid-level body organ.

Receivers from Purdue, UAB added to Biletnikoff Award watch list

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For the second time in less than three weeks, a major college football award is adding to its watch list.

This week, the Biletnikoff Award announced that it has added two wide receivers to watch, one each from a Power Five and Group of Five school.  Those added this go-around are Purdue’s David Bell and UAB’s Austin Watkins Jr.

In seven games this season, Bell has 635 yards and four touchdowns on 39 receptions.  The freshman’s 5.6 catches per game are third in the Big Ten and tied for 39th nationally.

Watkins’ 93.6 yards per game is 13th in the country and the highest average for any Conference USA receiver.

The Biletnikoff Award is handed out annually to the nation’s most outstanding FBS receiver. The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, which oversees the honor, stresses that “[a]ny player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award.”

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy was the 2018 winner of the award.

Future Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz sets two passing records in All-American Bowl to win MVP

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Wisconsin fans likely will be smiling knowing their quarterback of the future just set a record in the All-American Bowl. Graham Mertz set two of them, actually, on his way to winning MVP honors as the East dominated the West in this year’s All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Mertz threw for 188 yards and five touchdowns to show Wisconsin fans what they should expect to see soon in Madison.

Mertz, a four-star pro-style quarterback from Kansas, was a big addition to the Wisconsin recruiting class and it was easy to see why on Saturday in San Antonio. The 188 passing yards and five touchdowns in an all-star game that typically sees the ball spread around between some of the nation’s top recruits, and quarterbacks tending to split the snaps was a mighty feat. Of course, it helps when Mertz is throwing the football to other four and five-star players.

A number of players made their college announcements during the course of the game as well. USC scored a big recruiting victory with the addition of five-star wide athlete Bru McCoy and four-star wide receiver Kyle Ford. It was a solid day for Oklahoma as well with the addition of five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood to the recruiting class in Norman.

Purdue scored a great recruiting victory as well by landing the commitment of wide receiver David Bell, who will pair quite well with Rondale Moore in the passing game moving forward for the next couple of years. Bell picked the Boilermakers over Ohio State and Penn State as Purdue struck gold with this recruiting battle. Naturally, the day featured a stud defensive lineman, Khris Bogle, choosing to go to Alabama

All-American Bowl to showcase five and four-star player announcements

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Get ready for some hat games on Saturday, because the All-American Bowl is going to have some more high school recruits formally announcing their college decisions. Among the players making their decisions will be five-star wide receivers Jadon Haselwood and Bru McCoy and five-star cornerback Chris Steele.

With any luck, we could see a five-star vs. five-star matchup with Haselwood being covered by Steele as they will be on opposite teams for the game Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET on NBC). even better, they could potentially announce their decisions to attend rival SEC schools with Haselwood considering Georgia and Tennessee (and Oklahoma and Miami) and Steele considering Florida and South Carolina (and USC and Oregon).

The list of players making their announcements during the game tomorrow will also include a handful of four-star players still on the recruiting boards. Defensive back Marcus Banks of Texas is predicted by Adam Gorney of Rivals.com to choose Alabama, but other options include Texas A&M, Florida State, Florida and LSU. Another four-star cornerback, Tyrique Stevenson, will make his decision known at some point. The Miami native has Miami in his supposed final three, along with Florida and Georgia. Considering the losses at Georgia, the Bulldogs picking him up out of Miami would be a huge addition to the recruiting class for Kirby Smart. But Dan Mullen has been striking some gold in the state of Florida as well and Miami just had a late coaching change.

Another Florida recruit, four-star defensive end Khris Bogle, is set to make his decision as well. Bogle is expected to choose between Miami, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. This would be a great addition to either the Hurricanes or Gators if Bogle chooses to stay home, but the Vols could really benefit by adding another solid piece to the defensive line as Jeremy Pruitt is in his first full recruiting cycle in Knoxville.

A handful of Big Ten teams are vying for the commitment of four-star wide receiver David Bell. the Indianapolis recruit is expected to choose between Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Indiana and Purdue. Will he decide to stay home and play for the Hoosiers or Boilermakers, or will he head to perennial Big Ten and playoff contender Ohio State or look to improve the passing game at Penn State? Or will Iowa come away with a big win?

One California product, four-star wide receiver, will likely make a Pac-12 coach very happy. Kyle Ford is set to make his decision between USC, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Oregon had a tremendous recruiting season already with the early signing day. Can Mario Cristobal add one more quality recruit to his taking, or will USC manage to convince Ford to stay home?

Although their decisions have already been made, the game will showcase some of the top players in attendance as well, including Georgia-bound defensive lineman Nolan Smith and Alabama recruit Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Tua Tagovailoa.