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Michigan State, Washington schedule future home-and-home

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As the 2018 regular season rapidly winds to a close, there’s some future scheduling news on which to touch.

Both Michigan State and Washington announced Thursday that the two athletic departments have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  The Spartans will travel to Seattle’s Husky Stadium on Sept. 9, 2028, with the Huskies paying a visit to East Lansing Sept. 6, 2031.

“We are excited about scheduling two games with Michigan State,” said UW athletic director Jennifer Cohen in a statement. “It is important for us to create incredible experiences for our student-athletes, coaches and fans, and we believe playing a high-caliber, non-conference opponent like Michigan State provides those opportunities.”

The football programs have met twice previously, the most recent coming in the 1997 Aloha Bowl.  They also squared off during the 1969 and 1970 regular seasons.

The Huskies own a 2-1 edge in the miniseries, including each of the last two by a combined 52 points.

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award pares finalists down to five

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Last month, one quarterback award chopped its list of potential winners down to 15.  Last week, five of those were lopped off.  Thursday, another five were pared.

Late this morning, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award announced a total of five finalists for this year’s trophy.  Four of the five finalists hail from Power Five conferences: West Virginia’s Will Grier, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew and Michigan’s Shea Patterson.

The fifth of the finalists is McKenzie Milton of UCF.

The Golden Arm has been handed out annually since 1987 to the nation’s top college quarterback.  And, in our annual reminder, the award is given yearly to the top signal-caller in the country who is either a senior or fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with their class and takes into account his accomplishments both on and off the field.

Last year’s winner was Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.

San Diego State down two starting offensive linemen for key MWC West matchup with Fresno State

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For a couple of different reasons, San Diego State won’t be close to 100 percent along its offensive line for a key divisional game this weekend.

By way of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Rocky Long has confirmed that offensive tackle Tyler Roemer and interior lineman Keith Ismael (pictured) will not play Saturday against Fresno State.  Ismael is in concussion protocol after suffering a head injury in Week 11 while Roemer has been suspended.

Per Long, Roemer’s suspension, which is for violating unspecified team rules, could extend beyond Week 12.

Both Ismael and Roemer have made 23 straight starts for the Aztecs.  All of the latter’s starts have come at left tackle, while the former’s have been split between center and guard.

San Diego State (4-2) is currently tied with Nevada (4-2) for second place in the MWC West division, one game behind Fresno State (5-1).  Since San Diego State beat Nevada early last month, it can claim the division by beating Fresno State this Saturday and Hawaii next week.  Nevada, since it lost to both, needs to win its next two AND see Fresno State lose its next two AND have San Diego State lose to Hawaii in the regular-season finale.

Fresno State can make all of those scenarios moot by beating San Diego State this weekend.

Report: Maryland AD signed off on DJ Durkin helping coaches, developing game plans during leave

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The cloud hanging over the University of Maryland in general and the football program specifically shows no signs of dissipating anytime soon.

Citing multiple sources, the Baltimore Sun‘s Jeff Barker is reporting that DJ Durkin told the task force investigating the culture of the football program in the aftermath of the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair that he “continued to communicate with assistant coaches and develop game plans for the team after being placed on administrative leave.” Most damning, at least for those still in place at the university, the then-head football coach alleged that athletic director Damon Evans approved the ongoing communication with his coaching staff.

Durkin further claimed that he had not been told by anyone at the university that he was to have no contact with his players or assistant coaches while on leave, a forced sabbatical that ultimately lasted nearly three months.

While the university declined to make Evans available for comment, a spokesperson did deny the allegations made by Durkin to the task force, of which the university system’s Board of Regents were also aware.  From the Sun‘s report:

But in a statement late Wednesday, a university spokeswoman said Durkin “was not to perform coaching duties while on administrative leave” and that neither Evans nor Loh had granted permission for him to do so.

“Matt Canada was performing all head coaching duties during this interim time and continues to lead the team,” spokeswoman Jessica Jennings said.

Durkin, two members of the training staff and then-head strength & conditioning coach Rick Court were placed on administrative leave in early August after a bombshell report alleged mishandling of the medical event that preceded McNair’s death as well as a toxic culture within the football program.  That report described the toxic culture under Durkin as one based on fear, intimidation, belittling, humiliation and embarrassment.  Players were, allegedly, routinely subjected to what was described as extreme verbal abuse that included, in part, obscenity-laced epithets meant to mock their masculinity.

On Oct. 30, it was confirmed that Durkin had been reinstated and would remain as the Terrapins head coach.  The next day, and amidst an avalanche of criticism from football playersstudent groups and high-ranking government officials, U of M, College Park president Wallace Loh announced that Durkin had been dismissed as the Terrapins head football coach.

Miami pays Arkansas State $400,000 settlement over canceled game

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A legal issue that arose between a Power Five school and one from the Group of Five has finally been resolved.

The Miami-Arkansas State game in Jonesboro last season was scuttled by Hurricane Irma, mainly because of The U’s concerns over traveling back to South Florida in the wake of the superstorm.  ASU sued Miami in February of this year, seeking financial damages as a result of a breach of contract; Miami had sued ASU two days earlier in an effort to void the contract because the effects of the hurricane were out of its control.

In mid-September, a judge set a Dec. 20 deadline for the two sides to resolve the dispute via third-party mediation.  Wednesday, ASU announced that a settlement has been reached, with each entity dismissing their lawsuits against the other as well as Miami paying the Sun Belt school $400,000.

ASU had been seeking $650,000 in damages.

“I am pleased that both lawsuits have been resolved and that this matter is now behind us,” Brad Phelps, general counsel for the Arkansas State University System, said in the statement. “I believe this is a fair resolution of these issues.”

As part of the settlement, the 2017 game, which was the back-end of a home-and-home series, will not be rescheduled.