Nate Sudfeld

Wuerffel Trophy names eight semifinalists for community service leadership award

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Not all achievements and accolades in college football are actually earned on the field. The Wuerffel Trophy is presented annually by the All Sports Association of Fort Walton Beach to the top college football players having an impact in the community. On Tuesday, the list of semifinalists for the award was announced.

  • Spencer Drango, Baylor University, senior, offensive line
  • Ross Martin, Duke University, senior, kicker
  • Nate Sudfeld, Indiana University, senior, quarterback
  • Landon Foster, University of Kentucky, senior, punter
  • Garrett Adcock, University of New Mexico, junior, offensive line
  • Corey Robinson, University of Notre Dame, junior, wide receiver
  • Ty Darlington, University of Oklahoma, senior, offensive line
  • Alex Zmolik, University of Toledo, senior, tight end

The award was first presented in 2005, with LSU center Rudy Niswanger receiving the new trophy. Other past winners include Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Texas defensive end Sam Acho, Alabama offensive tackle Barrett Jones and USC quarterback Matt Barkley. Last year’s recipient was Ole Miss linebacker Deterrian Shackelford.

Three finalists for this year’s award will be named on November 24 and a winner will be announced on December 8 at the National Football Foundation’s press conference in New York City. The winner will then be interviewed during ESPN’s college football awards show two days later on December 10 in Atlanta.

Ezekiel Elliott pushes No. 1 Ohio State to avoid Hoosier upset

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With his offense once again struggling, Urban Meyer finally made the call for No. 1 Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) to ride running back Ezekiel Elliott to victory. Elliott had two touchdown runs in the third quarter totaling 120 yards in the third quarter to help give Ohio State a much-needed spark. Both scores gave Ohio State a lead but a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Cardale Jones to Michael Thomas proved to be the difference in the game as the Buckeyes avoided a Big Ten upset to Indiana (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten) in Bloomington. the win was sealed when Indiana’s last pass of the game fell incomplete as the clock expired.

Elliott ended the day with 274 rushing yards, and 195 of those came on his three touchdown runs in the game. His 75-yard scamper down the field, after Indiana had jumped offside, gave Ohio State a 34-20 lead, but he was forced to keep pushing because Indiana quarterback Zander Diamont answered with a 79-yard touchdown run. Diamont had entered the game in relief of an injured Nate Sudfeld. Indiana running back Jordan Howard was also forced to leave the game due to injury, but the Hoosiers kept the pressure on.

The play fo Jones at quarterback has been under some tight scrutiny lately, and that will continue in this game. The box score does not reveal some of the issues Ohio State may have with Jones. Jones ended the game with 17-of-26 for 245 yards and a touchdown and an interception. There were times when Jones was throwing behind or above his receiver, and his receivers at times did pull in some high passes. He also held on to the football too long at times, but there is no real apparent rush to make a switch to J.T. Barrett. Ohio State remians undefeated

Ohio State has not had the most impressive 5-0 starts you will see, but the Buckeyes have made plays when they have needed to make them. how much does that count? We will get a better idea tomorrow when the new polls come out. Ohio State has remained a pretty solid No. 1 in the eyes of the voters for both the AP and coaches polls. Next up for Ohio State will be a home game against Maryland. The Terrapins will travel to Columbus with a 2-3 record after being defeated at home by a rising Michigan program. Ohio State’s schedule still appears favorable to be undefeated by the time they host Michigan State in November.

Indiana will travel to Penn State next week. If tIndiana plays the way it did in the first half, the Hoosiers could pick up the road win in State College for the first time in program history. If the Hoosiers are banged up though, then next week’s game at Penn State could be quite ugly.

FCS-to-Ducks transfer one of 30 QBs on Unitas Award watch list

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Even as one high-profile FCS transfer has yet to be officially added to his new Power Five program’s roster, he’s still highly thought of by at least one major award.

Tuesday, the fine folks at the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award released its preseason watch list, with the annual award given to the best college senior or fourth-year junior quarterback recognizing 30 players who meet the qualifications.  And, again, those qualifications are that they are, one, a quarterback and, two, are a college senior or fourth-year junior.

Included in that group of 30 is Vernon Adams, one of the most decorated players in the Football Championship Series who announced in February of this year that he would be transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  In early July it was reported that Adams had been admitted to UO and ruled eligible to enroll in classes at the university.  However, Adams will likely miss at least the first three days of the Ducks’ summer camp that begins Aug. 10 as he cleans up one final class that will allow him formal admission and his inclusion on his new squad’s roster.

There’s also one current FCS quarterback in the group: North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

In addition to Adams and Wentz, 2014 Unitas finalists Cody Kessler of USC and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State are included in the initial watch list.   Last year’s winner was the man Adams will attempt to replace, Marcus Mariota.

Below is the complete list of preseason Unitas Award watch listers.  And, again, those eligible are college senior or fourth-year junior quarterbacks.

Vernon Adams, Oregon
Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Mike Bercovici, Arizona State
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Blake Frohnapfel, UMass
Everett Golson, Florida State
Taysom Hill, BYU
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Driphus Jackson, Rice
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Cody Kessler, USC
Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State
Joe Licata, Buffalo
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Maty Mauk, Missouri
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah

Big Ten latest P5 to announce media days attendees

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The SEC has done it this week.  So has the ACC.  Now, it’s the Big Ten’s turn to do it.

The “it,” of course, is a Power Five conference releasing its list of player who will represent their respective schools at the annual preseason media event.  And that’s just what the Big Ten did, with the Midwestern conference revealing the 42 players who’ll represent the league’s 14 member institutions at the B1G Football Media Days and Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago July 30-31.

From the conference’s press release:

The list of students scheduled to attend features 27 returning all-conference selections, including first-team honorees in Maryland’s Brad Craddock and William Likely, Michigan State’s Jack Allen and Shilique Calhoun, Minnesota’s Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Penn State’s Anthony Zettel and Rutgers’ Leonte Carroo.

Just five of the 14 teams in attendance will send quarterbacks, with none of those being QB-rich Ohio State: Indiana (Nate Sudfeld), Michigan State (Connor Cook), Minnesota (Mitch Leidner), Nebraska (Tommy Armstrong Jr.) and Wisconsin (Joel Stave).

This is, though, a conference that greatly respects veteran leadership as 36 of the 42 players are classified as seniors. The other six players are juniors.

Below is the complete list of Big Ten players attending football media days.

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA
Adarius Rayner, Sr., DL
Jason Spriggs, Sr., OL*
Nate Sudfeld, Sr., QB

MARYLAND
Brad Craddock, Sr., PK*
William Likely, Jr., DB*
Andrew Zeller, Sr., OL

MICHIGAN
Joe Bolden, Sr., LB
Jehu Chesson, Sr., WR
James Ross III, Sr., LB

MICHIGAN STATE
Jack Allen, Sr., C*
Shilique Calhoun, Sr., DE*
Connor Cook, Sr., QB*

OHIO STATE
Taylor Decker, Sr., OT*
Joshua Perry, Sr., LB*
Adolphus Washington, Sr., DT*

PENN STATE
Jordan Lucas, Sr., S*
Angelo Mangiro, Sr., C/G*
Anthony Zettel, Sr., DT*

RUTGERS
Leonte Carroo, Sr., WR*
Darius Hamilton, Sr., DT*
Keith Lumpkin, Sr., OL

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS
Josh Ferguson, Sr., RB
Ted Karras, Sr., OG*
Mason Monheim, Sr., LB*

IOWA
Austin Blythe, Sr., C*
Jordan Lomax, Sr., DB*
Drew Ott, Sr., DE*

MINNESOTA
Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Sr., DB*
Theiren Cockran, Sr., DE*
Mitch Leidner, Jr., QB

NEBRASKA
Tommy Armstrong Jr., Jr., QB
Nate Gerry, Jr., S*
Jordan Westerkamp, Jr., WR

NORTHWESTERN
Traveon Henry, Sr., S
Christian Jones, Sr., WR
Dan Vitale, Sr., SB*

PURDUE
Danny Anthrop, Sr., WR
Robert Kugler, Sr., C*
Frankie Williams, Sr., CB*

WISCONSIN
Michael Caputo, Sr., S*
Corey Clement, Jr., RB
Joel Stave, Sr., QB*

* indicates previous all-conference selection

Is Indiana’s Kevin Wilson on the hot seat in 2015?

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Nobody is going to confuse Indiana for a football school, given its storied basketball history. The Indiana Hoosiers have not won a bowl game since 1991. It is one of three bowl victories in school history. This is why any suggestion that Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson enters a season on a hot seat may feel a little strange.

Following Indiana’s dismissal of defensive back Antonio Allen, who racked up quite the list of drug-related offenses this week, the attention for some has shifted to the head coach in charge of the Hoosiers. Austin Ward of ESPN suggested Wilson made the right move in removing Allen from the program (agree 100 percent) and that it turns the temperature up on his hot seat for the fall. Does it really? Ward is by no means alone in suggesting Wilson is on a hot seat. Athlon Sports placed Wilson in the top 10 of coaches on the hot seat out of the spring, making note of the step back Indiana took last season following an injury to quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Once Sudfeld went down, Indiana lost any offensive cohesion and momentum. Injuries happen, and the impact of every injury is not created equally. However, each coach must be prepared for when an injury happens and it is fair to serve up a certain level of criticism for Wilson following Sudfeld’s injury. You can only place so much blame on injuries.

Let’s keep a few things in mind. Wilson took over an Indiana program though to be pretty close to becoming a bowl team, and Wilson was supposed to help get the Hoosiers over that last hurdle. Instead, Wilson embarked on a total rebuilding project (or in Indiana’s case another new construction project). After winning just one game in his first season, Wilson managed to increase the win total each of the next two seasons to five wins in 2013 before stepping back to four wins last season. If the expectation was Indiana would have played in a bowl game by his fifth season, then Wilson has come up short and is deserving of hot seat talk. But is that the fantasy expectation for Wilson, or the realistic one?

Four seasons without a bowl game is most certainly a fireable offense at most programs, but is it really that harsh an offense at Indiana? What about the areas of improvement for the Hoosiers in that same stretch? Indiana has gone from averaging 21.4 points per game in 2011 up to 38.4 ppg in 2013 (that average dipped to 25.9 ppg last fall). The defense has failed to show the same kind of progress, floating around 35 points per game allowed during Wilson’s tenure in Bloomington. Also consider the Hoosiers are lumped in the same division that some are hyping as the best division in college football (although that is a bit of a stretch right now) with Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers. The division may be a bit top-heavy for now, but expectations continue to be high for Michigan and Penn State in the long-term. That should make for a tough road to six wins most seasons for the Hoosiers.

So what is the realistic bar for Indiana football? Is it six wins? Seven? In this day and age, that is a fair ceiling that gets a team to a bowl game, but history would suggest otherwise for Indiana. The Hoosiers have played in just nine postseason bowl games in 117 seasons. If Wilson is on a hot seat, there has to be more to the equation that can be seen off the field.