Ron Johnson

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Ron Johnson announces transfer from Michigan to Rutgers

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A few weeks after jumping in the transfer portal, Ron Johnson has announced he is heading from one Big Ten East school to another. Johnson will trade in his Michigan maize and blue for some Rutgers red after he announced, via Twitter, he is heading to Rutgers to continue his college football career.

“I am forever grateful for all the opportunities that have been presented to me and after long talks with my family I have decided that I will commit to Rutgers University to continue my academic and athletic career,” Johnson said in his statement. “Can’t wait to join my #10Strong Brothers at the Banks.”

The former four-star recruit of the Wolverines hails from New Jersey, so playing for Rutgers will allow him to complete his collegiate career closer to home. Better yet for Rutgers, Johnson is a graduate transfer and will be eligible right away this fall. And he will have two years of eligibility at his disposal.

The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

HISTORIC REPEAT
As it turns out, while Samaje Perine made history, the timeframe in which he did it¬†wasn’t historically unprecedented.

In Oklahoma’s win over Kansas, Perine set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards. ¬†That performance broke the record of 408 set a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. ¬†Most assumed Perine’s breaking of a rushing record that was a week old had never happened before; Anthony Thompson would point out what the word “assume” makes out of all involved.

Back on Nov. 11,¬†1989, the Indiana running back’s 377 yards broke the previous mark of 357 yards. ¬†That record was first set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes in 1984 and tied by Cal State Fullerton’s Mike Pringle on Nov. 4, 1989, exactly one week before Thompson broke it.

Below is how the FBS rushing record has progressed over the past four-plus decades:

347 — Ron Johnson, Michigan, 1968
350 — Eric Allen, Michigan State, 1971
356 — Eddie Lee Ivery, Georgia Tech, 1978
357 — Rueben Mayes, Washington State, 1984
357 — Mike Pringle, Cal State Fullerton, 1989
377 — Anthony Thompson, Indiana, 1989
386 — Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991
396 — Tony Sands, Kansas, 1991
406 — LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1999
408 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 2014
427 — Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 2014

Perine was also second to Thompson in something else — percentage increase of¬†the previous record. ¬†Thompson bested the old¬†mark by 5.6 percent; ¬†Perine, meanwhile, topped Gordon’s week-old record by 4.7 percent.

Some would say, though,¬†the most impressive record¬†belongs to¬†Gordon. ¬†The Badger back did his record-setting damage in three quarters of work and on just 25 carries; the only other players on that list with less than 30 carries were Ivery (26) and Allen (29). ¬†Gordon’s 16.2 yards per carry is easily the best mark among the group, with only Ivery (13.7) within three yards.¬† ¬†Perine did average 12.6 ypc, the third-best among that group of 11 players.

At the opposite end of the yards-per-carry spectrum were Thompson and Sands, who averaged 7.25 yards on 52 carries and 6.8 yards on 58 carries, respectively.

Of course,¬†Perine is the only true freshman to break the record… and he did it in three quarters plus two fourth-quarter plays after not starting a¬†game played in the rain… and he is the only player to rush for 200-plus yards in both halves of a game, all of which makes his performance arguably the greatest of all-time regardless of how you attempt to parse out the numbers.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Unlike previous weeks, there was no upheaval around the top of the College Football Playoff Top 25 in Week 14. ¬†The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 8 Ole Miss, and, with two losses, it’s unlikely the Rebels were a realistic playoff option to begin with.

(more…)

The Marshall Plan: Buckeyes regroup, stake claim to B1G East title

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It was far from pretty, and featured very little (ahem) “game control” on the favorite’s part throughout most of it, but a win is a win is a win.

Thanks in large part to an embattled and beleaguered special teams until, No. 6 Ohio State, anywhere from 32- to 35-point favorites coming in, was able to flip momentum midway through the third quarter and rode it to a closer-than-expected 42-27 win over 3-8 Indiana in Columbus.  IU now has a 22-game winless streak against OSU dating back to 1988.

The win clinches the Big Ten East for the 10-1 Buckeyes, and sends them to the Big Ten championship game next month. ¬†Were it not for a pair¬†of plays from¬†the special teams, however, OSU very well could’ve been forced to wait until Week 14 to clinch.

Trailing 14-13 at the half, the Hoosiers stunned the Ohio Stadium crowd with 7:17 left in the third quarter as Tevin Coleman raced 90 yards for a touchdown to put IU up 20-14. ¬†While the Buckeyes were forced to punt on the ensuing possession, Ray Guy Award candidate Cameron Johnson pinned the Hoosiers on their own one-yard line. ¬†The Buckeyes’ defense stiffened in forcing¬†a three-and-out and a punt, which was promptly returned 54 yards for a touchdown by Jalin Marshall.

Up 21-20 with just over two minutes left in the third, OSU gradually pulled away as Marshall scored a second touchdown — a six-yard touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett that was the quarterback’s 31st of the season, breaking Troy Smith school record — very early in the fourth quarter… and then a third, a one-handed scoring catch from 15 yards out… and then a fourth on a short “pass” he took 54 yards to the end zone¬†to account for the final score on the OSU side of the ledger.

Barrett, in the running for a mid-December road trip to New York City for the Heisman ceremony, rebounded from a miserable two-pick first half to put together a solid albeit unspectacular game, at least based on the high standards he’s set for himself since the Week 2 loss to Virginia Tech. ¬†In completing 25-of-35 passes, Barrett threw for 302¬†yards and four¬†touchdowns. ¬†He’s now tied with Purdue’s¬†Drew Brees for the Big Ten record of total touchdowns in a season (42) as the redshirt freshman now has 33 passing and nine rushing scores¬†in his first year as a starter.

The breakout star of the game, however, was Marshall. ¬†He accounted for four touchdowns, all in the last two quarters, after entering the game with four touchdowns in the first 42 quarters of the season. ¬†The most remarkable aspect of Marshall’s scoring outburst? ¬†He only touched the ball seven times all game, and ended up with 151 all-purpose yards.

Ezekiel Elliott paced the Buckeyes’ running attack with 107 yards, his fifth 100-yard effort of the season. ¬†Coleman, one of the most underrated backs in the country, gashed the Buckeyes’ defense for 228 yards on 27 carries, his fourth 200-yard game of the season. ¬†The last two weeks, both losses, Coleman totaled 535 yards on the ground.

Coleman also accounted for all three of the Hoosiers’ touchdowns, with two of them coming on runs of 90 yards and 52 in the second half to close out the scoring.

As stated earlier a win is a win is a win, but it’s a win that could very well spell trouble for the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff rankings.

After struggling on the road against woeful Kansas last week, TCU was dropped to No. 5 in the most recent rankings by the CFP committee. ¬†OSU, sitting at No. 6 in those rankings, could very well suffer a similar fate and be leapfrogged by the likes of Baylor come Tuesday. ¬†One thing is all but certain: barring upsets later today and even as the win over Minnesota last week looks even better today, the sixth-ranked Buckeyes won’t be moving up when the Top 25 is released in three days.

Another¬†known is that OSU, which closes out the 2014 regular season next week in The Game against Michigan, will be playing in its second consecutive conference championship game. ¬†Just who its opponent will be won’t be decided until next week as the winner of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game — in Madison — will claim the Big Ten West and a spot opposite OSU in Indianapolis.