Posted on: December 21, 2010 12:25 pm

Michigan State won't have top WR for Cap One Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There's a part of me that feels sorry for Michigan State this season.  Like Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Spartans went 11-1 this season and picked up a share of the Big Ten title.  Unlike Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Spartans aren't going to a BCS bowl game this season thanks to a big loss against an Iowa team that stumbled down the stretch.

Instead they'll be going to the Capital One Bowl where they get to face Alabama.  Not that it's anything to be ashamed of, but when you win a share of the Big Ten title, you expect a bit more.  Unfortunately for the Spartans, the hits keep on coming now that the regular season is over.  The team's leading receiver B.J. Cunningham broke his foot during practice on Saturday and won't be able to play in the game.

"B.J. Cunningham is a great competitor and he's extremely disappointed to be out for the Capital One Bowl game against Alabama," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a release from the school.

"B.J. had another outstanding season, and I know that he'll work hard during his rehab and set himself up for a big senior year."

Cunningham had 50 catches and 9 touchdowns this season, both of which led the Spartans.  The good news for Michigan State is that they have a couple of talented receivers behind Cunningham in Mark Dell and Keshawn Martin, but when you're going against a defense like Alabama's, you want as much talent on your side as you can get.

So not having Cunningham available will only make a tall task that much taller.
Posted on: December 21, 2010 11:03 am

Christian Ponder to return to practice on time

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder had the second surgery on his throwing elbow last week, and generally when you have two surgeries on the same elbow within a month, it tends to put your ability to play in a football game in doubt for a few weeks.  Which is where Florida State and Ponder currently find themselves only ten days away from taking on South Carolina in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

There is some good news for the Seminoles, however, as after Ponder had the second surgery the hope was that he'd be able to return to practice a few days before the game, and that would increase his chances of playing.  According to a release by the school on Monday, it seems that Ponder is on track to return to practice next week.

“We’ll probably let him throw some a bit the next three or four days before he goes up there, then turn him loose on the 26th and see what happens,” said Jimbo Fisher in a school release.

Ponder had a protective brace removed from his arm on Monday as well.

Should Ponder not be able to play in the game, E.J.Manuel -- who has taken the majority of reps in practice -- would once again get the start.  Still, even though Manuel has had more practice, you have to think that if Ponder can play and wants to, Fisher will start Ponder.  He is a senior, after all, and nobody wants to spend the final game of their college career in a baseball cap on the sideline.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 11:13 am

Scooters claim another Maryland player

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this season there was a trend that saw college football players say dumb things on Twitter followed by those players and their teammates being told by their head coaches to stay off of Twitter.  It made sense because you can't say anything stupid on Twitter if you're not on Twitter.  It's a model that Ralph Friedgen may want to follow at Maryland, though it's not Twitter he should be keeping his players off of.

It's scooters.

In October freshman offensive lineman Pete DeSouza broke both of his legs in a scooter accident, ending his season early. Now freshman cornerback Dexter McDougle will miss the Military Bowl against East Carolina after breaking his clavicle in what was described as a "single scooter accident on campus." 

Though some conspiracy theorists believe there was a second scooter, located on a grassy knoll.

Fellow Terrapin Isiah Ross was driving the scooter at the time of the accident, but escaped without injury.  The duo apparently hit a bump in the road that caused Ross to lose control of the scooter, causing the injury to McDougle and sent him to the hospital where he was treated and released.

McDougle played in 11 games for the Terps this season with 22 tackles and 3 pass break ups.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 10:46 am

DeMarco Murray expected to play

Posted by Tom Fornelli

During the week leading up to the final Big 12 Championship Game one of the biggest questions facing the Oklahoma Sooners was whether or not running back DeMarco Murray would be available to the Sooners.  Murray was hurt last Saturday against Oklahoma State when he took a helmet to the knee, and never returned to the game.

Through the week Bob Stoops has had some doubts about his running back's availability, but optimism seemed to reign, and for good reason.  On Thursday night Stoops announced through a press release that Murray was able to practice on Thursday and is expected to play against Nebraska.

Which is big news for the Oklahoma offense.  Murray is not only the team's leading rusher with 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns, but he also plays a large role in the passing game as well, as he has 64 receptions for another 535 yards and 5 touchdowns as a receiver out of the backfield this season.  He's also the school's all-time leader in in touchdowns (64) and all-purpose yards (6,498) while returning kicks to boot.

So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that he's kind of important to Oklahoma, so it'll be nice for the Sooners to have him around against a tough Nebraska defense on Saturday.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 1:34 pm

DeMarco Murray's status for weekend unknown

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Oklahoma went out and took care of its business on Saturday night, defeating its in-state rival Oklahoma State in Bedlam, and because of it, the Sooners are now on their way to Dallas to take on Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship.  Unfortunately for the Sooners, while they may have won the game, it looks like they may have lost a couple of starters as well.  Most notably, running back DeMarco Murray.

Murray injured his left knee in the fourth quarter when he took a helmet to it on a run.  He did not return to the game, and it seems possible that he may not be able to return in time for Saturday's game either.  Though Bob Stoops isn't entirely sure of anything concerning Murray at the moment.

"I'll have something a little more to say and make sure (the media) knows probably closer to practice or after practice," Stoops said Monday during his weekly teleconference.

Obviously, being without Murray would be a bit of a blow to the Sooners offense.  He's eclipsed 1,000 yards this season for the second time in his career. Along with Murray's status, the condition of starting safety Jonathan Nelson is also up in the air at the moment.  Nelson, who was second in tackles on the Oklahoma defense heading into Bedlam, suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

He may miss the this week's game as well.
Posted on: November 25, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2010 12:44 pm

USC gets Baxter back, Barkley doubtful

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this week the USC Trojans were wondering whether or not running back Dillon Baxter would be ruled ineligible to play against Notre Dame this weekend.  Baxter went on a bit of a joy ride in a golf cart with someone who turned out to be an agent.  Given everything that's gone in in the college football world with agents this season, and the fact that USC was just hit with NCAA sanctions earlier this year, you can see why the Trojans would be worried.

They can stop worrying about Baxter, however, because the NCAA ruled that he was eligible to play on Wednesday night after he made a donation of $5 to a local charity. Yes, I know, I wish I could get out of trouble for $5 too.

Though just because the Trojans feel relieved about the status of Baxter, they still have other things to worry about.  The status of quarterback Matt Barkley is still in denial doubt, as he deals from a high ankle sprain suffered last weekend.  It's the type of injury that normally takes weeks to recover from, but don't tell that to Barkley, he's trying to think happy thoughts.

“I’m just trying to do everything I can to get this right,” said Barkley.

“That’s what my mind is thinking…. I do (think it’s realistic.) That’s the positive thinking that I think you have to have. If it doesn’t happen, so be it.”

If I had to put money on it, I'd put money on so be it.  I just don't see how Barkley's ankle is going to heal in time for him to play on Saturday, unless he has some kind of magical healing potion that only he knows of.  Like the healing powers of Ace of Base.  Still, I'm not even sure that's enough, so I'd expect Mitch Mustain to make his long anticipated first start for the Trojans.
Posted on: November 25, 2010 12:23 pm

Blackmon should be a go for Bedlam

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There was some concern this week in Stillwater about the status of wide receiver, and finalist for the Biletnikoff Trophy, Justin Blackmon wouldn't be available for this weekend's huge game between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.  Blackmon injured his ankle in last week's game against Kansas and was reportedly walking around in a boot on Monday.

Blackmon missed practice on Wednesday because of the ankle, but he's continuing treatment on the injury, and as of now the Cowboys expect that he'll be able to play on Saturday.  Of course, that's not a guarantee that he will play.  Depending on the extent of the ankle injury, and how it responds to the treatment, the possibility he won't be available against the Sooners remains.

Needless to say, having Blackmon healthy and ready to go is key for Oklahoma State. Blackmon has 94 receptions for 1,560 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.  If he isn't able to go that will lead a large void in the Oklahoma State offense in it's most important game of the season.

Not just because it's Bedlam and against Oklahoma, but because if Oklahoma State wins then it'll be representing the Big 12 South in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:47 pm

Barrett Jones likely to miss Iron Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's obvious that this year's Alabama team is not the same as the squad that won the national title last year.  All you have to do is look at the Tide's record, and see those two blemishes in the loss column to figure that out.  While there are a few reasons for this, one of the bigger factors has been the offensive line's inability to block for Greg McElroy.

Only Tennessee and Vanderbilt have allowed their quarterback to be sacked more often in the SEC this year than Alabama, who have given up 27 sacks. In the Iron Bowl on Friday, while Auburn's defense as a whole hasn't been all that impressive, the Alabama offensive line is going to have its hands full with Nick Fairley and company.  A task that may be even tougher now that it looks like guard Barrett Jones isn't going to be able to play.

“Barrett Jones is still struggling a little bit,” said Nick Saban after practice on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been able to practice much. He may try to do some things tomorrow and I think that would be the indicator of whether he would be able to participate in the game or not.” 

Jones suffered a sprained left ankle in the Mississippi State game, and sat out of the team's ritual sacrifice of Georgia State last week.  He has been practicing, but he's been wearing the black "no-contact" jersey.  If he can't go on Friday, he'll be replaced up front by Anthony Steen who filled in for him against Georgia State.
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