Happy Hump Day! Here are my Week Five Midweek Musings:
After a 52-0 thumping by Michigan, Rutgers pulled the rare in-season firing of the coach. Chris Ash has an 8-32 record since his arrival in 2016. I can’t imagine that anyone expected him to be back for a fifth year, but I’m not sure what the in-season firing accomplishes. Even odder to me is the promotion of tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile to interim coach. This is just Campanile’s second year on the Rutgers’ staff, having previously served as the head coach at a local high school (albeit one with a very good football program).
One rationale for Campanile’s promotion could be recruiting. It certainly couldn’t hurt for Rutgers to be able to skip the interview process, hire Campanile right after the season, and have him start recruiting right away. His history at Bergen Catholic could give him an edge with local recruiting as well. Several prominent New York/New Jersey players have gone elsewhere in the Big Ten of late. However, there are certainly other qualified candidates out there. Time will tell.
The Boilermakers’ game against Minnesota went down as a loss, but it wasn’t the biggest one they suffered on Saturday. Quarterback Elijah Sindelar and star receiver Rondale Moore were injured on the same first-quarter play. Neither returned to the game. Coach Jeff Brohm told ESPN that Sindelar underwent surgery for a broken clavicle and could miss the rest of the season. No word on Moore, other than he won’t play this week. On a separate play, offensive lineman D.J. Washington broke his ankle and was to undergo surgery on Tuesday. Purdue has been absolutely ravaged by injuries thus far, with several key players missing time even before this latest series of misfortunes.
The Irish, too, suffered a couple of key losses against Virginia (mitigated, perhaps, by the fact that they won the game). Defensive End Daelin Hayes, one of the team’s best defensive players, suffered a torn labrum and is done for the year. He’s already been granted a fifth year of eligibility and plans to return in 2020. Cornerback Shaun Crawford, who has fought through numerous injuries as a member of the Irish, dislocated his elbow and will be out for about a month.
It’s debatable how much Hayes or Crawford would have played this week against 1-3 Bowling Green. However, they’ll be sorely missed in the next two games: a visit from USC, and then a trip to Ann Arbor.
Yet another injury to report on: quarterback Chase Garbers appeared to injure his throwing arm or shoulder in their Friday loss to Arizona State. Coach Justin Wilcox got in touch with his inner NHL coach, telling ESPN only that Garbers suffered an “upper-body injury”. It’s an unfortunate situation for the Golden Bears, who ranked #15 before the loss to the Sun Devils.
The Mustangs have worked their way into the rankings for the first time since receiving the NCAA “death penalty” in 1987. With UCF suffering a loss to Pitt, this becomes a team to keep an eye on in the American Athletic Conference. Their most impressive win so far was a 41-38 victory over TCU, which was #25 at the time.
For those of us who cover college football, Mike Leach is the gift that keeps on giving. Never one to mince words, Leach referred to his players as “fat, dumb, happy, and entitled,” after their second consecutive loss. I could do without the fat-shaming, but it’s hard to blame the coach for being irate. Both losses have been bad ones.
It’s not very often I mention the Golden Gophers in this column since I do a full article on them every Sunday. (This week’s article can be found here, by the way). But when their quarterback sets a Big Ten record, I figure it’s worth a mention. Tanner Morgan completed 21 of 22 pass attempts in the Gophers’ win over Purdue. His completion percentage of 95.5 is the best in conference history among players with at least 15 attempts.
The Mascot of the Week
My week five Midweek Musings were without a Highlight of the Week, so we’re going with this instead. Watch the reaction, or lack thereof, from this “Very Good Boy” after nearly being plowed over by Auburn’s JaTarvious Whitlow:
Those are my Week Five Midweek Musings. Be sure to follow all of our college football coverage during the week!