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Hue Jackson doesn’t know anyone else in NFL who can do his job

Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 11:27 AM

Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said he will keep his promise to jump into Lake Erie, but will do it when the weather is warmer.
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said he will keep his promise to jump into Lake Erie, but will do it when the weather is warmer.(Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Browns coach Hue Jackson has no wins but an overabundance of entertaining lines.

Jackson said Thursday that he still fully expects to keep his job despite the looming possibility of an 0-16 season if Cleveland loses to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

He also confirmed he’ll keep his promise to jump in Lake Erie if the Browns went 1-15 again. It’s likely they won’t, to be fair, but he’s going swimming regardless.

Among other quotes, Jackson said his job has been difficult and few are qualified to handle it.

I don’t know that anybody else in the National Football League can do this job right now,” Jackson said. “Being in this situation is hard. Everything comes at you, whether you are putting out fires or helping guys through things or keeping the football team together, to me, you better have some strength to do that.”

Owner Jimmy Haslem has promised a Jackson return. If that comes to fruition, next year needs to be a big leap forward for the Browns.

Iowa-Purdue basketball: Live updates, score, stats

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 6:30 AM

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Hawkeyes (10-10, 1-6 Big Ten) play host to the No. 3-ranked Purdue Boilermakers (18-2, 7-0 Big Ten) in a Big Ten game pitting teams from opposite ends of the standings.

Purdue holds an 88-76 lead in the series, which dates to 1908. Iowa has won five of the last seven games, including the last four in Iowa City. The teams split last season’s games.

Iowa will celebrate former player Chris Street, who died 25 years ago in a car accident. Many  of Street’s former teammates and coaches will be in attendance and there will be a halftime presentation.

Patty and Mike Street and their family poses with former coach Tom Davis before Saturday’s Iowa basketball game against Purdue. (Scott Dochterman/Land of 10)

Iowa-Purdue live updates

12:01 p.m. (Halftime) — Purdue leads 51-20 at halftime. It’s a hot mess to say the least. Purdue has hit 20 of 20 shots and 11 of 16 from 3-point range. Iowa was 8 of 32 and 2 of 12 from 3-point distance. Purdue has outscored Iowa 16-0 in points off turnovers. Iowa has had only 7 turnovers.

11:41 p.m. (1H, 3:42) — Purdue leads 40-16. Iowa is struggling at both ends. The only toughness I’ve seen out there from Iowa is from two freshman. Luka Garza going back in after his face looked like pre-cheese pizza and Jack Nunge knocking down Matt Haarms at the basket.

11:30 p.m. (1H, 7:55) — Iowa center Luka Garza has scored twice on a pair of jumpers but he was drilled in the nose on an offensive foul by Purdue center Isaac Haas. Garza headed to the locker room with a face full of blood. Purdue leads 26-10.

11:23 a.m (1H, 10:22) — Purdue extends its run to 18-0 to take a 24-6 lead. McCaffery calls another timeout. Nothing is working for Iowa on either side of the floor.

11:16 a.m. (1H, 11:46) — In traditional fashion this year, Iowa fell apart after the first media timeout. Purdue drilled three straight 3-pointers to take a 17-6 lead Iowa coach Fran McCaffery called a timeout and lit into his players. Defense continues to be a problem but even worse is Iowa has gone six straight possessions without a bucket. That won’t work against a team this efficient.

11:10 a.m. (1H, 15:22) — Purdue leads 8-6 with both teams struggling from the floor early on. Iowa is just 2 of 9 with both buckets coming from 3-point range. Purdue is 3 of 8. Iowa brings in Cordell Pemsl and Maishe Dailey for Garza and Baer.

10:50 a.m. — Neither Ryan Kriener nor Connor McCaffery are dressed out for Iowa. Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Tyler Cook, Nicholas Baer and Luka Garza will start for the Hawkeyes. Purdue’s starters are Carson Edwards, P.J. Thompson, Vincent Edwards, Issac Haas and Dakota Mathias.

10:45 a.m. — Welcome to sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena for today’s game between Iowa and No. 3 Purdue. It’s a White Out at Carver and the program celebrates the legacy of former star Chris Street, who was killed 25 years in a car accident.

Iowa-Purdue basketball game time, details

  • Time: 11 a.m. CT/Noon ET
  • Date: Saturday, Jan. 20
  • Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa

What TV channel is showing Iowa-Purdue?

ESPN will air the Iowa-Purdue game. Dave Flemming will call the action while Dan Dakich provides analysis.

How can I watch Iowa-Purdue online? and the WatchESPN app will stream the game. Click here for more information.

How can I listen to Iowa-Purdue on the radio?

You can listen on Sirius 135/XM channel 195. In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the Hawkeyes’ flagship radio stations. Gary Dolphin is the play-by-play broadcaster with Bob Hansen as the color analyst. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates. 

For Purdue, Larry Clisby, Rob Blackman and Ralph Taylor  call the action. In Indiana, 96.5 FM (WAZY-Lafayette) is the flagship affiliate, while Boilermaker basketball airs in Indianapolis on WNDE (97.5 FM/1260 AM). Click here for other Purdue radio affiliates.

The TuneIn app also streams basketball games.

Iowa-Purdue preview

On paper, this is the biggest mismatch in the Big Ten this season. In league play, Purdue averages 77 points a game to rank second. Iowa scores 75.3 points a game, ranking fifth. But when it comes to defense, Purdue is the league’s best in holding opponents to 60.4 points per game. Iowa is by far the league’s worst at 84.1 points per game.

The point differential translates to different courses for these long-time Big Ten foes. Purdue (18-2, 7-0 Big Ten) is ranked third nationally. Iowa (10-10, 1-6) is one spot above last in the league. Despite the Hawkeyes winning the last four home games against the Boilermakers, the numbers alone show the recipe for a potential blowout.

“We have to execute, and we have to put two halves together, which, quite honestly, we haven’t really done against good teams,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We’ve played terrific sometimes one half versus another. And even in some of our better victories, we get down 20 to Illinois, but we won. Colorado, we blew two leads and won. You’ve got to play both halves against that team.”

Iowa might have an emotional edge with a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a “White Out.” The program will celebrate former player Chris Street throughout the game and honor his legacy in a halftime ceremony. Street was killed in a car accident on Jan. 19, 1993 but remains one of the most popular athletes in school history.

“The fact that we’re going to honor his memory the way we are [Saturday] is special,” McCaffery said. “It speaks to who we are as a program, as an institution. And I always use the words we’re a family, and that’s what you do. You remember, and you honor. It will be good for everybody involved.”

“We all know that it’s a special day, a special game,” Iowa forward Tyler Cook said. “I think hearing the kind of guy that he was and the kind of player that he was and what he brought to this team kind of does inspire us. So I’m looking forward to it.”

South Carolina recruiting: The latest on 4-star DT Rick Sandidge

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 8:11 AM

It’s been assumed by most folks on the outside looking in that 4-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge will ultimately sign with South Carolina.

But there are no guarantees, now that we’re just a few weeks from Signing Day. Just ask his mother, Keshia, who recently spoke with Jeff Sentell of Dawg Nation.

“He’s really just torn,” she told Sentell. “I can’t think of any other way to explain this.”

On the 247Sports Crystal Ball, the Gamecocks have been predicted 27 times, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a lock.

“I think people feel that way because I’m an alum,” Keshia said. “UGA and [South Carolina] have been there through the long haul. They both have an equal shot.”

She has a graduate degree in social work from South Carolina, and there’s clearly no guarantee that Rick will follow in her footsteps as an undergrad.

Apparently, Georgia defensive line coach Tray Scott has made it his personal mission to turn Rick into a Dawg.

“From what I understand, coach Scott has pretty much told [coach] Kirby [Smart] that this is his recruitment and he will take care of it,” Keshia said. “I guess he told me he says that selfishly because [he is] putting in all the man hours and all the work and he knows we have [coach Will] Muschamp recruiting him [for Carolina] but it is whatever.

“He said he was in this thing until the wheels fall off.”

Keshia added, “The scariest part for South Carolina may be the connection between [Rick] and coach Scott, because there is no connection for him at another school like that one.”

Georgia hosted Rick last weekend for an official visit. He’s visiting North Carolina this weekend. South Carolina is up next weekend.

A decision will be announced on Signing Day.

Penn State football: 5 impact freshman players in James Franklin era

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

Penn State is set to finalize its finest recruiting class under James Franklin in February. The Nittany Lions almost certainly with sign a top-10 class for the first time since 2006, and six of these 2018 prospects are already enrolled on campus.

Considering the praise this next wave of Penn State players has received, plenty of discussion is underway about how many will impact the program immediately.

Unlike when Franklin first arrived in January 2014, scholarship availability and overall depth are no longer issues that would force his staff to accelerate young players’ path toward substantial early snaps. The 2017 season, a second straight 11-win campaign, served notable evidence in that regard.

Among the 21 players who signed with Penn State last winter in a top-15 class, only three found their way to the field. The others will head into their second year on campus as redshirt freshmen with four years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Still, whether it’s been undeniable talent or positional necessity, Nittany Lions freshmen have played a role in this program’s growth under the direction of Franklin.

From eventual All-Americans to current NFL players, here’s a rundown of those who hit the ground running in Happy Valley. There’s a lengthy list of freshmen who’ve contributed during the team’s rise, but we’ll focus on five standouts.

Note: This list is restricted to first-year freshmen and does not include redshirt freshmen.

RB Saquon Barkley

Recruiting Class: 2015

Composite Prospect Ranking: No. 13 running back; No. 119 overall (4-star recruit)

The Impact

Why not start with the most recognizable athlete of this Penn State football era?

Saquon Barkley, who initially committed to Rutgers before his junior year at Whitehall (Pa.) High School, carried the ball only once in his first college game: a 27-10 loss to Temple. Penn State then let him loose, as he turned 33 touches into 310 yards and 3 touchdowns in the next two matchups.

Barkley finished his first Nittany Lions season with 1,076 rushing yards, tied his career-high 2017 yards-per-carry average (5.9) and scored 8 total touchdowns. He needed only three years to set program records for rushing touchdowns and all-purpose yards, and is projected to be one of the first players selected in the 2018 NFL draft.

S Marcus Allen

Recruiting Class: 2014

Composite Prospect Ranking: No. 25 safety; No. 348 overall (3-star recruit)

The Impact

Marcus Allen, a holdover commitment from the Bill O’Brien era, stuck with his plans to play at Penn State following the coaching change and quickly carved out a role. He appeared in every game of the 2014 season, starting seven contests, and finished third on the team with 58 total tackles.

Allen added 3 pass breakups and 1 sack, earning various Big Ten All-Freshman Team accolades. His Penn State career featured 46 starts, 321 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and a memorable 2016 field-goal block vs. Ohio State.

WR Chris Godwin

Recruiting Class: 2014

Composite Prospect Ranking: No. 26 receiver; No. 168 overall (4-star recruit)

The Impact

Chris Godwin, Mike Gesicki and Saeed Blacknall each registered double-digit reception totals as freshmen in 2014, but we’ll give Godwin the nod here since he surpassed the others’ combined catches and shined in postseason action. He finished tied for fourth on the team with 26 receptions, emerging as a key counterpart to breakout redshirt freshman DaeSean Hamilton (82 catches).

Godwin caught multiple passes in six regular-season games but truly created excitement with his performance in the Pinstripe Bowl (7 receptions for 140 yards and 1 touchdown). He finished a three-year college career top-10 in Nittany Lions history with 154 catches (seventh), 2,421 receiving yards (fifth) and 18 touchdown receptions (fourth).

Chris Godwin wrapped up his Penn State career with a pair of touchdown receptions in the Rose Bowl. (Harry How/Getty)

OL Connor McGovern

Recruiting Class: 2016

Composite Prospect Ranking: No. 3 center; No. 255 overall (4-star recruit)

The Impact

It’s often a struggle for offensive linemen to find the spotlight at any level of football, but Connor McGovern managed to do it in his fifth start. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after helping Penn State collect 599 yards vs. Iowa on Nov. 5, becoming the first Nittany Lions offensive lineman to earn a weekly conference award.

McGovern cracked the starting lineup at guard Oct. 1 vs. Minnesota and remained there for nine of the final 10 games, missing a matchup vs. Rutgers due to injury. He transitioned to center in 2017, starting 12 games, and will enter his junior season as one of Penn State’s most experienced players.

CB Lamont Wade

Recruiting Class: 2017

Composite Prospect Ranking: No. 5 cornerback; No. 43 overall (4-star recruit)

The Impact

The 2017 recruiting class didn’t make much noise in game action during its debut season, and none of the three players who avoided a redshirt actually logged a start, but cornerback Lamont Wade did enough to warrant the expectations that accompanied his arrival. Considered a premier defensive prospect nationwide, he appeared in 10 games and progressively earned more looks, especially when Penn State expanded its lead.

Reps were limited while learning from a veteran-laden group of Nittany Lions defensive backs, but Wade managed to tally 31 tackles (11th on the team), 3 pass breakups (5th) and 1 forced fumble while doubling as a special teams contributor. His growth alongside fellow rising sophomore Tariq Castro-Fields, along with the return of John Reid from injury, provides tremendous promise for Penn State at cornerback moving forward.

New Florida State coordinator Walt Bell gets shoutout from ‘childhood hero’ Charlie Ward

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

Florida State offensive coordinator Walt Bell is settling into his new role after being hired away from Maryland by Willie Taggart. Bell spent two years in College Park, but will be charged with improving a Seminoles team that ranked near the bottom 30 in FBS in total offense.

On Saturday afternoon, Bell received a shoutout on social media from a man who he called his “childhood hero”: former Seminoles quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward.

Ward, of course, would be widely known for an NBA career that spanned 12 seasons. But his stellar play in his senior season in Tallahassee – 3,032 yards passing and 27 touchdowns versus just 4 interceptions – saw him become the program’s first Heisman winner in 1993.

Bell was an elementary school student in Dickson County, Tenn. when Ward was a senior in college. While this is the first contact the two have had, it’s likely that with Bell presiding over the Seminoles’ offense, it won’t be the last.