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Week 9: Once again, quarterback injuries haunt the Terps

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Week 9: Once again, quarterback injuries haunt the Terps

Three quarterbacks took the field for Maryland as the curse of the quarterback continues to plague the Terps. Virginia's Coastal Division lead lasted one week after a bad loss to Louisville. In happier news, Penn State blew apart Michigan State and Navy won off a last-second field goal.

Here’s a recap of the week’s local action.

Penn State 28, Michigan State 7

The good

Tight end Pat Freiermuth caught a career-high three touchdowns to bring his total to seven for the season. He had seven receiving touchdowns total in the 2018 regular season.

The bad

Penn State was not able to complete the shutout as Michigan State managed to snap a relatively long scoring streak. After the Nittany Lions shutout the Spartans in the first half, they finally got into the end zone in the third quarter on a short run set up after a 49-yard pass from Brian Lewerke. The steak snapped a scoreless drought of 2 hours, 31 minutes and 2 seconds.

The ugly

Michigan State faced a gauntlet of a three-game stretch with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State. With the Nittany Lion’s blowout win, the Spartans lost all three games by a combined score of 100-17.

Minnesota 52, Maryland 10

The good

Freshman quarterback Tyler DeSue threw the first touchdown pass of his career connecting with Tayon Fleet-Davis for a 59-yard touchdown.

The bad

Maryland was thought to have the edge in the rushing game. They have averaged more yards this season (207.1 vs. 187.9), Anthony McFarland was returning from injury and Minnesota was without leading tackler Kamal Martin. It was the Gophers, however, who ran all over the field on Saturday.

Minnesota running back Rodney Smith rushed for 103 yards which by itself was more than all of Maryland’s rushers combined. The Gophers rushed for a total of 321 yards while Maryland managed only 79.

McFarland rushed for 38 yards in his return.

The third quarter really encapsulated what the entire game was like for the Terps’ offense as Maryland ran a grand total of six offensive plays for nine yards.

The ugly

Oh quarterback spirits, have the Terps done to anger you so?

Tyrrell Pigrome started the game but exited with a left knee/leg injury. Josh Jackson missed the past two games with a high-ankle sprain, but was thought to be healthy. He played one series in the first quarter, a three-and-out in which he missed a wide-open Dontay Demus. DeSue finished the game after Pigrome’s injury.

Here are the final passing stats for each quarterback (warning, the following stats are graphic and should be considered offensive):

Pigrome: 6 completions on 9 passes, 43 yards and 2 interceptions

Jackson: 0 completions on 2 passes, 0 yards

DeSue: 4 completions on 12 passes, 88 yards, 1 touchdown

Louisville 28, Virginia 21

The good

Bryce Perkins had the play of the game in the first quarter when he turned what looked like a disaster into a big gain. On third down, the snap went off of Perkins’ hands and into the air. He grabbed the botched snap and heaved the ball downfield to Hasis Dubois who caught it for a 39-yard gain.

Nash Griffin kicked the longest punt in the FBS this season as he belted a 78-yard bomb to pin Louisville deep.

The bad

Virginia’s offensive line is a major weakness. Though the Cavs did get two rushing touchdowns from from Wayne Taulapapa, the offense could only muster 78 total rushing yards for the game. THe problem is that the offensive line can’t open up the run game which forces Perkins into more passes and designed quarterback runs. The offensive line is also getting gutted in pass blocking as well and can’t protect the quarterback.

Basically, Virginia’s offense can’t run the ball which forces the ball into Perkins’ hands more, but the poor blocking is also resulting in him taking more hits.

Perkins left the game briefly with an injury. He was able to return, but the wear and tear may be getting to him.

This has been an issue for most of the season, but Perkins is a good enough player that he can bail the offense out. The longer the season goes and the more punishment Perkins takes, however, the less he will be able to make up for the team’s deficiencies on the offensive line and we saw that on Saturday.

The ugly

UVA took control of first place last week with a blowout win over Duke. That lead lasted one whole week as Saturday’s loss drops their conference record to 3-2 putting them in a tie with North Carolina. Virginia Tech and Pitt both lurk just a half-game behind as well at 2-2.

Navy 41, Tulane 38

The good

Jamale Carothers went off in this game for 154 rushing yards and three touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen in a night where Malcolm Perry was relatively bottled him, by his standards anyway.

Freshman kicker Bijan Nichols kicked a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give Navy the win as time expired. The win gives was the sixth of the season making the Midshipmen bowl eligible.

The bad

The game never should have been that close. Navy squandered a 24-0 lead as Tulane quarterback did everything he could to bring his team back. He would score five total touchdowns on the night.

The ugly

Diego Fagot returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown. It was notable as it is the first pick-six for the Midshipmen this season. In fact, it is Navy’s first pick-six since all the way back on Nov. 26, 2016.

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Heart condition linked to coronavirus a concern for Power 5 programs

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Heart condition linked to coronavirus a concern for Power 5 programs

As the Big Ten and other Power 5 conferences decide whether or not to have fall sports, numerous factors are part of the decision. The risk of infection during the coronavirus pandemic is enough in itself to halt plans, but a potential condition linked to the virus has become a major concern for many.

Myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle, is a rare viral infection that studies have shown may be potentially linked to the coronavirus at a higher frequency than other viruses. It can be fatal if left untreated. Though uncommon, it has been found in several college athletes including five in the Big Ten, according to ESPN.

The Mid-American Conference postponed its fall season on Saturday, in part due to initial studies on Myocarditis.

"What we don't know was really haunting us, and that's why we came to our final decision," Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier said. "That's part of the data that our presidents used. This mom gave us a play-by-play. That stuff is extremely scary."

With much still unknown about conditions connected to the virus, Power 5 programs and administrators are now faced with the risk of exposing their athletes and staff to complications beyond the initial infection of COVID-19. 

Testing and lags are problems that exist as well, but there is a larger body of work to show how those factors can impact a person and team. As for the rare heart condition, there are still numerous unanswered questions about the long terms effects.

Though the desire is there to have football and other sports be played, many understand that the risk may outweigh the reward.

"We are collectively, as a sports nation, not quite ready to feel entirely comfortable with what that may look like for our young people down the line, and we are not going to put them in that situation," Dr. John MacKnight, the head primary care team physician at the University of Virginia, said during a recent availability.

"There have been some concerns raised for that very reason: Do you not have uneasiness about having athletes participating knowing that you don't know what that longer-range outlook is? The answer is of course, yes," MacKnight said. "We don't have enough information to say this is the likelihood that this will or will not happen."

So while some players and coaches are campaigning for a season, reports that the Big Ten and others may soon announce the cancellation of the season run deeper than the fear of infection. Though that is a concern, there are additional, long term problems that could arise. 

It's a legitimate concern, and one that could derail the fall season for college sports.

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President Trump favors college football being played in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

President Trump favors college football being played in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic

President Donald Trump wants to see college football played this fall despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled," Trump tweeted on Monday.

Trump's post was a quote tweet response to Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, arguably the brightest star in college football and likely No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Lawrence was one of many notable players across the country to tweet the hashtag #WeWantToPlay on Sunday following multiple reports that the college football season could be canceled or postponed as early as this week.

Following Sunday's reports that the season likely won't happen, Lawrence was one of several stars from multiple Power 5 teams that joined a Zoom call Sunday evening to attempt and organize a plan for players to express their opinion on the why they should play and ultimately save the season. 

Other notable names such as Ohio State's Justin Fields, Alabama's Najee Harris, and Oregon's Penei Sewell were on the call, according to ESPN. Since then, college football players have reportedly attempted to unionize as one final push to save the season.

Lawrence also explained in detail on Sunday why he feels there should be a college football season. The Clemson QB tweeted Sunday night saying he believes that canceling the season would actually put college football players more at risk of the contracting virus.

"Players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting covid because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions," Lawrence wrote on his Twitter thread. 

While the outlook for the 2020 college football season doesn't look promising, Lawrence and several of the sport's biggest names are not going down without a fight. And based off President Trump's tweet, it looks as if he's on the players' side.

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