No. 8 Michigan tunes up for Ohio State, routs Terps 59-18

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – By the time the fourth quarter began, it was OK for Cade McNamara and Michigan to look ahead.

McNamara threw for two touchdowns, Hassan Haskins ran for two, and the No. 8 Wolverines did their part to raise the stakes of next weekend’s showdown with Ohio State, routing Maryland 59-18 on Saturday.

Mike Sainristil made a one-handed catch in the end zone for a second-quarter TD, and Donovan Edwards had 10 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown. That all helped make this a relatively stress-free game for the Wolverines – a week before the big one.

“I think we’re ready,” McNamara said. “I mean, it’s hard not to think about that team when you’re so close, but I’m glad that we came out of this game with a win. We did what we had to do.”

The Wolverines (10-1, 7-1, No. 6 CFP) host the Buckeyes next week, and the winner will go to the Big Ten title game. Michigan hasn’t won the conference since 2004 and hasn’t beaten Ohio State since 2011.

“We want to win all the marbles,” Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh said. “We’re in the position we want to be in. We’ve been preparing for this, really the entire year, and now bring that preparation to life this week – play for it all.”

If the Wolverines were distracted by that looming matchup, it didn’t affect their play much this weekend. Maryland (5-6, 2-6) didn’t reach the end zone until Michigan was up 31-3 in the third quarter.

McNamara opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Luke Schoonmaker. Then Haskins made it 14-0 with a 1-yard scoring run later in the first quarter.

Sainristil reached out with one arm to pull in J.J. McCarthy‘s pass in the back corner of the end zone, then secured the ball for a 13-yard TD that made it 21-3.

Haskins scored on another 1-yard run in the third, and when Maryland finally scored a touchdown on a 7-yard pass from Taulia Tagovailoa to Carlos Carriere, Michigan pulled off a trick play on the ensuing kickoff. Michael Barrett caught the kick near his own 20 and tossed the ball backward across the field to A.J. Henning, who ran all the way down the sideline for a TD to make it 38-10.

“They do that cross-field kick once or twice a game,” Harbaugh said. “Our plan was, the first time they did it, we’d activate the throwback.”

Tagovailoa ran for a 17-yard touchdown, but Michigan answered with a 77-yard scoring strike from McNamara to Edwards. Then DJ Turner intercepted a pass and ran it back 42 yards for a TD to make it 52-18 – and give the Wolverines touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in a span of 4:04.

McCarthy closed out the scoring with a 5-yard TD run in the fourth.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan: So, here the Wolverines are again. They’ve won 10 games in a season when not much was expected of them, and now they’ll try to break through against Ohio State. The Buckeyes hardly ever lose when they’re on their game – and recently, they always seem to be on their game against Michigan.

Maryland: The Terps have had several chances to show they could match up with the top teams in the Big Ten, and they clearly weren’t ready to do that. Maryland will now face Rutgers in its regular-season finale next weekend, with the winner becoming bowl eligible.

“I told our team we can’t hang our heads,” Terps coach Michael Locksley said. “We have to flush this one pretty quickly because we still have a lot to play for next week going up to New Jersey with the opportunity to win six, which we haven’t done since 2016.”

MILESTONES

Haskins ran for 78 yards, surpassing 1,000 for the season.

Tagovailoa broke Maryland’s single-season record for completions. He had 19 on Saturday to bring his total to 287, one more than John Kaleo had in 1992.

“Great with the ball and a good teammate,” Carriere said. “The biggest thing has been his leadership and the energy he brings to the whole team. He’s going to continue to grow and get better and the sky’s the limit. I’m excited to see what he’ll do in the future.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

No. 7 Michigan State handed Michigan its lone loss this season, but now the Spartans have two defeats after losing to Ohio State in blowout fashion on Saturday, so the Wolverines Will Likely move up.

UP NEXT

Michigan: Hosts Ohio State on Saturday.

Maryland: At Rutgers on Saturday.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program.

The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of being sex offenders. The players, who were identified in the lawsuit as John Does, sought unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

A woman alleged up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered at an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were ever charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual misconduct. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct codes, and the others were cleared on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated the sexual encounters with players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players did not prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias by university investigators or pressure from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and former President Eric Kaler, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

David Madgett, an attorney for the players, said Tuesday that they are considering an appeal but have to determine if it makes sense financially and in terms of letting the former players get on with their lives. He said it was disappointing that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events and not decided by a jury.

“It’s disappointing to see disputes decided in this way,” Madgett said. “That’s the way things are decided more and more these days. … It’s disappointing you don’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after a graphic report of the investigation was released, the players agreed to play in the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Ricker said the school appreciated the judge’s decision affirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university would continue its work focusing on sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court reinstated part of it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are Black, also initially claimed racial discrimination, but that claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining claim alleged Title IX gender discrimination. The former players noted that they never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling said that “is certainly not evidence of a judicial adjudication or that plaintiffs ‘were proven innocent.'”

The men also claimed that an investigator for the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action used “manipulative tactics” with them in interviews and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also alleged that “prior failed investigations motivated” the the school to punish them.

Frank said all the claims were unsupported by the evidence and “no reasonable jury could find that the University disciplined plaintiffs on the basis of sex.”

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field.

Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan State players charged in a skirmish that followed a loss at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 29.

Crump was the only Spartan facing a felony, but that charge was dismissed in an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanors. His record will be scrubbed clean if he stays out of trouble while on probation.

“Unfortunately, an exchange of words (took place), I felt attacked and unfortunately I did what I did,” Crump said of the tunnel altercation involving Michigan’s Gemon Green. “I’m not proud of that. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Crump was suspended by coach Mel Tucker. In addition, the Big Ten has suspended him for eight games in 2023.

“I had difficulties trying to stomach my actions … on that fateful day, but it happened. I can’t take it back,” Crump told MLive.com after the court hearing. “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue in the future — on the football field, of course.”

At least four other players charged with misdemeanors Will Likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions. The cases against two others are pending.