Florida State runs over Duquesne in opener

Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK
0 Comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State showed its offensive identity – running the ball at will – and dominated an FCS program.

Treshaun Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili surpassed 100 rushing yards and Florida State dominated Duquesne 47-7 in a lightning-delayed game. The Seminoles ran for 406 yards and opened the season with a victory for the first time since 2016.

“This was the first glimpse of the 2022 Florida State football team and I’m proud of our players,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “It definitely wasn’t a perfect game. A lot of guys played, got opportunities. There was some good, some bad things that we’re going to have to continue to grow upon. But the experience and the approach is what I’m really pleased about. I thought we showed as a fast and physical football team.”

Florida State had shown it could be a run-oriented offense in Norvell’s first two seasons. But the Seminoles had three 100-yard rushers in a single game for the first time in school history, albeit in a game against an overmatched Duquesne.

Ward (14 carries, 127 yards), Benson (11 carries, 105 yards) and Toafili (13 carries, 101 yards) led the ground attack, which featured six touchdowns. Ward had two TD runs, and Benson had a 41-yard TD as the Oregon transfer frequently racked up yards after contact. True freshman Rodney Hill also had 55 rushing yards and a touchdown.

“Before the game, this morning, we broke off on 500, because that’s what we wanted to get,” Ward said. “Just to see everyone get 100 yards makes me proud. And seeing Rodney score too made me proud as well. Seeing everybody get their burn and seeing everybody get their touches, it makes us proud. Nobody is selfish in this room. We want to see everybody eat and get to the next level. So it’s something in our room that no one else has.”

Florida State scored on eight of its first nine drives. Jordan Travis, Toafili and Ward had TD runs as Florida State led 20-0 after the first quarter.

Travis completed 11 of 15 passes for 207 yards. Kentron Poitier had four receptions for 84 yards. Mycah Pittman also had four catches for 44 yards. Johnny Wilson hauled in a 51-yard grab that set up a touchdown.

Joe Mischler completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Abdul Janneh in the third quarter for Duquesne. The Dukes capitalized off a short field after Ryan Webb intercepted a pass from Florida State backup Tate Rodemaker.

Florida State’s defense forced eight punts. The Seminoles had five pass break-ups, including two by safety Jammie Robinson.

IMPACT TRANSFERS

Three of Florida State’s top receivers – Pittman, Wilson and Deuce Spann – were transfers. Spann added three receptions for 40 yards. Linebacker Tatum Bethune, who played at UCF, had four tackles and a pass breakup. Jared Verse, who played at Albany, had four tackles and recorded a sack.

A FIRST BUT WORK TO DO

Florida State had not won a season opener under Norvell. The Seminoles have started slow in his first two seasons and are a combined 0-6 in September in the Norvell Era.

TAKEAWAYS

Florida State: The Seminoles last surpassed 400 rushing yards in a game in 2016, when Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick led the team to 478 yards at South Florida.

Duquesne: The Dukes managed just 164 yards (3.5 yards per play).

UP NEXT

Duquesne plays at Youngstown State on Saturday

Florida State plays LSU at New Orleans on Sunday, Sept. 4.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

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
1 Comment

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.