Michigan State suspends 4 players for tunnel melee at Michigan

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan State has suspended four players for their role in roughing up Michigan players in a stadium tunnel after losing the game.

Spartans coach Mel Tucker announced that linebacker Tank Brown, safety Angelo Grose, defensive end Zion Young and cornerback Khary Crump were suspended immediately.

“Michigan State University football core values include integrity, discipline, unselfishness, toughness and accountability,” said Tucker, who made the decision after “reviewing the disturbing electronic evidence.”

Scuffles broke out in the Michigan Stadium tunnel after fourth-ranked Wolverines beat the Spartans 29-7 Saturday night. Social media posts showed Michigan State players pushing, punching and kicking Michigan’s Ja'Den McBurrows in and near a hallway that doesn’t lead to either locker room. Brown, Grose and Young are seen on video getting physical with McBurrows.

McBurrows and defensive back Gemon Green went up the tunnel, walking alongside the Spartans, after the game while much of Michigan’s team was waving them off the field after beating their in-state rivals for the first time in three years.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Saturday night that one of the players, who he did not identify, might have a broken nose. A social media post on Sunday showed a Wolverine, who appears to be Green, getting roughed up by Spartans.

Green, in another post, is surrounded by police while shouting across the tunnel at Michigan State players.

“Two of our players were assaulted,” Harbaugh said. “I saw on the one video. 10 on one. It was pretty bad. It needs to be investigated.”

University of Michigan Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said an investigation is underway in partnership with Michigan State police, and Michigan’s athletic department and football program.

“The investigation takes some time,” Overton said Sunday.

Tucker said the school is working with law enforcement, Michigan State and Michigan campus leadership, and the Big Ten Conference to evaluate what happened, including identifying other players who were involved in the altercations and contributing factors.

“The initial student-athlete suspensions will remain in place until the investigations are completed,” Tucker said. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, personnel, and the Spartan community remain our priority. You have my promise that we are committed to fairness, transparency and accountability, and that we will continue to take appropriate action in this matter.”

Earlier in the day, Michigan State President Samuel Stanley publicly apologized for the “violent” skirmish.

“I’m extremely saddened by this incident and the unacceptable behavior depicted by members of our football program,” Stanley said in a statement. “On behalf of Michigan State University, my heartfelt apology to the University of Michigan and the student athletes who were injured.

“There is no provocation that could justify the behavior we are seeing on the videos. Rivalries can be intense but should never be violent.”

The Big Ten said in a statement: “The conference is currently gathering information, will thoroughly review the facts, and will take appropriate action.”

As Tucker walked off the field and entered the tunnel at some point Saturday night, a fan appeared to touch his head and the coach responded by swiping the fan’s hand away.

It was the second straight game at Michigan that included an altercation in the long, narrow tunnel that goes from the locker rooms to the field.

Earlier this month, Penn State coach James Franklin said a policy change was needed to provide a more orderly use of the tunnel.

Some heated words were exchanged, and Michigan players said Penn State players threw peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at them as the teams headed to the locker room at halftime of a close game the Wolverines ultimately won in a 41-17 rout on Oct. 15.

Harbaugh said Franklin acted as a “ringleader” and claimed the Nittany Lions stopped in the tunnel to prevent his team from accessing its locker room.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”