Minnesota wins best unofficial trophy, nudges Nebraska one step closer to demolition

With all the traditions that dot the college football map, it was only a matter of time before the Internet tried to weasel its way in.

Forget the Little Brown Jug and Victory Bell, who wouldn’t want the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy? No, that doesn’t involve former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight. It is the unofficial trophy that goes to the Nebraska-Minnesota winner.

Things began in 2014 when Minnesota’s mascot and an intense Nebraska fan were faced with the choice of spending the day working for Habitat for Humanity or trolling each other on Twitter.

Mascot: “How about a friendly wager on this weekend’s game?”

Fan: “OK, how about if we win, you give me $5, if you win, I get to smash a wooden chair over your back?”

With that, a trophy was created. One problem: Neither school acknowledges its existence.

Victory was all Minnesota sought Saturday. Quarterback Demry Croft gained 183 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns in a 54-21 rout of Nebraska. It was an answer to harsh reviews the Gophers received after losing five of six Big Ten games.

“You know this day and age is a very social world and these guys hear everything,” Coach P.J. Fleck said.

Everything except chatter about an Internet-generated bauble.

Nebraska, with a 4-6 record, might not qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2007. The Cornhuskers had no claim to the $5 or the bits of broken chair after allowing 409 yards rushing.

“You saw the game, it started bad and went from there,” Nebraska Coach Mike Riley told reporters.

Riley could still land an award from Cornhuskers fans: The Bits of Broken Dreams Trophy.

Big win for Yale

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show debuted in 1877. And Yale and Princeton first played football in 1873.

The series is dripping with history.

The 1876 game was the first between football teams on Thanksgiving Day. In 1902, it was the first football game to be recorded on a movie camera. And in 1967, Yale had Calvin Hill in the backfield and George W. Bush at cheerleader.

Hill accounted for two touchdowns and Bush was arrested for attempting to tear down the goal post.

So, Saturday’s game — the 140th between the two teams — has little historical value, except to Yale players.

Quarterback Kurt Rawlings threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns and Zack Dudek gained 180 yards rushing and scored three times in a 35-31 victory over Princeton. It assured Yale at least a share of the Ivy League championship, its first title since 2006.

The Bulldogs can win their first outright title since 1980 by beating Harvard next Saturday. It also would give them a winning record in games that matter.

The saying at Yale has always been “Alumni would rather beat Harvard, players would rather beat Princeton, coaches would rather beat Dartmouth.”

Players are happy and coaches are not after a one-point loss to Dartmouth. The alumni get their shot this week.

Military might

Army and Navy celebrated Veterans Day with victories that almost got away from them.

Running back Malcolm Perry had 282 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns in Navy’s 43-40 victory over Southern Methodist. The Midshipmen had 559 yards on the ground, but needed an 18-yard field goal by J.R. Osborn on the last play after blowing a 34-11 lead.

Army nearly squandered a 21-3 lead against Duke, but held on for a 21-16 victory. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw had 97 yards rushing and scored one touchdown.

The momentum of military success wasn’t extended by the Coast Guard Academy, which may need to up its defense budget.

The Bears, an NCAA Division III team, were routed by civilians. Merchant Marine Academy rolled up 423 yards rushing in a 48-23 victory to win the Secretaries Cup. Quarterback Brice Moore’s land legs were churning, as he had 207 yards in 40 carries and scored two touchdowns.

Money for nothing

Saturday was another in a string of wild finishes Oklahoma State has been involved in this season. The No. 15 Cowboys needed A.J Green’s interception in the end zone with 32 seconds left to survive for a 49-42 victory over No. 21 Iowa State. It kept them in the race for the Big 12 championship game.

There was a monetary value that occurred to Coach Mike Gundy.

Gundy told reporters after the game, “We should petition for increased ticket sales and charge people more to come watch us play because we’re definitely exciting and people definitely get their money’s worth and they don't change the channel so they get all the commercial value, and it's every week for us.”

Saints alive!

St. Thomas, ranked fourth in their NCAA Division III poll, traveled to St. Olaf College on Saturday and turning the other cheek wasn’t in the game plan. The Tommies buried the Oles, 97-0, in the wildest raid on Northfield, Minn. since the James-Younger Gang.

  • St. Thomas scored on its first 12 possessions and led, 64-0, at halftime.
  • The Tommies had 667 yards, 341 passing and 326 rushing, and had 11 players score touchdowns.
  • St. Olaf gained 71 yards in 61 plays.

In the words of the original Saint Thomas, “My Lord, my God.”

Remember him?

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-21 victory over Virginia on Saturday. He also gained 147 yards and scored one touchdown rushing.

In doing so, he became the first FBS player to have 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing in consecutive seasons.

Jackson averages 418 total yards per game this season. A year ago, when he won the Heisman Trophy, he averaged 393.

“What else can you say about Lamar?” Coach Bobby Petrino said. “He’s an amazing player.”

What won’t be said about Lamar, with Louisville 6-4 and just 3-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, is “back-to-back Heisman Trophy winner.”

Play date

Clemson and Florida State continued the march toward important season finales, both of which will be played Dec. 2.

For No. 4 Clemson, it’s the drive for the College Football Playoff. The Tigers likely will get there by winning the ACC. They clinched a spot in the Dec. 2 conference championship game with a 31-14 victory over the Seminoles on Saturday.

Florida State officials were expecting the loss. They announced this week that the team’s game against Louisiana Monroe, originally scheduled for Sept. 9 but canceled because of Hurricane Irma, will be played Dec. 2.

The Seminoles have gone to bowl games 35 consecutive seasons, tying the NCAA record held by Nebraska (1969-2003). Florida State, with a 3-6 record, needs three wins to get bowl eligible. Trouble is, there are only two games remaining. So, Louisiana Monroe received a call back.

It was worth a pretty penny to Florida State officials — several of them.

The contract had included a buyout clause that would cancel a $1-million payout if the game was not played because of a hurricane (or a war, invasion, hostilities, rebellion, insurrection, confiscation by order of the government, military or public authority), the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

The contract, though, didn’t have a clause about ego, so the game is back on.

sports@latimes.com

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
60°