Seminoles batter memory of controversial comments out of Lynch


Seminoles batter memory of controversial comments out of Lynch

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Jordan Lynch talked smack, then he got smacked.

The Northern Illinois quarterback said before the Orange Bowl that Florida State hadn't seen anything like Northern Illinois' offense. It turns out that NIU hadn't seen anything like FSU's defense.

SN: Lynch on FSU defense

Lynch was forced to eat his words at 2013 Orange Bowl, as Florida State batted him around the field in a 31-10 nationally-televised onslaught.

The entire game, it was obvious that the Huskies couldn't match the size, speed or talent of the Seminoles. At every position there was a mismatch, but the kid from the south side of Chicago's spread-offense sorcery was supposed to be the equalizer.

Instead, he was NIU's worst enemy.

Lynch was held to less than 2 yards per rush and a 36 percent completion rating against the vindictive FSU defense.

RELATED: Despite Orange Bowl defeat, NIU takes a step toward its goal

It was one of the worst quarterbacking performances in BCS history, and according to FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner, all the Seminoles had to do to induce it was play normally.

"The media made him look like he's the next superstar quarterback," Werner said, in reference to last week's Sporting News article where Lynch, among his other comments, said that the NIU offense planned to have FSU "on their knees" in the fourth quarter.

Instead it was Lynch that was on his knees, catching his breath after yet another jaw-rattling hit.

Lynch knew that the Seminoles defense was good, but he admitted that the speed of a defensive line that has a second-stringer who is projected as a first-round NFL Draft pick caught him and his teammates off guard.

When Lynch was asked after the game about his comments, NIU head coach Rod Carey seized the microphone and fielded the question:

"Those were taken out of context, OK?" a surly Carey said. "That's not right. He didn't say that, and I want to say I've been waiting until after the game to say that. That was taken out of context and everybody made a big deal out of it. I was there. I was at the interview. He did not make the comments."

When Lynch was allowed to answer for himself in the locker room, he was doing the same song and dance.

"They switched up my words," Lynch said. "I'm a well-respected kid...I don't see why I would come out talking trash to a Top 5 defense."

Forget, for a moment, that Lynch and Carey stood behind the quarterback's comments the day after the Sporting News article they appeared in was published. Pretend, if you will, that he was taken out of context.

It didn't matter, because Florida State didn't care if the quotes were true or not. While the Seminoles offense was apathetic through three quarters of play at the Orange Bowl, the defense was out for retribution.

"He gave us motive," FSU linebacker Telvin Smith said. "He came out before the game and said that we were going to be on our knees in the fourth quarter. We are a tough defense. We play hard and that's one thing we take pride in."

Anytime a Seminole found a clear path to Lynch, they took it. The hits knocked Lynch out of his rhythm. The highlight of the quarterback's first quarter was his 52-yard punt.

Lynch had his moments, sure. An 88-yard drive to score the Huskies' only touchdown featured a beautifully-feathered 55-yard pass to Akeem Daniels along the right sideline. Lynch found his swagger on the drive, and after the Huskies recovered a perfectly executed surprise onside kick, NIU looked poised to tie the game at 17-17.

But the confidence was fleeting and Lynch's inability to recognize that cost him and his team. The Huskies moved down to the FSU 23-yard line following the onside kick, and Lynch's pass attempt hit FSU safety Terrence Brooks between the numbers.

The Huskies never regained momentum, and FSU didn't look back, as their offense finished off the game and the defense found continued catharsis in tackling No. 6.

DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

DeShone Kizer stays the same leader for new group of Notre Dame teammates

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A number of teammates took the field for the first time with DeShone Kizer during the cacophony of Sunday night’s atmosphere at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. And much as Kizer did last year, he led the Irish offense with a certain kind of poise and mentality that deftly toes the line between confident and cocky. 

“When we were down by two touchdowns or when it was tied, he had the same demeanor,” sophomore receiver C.J. Sanders said. “That really speaks volumes about him as a man.”

Kizer wowed his teammates a year ago when he subbed in for the injured Malik Zaire and threw a game-winning touchdown to Will Fuller. It wasn’t just for the throw, but it was also for the way in which the quarterback conducted himself in a hostile, pressure-packed environment. 

Last year’s Irish offense, though, was loaded with leaders. Ronnie Stanley, Nick Martin and Chris Brown were pillars on that team, and there were veterans all around like Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Steve Elmer and Amir Carlisle. 

Notre Dame only returned a handful of upperclassmen who played on that 2015 team in Kizer, Torii Hunter Jr., Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson (running back Tarean Folston was injured in Week 1 against Texas, and tight end Durham Smythe missed the remainder of the regular season after an injury in Week 2). 

So that meant there was quite a bit of inexperience permeating Notre Dame’s offense Sunday night. But some of those greenhorns said Kizer’s composure and confidence helped them ease into a roaringly-intense evening. 

“When we were down, he brought us together and said we’re going to drive and score and come back,” sophomore receiver Equanimeous St. Brown said, adding that message from Kizer gave him and the rest of the Irish offense a confidence boost in the second half. 

“What young guys typically don’t understand when they go into that environment is that it’s not too much different from what you’re doing in practice,” Kizer said. “When you step in front of 100,000 people, there’s a lot of noise and that could definitely create some adrenaline. But other than that, we’re playing the same game that we’ve been playing all summer. 

“The plays have been made time and time again all offseason and just understanding that when they’re out there, they’re expected to make those same exact plays and all they have to do is do that and do that well. You don’t have to go out there and be someone else. We have a really good coaching staff who put you in good positions to make big plays and all you have to do is execute what they say.” 

Leadership is one of those nebulous things every football player and coach will tell you is necessary, but it’s a quality that’s impossible to quantify. It’s not an end-all, be-all for an offense or defense — Notre Dame, after all, didn’t score when it got the ball back after Jarron Jones’ miraculous blocked PAT, which probably had more to do with the loss of Hunter Jr. than anything else — but it is something that can be pointed to as an asset in close games. 

And with Kizer quarterbacking the offense, Notre Dame has to feel confident in its ability to hang in close games. It still needs its special teams, defense (which was primarily behind recent losses to Stanford and Texas) and coaching (behind the loss to Clemson) to come through, but the next time Notre Dame finds itself in a high-pressure, hostile situation, it can count on Kizer to keep things calm. 

And that counts for something, whatever the extent of it is. 

“Before the game he kind of talked to us, got in front of us and told us hey, I don’t care how young you are, I know you guys can make plays,” Sanders said. “So just hearing that from him developed a comfort level to know that he can depend on us. Hearing that from him really made a big difference.” 

Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola excited for upcoming season, trip to Spain

Loyola didn't have the season they were hoping for in 2015-16 but they're optimistic that things can turn around for the upcoming season. Even though the Loyola roster is filled with newcomers, the Ramblers are hopeful that a summer trip to Spain can help give them a head start.

As part of the trip, Loyola will get 10 extra practices and four games against Spanish competition that will give the team some much-needed experience before practice officially begins in October.

Head coach Porter Moser is already happy about working with this group, which features some productive returnees and a lot of talented newcomers.

"We play four games over there. They get that feel of being coached in a game at this level with their teammates," Moser said. "So then when we start back up in October they have a sense of some of the things we're trying to teach, some of the things of what to expect. And I think that's such a big element."

On a team full of new players, it will be important for senior guard Milton Doyle to have a bounce-back year for Loyola after a disappointing junior campaign. A former star at Marshall, Doyle saw his shooting percentages dip last season as the Loyola coaching staff challenged him to improve for his final season of college basketball. 

Moser is happy with the strides that Doyle has made this summer as he's added over 10 pounds of muscle to now play at 192 pounds. Also committed on the defensive end of the floor and being a team leader, Doyle is the Ramblers' only senior this season, so he'll be counted on to be a productive presence.

"It's a lot this year just because we had four seniors leave last year and I'm the last senior," Doyle said. "So it's my job to make sure everyone stays on track and everyone is uplifted, even when coaches get on them. That's my job right now."

Junior wing Donte Ingram — a former Simeon product — and junior guard Ben Richardson also return as key contributors from last year's team while Iowa State transfer guard Clayton Custer is expected to come in and be a major factor in the team's backcourt rotation.

As for the newcomers, Moser compared juco transfer forward Aundre Jackson favorably to former Loyola forward Christian Thomas while Vlatko Granic gives the team a stretch option at forward that they didn't have in the past. The team's freshmen are also very talented as guard Matt Chastain has shown solid athleticism and a good basketball IQ through some early practices. 

Another freshman guard, Cameron Satterwhite, is coming off of a torn ACL that cost him his senior season, but the Loyola staff is optimistic about his recovery for this season. Croatian freshman guard Bruno Skokna is also recovering from injury as he has played against professionals in Europe the last few seasons on an amateur contract. He is expected to be cleared soon so that he can return to action this season.

"I love this group because it's a group full of gym rats. This is a really enthusiastic group," Moser said. "They've come together, we've got a lot of newcomers. That's the benefit, that's why we did the Spain trip this summer."

Loyola takes its trip to Spain from Aug. 12-22 as they'll hit cities like Barcelona and Madrid during the trip.