Monday's college roundup: Irish CB Crawford receives no respect
South Bend, Ind. — Notre Dame cornerback Shaun Crawford had a memorable game Saturday, intercepting two passes and recovering a fumble in a 49-20 win over Boston College.
And yet, when the postgame notes were dispersed, his first name was misspelled as “Sean.”
Might be time to give the junior defensive back more notice as the Irish prepare for Saturday’s game against the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing at 8 p.m.
Of course, the 5-foot-8 Crawford has been easy to overlook. His freshman season was ruined by a torn ACL in the preseason, and he tore an Achilles tendon during last season’s second game against Nevada.
Now that he’s finally on the field, though, the Irish are seeing his playmaking talents take form.
“Not having played in two years, I think he’s starting to feel a lot more comfortable with … just playing the game,” coach Brian Kelly said.
“One of the things Shaun has always had over other players is a football sense and instinct — he’s always been around the ball.”
That was evident in the 2016 season opener at Texas, a 50-47 double-overtime loss by the Irish that began a disappointing 4-8 season. In the first of two starts before his season-ending injury, Crawford returned an interception 22 yards and also returned a blocked point-after try for two points.
Crawford hasn’t returned to the starting lineup this season, but he’s made an impact during Notre Dame’s 2-1 start. The Irish get Michigan State next weekend.
“Just blessed, really,” Crawford said. “(Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght) always tells me just go make a play.
“Go do you.”
Riley under fire
Mike Riley has been at Nebraska for only 29 games, yet there is an air around the program that his job is on the line as the Cornhuskers (1-2) get ready to play against Rutgers.
“I don’t try to dwell on anything like that because I’ve got so many other people I need to help,” he told the Associated Press.
“Yeah, they are,” he said.
The Huskers have lost six of nine games since last October.
After the Northern Illinois loss, athletic director Shawn Eichorst, who made no announcement last month when a one-year contract extension for Riley was finalized, made a surprise appearance in the postgame interview area to give the coach a vote of confidence.
“We have all we need here to win,” Riley said.
“The resources and help provided by Shawn and the administration here are awesome and we understand the expectations and we embrace that. We are here to perform and compete and recruit at the highest level. And we did not perform like that on Saturday. We have to get back to playing good, solid football.”
Florida QB gains fame
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks walked into his American History class Monday and was handed a trophy, an award professor Steve Noll gives to students for asking really good questions.
Franks got it for delivering the ultimate answer — against Tennessee.
Franks heaved a 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland as time expired Saturday, giving Florida a 26-20 victory over the Volunteers. The redshirt freshman spent the last two days getting praised for a play that will go down in program lore.