Friday's college football: Indiana suspends top RB Morgan Ellison

Associated Press
Indiana running back Morgan Ellison

Bloomington, Ind. — Peyton Ramsey will be the starting quarterback for Indiana in the Sept. 1 opener at Florida International, but he won’t have sophomore Morgan Ellison to hand the ball off to.

The Hoosiers announced Friday that Ellison has been suspended indefinitely and that linebacker Mo Burnam is suspended for the opener.

Indiana did not say why it sidelined Ellison, who led the Hoosiers with 704 yards rushing as a freshman a year ago, including 149 yards in a win over Rutgers in late November. In his absence, sophomore Cole Gest will likely be the Hoosiers’ top back. Gest ran for 475 yards in 2017.

More: Urban Meyer tweets apology to former assistant’s ex-wife

Ramsey took over Indiana’s starting job in the fifth game last season. He made four starts before suffering a leg injury that forced him to miss the last four games of 2017.

Coach Tom Allen said Ramsey beat out Brandon Dawkins, a graduate transfer from Arizona who also had starting experience, and highly touted freshman Michael Penix Jr. Ramsey won the job, in part, based on his experience in the offense.

Allen made it clear, however, that Dawkins, Penix and Ramsey will continue battling throughout the season even as he expressed confidence that Ramsey will keep the job.

Indiana will likely need its quarterback situation clarified quickly. The Hoosiers open Big Ten play by hosting Michigan State on Sept. 22 and visit Ohio State two weeks later.

Maryland makes commission additions

Former Maryland basketball star Tom McMillen and former Gov. Robert Ehrlich have been added to the commission to investigate the culture of the Maryland football program.

The Board of Regents announced five additions to the commission, bringing the total to eight.

McMillen played at Maryland in the early 1970s before becoming a Maryland congressman. Ehrlich served as Maryland governor from 2003-7. Also added: former NFL quarterback Doug Williams; sports journalist Bonnie Bernstein, a Maryland grad; and orthopedist Frederick Azar.

They will join three previously named members: retired U.S. District Court judges Ben Legg and Alex Williams, and former federal prosecutor Charlie Scheeler.

The commission was formed in the wake of alleged bullying behavior by the Maryland football coaching staff. The matter came to light after offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed during practice from heatstroke and later died.

Extra points

Nebraska running back Tre Bryant, who ran for more than 100 yards in each of his two games last season, is giving up football because of chronic knee pain.

Coach Scott Frost said that Bryant told the staff he had so much knee pain he had difficulty sleeping. Frost didn’t specify Bryant’s ailment but said the junior from St. Louis had a “bone on bone” condition.

... Iowa State coach Matt Campbell suspended four freshmen indefinitely for what he described as “multiple incidents of poor choices and behavior.”

Newcomers Jaeveyon Morton (Detroit King), Tayvonn Kyle, Joseph Scates and Dallas Taylor-Cortez won’t be involved in team activities or have access to Iowa State’s athletic facilities during their suspensions, which Campbell said were based a pattern of conduct rather than a single incident. All four will have access to the program’s academic facilities.

... Rutgers is going to have a true freshman at quarterback for the season opener for the first time in almost two decades.

Coach Chris Ash announced Artur Sitkowski will start at quarterback against Texas State next weekend. The last true freshman to start a season opener for the Scarlet Knights was Ryan Cubit in 2001. The last true freshman to start any game behind center for Rutgers was Gary Nova in 2011.

... Alabama gave athletic director Greg Byrne a raise and three-year contract extension through June 30, 2025.

Byrne is set to earn $980,000 this year with the salary rising to $1.13 million in his final year. Trustees approved that deal and new contracts for several coaches, including the previously announced eight-year, $74 million deal for football coach Nick Saban.