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MSU News Roundup: Golf Championships, Soccer Exhibition Action, Rising Stars and Big Ten News

There has been a lot of news since I left on vacation last week. Here’s a good roundup of what has happened since then

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

James Piot wins U.S. Amateur Championship

Michigan State Spartans men’s golfer James Piot became the first Michigander in history to win the Havemeyer Trophy. Piot had an eight-percent chance to win heading into the final day, but he battled back and sunk a long putt on the par-four 17th to essentially clinch the victory on the final day of the U.S. Amateur tournament.

On the women’s side, sophomore Valentina Rossi made it to the semi-finals before falling out of the event.

Men’s Basketball Schedule Update

Yesterday the news of Michigan State’s annual rivalry series with the Oakland Grizzlies is officially continuing in 2021 with a trip to Little Caesar’s Arena on December 21. Also on the schedule is a non-conference matchup against the Western Michigan Broncos on November 12 and the Toledo Rockets on December 4, both games in East Lansing.

Men’s Exhibition Soccer Matches

The Spartan men’s soccer team is two matches into the preseason exhibition games and is 2-0. A big 9-0 win over Schoolcraft opened play last week, and then a hard fought 1-0 victory on the road over Butler came over the weekend.

MSU has one more game against Purdue Fort Wayne this Saturday, Aug. 21 before regular season play begins on Aug. 26.

Women’s Soccer Preseason Watch List

The Spartan women’s soccer team had three players named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch list. Senior forward Camryn Evans, redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Kozal, and senior defender Samantha White were all named to the watch list by Big Ten coaches earlier this week.

For a comprehensive breakdown on Big Ten women’s soccer this season, including Michigan State, be sure to check out an impressive conference wide break down here over at Wisconsin’s blog Bucky’s 5th Quarter. The Spartan women had an exhibition game last Friday at Toledo, but no score was provided by either school. Official matches this season begin Thursday against Detroit Mercy.

Quarterback Commit Katin Houser’s Stars Rising

Michigan State 2022 quarterback commit Katin Houser just had a huge jump in his rankings in Rivals and the 247Sports composite. He is now a four-star prospect and ranked the No. 105 recruit in his class, per Rivals, and is a four-star prospect in the 247Sports composite, jumping from the No. 365 prospect in the class to No. 217 and to the No. 14 quarterback in the class.

Brian Lewerke Signs with New York Giants

Former MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke was signed Sunday night to join the New York Giants following third-string quarterback Clayton Thorson’s concussion in the preseason game and subsequent placement on the waived/injured list. Lewerke most recently played with The Spring League, having spoken at length ahead of the season’s start with The Only Colors in an exclusive, and will have a shot to make the roster for the regular season now depending on his preseason performance and what happens with Thorson as he recovers from his concussion.

Darrien Harris Named to NFL Advisory Committee

Spartan football alumnus and current Director of Player Engagement Darrien Harris was one of seven individuals named to an NFL advisory committee consisting of athletic administrators across the country through a partnership with FBS/FCS football programs. The committee is to provide feedback and identify new resources for the NFL College Outreach effort by the league. It also is tasked with finding new ways to support the college football path for eventual NFL players. Fellow members from Tennessee State, Baylor, Oregon, Clemson, BYU, and Fordham make up the other schools who have a staff member selected for the committee.

News Around The Big Ten

Northwestern Injuries and Quarterback Updates

The Michigan State Spartans open the regular season with a Big Ten opponent this season. In just over two weeks from now MSU heads to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 3. NU already announced yesterday that the Wildcats have named the starting quarterback for that game and have unfortunate injury news out of camp.

Former five-star Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson has been named the starter for Northwestern when the Spartans come to town. After sitting out the 2018 season as a transfer, Johnson appeared in six games, including five as a starter, in the 2019 season and two in the 2020 season. During the 2019 campaign, he threw for 432 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 64 yards and a score. Johnson also threw four interceptions and had just a 46-percent passing completion rate. He also spent several weeks away from the team that season following his mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer.

Johnson beat out South Carolina transfer quarterback Ryan Hilinski for the starter role, a somewhat surprising move given the hype of Hilinski’s transfer this past offseason.

Cam Porter, the leading rusher at the end of the 2020 season for the Wildcats, will miss the 2021 season due to a lower-body injury. Porter led Northwestern with 333 rush yards and five touchdowns.

Nebraska’s Scott Frost in Hot Water

The Nebraska Cornhuskers’ head coach is under renewed fire today as it was reported first by Brett McMurphy that the Huskers are under NCAA investigation for alleged violations during the no-contact period in 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and for allowing analysts to conduct drills in practices.

The team is alleged to have had strength and conditioning staff arrange for off-campus workouts during the official no-contact period last year. These team workouts, if allegations are true, would have violated NCAA rules preventing organized team activities when most states were in lockdown periods. There is also alleged video evidence of analysts for the team conducting drills and directing players during official practices at a later time, which is a clear violation of NCAA rules that only allow official coaching staff members and graduate assistants to conduct practice activities. Scott Frost has denied the allegations and asserted everything was cleared through the athletic department’s compliance staff.

In other related news, McMurphy also reported that it was Frost who sought ways to cancel the Huskers’ road game against former Big 8/12 rival Oklahoma next month. The news that broke earlier this year that Nebraska was looking at ways to get out of the game started a fan induced firestorm of anger that was swiftly talked down by then athletic director Bill Moos as just some minor conference room idea discussions to find more revenue sources and would not be pursued.

What also wasn’t seemingly pursued was lessons in how to not say anti-gay slurs by their players in media interviews:

Five Big Ten Teams Ranked in Preseason AP Poll

The Big Ten has five teams ranked in the preseason AP Poll released on Monday this week. Two more teams received votes. They are:

  • No. 4 Ohio State
  • No. 13 Wisconsin
  • No. 16 Indiana
  • No. 17 Iowa
  • No. 19 Penn State
  • Receiving Votes: Michigan (12) and Northwestern (8)

MSU non-conference opponent Miami also made the rankings at No. 14.