Montae Nicholson didn’t need to wait on the depth chart to begin making an impact for the Michigan State football team.
The true freshman cornerback has played in all eight games for the 7-1 Spartans, who are undefeated in Big 10 play heading into a titanic home matchup with nationally ranked Ohio State on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Michigan State, which was on a bye Saturday, was eighth in the first College Football Playoff poll released Oct. 28.
The second poll was scheduled to be released Tuesday evening, past the deadline for this week’s edition.
After the first eight games of his collegiate career, Nicholson ranks ninth on the team in tackles with 22.
The strong safety also has three starts to his credit.
Nicholson started in Michigan State’s 27-22 victory over Nebraska on Oct. 4, and he also got the start in the Spartans’ 45-31 win at Purdue on Oct. 11.
He again was in the starting lineup at strong safety at Indiana on Oct. 18, and he helped Michigan State to a 56-17 win.
Nicholson recorded a season-best seven tackles in the Spartans’ triumph over the Cornhuskers.
He added five tackles against Purdue, and he had five tackles in a reserve role in the Spartans’ 73-14 romp against Eastern Michigan.
Nicholson got on the stat sheet for the first time with a tackle in the season opener against Jacksonville State.
He again was in a reserve defensive-back role against rival Michigan on Oct. 25. He made one tackle in the Spartans’ 35-11 victory that secured the Paul Bunyan Trophy for another year.
Marissa Gogniat, a senior on the Emory (Ga.) University women’s cross country team, placed 15th overall at the 28th annual University Athletic Association Championship meet Saturday in St. Louis.
She helped the women’s squad take third overall out of eight teams, a jump of four spots from last year’s finish.
Gogniat was Emory’s No. 2 runner with a time of 22:45.
Washington University, nationally ranked in NCAA Division III, took home the title with 23 points, followed by the University of Chicago (60 points), Emory (106), Case Western Reserve (117) and Carnegie Mellon (123).
In another recent competition, Gogniat placed 32nd out of 341 runners at the 40-team Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble on Oct. 18 in Oberlin, Ohio.
She was the No. 2 runner for Emory, which placed seventh in the team standings.
Gogniat and the rest of the Emory women’s team will be gunning for big things Nov. 14 at the NCAA South/Southeast Regional Championships in Rome, Ga.
The team is hoping for a regional team title and also is shooting for an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, set for Nov. 22 in Mason, Ohio.
The top two teams from the South/Southeast Regional automatically will qualify for nationals. In addition to the 16 automatic-qualifying teams from the eight regional meets, the NCAA will choose 16 at-large participants from the remaining pool of Division III squads.
Last year, Gogniat helped the Eagles earn their 22nd trip to the NCAA Division III Championships over the past 23 years with a second-place regional finish out of 27 teams.
She finished her 2013 junior season as an All-South-Southeast Region selection.
Cody Conway Avery Anderson
The Slippery Rock University football team has won two in a row after a two-game losing streak, and The Rock improved to 7-2 overall and 6-2 in the PSAC West with a 29-7 victory over Edinboro on Saturday.
Gateway graduates Cody Conway and Avery Anderson started along the defensive line and helped the Slippery Rock defense hold the Scots to 253 yards of total offense, including 53 yards rushing.
Conway finished with four tackles, one sack, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.
In nine games this season, Conway has 38 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Anderson has 28 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in nine games.
Slippery Rock hosts Clarion in a PSAC West game Saturday at noon.
The redshirt freshman quarterback on the Akron University football team started the Zips’ games at Ohio on Oct. 18 and at Ball State on Oct. 25.
The Gateway graduate, who played in seven of Akron’s first eight games, completed 23 of 45 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in a 23-20 loss against Ohio.
He added 12 carries for 44 yards.
Woodson was 21 of 39 passing for 200 yards, one touchdowns and four interceptions in a 35-21 loss to Ball State.
He also had nine carries for 20 yards.
Akron led Ball State, 21-6, in the second quarter before giving up 29 unanswered points.
In his seven appearances for Akron, Woodson is 72 of 137 for 773 yards and five touchdowns.
Woodson saw action in a homecoming to Pittsburgh on Sept. 27 at Heinz Field.
He spelled starter Kyle Pohl in the second quarter and completed 2 of 6 passes for 20 yards.
Akron upset Pitt, 21-10.
The Zips, 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Mid-American Conference, were scheduled to host Bowling Green on Tuesday.
Akron will travel to Buffalo for a game next Tuesday at 8 p.m., and the contest is to be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
�Gateway graduate Allison Briley led Wilmington University’s NCAA Division II women’s volleyball team to a 3-1 victory over Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference North Division foe Concordia on Saturday afternoon.
Briley, a sophomore for the Wildcats, had a game-best 13 kills in the victory.
The win secured one of the top two seeds from the South Division for the upcoming conference tournament.
Wilmington will host a first-round match on Nov. 11.
The Wildcats returned a bulk of the starting lineup, including Briley, from last year’s squad that won the CACC South regular-season championship and made an appearance in the CACC tournament semifinals.
Briley is a regular in the starting lineup for Wilmington after a breakout freshman campaign that saw her win the CACC Rookie of the Year award.
She was named Honorable Mention All-CACC, tied for the team lead with 303 kills and led the team with a 2.59 kills-per-set average.
Wilmington’s win over Concordia put it at 17-13 overall and 13-4 in conference play.
The Westminster College freshman cornerback was named Presidents Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday after a strong performance against St. Vincent on Saturday.
He blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter and added a special teams tackle for the Titans, who defeated St. Vincent, 28-14, for their second victory in three games.
Jeter also intercepted a pair of passes.
The Bearcats threatened to score on their first drive, but Jeter’s interception at the Westminster 3 halted the drive.
His blocked field goal came on St. Vincent’s second drive, and his second interception stopped the Bearcats’ first drive of the second half.
Westminster hosts Grove City College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Michael Love is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5825 or at [email protected].