Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CFI: POST GAME - WEEK 13 PART II


OH, THOSE TIGERS

Everyone knows about the Missouri Tigers’ two-headed monster at tight end in senior Martin Rucker (5 receptions, 40 yards, TD) and Chase Coffman (2 receptions, 14 yards) -- a duo the Jayhawks did a nice job of containing. Last year’s leading receiver Will Franklin (5 receptions, 32 yards) only put up modest numbers himself, while freshman sensation Jeremy Maclin led them with his 10 grabs, but again KU had to be happy they kept the record-setting playmaker to only 6.9 yards per grab. How did Chase Daniel throw for 361 yards, you might ask? Career days from sophomore Danario Alexander (8 receptions, 117 yards, TD) and junior Tommy Saunders (8 receptions, 82 yards) certainly helped him achieve those numbers. It seemed like every time Daniel needed a big play, he looked to the 6’4” Alexander.

You know what else this means? The Tigers could be just as dangerous in 2008 with Daniel, Maclin, Alexander, Saunders and Coffman returning.

On the defensive side of the ball, one player stood out among the others -- junior safety William Moore (pictured). He was all over the field Saturday night, tied with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for the team lead in tackles (seven). Moore also had a tackle for a loss displaying his ability to play near the line of scrimmage and made a key interception near the goal line, stifling a Kansas drive. Moore is a tremendous athlete who can play either safety position. He was also part of a secondary that took Kansas’ top receiver out of the game. Marcus Henry was limited to two receptions for 17 yards…in his three previous games the senior put up 18 receptions for 392 yards and five touchdowns.

ONE PLAY AWAY

The Hokies win over Virginia has them in the ACC Championship, but had their stellar defense been able to make one stop on a rainy night back in October against Matt Ryan, Tech would be right there with West Virginia and Missouri staking a claim to one of the two spots for the BCS Championship game.

MATTY ICE IS STILL NICE


Speaking of Mr. Ryan, before you write him off as a Heisman candidate let’s at least take a look at what he’s done “wrong”. At 8-0 and coming off his thrilling comeback in Blacksburg, Ryan was atop the Heisman race. In four November games, Ryan has thrown for 1,520 yards (380 yards per game). The problem? His touchdown to interception ratio was only 9:8 -- it was 19:8 over the first eight games. Not two mention two losses to start November, but let us not forget that the Eagles have won ten games and are in the ACC Championship game, far exceeding expectations. In his final game in front of the “Beantown” faithful, Ryan threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns against Miami. He also snapped a 15-game losing streak to the ‘Canes, which dates back to the “Flutie game” in 1984. Ryan’s 28th touchdown pass set a new single season school record, surpassing Flutie’s 27 in his Heisman season.

WHY NOT?

In the season of Appalachian St. and Stanford, why not UCLA in the Rose Bowl?

If the UCLA Bruins defeat the USC Trojans and Arizona upends Arizona St. it would leave four teams tied atop the conference standing: USC, UCLA, Arizona St. and the Oregon-Oregon St. winner. With wins over Oregon, Oregon St. and USC (assuming for these purposes), the Bruins would be 2-1 in a head-to-head comparison. If the Ducks win (at home vs. OSU), it would come down to Oregon and UCLA, with the Bruins coming out on top by virtue of their 16-0 win last week. If the Beavers win, losses to USC, UCLA and ASU would knock them out of the running, while the remaining three all split the round robin. The next tiebreaker would knock out the Sun Devils since they lost to “the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings”, which is likely to be USC. That leaves us with the teams from the City of Angels and the Bruins winning out again, by virtue of their (hypothetical) win this week over the Men of Troy.

Got all of that?

And you thought the BCS was confusing.

MOMENTUM

It was interesting that the day after the LSU Tigers dropped a 50-48 contest in triple overtime to Arkansas, the Tennessee Volunteers defeated Kentucky in four overtimes, 52-50. So will the Vols build on their emotional win, which included blowing a 17-point lead, UT blocking a potential game-winning field goal in the second overtime, before a two-point conversion from Erik Ainge to Austin Rogers was the difference? Or will LSU come in down? In Baton Rouge, the two-point play was also decisive, as Felix Jones ran it in (following Peyton Hillis’ TD run), with Darren McFadden on the sideline, while Matt Flynn’s final pass landed softly in the hands of an Arkansas’ defender. The Bayou Bengals are sure to lament a 4th-and-10 they allowed Casey Dick to convert in the first overtime.

Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations

Ole Miss hires former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt


By CHRIS TALBOTT
Associated Press Writer


JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Houston Nutt wasn't out of a job for long: He was hired as Mississippi's football coach just hours after resigning at Arkansas.

Nutt agreed to a contract late Monday night, and replaces Ed Orgeron, who was fired Saturday after the Rebels lost to rival Mississippi State and finished 3-9.

The hiring of Nutt was confirmed by a person close to the program who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.

Nutt resigned even though the Razorbacks upset then-No. 1 LSU 50-48 in triple overtime last week.

Mississippi planned an announcement on its coaching situation later Tuesday.

Nutt, a proven winner, fits the description of the coach Ole Miss was looking for. He is 111-70 in 15 years as a head coach at Arkansas, Boise State and Murray State.

And he's been a winner in the Southeastern Conference, too. Nutt, a native of Little Rock, Ark., rebuilt the Arkansas program, going 75-48 since he replaced Danny Ford in 1997. He was 42-38 in conference with one of his biggest wins last week against LSU.

While Arkansas is likely headed to the Cotton Bowl, Nutt will be on the recruiting trail trying to hold together the promising class Orgeron was assembling.

The 50-year-old Nutt said Monday he left Arkansas to help mend a split among fans after off-the-field problems were compounded by a difficult season. The Razorbacks started the year in the Top 25 and were expected to contend for the SEC West title.

Arkansas lost its first three SEC games and dropped out of the poll in September, fueling fan discontent over last year's transfer of quarterback Mitch Mustain and the loss of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who left for Tulsa.

A call to Nutt's agent, Jimmy Sexton, was not immediately returned.

Nutt takes over a program that has foundered since a 10-win season in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. The Rebels won a share of the SEC West that season with Eli Manning at quarterback.

Since then Ole Miss has had four or fewer wins in four seasons. Cutcliffe was fired for a lack of effort in recruiting and hoped Orgeron, who helped build two national title teams at USC as Pete Carroll's recruiting coordinator, would bring the kind of energy needed to build a winner.

Orgeron finished 10-25 and was routinely the target of fan discontent.

Athletic director Pete Boone and Chancellor Robert Khayat endorsed Orgeron midway through the season, but decided to go in a new direction after the Rebels lost five of six to end the season.

Missouri is Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week


DALLAS (FWAA) - With their 36-28 win over Kansas, the Missouri Tigers (11-1) are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week for games of the weekend of Nov. 24.
Chase Daniel completed 40-of-49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers won the Big 12's North Division.

With the win, the Tigers handed Kansas its first loss of the season and then earned the school's first No. 1 ranking since 1960.

"The best thing about tonight is the win," said Daniel. "The bottom line is, we got the win. I don't care what happens; I hope we are No. 1, but all of that stuff doesn't matter."

Other Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Bowl National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Nov. 24 included:

• Hawaii (11-0):
Colt Brennan threw for 495 yards and five touchdown as the Warriors won their first outright WAC title with a 39-27 win over Boise State.

• West Virginia (10-1):
Pat White rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass in the Mountaineers' 66-21 rout of Connecticut.

The FWAA has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the third season that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Select members of the FWAA board of directors decide the weekly honor. Each Monday during the 2007 college football season, the FWAA has named the Tostitos Bowl National Team of the Week. This is the final selection for the 2007 season.

Mackey Award Finalists Named


MANHASSET, N.Y. – The Nassau County Sports Commission (NCSC) has announced three finalists for the 2007 John Mackey Award. Listed alphabetically, they are Travis Beckum (JR, Wisconsin), Fred Davis (SR, USC) and Martin Rucker (SR, Missouri).

The three finalists were determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Selection Committee. The 2007 recipient of “The Mackey” will be announced on December 6, 2007 at the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show live on ESPN and presented at the Nassau County Sports Commission Annual Awards Dinner on April 28, 2008.

The John Mackey Award is given to the collegiate tight end who best exemplifies the play, sportsmanship, academics, and community values of NFL Hall of Fame Tight End John Mackey. The Nassau County Sports Commission is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that promotes sports and healthy lifestyle for Nassau County residents and is responsible for the administration of the John Mackey Award and the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.

For additional information, please visit www.johnmackeyaward.org or www.nassausports.org.

Past John Mackey Award Recipients


Year Player School
2006 Matt Spaeth - University of Minnesota
2005 Marcedes Lewis - UCLA
2004 Heath Miller - University of Virginia
2003 Kellen Winslow II - University of Miami
2002 Dallas Clark - University of Iowa
2001 Daniel Graham - University of Colorado
2000 Tim Stratton - Purdue University

Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations

Embattled Nutt out as Arkansas coach, leaves team to Herring


By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -
Houston Nutt finished his career at Arkansas with a win over top-ranked LSU.

That was one of few bright moments this year for the embattled coach.

``Last Friday night, in front of the nation ... that one heartbeat, that togetherness,'' Nutt said. ``The celebrating locker room is what you live for. I can't explain what that meant to me.''

Nutt resigned Monday, giving up his job three days after that memorable victory. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring will coach Arkansas in its bowl game.

Nutt, 50, said he hoped his departure would unify the state, which has been torn with turmoil surrounding the football program.

``Deep, deep down in my heart as an Arkansan, as a person that loves the Razorbacks so much, (I wanted) for the state to come together as one,'' Nutt said. ``At this time, I didn't think we could have one heartbeat.''

Rumors of Nutt's departure surrounded the program after the loss last winter of key recruits and a popular assistant coach. Trouble mounted for the coach after the Razorbacks lost their first three Southeastern Conference games after a turmoil-filled offseason.

Arkansas did rebound to finish the regular season 8-4 and knocked LSU out of the nation's No. 1 spot with a 50-48, triple-overtime victory over the Tigers on Friday.

Two weeks ago, the university strongly denied reports that this would be Nutt's last season as Arkansas' coach. On Sunday, Nutt said Chancellor John A. White and outgoing athletic director Frank Broyles wanted him to return, but he said more talks with the university were forthcoming.

``Houston's decision to resign was neither forced, or encouraged, or requested,'' White said.

White said Nutt's contract gave the coach a set of ``golden handcuffs'' under which Nutt would have to pay the university if he takes another coaching job while also forfeiting a significant amount of money. White said he told Nutt he would ask the Razorback Foundation to free Nutt of the obligations.

Arkansas began this season in the Top 25 but fell out in September. The Razorbacks ended up 4-4 in league play.

Nutt went 75-48 at Arkansas since being hired in December 1997 to replace Danny Ford. Only Broyles (144) has won more games with the Razorbacks. Nutt took the Hogs to two Southeastern Conference title games, losing each time. He went 42-38 in SEC regular-season games and went to bowls during his first six seasons at Arkansas.

``I'm going to remember the good times,'' Broyles said.

A year ago at this time, Arkansas was preparing to play for the SEC title, which the school has never won. In fact, the Razorbacks started 10-1 in 2006 before losing to LSU, to Florida for the conference championship and to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.

Nutt's status was never the same afterward. In January, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn left to join the staff at Tulsa, lending credence to speculation not everyone was on the same page. A short while later quarterback Mitch Mustain transferred.

As the team struggled this year, planes were spotted at games towing anti-Nutt banners.

``It's sad that it had to end like this,'' star running back and Heisman Trophy hopeful Darren McFadden said. ``Coach Nutt, I love playing for him. He's a great coach.''

Herring, in his third season as Arkansas' defensive coordinator, will take over for the time being.

``Although it is extremely difficult to see coach Nutt leave, I am honored and welcome the challenge of leading the Razorback football team and working with the other coaches on our staff as we prepare our team for a bowl game and as we continue to recruit,'' Herring said in a statement.

Athletic director-designate Jeff Long, who replaces Broyles on Jan. 1, will direct the search for Nutt's replacement.

Despite the announcement, the mood Monday was upbeat. Arkansas is still basking in the glow of last week's win. Nutt's name also figures to be mentioned in connection with other openings. His overall record as a college coach is 111-70, including four years at Murray State and one at Boise State before taking over at Arkansas.

Nutt went to Central High School in Little Rock. He played quarterback at Arkansas before transferring to Oklahoma State following the 1977 season.

``I'd just encourage everybody - everybody,'' Nutt said. ``Let's all come together. Let's be Razorbacks. Once you're a Razorback, you're always a Razorback - for life.''

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

No. 11 Hawaii enjoying being the nation's only unbeaten team


By JAYMES SONG
AP Sports Writer


HONOLULU (AP) - Solomon Elimimian is savoring Hawaii's success - and it shows.

The leading tackler for the unbeaten and 11th-ranked Warriors is already wearing out his T-shirt that says, ``2007 Western Athletic Conference champions.''

When asked how long he had worn the green, wrinkled shirt, Elimimian said, ``like two days.'' It looked closer to two weeks, but Elimimian wasn't taking it off.

``It feels good to be WAC champs outright for the first time ever,'' said Elimimian, who was the WAC defensive player of the week Monday after making 14 tackles in Hawaii's 39-27 win over Boise State on Friday night.

With the victory, the Warriors (11-0, 8-0) denied the Broncos (10-2, 7-1) a sixth straight conference championship and remained the nation's only unbeaten team. Hawaii needs a victory over Washington (4-8) on Saturday to finish 12-0 and earn a BCS berth.

``It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders and now there's all this energy and new life,'' said quarterback Colt Brennan, who threw for 495 yards and five touchdown passes and received offensive player of the week honors.

If the Warriors can get past the Huskies, the Sugar Bowl is their most likely postseason destination.

``What Boise State was able to do last year, Hawaii is on the cusp of doing that this year,'' WAC commissioner Karl Benson said. ``It demonstrates the strength at the top of the WAC.''

The Warriors moved up three spots to 12th in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings. That's where they'll need to finish, at minimum, on Sunday to secure an automatic bid to the BCS.

Benson said he's ``confident and convinced'' Hawaii would get an invitation to college football's biggest stage if it finishes undefeated. He said the Warriors were ``undervalued,'' in the polls earlier in the season when they faced several lackluster opponents, including two Division I-AA teams and the bottom of the WAC.

But last week's win, ``really validated how good Hawaii is,'' he said.

Warriors coach June Jones said it's difficult to go undefeated on any level and noted the success of his team over the past two years. Hawaii finished 11-3 last year and has won 21 of 22.

``The three losses last year were by 18 points. That says a lot. The kids are believing in each other,'' he said.

The No. 12 ranking is the best in school history for Hawaii. The Warriors' 12-game winning streak is the longest in the nation and goes back to their victory over Arizona State in the Hawaii Bowl.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Collegiate Images

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Nov. 27, 1982: Penn State advances to a national championship showdown with Georgia in the Sugar Bowl by topping Pittsburgh 19-10 to advance to 10-1. The Nittany Lions utilize the home field advantage and the passing of standout QB (and now ESPN broadcaster) Todd Blackledge (149 yards in frigid conditions) to topple the Panthers and QB Dan Marino for the second year in succession.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Georgia Tech fires Gailey after disappointing season


By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer


ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Tech fired coach Chan Gailey on Monday, two days after his sixth straight loss to rival Georgia ended a disappointing season.

Athletic director Dan Radakovich called an afternoon news conference to discuss the football program. A person familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made, told The Associated Press that Gailey would be dismissed after six seasons as the Yellow Jackets coach.

The move was widely expected after Georgia Tech (7-5) came up far short of another run at the Atlantic Coast Conference championship one year after winning its division. Also, Gailey never beat the school's biggest rival, dropping to 0-6 with a 31-17 loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Overall, Georgia Tech has lost seven in a row to Georgia, its longest drought in the series.

Throughout the season, Radakovich steadfastly declined to give Gailey a vote of confidence, merely saying he would evaluate the program after the season. It wasn't immediately clear who would coach Georgia Tech in its expected trip to the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

After Saturday's loss, Gailey, a former NFL head coach with the Dallas Cowboys, brushed off questions about his future.

``I'm not in charge of that,'' he said. ``My job is to do the best job I can do.''

Under Gailey, the Yellow Jackets never lost fewer than five games in a year. His downfall can likely be traced to the end of last season, when Georgia Tech dropped its final three games - all by a field goal - after winning the Coastal Division. That stretch included losses to Georgia in the regular-season finale, Wake Forest in the ACC championship game and West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

Gailey has four years left on his contract at $1 million annually. There was some speculation that Georgia Tech's financially strapped athletic program would be reluctant to buy out the coach, but Radakovich clearly decided that it would be more damaging to offend the big-money boosters by keeping Gailey.

The fans grew more and more impatient with Gailey, which was evident in the closing minutes of a 27-3 loss to Virginia Tech. When the coach was shown on the video board delivering a public service announcement, the crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium booed loudly.

Gailey had a record of 44-32 at Georgia Tech.

His players seemed to sense that the end was near. After Saturday's game, senior running back Tashard Choice passed up a chance to lobby for his coach when asked what he would do.

``I don't know,'' Choice said. ``I have the utmost respect for coach Gailey because he gave me the chance to come to Georgia Tech. Having said that, it's up to everybody else.

``I like coach Gailey. He's helped us out with more probably than just being a football player, what's important in life. That's something I'll take with me when I graduate next semester.''

Gailey was hired by the Yellow Jackets in January 2002 after George O'Leary left to take the coaching job at Notre Dame, then was hastily dismissed by the Fighting Irish because of inaccuracies in his resume.

Under O'Leary, the Yellow Jackets were a high-scoring team that beat Georgia three years in a row from 1998-2000, a streak that hastened the firing of Bulldogs coach Jim Donnan.

Mark Richt took over at Georgia in 2001 and quickly turned things around, handing O'Leary a loss in his final game at Georgia Tech. While the Bulldogs quickly rose to prominence, winning two Southeastern Conference titles and putting themselves in position for a major bowl this season, the Yellow Jackets languished in mediocrity.

Gailey had a pair of 7-6 seasons and went 7-5 three other times. The only break in that troubling trend was 2006, when the Yellow Jackets went 7-1 in the ACC and 9-5 overall.

After his success last season, Gailey was mentioned as a possible candidate for NFL coaching jobs in Pittsburgh and Miami, two teams for which he served as offensive coordinator. He stayed at Georgia Tech, but his flirtation with the pros further damaged his standing with Georgia Tech fans.

The 55-year-old Gailey, a native of Gainesville, Ga., played quarterback at Florida in the early 1970s and got his first head coaching job at Troy State, leading the Trojans to the NCAA Division II championship in 1984.

He also had brief stints with the Birmingham Fire of the short-lived World League of American Football and Division I-AA Samford before getting his big break in 1998, when Jerry Jones hired Gailey to coach one of the NFL's most glamorous teams.

The Cowboys won the NFC East in Gailey's first season, and made the playoffs as a wild-card team the following year. But Jones fired the coach after Dallas lost its opening playoff game each time.

Gailey then spent two years as Miami's offensive coordinator before landing another head coaching job at Georgia Tech.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Gene Galin
For more Acc Photos: http://www.accfootballphotos.com

Aggies hire Sherman to replace Franchione


By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer


COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -
Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman was hired as Texas A&M's coach Monday, three days after Dennis Franchione resigned.

Sherman's current job is as the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator under Gary Kubiak, a former quarterback and assistant for the Aggies.

Sherman was A&M's offensive line coach from 1989-93 and then in 1995-96 under R.C Slocum.

Franchione took a contract buyout and stepped down Friday, less than an hour after Texas A&M upset Texas 38-30. Defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was named interim coach Saturday and will lead the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) in a bowl game.

The 52-year-old Sherman hasn't coached in college since leaving A&M to become an assistant in Green Bay in 1996. He'll coach the remainder of the season for the Texans (5-6).

Sherman became the Packers' head coach in 2000, and Green Bay went 59-43 and won three NFC North titles in his six seasons. The Packers also produced two of the four highest-scoring seasons in franchise history under Sherman.

Sherman joined Kubiak's Texans staff after he was fired by Green Bay last year. He became the offensive coordinator this season, after Troy Calhoun left to become the coach at Air Force.

A&M went 32-28 in five seasons under Franchione and couldn't gain ground on the Big 12's elite teams, going 3-12 against Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. The Aggies haven't won the Big 12 since 1998.

This season began to spiral downward after Franchione's personal assistant was caught sending out a newsletter with inside information about the team to boosters for a fee. Athletic director Bill Byrne fired the assistant, admonished Franchione and ordered the coach to shut down his personal Web site.

Byrne said the school completed an internal investigation into the newsletter - called the ``VIP Connection'' - and found that Franchione ``did not intentionally, knowingly, or directly participate in actions that were inappropriate or in violation of rules or policies.''

Byrne said he never knew about the newsletters and acknowledged that Franchione may have breached his contract by not reporting the income he received from them. Byrne also said the newsletters may have violated NCAA and Big 12 rules.

A&M's impatient fan base was already fed up with Franchione.

He was reputed as a program rebuilder and an offensive innovator before he arrived, but the Aggies finished with losing records in two of his first three seasons. While other Big 12 programs employed fast-paced, pass-oriented offenses, A&M switched to an old-fashioned option scheme.

The Aggies rank last in the Big 12 and 101st nationally in passing offense, averaging 187 yards per game.

They're hoping Sherman can bring some of the Packers' offensive fireworks to College Station.

In 2003, the Packers scored 442 points, just 14 shy of the franchise record. The next season, Green Bay set team records for total yards (6,357) and passing yards (4,449).

Few coaches have made successful transitions recently from the pros to college.

Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan was fired Saturday after four mediocre years at Nebraska. Former Bears and Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt has struggled at Pittsburgh.

Former Cowboys coach Chan Gailey was fired Monday after six seasons at Georgia Tech. After two strong seasons under former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Notre Dame set a school record for losses this year.

Pete Carroll is one of the coaches who has had success at both levels. He guided New England to the AFC East title in 1997 and has led Southern Cal to two national championships since taking over the program in 2000.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Texas A&M Media Relations Office

CFI: RUN DMC RE-WRITES RECORD BOOKS


Games like this is how legends are born. Darren McFadden played more than 30 snaps at quarterback in the WildHog formation and was effective running, passing and handing the ball off to his teammates. D-Mac connected with fullback Peyton Hillis for a 24-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter and finished with 255 all-purpose yards, setting a new SEC record for all-purpose yards in a season. He also became the first player in the past two seasons to rush for more than 100 yards against the LSU defense, scoring on runs of nine, 16 and 73 yards. "Certainly, he had a Heisman performance today," LSU coach Les Miles lamented. “Tonight, we'll be sick."

Photo Credit: University of Arkansas

CFI: ARKANSAS-LSU GAME NOTES


Hillis finished with four touchdowns and 89 yards, while teammate Felix Jones added an additional 85 yards as Arkansas finished with 385 yards on the ground. The exhilarating game eventually ended with the Razorbacks topping the Tigers 50-48 in three overtimes and walking away with the "Golden Boot," a trophy shaped like the states of Arkansas and Louisiana. LSU linebacker Ali Highsmith did his best trying to stop the Razorbacks, making 15 tackles.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

CFI: SEC CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE HELD IN ATLANTA


Is there a hotter quarterback in the country right now than Tennessee’s Erik Ainge? We’ll find out next week at the Georgia Dome when the Volunteers face LSU in the SEC Championship. Thanks largely in part to Ainge’s career day Saturday, which included seven touchdowns and a career high 397 yards in another SEC Classic, as the Volunteers defeated the Wildcats 52-50 in four overtimes. Ainge has not thrown an interception in his past four games and has been sacked just three times all season.


Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

CFI: NAMES TO REMEMBER


One player that has flown under the radar this season but is playing All-American caliber football is Jerod Mayo. The Volunteers senior linebacker recorded 16 tackles Saturday and made a jaw-dropping hit on Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme, which led to a fumble and helped send the game into overtime. Expect to hear Mayo’s name mentioned often as we get closer to April. One to watch for in the future is freshman cornerback Brent Vinson. He was around the ball all game long until a shoulder injury forced him out of action late in the game. The 6’2” converted wide out has the potential to be a playmaker on defense.

Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Nov 26, 1896: At the Chicago Coliseum - indoors and lighted - Michigan falls to Chicago 7-6. It is at this game that Maroons’ head coach and NFF College Hall of Fame member Amos Alonzo Stagg tells his team to call its plays about 10 yards behind instead of at the line of scrimmage. He instructs Chicago players to put their arms over each others’ shoulders and “huddle up” offensively because of the noise of the enclosed arena. Many credit the modern-day huddle to this game.

Courtesy: The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Missouri, West Virginia victory away from BCS title game - Ohio State looms


By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer


NEW YORK (AP) -
Missouri and West Virginia have one more step to take before bumping into each other in New Orleans.

The Tigers and Mountaineers hold the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Sunday with a week left in a topsy-turvy regular season.

The Tigers play Oklahoma (10-2) in the Big 12 championship game at San Antonio on Saturday and the Mountaineers face rival Pittsburgh (4-7) at home. If both win, it'll be Missouri-West Virginia in a most unlikely BCS championship game Jan. 7 at the Superdome.

A month ago, neither team was even in the top five of the BCS standings, but a string of upsets have left Chase Daniel and the Tigers and Pat White and the Mountaineers in control of their own destinies.

``I've been telling the guys, the more you win, the more that's at stake,'' West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said Sunday in a conference call with reporters.

If either Missouri (11-1) or West Virginia (10-1) trip up next week, third-place Ohio State (11-1) is poised to take advantage and play in its second straight title game.

If the Tigers and Mountaineers both lose, the national title picture gets very murky.

Georgia was fourth in the standings, followed by Kansas (11-1). Neither will play in their conference title games, but both still have a shot to play for a national championship.

Georgia (10-2) could become the first team with two losses to play for a national title and several other two-loss teams could make a claim to be in the championship game if the top two lose for a second consecutive week.

Sixth-place Virginia Tech (10-2), seventh-place LSU (10-2), eighth-place Southern California (9-2) and ninth-place Oklahoma all have one last opportunity to surge up the BCS standings on Saturday.

Ohio State's regular season ended Nov. 17 with a victory over Michigan that made the Buckeyes the Big Ten champions. The week before, Ohio State was No. 1 in the country when it lost to Illinois at home and seemingly fell out of the title race.

At worst, the Buckeyes, who lost the national championship game 41-14 to Florida last season, will be in the Rose Bowl.

Hawaii moved up to 12th in the standings after beating Boise State 39-27 and winning the Western Athletic Conference, putting Colt Brennan and the Warriors in position to earn an automatic BCS bid.

The Warriors, the last remaining unbeaten team in the nation, finish the season at home against Washington and need to be in the top 12 when the final standings come out next Sunday.

Missouri was No. 1 in the Harris poll and West Virginia was No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll Sunday. Those polls make up a two-thirds of a team's BCS average. Missouri was first in the computer rankings with West Virginia second.

The Tigers' BCS average was .978 and the Mountaineers were at .971.

A Missouri-West Virginia final seemed to be a long shot when October ended. Both had a loss and were stuck behind a pile of teams in the BCS standings. On Oct. 28, West Virginia was seventh in the standings and Missouri was ninth.

Since then it's been a steady climb as the Tigers and Mountaineers have kept winning while the other contenders have tanked.

It started when Ohio State lost to Illinois on Nov. 10. A few days later, Oregon lost quarterback Dennis Dixon to an injury in the first quarter and the Ducks' national title hopes went with him in a loss at Arizona.

Two days later, Oklahoma lost its second game of the season at Texas Tech, leaving Missouri and Kansas as the Big 12's best hope for a national title.

At that point, it became apparent that the winner of the Missouri-Kansas game would go to the Big 12 title game with a chance to play for the national championship at stake.

The Tigers, who entered the season unranked, took care of their business, handing Kansas its first loss of the season, 36-28.

LSU also went down, losing in triple overtime 50-48 to Arkansas on Friday, and that opened up a spot for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia grabbed it emphatically with a 66-21 victory against Connecticut to clinch the Big East title and a BCS bid. The Mountaineers were ranked No. 3 in the preseason poll, but lost in late September 21-13 at South Florida. White injured his thigh against the Bulls and didn't finish the game.

Neither West Virginia nor Missouri has ever won a national title.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations

Daniel throws for 3 touchdowns, No. 3 Missouri beats No. 2 Kansas 36-28


By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -
Unthinkable in September, Missouri is one victory away from playing for its first national championship.

Chase Daniel threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns and the third-ranked Tigers ruined No. 2 Kansas' unbeaten season Saturday night with a 36-28 victory in the most important football game either school ever played.

As Big 12 North champions, the surprising Tigers (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) will head to San Antonio and a date in the Big 12 championship game with No. 10 Oklahoma, the only team to beat them this season. A victory there will almost certainly propel Missouri into the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7.

``I'm excited about that, but we didn't get here thinking about it,'' Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. ``You know, we had to win five straight games to have a chance to play in this one for the divisional championship. I'm just so proud of everybody.''

Todd Reesing's 5-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Henry with 2:03 drew the Jayhawks within six points and Missouri's Tony Temple was stopped on third down to give the Jayhawks (11-1, 7-1) one last slim chance.

Lorenzo Williams put the finishing touches on it for Mizzou, sacking Reesing in the end zone for a safety with 12 seconds left. The Kansas quarterback walked off dejected, a muddy divot stuck in his face mask.

The game between the bitter archrivals drew 80,537, the second-biggest crowd in the 35-year history of Arrowhead Stadium.

The Tigers, who had never won 11 games in a season, should become No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 1960 and figure to be no worse than No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

On Friday, No. 1 LSU lost 50-48 in three overtimes to Arkansas, putting the top ranking and top spot in the BCS standings up for grabs. No. 4 West Virginia bombed No. 20 Connecticut 66-21 earlier Saturday and figures to move up at least one spot to second in the BCS standings when they come out Sunday. West Virginia finishes its season against Pittsburgh next week.

Kansas came into the game second nationally averaging almost 46 points a game, but fell behind 21-0 before Reesing finally got the Jayhawks into the end zone. Scott Webb missed two field goals in the second quarter for the Jayhawks, who had been an even bigger surprise than Missouri up to this point and were gunning for what would have been their first national championship as well.

In what had been billed as a Heisman Trophy subplot in the 116th meeting of the rivals, Daniel was the star. He went 40-for-49 with no interceptions and outplayed his Kansas counterpart.

Reesing had thrown a school-record 205 straight passes without an interception but was picked off twice, each one leading to a Missouri touchdown. He finished 28-of-49 for 349 yards and two touchdowns.

Temple rushed for 98 yards for Missouri, which did not break into the national rankings until reaching No. 25 after the third week. Danario Alexander caught eight passes for 117 yards, including a 16-yard gain on third-and-14 with 6:46 to play after Reesing's touchdown pass to Dexton Fields pulled Kansas to 31-21.

A moment later, Jeff Wolfert kicked his second field goal, a 43-yarder, for a 34-21 lead with 3:31 to go.

Daniel managed to avoid turnovers but the Tigers were flagged 14 times for 144 yards.

The Tigers had only one first down on their first three possessions but finally broke through with a 78-yard touchdown drive once Daniel found his groove.

Facing a fourth-and-goal from the 1 on his fourth possession, Daniel hit tight end Martin Rucker on a quick slant for the night's first touchdown with 29 seconds left in the first quarter.

Reesing seemed to find his touch after a poor first quarter when he hit Kerry Meier for a 39-yard gain on the first play of the second quarter. That was his school-record 213th straight pass without an interception. But on the next play, safety William Moore stepped in front of Fields at the 2 and made the pick. It was his seventh interception of the season, tying the Missouri record of NFL Hall of Famer defensive back Roger Wehrli, and gave all the momentum right back to the Tigers.

Temple immediately got 17 yards and then, after a false start penalty on the Tigers, Daniel began connecting with Alexander. An 11-yard pass moved the ball to the Missouri 47. Then the Jayhawks, one of the nation's least-penalized teams, were charged with defensive holding after stopping Missouri on third-and-12 from the 40.

Given new life, Daniel found Alexander for 20 yards and then on third and goal from the 11, the junior quarterback danced away from pressure and fired a pass to Alexander as he fell into the corner of the end zone, capping a 13-play, 98-yard drive.

Twice Kansas, which had scored on 22 straight trips to the red zone, got to the Missouri 16. But both times, Webb missed field goals.

Reesing threw behind Henry, who turned and tipped the ball right into the hands of Missouri's Castine Bridges. He returned it 49 yards to the Kansas 40, and seven plays later Jimmy Jackson plowed over from the 1 for a 21-0 Missouri lead.

Brandon McAnderson's 1-yard touchdown run finally got Kansas on the board with 7:21 left in the third.

Daniel responded with his best drive of the night, going 8-for-8 for 68 yards in a 13-play, 69-yard drive. Freshman Derrick Washington took a 3-yard swing pass into the end zone for the score.

Reesing's 5-yard run on fourth-and-2 from the 5 was answered by Wolfert's 43-yard field goal for a 31-14 Missouri lead.

Tommy Saunders had eight catches for 82 yards for Missouri while Fields led the Jayhawks with eight receptions for 116 yards.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Mizzou Media Relations

White leads No. 4 West Virginia to 66-21 win over No. 20 UConn


By JOHN RABY
AP Sports Writer


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -
Pat White has No. 4 West Virginia on the brink of playing for a national championship.

White rushed for 186 yards and accounted for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a 66-21 win over No. 20 Connecticut on Saturday night, clinching the Big East championship and a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

With one more win next week against Pittsburgh, the Mountaineers might be headed to the biggest BCS game of all - the championship game on Jan. 7 in New Orleans.

West Virginia (10-1, 5-1 Big East) will move up at least one spot to second in the BCS standings on Sunday following top-ranked LSU's loss to Arkansas on Friday.

West Virginia has won six straight since losing to South Florida on Sept. 28 and has made a steady climb in the BCS standings after starting ninth in mid-October.

Connecticut's dreams of a BCS berth in only its fourth season in the conference were dashed in a big way. The Huskies (9-3, 5-2) allowed the most points since it gave up 66 to Middle Tennessee in 2000, when UConn was a member of the former Division I-AA, now the Football Championship Subdivision.

UConn was limited to one second-half touchdown and a defense that was ranked third in the nation in points allowed coming in at 14 per game was torn apart.

The Mountaineers compiled a season-high 517 yards on the ground. Freshman Noel Devine rushed for 118 yards on 11 carries. Steve Slaton had a pair of TD runs, which were set up by long runs by White.

West Virginia claimed at least a share of its fourth Big East title in five seasons and will make its second BCS trip in three years. The Mountaineers beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl following the 2005 season.

White and Slaton became only the third pair of teammates in the Football Bowl Subdivision to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in consecutive seasons, matching Arkansas' Darren McFadden and Felix Jones this year and Minnesota's Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney in 2003-04. Barber and teammate Gary Russell each surpassed 1,000 yards in 2005.

White's fourth straight 100-yard rushing effort could improve his status in the wide-open Heisman Trophy race. He has 1,144 yards this season, along with 1,498 passing yards. Slaton was limited to 51 yards and now has 1,039 for the season.

White had a 3-yard TD run in the first quarter and made several defenders miss when he reversed direction and scored on a 24-yard run in the third quarter for a 31-14 lead.

Connecticut had the fewest turnovers in the Big East but West Virginia turned three of them into touchdowns.

Jasper Howard fumbled a punt midway through the first and West Virginia's Ryan Mundy recovered at the Connecticut 14. White found Reynaud in the end zone on first down for a 14-7 lead.

Mortty Ivy stripped the ball from quarterback Tyler Lorenzen late in the first half and Scooter Berry recovered for West Virginia. White's 29-yard scramble on third down set up Slaton's 31-yard TD run for a 24-7 lead.

A snap bounced off Lorenzen's left shoulder late in the third and West Virginia linebacker Reed Williams recovered the fumble in the end zone to put the Mountaineers ahead 45-14 lead.

Lorenzen completed 14 of 28 passes for 151 yards and one score.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: WVU Sports Communication

Patrick's career day leads Oklahoma to 49-17 Bedlam win


By JEFF LATZKE
AP Sports Writer


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Allen Patrick returned to form just in time for the postseason, running for a career-best 202 yards and two touchdowns as No. 10 Oklahoma wrapped up a spot in the Big 12 championship game with a 49-17 win Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Patrick, who had four 100-yard rushing games after Adrian Peterson broke his collarbone last season, passed the century mark for the first time since September and also caught a touchdown pass in easily his best game of the season.

The Sooners (10-2, 6-2 Big 12) had been all but assured of playing in their fifth Big 12 title game in the past six seasons even with a loss, but a Bedlam blowout left no doubt.

Sam Bradford returned after sustaining a concussion in Oklahoma's 34-27 loss at Texas Tech last week to break the NCAA freshman record for touchdown passes in a season. He had four scoring passes, including two to tight end Joe Jon Finley, to give him 32 this year. Nevada's David Neill (1998) and Texas' Colt McCoy (2006) held the old record with 29.

The Sooners were playing without leading rusher DeMarco Murray (knee), but that didn't stop them from pummeling their in-state rival with a constant ground attack. Oklahoma went with the rush on 28 of its 35 first-half plays, and Patrick carried most of the load a week after a fumble on his first carry led to Bradford getting hurt while making the tackle.

Patrick went for more than 100 yards for the first time in eight games, clearing the mark early in the second quarter with a 32-yard run around the left end that set up Chris Brown's 3-yard touchdown push to make it 21-7.

By that point, Patrick had already been in the end zone twice on an 11-yard scoring pass from Bradford and a 5-yard TD run.

The Sooners then came up with a huge goal-line stand, stuffing Oklahoma State (6-6, 4-4) on four straight rush attempts from the 1-yard line. On fourth down, three Sooners converged on quarterback Zac Robinson just shy of the goal line to jar the ball loose, and safety D.J. Wolfe scooped it up to end the threat.

Patrick ran on each of the next four plays to pick up 31 yards, and Oklahoma cashed in on Bradford's 2-yard touchdown pass to Joe Jon Finley for a 28-7 lead.

Finley also caught a 12-yard TD pass from Bradford, and Patrick's 2-yard run in the fourth quarter extended the lead to 42-17.

Bradford finished with 150 yards on 11-for-15 passing with one interception, which set up one of the Cowboys' two touchdowns on the day.

Dantrell Savage scored them both, catching a 16-yard pass from Robinson and rushing in from 6 yards out. He ran for 112 yards for his ninth straight 100-yard game.

Pregame warmups brought a glimmer of hope for Oklahoma State, as leading receiver Adarius Bowman jogged around and went through drills a week after coach Mike Gundy announced he'd be out for the rest of the regular season. Bowman was in uniform and had his helmet on, but didn't play in the game.

The result was Robinson's least productive passing day since he took over as the starter in the third game of the season. He completed 8 of 20 passes for 105 yards before being replaced by backup Bobby Reid in the fourth quarter.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: OU Athletics Department

Hokies win fourth straight over Virginia, 33-21


By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -
Sean Glennon threw for 260 yards and the other half of Virginia Tech's quarterback rotation, Tyrod Taylor, ran for two touchdowns, as the No. 8 Hokies won the biggest game in the history of its rivalry with Virginia 33-21 on Saturday to advance to the ACC championship game.

The Hokies (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) also got a season-high 147 yards rushing from Branden Ore and six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown from Eddie Royal. They won their fourth straight in the series and eighth in the last nine meetings.

The victory earned Virginia Tech a rematch with No. 15 Boston College in next Saturday's conference title game in Jacksonville, Fla. The Eagles rallied with two touchdowns in the final 2:11 to stun the Hokies 14-10 in Blacksburg on Oct. 25.

No. 16 Virginia (9-3, 6-2) led late in the second quarter before an interception by Brandon Flowers with 40 seconds to go turned into a three-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that left the crowd of 61,711 stunned. Up 20-14, the Hokies never trailed again.

Taylor scored on runs of 9 and 5 yards, the second with 11:50 remaining to give Virginia Tech a 30-21 lead. After Virginia was forced to punt, the Hokies drove to the Cavaliers 9-yard line, and Jud Dunlevy's fourth field goal completed the scoring.

Dunlevy also kicked a 29-yarder early in the second half to make it 23-14, capping a short drive set up when Davon Morgan blocked Ryan Weigand's punt from the Cavaliers 38.

The stakes had never been so high in the previous 88 meetings between the teams. Late in the third quarter, Virginia seemed poised to make it go down to the wire.

Lombardi Award finalist Chris Long, quiet up to that point, sacked Taylor at the Hokies 28. The freshman fumbled, and Antonio Appleby recovered for the Cavaliers.

Jameel Sewell, who ran for two touchdowns, kept the ensuing drive alive with a 17-yard pass to a diving Jonathan Stupar on third-and-12 from the 19. He then ran it in on the next play to pull Virginia within 23-21 and fire up the home crowd. But the Cavaliers never got any closer

After an exchange of punts, the Hokies struck again.

Glennon hit Josh Morgan for 25 yards, and Ore went off left tackle for 25 more, putting the ball at the Cavaliers 16. Five plays later, Taylor replaced Glennon at quarterback and took off on a delay for the left corner of the end zone.

The Cavaliers appeared to have momentum late in the first half, leading 14-13 and driving into Virginia Tech territory. Then Flowers intercepted Sewell.

Glennon completed a pass to Josh Morgan for 26 yards on the next play, moving the ball to the Cavaliers 39. After an incompletion, he hit Royal in stride deep in Virginia territory. Royal silenced the crowd by beating a tackle and taking it into the end zone.

Virginia Tech scored on its first two possessions on a 9-yard run from Taylor and a 20-yard field goal by Dunlevy before Virginia got anything going.

Consecutive completions for 22 yards by Sewell finally got the Cavaliers into Hokies territory, and Mikell Simpson broke off a 27-yard TD run to make it 10-7.

Glennon's 56-yard pass to Royal set up another field goal by Dunlevy from 37 yards. The Cavaliers went three-and-out before a trick play backfired for Virginia Tech.

On second-and-3 from the Virginia 45, Royal took a lateral from Taylor and had tight end Greg Boone open deep downfield. But his pass was intercepted by Chris Cook. Seven plays later, Sewell ran it in from the 7.

The Hokies didn't get another first down until the big one just before halftime.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics Communications

Volunteers claim SEC East title with 52-50 win over Kentucky


By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Sorry Georgia, resilient Tennessee is back on top in the SEC East.

The Volunteers stuffed a scrambling Andre Woodson on a 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth overtime to secure a 52-50 victory Saturday against Kentucky and a spot in the Southeastern Conference title game.

No. 19 Tennessee's 23rd straight win over the Wildcats handed the Volunteers (9-3, 6-2) the division title and a shot at LSU in next week's SEC title game.

Tennessee and Georgia finished tied atop the East, but the Volunteers earned the title thanks to their 35-14 win over the Bulldogs on Oct. 6.

Erik Ainge threw for a career-high 397 yards and seven touchdowns and running back Arian Foster had 216 total yards for the Volunteers.

Woodson matched Ainge throw for throw, throwing for 430 yards and six touchdowns, but the Wildcats (7-5, 3-5) let a chance to beat the Vols for the first time since 1984 get away.

Tennessee's winning streak over the Wildcats is the longest active winning streak by one team over another in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Kentucky trailed by 17 points in the second half but had its chances late, none better than in the second overtime after Sam Maxwell intercepted Ainge near the goal line.

The Wildcats ran the ball on three straight plays to set Lones Seiber up for a 35-yard field goal. But the kick was blocked by Dan Williams.

The teams traded touchdowns in the third overtime, but the Wildcats stuffed Foster's 2-point conversion. A personal foul on the Volunteers following the conversion attempt pushed Tennessee back to the Kentucky 40 instead of the Kentucky 25 at the beginning of the fourth overtime.

No matter, Ainge hit a wide-open Quinton Hancock on the first play to put the Volunteers in front. Ainge then found Austin Rogers for the conversion over the middle.

Kentucky responded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Derrick Locke, but Woodson was stopped at the Tennessee 3 caught in between trying to find a receiver and taking off the for the end zone.

The victory capped an improbable run by the Volunteers, who seemed out of the race after being crushed at Alabama last month. Tennessee has now won five straight while Kentucky, which was on the fringe of the national championship hunt after upsetting No. 1 LSU in mid-October, has lost four of its last five.

It wasn't easy. Kentucky trailed 31-14 in the third quarter, but rallied to tie the game on a 20-yard field goal by Seiber on the last play of regulation.

That was just the start of the fun.

Yet whenever the Wildcats seemed to grab control, Ainge or Foster would step up and make a play. Foster ran for 118 yards and caught nine passes for 98 yards and a score.

Rafael Little had 77 yards rushing and caught 11 passes for 108 yards for the Wildcats. Jacob Tamme, Steve Johnson Keenan Burton - who helped usher the Wildcats into the Top 10 earlier in the season - combined for 23 catches, 273 yards and five scores.

The trio is part of a class of 16 Kentucky seniors who had hoped to make their final home game the exclamation point on a two-year period in which the program challenged some of the conference's elite.

Instead, the regular season ended the way most of the 22 before it, with a loss to their border rivals.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: SEC Sports

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Nov. 25, 1972: Oklahoma topples Nebraska 17-14 to capture the Big Eight Conference title and close the regular season at 9-1. Coach Chuck Fairbanks’ final OU squad features 2007 College Football Hall of Fame inductee center Tom Brahaney opening holes for OU backs and sparking a comeback from a 14-0 deficit in Lincoln, Neb. Hall of Famers Johnny Rodgers (53 yards rushing) of Nebraska and Greg Pruitt (missed game due to an injury) of Oklahoma also are members of these teams.

Courtesy: The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

Saturday, November 24, 2007

CFI: THE POST GAME REPORT


WEEK 13 - PART I

OHIO ST. VERSUS WEST VIRGINA

Yes, that could be your National Championship game. With Arizona St. and LSU going down and Missouri playing Kansas later today, the Buckeyes and Mountaineers figure to be two and three in the upcoming BCS Rankings. The number one team (either Kansas or Missouri) will likely play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship game next week, which means the Youngstown (Ohio) boy could put the Ohio St. Buckeyes in the Championship game for a second straight season. To complete the circle, OSU headman Jim Tressel coached at Youngstown St. before taking the job in Columbus.

RUN DARREN, RUN

Darren McFadden made a final statement on his Heisman campaign with his 206 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 1 team in the country. The junior tailback lined up as the Razorbacks’ quarterback for much of the day and was 3-of-6 passing for 34 yards and another touchdown, as he connected with his fullback Peyton Hillis from 24 yards out with less than six minutes remaining in the game to give the Hogs a 28-21 lead. McFadden finishes the season with 1,725 yards and 15 touchdowns…not too shabby. He is deserving of winning the Heisman as well as becoming the top overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft should he decide to declare.

MR. JACKSON IS NOT SORRY

"They came to hit tonight," Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter said after USC’s beating of Arizona St. "I think tonight, we were overmatched."

Ya think Carpenter had senior defensive end Lawrence Jackson (8 tackles, 5.5 TFLs) in mind when he made that statement?

Just as he did last season, Jackson is making a late push. His four sacks give him 9.5 on the season. When he recorded 10 sacks in his redshirt sophomore season, the assumption was that Jackson would have an All-American junior season and declare for NFL Draft. He turned in just four sacks last season, all four in two November games, so he returned for his senior season and until Thursday night, Jackson was having an underwhelming season, a microcosm for the Men of Troy.

Also joining the sack party were fellow senior Sedrick Ellis and true freshman Everson Griffen. Ellis now has 52 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks, tremendous numbers for an interior lineman. Ellis’ production has never been questioned. Griffen is the heir apparent at defensive end, a five-star recruit who will be on many preseason All-American lists next season. The Arizona native has 5.5 sacks on the season. As a schoolboy in 2006, Griffen rumbled for 1,251 yards and 20 touchdowns as a running back…and he’s 6’3”, 265 pounds. I want to meet the kid that tackled him!

ROSE BOWL BOUND?


With their win in Tempe, the Men of Toy could find themselves on their way to Pasadena. What do they need? A win next week against cross-town rival UCLA in the Coliseum, and an Oregon loss to either UCLA or Oregon St. The Bruins are not ones to help the Trojans, but they are capable of beating the Dennis Dixon-less Ducks at home, as are the Beavers in the “Civil War”. Ironically, UCLA and Oregon St. are the two teams that spoiled USC’s Championship run last season.

LET THEM PLAY

Anyone who has followed CFI’s Top 25 this season knows we are not the champions of the WAC and we would have loved to have seen Hawaii play some tougher competition this season (they came into the week with 119th strength of schedule out of 119). But, if they finish the season undefeated they deserve to play in a BCS Bowl. Why not? It is not as if they are lobbying to play in the Championship game and is it is, it appears the BCS conferences will struggle to fill the ten slots.

* Check Back on Monday for Part II

Photo Credit: WVU Sports Communication

Black Friday: No. 1 LSU Falls to Arkansas in 3OT


By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -
LSU's national title hopes were crushed by a Heisman-worthy performance.

Darren McFadden rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another to lift Arkansas to a 50-48, three-overtime victory over the top-ranked Tigers on Friday.

Peyton Hillis also scored three TDs, the last in the third overtime. Felix Jones ran for the critical 2-point conversion to make it 50-42 Razorbacks (8-4, 4-4 SEC).

LSU (10-2, 6-2) responded when Matt Flynn found Brandon LaFell for a 9-yard TD, but Matterral Richardson intercepted the 2-point conversion attempt, and Arkansas' bench emptied onto the field in triumph.

McFadden, last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up, rushed for 206 yards 32 carries and now has 1,725 yards rushing this season. No doubt there are West Virginia and Ohio State fans who'd vote for McFadden for Heisman if they could.

By knocking off LSU, which was in first place in the BCS standings, Arkansas boosted the national championship hopes of West Virginia and Ohio State.

McFadden wasn't the only running back LSU had trouble wrapping up.

Hillis and Jones each ran for 89 yards as Arkansas finished with a 385 yards on the ground against one of the best run defenses in the country.

It's the second time this season the Tigers have fallen while at No. 1 and it's probably too late in the season now for them to get another chance.

The winner of tomorrow night's game between No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri will likely take over the top spot in the rankings and the BCS standings. No. 4 West Virginia, which was third in the BCS standings, has a chance to sneak up to at least No. 2 in each with a win over Connecticut.

As for Ohio State, the Buckeyes are done and waiting it out. They were fifth in the last BCS standings.

Flynn finished 209 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also ran for another score in the first overtime, when LSU could have emerged victorious with a stop on fourth-and-10.

But Casey Dick found Hillis open for a 12-yard game to keep the Razorbacks alive, then later found Hillis again for a 9-yard tying TD.

Jacob Hester rushed for 126 yards and two TDs for LSU, which had to rally from a seven-point deficits three times in the second half, and convert two fourth-down plays on its last drive in regulation, just to force overtime.

But in the end, Arkansas and embattled coach Houston Nutt walked away holding the ``Golden Boot,'' a trophy shaped like the states of Arkansas and Louisiana.

Nutt, who will have his team in a bowl game, may not be back with the Hogs next season after growing unrest in Fayatteville, Ark., and a slow start to the season. Arkansas officials have yet to confirm that, however, and firing Nutt may be a less popular move now.

LSU had already clinched the SEC West Division and will move on to the conference title game in Atlanta on Dec. 1, but will do so feeling a little hollow after letting a chance at a national title slip away. Winning the SEC title will put LSU in New Orleans in January, but for the Sugar Bowl, not the BCS Championship game they wanted to be in a week later.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: University of Arkansas

Carlson's late kick lifts Mississippi State to 17-14 win


By CHRIS TALBOTT
Associated Press Writer


STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Adam Carlson hit a 48-yard field goal with 18 seconds left and Mississippi State likely clinched its first bowl appearance since 2000 with a stunning 17-14 win over Mississippi on Friday in the Egg Bowl.

The Bulldogs looked as if their season would end on a downbeat after falling behind their fiercest rival 14-0 with a lackluster effort through three quarters. But Derek Pegues returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown to tie the score and Wes Carroll completed nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Carroll set up Carlson's career-long kick with a key 11-yard run and a 17-yard completion in the final minute.

Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom capped the win by taking a victory lap around the field carrying a 10-foot school flag.

The win means a likely appearance in the Liberty or Independence bowls for the Bulldogs (7-5, 4-4), who clinched bowl eligibility two weeks ago. They needed another win because 10 Southeastern Conference teams have six or more victories and the conference doesn't have 10 guaranteed postseason slots.

The loss kept the Rebels (3-9, 0-8) winless in conference play for the first time since 1982.

Ole Miss had won four of five in the series and looked as if it had locked up the win after the SEC's worst defense stifled Mississippi State for three quarters. But coach Ed Orgeron decided to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Ole Miss 49 early in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a 3-yard loss and Carroll finally began to move his team on the ensuing drive. He entered the quarter 4-of-12 for 28 yards and had even been yanked for two series.

He hit four of his next five passes for 37 yards, however, capping the drive with a 4-yard scoring toss to Anthony Dixon. Mississippi State was helped by an Ole Miss personal foul penalty on the drive.

The Mississippi State defense held Ole Miss on its next two series after receivers dropped three passes that would have been good for first downs.

Pegues then fielded Justin Sparks' 33-yard punt at his 35 and sprinted straight ahead, making one move around midfield before tying the game 14-14 with 2:38 left.

After a final three-and-out, the Bulldogs took over at their 35 with 43 seconds left. Carroll went 3-of-4 for 34 yards and picked up a first down on a designed run.

Carlson, on the verge of being replaced at the beginning of the year after starting his career 8-of-16 on field goals, capped an 8-for-11 season with the kick.

Green-Ellis rushed for 117 yards and scored a 14-yard touchdown on the opening drive. Brent Schaeffer threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Shay Hodge on Ole Miss' opening drive of the second half to put the Rebels up 14-0.

Dixon finished with 101 yards receiving and 29 rushing for Mississippi State.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: SEC Sports Media

McGee accounts for 4 TDs, Aggies beat No. 13 Texas


By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer


COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - No secrets here. Another win over Texas probably won't be enough to save Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione's job.

Franchione's likely finale at least provided a fun day for the Aggies' faithful, a 38-30 victory over the 13th-ranked Longhorns on Friday.

With a seemingly inspired performance - maybe for Franchione, but more likely the pride of beating their hated rival - the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) have consecutive victories over Texas for the first time since 1991-94 under Franchione's predecessor, R.C. Slocum.

Stephen McGee threw for a career-high 362 yards with three touchdowns and scored on a hard-driving run. Holder T.J. Sanders got his only career TD when he capped A&M's 95-yard drive with a 5-yard TD run on a fake field goal and the defense forced three turnovers (two fumbles, interception) by Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

Texas (9-3, 5-3), which after its first 0-2 conference start since 1956 had won five straight games, still has an outside shot of making it to the Big 12 championship game if 10th-ranked Oklahoma loses to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

For Franchione, his satisfaction will have to come from beating Texas twice. There have been no Big 12 titles, and his 32-28 record over the past five seasons is far from what was expected when he took over in Aggieland - especially for the $2 million a year he's scheduled to make through 2012.

A 12-7 victory last year that kept Texas out of the Big 12 title game seemed to bolster the coach's future, and fend off the anti-Franchione sentiment.

This one appears to be too late for Franchione, coming after four losses the previous five games and his secretive, pay-for electronic newsletter.

Mike Goodson ran 12 times for 72 yards and caught six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies. McGee was 25-of-36 with two interceptions.

McCoy was 17-of-32 for 229 yards. Jamaal Charles ran 17 times for 92 yards, with an 8-yard TD the play after Brandon Foster's 38-yard interception return in the third quarter.

Two touchdowns in the final 7:36 weren't enough for the Longhorns, who now have to wait and see what happens Saturday. If the Sooners lose, there will be a three-way tie for the Big 12 South lead and the division representative for the league title game would be determined by which team is higher in the next BCS standings.

In late September, Franchione acknowledged that his personal assistant was sending inside information to boosters who paid $1,200 a year to get the e-mails. School officials admonished the coach for the private newsletter and said the embarrassing episode would be a factor in deciding whether he returns next season.

Athletic director Bill Byrne has repeatedly said that he would sit down with Franchione and evaluate his future at the end of the season. With a bowl game likely, the timing of that meeting is uncertain.

Still, Franchione was downright giddy on the field Friday.

With the Aggies up 17-0 right before halftime and Texas lined up for a field goal, Franchione called timeout just before the snap and then had a huge grin on his face. The Longhorns were going to fake the kick, hoping to duplicate A&M's success the previous drive, but the play was ruled dead and they then settled for Ryan Bailey's 27-yard field goal.

Then in the fourth quarter, Franchione was jubilantly jogging and waving first down for the Aggies after Kellen Heard forced the second fumble by McCoy.

Sanders, the seldom-used senior listed as a backup quarterback, put the Aggies up 17-0 when he took the snap and placed the ball briefly on the ground. He then picked it up and swept around right end on A&M's only fake field goal try this season.

McGee scored on a 6-yard keeper late in the third quarter, when he was hit at the 4, again at the 2 and kept driving until he was in the end zone for a 24-10 lead.

Quan Cosby returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a TD, but the Aggies quickly answered at the start of the fourth quarter when McGee threw a 44-yard TD to Goodson.

After Texas went three-and-out, McGee threw a 66-yard TD pass to Earvin Taylor for a 38-17 lead.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: Texas A&M Media Relations Office

Colorado outscores Nebraska 65-51


By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer


BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - He was trying to make a good final impression. Instead, Bill Callahan gave his athletic director and all those die-hard Nebraska fans one last glimpse of what a proud program looks like when it's disintegrating.

The once-mighty Cornhuskers gave up 34 straight points in the second half Friday en route to another loss by a videogame score - 65-51 to Colorado, which now has a shot at a bowl bid that could have gone to Nebraska.

Instead, the Huskers will go home with only their second losing record since 1962 - both have come during Callahan's four seasons in Lincoln.

Cody Hawkins threw for 241 yards and Hugh Charles ran for 169 yards and three scores to lift the Buffs (6-6, 4-4 Big 12) to the break-even mark in an up-and-down season that includes a victory over Oklahoma and a loss to Iowa State.

As always, a blowout over Nebraska (5-7, 2-6), in the highest-scoring game in the history of the 66-game series, will be a highlight for Colorado. But as everybody knows by now, this year's Huskers are nothing like the old Big Red.

Next up at Nebraska - that long-awaited meeting, scheduled for Saturday, between Callahan and interim athletic director Tom Osborne, the one-time coach who never would have let a debacle like this unfold at Folsom Field.

For a while, it didn't seem destined to end this way.

Nebraska rolled through the first half. The Cornhuskers scored 73 points in their last game, a win over Kansas State, and led 35-24 at halftime of this one after piling up 393 yards against a Buffs defense that has had plenty of its own problems this year.

In the third quarter, some poor sideline management turned the game into another Big Red embarrassment.

Leading by 11 and facing third-and-2 from its own 19, Nebraska got nailed with consecutive 5-yard penalties - once for illegal substitution and once for delay of game. That made it third-and-12, and on that play, Huskers quarterback Joe Ganz threw the ball straight to Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, who returned it 31 yards for a touchdown.

On Nebraska's next offensive play, Ganz underthrew Nate Swift, who batted the ball in the air to be intercepted by Lionel Harris. Four plays later, Charles ran 7 yards to put Colorado ahead 44-35.

Nebraska's next drive ended in a blocked punt, which led to another CU touchdown, and suddenly a 10-point Nebraska lead had become a 16-point deficit.

Ganz threw another pick late in the fourth quarter - this one batted up by receiver Maurice Purify, which led to a 51-yard interception return by Cha'pelle Brown and Charles' third score for a 58-35 lead.

That was 34 straight points, five straight touchdowns, and when the Buffs answered a garbage Nebraska touchdown with one of their own, they because the second team to hang 60 on the Huskers this month. Kansas beat Nebraska 76-39 three weeks ago.

For Colorado, this win will look good alongside that 62-36 blowout over Nebraska in 2001 that led to CU's last Big 12 title. This was the first time CU has cracked 60 since then.

Ganz finished with 484 yards passing for the Huskers and holds plenty of promise for whoever coaches him next year. Purify had 11 catches for 136 yards and three scores, but also had his share of drops and bobbles that cost the Huskers.

Of course, offense hasn't been Nebraska's problem this year.

The defense surrendered 518 yards, which was 45 yards above its average.

Source: ncaafootball.com; Photo Credit: CU Sports Information Office

Brennan-Led Hawaii Wins WAC Title


By JAYMES SONG
AP Sports Writer


HONOLULU (AP) - Unbeaten. Record-breaking. Western Athletic Conference champion. Maybe BCS bound. All apply to Colt Brennan and Hawaii. The Warriors' prolific passer threw five touchdowns to break the major college career record as No. 14 Hawaii beat No. 17 Boise State 39-27 Friday night to win its first outright WAC title.

Brennan finished 40-of-53 for 495 yards for the Warriors (11-0, 8-0), who set a school record with 12 straight wins and denied the Broncos (10-2, 7-1) a sixth straight conference championship.

``He was the best college football player in America last year and he still is this year,'' Warriors coach June Jones said. ``If he plays good next week and we win it, he should win the Heisman Trophy.''

The WAC heavyweights traded scores and the lead until Brennan erupted for three TD tosses in the third quarter to give the Warriors their largest lead, 39-27, heading into the final quarter.

``When your rolling like that against a Boise State team, you know things are good,'' Brennan said. ``We knew right then and there, we were in good shape.''

The quick-striking Warriors, who have won 21 of its last 22 games and lead the nation in scoring, ran out the clock with their rare running game to seal the win as the crowd chanted, ``BCS! BCS!''

Hawaii entered 15th in the Bowl Championship Series standings, needing to finish 12th or higher to secure an automatic bid to the BCS. A weak schedule has kept the Warriors from moving up the rankings, but a convincing win over last season's BCS busters should help them make a final push. A Sugar Bowl bid could be in the Warriors' future if they can complete a perfect season next week at home against Washington.

With the final seconds ticking off the clock, players and thousands of fans spilled onto the field and celebrated the Warriors' biggest win in school history.

Hawaii's Davone Bess had a school-record 14 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Jason Rivers had 12 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown while C.J. Hawthorne added five receptions for 111 yards and a TD.

But it was Brennan's night.

``It's the best feeling I've ever had. I'm speechless,'' said Brennan, who withdrew from the NFL draft to return for one more season.

Brennan has passed for 126 TDs in his three-year career at Hawaii, which beat Boise State for the first time in seven tries. Brennan broke the record, throwing his 122nd, in the first quarter.

His 6-yard TD pass to Grice-Mullen surpassed the mark set by former Brigham Young Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer in 1991. With the pass, Brennan also broke Detmer's record for most touchdowns responsible for with 136.

The sellout, green-clad, ti-leaf waving crowd at Aloha Stadium roared as Brennan was congratulated by teammates and officials removed the record-breaking ball. The touchdown pass tied the game at 7.

Brennan quickly added to his new record. His 123rd TD pass came on a 23-yard toss to Bess in the second quarter to give the Warriors a 19-13 lead. Brennan also had 1-yard scoring run.

Bess and Brennan also connected on a 22-yard scoring play early in the third quarter. It was their 39th scoring hookup, tying the NCAA record held by Louisiana Tech's Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards.

Brennan's fourth TD toss of the game, and 125th in his career, was a 7-yarder to Rivers that gave the Warriors a 32-27 lead. No. 5 was a 38-yarder to C.J. Hawthorne with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.

Brennan entered the game holding 24 other NCAA records, including the single-season record for TD passes of 58, which he set last year.

The Warriors took a 19-17 lead into the locker room. Brennan was 20-of-27 for 241 yards and two TDs in the half.

The Broncos' Ian Johnson also had a big first half, rushing for 75 yards and two TDs, including a 50-yarder that gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead. However, Johnson was held to just 11 yards and no scores in the second half.

Taylor Tharp was 22-of-36 for 231 yards for Boise State, which is now 52-4 in the WAC since joining the conference in 2001. They had won 17 straight WAC games, with their last loss coming in 2005 at Fresno State.

Boise State was 19th in the BCS standings and hoping to break into the big games for a second straight year. The team that wowed the college football world with its dramatic Fiesta Bowl victory last season will go back to playing in second-tier bowl games this year.

Boise State took a 27-26 lead midway through the third quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Kyle Brotzman, setup by Dallas Dobbs' interception.

The Broncos cut the Warriors lead to 26-24, on a 6-yard play-action pass from Tharp to Richie Brockel on fourth-and-1.

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Nov. 24, 1994: Florida races to a 31-3 lead over Florida State with 13 minutes left in the game before the Seminoles stage one of their greatest comebacks in school history to end the contest in a 31-31 deadlock. FSU quarterback Danney Kanell completes 18-of-22 passes for 232 yards in the final period, and the Seminoles go for a tying extra-point kick with 1:45 remaining after a four-TD quarter.

Credit: The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame; Photo Credit: Florida St. University

Friday, November 23, 2007

No. 19 Vols hope to fix road troubles against Kentucky


By BETH RUCKER
Associated Press Writer


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -
The final obstacle between Tennessee and a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title lies on the road - a place that hasn't been kind to the 19th-ranked Volunteers this season.

Tennessee (8-3, 5-2 SEC) has won only one game on the road this year and suffered all three of its bruising losses away from home. The Vols travel on Saturday to Kentucky (7-4, 3-4) to face a Wildcat team that's as good as the Vols have seen since they last lost in Lexington in 1981.

``I don't really know the perfect answer of why we haven't been good on the road,'' wide receiver Austin Rogers said. ``We've played some good teams on the road this year. We definitely need to treat it as a business trip like coach (Phillip) Fulmer says and go up there and get a W.''

Tennessee completed its home slate last weekend undefeated after squeaking by Vanderbilt with a 25-24 win. The Vols got one solid road win against Mississippi State, but lost to California, Florida and Alabama by a combined 77 points.

The Vols have given up an average 23.2 more points on the road than at home this season and have scored an averaged 38.1 points at home compared to 25.2 on the road.

Their home statistics have been better in almost every category: they run the ball better, convert on third down more frequently, hold opponents to fewer yards, draw fewer penalties and score more in the red zone.

Defensive coordinator John Chavis acknowledged that the Vols haven't played as well on the road as they needed to, but felt that ``everything that can go wrong did go wrong'' against California and Florida.

``We've had some turnovers that were returned for touchdowns. We've had some punt returns that were returned for touchdowns. Defensively we didn't get ourselves off the field. It was a combination of a lot of things,'' he said.

But Chavis and the rest of the Tennessee coaches say their team has grown significantly since those losses in September and October and benefited from a four-game home stand with both decisive wins and close calls.

Fulmer said he was forced to use some young players in the Vols' early road games because of injury, and those players are now more mature having played in several games.

``I have never made a big deal out of being at home or being on the road, and that's because you've got to play and win at both in this league,'' he said.

It may also help that Tennessee is confronted with the same must-win situation this weekend that it's faced since beating South Carolina at the end of October. Wins in every game since then, including Saturday's matchup with Kentucky, meant a trip to the SEC championship on Dec. 1.

Plus Tennessee has had a way with the Wildcats in recent history. The Vols' 22 consecutive wins over Kentucky is the longest active winning streak over a single opponent in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Quarterback Erik Ainge said he likes where Tennessee is right now.

``I think we're playing good football. I think we're kind of hot right now. Whether it's 20 degrees and snowing or whether it's 55 degrees and sunny, we know it's still 11 on 11 and the field's the same size.''

Source: ncaafootball; Photo Credit: SECSportsmeda