Tag Archives: NCAAF

North Central College Obliterates North Park 58-26

lNorth Central College made it 2-0 in CCIW play with their crushing win over North Park. The Cardinals ran out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter before coasting home to the 58-26 win.

The first drive for the Cardinals ended in a lost fumble by Tyler Dicken. North Park reached the Cardinals’ 22 yard line, but an incompletion ended the threat on fourth and five.

The Cardinals made no mistakes on their next drive as they marched down the field to the first score of the game. Dylan Warden‘s two yard touchdown pass to Kolton Kuczynski made it 7-0.

After forcing a three and out, North Central went down the field quickly thanks to two penalties on North Park. Zack Pattat pounded the ball in from 2 yards out to make it 14-0. The defense stepped up on the next drive with Michael Monterrubio getting a 45 yard pick six to make it 21-0.

The defense forced another punt and the offense had little trouble finding the end zone again. Matt Randolph ran in from 30 yards out to make it 28-0 before the end of the first quarter.

The Vikings would respond with an 8 play, 63 yard drive. T.D. Conway found Devin Childress for an 11 yard strike to get North Park on the board. The Vikings came up with a huge play on defense when Nick French picked off Warden at the North Park 30 yard line. That turned into yet another 11 yard touchdown pass from Conway to Childress to make it 28-13. The extra point was no good, but the Vikings were within striking distance.

That 15 point cushion would be extended when Warden used his arm to lead the Cardinals down the field. Zach Pattat came up with his second rushing touchdown, this one from two yards out as well, to make it 35-13.

After a three and out, North Central scored yet another touchdown. Oshayne Brown ran the ball in from 33 yards out to take a 42-13 lead. The lead ballooned to 44-13 after a safety by the Cardinals on North Park’s punt with less than a minute to go in the second quarter.

The Cardinals defense was strong to start the third quarter as well. Nick Samuelson picked Conway off at the North Central 43 yard line. NCC capitalized on that turnover when Warden and Alex Ulmer connected for a 12 yard touchdown to make it a 51-13 score.

North Park would break down the defense again with Conway and Terrance Wright connecting on a 77 yard touchdown pass. However, the Cardinals responded on the next drive with Ulmer taking the kick back to the house for a 91 yard return. Just like that, it was 58-20.

North Park scored a late touchdown with under 2:30 remaining. Conway and Childress hooked up for the third time in the game with this one a 17 yard score. The extra point failed again and the final score would be 58-26.

North Central was led by a very effective Dylan Warden at quarterback. Warden went 15 of 17 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He also had an interception. Warden carried the ball 6 times for 34 yards as well.

The leading rusher for NCC was Oshayne Brown with 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Zach Pattat had 48 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 carries. Matt Randolph ran for 44 yards and a touchdown on only 3 carries while Ryan Kent ran 7 times for 44 yards.

Peter Sorenson led the Cardinals with receiving by catching 3 passes for 50 yards.

T.D. Conway finished 23 of 45 for 349 yards passing. He had 4 touchdowns, but also threw 3 interceptions in the loss. His top receiver was none other than Devin Childress who had 9 catches for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns. Terrance Wright caught 5 balls for 92 yards and a touchdown while Daniel Anderson chipped in with 6 catches for 90 yards.

The leading rusher for North Park was Drew Walkington with 15 carries for 65 yards. D.J. Jones added 13 carries for 41 yards as well.

North Central College (4-1, 2-0) came in ranked #12 and they will not see that ranking change next week. They are home to Carthage (2-3, 1-1) next Saturday.

North Park (0-5, 0-2) will continue their campaign next week on the road at Elmhurst (3-2, 2-0).

Central Florida Beats BYU In Overtime

This article originally appeared on VAVEL USA.

Justin Holman

 (Photo credit to John Raoux / AP Photo)

 

Central Florida went from being up 10-3 at halftime to to trailing 24-10 in the first six minutes of the third quarter. However, the Knights would rally in overtime to defeat BYU 31-24 on Thursday evening.

Justin Holman‘s four yard touchdown pass to William Stanback was enough as the defense held firm on BYU’s possession to seal the win.

The final score was not indicative of how the first half went. Central Florida started off with a touchdown from Justin Holman, who made a diving run on fourth and one from the BYU 5 yard line to get the score. Shawn Moffitt hit a 42 yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0, but that was all they mustered in terms of the scoreboard in the first 30 minutes.

BYU struggled immensely in the first quarter with three straight three and outs to start the game. The BYU offense showed signs of life in the second quarter, but were quickly derailed by a turnover.

That turnover came when BYU started on the Central Florida 39 yard line. After Christian Stewart hit Paul Lasike for a 19 yard gain, Stewart then threw into the end zone, but it was over his receiver’s head and intercepted by Jacoby Glenn for a touchback.

BYU would get their first points of the game with a 10 play drive that ended in Trevor Samson hitting a 32 yard field goal. That made it 10-3 and the BYU kept that score intact as the Knights threatened to put more points on the board. Holman was sacked by Sione Takitaki on second and 7 at the BYU 28 and the ball was recovered by Takitaki.

BYU opened the second half on fire. Their first drive tied the game at 10 when Stewart connected with Colby Pearson for a 4 yard touchdown and then got a great bounce on a punt on the next drive. BYU’s punt hit a UCF player blocking and was immediately recovered by Algernon Brown. Two plays later, Stewart hit Devin Mahina for a 15 yard touchdown and BYU led 17-10.

It got even better for BYU. Holman was picked off by Skye PoVey and a penalty set the Cougars up at the 14 yard line. The next play saw Stewart hit Mahina again, this time for 14 yards out make it 24-10.

Needing a response, Central Florida quickly answered. Rannell Hall returned the kickoff 58 yards to the BYU 37 yard line to spark the offense. 8 plays later, William Stanback ran in from 2 yards out to make it 24-17.

BYU had an excellent chance at extending their lead to double digits, but Algernon Brown fumbled at the UCF 13 yard line to take points off the board.

Central Florida would finally get the tying score two drives later. On second and 10 from the BYU 37, Holman threw up a bomb to Josh Reese knowing that BYU was offside. Reese caught the ball for the score and the game was tied at 24.

Both teams still had plenty of opportunities to take the lead. Central Florida missed a 46 yard field goal wide left and then Holman was intercepted by Kai Nacua inside the BYU 20 yard line to end another potential scoring chance. BYU marched to the Central Florida 37 yard line, but the drive stalled out and punted.

Central Florida had two last chances to end the game. With 12 seconds left, UCF tried to kick a field goal from 43 yards out but the snap was poor and ended up losing 7 yards. The next play was a 50 yard attempt that was partially blocked by Mitch Mathews that sent the game into overtime.

In that overtime, Central Florida got to the 8 yard line after a run by Holman and a facemask by BYU. Three plays later, Holman hit Stanback for the eventual game-winning touchdown. BYU managed to reach the 6 yard line, but the fourth down pass to Jordan Leslie was incomplete and the game was over.

Christian Stewart played well in his first start since Taysom Hill‘s injury. Stewart went 22 of 37 for 153 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. He also ran 13 times for 52 yards.

Algernon Brown ran 16 times for 80 yards while Paul Lasike added 51 yards on 12 carries. Devin Mahina led the Cougars in receiving with 4 catches for 46 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Justin Holman went 30 of 51 for 326 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He ran 10 times for 26 yards and a touchdown, but he also lost a fumble. Overall, it was an up and down game for him, but he showed a lot of resiliency in leading UCF back for the win. Holman also showed an incredibly strong arm throughout the game. William Stanback had 22 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. Stanback also had the game-winning touchdown catch, one of his two catches on the evening.

Josh Reese led the Knights in receiving with 5 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Breshad Perriman caught 6 passes for 83 yards while Rannell Hall had 8 catches for 71 yards.

BYU (4-2) has now lost back-to-back games and will look to right the ship next week. They face Nevada next Saturday at home.

Central Florida (3-2, 1-0) is trending in the opposite direction with their third straight victory. They face Tulane next Saturday at home as they return to conference play.

Todd Gurley Suspended

Todd Gurley

 

(Photo credit to Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images North America)

Heisman hopeful Todd Gurley was suspended by Georgia on Wednesday while he is investigated for potentially taking money in exchange for autographs.

The University of Georgia released a statement on Wednesday that said Gurley would be suspended indefinitely.

“I’m obviously very disappointed,” head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “The important thing for our team is turn all our attention toward preparation for Missouri.”

Gurley hand ran for 773 yards and 8 touchdowns on 94 attempts. Gurley also has 11 catches for 53 yards and a kickoff return for a touchdown against Clemson.

The loss of Gurley hurts the Bulldogs immensely. He accounted for 35.9% of the Georgia’s total offense and was the reason the Bulldogs to a 4-1 record to open the season.

Replacing Gurley will be nearly impossible and it does not help that Georgia already had two tailbacks out for the game against Missouri on Saturday. Freshman Sony Michel will be out for at least three more weeks with a broken shoulder-blade and junior Keith Marshall is out for this week against with a bruised ankle and knee. Marshall may be back next week for the game against Arkansas.

Freshman Nick Chubb will get the start in Gurley’s absence. He has 31 carries for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has looked explosive at times with a 7.2 yards-per-carry average and how shown good strength to shake off tacklers. Sophomore Brendan Douglas will also get some carries. However, Douglas has played in only one game, against Troy, when he ran for 47 yards on 8 carries.

Georgia may lean a bit more on quarterback Hutson Mason who has done admirably this year. He is 69 of 101 for 687 yards with 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 68.3.

#13 Georgia (4-1, 2-1) travels to #23 Missouri (4-1, 1-0) on Saturday in a pivotal matchup of SEC East foes.

Derrick Green Out For Year

Derrick Green

 

(Photo Credit To Gregory Shamus / Getty Images North America)

A bad season for Michigan just got worse. Starting running back Derrick Green has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2014 season with a broken clavicle.

Head coach Brady Hoke confirmed the news on Monday. Green suffered the injury on Saturday in the fourth quarter against Rutgers. Green ran for 74 yards on 12 carries.

Green had an up and down season prior to the injury. He ran for a total of 471 yards and 3 touchdowns. His best games were against Appalachian State where he ran for 170 yards and a touchdown and against Miami (OH) when he ran for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Replacing Green will be a combination of De’Veon Smith, Justice Hayes, and Drake Johnson. Smith has 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2014. Hayes has 101 yards on 19 carries while Johnson has 28 yards on 3 carries. Those 28 yards came against Appalachian State and he has not recorded any stats since.

Michigan is embroiled in an awful season with their record at 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. They have lost three games in a row to Utah, Minnesota, and Rutgers. Brady Hoke’s seat is already uncomfortably warm and it is hard to see him surviving this season even if they win out and go 9-4 with a bowl victory. That scenario is improbable given the way the Wolverines have performed in this season.

Michigan faces Penn State (4-1, 1-1) on Saturday in the Big House.

The State Of Mississippi Announces Its Return

11281346 MSU vs Ole Miss

(Photo Credit to Lauren Wood / DJournal.com)

Saturday was a long time coming for Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

For years the two programs from the state of Mississippi were down, or at the very best, underachieving. That all changed on Saturday, October 4 when #12 Mississippi State defeated #6 Texas A&M and #11 Ole Miss beat #3 Alabama.

The Bulldogs were very good in the 90’s under Jackie Sherrill, but fell on hard times in his last years and the subsequent tenure under Sylvester Croom. Croom had only one bowl game appearance in 5 years before Dan Mullen took over 2009. However, Mullen has not had that breakout season, though he has 4 bowl appearances (3-1 record) in his first 5 season. That will surely be a fifth bowl appearance in 2014 barring a historic collapse.

The Rebels were an average team in the 90’s and early 2000’s under Tommy Tuberville and David Cutcliffe, respectively. Cutcliffe went 10-3 in 2003 with a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State, but followed that up with a 4-7 campaign in 2004 and was fired. Cutcliffe has done well for himself by resurrecting a long dormant Duke program.

After Cutcliffe was fired, Ed Orgeron was brought in, but failed to do better than 4 wins in only three years. He was replaced by Houston Nutt who immediately brought the Rebels back-to-back Cotton Bowl wins following the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Nutt went 4-8 in 2010 and 2-10 in 2011.

Enter Hugh Freeze in 2012 who improved the Rebels to 7-6 and then to 8-5 in 2013 with some wonderful recruiting classes.

Both teams are now 5-0 in 2014, but this should not be a surprise with both men building their program in methodical ways. Freeze has done so with wonderful recruiting classes and solid coaching. Mullen took longer to get to this point, but the Bulldogs’ are not as quick to pull the trigger and it takes time to revive a program, especially in a conference as tough as the SEC.

As great as these wins were for both programs, the real test is to see how they respond especially with their moves up the rankings. The Bulldogs and Rebels are BOTH at #3 in the AP Poll.  And they will each have another big next weekend. #3 Mississippi State takes on #2 Auburn (5-0, 2-0) at home while #3 Ole Miss travels to #14 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1).

Both teams have a similar schedule to end the year.

The Bulldogs schedule is Auburn, at Kentucky, Arkansas, UT-Martin, at Alabama, Vanderbilt, and at Ole Miss.

The Rebels remaining schedule is at Texas A&M, Tennessee, at LSU, Auburn, Presbyterian, at Arkansas, Mississippi State.

The nod probably goes to the Bulldogs because they draw Vanderbilt and UT-Martin while the Rebels have Tennessee and Presbyterian in their two easiest games. It should be said that no team has an “easy” schedule per se because the SEC is is a buzz saw, especially the SEC West.

Of course, how could the Egg Bowl be ignored for all the tantalizing possibilities it presents now? It could be a door into the SEC Championship, which only the Bulldogs have appeared in. It could even be a door into the College Football Playoff if they win the SEC West and the SEC Title. That all is conjecture and both teams have 6 more games before they even reach the Egg Bowl. But is sure is fun to think about what could be at stake.

One thing that will be interesting to see is how these two coaches and programs do in 2015 and beyond. We have seen the Rebels have two good seasons in the past and then sink to the bottom of the SEC West. The Bulldogs have done the same. Still, there is no reason to think that these programs will not continue their success, barring any catastrophic event or sequence of events.

North Central Crushes Millikin In Conference Opener

The North Central College Cardinals had little trouble getting past Millikin on Saturday night in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) opener for both teams. The Cardinals crushed the Big Blue 47-13 with a big second quarter.

The Cardinals took their first drive of the game 73 yards in 13 plays to take the early lead. Tyler Dicken threw a 6 yard touchdown pass to Peter Sorenson to cap the drive.

Millikin added a 36 yard field goal late in the first quarter from Chayce Volpert to make it 7-3. However, that would be as close as they would get. North Central started to drive late in the first quarter and ended it with Dicken’s 6 yard touchdown pass to Demarco Tillman.

A fumble by Nick Pippin gave the Cardinals the ball at the Millikin 47 yard line and they turned it into Dicken’s third touchdown pass of the night. He threw a 15 yarder to Ryan Kuhl to make it 20-3 after the extra point was blocked by Andy Roth. North Central then tried an onside kick and recovered, but were stopped on fourth and one to give the ball back to Millikin.

Millikin turned that into a field goal from 43 yards out off of Volpert’s leg. North Central answered back with a 37 yard field goal of their own to make it 23-6 late in the first half.

Millikin had a chance to score late in the first half, but a fumble derailed their opportunity and the would run out the clock and trail 23-6 at the break.

The Cardinals started the second half with a punt that ended up at their own 44 yard line. Millikin drove to the Cardinals’ 13 yard line, but Pippin was picked off by P.J. Crotty at the ten to end the threat. It would not take long for the Cardinals to put the game out of reach.

Dylan Warden came in and completed a 5 yard pass to Sorenson to move the sticks. On the next play, Warden hit Sorenson on a bomb for the 80 yard touchdown and the 30-6 lead.

NCC extended the lead further on the next drive as Dicken came back in and threw his fourth touchdown of the night. This one went to Kolton Kuczynski from two yards out and the Cardinals led 37-6.

The Millikin’s next play would be Pippin’s pass getting taken back to the house for a 40 yard interception return by Justin Stuursma. Stuursma was not done with the big plays, as the next Millikin drive ended when he recovered the fumble.

North Central added a 31 yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to make it a 47-6 game before Millikin scored a very late and small consolation touchdown. Pippin hit Tucker Schwengel for the 3 yard touchdown pass to reach the final of 47-13.

Nick Pippin went 23 of 45 for 179 yards with 1 touchdown and two interceptions. He also carried the ball 11 times for 50 yards. Justin Brooks also had 50 yards, but did so on 8 carries. Isaiah Townsend was the top receiver for the Big Blue with 5 catches for 62 yards.

Tyler Dicken had an excellent game for the Cardinals even if his numbers were not eye-popping. He went 14 of 26 for 147 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. Dylan Warden went 4 for 4 with 88 yards and a touchdown in his drive during the third quarter. Warden contributed 30 yards on 6 carries as well.

Ryan Kent ran for 107 yards on 19 carries while Matt Randolph had 7 rushes for 40 yards. Peter Sorenson had 8 catches for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ryan Kuhl was the second leading receiver with 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Millikin (2-2, 0-1) will play at home next week against Illinois Wesleyan (2-2, 0-1). North Central (3-1, 1-0) goes on the road to face North Park (0-4, 0-1) in Chicago.

North Central lost last week to UW-Stevens Point and fell from number 5 to number 13. The Cardinals are expected to emerge from the game next week at North Park with a 2-0 record in CCIW play.

Wisconsin Struggles To Throw The Ball In Loss To Northwestern

Melvin Gordon

(Photo Credit to David Banks / Getty Images)

Melvin Gordon‘s career-high 259 yards rushing were not enough for the Badgers overcome Northwestern on Saturday. Godwin Igwebuike had THREE interceptions in the Wildcats win in a game that featured both Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy at quarterback for Wisconsin.

The Badgers’ first drive started well with Melvin Gordon breaking loose for a 58 yard run to the Northwestern 36 yard line. However, it ended with McEvoy throwing off his back foot to Alex Erickson. Igwebuike was there for his first interception and a touchback to end the drive.

The Badgers defense was stingy in the red zone after a long drive by the Wildcats. Jack Mitchell‘s 22 yard field goal make it 3-0. However, two drives later, Northwestern Trevor Siemian hit Dan Vitale for a 5 yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Wisconsin threw three straight incompletions after that. There would be no scoring for the rest of the half and the Wildcats led 10-0 at the break.

Wisconsin started the second half strong, just as they have all year long. Melvin Gordon broke 61 yard run on the second play to the Northwestern 14 yard line. After Gordon converted a fourth and one at the 5 yard line, he ran in on the next play from 2 yards out to cut the deficit to 10-7.

The Badgers’ reverted to their interception throwing ways on the next drive. Stave’s arm was hit on the throw and it was picked off by Jimmy Hall. The Wildcats capitalized on the next play with Miles Shuler running in from 16 yards out on the reverse to make it 17-7.

Wisconsin had a chance to cut the lead to 7 but Rafael Gaglianone‘s 50 yard field goal was wide left. Northwestern went right down the field but was stopped in the final 5 yards again. Jack Mitchell tacked on his second 22 yard field goal of the game to take a 20-7 lead.

Wisconsin had a great opportunity to close the gap at the Northwestern 3 yard line. Joel Stave dropped back and then scrambled towards the sideline. He pass was thrown right in the path of Igwebuike for an interception in the end zone to end another scoring chance.

Stave found Kenzel Doe on the next drive to make it 20-14 Wildcats. Stave threw his third interception with less than 30 seconds remaining to Igwebuike, which allowed Northwestern to run the clock out.

It was another dreadful passing performance by the Badgers, though the cloudy and rainy weather had a big impact on the passing. Joel Stave went 8 for 19 for 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Tanner McEvoy went 4 of 10 for 24 yards and an interception in a largely ineffective performance.

Melvin Gordon’s 259 yards and 1 touchdown performance went to waste for the Badgers. He did all that on 27 carries for a 9.6 yard-per-carry average.

Alex Erickson caught 4 passes for 45 yards. Kenzel Doe had 4 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown in his best game of the season.

The Badgers will need to find consistency in their passing game if they are to threaten in the Big Ten West division. The Badgers have thrown for 50, 289, 112, 160, and 138 yards in their first five games, including Saturday.

Gordon is up to 871 yards on 105 carries this year. His presence alone has made the Badgers far more competitive.

On Northwestern’s side of the ball, Trevor Siemian went 15 of 29 for 182 yards and a touchdown. Justin Jackson ran 33 times for 162 yards in his best performance of the year. Kyle Prater caught 5 balls for 55 yards to lead the Wildcats.

It is hard to ignore the Wildcats’ improved performances over the last two weeks. They defeated Penn State 29-6 in a dominant effort and have certainly put themselves in position to make a bowl game after finishing 5-7 in 2013.

Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1) returns home next week and will take on Illinois (3-3, 0-2). Northwestern (3-2, 2-0) goes on the road to face Minnesota (4-1, 1-0) who had a bye this week.

2013-14 Bowl Season: Ranking the Bowls 1 to 35

The regular season is just about complete (Army and Navy have to play on December 14 before it is considered over) and the bowl schedule is out. The bowl season will start on Saturday, December 21 and end on Monday, January 6, 2014. I will rank all 35 bowl games from 1 to 35 in descending order. Here are the rankings:

35. St. Petersburg Bowl: East Carolina Pirates (9-3) vs. Ohio Bobcats (7-5) – This game will showcase East Carolina’s high flying passing attack. This game also has the potential for a shootout.

34. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo Bulls (8-4) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (7-5) – It was a tumultuous start to the season for the Aztecs as they started 0-3. They finished the season 7-2 and 4 games went into overtime (3-1 in those games). If you watch this game, keep an eye out for Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack. He is rocketing up the NFL Draft boards and will be a menace all game.

33. Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV Rebels (7-5) vs. North Texas Mean Green (8-4) – UNLV has not played in a bowl game since 2000 and North Texas hasn’t played in a bowl game since 2004. North Texas sports a stingy defense giving up 18.1 points a game, 9th best in the nation.

32. Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-4) vs. Navy Midshipmen (7-4) – This is just the 6th bowl game in the history of Middle Tennessee football, but 4th since 2006 under coach Rick Stockstill. This will be the 10 bowl game in the last 11 seasons for Navy (3-6 in the previous 9 games). Expect a balanced offense from Middle Tennessee and a whole lot of rushing from Navy.

31. Liberty Bowl: Rice Owls (10-3) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-6) – We have the C-USA Champs in Rice and Mississippi State who needed a win over arch-rival Ole Miss to get here. I am expecting a defensive battle in this one.

30. Texas Bowl: Syracuse Orange (6-6) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4) – For most, this game probably isn’t their cup of tea. I like this matchup as I see this being a defensive game and hopefully Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill can be back in time to finish this season with this bowl game.

29. Belk Bowl: Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6) – This game could probably be higher. This game will come down to whether or not North Carolina can move the ball against Cincinnati’s defense.

28. GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-5) vs. Ball State Cardinals (10-2) – This game could easily be higher because I think this game has the ability to provide a lot of points. Ball State averages over 40 points a game while Arkansas State is averaging just under 30 points per game (29.7).

27. Little Caesars Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6) vs. Bowling Green Falcons (10-3) – Bowling Green will return to the site of their big upset victory over Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game. Pittsburgh will look to avoid a 2nd straight 6-7 season under Paul Chryst. I would expect the defenses to be prominent in this game.

26. Hawaii Bowl: Boise State Broncos (8-4) vs. Oregon State Beavers (6-6) – Boise State will be without Chris Petersen for this game as he has moved on to the University of Washington. Oregon State underachieved this year and if they can contain Jay Ajayi and the Boise State rushing attack, they will have a chance to win.

25. Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-6) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4) – The real appeal to this game is Notre Dame playing in the New York area. I would expect a defensive battle, but this game appears to favor Notre Dame.

24. New Mexico Bowl: Washington State Cougars (6-6) vs. Colorado State Rams (7-6) – These two teams will kickoff the bowl season and features two programs on the rise. I think this game should be a high scoring one.

23. Military Bowl: Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) vs. Maryland Terrapins (7-5) – This isn’t the most attractive matchup, but there are some things to like. Marshall has an explosive offense, but Maryland can also score points. I think this will a high scoring affair in Annapolis.

22. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan Wolverines (7-5) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (7-5) – This game shows the tale of two halves of the season for both teams. Kansas State started 2-4 before winning 5 of their last 6. Michigan started 6-1 before losing 4 of their last 5. My gut feeling for this game is that this will be a defensive game, but a shootout is not out of the question.

21. New Orleans Bowl: Tulane Green Wave (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (8-4) – I considered putting this game higher because both teams are close to New Orleans and that will make for a festive atmosphere. This is Tulane’s first bowl game since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl (a game they won 36-28 over Hawaii). UL-Lafayette is playing in this game for the 3rd straight season and they won the previous two.

20. Music City Bowl: Ole Miss Rebels (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-5) – This game features the SEC vs the ACC. Both teams are coming into this game off losses to their in-state rivals. I will be watching this game to see how Ole Miss does against the triple option offense of Georgia Tech. If Ole Miss can contain it, they will have a big chance to win.

19. Holiday Bowl: Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) – I personally think this will be a high scoring game. Arizona State has averaged 41 points a game and Texas Tech has scored just over 31 points a game. Arizona State comes into this game off the crushing loss at home in the Pac-12 title game. Texas Tech hopes to reverse a 5 game losing streak. Expect fireworks in this bowl game.

18. Alamo Bowl: Oregon Ducks (10-2) vs. Texas Longhorns (8-4) – Oregon players got their wish to not end up in another Rose Bowl, so they will spend their bowl stay in San Antonio, Texas. They will face Texas and Mack Brown, who may or may not be coaching his last game as the head coach of the Longhorns. It will be interesting to see how each team comes out and plays.

17. Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) vs. UCLA Bruins (9-3) – It has been a very quiet season for Virginia Tech, but their defense has played well this season. UCLA will bring Brett Hundley and their spread offense. That is the matchup I will be watching.

16. Gator Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (8-4) – The reason I have this game listed at #16 is because we saw this game last year and the starting quarterbacks issue. Georgia’s Aaron Murray will not play due to a torn ACL and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez is in doubt of playing in the game. Ultimately, this should be a good game.

15. Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State Aggies (8-5) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1) – This is a game of contrasting styles. The Huskies high powered spread offense led by Jordan Lynch will go head-to-head against the tough Utah State defense. It will be fun to watch this game from a matchup standpoint.

14. Fight Hunger Bowl: BYU Cougars (8-4) vs. Washington Huskies (8-4) – Washington is going for the most wins in a season since 2000 when they won 11 games. BYU is going for their 5th straight bowl victory and 7 of their last 8. What will have the biggest impact is that Steve Sarkisian will not be coaching the Huskies in this bowl game. Marques Tuiasosopo will coach Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl. With 3 weeks for both teams to prepare, I see a game in the 20’s for each team.

13. Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) vs. Houston Cougars (8-4) – This is a sneaky good matchup. Both teams have improved on defense as the season went on and this is should not be a high scoring game. I look forward to seeing how the SEC vs AAC matchup plays out.

12. Outback Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs. LSU Tigers (9-3) – This game lost some of its luster when Zach Mettenberger tore his ACL in LSU’s season finale against Arkansas. This is still a good matchup between run based Iowa and LSU’s defense which has had issues throughout the season. This will also matchup Iowa’s stingy defense against LSU’s vertical passing philosophy.

11. Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami (FL) Hurricanes (9-3) vs. Louisville Cardinals (11-1) – This should be a good game between two former Big East rivals. Louisville had BCS aspirations, but fell short in their quest. The Hurricanes are playing in their first bowl game since the 2010 Sun Bowl after 2 years of a self-imposed bowl ban. I think this will be a defensive battle between these two teams.

10. Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs (11-1) vs. USC Trojans (9-4) – This should be a good matchup between Fresno State and USC. How will Derek Carr face against the Trojans’ defense? USC will not have Ed Orgeron on the sideline as he resigned immediately after they hired Steve Sarkisian. Clay Helton will be the Trojans’ head coach for the bowl game and we will see how that affects them.

9. Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Duke Blue Devils (10-3) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (8-4) – The job that David Cutcliffe has done been nothing short of magnificent. This season was Duke’s 1st 10 win season ever in football. Texas A&M took a slight step back this season, but the real matchup will be between John Manziel and the Aggie offense against Duke’s defense.

8. AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona Wildcats (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5) – A matchup of two 7-5 teams at #8?! Yes this game is at #8 because of the two running backs. Arizona will feature Ka’Deem Carey who has rushed for 1,755 yards this year. Boston College’s Andre Williams has 2,102 yards this season. I look forward to seeing these two running backs in action.

7. Fiesta Bowl: Central Florida Knights (11-1) vs. Baylor Bears (11-1) – This game probably does not have appeal to many people, but I like this matchup. Neither of these teams has played in a BCS game. This will be a good matchup of Baylor’s offense against Central Florida’s defense.

6. Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners (10-2) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) – I have this game placed at 6 mainly because I don’t trust Bob Stoops to show up in a big game. Stoops has won just 1 BCS game since 2003 out of 6 appearances. There is the possibility that Alabama reverts back to their 2009 Sugar Bowl performance. After losing the 2008 SEC Championship to Florida, Alabama got blitzed in the 2009 Sugar Bowl by undefeated Utah, 31-17. Interesting possibilities here.

5. Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (10-2) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) – Last time Clemson played in this game in 2011 they were blown out of the building by West Virginia, 70-33. Of course, Ohio State is coming into this game off the loss to Michigan State. Will they come out and play or will they play flat? How will Tajh Boyd fare against the Ohio State defense? A lot of intrigue surrounds this game.

4. AT&T Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) vs. Missouri Tigers (11-2) – There are some good story lines here. Former Big 12 teams face off and both teams are coming off loses in games that could have clinched their respective conference titles. How will those teams respond?

3. Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin Badgers (9-3) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) – Arguably the best non-BCS bowl this year, we have the SEC matched up against a Big 10 team. South Carolina is playing their 3rd straight bowl game in the state of Florida (2 wins), while Wisconsin is playing their first non-BCS bowl since 2009. The played in three straight Rose Bowl games prior to this year and lost all three. Will the Big 10 get the better of the SEC in this game?

2. Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (11-2) vs. Michigan State Spartans (12-1) – What a matchup we have here. If you like a lot of rushes and stringent defenses, this game is for you. Stanford makes their 2nd straight Rose Bowl appearance (won in 2013 vs. Wisconsin, 20-14). Meanwhile, Michigan State plays in the first Rose Bowl since 1988.

1. BCS National Championship Game: Florida State Seminoles (13-0) vs. Auburn Tigers (12-1) – Was there any doubt about this? The dominant Seminoles will take on the high powered rushing attack of Auburn and the 7 straight National Championships by the SEC. There are other story lines such as Florida State playing in the first BCS National Championship game (1998 Fiesta Bowl, a game they lost 23-16 to Tennessee) and now play in the last BCS Title game before the move to the 4 team playoff.

 

I have always enjoyed the bowl games, especially as more and more bowl games have been added. I will be honest though, when I first saw the bowl schedule I felt it was underwhelming. After I dug a little deeper, this slate of games looks a lot better. There are some good matchups outside of the BCS games and quite a few should provide good entertainment in the form of shootouts.

2013 FCS Playoffs – 2nd Round Wrap Up

Note: As you read through this post, please be aware that I list the matchup of next week’s game in every other recap.

Furman (8-5) at #1 North Dakota State (11-0)

It was a slow start for the 2-time defending FCS Champions, but North Dakota State eventually pulled away for a 38-7 win over Furman. The game was scoreless until North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen hit Zach Vraa for a 52 yard touchdown. Furman responded with Marcus Anderson’s 1 yard touchdown run. Sam Ojuri made it 17-7 less than three minutes into the 3rd quarter and it was over from there.

Brock Jensen went 15 for 25 with 249 yards and 2 touchdowns passing for North Dakota State. Jensen added 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground. North Dakota State will face the winner between Coastal Carolina and #8 Montana.

Coastal Carolina (11-2) at #8 Montana (10-2)

It was cold and frigid in Missoula, Montana, but that did not stop Coastal Carolina from beating Montana 42-35. Both teams traded touchdowns in a 1st quarter that ended 14-14. The 2nd quarter is where Coastal Carolina separated themselves from Montana. Alex Ross found Nicollo Mastromatteo twice as Coastal Carolina took a 35-14 lead at halftime. Montana tried to mount a comeback by cutting the lead to 42-35. Unfortunately for Montana it would be enough as Coastal Carolina ran out the clock on their season.

As you would imagine, there were some big stats put up. Montana’s Jordan Johnson threw for 388 yards and 4 touchdowns. Montana receivers Jamaal Jones and Ellis Henderson both had over 100 yards receiving. For Coastal Carolina, Alex Ross and Lorenzo Taliaferro both had over 100 yards rushing.

Coastal Carolina will now face #1 North Dakota State in the quarterfinals next week.

New Hampshire (8-4) at #5 Maine (10-2)

A rematch between Colonial Athletic foes had the same result as in the regular season: a New Hampshire win. This time New Hampshire won 41-27. The teams traded field goals and touchdowns throughout the first half as New Hampshire held a 20-17 lead. The 3rd quarter saw New Hampshire with a touchdown via Sean Goldrich to Justin Mello to extend the lead to 27-17, but Maine got a field goal later in the quarter to make the score 27-20. In the 4th quarter, New Hampshire running back Chris Setian had two rushing touchdowns to put the game out of reach.

Sean Goldrich threw for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns for New Hampshire. Marcus Wasilewski had 299 yards and 2 touchdowns for Maine in the losing effort.

New Hampshire will face the winner of Sam Houston State and #4 Southeastern Louisiana.

Sam Houston State (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (10-2)

The first half of this game was the tale of two quarters. Sam Houston State dominated the first quarter with 2 rushing touchdowns and an interception returned for a touchdown. They led 21-7 after the first quarter. The 2nd quarter belonged to Southeastern Louisiana as they outscored Sam Houston State 17-0 and took a 24-21 lead into halftime.

The 3rd quarter saw a measly safety recorded by Sam Houston State to cut the deficit to one point, 24-23. Early in the 4th quarter, Brian Bell scored a 2 yard rushing touchdown and Sam Houston State took a 29-24 lead after failing to convert the 2 point conversion. Southeastern Louisiana had one last chance late in the 4th quarter to get the win. With 36 seconds left Bryan Bennett hit Jeff Smiley for the 1 yard touchdown pass. Southeastern Louisiana failed on the 2 point conversion, but held on for a 30-29 victory over their Southland Conference foe.

Southeastern Louisiana will face New Hampshire in the quarterfinals.

South Dakota State (9-4) at #3 Eastern Washington (10-2)

A close contest in the first half gave way to a big Eastern Washington victory by the score of 41-17. South Dakota State took an early 7-0 lead thanks to Austin Sumner’s 14 yard touchdown pass to Reginald Gandy. Eastern Washington responded with Vernon Adams’ 22 yard touchdown pass to Zach Gehring. Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the 2nd quarter as they went to half tied at 14.

The 2nd half was dominated by Eastern Washington. Vernon Adams had 3 touchdown passes as Eastern Washington outscored South Dakota State 27-3 in the 2nd half. Vernon Adams had 217 yards passing and 5 touchdowns. Quincy Forte ran for 202 yards and touchdown on the ground for Eastern Washington. South Dakota State’s Austin Sumner threw for 315 yards in the loss.

Eastern Washington will face the winner of Jacksonville State and McNeese State.

Jacksonville State (10-3) at #6 McNeese State (10-2)

This game was dominated by Jacksonville State from the start as they upset McNeese State 31-10. DaMarcus James had two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter as Jacksonville State led 21-0 at halftime. DaMarcus James added another touchdown to give him a total of three for the game. For the game DaMarcus James had 127 yards on 24 carries along with those 3 touchdowns.

It was a very solid defensive performance by Jacksonville State. They allowed 301 yards of total defense, but only 46 rushing yards. They also held McNeese State to 1 for 16 on 3rd down conversions.

For their victory, Jacksonville State will face #3 Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.

Fordham (12-1) at #7 Towson (10-2)

An entertaining game in the 1st half gave way to Towson domination in the 2nd half as they beat Fordham 48-28. Fordham’s quarterback Michael Nebrich threw 3 first half touchdowns. Peter Athens threw 2 first half touchdowns for Towson. In the 2nd half, Towson’s running game took over. Terrance West had 2 rushing touchdowns and Darius Victor added another for Towson.

Michael Nebrich threw 394 yards and 4 touchdowns for Fordham. Dan Light caught 13 passes for 122 yards and Sam Ajala had 8 receptions for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns, both of them in the loss. Towson quarterback Peter Athens went 13 for 15 for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Towson will play either Tennessee State or #2 Eastern Illinois next week.

Tennessee State (10-3) at #2 Eastern Illinois (11-1)

This game was decided early on as Eastern Illinois raced out to a 16-0 lead by the end of the first and then held a 37-0 lead at halftime. Eastern Illinois used their rushing attack as they amassed 313 yards on the ground. Shepard Little had 184 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns. Eastern Illinois ended up with 553 yards of total offense. Eastern Illinois held Tennessee State to 45 yards rushing.

Eastern Illinois will face #7 Towson in the quarterfinals next week.

 

Quarterfinal Matchups

Coastal Carolina (12-2) at #1 North Dakota State (12-0) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 12 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN. The winner of this game will play the winner of the New Hampshire at #4 Southeastern Louisiana on December 20 or 21.

New Hampshire (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 7 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. The winner of this game will play the winner of the Coastal Carolina at #1 North Dakota State on December 20 or 21.

Jacksonville State (11-3) at #3 Eastern Washington (11-2) – This game will be played on Saturday, December 14 at 4 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN3. The winner of this game will play the winner of the #7 Towson at #2 Eastern Illinois on December 20 or 21.

#7 Towson (12-1) at #2 Eastern Illinois (12-1) – This game will be played on Friday, December 13 at 8 P.M. Eastern Time on ESPN2. The winner of this game will play the winner of Jacksonville State at #3 Eastern Washington on December 20 or 21.

 

Quarterfinals Predictions

I went 5-3 in 1st Round and did the same for the 2nd Round. I missed Coastal Carolina, Jacksonville State, and Towson in the 2nd Round. Here are my Quarterfinal picks:

– Coastal Carolina (12-2) at #1 North Dakota State (12-0) – The big news for this game is that North Dakota State Head Coach Craig Bohl will take the same position at Wyoming. Bohl will stay on for the duration of the FCS Playoffs and that is great news for Bison fans. I like North Dakota State to prevail here, but it will be close. 31-28 Bison will beat Coastal Carolina to play in the semifinals.

– New Hampshire (9-4) at #4 Southeastern Louisiana (11-2) – I expect a shootout here between these teams. New Hampshire was impressive beating Maine for the 2nd time while Southeastern Louisiana needed a last minute touchdown to beat Sam Houston State. I will go with New Hampshire in a high scoring affair 45-41.

– Jacksonville State (11-3) at #3 Eastern Washington (11-2) – This game is tough for me to call. The forecast as of this writing is about 30 degrees with a chance of a snow shower. I think this game will be close throughout, but I will go with Vernon Adams and Eastern Washington here, 30-24.

– #7 Towson (12-1) at #2 Eastern Illinois (12-1) – I like Eastern Illinois here at home by a couple of touchdowns. This should be entertaining throughout on Friday Night and I like Eastern Illinois to win 48-34.

 

Be sure to enjoy the quarterfinals action of the FCS Playoffs. Check back next week for quarterfinals  recaps and predictions for the Semifinals.

2013 Division 3 Football Playoffs – Quarterfinals Wrap Up

Note: As you read through this post, please be aware that I list the matchup of next week’s game in every other recap.

 Wesley (10-2) at Mount Union (12-0)

This was one entertaining and wild game, though it seemed far from that by the end of the 1st quarter. Mount Union jumped out to a 31-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan threw 3 first quarter interceptions that were turned into 21 points for Mount Union. Wesley started making headway in the 2nd quarter, but their defense was still giving up points. Mount Union held a 48-20 lead at halftime.

In the 3rd quarter, Wesley’s defense stepped up and so did quarterback Joe Callahan. Joe Callahan threw two touchdowns as Wesley cut the lead to 48-34 after the third quarter. Early in the 4th quarter Joe Callahan found Bryce Shade to cut Mount Union’s lead to 48-41. On their ensuing drive, Mount Union finally got back on track and used a Kevin Burke touchdown pass to Sherman Wilkinson to lead 55-41. Eventually, Wesley cut the lead to 62-59 with 1:30 left, but Mount Union was able to run the clock out to hold on for the win.

Mount Union quarterback Kevin Burke accounted for 5 total touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing) and all 3 of his passing touchdowns were thrown to Sherman Wilkinson. Wilkinson had 135 yards on 5 catches to go along with his three receiving touchdowns. In a losing effort, Joe Callahan had a monstrous game. He threw for 633 yards and 8 passing touchdowns. Callahan also had 4 interceptions, three of which came in the 1st quarter. Wesley wide receiver Steve Koudossou had 11 catches for 273 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Mount Union will face the winner of the North Central (IL) at Bethel (MN) game in the semifinals.

North Central (IL) (12-0) at Bethel (MN) (12-0)

Playing in the frigid air of Arden Hills, Minnesota, North Central took a 21-3 lead 6 seconds into the 2nd quarter and did not look back. North Central running back Ryan Kent had 109 yards on the ground while punching the ball in for a touchdown 4 times. Quarterback Spencer Stanek added 249 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air for North Central. Bethel running backs Marshall Klitzke and Jesse Phenow both had 90+ yards of rushing and a touchdown apiece on the ground.

North Central will face Mount Union in the semifinals next week.

Linfield (11-0) at Wisconsin-Whitewater (12-0)

Linfield had a 17-0 lead with 12:55 left in the 2nd quarter, but UW-Whitewater shut them out for the rest of the game as Whitewater won 28-17. Linfield got a quick start with a Josh Yoder 3 yard touchdown rush after just 1:39 elapsed in the 1st quarter. Linfield had a chance to score again after UW-Whitewater fumbled the kickoff, but Linfield fumbled the ball at the Whitwater 1 on 4th and goal.

With 12:55 left in the 2nd quarter Linfield quarterback Josh Yoder found Evan Petersen for a 60 yard touchdown and Linfield held a 17-0 lead. On their ensuing drive, Whitewater got great field position on the kickoff return and then quickly got to the end zone thanks to Matt Behrendt’s 19 yards touchdown pass to Tyler Huber. Whitewater added a touchdown with 4:07 left to cut the lead to 17-14 at halftime.

Whitewater added a touchdown in both the 3rd and 4th quarter to make the final score line 28-17. Whitewater quarterback Matt Behrendt threw for 275 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jake Kumerow had 7 receptions for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns for Whitewater. Linfield quarterback Josh Yoder ended up with 374 yards passing and a touchdown in the loss. Whitewater also held Linfield to 24 yards rushing on 40 attempts.

UW-Whitewater will take on the winner between St. John Fisher and Mary Hardin-Baylor.

St. John Fisher (10-2) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0)

Mary Hardin-Baylor led comfortably throughout their 45-23 victory over St. John Fisher. Mary Hardin-Baylor did not have the dominant rushing performance that you would expect (only 120 yards on 40 carries), but they did get help on defense and special teams. Brodrick Crain intercepted St. John Fisher quarterback Tyler Fenti and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown in the 1st quarter. Speaking Tyler Fenti, he had a great statistical performance throwing for 411 yards and a touchdown for St. John Fisher. St. John Fisher’s Dan Rudy had 11 catches for 167 yards as well.

Mary Hardin-Baylor will play Wisconsin-Whitewater next week in the semifinals.

 

Semifinals Schedule

Both semifinal games are to be played on December 14th at the host institutions.

North Central (IL) (13-0) at Mount Union (13-0)

Wisconsin-Whitewater (13-0) at Mary Hardin-Baylor (13-0)