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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.

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.

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.