- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday53 mins ago
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl Central Florida (9-3) vs. N.C. State (7-5) St. Petersburg, Fla. Dec. 26, 2014
UCF will be on an impressive streak if it beats N.C. State on Friday.
The win gives the Knights a third-straight 10-win season. Sure, one of those seasons came in Conference USA and the last two years have been played the AAC. Neither conference is a beacon of college football power. But UCF would be in pretty elite company, and as last year's Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor showed, the Knights can play with the best.
Though it did take a miracle for UCF to be in position for a third-straight 10-win season. In the final week of the season, UCF traveled to East Carolina for the Pirates' senior night. And it looked like ECU would escape with a win before giving the ball back to UCF with seconds remaining. All of that changed when Justin Holman hit Breshad Perriman on a Hail Mary behind ECU's secondary. UCF had the win and a share of the AAC title.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday2 hrs ago
Quick Lane Bowl Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina (6-6) Detroit, Mich. Dec. 26, 2014
Rutgers and North Carolina each allow more than 30 points per game, so the Quick Lane Bowl has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.
The Scarlet Knights (7-5), in their first season in the Big Ten, overcame a defense that gave up 30.9 points per game and managed to win seven games, including three in conference play.
Despite its defensive struggles, Rutgers showed some flashes of big play ability over the course of the year. Senior quarterback Gary Nova threw for 2,667 yards and 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Junior wideout Leontee Carroo, Nova’s top target, hauled in 53 receptions for 1,043 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the Rutgers’ receiving corp.
After running back Paul James went down with a knee injury early in the year, Rutgers went with a running back by committee approach the rest of the season. In addition to James, four additional backs tallied at least 50 carries and 200 yards with freshmen Robert Martin and Josh Hicks emerging at the position down the stretch.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday2 hrs ago
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl Illinois (6-6) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-5) Dallas, Texas Dec. 26, 2014
Louisiana Tech and Illinois will both return to postseason play for the first time since 2011 when the two meet in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Friday.
The Illini, in their third season under Tim Beckman, have slowly but steadily improved in each season with Beckman at the helm. The Illini won two games in his first season and four games in his second season. This year, they added two wins again to finish 6-6 and clinch bowl eligibility.
Postseason play looked unlikely when Beckman’s squad dropped to 4-6 on Nov. 15 with two games left in the season. However, the Illini responded with back-to-back wins over Penn State and Northwestern to round out the regular season.
After struggling offensively for most of the season, the Illini found a bit of a rhythm with Reilly O’Toole at quarterback (replacing Wes Lunt) and true freshman Mike Dudek emerging at wide receiver. The speedy Dudek was especially impressive and tallied 69 receptions for 965 yards and six scores on the season.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday14 hrs ago
Rice separated itself from Fresno State late in the first quarter of the Hawaii Bowl, and it did so quickly.
After Fresno tied the score at 3-3 with 2:16 left in the quarter, the Owls scored twice – both on Driphus Jackson touchdown passes – before the quarter even ended to take a 16-3 lead. It was a lead the Owls would not relinquish in a dominant 30-6 win.
Following Fresno's game-tying field goal, Jackson led the Owls on a five-play, 78-yard drive that was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor to give the Owls a 9-3 lead (the extra point was wide right). Rice’s J.T. Blasingame intercepted Bulldogs’ quarterback Brian Burrell on the first play of Fresno’s ensuing possession.
On the very next play, Jackson, a junior who threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the game, went back to the air and hit Mario Hull behind the defense for a 69-yard score. All of a sudden, in 23 seconds of game time, the Owls scored twice and took a 16-3 lead.
The rest of the half was mainly a defensive affair, though Fresno’s Kody Kroenig added his second field goal of the half to cut the deficit to 16-6.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday15 hrs ago
Jonathan Williams, Arkansas’ leading rusher, will return to the Razorbacks in 2015.
After being evaluated by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, the junior announced Wednesday that he will return for his senior season.
“I am very excited to return to Arkansas for my senior season and help bring the Razorback football program back to where it belongs,” Williams said in a statement. “Coach (Bret) Bielema and Coach (Joel) Thomas have been very supportive of me and my family throughout this process.
“My faith, family and education are very important to me and all three played a major role in my decision. I have many goals that I want to pursue, on and off the field. Graduating from the University of Arkansas is very important to me, and I look forward to running through the ‘A’ again in 2015.”
The 6-foot, 225-pound Williams gained 1,085 yards on 188 carries with 11 touchdowns to lead the Razorbacks, who went 6-6 in year two under head coach Bret Bielema. He along with sophomore Alex Collins (1024 yards, 12 TDs) will make for a formidable backfield for the Razorbacks in 2015.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday21 hrs ago
Florida State freshman standout running back Dalvin Cook was named in an aggravated assault case from July, according to a statement from the Tallahassee Police Department.
The case is still active and involves two men who “are alleged to have brandished a firearm at a neighbor on July 17, 2014.” Cook, FSU’s leading rusher with 905 yards, is “listed as an associate in the case,” TPD said.
Following a public records request from the ESPN’s Outside the Lines that listed 360 FSU athletes, the Tallahassee Police Department provided police records that contain the names of over 300 FSU athletes.
The public records request was filed by an ESPN reporter in September 2014. After the request was processed, the TPD Records Department provided ESPN with “over 300 police reports where the name provided by the reporter was mentioned as a witness, victim, suspect, reporting party, etc.”
After the cases were reviewed in accordance with Florida Public Records Law, the material was provided to ESPN and local media.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday22 hrs ago
What a crazy game.
Central Michigan had no answer for Western Kentucky’s high-powered offense in the first half of the inaugural Bahamas Bowl, but the Chippewas stormed all the way back from a 49-14 fourth quarter deficit and had a chance to win the game with a two-point conversion following a wack Hail Mary touchdown with no time remaining. That two-point attempt fell short and WKU hung on for a 49-48 win – the first bowl win in program history.
The Chippewas scored five times in the fourth quarter – all on Cooper Rush touchdown passes. The last one came on the Hail Mary with one-second left with the Chippewas trailing 49-42. From his own 25-yard line, Rush chucked the ball down the field to wideout Jesse Kroll, who caught the pass in traffic at the WKU 30-yard line.
Then this happened (video via @CJZero):
Kroll managed to lateral the ball to a teammate. Three laterals later, the ball was in the hands of Titus Davis, who sprinted toward the goal line for an improbable touchdown.
- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday1 day ago
The holiday season brings holiday parties, so we wondered what would happen if the SEC coaches all had a Christmas party. So this is our best guess as to what would take place if all 14 coaches shared an evening together. No, this isn't real. And yes, this is being hosted by Nick Saban.
*Knock* *Lane Kiffin raises arms in the air after answering the door.*
Saban: Hugh, you're the first one here. Merry Christmas.
Hugh Freeze: I'm also the only coach to beat you this season. So I figured I'd arrive early and bring back those memories.
Saban: That's thoughtful of you. You can give your coat to AJ if you'd like. He's taking coats tonight.
*AJ McCarron takes Freeze's coat and takes it upstairs.*
Freeze: Does everyone have a responsibility? It was good to chat with Lane at the door.
Saban: He's a great offensive mind, and I figured that opening the door would give him a chance to recharge himself.
*Knock* *Kiffin raises arms in the air after answering the door.*
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday1 day ago
Western Michigan linebacker Grant DePalma received an awesome Christmas gift from head coach P.J. Fleck.
DePalma, a junior, walked on to the team after attending an open tryout. At 5-foot-9 and 218 pounds, he’s not the typical Division I linebacker, but he worked his way up from the scout team last year to become one of the team’s top defensive players, so Fleck – with a little help from Santa Claus – rewarded him with a scholarship.
DePalma led the Broncos with 97 total tackles this season. He also registered eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. He redshirted the 2013 season after transferring to WMU from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, an engineering college in Terre Haute, Ind.
“That guy’s what our program’s all about,” Fleck told his team of DePalma.
The Broncos, in Fleck’s second season, finished the season at 8-5 after losing to Air Force in the Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 20.
For more Western Michigan news, visit BroncoBlitz.com.
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- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday1 day ago
Any blooper reel of the 2014 bowl season will be centered around the fourth quarter of Navy's 17-16 win over San Diego State.
The final 15 minutes of the game featured four turnovers, an incredibly confusing officiating sequence, an odd choice to go for it on fourth down and a missed game-winning field goal that ultimately gave Navy the victory.
Let's start with the missed field goal. After Austin Grebe put Navy up by a point with 1:27 left, San Diego State got into Navy territory after QB Quinn Kaehler hit WR Eric Judge for a 32-yard gain (Judge was ruled to have fumbled on the play – the fifth turnover of the fourth quarter – but the fumble was overturned). Four plays later, an incomplete pass set up a 34-yard field goal attempt for Donny Hageman, who was 3-3 on field goals throughout the game.
But on his fourth attempt, Hageman simply pushed it way right from the left hash. Navy got the ball back with 20 seconds to go and SDSU only had one timeout. The game was over.