- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday27 mins ago
At the end of a team meeting, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones told his players that he’d be giving out a few gifts to players who had great showings during bowl practice.
The first player Jones called up, walk-on tight end Alex Ellis, received a gift all walk-ons dream of: a scholarship.
It was a very emotional moment for Ellis, who is in his fourth year with the program.
“I’ve been dreaming about this every day of my life,” Ellis said, fighting tears.
After not seeing the field during his first three seasons with the program, Ellis, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound redshirt junior from Del Mar, Del., appeared in all 12 games for the Volunteers this year and even made his first career start against Kentucky on Nov. 15.
Ellis registered six catches for 115 yards on the season, including a 31-yard touchdown on a fake field goal against Missouri on Nov. 22.
After going 6-6 this season, the Vols will play Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 2.
For more Tennessee news, visit VolQuest.com.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday58 mins ago
A few days before the inaugural Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve, the players and coaches from Western Kentucky and Central Michigan got a chance to take in what the tropical paradise has to offer.
After taking in the sights, a few players from each team got in the water and got up close and personal with some dolphins. The players were admittedly nervous, but with the dolphin trainers close by, they quickly got more comfortable.
One player in particular, Central Michigan tight end Deon Butler, looks like he had a really good time with his new dolphin friend.
We already got a glimpse earlier this month of how excited the CMU players were to play in the Bahamas. This brings that all to fruition.
The game, played at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau – the capital city of the Bahamas – will kick off at noon on Wednesday. Both teams are 7-5.
For more Western Kentucky news, InsideHilltopperSports.com.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday1 hr ago
In his final collegiate game, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato will ditch his familiar No. 12 jersey.
Instead, according to the Herald-Dispatch, Cato will wear No. 31 when the Thundering Herd takes on Northern Illinois in Tuesday’s Boca Raton Bowl. He’ll wear the new number to honor a teammate, junior linebacker Evan McKelvey. McKelvey suffered an ACL injury on Oct. 4 against Old Dominion and several of his teammates have worn his No. 31 throughout the season. Cato will be the first offensive player to do so.
“We want Evan to know that we’re behind him for the whole season and support him, no matter what,” Cato said Saturday. “The defense has done a great job of wearing it all year. I just thought it was the perfect time for me to wear it.”
A teammate wore McKelvey’s number in every game since he went down except one – the team’s 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky, Marshall’s only loss of the season. McKelvey said that it “means a lot” that his teammates wear his jersey number.
- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday2 hrs ago
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Navy (7-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5) San Diego, Calif. Dec 23, 2014
From a local interest standpoint, the folks at the Poinsettia Bowl couldn't have done much better. Heck, do they think they could have done any better?
Navy first agreed to go to the Poinsettia Bowl. From then, the bowl knew who it wanted: the team that plays its home games at Qualcomm Stadium.
“Navy and San Diego State are a natural tie-in for a local game,” Poinsettia Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski told the San Deigo Union-Tribune after the matchup was finalized. “It’s almost like having two home teams.
“We don’t know if we’ll have the opportunity to do this again, so it was something we felt like we just had to do.”
Both teams enter on winning streaks. After losing to Boise State on Nov. 15, San Diego State beat Air Force and San Jose State to get above .500. Navy's last loss was to Notre Dame on Nov. 1. Since then, the Midshipmen have beaten Georgia Southern, South Alabama and Army.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday3 hrs ago
Boca Raton Bowl Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2) Boca Raton, Fla. Dec 23, 2014
It’s a welcomed sight to see two of the best Group of Five teams facing off in a bowl game.
Tuesday’s Boca Raton Bowl matchup between Conference USA champions Marshall (12-1) and Northern Illinois (11-2), the MAC champs, is also the only non-New Year’s bowl game to feature two conference champions, so we should be in for a treat.
The fact is, both teams could have been representing the Group of Five on New Year’s Day, Marshall especially. The Thundering Herd’s quest for an undefeated season fell short in a 67-66 overtime loss to Western Kentucky in the regular season finale, allowing Mountain West champions Boise State to leapfrog them in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Marshall’s route was a lot clearer, but the Huskies played themselves into consideration for a New Year’s bowl by winning seven straight games, including a dominant 51-17 MAC championship win over Bowling Green. If Boise lost its own conference title game, NIU could very well have jumped both Boise and Marshall.
- Sam Cooper at Dr. Saturday3 hrs ago
Less than a week after signing with Ole Miss, Chad Kelly is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Kelly, the former Clemson quarterback who won a junior college national championship at East Mississippi Community College this season, was arrested early Sunday morning in Buffalo and is facing an array of charges. According to the Buffalo News, Kelly’s charges include “third-degree assault, second-degree harassment, second-degree menacing, resisting arrest, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree obstructing governmental administration.” All charges are misdemeanors or violations.
- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday20 hrs ago
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won't face punishment from the Florida State code of conduct hearing involving the allegations of sexual assault against him from Dec. 2012.
Retired Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding released his decision in a letter to Winston and the woman accusing him, which was obtained by USA Today. Harding was the man appointed to oversee the hearing.
"This was a complex case, and I worked hard to make sure both parties had a full and fair opportunity to present information. In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charge violations of the Code. Namely, I find that the evidence before me is insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof."
- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday21 hrs ago
Boise State running back Jay Ajayi announced Sunday that he's heading to the NFL draft after the Fiesta Bowl.
Ajayi has been one of the best running backs in college football this season. He has 1,689 rushing yards and 536 receiving yards and 29 total touchdowns. A junior, he had one more year of eligibility left.
Per the Idaho Statesman, Ajayi said he made the decision eight days ago, but waited until Sunday to tell his teammates. He didn't get feedback from the NFL draft advisory panel.
Ajayi told team in huddle at end of practice today. Harsin said he did a great job with it.
Because he's a running back coming off a prolific season, it's not a surprising decision that Ajayi is leaving. Nor is it a bad decision. Much like Melvin Gordon's decision to leave Wisconsin, Ajayi needs to maximize his value when he can.
Gordon is likely to be the first running back off the board in the spring and Ajayi should follow shortly after him though it sems unlikely that he'll be drafted as high as Doug Martin was in 2012 when he was drafted 31st overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Nick Bromberg at Dr. Saturday22 hrs ago
Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder and football coach Mike Gundy clearly have a difference in non-conference scheduling opinion.
Holder made the separate philosophies apparentin an interview with the Oklahoman's Berry Tramel.
“My football coach doesn’t want to play anybody any good, definitely, but jiminy Christmas, we looked pretty good against Florida State,” Holder said of the 2014 season opener, which the Cowboys lost 37-31. “Until we beat OU, that was the highlight of our season.”
The topic of scheduling is big because of the way Baylor was treated throughout the College Football Playoff rankings because of its porous non-conference schedule. The Bears played Buffalo, SMU and Northwestern State outside of the Big 12. Baylor ended up fifth and outside the playoff in the final standings while TCU, the team Baylor beat for its only loss of the season, was dropped to sixth when the head-to-head matchup between the teams came into play.
- Graham Watson at Dr. Saturday23 hrs ago
Miami Beach Bowl BYU (8-4) vs. Memphis (9-3) Miami Dec 22, 2014
Both Memphis and BYU could be considered success stories this season considering the obstacles they’ve overcome to get into this bowl game.
Memphis had not had a winning season since 2007 and had not been to a bowl game since 2008. In fact, the Tigers were 4-31 in the three years prior to coach Justin Fuente taking over, and this season, the Tigers finished in the three-way tie for the American Athletic Conference title.
BYU had a stellar start to the season before star quarterback Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending knee injury during the fifth game of the year. The Cougars stumbled a bit as they tried to get their footing with new quarterback Christian Stewart, but managed to finish the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
This contest is a classic strong offense versus strong defense matchup. BYU is 19th in the country in scoring offense with 36.2 points per game and averages 463.4 yards per game. Memphis is fifth in the country allowing just 17.1 points per game. Only UCLA scored more than 28 points on the Tigers this season and only two teams in the past six games managed 20 points.