College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Top 25 roundup: LSU upsets No. 3 Ole Miss
    By The Sports Xchange

    BATON ROUGE, La. -- After handing off on nearly every play during a 95-yard drive, LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Logan Stokes to lift the No. 24 Tigers to a 10-7 win over No. 3 and previously unbeaten Ole Miss before a record crowd of 102,321 on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.

    • Trailing 7-3, LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) took over at its own 5-yard line with 11:06 left in the fourth quarter. After having committed four turnovers, LSU decided to keep the ball on the ground, calling 12 consecutive running plays to move the ball to the Ole Miss 3.

      Kenny Hilliard ripped off gains of 18 and 16 yards and Leonard Fournette raced 23 yards to set up the winning score with 5:07 left.

      "That was a middle-1970s drive," said LSU coach Les Miles. "How many runs in a row was that (12)? It was physical, pounding, really good calls. It's a physical offensive line coming after you. Those guys up front are getting better."

      Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1) had two more shots, but the LSU defense stopped quarterback Bo Wallace on a fourth-and-1 sneak to turn the ball over.

      The Rebels got the ball back at its 25 with 1:19 left and, without timeouts, drove 50 yards to the LSU 25. With nine seconds left, Ole Miss lined up to attempt a tying 42-yard field goal but was called for a delay of game, which would have made it a 47-yard attempt.

      After an LSU timeout, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze decided to throw deep, but safety Ronald Martin intercepted at the Ole Miss 2 and the Tigers ran out the clock.

      "We just didn't execute well enough," Freeze said. "But we didn't stop playing."

      No. 1 Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31

      LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Quarterback Dak Prescott accounted for three touchdowns and Mississippi State held off upset-minded Kentucky.

      After Kentucky cut the lead to a touchdown with 2:31 left, Bulldogs senior Christian Holmes fielded the Wildcats' onside kick attempt and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

      Prescott finished with 304 yards, 216 through the air and 88 on the ground, while rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another.

      Junior Josh Robinson led the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) with 198 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns. The Bulldogs totaled 326 rushing yards.

      Despite 390 passing yards and 76 rushing yards from sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles, Kentucky (5-3, 2-3) could not overtake the Bulldogs.

      No. 4 Alabama 34, Tennessee 20

      KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Amari Cooper caught nine passes for a school-record 224 yards and scored two touchdowns to help Alabama beat Tennessee.

      The Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC) raced to a 27-0 lead, but added just seven points in the final 30 minutes.

      Alabama quarterback Blake Sims had a solid outing as both a passer and rusher. Sims piled up 328 total yards and three total touchdowns, passing for 286 yards and rushing for 42 yards.

      Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who coached Tennessee in 2009, returned to Neyland Stadium for the first time since leaving for Southern California after only one season. Tennessee dropped to 3-5, 0-4.

      No. 5 Auburn 42, South Carolina 35

      AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn needed an interception in the end zone as time expired to avoid an upset, holding on to beat South Carolina.

      Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall ran for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Tigers improved to 6-1, 3-1 in the SEC and stayed in the thick of the national championship race.

      South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson had a career night with 402 passing yards and five touchdowns as the Gamecocks fell to 4-4, 2-4.

      No. 8 Michigan State 35, Michigan 11

      EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jeremy Langford ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan State continued its dominance over in-state rival Michigan.

      It was the sixth victory for Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) in the last seven meetings against Michigan (3-5, 1-3) and the fourth straight at home.

      Langford went over the 100-yard mark for the 12th straight game against a Big Ten opponent and Connor Cook was 12-for-21 for 227 yards and a touchdown. He hit wide receiver Tony Lippett with a 70-yard strike in the third quarter.

      Lippett finished with three catches for 103 yards. It was his sixth 100-yard receiving game and he has nine touchdowns this season.

      No. 10 TCU 82, Texas Tech 27

      FORT WORTH -- Quarterback Trevone Boykin threw a school-record seven touchdown passes for 433 yards in just three quarters in TCU's rout of Texas Tech.

      Boykin had TD throws of 92, 57, 54 and 51 yards. Boykin's last pass, a 13-yard touchdown to Emanuel Porter, was his most benign, but it gave the Horned Frogs (6-1, 3-1, Big 12) their 68th point of the game.

      Texas Tech (3-5, 1-4) never could find an answer to Boykin.

      TCU's point total was the most in its history, the second highest in Big 12 history and the highest in a Big 12 conference game. The total surpassed the 77 put up by Oklahoma against Texas A&M in 2003 and was behind the 84 scored by Oklahoma State against Savannah State in 2012.

      No. 11 Kansas State 23, Texas 0

      MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Kansas State survived a sluggish offensive effort to shut out Texas for the 500th victory in the program's history.

      Kansas State controlled the clock, holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes, but managed only 4.8 yards per play.

      Jake Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards, while DeMarcus Robinson led the K-State rushing attack with 50 yards, but the Wildcats averaged only 2.9 yards per rush.

      While the Wildcats (6-1, 4-0 Big 12) only had spurts of offense, Texas (3-5, 2-3) didn't even have the spurts. The Longhorns had only 196 yards of total offense.

      Tyrone Swoopes, who totaled 800 total yards in his previous two games, completed 13 of 25 passes for 106 yards for Texas, and added 31 yards on eight carries.

      No. 13 Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2 OT)

      STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Quarterback J.T. Barrett scored twice in overtime as Ohio State escaped with a win over Penn State.

      Ezekiel Elliott ran 26 times for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Buckeyes (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won five straight. The Nittany Lions (4-3, 1-3) have lost three straight.

      Barrett ran 20 times for 75 yards. He also completed 12 of 19 passes for just 74 yards. Two of his throws were intercepted.

      Penn State tied the game on Sam Ficken's 31-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in regulation.

      No. 15 Arizona 59, Washington State 37

      PULLMAN, Wash. -- Anu Solomon passed for 294 yards and five touchdowns to lead Arizona to an easy win over Washington State.

      The Wildcats (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) jumped ahead 31-0 and ended with a season high in points.

      Washington State topped Arizona 543-451 in total yards as quarterback Connor Halliday completed 56 of 79 passes for 489 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

      Washington State (2-6, 1-4) lost its third straight game.

      No. 16 Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24

      LINCOLN, Neb. -- Ameer Abdullah ran for 225 yards and three touchdowns as Nebraska beat Rutgers.

      Abdullah, a senior running back, had touchdown runs of 53, 48 and 23 yards en route to his fourth 200-yard rushing game this season, tying the school record set by Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mike Rozier in 1983.

      Nebraska (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) built a 35-10 lead with two touchdowns in the third quarter, one set up when Abdullah returned a kickoff 76 yards to the Rutgers 24-yard line.

      Rutgers (5-3, 1-3) played the second half without senior quarterback Gary Nova, who injured a knee in the final minute of the first half. Backup quarterback Chris Laviano led three scoring drives.

      No. 21 Clemson 16, Syracuse 6

      CLEMSON, S.C. -- Ammon Lakip kicked three field goals and Clemson generated just enough offense to survive against unranked Syracuse.

      Lakip converted from 38, 18 and 41 yards as Clemson took its first lead of the game with 3:30 left in the third quarter and held on from there.

      Cole Stoudt threw for 209 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers (6-2, 5-1 ACC). Syracuse slipped to 3-5, 1-3.

      No. 22 West Virginia 34, Oklahoma State 10

      STILLWATER, Okla. -- West Virginia cleared another hurdle away from home to hold off Oklahoma State.

      It was West Virginia's fourth straight win -- and second on the road in the Big 12 -- to move the Mountaineers to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12. Before this season, West Virginia had gone just 3-6 on the road as a Big 12 member, including 1-4 a year ago, when it even lost at lowly Kansas.

      Wendell Smallwood ran for a career-high 132 yards for West Virginia. Clint Trickett passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns and Mario Alford caught seven passes for a season-high 136 yards.

      The Cowboys lost their second straight, falling to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

      No. 23 Marshall 35, Florida Atlantic 16

      HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Running back Devon Johnson rushed for a school-record 272 yards and scored four touchdowns as Marshall rallied to defeat Florida Atlantic.

      Johnson, a junior, scored on runs of 58, 62 and 66 and 7 yards, as the Owls failed in their attempt to become the first team this season to knock Marshall (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

      Florida Atlantic (3-5, 2-2) fell to 0-5 on the road.

      No. 25 UCLA 40, Colorado 37 (2 OT)

      BOULDER, Colo. -- Brett Hundley scored on an 8-yard run in the second overtime and UCLA escaped with a win over Colorado.

      Hundley finished with 200 yards and one touchdown passing and 110 yards and another score rushing. Paul Perkins ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns to help UCLA take a big lead early.

      UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) had a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter but Colorado (2-6, 0-5) tied the game on a 35-yard field goal by Will Oliver with 36 seconds remaining.

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    LSU hands No. 3 Ole Miss first loss
    By The Sports Xchange

    BATON ROUGE, La. -- It was a game for the ages -- the 1950s.

    • On a night when LSU honored Billy Cannon for his iconic 89-yard punt return in 1959 that beat No. 3 Ole Miss 7-3 on Halloween night, LSU and Ole Miss stepped back in time Saturday night before a raucous Tiger Stadium crowd of 102,321.

      The No. 24 Tigers came away with a black-and-blue 10-7 victory over the previously unbeaten and third-ranked Rebels.

      After handing off on nearly every play of a game-winning 95-yard drive, LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings, who had thrown two second-half interceptions, tossed a soft 3-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Logan Stokes -- the first reception of Stokes' collegiate career.

      "That was a middle-1970s drive," said LSU coach Les Miles, who orchestrates a throwback, offensive philosophy featuring a dominant offensive line that can wear down opponents in the fourth quarter. "How many runs in a row was that (12)? It was physical, pounding, really good calls. It's a physical offensive line coming after you. Those guys up front are getting better."

      The scoring pass to Stokes was perfectly set up. Fullback Melvin Jones had just been stopped for no gain on a dive up the middle. On the next play, Jennings sucked in the Rebels' 10-man front with a play-action fake and then rolled right and found Stokes wide open behind cornerback Senquez Golson.

      "He's our secret weapon -- don't tell anybody," Miles said of Stokes. "He's going to catch the ball if it's next to him. Logan Stokes is all part of the overall scheme. (Offensive coordinator) Cam (Cameron) made a great call, and there it is."

      LSU's stable of running backs pounded the nation's sixth-best defense for 264 yards on 55 carries -- a 4.8-yard average -- and LSU held a 36- to 24-minute edge in time of possession.

      Freshman running back Leonard Fournette led the Tigers (7-2, 3-2 SEC) with 113 yards on 23 carries. Terrence Magee added 75 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game with a leg injury in the first half, and Kenny Hilliard came in with fresh legs to punish the Rebels for 64 yards on 12 second-half rushes.

      Trailing 7-3, LSU took over at its own 5-yard line with 11:06 left. Having committed four turnovers already -- two lost fumbles and two interceptions -- LSU decided to pound the ball and got to the Rebels' 3. Hilliard ripped off gains of 18 and 16 yards on the drive, and Fournette raced 23 yards to move the Tigers into position for the winning score with 5:07 left.

      Ole Miss (7-1, 4-1) had two more shots, but the LSU defense stopped quarterback Bo Wallace on a fourth-and-1 sneak to turn the ball over at the Tigers 47 with 1:44 left.

      But after using all three timeouts, the Rebels got the ball back at its 25 with 1:19 remaining and drove 50 yards to the LSU 25.

      With nine seconds left, Ole Miss initially lined up to attempt a tying 42-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich, but the Rebels were flagged for delay of game. That would have made it a 47-yard attempt.

      After an LSU timeout, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze decided to throw deep, but safety Ronald Martin intercepted at the Ole Miss 2, and the Tigers ran out the clock.

      "I'm not going to talk about it," said Wallace, before changing his mind. "One-on-one, I threw it up, and he made a play on it. It was very frustrating -- you know. Frustrating. We just didn't make the plays when we had to."

      Wallace finished 14 of 33 for 176 yards and one TD, a 15-yard pass to Cody Core in the first quarter that gave Ole Miss a 7-0 lead. But from that point, Ole Miss went nine consecutive possessions without scoring.

      "We just didn't execute well enough," Freeze said. "But we didn't stop playing."

      The teams traded eight punts and Jennings threw two interceptions in the first 18:54 of the second half as both offenses struggled to get anything going.

      NOTES: 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon was an honorary captain for the homecoming game. ... LSU dropped four interceptions before S Ronald Martin hauled in one on Ole Miss' desperation last pass. The Rebels are now plus-13 in turnover margin on the season. ... Ole Miss has outscored opponents 62-3 in the first quarter this season. ... Martha Miles, the 91-year-old mother of LSU coach Les Miles, died at a Baton Rouge assisted living center on Friday night. Miles said he was concerned his players might lose their focus worrying about him, so he decided he needed to coach the game as "an aggressive man. ... After the game I can't tell you the number of young men with their arms around me saying, 'I love you, Coach' They handed me the game ball, which I only accept on behalf of a great team."

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (2 OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett ran four yards for a touchdown as Ohio State beat Penn State 31-24 in double overtime Saturday night.

    • Ezekiel Elliott ran 26 times for 109 yards and a touchdown for the No. 13 Buckeyes (6-1), who have won five straight. The Nittany Lions (4-3) have lost three straight.

      Barrett ran 20 times for 75 yards. He also completed 12 of 19 passes for just 74 yards. Two of his throws were intercepted.

      Barrett ran five yards for a score in the first OT, after Bill Belton had taken it in from the 1 to give Penn State a short-lived lead.

      Penn State faced fourth-and-5 at the Ohio State 20 after Barrett's 4-yard run in the second overtime, and defensive end Joey Bosa burst through the line and pushed running back Akeel Lynch into quarterback Christian Hackenberg for the game-ending sack.

      Four plays into the game, Hackenberg's pass in the direction of wide receiver Matt Zanellato was ruled an interception by safety Vonn Bell, a decision that was upheld after a review.

      That set up the Buckeyes at the Penn State 39, and seven plays later Elliott skirted left end to score from 10 yards out.

      Ohio State made it 10-0 on Sean Nuernberger's 49-yard field goal four minutes into the second quarter, and later in the period Barrett's 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Heuerman finished off a 39-yard drive.

      Penn State cut the deficit to 17-7 when defensive tackle Anthony Zettel intercepted Barrett's pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown just over a minute into the second half. It was Barrett's first interception in four games.

      Another interception, by linebacker Mike Hull early in the fourth quarter, set up another score for Penn State. Hackenberg hit freshman wide receiver Saeed Blacknall for a 24-yard score with 11:08 left. It was the first career TD for Blacknall, who out-fought cornerback Eli Apple for the high, looping pass on the right side of the end zone.

      Still trailing 17-14 late in the fourth quarter, Hackenberg drove his team 77 yards in 19 plays to set up the game-tying 31-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.

      Hackenberg went 31 for 49 for 224 yards for the Lions. He threw two interceptions. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton contributed a school-record 14 catches for 126 yards.

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Lakip and defense helps Clemson survive Orange
    By The Sports Xchange

    CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson keeps finding ways to win close games, and that's enough for coach Dabo Swinney.

    • "We"re tough-minded," Swinney said. "As long as we have one more point than the opponent, that's all that matters."

      Ammon Lakip kicked three field goals and No. 21 Clemson generated just enough offense to survive against unranked Syracuse in a 16-6 win Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

      Lakip converted from 38, 18 and 41 yards as Clemson took its first lead of the game, 9-6, with 3:30 left in the third quarter and held on from there.

      Quarterback Cole Stoudt, who was making his third consecutive start in place of injured starter Deshaun Watson, lofted a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Stanton Seckinger on the second play of the fourth quarter to help seal the Tigers fifth consecutive victory.

      Clemson, which improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, hasn't lost since falling in overtime at Florida State on Sept. 20.

      Syracuse slipped to 3-5, 1-3 with its fifth loss in six games.

      "We're going mano-a-mano with these teams that have a little bit more talent than us right now, but we're going to get there," Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. "We're just a little bit away right now, but we're going to get this thing right."

      Clemson's defense certainly got things right. The Tigers, who lead the nation in tackles for loss and third-down conversion defense, did nothing to hurt their standing with 12 tackles for loss, including four sacks and limited Syracuse to 3 of 16 on third downs.

      Over the past four games, Clemson's opponents are 6 for 47 on third down and the defense held Syracuse to 170 total yards and 10 first downs.

      "That team was special," Shafer said. "They have some special talent on that side of the ball and they've been doing it to everybody. Hats off to them.

      Lakip continued his progression from some early season struggles. He has made nine straight field goal attempts and 13 of 14 at home this season and was Clemson's savior early during a challenging night for the offense.

      The Tigers managed just 29 yards and one first down while falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter and struggled to produce in the red zone all night.

      "I was pleased with the way our kids fought," Shafer said. "When we needed a stop, we stopped them in some crucial situations and kept giving ourselves a chance."

      Syracuse took a 3-0 lead on Cole Murphy's 43-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the first quarter and led 6-3 when Murphy kicked a career-long 50-yard field on the final play of the first half.

      But although running back Prince-Tyson Gulley rushed for 80 yards on 18 carries, there was precious little offensive output from the Orange. Freshman quarterback AJ Long was under duress all night and completed 12 of 27 passes for 82 yards while throwing two interceptions.

      Clemson did manage to move the effectively at times, particularly late in the game.

      Clemson's offense gained 218 of its 375 yards in the second half while the Tigers defense limited the Orange to just 52 second-half yards.

      "If they don't score, then how can they win?" Clemson senior safety Robert Smith said. "That's our mentality to go out there and stop them from scoring. That's what we're really thriving on right now."

      The Tigers surrendered just 88 rushing yards, the fifth time this season that Clemson's opponent has failed to reach the 100-yard mark. Opponents are averaging just 69.0 rushing yards against Clemson over the last seven games.

      Running back Wayne Gallman emerged as a workhorse for Clemson, carrying 28 times for 101 yards and becoming the first Tiger back to rush for more than 100 yards this season. He carried nine times on the Tigers final time-consuming drive that ate the final 8:17.

      Stoudt also improved as the game wore on. He completed just three of his first six passes with one interception, but began to find his rhythm in the second quarter, completing 8 of 9 passes for 114 yards and finishing 24 of 35 for 209 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

      NOTES: Clemson's defense began the game by forcing a three-and-out on the opponents' first possession for the eighth consecutive game. ... Clemson WR Artavis Scott had a game-high seven catches for 59 yards; the freshman leads the team with 45 receptions this season. ... Syracuse's offensive line, which entered the game tied for fourth in the FBS in few sacks allowed with five, surrendered four against Clemson. ... LB Cameron Lynch had a game-high nine tackles for Syracuse, including two tackles for loss. ... The game was the Orange's first in the state of South Carolina.

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Auburn survives scare from South Carolina
    By The Sports Xchange

    AUBURN, Ala. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier called it "almost fun."

    • Certainly, Saturday night's barn-burner with No. 5 Auburn was Spurrier's kind of game -- lots of offense, a few gambles. And the Gamecocks had a chance to pull off a stunning upset all the way down to the last play of the game.

      Auburn needed an interception in the end zone as time expired to avoid an upset Saturday night, holding on to beat South Carolina 42-35 before a lively packed house at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

      "We knew we were going to get their best effort," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "They were coming off a bye week and then (Furman). They beat a very good Georgia team. They're a very good team. Their coach is one of the greatest coaches to ever walk the sideline, and I think he showed everybody that tonight."

      Auburn also showed it has one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Quarterback Nick Marshall ran for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Tigers (6-1, 3-1 in the SEC) stayed in the thick of the national championship race.

      Marshall had to play well because South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson had a career night with 402 passing yards and five touchdowns. But he also threw three interceptions.

      The two teams amassed 1,086 yards in total offense with Auburn holding a slight edge (551-535) despite running only 62 plays to South Carolina's 86.

      "Yeah, it doesn't matter," Spurrier said. "The final score is what it's all about."

      With the Gamecocks (4-4, 2-4) just hoping to salvage the rest of their season, Spurrier laid it all on the line. He went for it on fourth down six times, converting the first five, and called for an onside kick, which was also successful.

      But on the sixth fourth down -- fourth-and-14 from the Auburn 19 -- Spurrier's good fortune finally ran out. Thompson's pass to the end zone sailed over receiver Shaq Roland's head, giving Auburn the ball back with the lead and 5:28 to play.

      "That team scored on six of their eight possessions," Spurrier said. "We knew we had to do that. We knew we had to stay on the field."

      "They went for everything," Malzahn said. "That was the hard thing. They executed when they had to, and they did it time and time again. That is the reason it was a close game and the reason it went down to the very end."

      The Tigers downshifted their offense and burned four minutes before without crossing midfield. Five of their seven scoring drives took less time than that, and the two others took just 4:55 and 5:25. They punted for just the second time all night, giving South Carolina 68 seconds to try to tie the game and force overtime.

      A 14-yard pass completion to Roland followed by a penalty on Auburn for illegal use of hands to the face gave the Gamecocks a final shot from the Auburn 41 with seven seconds left. But Jones' interception sealed it.

      Spurrier said if the Gamecocks had scored, he already had a play selected for the two-point conversion try.

      The first half was wild, with six touchdowns in the teams' 11 possessions, and there easily could have been one more score if not for an interception. It ended tied at 21.

      South Carolina scored on its first possession when Thompson hit Roland down the right sideline for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Gamecocks threatened to make it a two-touchdown lead when they drove from their 25 to the Auburn 11 in just four plays. But Thompson's pass for the end zone was intercepted by linebacker Cassanova McKinzy at the 7.

      That gave the Tigers the spark they needed as they drove 92 yards and capped the scoring drive with a 3-yard pass from Marshall to tight end Brandon Fulse.

      The teams traded touchdowns four more times, with Thompson connecting with wide receiver Pharoh Cooper for 16 yards and running back Mike Davis from 27 yards. Auburn had TD runs of 2 yards by running back Cameron Artis-Payne and 37 by Marshall.

      NOTES: Auburn DB Jermaine Whitehead suited up for the first time this season after missing the first six games due to a team suspension for undisclosed reasons. ... Auburn leads the series 10-1-1 and has won eight consecutive meetings with the Gamecocks. South Carolina's only win over Auburn came in 1933 in Birmingham. ... South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson's five touchdown passes gives him 21 for the season, third best in Gamecocks' history. Taneyhill's record of 29 set in 1995 is within Thompson's reach, especially if the Gamecocks earn a bowl bid. He needs just three more TD passes to match Connor Shaw's total of 24 last season. ... Thompson now has 2,241 passing yards for the season.

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Alabama 34, Tennessee 20
    By The Sports Xchange

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The 93rd meeting between Alabama and Tennessee went to the Crimson Tide.

    • No. 4 Alabama downed Tennessee 34-20 on Saturday in front of 102,455 fans in Neyland Stadium.

      After putting up 27 points in the first half, the Tide added just seven in the final 30 minutes.

      Alabama's lone score of the second half came on a 28-yard run from sophomore Derrick Henry.

      Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper caught nine passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper's 224 receiving yards broke Julio Jones' single-game record of 221 yards which also came against Tennessee in Neyland Stadium.

      Alabama quarterback Blake Sims also had a solid outing as both a passer and rusher. Sims piled up 328 total yards and three total touchdowns.

      Nathan Peterman started in place of injured senior quarterback Justin Worley (shoulder). Joshua Dobbs entered the game after the Volunteers second offensive possession and threw for 192 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

      Dobbs was also Tennessee's leading rusher, gaining 75 yards on 19 attempts.

      Alabama stormed out and did its damage in the opening quarter. On the Tide's first offensive possession, Sims hit Cooper in the flat for an 80-yard touchdown but kicker Adam Griffith missed the extra point to make it 6-0.

      On the next drive, Sims found Cooper for a 41-yard touchdown. Cooper beat the defensive back with a double move and strolled into the end zone to make it 13-0.

      Later in the first, Yeldon punched it in from one-yard out to cap a nine-play, 90-yard drive for Alabama.

      Sims scampered in from 28 yards out to make it 27-0. It was the 93rd unanswered point for the Tide dating back to the Arkansas game.

      But the Crimson Tide's offense stalled from there and the Volunteers gained some momentum.

      Midway through the second quarter, Dobbs found Josh Malone for the 9-yard touchdown. Tennessee also put in a field goal as time expired in the first half to make it 27-10.

      NOTES: Alabama WR Amari Cooper finished the half with 194 receiving yards and is just 86 yards from breaking D.J. Hall's career record (2,923). ... Tennessee senior Justin Worley, who is battling a shoulder injury, did not start at quarterback. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman started in his place. Sophomore Joshua Dobbs replaced Peterman after Tennessee's first two series. ... Alabama LT Cam Robinson left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Robinson suffered an ankle injury. The true freshman has started every game for the Crimson Tide.

  • Sunday, October 26, 2014
    Arizona races past Washington State 59-37
    By The Sports Xchange

    PULLMAN, Wash. -- During preparations for Saturday's game with the Arizona Wildcats, Washington State coaches expressed concern about the "Indy 500" tempo the 15th-ranked Wildcats try to maintain when running their offense.

    • Fifty-nine points later, the Wildcats claimed the checkered flag after watching the Cougars' young defense crash and burn.

      Redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon passed for five touchdowns to help Arizona gain bowl eligibility with a 59-37 romp at sold-out Martin Stadium.

      The Wildcats (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) scored on their first five possessions to take a 31-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

      "I'm very proud of my team, how we came out today," Solomon said.

      "I love to go fast," said a beaming Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez.

      Solomon threw his touchdown passes to five different players. He completed 26 of 38 passes for 294 yards with no interceptions. The five touchdown passes tied his season high.

      "I'm surrounded by great skill players," Solomon said.

      "His grasp of what we're doing is really good, but it'll get better," Rodriguez said.

      The coach added, "He's got a calm about him in a game that's really unique. I mean, he doesn't get flustered at all. That doesn't mean he doesn't get frustrated, but he doesn't get flustered by any situation. I'm just really proud of him." Solomon threw touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions before star Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday got the Cougars on the board midway through the second quarter with the first of his four touchdown passes.

      WSU (2-6, 1-4) pulled within 31-16 at the half, then was outscored 21-0 in the third quarter.

      "We played tight, I thought, the whole first quarter," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "I thought we played well the second quarter. Then the third quarter, I thought, oh basically, they came out, hit us in the mouth and we spent much of the third quarter reeling rather than reacting at Arizona."

      Halliday, who came into the day leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in most major passing categories, completed 56 of 79 passes for 489 yards. He threw a pair of interceptions.

      "Offensively, I thought we battled the whole game, but I thought we were explosive but erratic," Leach said. "And then some of the same on the other side of the ball."

      The Cougars topped Arizona 543-451 in total yards, but were outgained 157-54 on the ground. Arizona running back Terris Jones-Grigsby gained 107 yards on 13 carries before 32,952 spectators.

      Washington State lost its third straight game, and its 15th consecutive home game against a Top 25 opponent since a 2006 victory over Oregon. WSU had lost five in a row to Arizona before winning last year in Tucson, but the Cougars have dropped their last four home games with the Wildcats.

      The 59 points is a season high for Arizona. The Cougars gave up a season-high 60 points Oct. 4 in a one-point loss to California.

      Halliday broke Alex Brink's school record of 10,913 passing yards, set from 2004 to 2007. Halliday, a redshirt senior, ranks fourth in Pac-12 history with 11,264 passing yards and third with 90 touchdown passes.

      Washington State's River Cracraft, one of the nation's leading receivers, sat out the final half after taking a hard hit in the second quarter.

      Arizona jumped out front 31-0 by scoring on its first five possessions, starting with sophomore running back Davonte' Neal's 81-yard punt return after just 1:06.

      Arizona's lead grew to 31-0 at 8:56 of the second quarter when Solomon connected with wide receiver Cayleb Jones from 3 yards out on fourth down. The Wildcats' fifth score in as many possessions came after freshman cornerback Cam Denson intercepted a pass from Halliday.

      The Cougars scored 16 unanswered points in the final 6:36 of the half. Halliday hit wide receiver Isiah Myers with touchdown passes of 37 and 18 yards, and Quentin Breshears kicked a 40-yard field goal.

      Rodriguez, in his third season as Arizona's coach, improved to 22-11 overall and 11-11 in the Pac-12. Leach, in his third season as Washington State's coach, slipped to 11-27 overall and 6-17 in the Pac-12.

      NOTES: Washington State QB Connor Halliday came into the day ranked first in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 3,344 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes, 292 pass completions and 438 pass attempts. ... Nick Wilson (ankle) and Terris Jones-Grigsby (concussion), Arizona's top RBs, returned from injuries. ... Sophomore LB Peyton Pelluer, sophomore C Sam Flor and freshman CB Pat Porter made their first starts for inexperienced Washington State. Destiny Vaeao, who usually starts at DE, started in place of NT Toni Pole. Darryl Paulo filled in for Vaeao at DE. ... WR Vince Mayle tied WR River Cracraft's two-week-old school record of 14 receptions in a game. ... In the first half, Washington State lost a touchdown on an illegal-formation penalty, wiped out a long kickoff return due to an illegal blocking scheme and missed an extra point. ... WSU sold out for the second time in one season for the first time since selling out four games in 2006. The Cougars' other sellout this season was the Oregon game on Sept. 20.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Michigan State sticks it to Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange

    EAST LANSING, Mich. -- It's not as if Michigan State needed any more motivation in its rivalry with Michigan, but it appears the Wolverines helped out on Saturday.

    • No. 8 Michigan State dominated its in-state rival for the second straight season, winning 35-11 in front of a sold-out crowd at Spartan Stadium. It was the sixth victory in the last seven in the series for the Spartans (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) and the fourth straight at home.

      But before the game, the Michigan players planted some sort of spear in the turf near its sideline and it did not go unnoticed by Michigan State. It was the motivation for the Spartans scoring one more touchdown -- a 5-yard run from Jeremy Langford -- in the final minute instead of kneeling on the ball.

      "As far as the score at the end," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said, "I knew we were going to pop one when they had everybody up there, so we popped one and I just felt like we needed to put a stake in them at that point.

      "You might as well just come out and say what you're feeling at some point in time because you can only be diplomatic for so long. The 'Little Brother' stuff, all the disrespect, it didn't have to go in that direction.

      "We try to handle ourselves with composure. It doesn't come from the coach, it comes from the program. Throwing the stake down in our backyard out here, coming out there like they're all that, it got shoved ... in the last minute or half. We were not gonna pull off of that. We didn't want to kick a field goal. That wasn't the MO, but if our guys could get it in, we would get it in."

      Michigan coach Brady Hoke said after the game that he didn't have an issue with the touchdown scored with 28 seconds left on the clock.

      "We had 11 guys out there, they had 11 guys out there," Hoke said. "We're trying to compete, they're trying to compete. That's what athletics and competition is."

      It was just the latest incident in a rivalry that has never been the same since Michigan running back Mike Hart called Michigan State the Wolverines' "little brother" after the 2007 win. Dantonio and the Spartans have used it as inspiration and dominated since.

      What exactly was planted in the turf and who did it is unclear. Hoke said he was vaguely aware something happened and even the Michigan State players weren't sure what it was or who did it.

      "I think I was aware that something happened, but I'm not fully aware," Hoke said. "I heard that a young man put a stake in the ground."

      The reaction was clear from the home team as Michigan State outgained Michigan 446-186 and extended its streak of holding Michigan without a touchdown to 11 quarters before allowing a touchdown in the final minutes.

      "We came into the game with an aggressive edge," Michigan State defensive tackle Lawrence Thomas said. "We knew what we had to do today as a team and as a unit. We had to execute everything our coaches gave to us and we did."

      Langford was the catalyst for the Spartans, rushing for a career-high 177 yards and three touchdowns. His first put Michigan State ahead 7-0 on the first drive of the game and he scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 21 seconds left in the first half. He has now run for at least 100 yards in 12 straight games against Big Ten opponents.

      In between Langford's scores, Michigan managed just a 48-yard field goal from Matt Wile to make it 14-3 in favor of Michigan State at halftime.

      After teams traded punts to open the second half, Michigan State's defense came up with a big play when safety RJ Williamson intercepted a pass by Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner and returned it 29 yards for the touchdown, giving the Spartans a 21-3 lead with 8:33 left in the third quarter.

      Michigan State added another score later in the third when quarterback Connor Cook hit wide receiver Tony Lippett with a 70-yard strike to make it 28-3.

      Cook was 12-of-22 passing for 227 yards and Lippett had three grabs for 103 yards, his sixth game of more than 100 yards this season that added to his ninth touchdown.

      Michigan running back De'Veon Smith scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:40 to play and Gardner found tight end Jake Butt for the two-point conversion to give the Wolverines their only touchdown.

      "Obviously, not the results we worked for," Hoke said. "Putting 11 points on the board and giving up 35, that's not what we're accustomed to. We made some progress during the week we thought, but we've got to go back to work. Give them some credit, they're a good football team. We knew that coming in. Great rivalry."

      Gardner was 13 of 28 for 121 yards, lost a fumble and threw two interceptions. Now Michigan finds itself scrambling just to become bowl eligible.

      "We've got more season left," Michigan defensive end Frank Clark said. “It's one game. They got the better half. Whether we didn't prepare well enough or we didn't come out to play in the second half.

      "The defense didn't execute too well on stopping the run. We gave up over 150 yards. We can't do that. Any time you do that, you're not going to win many games."

      And any time you give added fuel to a team that has proved to be superior, it's not exactly the best plan, either.

      NOTES: Michigan freshman DB Jabrill Peppers was not on the dress list, along with LB Desmond Morgan. Both have been out for weeks with unspecified injuries. ... Michigan State C Jack Allen was back in the starting lineup after missing last week's game against Indiana with a left ankle injury. ... Michigan State freshman LB Chris Frey was ejected in the first quarter after being called for targeting. He hit Michigan punt returner Amara Darboh helmet to helmet to draw the penalty.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Mississippi State holds off Kentucky, 45-31
    By The Sports Xchange

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Mississippi State Bulldogs should retain their top ranking for another week after holding the upset-minded Kentucky Wildcats at bay Saturday and winning their first game as No. 1, 45-31.

    • "I don't know where we'll rank," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "You can drop us if you want or you can raise us. I don't really care on any of that now. I think our kids are going to be over it now. We're 4-0 in the SEC after playing a tough road game in a tough environment."

      After Kentucky cut MSU's lead to a touchdown with 2:31 left, Bulldogs senior tight end Christian Holmes fielded UK's onside kick attempt and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory.

      On the ensuing offensive possession, the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs.

      MSU junior quarterback Dak Prescott finished with 304 yards, 216 through the air and 88 on the ground, while rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another.

      Junior running back Josh Robinson led the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) with 198 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns.

      "Josh Robinson does a great job carrying the ball and a great job carrying our team on his back and even carrying their team on his back," Mullen said. "He got some tough yards, got big plays, he did it inside and did it outside. I thought he ran the football really well for us today."

      On many of Robinson's runs, he shed Wildcat tacklers left and right, racking up plenty of yards after contact.

      "I mean, you can call me a human bowling ball if you want," the 5-foot-9, 215-pound back said. "You guys gave me that name, so I try to live up to it."

      The Bulldogs totaled 326 rushing yards on 48 carries.

      Even in defeat, UK coach Mark Stoops was proud of his team.

      "I appreciate our team's effort," Stoops said. "We did not play well enough to win, to beat the No. 1 team in the country. Again, I felt like our guys went about their business. Their minds were right. Their hearts were right. They tried the best they could. (The Bulldogs) were a better football team."

      Despite 390 passing yards and 76 rushing yards from sophomore quarterback Patrick Towles, Kentucky (5-3, 2-3) could not overtake the Bulldogs, who took a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter and led the rest of the way.

      "It wasn't good enough," Towles said of his performance. "They're a really good team. They're the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. We made a lot of plays, but we just didn't make enough. All around good day but not good enough."

      After Robinson opened the scoring with a 12-yard run midway through the first quarter, Towles tied it up with a 67-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Demarco Robinson.

      Evan Sobiesk's 26-yard field goal gave the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead after one quarter.

      Prescott capped a 68-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run to give MSU a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter.

      The Bulldogs led 17-10 at halftime after Austin MacGinnis kicked a 34-yard field goal for Kentucky.

      "I thought we played a little tight in the first half," Mullen said. "I don't know how many times I've heard, 'This is the first time you've ever played as the No. 1 team in the country.' These are young kids and I think they played a little tight at times during the game today, but we continued to find a way to make plays and continued to find ways to win the game."

      Mullen's quarterback felt the same way.

      "I don't know if tight's the word, but something was different about us," Prescott said. "We weren't the same. We didn't have the same vibe, the same attitude, but we got back to it."

      Prescott and Towles exchanged scoring runs and passes in the third quarter. Prescott ran in from 11 yards, and Towles followed with a 10-yard run of his own after directing an 86-yard drive.

      After Prescott capped a three-play, 81-yard drive with an 8-yard TD pass to senior tight end Brandon Hill, Towles found senior receiver Javess Blue from 58 yards to keep Kentucky within striking distance at 31-24.

      Robinson broke away for a 73-yard score on third-and-1 with 11:14 to play in the fourth quarter to increase the Bulldogs' lead to 14.

      After getting the ball back with just under four minutes to play, Towles marched the Wildcats down the field, completing 4 of 5 passes and capping the seven-play, 71-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.

      NOTES: The Bulldogs will host SEC West foe Arkansas on Nov. 1, while the Wildcats will return to SEC East play next week when they travel to Arkansas. ... Kentucky DE Bud Dupree, the SEC's active sack leader, finished with one sack to give him four on the season and 20 in his career, which is second in program history. ... Kentucky sophomore WR Ryan Timmons eclipsed 100 yards receiving for the first time in his career, finishing with five catches for 114 yards.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Western Kentucky outlasts Old Dominion 66-51
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Quarterback Brandon Doughty passed for five touchdowns and Western Kentucky outlasted Old Dominion 66-51 on Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

    • The Hilltoppers (3-4, 1-3 Conference USA) led the entire game and got a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown from freshman safety Juwan Gardner that ultimately proved to be the difference.

      "Well, first off, I want to credit the defense on the interception, for real," Gardner said. "It wouldn't have been possible without them. (Linebacker) Branden Leston, I saw him tip the ball, kind of came into my hands.

      "Honestly, nothing was going through my mind. I was just thinking about making a play for the team and had the opportunity so I made the most of it."

      Doughty completed 23 of 26 passes for 371 yards. Western Kentucky running back Leon Allen finished with 182 yards on the ground and found the end zone twice.

      The Hilltoppers had 601 yards of offense and were 6-for-6 in the red zone.

      "Never a dull moment," WKU coach Jeff Brohm said. 'But that's how it's going to be this year. I'm excited that we won, I'm happy for our guys, happy for our coaches, our players, everybody that put in a lot of hard work to find a way to win.

      "We talked at halftime of going out, giving it our all, believing in ourselves, not second-guessing ourselves, playing hard and just finding a way to just slightly improve and get better. While we had our moments where it looked a little hairy there, we did -- we improved slightly. A few guys stepped up and made plays when we had to."

      Old Dominion (3-5, 1-4) lost its fourth straight game despite totaling 643 yards of total offense.

      Senior quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed 27 for 40 for 471 yards and three scores, but he threw two interceptions. Running back Ray Lawry rushed for 148 yards and four touchdowns.

      The teams combined for 62 points and 747 yards as Western Kentucky took a 42-30 lead into halftime. Doughty threw for five scores and for 250 yards in the first two quarters.

      The Monarchs got to within 21-16, 28-23 and 35-30 before the half, but could never leap-frog Western Kentucky.

      Lawry scored twice more on the ground in the third and Heinicke found wide receiver Antonio Vaughan on a 39-yard TD strike to make it 56-51 going into the fourth -- but ODU would never score again.

      Old Dominion appeared poised to take the lead in the fourth quarter after safety Fellonte Misher stripped Western Kentucky tight end Mitchell Henry of the ball going in at the 1. Heinicke led a drive the other direction and had Old Dominion set up with a first down at the Western Kentucky 3-yard-line when disaster struck.

      Heinicke's first-down pass slipped out of his hand and into the lap of Gardner, who raced in the other direction for the final nail in the coffin.

      "It was 56-51 and we're about to score and I think that was the turning point in the game," ODU coach Bobhy Wilder said. "We had battled to get it from 12 points down to five. I think we had done that twice already in the second half. Finally, we got a huge play from our defense with a turnover on the fumble recovery. We thought we were in position to take the lead."

      Vaughan finished with 220 yards receiving to go along with two scores. Wide receiver Jared Dangerfield caught eight passes for 95 yards and wide receiver Taywan Taylor had four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown for WKU.

      Western Kentucky travels to Louisiana Tech next week while Old Dominion plays at Vanderbilt.

      NOTES: QB Brandon Doughty set a Western Kentucky single-season record for touchdown passes by throwing for five Saturday to give him 24 for the year. ... Doughty also broke his own single-season passing record by throwing for 371 yards to give him 2,871 for the season. ... Old Dominion came into the game averaging 152.4 yards per game on the ground, but rushed for 172 against a porous Western Kentucky defense.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    West Virginia keeps rolling on the road
    By The Sports Xchange

    STILLWATER, Okla. -- West Virginia's legitimacy as a Big 12 Conference contender could hinge on how it handles the road -- a trouble spot in the recent past.

    • The No. 22-ranked Mountaineers cleared another hurdle away from home Saturday, holding off Oklahoma State 34-10 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

      It was West Virginia's fourth straight win -- and second on the road in the Big 12 -- moving the Mountaineers to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Before this season, West Virginia had gone just 3-6 on the road as a Big 12 member, including 1-4 a year ago, when it even lost at lowly Kansas.

      So the Mountaineers remain a factor in the Big 12 race, with their biggest remaining games -- against No. 10 TCU and No. 11 Kansas State -- both in Morgantown.

      "Obviously, I'm excited for our coaches and our players to come to Stillwater and get a victory," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "There wasn't anything easy about it. It was a lot more challenging than what the final score indicated."

      The Cowboys lost their second straight, falling to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

      It wasn't a routine game for the West Virginia, which entered with the Big 12's top passing offense.

      The Mountaineers scored their touchdowns early on big throws, then retreated to a run game that carried them the final three-plus quarters. Running back Wendell Smallwood finished with a career-high 132 rushing yards on 23 carries. And West Virginia totaled 210 on the ground.

      West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett failed to reach 300 yards passing for the first time this season, yet finished 21-of-30 for 238 yards and two touchdowns.

      "They were in a defense that we saw all week and the coaches said we would be able to hit it and get downhill," said backup running back Dreamius Smith, who added 72 rushing yards and tacked on a 40-yard scoring run late.

      Cowboys quarterback Daxx Garman was erratic, going 21-of-41 for 242 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The latter interception was returned 52 yards for a touchdown by West Virginia safety Dravon Henry to seal with the win.

      And the Oklahoma State offense overall continued to scuffle. The Cowboys have scored but two touchdowns in their last 10 quarters.

      "Everything offensively, to me, is alarming," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "Look at where we're at. We have a quarterback that's inexperienced. We have an offensive line that's young and inexperienced. We're a little beat up. We're trying to continue to push forward."

      The Mountaineers opened fast, scoring easily on their first two possessions and looking like they might run Oklahoma State out of its own stadium.

      After a failed Cowboys gamble on fourth down at the WVU 38, the Mountaineers needed just five plays to zip to their first touchdown. Three of the five plays went for 14 yards or longer, including the touchdown -- a 19-yard Trickett strike to wide receiver Kevin White.

      Moments later, West Virginia was on the move again, covering 90 yards in three plays. One big play finished it, with Trickett hitting wideout Mario Alford on a slant that turned into a 79-yard scoring pass.

      Less than halfway through the first quarter, West Virginia had run eight plays and led 14-0.

      But the Cowboys defense tightened, forcing five straight punts. And the Oklahoma State offense triggered, eventually passing West Virginia in total offense at the half, 299-250.

      "We didn't quit," Cowboys cornerback Kevin Peterson said. "We just kind of settled in, got our feet wet. We didn't start as fast as we wanted to, but I thought once we settled in we started playing our type of ball.

      "The scoreboard doesn't really tell the story of how the game went today."

      A 40-yard field goal by kicker Ben Grogan put Oklahoma State on the board. Then a 51-yard reverse by receiver Brandon Sheperd set up an 8-yard pass from Garman to fullback Teddy Johnson for a touchdown that pulled the Cowboys within 14-10.

      That was the score at intermission, with Oklahoma State missing another opportunity when Grogan was off on a 36-yard field goal try late in the half.

      NOTES: With his first-quarter touchdown reception, West Virginia’s Kevin White has a scoring catch in seven of the Mountaineers' eight games. White failed, however, to reach 100 yards receiving for the first time this season, finishing with three catches for 27 yards. ... Oklahoma State was again without two secondary starters -- CB Ashton Lampkin and S Larry Stephens. Both players have missed the past four games, with the last two resulting in big passing days for TCU and West Virginia. On each of West Virginia's first two touchdowns, the Mountaineers beat Lampkin's replacement, Ramon Richards. ... It was homecoming at Oklahoma State. And a homecoming of sorts for West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and associate head coach Joe DeForest, who both were on the staff of Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as Gundy's offensive coordinator and DeForest worked for the Cowboys from 2001 to 2011 coaching safeties and special teams.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Boykin throws 7 TD passes in TCU's 82-27 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    FORT WORTH, Texas -- Quarterback Trevone Boykin continues to flourish in TCU's new, up-tempo offense and, after his performance Saturday, it might be time to place him in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy.

    • The junior threw a school-record seven touchdown passes and passed for 433 yards in just three quarters in 10th-ranked TCU's 82-27 victory over Texas Tech.

      Boykin had throws of 92, 57, 54 and 51 yards. Boykin's last pass, a 13-yard touchdown to freshman wide receiver Emanuel Porter, was his most benign, but it gave the Horned Frogs (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) their 68th point of the game.

      Struggling Texas Tech (3-5, 1-4) never could find an answer for Boykin.

      "I said going in that he was a top-three Heisman guy," Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "Now he's a front-runner. He's the best player in the country, in my opinion."

      Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb left the game in the third quarter with an unspecified leg injury and freshman Pat Mahomes led Texas Tech to its only score of the second half.

      TCU's point total was the second highest in Big 12 history and the highest in a conference game. It surpassed the 77 put up by Oklahoma against Texas A&M in 2003 and was just short of the 84 scored by Oklahoma State against Savannah State in 2012.

      TCU also got just enough from its running game to keep the Texas Tech defense off balance. Tailback Aaron Green rushed six times for 105 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown for the Horned Frogs' first score of the game.

      Boykin, who amassed 461 yards, said he didn't want his name connected to any Heisman conversation.

      "I'm canceling all Heisman talk," he said. "I'll be truly blessed if I do win it."

      In spite of all the points, Frogs coach Gary Patterson said he wasn't satisfied with his team's effort. He noted that TCU didn't score first for the first time this season. The Frogs weren't efficient in the red zone; they were forced to four field goals.

      "I don't think we played well all game," Patterson said. "If you want to win championships, you've got to play better."

      Kingsbury thought otherwise.

      "If we had played our best game," Kingsbury said, "it probably still would've been tough to win."

      NOTES: TCU scored 301 points in 12 games in 2013. The Horned Frogs surpassed that number in the second quarter of the seventh game of 2014. ... Texas Tech WR Jakeem Grant started the game after there had been questions about his status since he was injured in an off-campus shooting in Lubbock last Saturday. ... TCU K Jaden Oberkrom had three field goals of at least 40 yards in the first half. ... Texas Tech RB Kenny Williams caught a 57-yard pass in the first quarter. He started the season as a linebacker but was moved back to offense last week. Williams led the Red Raiders in rushing a year ago. ... TCU has at least one sack and one interception in nine straight games, the longest streak in the nation. ... TCU WR Josh Doctson sprained an ankle in the second half and was on crutches. He is expected to play next Saturday, however. ... TCU QB Matt Joeckel, who played in relief of Boykin, limped off the field with an apparently serious knee injury.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Record-setting day by Johnson keeps Herd unbeaten
    By The Sports Xchange

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- The Marshall football team found itself in a position it hasn't been in all season Saturday -- behind at halftime to Florida Atlantic University.

    • Thanks to a record-setting day from junior running back Devon Johnson and a second-half shutout from the Thundering Herd defense, Marshall continued its unbeaten streak.

      Johnson rushed for a school record of 272 yards and scored four touchdowns as the No. 23 Thundering Herd rallied to defeat Florida Atlantic University 35-16 on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

      "He's a tremendous player," Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said of Johnson, who moved from tight end to running back right before preseason practice began. "I knew he was a really good football player, but for me to say we were going to move him to tailback and get the production we got out of him, I didn't think that."

      Johnson scored on runs of 58, 62 and 66 and 7 yards, as the Owls failed in their attempt to be the first team this season to knock Marshall (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

      The previous Marshall record for rushing yards in a game was 262 yards by Ron Darby on Nov. 12, 1988.

      Marshall fell behind for just the second time this season when kicker Greg Joseph's 30-yard field goal gave the Owls a 3-0 lead with 8:52 remaining in the first quarter.

      Johnson responded 18 seconds later with his 58-yard score. FAU then scored 10 straight points -- on a 16-yard touchdown catch by tight end Alex Deleon from quarterback Jaquez Johnson and a 40-yard field goal by Joseph.

      The Herd regained the lead on Johnson's 62-yard touchdown run with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter and FAU ended the first-half scoring with Joseph's third field goal, which gave the Owls (3-5, 2-2) a 16-14 lead.

      "We went in at halftime and I thought our kids handled it extremely well," Holliday said. "The leadership on the football team was tremendous. We came out in the second half and did what we had to do. The defense played tremendous and the offense did what it had to do."

      FAU coach Charlie Partridge said the Owls ability to speed up the pace in the first half kept the Herd on their heels through two quarters.

      "I think they struggled with tempo, and that's something that we saw on film," Partridge said. "That's part of our wheelhouse. It's something that we do and something we're going to create, more pressure on defenses, and we really keep getting a little bit better each week."

      Those were the last points FAU would score.

      After converting five of 11 third downs in the first half, FAU converted just two of eight in the second half. The Owls gained just 166 second-half yards after gaining 222 in the first two quarters.

      Marshall finally regained the lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter when quarterback Rakeem Cato found wide receiver Tommy Shuler for a 21-yard touchdown.

      Johnson then put the game out of reach with two fourth-quarter TD runs. His 66-yarder early in the period put Marshall up 28-16, and he added a 7-yard score in the final minute.

      Cato finished the game with 218 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-24 passing, while FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson threw for 179 yards and a touchdown on 19-for-37 passing.

      Greg Howell led FAU with 92 rushing yards on 22 carries.

      Holliday said gutting out a win is something the Herd needed, considering they had been winning their games by an average of 30.7 points per game. Though the Owls had Marshall against the ropes longer than anyone else this season, Partridge wasn't in the mood for moral victories.

      "We came here to win," Partridge said. "I really believed that we could. I still believe if we had played four full quarters, we'd have been there at the end."

      NOTES: QB Rakeem Cato's touchdown to WR Tommy Shuler gave the quarterback a touchdown pass in his 40th straight game. Cato broke the FBS record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass last Saturday vs. Florida International. ... RB Devon Johnson's 272 yards tied former Herd RB Ahmad Bradshaw's school record as an FBS team for 100-yard games (seven) in a season. Chris Parker owns the overall record, rushing for 100 yards in 10 games three times when Marshall was in Division I-AA, now the FCS. ... FAU became the first team to hold a lead more than once against Marshall this season. Florida International led 7-0 before the Herd scored 45 straight points. ... FAU WR Lucky Whitehead, who entered the game leading the country in combined kickoff and punt returns, did not record a single return vs. Marshall.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    UCLA blows early lead, wins in 2 OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOULDER, Colo. -- A fast start had UCLA fans ready to celebrate before halftime.

    • A furious comeback by Colorado put the party on hold before quarterback Brett Hundley pulled it out.

      Hundley scored on an 8-yard run in the second overtime and No. 25 UCLA escaped with a 40-37 victory over Colorado on Saturday.

      "OK, we wanted to see what overtime felt like," Bruins coach Jim Mora said with a hint of sarcasm. "We haven't had one."

      They had an unexpected thriller at Folsom Field against Colorado, which hasn't beaten a ranked team in five years. Hundley struggled at times but finished with 200 yards and one touchdown passing and 110 yards and another score rushing.

      "It wasn't the greatest game personally, but at the end of the day no matter who we're playing we have to win," Hundley said. "It was hard-fought."

      Paul Perkins ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns to help UCLA take the big lead early, but Colorado fell to 0-2 in overtime games this season despite a fourth-quarter comeback.

      Buffaloes quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and Michael Adkins ran for 107 yards and a score.

      "I'd like to have some boring games and win them instead of some of the exciting games and keep losing them," Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. "As you're rebuilding your program, you have these things happen. This happened to us a lot at San Jose State the first couple of years and then we started winning them all. We'll get there."

      They had hope after Will Oliver's 34-yard field goal put the Buffaloes ahead for the first time in the second overtime, but Hundley raced around right end for 17 yards to set up the winning score.

      He was nearly untouched when he decided to run it in himself to end the game.

      "I'm not technically supposed to pull that ball, but it happens and we scored a TD," Hundley said. "It's never really supposed to be pulled, but the defense was flowing the other way."

      It looked like an easy day after UCLA took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, but it turned tense for the Bruins.

      Colorado wide receiver Bryce Bobo caught touchdown passes of 38 and 4 yards from Liufau to cut the lead to 31-28 midway through the fourth quarter.

      Colorado forced a punt and got the ball to midfield before cornerback Marcus Rios intercepted a pass by Liufau.

      "One of my balls was too high and I threw a pick," Liufau said. "That's just me losing the ball mid-throw. I don't want to say the wind factors were a problem; it was just me."

      The Buffaloes got one more chance when they stopped the Bruins on fourth down at the Colorado 25. Colorado drove to the 18 and Oliver kicked a 35-yard field goal with 36 seconds left to send it to overtime.

      The teams traded field goals in the first overtime before Hundley won it.

      "Luckily in these close games we came out on top," he said.

      With the wind at their back in the first quarter, the Bruins controlled things from the start. On their first play from scrimmage, Perkins ran around the left and down the sidelines for a 92-yard touchdown.

      Jordan Payton's 20-yard touchdown catch and Ka'imi Fairbairn's 31-yard field goal gave the Bruins a 17-0 lead.

      Once the sides switched, so did the momentum. Colorado put together two long drives in the second quarter and cut the lead to 17-7 on Tony Jones' 1-yard touchdown run.

      UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) responded with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by Perkins' 24-yard touchdown run to make it 24-7, but Adkins scored from 19 yards to pull Colorado within 10 again.

      The Buffaloes (2-6, 0-5) missed a great chance to make it a one-score game in the final minute of the half.

      After an interception, Colorado drove to the UCLA 5-yard-line with 23 seconds left. But confusion led to a false start with three seconds left and the penalty caused a 10-second runoff on the clock, so the Buffaloes ended the half without any more points.

      "(D.D. Goodson) went out of bounds, the referee (waved his arms), so we all turned and thought the clock was stopped and he was marking a first down," MacIntyre said. "When I saw him, I tried to tell Sefo to spike it and he got confused. It's my fault on that."

      The Bruins appeared to put the game away with an 80-yard drive late in the third quarter. Hundley's 21-yard run to the Buffaloes 3 set up Myles Jack's touchdown run that made it 31-14 before Colorado rallied.

      NOTES: UCLA QB Brett Hundley had a touchdown for the 34th time in 35 starts for the Bruins. ... Colorado RB Toby Jones became the ninth player in school history to accumulate 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards for a career. ... Bruins RB Paul Perkins' 92-yard touchdown run was the second longest allowed in Colorado history. ... Buffaloes DB Tedric Thompson was carted off the field on backboard after being injured in overtime.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Marshall 35, Florida Atlantic 16
    By The Sports Xchange

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall running back Devon Johnson rushed for a school-record 272 yards and scored four touchdowns as the No. 23 Thundering Herd rallied to defeat Florida Atlantic University 35-16 on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

    • Johnson, a junior, scored on runs of 58, 62 and 66 and 7 yards, as the Owls failed in their attempt to become the first team this season to knock Marshall (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

      The previous Marshall record for rushing yards in a game was 262 by Ron Darby on Nov. 12, 1988.

      Marshall fell behind for just the second time this season when kicker Greg Joseph's 30-yard field goal gave the Owls a 3-0 lead.

      Johnson responded 18 seconds later with his 58-yard score. FAU then scored 10 straight points -- on a 16-yard touchdown catch by tight end Alex Deleon from quarterback Jaquez Johnson and a 40-yard field goal by Joseph.

      The Herd regained the lead on Johnson's 62-yard touchdown run, and FAU ended the first-half scoring with Joseph's third field goal, which gave the Owls (3-5, 2-2) a 16-14 lead.

      Marshall finally regained the lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter when quarterback Rakeem Cato found receiver Tommy Shuler for a 21-yard touchdown.

      Johnson then put the game out of reach with two fourth-quarter TD runs. His 66-yarder early in the period put Marshall up 28-16, and he added a 7-yard score in the final minute.

      Cato finished the game with 218 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-24 passing, while FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson threw for 179 yards and a touchdown on 19-for-37 passing.

      Greg Howell led FAU with 92 rushing yards on 22 carries.

      NOTES: QB Rakeem Cato's touchdown to WR Tommy Shuler gave the quarterback a touchdown pass in his 40th straight game. Cato broke the FBS record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass last Saturday vs. Florida International. ... RB Devon Johnson's 272 yards tied former Herd RB Ahmad Bradshaw's school record as an FBS team for 100-yard games (seven) in a season. Chris Parker owns the overall record, rushing for 100 yards in 10 games three times when Marshall was in Division I-AA, now the FCS. ... FAU became the first team to hold a lead more than once against Marshall this season. Florida International led 7-0 before the Herd scored 45 straight points. ... FAU WR Lucky Whitehead, who entered the game leading the country in combined kickoff and punt returns, did not record a single return vs. Marshall.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Nebraska, Abdullah run over Rutgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    LINCOLN, Neb. -- Even when he is statistically at the top of his game, Ameer Abdullah is still looking for more.

    • Abdullah ran 19 times for 225 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 16 Nebraska defeated Rutgers, 42-24, on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

      Abdullah, a senior running back, had touchdown runs of 53, 48 and 23 yards en route to his fourth 200-yard rushing game this season, tying the school record set by Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mike Rozier in 1983.

      "I didn't even know I had as many yards as I did at the end of the game," Abdullah said. "I knew I had a couple of long runs early in the game, but I felt like I missed a couple of things that I'm still kicking myself now because I missed them.

      "It could've been an even bigger game. That's why you watch film, that's why you play the game."

      Nebraska (7-1, 3-1 in the Big Ten Conference) built a 35-10 lead with two touchdowns in the third quarter, one set up when Abdullah returned a kickoff 76 yards to the Rutgers 24-yard line.

      Abdullah, who also had 26 receiving yards, finished with a school-record 341 all-purpose yards, bettering the previous mark of 321 set by Roy Helu against Missouri in 2010.

      Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was pleased with Abdullah's performance but unhappy with his team's play overall, pointing to five penalties and two turnovers, one coming on one of two bad shotgun snaps.

      "I thought we were sloppy, inconsistent, and we didn't play up to the standard that we need to play up to," Pelini said. "I'll take the win. Any time you win a football game, it's never easy, but I have higher standards than what I watched out there today."

      Rutgers (5-3, 1-3) played the second half without senior quarterback Gary Nova, who injured a knee in the final minute of the first half.

      Nova, throwing an incompletion while under pressure by Nebraska tackle Maliek Collins, came down awkwardly on the knee when Collins dragged him down.

      Nova completed 8 of 19 passes for 156 yards, with an interception and a touchdown.

      Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said he didn't know the extent of Nova's injury, and that he wouldn't read much into the fact Nova was trying to come back into the game in the second half.

      "What I have found with a lot of injuries is what a player feels like with the injury on game day is not what the player will feel like the next day," Flood said. "I think we are going to need a couple days."

      Backup quarterback Chris Laviano led three scoring drives, including a third-quarter touchdown after Rutgers recovered a bad snap at the Nebraska 21-yard line.

      Laviano finished 4-of-7 passing for 49 yards and ran five times for 54 yards.

      "I thought Chris did a good job," Flood said. "I thought he did a good job for what he had and what we gave him for play calls. I thought he made good decisions, decisive decisions.

      "I don't expect him to be perfect; usually hesitation is what gets you in trouble."

      After his long kickoff return, Abdullah had a four-yard gain out of the wildcat formation in that short drive, capped by quarterback Tommy Armstrong's four-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp.

      Abdullah's day appeared done when he didn't play on Nebraska's next two series.

      But Abdullah returned on the fifth play of a short fourth-quarter drive, one he capped with a 28-yard touchdown run for a 42-17 lead.

      "I said this week, I thought he was one of the better backs we have seen in my time at Rutgers," Flood said. "That is 10 years and a lot of good football players. He certainly did not un-impress in person."

      Abdullah had touchdown runs of 53 and 48 yards on consecutive drives in the first half, helping Nebraska take a 21-7 lead.

      The Huskers drove 69 yards in nine plays on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead. Armstrong, who completed a 20-yard pass over the middle to Westerkamp on Nebraska's first play, capped the drive with a 16-yard run, his longest career touchdown run.

      Rutgers tied the game when Nova, under pressure on third-and-6, evaded the rush and, on a broken play, connected with wide receiver Leonte Carroo, who got behind Nebraska linebacker David Santos.

      Carroo caught the short pass beyond the first-down marker, then sped away untouched 71 yards for a touchdown with 1:27 to play in the first quarter.

      NOTES: QB Gary Nova's third completion of the game, in the first quarter, gave him 615 for his career, moving him to third place on Rutgers' all-time list. ... RB Ameer Abdullah's 53-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his fourth play from scrimmage this season of 50-plus yards, including runs of 57, 50 and 53 yards, and his game-winning, 58-yard touchdown reception against McNeese State. ... Nebraska and Rutgers last played in 1920, the only previous meetings between the schools. The 94-yard series gap was the longest for Nebraska against any opponent.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    CFB roundup: Davis, Brown deny knowledge of UNC fraud
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former North Carolina football coaches Butch Davis and Mack Brown both denied knowing about any academic fraud going on at the school.

    • Davis and Brown spoke on the air during halftime of ESPN2's game between Rutgers and Nebraska on Saturday. They are both analysts with ESPN.

      North Carolina is being investigated for academic fraud. The latest probe found that university leaders, faculty members and staff either missed or ignored signs that could have stopped the fraud years earlier. More than 3,100 students -- about half of them athletes -- benefited from no-show classes and unearned high grades in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department.

      A report by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein shows that the bogus classes began in 1993 and ended in 2011. The university has reformed the department but the newly learned details of the fraud could mean more trouble with the agency that accredits the college. The NCAA could also have new concerns over the academic misconduct.

      Davis coached the football team from 2007-10.

      Brown coached the team from 1988-97. He said he did not know about the bogus courses.

      "I wasn't aware," he said. "I never ever heard, felt or saw anything inappropriate academically. Like Butch said, after 30 years as a head coach, I never told an academic counselor where to put a young guy in a class, never told one what major to take. I never met with a dean, never met with someone in the department. I've never gone and talked with a faculty member about a grade because there was perceived pressure. I was getting (academic) reports, like Butch would get reports, but it was simply grades."

      ---The Army football program provided recruits with alcohol, cash and dates with cheerleaders and female athletes, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

      The Gazette used U.S. Military Academy documents that indicated the academy "acknowledged the misconduct" and admitted that 20 cadets were disciplined along with two officers and two Army coaches.

      It also self-reported a recruiting violation to the NCAA.

      According to an academy spokesperson, the football players were punished "administratively" and they did not play in Army's spring game. However, their NCAA eligibility was not affected.

      ---Oklahoma State dismissed freshman cornerback Juwan Offray from the team this week following his arrest for public intoxication, according to OColly.com.

      Offray was arrested last Sunday morning along with wide receiver Jhajuan Seales after they were found passed out at a fast food drive-thru.

      Seales is still with the team. It was Offray's second infraction but it is not clear what his first offense included.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    North Carolina edges Virginia 28-27
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- An onside kick, a backup quarterback throwing a touchdown, an interception and a penalty for too many men on the field on fourth-and-1.

    • All of those things occurred in the fourth quarter Saturday as North Carolina and Virginia renewed their rivalry at Scott Stadium.

      Unfortunately for coach Mike London and the Cavaliers, all of those plays went against Virginia as the Tar Heels came from behind to win 28-27.

      "Give those guys credit on the other side. They played a heck of a football game," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "We were fortunate to find a way to win, and I'm proud of my kids for finding a way to win."

      It was the second straight ACC victory for North Carolina, which improved to 3-0 against Virginia under Fedora. Both teams are 4-4 overall, 2-2 in the ACC.

      The Tar Heels took their first lead with 4:05 left when backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who entered the game for Marquise Williams after his helmet was removed, found wide receiver T.J. Thorpe with a 16-yard touchdown pass.

      "I'm happy with what we've been doing with Mitch," Fedora said. "People think we're idiots, but I think it paid off for him in that situation."

      The Tar Heels then recovered their onside kick and never allowed Virginia another possession.

      Virginia forced North Carolina into a field goal attempt on fourth-and-1 with a little over a minute to play, but an illegal substitution penalty on Virginia gave the Tar Heels a first down and allowed them to run out the clock.

      "Obviously a disappointing loss," London said. "We coached poorly at the end, played poorly and it's disappointing to have the opportunity to win a game down the stretch (and not do it). It wasn't good enough and we take ownership of that -- myself and the coaches."

      Williams completed 15 of 28 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns to lead North Carolina.

      Virginia sophomore quarterback Greyson Lambert completed 20 of 40 passes for 261 yards, while senior running back Kevin Parks ran for 111 yards on 25 carries.

      "It's the name of the game. You keep playing and things didn't go our way today," Parks said. "It hurts, feels like someone stuck a knife in your stomach. It's a tough blow."

      The Cavaliers jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter as wide receiver Cannan Severin caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Lambert and Parks ran in from 2 yards.

      North Carolina answered with two touchdowns on the back end of the quarter, with Williams dashing 52 yards for one and then hitting sophomore wide receiver Mack Hollins on a 57-yard scoring throw.

      With 6:02 left in the second quarter, Virginia retook the lead when Lambert found Parks on a 5-yard touchdown pass, putting the Cavaliers ahead, 21-14.

      Barely a minute later, Williams connected with Hollins on a 63-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

      Virginia claimed the halftime lead after kicker Ian Frye converted a 37-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the half.

      Virginia outgained North Carolina 443-374 but managed just 130 yards in the second half.

      After Lambert threw an interception in the red zone on Virginia's opening possession of the second half, the Cavaliers bounced back with a 37-yard field goal by Frye. That put the Cavaliers up 27-21 with 5:39 to play in the third quarter.

      North Carolina's first four possessions of the second half began on its 45-yard line or better, but yielded zero points.

      "We did not play a really good game," Fedora said. "But we made enough plays to win a football game and that's what it boils down to."

      NOTES: This is the 119th meeting between the schools, a series that dates to 1892. ... Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert made his first start since the Cavaliers' loss at BYU on September 20. ... North Carolina entered the game leading the ACC in scoring, averaging 38.7 points per game. ... Virginia travels to play Georgia Tech next Saturday, while North Carolina will play at Miami.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Northern Illinois, Hare win with fast finish
    By The Sports Xchange

    YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Drew Hare wasn't concerned when Northern Illinois found itself trailing in the fourth quarter to a team it annually manhandles.

    • The sophomore quarterback took a deep breath, then led the Huskies on two scoring drives as they collected a shaky 28-17 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday at Rynearson Stadium.

      "Nobody panicked," said Hare, who rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown. "We did a great job. Everybody stayed calm. We just knew what we had to do and we responded well."

      Sophomore running Joel Bouagnon, who gained 85 yards on 10 carries, scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 24-yard run for Northern Illinois (6-2, 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference).

      The Eagles (2-6, 1-3) outscored the Huskies, 21-10, after Hare's early 78-yard touchdown run before Northern Illinois regained its offensive rhythm and got key stops in its own territory on Eastern Michigan's last two possessions.

      "We were doing little things that weren't allowing us to make big things happen," Huskies coach Rod Carey said. "We just had to reel that back in and get the little things going again.

      "Give Eastern a lot of credit for that. They played hard, they played well, they had a good, sound scheme against us, but we found a way in the end. We responded to some adversity."

      Before the late run, there was plenty of unsightly play.

      The Huskies allowed two 100-yard rushers, as Eagles quarterback Reginald Bell Jr. picked up 133 yards on 25 carries and a score, while senior running back Ryan Brumfield added 112 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

      Bell, a redshirt freshman, was particularly tough to reel in.

      "I was playing in the secondary and covering people, and it was kind of disappointing he got out of the pocket and made a lot of plays for them," senior safety Dechane Durante of Northern Illinois said.

      "He kept them in the game. I'm just glad we got the win."

      Special teams was also an issue, as Tyler Wedel had two field-goal attempts blocked.

      "The first one was a protection (breakdown), the second one was the kick," Carey said. "That's not good enough. That's two empty trips in the red zone there that could have changed the complexion of the game."

      The Huskies also did little through the air, gaining only 54 yards on 17 passes.

      Fortunately, the running game bailed them out.

      Bouagnon raced down the left sideline on his 24-yard run scoring with 11:55 remaining to give Northern Illinois a 21-17 advantage. That finished off a nine-play, 65-yard drive.

      Senior running back Cameron Stingily rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries, including a clinching one-yard score with 3:26 remaining.

      Durante made a big play in the third quarter, sniffing out a flea flicker and picking off Bell's pass.

      "I kind of just read the play," Durante said. "It's been a long season for me without an interception. I've been hungry for one, so I had to go get it."

      Hare gained 114 yards on six carries during the first quarter, including a 78-yard, third-down burst up the middle to open the scoring.

      The Huskies gave those points right back by allowing an 80-yard drive, capped by Brumfield's four-yard scoring run.

      In the closing seconds of the quarter, Northern Illinois moved back on top, 14-7, on Stingily's three-yard scoring run to finish off an 11-play, 52-yard drive.

      The Huskies had a chance to extend the lead early in the second quarter but Wedel's 24-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.

      Dylan Mulder's 21-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the half cut the Huskies' lead to 14-10.

      Wedel had a 32-yard field-goal try deflected with 5:34 left in the third quarter. The Eagles then marched down the field and moved ahead 17-14 on Bell's two-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

      Bell had a 26-yard run during the drive, which was aided by a pass interference call against cornerback Paris Logan.

      Northern Illinois retook the lead on Bouagnon's score, and Stingily's one-yard scoring plunge, following a 32-yard run by Hare, iced the victory.

      NOTES: QB Drew Hare's 78-yard run in the first quarter was the team's longest run since Jordan Lynch's 88-yard score against Army on Sept. 15, 2012. ... The Huskies have won the last seven meetings against Eastern Michigan and the last nine at Rynearson Stadium. ... Northern Illinois has won 39 of its last 40 games when allowing 24 points or fewer. ... Northern Illinois plays its next game at Ball State on Wednesday, Nov. 5. ... The Huskies have won 100 games since 2003.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    K-State shuts out Texas for win No. 500
    By The Sports Xchange

    MANHATTAN, Kan. -- There's a reason Kansas State's football stadium is named after Bill Snyder. He took the nation's worst college football program and turned it into one of the nation's best.

    • Snyder's 11th-ranked Wildcats shut out Texas 23-0 to improve to 6-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Big 12 for the 500th win in program history.

      "When I first came here, it was the only program that had accumulated 500 losses," said Snyder, who turned 75 this month. "So we caught up with that, sort of. But it doesn't really mean much."

      How bad was it before Snyder arrived? In 1986, three years before his first season, K-State won its 299th in program history. Standing at 482 losses, certainly the Wildcats would get win number 300 before suffering loss number 500, right? It didn't happen. When Snyder took over to start the 1989 season, the Wildcats were 299-510-40.

      But all that is in the past as the Wildcats maintained sole possession of first place in the Big 12 with the program's first league shutout in 11 years.

      "It was awesome," defensive end Ryan Mueller said. "We take a lot of pride in getting the shutout. It was definitely a goal coming in, and I'm glad we could check the box off."

      The game was played in unseasonably warm conditions in front of 52,879, the 10th largest crowd in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history and the 18th straight sellout. The game-time temperature was 54 degrees, but climbed into the 80s by the end of the game.

      Kansas State controlled the clock, holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes, but managed only 4.8 yards per play.

      Quarterback Jake Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards, while running back DeMarcus Robinson led the K-State rushing attack with 50 yards, but the Wildcats averaged only 2.9 yards per rush.

      Waters came into the game with a balky shoulder, injured last week in the win at Oklahoma. With the Longhorns leading the conference in sacks, the offensive line knew it had its hands full.

      "That's something we always have to do, we have to protect Jake," center B.J. Finney said. "It doesn't matter if he's 100 percent or not. It's our job to protect him no matter what.

      "They're a good pass-rush unit, very physical, very tough. We just executed well enough and took advantage of some opportunities."

      While the Wildcats only had spurts of offense, Texas (3-5, 2-3) didn't even have the spurts. The Longhorns had only 196 yards of total offense.

      "We needed to be as good as we were," Snyder said. "We played awfully well. I thought we set the tone when the first three possessions were all three-and-out."

      Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, who totaled 800 total yards in his previous two games, completed 13 of 25 passes for 106 yards for Texas, and added 31 yards on eight carries.

      "You do not ever want to be shut out," Texas coach Charlie Strong said. "We thought we had a game plan.

      "I like the way our guys went out and competed, but we gave them too many opportunities. We drove down in the first half and got sacked out of field-goal range. We had our chances. We just did not take advantage of them."

      The shutout was the Wildcats' first in conference play since a 45-0 win at Iowa State on Nov. 8, 2003, and the first ever against Texas.

      Texas' best threat occurred early in the fourth quarter.

      Down 16-0, the Longhorns went for it on fourth and less than a yard from the K-State 14 with 13:17 left. But running back Jonathan Gray was stopped for no gain by linebacker Jonathan Truman and defensive back Dante Barnett.

      "That was quite a play," Snyder said. "It's not the easiest thing in the world (to stop Swoopes). He's big enough to just put the ball across the line. He's physical enough that he can run it forward. He's got the speed to run the option, so you have to defend all of those.

      "We didn't out-scheme them on that play; we just beat them."

      The Wildcats responded with a 10-play, 86-yard drive.

      Kansas State controlled the first quarter, outgaining Texas, 87-40, with six first downs to two for the Longhorns. But all the Wildcats had to show for it were two field goals by Matthew McCrane and a 6-0 lead.

      Neither offense could get untracked until late in the first half. Kansas State finally went 85 yards in 12 plays, covering 5:52 to give the Wildcats a 13-0 lead with 2:18 left in the half.

      The third quarter was more of the same, with the Wildcats getting the only points of the quarter on a 38-yard field goal by McCrane.

      NOTES: Kansas State (9-6 all-time against Texas) is the only current member of the Big 12 Conference to lead an overall series against the Longhorns. ... WR Tyler Lockett had two catches in the first quarter and moved past Michael Smith (1988-91) into third place on the all-time list at Kansas State with 180 catches. He trails only his father, Kevin Lockett (217 catches, 1993-96) and Jordy Nelson (206, 2005-07). ... QB Jake Waters moved into 10th place in passing yards in Kansas State history, moving past Paul Watson (1988-91).

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Report: Army provided recruits with alcohol, cash, dates
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Army football program provided recruits with alcohol, cash and dates with cheerleaders and female athletes, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Saturday.

    • The Gazette used U.S. Military Academy documents that indicated the academy "acknowledged the misconduct" and admitted that 20 cadets were disciplined along with two officers and two Army coaches.

      It also self-reported a recruiting violation to the NCAA.

      According to an academy spokesperson, the football players were punished "administratively" and they did not play in Army's spring game. However, their NCAA eligibility was not affected.

      Fourteen recruits on a visit to West Point attended an alcohol-fueled bus party in late January. The chartered bus included a full police escort from West Point to a bowling alley known for allowing underage drinking. Booster money paid for the alcohol, which included orders of "beer towers" that contained quarts of the drinks.

      Some cadets reportedly had as many as seven drinks in 90 minutes before the bus ride home. Some leftover booster money was given to the recruits.

      In February, director of football operations Lt. Col. Chad Davis arranged for cheerleaders and Army women's basketball and volleyball players to go on dinner dates with recruits.

      First-year Army coach Jeff Monken knew of the bus party but did not report it to administrators. The NCAA warned the academy in a letter that Monken would be suspended if a second violation occurs.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Davis, Brown deny knowledge of UNC fraud
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former North Carolina football coaches Butch Davis and Mack Brown both denied knowing about any academic fraud going on at the school.

    • Davis and Brown spoke on the air during halftime of ESPN2's game between Rutgers and Nebraska on Saturday. They are both analysts with ESPN.

      North Carolina is being investigated for academic fraud. The latest probe found that university leaders, faculty members and staff either missed or ignored signs that could have stopped the fraud years earlier. More than 3,100 students -- about half of them athletes -- benefited from no-show classes and unearned high grades in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies department.

      A report by former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein shows that the bogus classes began in 1993 and ended in 2011. The university has reformed the department but the newly-learned details of the fraud could mean more trouble with the agency that accredits the college. The NCAA could also have new concerns over the academic misconduct.

      Davis coached the football team from 2007-10.

      "Absolutely not," Davis said when asked if he was aware of academic fraud. "We were completely interested in our players graduating, having great careers and success academically, but to say we had any idea that there were fraudulent independent study classes -- yes, we were aware there were independent classes -- but to say there were fraudulent or that there was anything crooked -- we had no idea."

      Brown coached the team from 1988-97. He said he did not know about the bogus courses.

      "I wasn't aware," he said. "I never ever heard, felt or saw anything inappropriate academically. Like Butch said, after 30 years as a head coach, I never told an academic counselor where to put a young guy in a class, never told one what major to take. I never met with a dean, never met with someone in the department. I've never gone and talked with a faculty member about a grade because there was perceived pressure.

      "I was getting (academic) reports, like Butch would get reports, but it was simply grades."

      Davis and John Bunting, who coached the Tar Heels from 2001-06, cooperated with Wainstein's investigation.

      However, five others did not cooperate with the investigation, including four with ties to the football program, according to the Raleigh News Observer. Among them were former coaches Chuck Pagano and Everett Withers, who replaced Davis in the interim after Davis was fired.

      Brown was not contacted about the probe into the school's academic scandal.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Report: OSU dismisses CB Offray
    By The Sports Xchange

    Oklahoma State dismissed freshman cornerback Juwan Offray from the team this week following his arrest for public intoxication, according to OColly.com.

    • Offray was arrested Sunday morning along with wide receiver Jhajuan Seales after they were found passed out at a fast food drive thru.

      Seales is still with the team. It was Offray's second infraction but it is not clear what his first offense included.

      Offray remains enrolled at the school, but he will reportedly seek a transfer to another Big 12 school.

      Offray has three tackles in seven games this season.

  • Saturday, October 25, 2014
    Ducks outlast Bears in Pac-10 in offensive outburst
    By The Sports Xchange

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The No. 6-ranked Oregon Ducks won't scare anyone with their defense.

    • They came into Friday's game against the California Golden Bears ranked 98th of 125 FBS teams in total defense and yielded 560 yards and more than 40 points on Friday night.

      To make matters worse, Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota threw his first interception of the season.

      But the Ducks' potent offense more than made up for those shortcomings in Oregon's 59-41 Pac-12 victory over Cal before a crowd of 55,575 at Levi's Stadium.

      Asked afterward whether he believes in the adage that defenses win championships, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said, "I believe in the adage that teams win championships. This was a win on the road, a short week. It was a gutty performance by our guys. Offensively, (the Bears) are lights out."

      The Ducks can expect a different kind of game next Saturday when they host Stanford, which has beaten Oregon the past two years with a physical team built on defense.

      On Friday, though, a high-scoring game was expected, with both teams' offenses averaging more than 40 points and their defenses ranking 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Pac-12.

      Oregon (7-1, 4-1 in the Pac-12) rolled up 592 yards and stayed alive in its bid for one of the four national playoff spots. Mariota completed 18 of 30 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran for 36 yards. But the talk afterward focused on his interception on a tipped ball in the second quarter, ending his run of 253 pass attempts without a pick.

      "I sort of messed up," Mariota said. "Coach kind of joked about. He said just flush it. It's OK. It happens."

      Helfrich said he was even glad the interception occurred, to end the attention paid to the streak.

      "He had a couple of mistakes," Helfrich said. "It's almost funny; you've come to expect him to be perfect."

      Wide receiver Byron Marshall caught four passes for 133 yards and a score, and he also rushed for 57 yards. Ducks wide receiver Dwayne Stanford had six catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns, and tight end Pharaoh Brown caught two passes, both for touchdowns.

      Freshman running back Royce Freeman added 112 yards on the ground on 22 carries for Oregon.

      "Royce is a stud," Helfrich said.

      Cal (4-4, 2-4) scored more than 40 points for the fifth time this season but lost their third straight game. Cal quarterback Jared Goff was 32-of-52 passing for 360 yards, two scores and no interceptions. Bears running back Daniel Lasco rushed for 85 yards and caught eight passes for 101 yards.

      The Ducks could not slow Cal's offense early in the game, as the Bears scored touchdowns on their first two possession on long drives to take a 14-7 lead.

      "Our guys were excited to play and had confidence coming in," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. "We executed very well early, and I thought we had a good plan."

      Oregon also scored on its first two possessions, and Charles Nelson's 58-yard punt return for a touchdown ended a run of 24 straight Oregon points that gave them a 31-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

      "I think we took a deep breath and relaxed after that punt return," Helfrich said.

      The Bears closed the gap to 31-28 later in the second quarter, with Cal's fourth touchdown coming after Cal safety Michael Lowe returned a Freeman fumble 22 yards to the Oregon 5-yard line.

      "We knew it was going to be a shootout, so every time they scored, we knew we had to answer," Lasco said.

      That was as close as Cal would get as the Ducks' offense put the game away with a 21-point spurt. A 23-yard scoring pass from Mariota to Stanford gave the Ducks a 38-28 lead with 41 seconds left in the half, and Mariota's 54-yard touchdown pass to Marshall early in the third quarter increased the lead to 45-28.

      Freeman's 2-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave the Ducks an insurmountable 52-28 advantage.

      NOTES: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, who led the nation in passing efficiency entering this weekend's games, broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in the first quarter, surpassing Bill Musgrave's mark of 8,343 yards. ... Friday's Cal-Oregon matchup was the first college football game at Levi's Stadium, which is the home of the San Francisco 49ers and will be the site of this year's Pac-12 championship game. ... Cal was without WR Trevor Davis, who was taken to the hospital after suffering a neck injury in last week's loss to UCLA. He is OK, but there is no timetable for his return.

  • Friday, October 24, 2014
    Johnson, Miami run wild against Virginia Tech
    By The Sports Xchange

    BLACKSBURG, Va. -- University of Miami junior running back Duke Johnson broke off a couple of big runs in the first quarter Thursday night and knew something big was in store.

    • "You kind of felt it was going to be a good night," Johnson said.

      His premonition was right. The lightning-fast Johnson rushed for career-high 249 yards and scored two touchdowns, leading Miami to a 30-6 blowout of Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium.

      The Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2) picked up a critical Atlantic Coast Conference victory, as they are trying to keep pace in the wide-open Coastal Division. Meanwhile, the Hokies (4-4, 1-3) severely debilitated their division title hopes with their third loss to a division opponent.

      "You can't expect things to magically turn around, but we'll get it right," Hokies defensive tackle Corey Marshall said.

      Johnson became the first player to rush for more than 200 yards against the Hokies since North Carolina's Giovani Bernard gained 262 yards in a 2012 game. Johnson, who had 29 carries, is the first Miami player to eclipse the 200-yard mark since Willis McGahee had 205 against the Hokies in 2002.

      "When Duke Johnson is in the backfield, he's going to make the plays," Hurricanes senior center Shane McDermott said.

      Hurricanes sophomore running back Gus Edwards rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Miami amassed 364 yards on 53 attempts, the highest rushing output allowed by the Hokies in Frank Beamer's 28 seasons as head coach.

      Miami's defense narrowly missed pitching its first shutout since a 45-0 win over Florida A&M on Sept. 2, 2010, giving up a touchdown in the final minutes. The Hurricanes held the Hokies to 262 total yards, Virginia Tech's lowest total since gaining 212 against Alabama in the 2013 season opener.

      Virginia Tech sustained its worst home loss since a 41-7 setback to Florida State in 1989, Beamer's third season as head coach.

      "It wasn't a pretty picture all night, but I saw some things we can certainly build on," Beamer said.

      Hokies freshman running back Marshawn Williams rushed for 100 yards on 21 carries. He came a yard away from scoring a touchdown in the third quarter, but he lost a fumble that Miami defensive back Deon Bush recovered. It was one of three Virginia Tech fumbles that Miami recovered.

      Virginia Tech junior starting quarterback Michael Brewer completed 13 of 20 passes for 80 yards. Backup quarterback Mark Leal completed five of eight passes for 62 yards and a 14-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford with 1:30 left.

      That late touchdown kept alive Virginia Tech's 251-game scoring streak. The Hokies' last shutout defeat was a 16-0 setback to Cincinnati in 1995.

      Johnson ran wild on the Hokies in the first half, accounting for 185 of the Hurricanes' 255 yards. He scored on a 24-yard run and 22-yard reception in the second quarter, and Miami went into the locker room with a 24-0 halftime lead.

      "That was one of the toughest running backs we've ever had to tackle," Beamer said.

      Virginia Tech, meanwhile, struggled to move the ball in the first two quarters. The Hokies managed only 36 yards on 20 plays.

      Miami took a 3-0 lead on Michael Badgley's 28-yard field goal with 6:30 left in the first quarter.

      The Hurricanes extended the lead to 10-0 on Edwards' 3-yard touchdown run with 14:11 remaining in the second quarter.

      The blowout was on when Johnson broke free for his first touchdown with 6:21 to go before halftime.

      Johnson's second touchdown came with three seconds left in the first half, on a 22-yard pass from quarterback Brad Kaaya.

      NOTES: Virginia Tech's 24-0 halftime deficit was its biggest since a 48-7 loss at LSU in 2007. ... Miami RB Duke Johnson played quarterback in the Wildcat formation for the first time this season. He had a 15-yard gain on his first Wildcat snap in the first quarter. ... Hokies RB Jerome Wright made his first appearance of the season. The sophomore gained 9 yards on three carries. ... Two Virginia Tech redshirt freshmen, G Wyatt Teller and LB Andrew Motuapuaka, made their first career starts.