Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Year 
from the Bedlam on Baltic Avenue.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Texas Tech: 2013 Holiday Bowl Champions

Just when it looked like No. 14 Arizona State was starting to mount a comeback,Reginald Davis turned the tide. The Texas Tech receiver returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score to give Texas Tech a two-touchdown lead they would never relinquish in a 37-23 victory over the Sun Devils at the National University Holiday Holiday Bowl on Monday night in San Diego.
Texas Tech controlled the game from start-to-finish through the air. As is the Red Raiders' M.O., it was an aerial assault pacing the offense. Quarterback Davis Webb threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.  He completed passes to 10 different receivers, led by Jace Amaro, who hauled in eight passes. Jakeem Grant added two touchdowns.
Arizona State was plagued by missed opportunities. On a first half drive, the Sun Devils had the ball at the one-yard line but failed to punch it in. Kicker Zane Gonzalez proceeded to miss the ensuing field goal. In the fourth quarter, quarterback Taylor Kelly hit wide open receiver Rick Smith with a perfect pass in the end zone, but Smith dropped the ball. It wasn't the Sun Devils' night.
Box Score Hero: Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb: 403 yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-41 passing.
Texas Tech wide receiver Jace Amaro: eight receptions for 112 yards.
Texas Tech receiver Jakeem Grant: six receptions for 89 yards.Texas
Rankings Ramifications: ASU came into the game ranked No. 14, but they sure didn't play like it. The loss will surely drop them a couple of rungs in the final top-25 poll of the season. And while it was a really impressive performance from the Red Raiders, it likely won't be enough to get them back into the rankings.
But Did They Cover? Arizona State came in as a 17-point favorite. They did not cover.

Oregon: 2013 Alamo Bowl Champions

SAN ANTONIO — Mack Brown's finish at Texas was somehow fitting. The end came mercifully, with his overmatched Texas team beaten soundly – but not embarrassed – by Oregon, 30-7 Alamo Bowl.
A 16-year tenure fizzled in the last few years in large part because of a dearth of good quarterback play. Monday night, it was more of the same – right from the start. On the third play, Case McCoy's pass bounced off a receiver's hands, was intercepted by safety Avery Patterson, who returned it 37 yards for a touchdown.
And although Oregon didn't quite steamroll the Longhorns. the Ducks were in control most of the way from that point. Midway through the fourth quarter, another McCoy interception was returned for a touchdown, stretching the Ducks' lead to 30-7.
Fans wore burnt orange shirts with the message "THANKS MACK." As it played "One Day More" from Les Miserables, the Texas marching band spelled out "MACK BROWN." Even Bevo, the mascot, wore "MACK" on his halter.
New Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, while deflecting questions about his search for Brown's replacement – except to say he wanted a hire by the time recruiting reopens Jan. 15 – praised Brown and said he hoped for a nice ending.
"Mack's had a great 16-year career here," Patterson said before the game. "He brought a national championship. He's operated with class – no issues in terms of recruiting or academics or ethics. We'd all love to see him go out with a win."
None of it mattered. As 65,918 watched at the Alamodome, Texas fell to 8-5. Since losing to Alabama in the 2010 BCS national championship game, the Longhorns' cumulative record is 30-21 in the last four seasons. Texas is 4-16 in its past 20 games against Top 25 opponents.
Oregon (11-2) wasn't as smooth as it can be. But sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota appeared to have recovered from a knee injury that hampered him and the Ducks' offense in November. He rushed for 134 yards on 15 carries and was 18 of 26 for 253 yards and a touchdown. In the first half, he accounted for 262 of Oregon's 296 total yards; the Ducks led 20-7.

Ole Miss: 2013 Music City Bowl Champions

Georgia Tech mounted a fourth quarter rally, but Ole Miss held on for an 25-17 win in the Music City Bowl.
The Rebels got off to a solid start, driving 75 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession of the game. Although Georgia Tech answered right back with a touchdown of its own, the first three quarters belonged to the Rebels. Ole Miss held a 13-7 lead at halftime and extended the advantage to 23-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
It appeared Ole Miss was well on its way another bowl win, but Georgia Tech made things interesting. The Yellow Jackets drove down for a field goal to open the fourth quarter, their first points since their opening drive. D.J. White then intercepted Bo Wallace on Ole Miss' third play, giving the ball right back to Georgia Tech. Vad Lee and the offense took advantage with Lee hitting Darren Waller for a 72-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive. Ole Miss' 16-point lead was cut to six in the span of five plays.
The defenses traded game-changing plays during the rest of the fourth quarter. The Rebels drove deep into Georgia Tech territory with a chance to make it a two-score game. The Yellow Jackets held strong in the red zone, however, and blocked Andrew Ritter's field-goal attempt. Ritter had a field goal and extra point blocked and missed a 29-yard field goal.
Ole Miss' defense came up with a big play of its own, forcing a fumble on Georgia Tech's next possession which resulted in a safety. Wallace hit Laquon Treadwell for 27 yards to convert a crucial 3rd-and-13 on the ensuing possession. The Rebels milked the clock to 37 seconds and intercepted Lee to end the game.
With the win, Ole Miss finishes the season 8-5 and extended its bowl winning streak to six games. Georgia Tech ends the year 7-6.
Box Score Hero: Donte Moncrief led the way for Ole Miss, hauling in six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Bo Wallace threw for 256 yards and set the single-season Ole Miss record for completions.
Rankings Ramifications: Neither team will crack the final polls.
But Did They Cover?
Mississippi State opened as a 4-point favorite and were able to cover.

Navy: 2013 Armed Forces Bowl Champions

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Keenan Reynolds ran for 86 yards with two more touchdowns and Navy won for only the second time its last seven bowl games, beating Middle Tennessee State 24-6 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday.
Reynolds had a 3-yard score to cap the opening drive for Navy (9-4) and added a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter. Already with the NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, Reynolds upped his total to 31 to match Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, also a sophomore, for the national lead this season.
Middle Tennessee (8-5) was held to a season low in points. The Blue Raidersfinished the regular season with a five-game winning streak, averaging nearly 43 points a game in that stretch -- since a 34-7 loss on Oct. 12 at North Texas, about 40 miles away from the TCU campus where the bowl was played.
The Midshipmen overcame two fumbles by Reynolds, their first turnovers in six games. Both came after Navy got inside the 20 and were recovered by T.T. Barber, though the Blue Raiders failed to convert either into points.
Barber knocked loose one ball after tackling Reynolds, jumping over the quarterback to pounce on it late in the first half. The other came late in the third quarter when the Midshipmen drove from their own 6 to the MTSU 14 after stopping Middle Tennessee short on a fourth-and-2.
Reynolds, who finished the season with 1,346 yards rushing leading the triple option offense, had lost only two fumbles during the regular season.
Navy won its fifth straight.
Down 10-6 at halftime, the Blue Raiders drove to the Navy 7 on the opening drive of the second half. They opted to go for it on fourth down instead of trying a short field goal. But fullback Corey Carmichael managed only a yard before getting taken down by Travis Bridges and George Jamison, who also had an interception.
The Midshipmen never trailed after 10 rushing plays on their opening drive, capped by Reynolds' first touchdown. Nick Sloan made a 32-yard field goal, and DeBrandon Sanders added a 41-yard TD run for Navy, which had 366 yards rushing.
Cody Clark kicked a 43-yard field goal on Middle Tennessee's first drive. He later made a 24-yarder.
There was a scary moment in the final minute before halftime when Middle Tennessee receiver Marcus Henry and Navy cornerback Lonnie Richardson each crumpled to the ground after a hard tackle. Players from both teams quickly motioned to the sideline, and trainers sprinted to the players.
Henry and Richardson were side-by-side on the ground surrounded by their respective teammates and medical personnel. Both eventually sat up, then got up and walked gingerly off the field with help.
Richardson was a second-teamer pressed into extra duty after the ejection of senior safety Wave Ryder for a borderline targeting penalty midway through the second quarter. Ryder appeared to make shoulder-to-shoulder contact on the hit of receiver Tavarres Jefferson at the end of a 22-yard gain, but officials upheld Ryder's ejection after the automatic review of the play.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Kansas State: 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Champions

TEMPE, Ariz. — Kansas State’s 31-14 victory over Michigan on Saturday in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is the type of game that will be remembered for years to come in Wildcat circles.
It had everything.
For starters, K-State ended an ugly five-game bowl losing streak that dated back to 2002. Players won’t have to answer questions about their poise or toughness the next time they head into the postseason. Proving they could win in this setting was their top priority. But they ended up accomplishing more.
This was also one of the Wildcats’ most dominant efforts of the season, the type of victory that came with style points. Tyler Lockett tied a school record with three touchdown catches, Jake Waters showed off his arm on a national stage and K-State’s defense looked strong from start to finish.
Throw in the fact that that the Wildcats did all that against one of the most storied programs in college football in front of 53,284 at Sun Devil Stadium and they were left with an experience that is hard to beat.
They could see it coming. Perhaps that was the best part.
K-State announced early on that it was serious about winning its first bowl game in a decade. The Wildcats scored first, took a 14-3 lead in the first quarter and held a 21-6 advantage at halftime.
They were firmly in control. And that was a welcome change.
Before Saturday, K-State had never scored more than nine points in the first quarter of a bowl. The Wildcats had also trailed from start to finish in their last two bowl losses. This was the first time they had possessed a lead in the postseason since the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl.
The Wildcats, 8-5, started strong behind three touchdown passes from Waters to Lockett and a defense that held the Wolverines, 7-6, to field goals and punts.
That combination led to confidence, which turned into momentum, and eventually became a victory.
It all started with a textbook K-State touchdown drive. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Wildcats marched 75 yards in 14 plays, converting four third downs and eating up 7 minutes, 48 seconds of clock along the way. The drive was capped the drive by a 6-yard TD catch by Lockett.
Michigan, behind freshman quarterback Shane Morris, looked poised to tie the game on the ensuing drive. The Wolverines completed several short passes and drove into the red zone, but K-State’s defense tightened near the goal line and prevented tight end Devin Funchess from hauling in a jump ball in the end zone. Michigan had to settle for a field goal.
When K-State got the ball back it quickly found the end zone when Waters lofted a pass over coverage into the hands of Lockett for a 29-yard score that gave the Wildcats a 14-3 lead.
Michigan once again threatened to answer with a touchdown of its own, but ended up kicking another field goal. K-State focused its efforts on stuffing the run and dared Morris, who started his first game in place of injured Devin Gardner, to beat it with his arm. Morris was unable to.
When Waters hit Glenn Gronkowski for a 46-yard gain, and then connected with Lockett for an 8-yard touchdown with 4:30 remaining in the second quarter that gave K-State a 21-6 lead, Michigan carried the look of a defeated team.
At halftime, the Wolverines had gained 131 yards, with only 10 coming on the ground, while Lockett was on his way to a monster game. If not for a dropped pass in the end zone from Daniel Sams in the second half, Lockett would have broken numerous K-State bowl receiving records.
In many ways, that play summed up the second half. K-State was continually in position to blow the doors off Michigan, but couldn’t take advantage of scoring opportunities.
A promising drive in the third quarter ended with a missed field goal by Ian Patterson. Another ended with a 22-yard field goal from Patterson.
The way K-State’s defense played, frustrating Morris and forcing Michigan into three-and-outs, those missed opportunities didn’t impact the bottom line.
John Hubert ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 2:25 left for K-State’s final score.
It was a fitting conclusion to a season that started slowly, but became successful. As difficult as it must have been for Bill Snyder to watch the Wildcats lose four of their first six games, his team showed improvement every week.
That was most evident in the postseason.

Louisville: 2013 Russell Athletic Bowl Champions

If the Russell Athletic Bowl proves to be Teddy Bridgewater's final collegiate performance, then he could not have picked a finer way to go out, returning to his home state of Florida and leading the Louisville Cardinals to an easy 36-9 win.
It did not start out as a blowout, though. Indeed, when Bridgewater was tackled in the end zone by Deon Bush for a safety just five minutes into the game, it looked like the Hurricanes were ready to wreck some havoc in their return to bowl season.
Turns out, they only had a light drizzle in store.
Bridgewater shook off that initial gaffe to put up yet another fantastically efficient performance -- the kind that have become so commonplace in his career.
After those first two Miami points, it was all Cardinals the rest of the way. Louisville scored 22 consecutive points to close the half, thanks to three John Wallace field goals from 36, 43 and 42 yards, and then a pair of Bridgewater touchdown passes.
The safety and a Wallace missed extra point proved to be the only Louisville mistakes in the first two quarters, and as fantastic as Bridgewater was in the first half, the Cardinals' defense was just as good. In just 30 minutes of action, they sacked Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris three times, pressured him on at least four occasions, forced Miami into an 0-for-7 on third downs, held them to 82 total yards and picked up a Morris fumble for good measure.
Coming out of the half, Bridgewater continued to pound away at the Hurricanes, scoring with a touchdown pass to Senorise Perry and again on a one-yard run on fourth-and-goal. That pushed the lead up to 36-2, and although Miami cut into things a bit on a short touchdown from Gus Edwards, it was merely window dressing.
The Cardinals ended up as Russell Athletic Bowl champions, picking up a 12th win.
Afterward, Bridgewater was asked about his intentions in regards to the NFL draft, and appeared to tip his hand a bit, although he made sure to mention his decision was not final yet.
Box Score Hero: Who else? It had to be Bridgewater, who threw for a career high 447 yards and three touchdowns. He added one more on the ground.
Rankings Ramifications: Louisville may see a slight rankings bump at the end of bowl season, depending on how things shake out with other teams.
But Did They Cover? The Cardinals were anywhere from 5.5- to 6-point favorites at kickoff, up from 3 when the line opened. They covered easily.

North Carolina: 2013 Belk Bowl Champions

North Carolina was one of the best teams in the ACC during the second half of the season and carried that momentum into its bowl game. The Tar Heels showed little problem with the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Belk Bowl, defeating Tommy Tuberville's squad 39-17 in Charlotte.
On third-and-goal, Romar Morris burst through the hole and into the end zone to give North Carolina the 7-0 lead. Two drives later, Kareem Martin broke through two Bearcat offensive linemen to bring down Brendon Kay in the end zone for a safety. T.J. Loganreturned the ensuing safety punt 78 yards for a touchdown and the Tar Heels suddenly led 16-0 in the first quarter.
The two teams traded scores in the second quarter -- unfortunately for the Bearcats, they traded a field goal for a touchdown. Tony Miliano's 34-yard field goal put Cincinnati on the board, but Marquise Williams' 3-yard touchdown pass to Jack Tabb four minutes later made the score 23-3.
The Tar Heels started out the third quarter with a bang, as Ryan Switzer returned a sky-high punt 86 yards for his fifth punt return touchdown of the season, tying an NCAA record.
Cincinnati tried to make it a game with two of the next three touchdowns, but were stopped short near the goal-line with about ten minutes left in the game. That allowed North Carolina to run down clock and put the game out of reach.
Box Score Hero: T.J. Logan. The running back carried 15 times for 77 yards while also returning three kicks for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Rankings Ramifications: Neither team was ranked, and neither will be.
But Did They Cover? North Carolina was a 3-point favorite, so they did.

Notre Dame: 2013 Pinstripe Bowl Champions

NEW YORK (AP) — This nicely sums up Tommy Rees' Notre Dame career.
The senior threw for 319 yards and no interceptions in his final college game, leading No. 25 Notre Dame to a 29-16 victory against Rutgers that was far from pretty but ultimately successful — and an offensive lineman won the MVP award.
"I was giving Tommy a hard time," said senior tackle Zack Martin, who took home the award. "I think he got snubbed a little bit."
Rees finished four years of football for the Fighting Irish packed with both memorable and forgettable moments with a solid performance, going 27 for 47. He has been "The Closer," rallying Notre Dame to victories with late drives, and "Turnover Tommy," making crushing mistakes at the most inopportune times during his time in South Bend, Ind.
For his finale, against one of the worst pass defenses in the nation, Rees was mistake free and productive. He missed some throws that could have broken open the game, but, typically, he persevered.
"I'm a Tommy Rees fan for life," coach Brian Kelly said.
Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals for the Fighting Irish (9-4), who finished their follow-up season to last year's run to the national championship game a long way from the BCS — facing a two-touchdown underdog trying to avoid a losing record.
Notre Dame's play was less than inspired — Kelly said about a dozen players were fighting a flu bug — but the win prevented the Irish from finishing with eight victories for the third time in his four seasons.
"A good season that could have been a great season," Kelly said.
Notre Dame's TJ Jones scored on an 8-yard run in the first quarter and Rutgers star Brandon Coleman answered with a 14-yard touchdown catch soon after. Tarean Folston's 3-yard touchdown run with 3:38 in the fourth made it 26-16 and finally gave the Irish a comfortable lead.
On the slick turf at Yankee Stadium, the Pinstripe Bowl turned into a field-goal kicking contest. Brindza was 5 for 6. Kyle Federico made 3 of 3 for the Scarlet Knights (6-7).
The Irish dominated in yards (494-237) and time of possession (38:49) but bogged down in the red zone repeatedly.
"I loved the way we were able to stay calm and stay within our offense and continue to kind of monotonously move the ball down the field," Rees said.
Twice Notre Dame put together double-digit play drives that ended in short field goals for Brindza. A 15-play, 90-yard march that started in the third quarter and ended in the fourth with Brindza's 25-yarder made it 19-13 Notre Dame with 12:46 left.
"I love the fourth quarter," Brindza said. "That's pretty much what a kicker's job is supposed to be."
Brindza's third field goal, a 26-yarder with 6:03 left in the third quarter, gave Notre Dame a 16-13 lead — after the Irish caught a break. Brindza had missed from 36 yards but Rutgers was flagged for running into the kicker to give him a second, easier, try.
"We thought we played good red zone defense and we could make them kick a few field goals and attempt some field goals, maybe we could block one and then win the game in the fourth quarter," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said. "We were kind of poised to do that."
Notre Dame improved to 17-6-3 at Yankee Stadium, though this ballpark in the Bronx is only a few years old and across the street from where the original House that Ruth built sat for decades.
"It's great to be in New York," Kelly told what was left of bowl record crowd of 47,122 during the postgame trophy ceremony on the field after the Irish had sung the alma mater with the band in right-center field, near the Yankees bullpen.
The Fighting Irish played the first football game in the new stadium back in 2010. Rees, a freshman then, helped the Irish beat Army and got to use Derek Jeter's locker. Called upon to lead the Irish this year after Everett Golson was suspended from school for academic cheating, Rees surpassed 3,000 yards through the air and became one of the most prolific passers in school history, making the most of his limited physical tools.
Senior quarterback Chas Dodd, whose career has been similar to Rees' in terms of ups and downs, finished with 156 yards passing for Rutgers.
"What we saw with their defense was just what we knew we would see," Dodd said. "We had a game plan ready to attack it. We just weren't able to because of our execution."

Friday, December 27, 2013

Washington: 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl Champions

Washington got a glimpse of what next year could look like in the second half of Friday's Fight Hunger Bowl. And it wasn't by choice.
Injuries to both quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey -- players who have combined for almost 5,000 yards of total offense this season -- forced the duo out of the game, but the Huskies defense made sure that the offense didn't need to score again in a 31-16 win over BYU.
Sankey, a Doak Walker Award finalist who entered the game with 1,775 yards rushing and had 95 yards and two touchdowns Friday, left the game in the third quarter after suffering an injury to his right hand. While he's a junior, he's requested his draft evaluation from the NFL (and gotten a third-round grade), and is expected to make his decision about turning pro soon. He was replaced by junior Jesse Callier.
Price, a senior, was replaced by freshman Cyler Miles after he took a shot to the ribs on a third quarter run. Price went to the locker room and returned to test himself on some warmup passes on the sideline but wasn't able to come back. Miles, who got extensive playing time against UCLA and Oregon State, finished the game.
After BYU made it a five-point game at halftime, Washington got the ball to start the second half and Price hitAustin Seferian-Jenkins, the Mackey Award winner, for a 16-yard touchdown and a 28-16 lead.
And then the Cougar offense was stifled. While, as to be expected, BYU ran a ton of plays (97), Washington limited quarterback Taysom Hill's chances down the field and sacked him five times.
Washington finishes with it's first nine-win season since 2000, while BYU is 8-5. The quarterback in that 2000 Rose Bowl season was Marques Tuiasosopo, the Huskies' interim coach for Friday night's game after Steve Sarkisian was hired by USC.

Syracuse: 2013 Texas Bowl Champions

It wasn't pretty by any means, but a late touchdown run from quarterback Terrel Hunt gave Syracuse a 21-17 win over Minnesota on Friday night to claim the 2013 Texas Bowl title.
Despite leading by two scores early in the fourth quarter, Syracuse found itself needing to rally in the closing minutes to reclaim the lead. Hunt evaded a handful of Golden Gophers to run into the end zone from 12 yards out to give the Orange a four-point lead with just 1:11 remaining on the clock.
It seemed the Orange had the game in the bag midway through the third quarter. Minnesota's offense hadn't scored a touchdown since Nov. 9, and the Gophers were struggling to get much of anything going. Two touchdowns in about three minutes gave UM the lead, though, and it seemed the Orange had lost all momentum. But the Orange rallied thanks to a 70-yard Brisly Estime punt return, Hunt's score and Minnesota failing to connect on a hail mary try as time ran out.
After an up-and-down season under first-year coach Scott Shafer, it was a fitting way to end the year. The team could've folded after the two quick scores, and it's a testament to Schafer, the coaching staff and the players for battling back the way they did in the final minutes.
Box Score Hero:
Mitch Leidner: 11/22, 205 yards, 2 TD
Terrel Hunt: 19/29, 188 yards; 15 carries, 74 yards, 2 TD
Jerome Smith: 16 carries, 74 yards, 1 TD
Drew Wolitarsky: 4 receptions, 94 yards, 1 TD
Rankings Ramifications: Even with the win, Syracuse won't come anywhere close to the top 25 at the end of the season. It was a nice victory for the Orange and it will certainly give the program some momentum heading into the offseason, but that's about it.
But Did They Cover? Minnesota opened as a 4.5-point favorite, though the line shifted a point or two on most sites by kickoff. The Gophers obviously failed to cover. The two teams came in below the opening over/under line of 47.5 points.

Marshall: 2013 Military Bowl Champions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and Marshall used two fourth-quarter scores to rally past Maryland 31-20 Friday in the Military Bowl.
The Thundering Herd (10-4) trailed 20-17 before Cato brought them back. After directing a 63-yard march to put Marshall up 24-20 with 12:05 left, Cato clinched it with an 8-yard touchdown throw to Gator Hoskins with 3:42 to play.
Cato completed 28 of 44 passes — with no interceptions — to help Marshall reach double digits in wins for the first time since 2002. The Thundering Herd came in averaging 43 points per game, but its underappreciated defense played a huge role in this one.
Maryland (7-6) scored only one touchdown after halftime, and A.J. Leggett followed Cato's final TD pass with an interception to set off a celebration among the huge gathering of Marshall fans among the crowd of 30,163.
Making its first bowl appearance under third-year coach Randy Edsall, Maryland closed out its association with the Atlantic Coast Conference by falling to the runner-up in Conference USA. The Terrapins will join the Big Ten next year.
Brandon Ross rushed for 116 yards for Maryland, and C.J. Brown went 14 for 24 for 197 yards.
After a whirlwind first half that produced 30 points and 24 first downs, the teams settled into a defensive struggle in the third quarter. Each of the first four possessions ended in punts, but on the last one Marshall pinned the Terrapins on their own 1.
In the same situation earlier in the game, Maryland ran three times for 2 yards and punted. This time, the Terrapins put together a 17-play drive that included a pair of fourth down conversions and lasted for 7 minutes, 44 seconds. The 99-yard march ended with a 2-yard pass from Brown to tight end Dave Stinebaugh, giving Maryland a 20-17 lead with 14:56 left.
Marshall was quick to respond. Cato completed two third-down passes, and Essray Taliaferro ran in from the 7 to make it 24-20.
Brown subsequently came up short on a third-and-5 bootleg, providing Cato the opportunity to put the game away. Although the Terrapins got the stop they needed, Cato came up big during the next series.
After completing a 28-yard pass to Hoskins on third-and-11, Cato connected with Hoskins again in the end zone. It was Hoskins' second touchdown of the game and 15th of the season, most in the nation for tight ends.
Cato went 16 for 25 for 193 and two touchdowns in the first half to help the Thundering Herd grab a 17-13 lead.
After pinning the Terrapins near their own goal line, Marshall went up 7-0 with a 37-yard drive that ended with Cato's 1-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Shuler.
Maryland answered with a 29-yard touchdown throw from Brown to Levern Jacobs, but the Thundering Herd promptly regained the lead with a lengthy march that produced an 8-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Hoskins.
The back-and-forth duel continued in the second quarter. After Maryland kicked a field goal, Marshall got one of its own for a 17-10 lead.
And then, finally, the trend ended when the Terrapins punted.
Near the end of the half, Maryland moved 81 yards in 10 plays to set up Brad Craddock for his second field goal.
The game was Maryland's last as a member of the ACC. The Terrapins will compete in the Big Ten in 2014.

Utah State: 2013 Poinsettia Bowl Champions

Utah State scored two second half touchdowns and shut down Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois to score a victory in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Thursday night. Darrell Garretson had his moments to forget in the victory but tossed a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and a two-point conversion attempt to followJoey DeMartino‘s fourth quarter touchdown run to send Utah State to the 21-7 victory. DeMartino rushed for 143 yards to power the Aggies to the win, the second straight bowl victory for the program.
The NIU defense was actually pretty strong in the first half, holding the Aggies to a pair of field goals and fewer than 130 yards of offense, but the halftime adjustments made by Utah State proved to be too much for the Huskies. Utah State’s offense turned the table sin the second half by holding down the Huskies offense and not allowing Lynch to hurt them. Utah State succeeded in forcing Lynch to beat them through the air, and that has generally been a successful strategy for those who have defeated Northern Illinois, including Bowling Green in the MAC Championship Game. Lynch did drive the Huskies down the field in the final minutes of the game, just after Utah State took a 21-7 lead with a little over four minutes to play, and he completed a touchdown throw to Juwan Brescacin, but an onside kick attempt by NIU was recovered by Utah State to allow the Aggies to run the clock out.
Lynch ended his collegiate career with just 39 rushing yards and a touchdown and 216 passing yards and a touchdown. It was not exactly the type of performance Lynch had been accustomed to this season, but it should be a credit to Utah State’s defense to hold him to 39 rushing yards on 18 attempts. What back-to-back losses will do to his draft stock will be best left to break down by the NFL Draft scouts, but his last two performances do leave some room for criticism when discussing where he fits at the next level.
The MAC is now 0-4 in the postseason after seeing both conference championship participants, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green, suffer losses on Thursday. The conference’s last chance to win a bowl game will be placed in the hands of Ball State, a program that has never won a bowl game.
The Mountain West Conference is now 3-2 this postseason. Both losses have come against the Pac 12. 

Pittsburgh: 2013 Little Caesars Bowl Champions

DETROIT -- While a bowl game represents the end of the season, the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Thursday night might have provided a glimpse of the future for Pitt.
Four freshman played key roles as the Panthers beat Bowling Green, 30-27, to head into the offseason with positive momentum for what seems like the first time in ages.
Freshman Chris Blewitt kicked the winning field goal with 1:17 left, his classmates James Conner and Tyler Boyd set Pitt bowl game records, and redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Voytik stepped in for the second half to lead Pitt to the win.
"What can you say?" Voytik said. "I'm excited. You can't ask for much more. Young talent and years to play with them. We can only get better."
Conner, the game's MVP, rushed for 229 yards, breaking Tony Dorsett's school bowl record of 202 yards set in the 1977 Sugar Bowl against Georgia. The freshman also chipped in by playing a handful of snaps at defensive end and caused a key holding penalty by Bowling Green late in the game that pushed the Falcons back.
"[Coach Paul Chryst] said he wanted to unleash me on both sides, so he asked me to play some defense, and I was all for it," Conner said.
As a team, the Panthers ran for 255 yards against a defense that was the best in the Mid-American Conference this season.
"He's unbelievable," Voytik said of Conner. "It makes playing the quarterback position easy when you've got a running back running like that."
Boyd had 173 receiving yards, another Pitt bowl record, which he set on a 62-yard pass from Voytik in the fourth quarter on a drive that ultimately led to a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead, 27-20.
Voytik found out at halftime he would be replacing quarterback Tom Savage, who injured his ribs on the final play of the first half. To raise the stakes a little, Bowling Green's BooBoo Gates returned the opening kickoff of the second half 94 yards for a touchdown to tie the score, 17-17.
"I was nervous when I first found out, but, once I got on the field, there was just a calm that came over me," Voytik said. "It was just football."
On Voytik's second drive, he came out with the ball on the Pitt 2. After a 20-yard pass to Manasseh Garner converted a third-and-5, Voytik reached back and found Boyd for the 62-yard completion.
"I thought it slipped," Voytik said. "I thought I underthrew him by 10 yards. I guess if I had gotten all of it with my nerves, it would've gone 10 yards over his head, so I'm glad it slipped a little bit."
Two plays later, Voytik ran it in from 5 yards out to give the Panthers a 27-20 lead.
The Falcons tied the score on their next drive, but Voytik and Conner answered right back. The duo combined for 51 yards, all on the ground, to set up Blewitt's winning field goal.
"I thought Chad did a nice job and was poised," Chryst said. "Certainly, I think it helped when we were running the ball the way we did."
Pitt needed the back-and-forth second half after giving away a 17-3 first-half lead.
After a Bowling Green field goal gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter, Pitt responded with 17 unanswered points.
On the drive after the Bowling Green field goal, Pitt put together a 50-yard touchdown march. The final 37 came on the ground from Conner, who gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead with a 15-yard touchdown run with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.
The next drive kicked off with a 46-yard pass from Savage to Boyd that sparked yet another scoring march. Boyd almost came down with a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch to finish off the drive, but he was ruled out of bounds and Pitt had to settle for a field goal.
After the Panthers forced another punt, Boyd put a cap on the scoring spree with a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown. He made the two Falcon gunners miss and tip-toed down the sidelines the rest of the way to put Pitt in front, 17-3.
Even though it required some dramatics in the second half, Pitt finally put the game away on with sacks by Aaron Donald and Tyrone Ezell, two seniors who will leave Pitt saying they won their last game as Panthers.
"It's a great feeling to leave a winner," Donald said, who was chosen the lineman of the game. "For the young guys, it's something to build off. It's a great feeling just to know that the program is going back on top with coach Chryst. That's a guarantee."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Oregon State: 2013 Hawai'i Bowl Champions

HONOLULU — It had been so long since Rashaad Reynolds had seen the end zone, you almost can’t blame him for what happened.
Seventy yards is a long way for anyone to run, so forgive the senior cornerback if he came up a little gimpy after his sprint to score. It’s been awhile since he’s done that.
The best football of your life in your last year is Mike Riley’s goal for all his players, and Tuesday afternoon in Aloha Stadium against Boise State, Reynolds took that message and ran with it. Literally.
In the game that could very well be the swan song for junior standouts Brandin Cooks and Scott Crichton, it was Reynolds, a senior cornerback, who took his final bow in spectacular fashion, scoring two touchdowns after fumble recoveries.
In 49 previous games as a Beaver, he had zero.
Those early scores helped hold off a late push from Boise State as the Beavers won 38-23 in theHawaii Bowl.
Reynolds, perhaps Oregon State’s most underappreciated corner the past two seasons, told Riley every day, “I’m just soaking it all in, I want to finish well, I’m embracing it all.” He did that, and then some, scooping up two fumbles and returning them for scores.
“I love that kid,” Riley said. “He’s had a great career, and I’m really proud of him.”
The first came at the end of the first quarter, when Crichton sacked Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick and knocked the ball loose. Reynolds was there, and it took him only a few strides to cruise in for a 3-yard touchdown. Minutes later, Larry Scott shook the ball loose after a Troy Ware reception and Reynolds pounced, picking up the ball and racing 70 yards to give the Beavers a 24-6 lead.
“In high school I was a quarterback,” said Reynolds, who was named the bowl's MVP, “that’s probably the last time I touched the end zone.”
Once he returned to the sideline, he pointed out to Cooks that the defensive guy had more touchdowns than the offensive guy. It stayed that way for the rest of the game, as Cooks totaled just 60 receiving yards and one touchdown. But as it turns out, the Beavers (7-6) didn’t need him: His best friend, running back Storm Woods, rushed for 107 yards, and backup Terron Ward chipped in 54.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Riley said of the Beavers’ dominant first half. “I thought we were ready to play. As a matter of fact, I was telling people, quietly, that I would be shocked if we didn’t play well. I felt really, really good about this team’s preparation.”
Boise State receiver Matt Miller, who caught 11 balls for 206 yards, said afterward, “This program is about perfection, and we strive for it every day.”
But this week Broncos football was more about distraction, as Boise State coaches and players dodged questions about the future — former head coach Chris Petersen left for Washington and reportedly is taking a good chunk of the Broncos staff with him — and spoke candidly about the frustration of sending home starting quarterback Joe Southwick, who was suspended for urinating off the balcony of his hotel room. (Southwick denied this to the media once back in Boise, and accused teammates of lying to get rid of him.)
But all of that might not have helped the Broncos (8-5) deal with Reynolds. Cooks, who set the Pac-12 single-season receiving record and finished with 1,730 on the season, said Reynolds has been as responsible as anyone for his success. “Going against him, it made me the receiver I am today,” Cooks said. “Him and (former standout) Jordan (Poyer) pushing me the way they did, I look up to them like big brothers.”
Now it’s decision time for Cooks, Crichton and junior quarterback Sean Mannion, all of whom have NFL futures. Cooks said he will make his decision before classes resume on Jan. 6, and Mannion said, “I haven’t really had a chance to think about, it’s something I’m going to think about.” Crichton instructed “next question” when asked.
Reynolds, of course, is already planning to head to the pros. And Tuesday night, as the Beavers danced at midfield and Hawaii Bowl reps hung leis around their necks, it was Boise State running back Jay Ajayi who walked up to congratulate Reynolds, telling him “That’s how you’re gonna make your money!” surely a reference to his two touchdowns.
But before he can cash his paycheck, he’d better start practicing long runbacks.
-- Lindsay Schnell

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Season's Greetings 
from the Bedlam on Baltic Avenue.

Seven Nation Army

I'm gonna fight 'em off
A seven nation army couldn't hold me back
They're gonna rip it off
Taking their time right behind my back
And I'm talkin' to myself at night
Because I can't forget
Back and forth through my mind
Behind a cigarette

And the message comin' from my eyes says leave it alone...

Don't wanna hear about it
Every single one's got a story to tell
Everyone knows about it
From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell
And if I catch it comin' back my way
I'm gonna serve it to you
And that ain't what you want to hear
But that's what I'll do

And the feeling coming from my bones says find a home...

I'm going to Wichita
Far from this opera forevermore
I'm gonna work the straw
Make the sweat drip out of every pore
And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding
Right before the lord
All the words are gonna bleed from me
And I will think no more

And the stains comin' from my blood tell me "Go back home"...