Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bayern Munich: 2013 FIFA Club World Cup Champions

MARRAKECH, Morocco — Pep Guardiola, the coach who came back from a self-imposed exile in New York, is back on top of the soccer world.

“Two thousand thirteen is now finished and it’s behind us,” Guardiola said Saturday in Marrakesh, Morocco. “Since my arrival, I have tried to take care of the heritage of this club — now I will try to add other things that I hope will be positive. We have to turn to the future.”
With a one-sided 2-0 victory against Raja Casablanca, Guardiola’s new Bayern Munich team added the FIFA Club World Cup to four other titles it collected throughout the year. The Bavarian club’s own website accurately described Saturday’s opponent as “willing, ever courageous, but ultimately limited.”
Bayern’s Brazilian center back, Dante, showed off how nimble and quick the modern defender can be with his feet to open the scoring after seven minutes, and Thiago Alcântara, who Guardiola brought with him from Barcelona, put the game beyond the host team on 22 minutes.
After that, for all the sound and fury of the 37,774 in the home crowd, the disparity between a Casablanca side that cost less than $10 million to put together versus the $666 million champion of Germany, Europe and now the world, was evident.
“My players were a little nervous,” said Raja’s coach, Faouzi Benzarti, himself a new appointee having arrived at the mid-table Moroccan-league club on the eve of this tournament. “The king was present, but to lose only 2-0 to Bayern Munich is very honorable.”
If only the king had seen the semifinals, he would have seen the Casablanca team that was invited to be the tournament host take down Atlético Mineiro, the South American champion, 3-1. The home team players had stripped Mineiro’s star man, Ronaldinho, of his shirt and his shoes as souvenirs before leaving the field that night.
Guardiola saw the signs, and warned his Munich players to be ready to face not just a team, but a nation. He need not have worried. Bayern had enough leadership on the pitch with Philipp Lahm, enough flair with Franck Ribéry, enough adaptability from Thomas Müller, to play anyone, anywhere.
“This Bayern team is too stable, and the coach is too ambitious to arrive at such a final complacent or arrogant,” said the club’s chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Neither arrogant nor sated by success, Bayern Munich closed out the year as champion of everything it started. Guardiola has now won 16 of his 22 tournaments, with Barca and Bayern in his relatively short career as coach. The future awaits.

Louisiana-Lafayette: 2013 New Orleans Bowl Champions

It was as cruel a way for Tulane's season to end as possible. Green Wave kicker Cairo Santos missed a 48-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left that gave the University of Louisiana-Lafayette a 24-21 victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night before a record crowd of 54,728 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It was UL Lafayette's (9-4) third straight victory in the New Orleans Bowl. And it prevented an impressive rally for victory by Tulane (7-6), which came back from a 21-0 second-quarter deficit.
Led by quarterback Devin Powell, the Wave drove from its 5 to the UL Lafayette 31 to set up Santos' attempt, which went wide left. It was a difficult way for Santos' career to end. He was the Lou Groza Award winner in 2012.
Tulane trailed 24-21 in the fourth quarter and drove from its 25 to the UL Lafayette 39. Facing fourth-and-10 at that point with less than eight minutes to play, Wave coach Curtis Johnson elected to punt instead of sending in Santos for a 56-yard field goal try.
UL Lafayette took over at its 9 then, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Nixon, and drove to the Tulane 49 before it was forced to punt with but 1:42 left.
Cajuns punter Daniel Cadona hit a beauty that put Tulane at its 5 with 1:35 to play.
The Cajuns took a 24-21 lead with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter thanks to a Powell interception.
Pinned at the Tulane 3 after a UL Lafayette punt, Powell dropped to pass. But he was hurried and threw up a poor pass with a lot of air under it that was picked off by Cajuns safety Sean Thomas at the Wave 25. UL Lafayette took over at the Tulane 13 but could do nothing with it, as the Wave defense held.
That brought on UL Lafayette kicker Hunter Stover, who booted a 27-yard field goal, the first attempt of his collegiate career, that gave the Cajuns a 24-21 lead with 9:56 to play.
The Wave rallied from a 21-0 first half deficit and tied the game thanks its defense in the third quarter.
Facing third-and-6 at the UL Lafayette 33, Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway was chased from the pocket and looked to throw it away. But his pass went into the waiting arms of Wave cornerback Derrick Strozier at the Cajuns’ 37. Strozier returned the ball to the UL Lafayette 17.
After a procedure call by Tulane pushed it back to the Cajuns’ 22, Wave running back Orleans Darkwa ran 22 yards to tie the score, 21-21, with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
The Cajuns looked to make it a blowout in the first half as they jumped to a 21-0 lead. UL Lafayette scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives and led 14-0 with 2:10 left in the first quarter.
UL Lafayette drove 65 and 73 yards, pounding the Wave up front with an impressive running game. Freshman running back Elijah McGuire ran 27 yards for the first score with 10:57 left on the Cajuns’ first offensive of the night to give them a 7-0 lead.
Running back Alonzo Harris made it 14-0 with a 15-yard run with 2:10 left in the second quarter as UL Lafayette had 143 yards at the end of the first 15 minutes.
Tulane picked itself up, though, driving from its 40 to the Cajuns’ 18 on the ensuing possession. That’s when UL Lafayette delivered what looked to be a kill shot. Cajuns’ cornerback Corey Trim picked off a pass by Green Wave quarterback Nick Montana and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown.
Trim jumped the sideline-route pass then went the distance to give UL Lafayette a 21-0 lead with 12:31 left in the first half.
But Powell came on after that and engineered a pair of touchdown drives to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 21-14 at the half.
Tulane drove 71 yards in nine plays for their first score of the night, a 1-yard run by Orleans Darkwa with 3:55 left in the second quarter.
But it was a fourth down gamble that breathed life into the Wave. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Tulane 48, Johnson elected to go for it and Powell delivered. He completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Breaux to the UL Lafayette 11. Two plays later, Darkwa scored.
The Wave defense helped set up the next score when cornerback Jordan Sullen picked off a pass by Broadway at the Tulane 35.
On the first play after the interception, Powell again came through with a 49-yard pass to Ryan Grant to the UL Lafayette 16. Darkwa capped the drive with a 7-yard run to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 21-14 with 1:58 left in the first half.
Powell finished the first half completing four of six passes for 109 yards. In fact, Tulane outgained the Cajuns on offense 243-185 in the first half.
Broadway was five of seven passing for 57 yards and rushed for 38 yards in the first half.

San Diego State: 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Champions

 — The bowl drought is over.
San Diego State ended its two-year bowl losing streak behind running back Adam Muema, who rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries Saturday to lead the Aztecs to a 49-24 win over Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium.
After a season in which four of their games were decided in overtime, the streaky Aztecs finally managed to engineer a blowout and play a complete game. And Muema was the key cog in what might be the junior’s final game for SDSU. He’s expected to forgo his senior season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.
It was SDSU’s second win in two years on Boise State’s blue turf, and the Aztecs’ first bowl win outside of San Diego since 1969.
But despite his team’s accomplishment, SDSU coach Rocky Long cautioned against making too much of the win. Instead, he emphasized the Aztecs’ body of work over the last four years.
“Winning and losing a bowl game does not make a program,” Long said. “Getting to a bowl game makes a program, and getting to a bowl game in four straight years makes a program. … We won tonight, and we won convincingly.”
SDSU (8-5) jumped to a 14-0 lead over Buffalo (8-5) by the beginning of the second quarter on rushing touchdowns by quarterback Quinn Kaehler and Muema before Buffalo could convert a single third down.
Buffalo came back with two scores — a 10-yard touchdown pass from Joe Licata to Branden Oliver and a 38-yard field goal by Patrick Clarke — to pull within four points of the Aztecs.
But that was as close as the Bulls would get.
“We were just excited to go out and play,” senior receiver Colin Lockett said. “We’d had a lot of time off and had a bad taste in our mouth (from the 45-19 defeat to UNLV), and we just wanted to go out there and prove to everybody that that’s not the team we are.”
The Aztecs turned three Buffalo turnovers into touchdowns and pulled away for good with 28 unanswered points in a 9-minute span that straddled halftime.
Muema, who was named SDSU’s game MVP, started the flurry with an 8-yard touchdown run. Safety Marcus Andrews intercepted a Licata pass to give SDSU the ball at its own 25-yard line, and Kaehler hit Dylan Denso for a touchdown that put the Aztecs ahead 28-10 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
Denso came up big again to start the second half when he forced Buffalo’s Boise Ross to fumble the opening kickoff and recovered for the Aztecs. Taking over at Buffalo’s 26, SDSU went on a five-play drive that ended with an 11-yard TD pass from Kaehler to tight end Adam Roberts.
The defense, which bottled up the Bulls all game, then forced one of its seven three-and-outs.
Buffalo was 5 of 15 on third-down conversions, and SDSU had four sacks of Licata, who completed 13 of 30 passes for 196 yards. He also threw one pick, and two of his three touchdown passes came late in the fourth quarter.
“I think the guys just decided that tonight we were going to play up to our abilities, and it showed,” senior safety Nat Berhe said.
On their next possession, Muema gained 43 yards on six carries before fullback Chad Young covered the final yard for a 42-10 lead.
The Aztecs had two turnovers to Buffalo’s three.
“It’s always nice when you’re right,” Long said. “I said in a press conference earlier that the turnover battle would make the difference in the game. They had a great turnover ratio, so the odds were that they were going to do it, not us, but we were lucky enough to do it.”
After an up-down season in which most games went down to the wire, the Aztecs made the fourth quarter irrelevant.
“It’s kinda sad we didn’t play like that all year, but at the same time, I’m glad it happened in the game today,” Berhe said.

USC: 2013 Las Vegas Bowl Champions

LAS VEGAS -- It was an appropriate setting for USC's unforgettable, unpredictable and altogether crazy season to end.
After all, what city encapsulates extreme highs and lows better than Las Vegas?
USC's season played out like a maddening night at the tables where you wade through one dealer after another, hoping to settle on one who will finally make you a winner.
In USC's case, the Trojans are hoping the magic number is four.
On Saturday, USC's third head coach, Clay Helton, led the Trojans to a 45-20 win over Fresno State in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, while USC's fourth head coach, Steve Sarkisian, watched in the press box, anxiously waiting to take the reins of the team after the game was over. Somewhere in Louisiana, USC's second head coach, Ed Orgeron, watched the game that USC players dedicated to him, and somewhere in California, USC's first head coach this season, Lane Kiffin, watched as the players he recruited beat his alma mater.Since 1889, USC has never had more than one head coach in a single season. Over the past four turbulent months to finish out this season, the Trojans have had four head coaches.
Saturday's game not only ended the most unusual and tumultuous season in USC history, but also ended an odd three-week stretch in which Helton attempted to be the team's third head coach this season while Sarkisian was around the team and players, preparing to take over as soon as the game was finished.
Sarkisian was not only around the team during practices at USC the past two weeks, but was also a constant presence this weekend at the team hotel and bowl practices. He even met with the players' parents in a hotel ballroom to discuss his philosophy and plans for next season.
It would have been easy to assume USC players would view the trip to Las Vegas as a vacation at the end of the season rather than the final game of the year. The images of the Trojans getting embarrassed last year at the Sun Bowl and in their previous trip to the Las Vegas Bowl served as a perfect template for this game. It's always a smart bet to go against USC when playing in a lesser bowl against a lesser opponent.
Not this year's Trojans.
They may not have finished the season with the trophy they wanted or even the coach they wanted, but they never gave up.
No USC team in recent memory has embodied the school's motto to "Fight on!" more than this group. It fought on through NCAA sanctions, a quarterback controversy to start the season and three head coaches during the season to finish with 10 wins for only the second time since 2008 and the school's first bowl win since 2009.
There was little doubt that USC was ready to play from the opening kick, after which the Trojans drove 65 yards on 12 plays, culminating with a 10-yard pass from Cody Kessler to Marqise Lee. It was only the beginning of a big day for both players, as Kessler completed 22 of 30 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns and Lee had seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
As Lee gave his gloves and wristbands to fans on the field, he still had a hard time putting into words what he and his teammates went through at the end of this season.
"Four coaches in four months is crazy," Lee said. "You'd never expect a team that's been through as much as we have to get these many wins. No team has ever won 10 games after three coaching changes."
"We wanted to make our mark," Bailey said. "We made history this season. There's never been a team that's been through as much as we've been through and came out of it with 10 wins. This team will never be forgotten. We didn't go to the BCS and we didn't win the Pac-12 but we persevered and fought on."Lee and USC safety Dion Bailey are expected to go pro, but both said they wanted to enjoy Saturday's victory and would wait to make their announcements sometime next week. As Bailey put on a championship hat after the game, he smiled as he looked up at the final score.
As the final minutes ticked off the clock, Sarkisian left his suite in the press box at Sam Boyd Stadium, where he was watching the game with USC athletic director Pat Haden, and made his way through the crowd, showing off his credential to security guards along the way.
"It was a very unique experience to be up there in a suite and watching the game," Sarkisian said. "I was kind of pacing. I didn't really know what to do with myself."
Sarkisian watched the final seconds of the game outside of the locker room by the team buses, deciding not to go on the field and allowing Helton and the current players and coaches to enjoy their moment before he officially took over.
"I want them to enjoy it and embrace it," Sarkisian said as players boarded the buses behind him. "I couldn't be more proud of them, that they were able to come out and perform the way they did. They deserve it. I just tried to stay out of the way, the best I could. Now I get to get my hands on them and get going -- and there's a lot to work with, that's for sure."
Sarkisian's tenure as USC's fourth head coach in four months officially began Saturday night in Las Vegas, but before the Trojans start the next chapter of their program with their new coach, the players and coaches who survived this whirlwind season hope this year's team is never forgotten.
"There's so many words you can say for this team but you find yourself speechless," Kessler said. "You sit back and you're in awe of what these guys have gone through. I'm just so proud of these guys. This is a team that will hopefully be remembered forever in USC history."

Colorado State: 2013 New Mexico Bowl Champions

ALBUQUERQUE — Perhaps for added motivation prior to kickoff, coaches like to tell seniors that they will they always remember their last football game.
Still shaking his head long after Colorado State's improbable 48-45 come-from-behind victory Saturday over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl, CSU's senior cornerback Shaq Bell said he now knows what the coaches meant.
"I'm telling you, this means everything," Bell said. "I will never forget this game, never forget it — for the rest of my life."
How could he forget it? How could anyone on the Colorado State roster forget it? Or the announced crowd of 27,104 at University Stadium? Or the national ESPN audience, for that matter?
Holder Joe Hansley gets the ball ready as Jared Roberts approaches for a field goal that gave CSU an improbable victory over Washington State in the New
Holder Joe Hansley gets the ball ready as Jared Roberts approaches for a field goal that gave CSU an improbable victory over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. (Matt York, The Associated Press)
Down 45-30 with less than three minutes remaining, underdog Colorado State forced two fumbles, scored two touchdowns, made a two-point conversion and watched a 41-yard field goal by junior Jared Roberts complete an amazing comeback.
"How do you duplicate something like that?" CSU coach Jim McElwain said. "It's pretty amazing how it worked out. It's about being resilient. It's about understanding that every play has a history and a life of its own."
Colorado State (8-6, 5-3 Mountain West) got another monster rushing game of 169 yards and three touchdowns from sophomore Kapri Bibbs. But the Rams trailed by as many as 23 points in the second quarter and appeared willing to help Washington State junior quarterback Connor Halliday shatter every passing record for bowl games.
Halliday, named the offensive player of the game, threw for six touchdowns, including five in the first half. West Virginia's Geno Smith (2012 Orange Bowl) and Iowa's Chuck Long (1984 Freedom Bowl) also recorded a half-dozen passing touchdowns. Halliday is the first to be on the losing side.
"Congrats to (Halliday). He put up some crazy numbers," CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson said. "But I'm happy we got the win."
Washington State (6-7, 4-5 Pac-12) appeared to gain enough cushion with a 45-30 lead when Halliday hit Isiah Myers for a 22-yard touchdown with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.
That score held until the Rams moved 72 yards in nine plays, with Grayson connecting with Jordon Vaden for a 12-yard score to cut the deficit to eight points with 2:52 to go.
Then all the craziness took over. CSU senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett, named the game's outstanding defensive player, separated the ball from Halliday and Rams linebacker Max Morgan recovered. That turnover was overturned, however, when an officials' replay ruled that Halliday's knee had been down before the fumble.
Barrett then showed the tenacity that earned him 2013 Mountain West defensive player of the year. On the next play, he stripped the ball from Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa. Barrett fell on the ball at the WSU 33, and this time there was no disputing it.
That led to a 1-yard Bibbs touchdown run with 33 seconds left, but CSU still needed a two-point conversion. On a CSU version of the playground Statue of Liberty play, Grayson faked a pass and handed the ball from behind his back to Donnell Alexander, who dived to the left pylon and just made it — following another officials' review.
The game appeared headed to overtime, but Washington State returner Teondray Caldwell fumbled the ensuing kickoff on a hit by Steven Michel that was recovered by Jake Schlager, a true freshman.
Three plays later, CSU's Roberts booted his game-winner as time expired.
The last play of the game marked the only time CSU had the lead.
"Our coaches tell us to never give up," CSU senior tight end Crockett Gillmore said. "They say it's never over. Even when we were playing bad, it never felt like it was over."
The teams combined for 995 yards of offense, with CSU racking up 595.
Grayson finished with 369 yards passing and two touchdowns; Halliday finished with 410 yards to go with his six TDs.
"We had a pretty good shot at it; we just needed to hang onto the ball," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "But I thought Colorado State's defense played really hard. They didn't lose intensity when things weren't going their way."

The biggest of the big plays in CSU's wild win
• Trailing 45-37 with two minutes left and no timeouts, Colorado State linebacker Shaquil Barrett strips the ball from running back Jeremiah Laufasa and recovers the ball at Washington State's 33-yard line.
• After Kapri Bibbs scores from the 1 with 33 seconds left to make it 45-43, CSU's Donnell Alexander takes a handoff on a Statue of Liberty play. He appears to score, but the call on the field is he is out of bounds. Upon review, it's ruled he reached and hit the pylon with the ball. ... Two points. Game is tied 45-45.
• On the ensuing kickoff, Washington State's Teondray Caldwell gets hit, fumbles, and CSU recovers at the 24.
• After a running play and a spike to kill the clock, Rams kicker Jared Roberts boots a 41-yard field goal as time expires. CSU wins 48-45.

Key play
All hope for CSU appeared lost when, after a replay, officials overturned a lost fumble by Washington State. That fumble was caused by Shaquil Barrett with just over two minutes left — and then Barrett did it again. This time, Barrett stripped the ball from Jeremiah Laufasa. That led to a game-tying drive, including a two-point conversion.
Key stat
Somehow Colorado State was able to overcome six touchdowns passes thrown by Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, who tied an all-time bowl record shared by West Virginia's Geno Smith (2012 Orange Bowl) and Iowa's Chuck Long (1984 Freedom Bowl).
Tom Kensler, The Denver Post

Grand View: 2013 NAIA National Champions

ROME, Ga. (AP) | Derek Fulton threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score to help Grand View win the NAIA championship in the school's sixth year of football, 35-23 over the University of the Cumberlands on Saturday.
Fulton, a sophomore, completed 19 of 39 passes for 300 yards and ran 13 times for 74 yards as second-ranked Grand View, which is coached by Waterloo native Mike Woodley, completed a 14-0 season at the expense of No. 1 Cumberlands (13-1).
Fulton was selected the most outstanding offensive player, and Grand View senior linebacker Jason Gladfelder, who was in on 15 tackles, took defensive honors.
Cumberlands rushed for 309 yards, with D'Angelo Jordan gaining 128 yards on 17 carries, and Adam Craig getting 94 yards on 30 attempts. But the Kentucky school had only 60 yards passing, as Craig went 5 for 11 with an interception.
Grand View stopped Cumberlands on downs at the 1 in the third quarter, and took advantage of a muffed punt to go up 28-17 early in the fourth. Wes Horneister recovered Iquan Dee's muff at the 27 and the Vikings scored in three plays, with Fulton hitting Brady Roland with a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Craig capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive from a yard out with 7:28 remaining, but Cumberland's try for the two-point conversion failed. Grand View then went 56 yards in five plays for the clinching touchdown. Fulton hit Roland with a 43-yard pass and then took it over himself from a yard out.
Grand View scored the first three times it had the ball, going 80, 75 and 61 yards to take a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter on Fulton's third touchdown pass. Cumberlands, though, stopped the Vikings on downs inside the 1 to close the half down 21-17.
Jordan, who had 122 yards on 14 first-half carries, broke off a 45-yard touchdown run for Cumberlands, and Craig scored from a yard out to close the gap. Al Merrick started the Patriots' scoring with a 33-yard field goal.
Fulton hit Keonte White with a 59-yard TD strike to start the scoring, then teamed with Taylor Goebel for a 7-yarder and Davion Hurst on a 2-yarder. Craig accounted for 229 total yards in the first half, completing 13 of 27 passes and rushing for 55 yards.
The game, played before a near-capacity crowd of 5,295, was the sixth and final NAIA championship in Rome. The event is moving to Daytona Beach, Fla., for the next three years.