Saturday, January 04, 2014

North Dakota State: 2013 NCAA Division I FCS National Champions

FRISCO, Texas -- From Fargo to Frisco again, and a perfect championship ending for senior quarterback Brock Jensen and coach Craig Bohl at North Dakota State.
Jensen threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score in his FCS-quarterback record 48th victory, and the Bison capped a 15-0 season with a 35-7 victory over Towson on Saturday to claim their third consecutive FCS title in Bohl's final game at the school.
"It hasn't (set in) right now, but I think in a couple of months it's going to," said Bohl, who stayed with the Bison for their playoff run after accepting the job as Wyoming's coach. "This team was possessed with perfection. And they relentlessly pursued it. ... It's pretty remarkable."
The Bison joined Appalachian State (2005-07) as the only FCS teams to win three consecutive championships. They are the first undefeated champs at that level since Marshall in 1996, the year before the Thundering Herd moved to Division I.
"It gets better every time. Definitely," Jensen said. "That was the last time I'll put on a Bison jersey but man, it's been a fun ride."
Bohl was 104-32 in 11 seasons at North Dakota State, which has won 24 consecutive games to match the FCS record.
The Bison went ahead to stay on Ryan Smith's 5-yard TD run in the second quarter that snapped a 7-7 tie. That came one play after Colten Heagle blocked a field goal try that was scooped up by defensive end Kyle Emanuel and returned 59 yards. It was the first of three consecutive possessions when North Dakota State scored touchdowns.
"We made a mistake, and they made us pay for it," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "I think we all knew what kind of game it was at that point. ... Things were moving in the right direction, at least for us, head to head, pretty even."
Towson (13-3), the first school to play in championship games at the FCS and NCAA Division III levels, was 1-10 only three years ago in Ambrose's second season. But the Tigers had their lowest scoring total since a 28-3 loss at Maryland four games into the 2011 season.
This was the fourth consecutive year the title game was played in the professional soccer stadium in North Texas, but this game was plagued by problems with the grass turf. During each timeout, groups of workers and volunteers had to pat down chunks of turf that were coming up during play.
Nick Shafer, the stadium's vice president of operations, said in a statement that the turf between the hash marks was replaced Nov. 18. Soon after that, the area was hit by an extended stretch of unusual freezing weather and ice sat on the field for a week. Shafer says that "prevented the grass from taking root underneath the turf."
Players from both teams clearly were having problems at times with footing. The most obvious was Towson running back Darius Victor falling down behind the line for a 3-yard loss after stepping into one of the divots, two plays before the blocked field goal.
"It's really unfortunate but those things come up. Both teams where in the same position," Bohl said. "This was atypical. The last several times we've been down here, it's been a great track."
Terrance West ran 3 yards on the final play of the first quarter for Towson's only touchdown, his 41st TD rushing and 42nd overall this season. The junior finished with 22 carries for 99 yards, pushing his season total to 2,509 -- the most ever by an FCS player.
After CJ Smith reached over his shoulder for an interception and a 32-yard return just before halftime, Jensen threw a 12-yard TD to Zach Vraa, his school-record 15th scoring catch this season, for a 21-7 lead. Jensen ran 9 yards for a score on the Bison's possession after halftime, and Sam Ojuri added a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
There was a sellout crowd of 19,802, most of them dressed in Bison colors in what has becoming an annual January trek.

Utopia College Sports is such a class act...

The users on Utopia College Sports are the saltiest bunch of people you will ever meet on the Internet. I gave them the most-viewed offline dynasty thread on the forum, and this is what I receive as a thank-you present: a one-week forum ban. And you call me an annoying so-and-so...same goes for everyone on that forum. The key here is that at least I am able to put up with tough crowds, unlike the admins here.

Vanderbilt: 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl Champions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Patton Robinette threw two 50-yard touchdown passes to Jordan Matthews, and Vanderbilt recovered after blowing a 24-point lead to beat Houston, 41-24, on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Robinette, starting after senior Austyn Carta-Samuels had season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, also had an 8-yard scoring run as Vanderbilt built a 24-0 lead in the first half.
After Houston (8-4) pulled even by scoring 24 points in the third quarter, Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead on Brian Kimbrow's 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Vanderbilt (9-4) closed the season with five straight wins, adding to third-year coach James Franklin's status as a possible candidate for coaching vacancies, including at Penn State and with the NFL Browns and Redskins. The Commodores played in three straight bowl games under Franklin — a first for the program — and completed their first back-to-back nine-win seasons.
Vandy players doused Franklin with a water bucket in the final seconds.
Houston gained only 22 yards and had one first down in the first half but rallied with 24 points in the third quarter to pull even. Kenneth Farrow had a six-yard scoring run and Deontay Greenberry and John O'Korn threw scoring passes to Markeith Ambles.
The Commodores regrouped with two big gains on direct snaps to running backs early in the fourth quarter. Jerron Seymour ran for 38 yards to the Houston 34. Kimbrow's touchdown run gave the lead back to Vanderbilt.
Jahmel McIntosh's interception less than a minute later gave the ball back to Vanderbilt, setting up Carey Spear's 35-yard field goal.
Seymour added a 2-yard scoring run with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Matthews, a senior who set Southeastern Conference records for career catches and yards receiving, had five catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Matthews took advantage of a lead block by receiver Jonathan Krause to make his first touchdown catch on Vanderbilt's second possession.
A forced fumble by linebacker Chase Garnham set up the Commodores' second touchdown. After Houston's O'Korn threw a pass to Greg Ward Jr., a big hit by Garnham forced the fumbled recovered by Andrew Williamson at the Houston 16. Robinette, making his third career start, scored on an 8-yard keeper on fourth down.
No Houston defender was near Matthews on his second 50-yard scoring catch in the second quarter.
A lost fumble by Robinette set up Farrow's 6-yard touchdown run to start Houston's third-quarter comeback.
Houston built on the momentum. Daniel Spencer's 62-yard run set up O'Korn's six-yard touchdown pass to Ambles. O'Korn's 58-yard pass to Ambles set up a 30-yard field goal by Kyle Bullard. The Cougars completed their big third-quarter comeback on O'Korn's 67-yard touchdown pass to Greenberry to tie the game.