Thursday, December 24, 2015

San Diego State Aztecs: 2015 Hawaii Bowl Champions

Quick quiz: There are currently two FBS teams with double-digit winning streaks, with top-ranked Clemson, at 16 in a row, one of them; who’s the other?  If you answered San Diego State, collect your fake monopoly money and move on.

After jumping out to a larger-than-it-looked 21-0 lead at the half, SDSU eventually doubled that lead over the final 30 minutes before settling for a 42-7 pasting of Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl.  The win is the Aztecs’ 10th in a row, one more than College Football Playoff semifinalist Alabama’s nine.

It’s also SDSU’s 11th win on the season, tying the school record set back in 1969 under the legendary Don Coryell.  This year’s squad, the Mountain West Conference champions, had already become the fifth team in school history to reach double digits in wins and the first to do so since 1977.

From the opening kickoff — literally — there was little doubt that Rocky Long‘s crew would add to its historic season, with Rashaad Penny racing 100 yards in the first 15 seconds to give the Aztecs a lead they would never relinquish.  SDSU’s defense, which came into the game 10th nationally in points allowed (17 points per game), bookended the special teams touchdown on Alex Barrett‘s interception return for a touchdown to extend the lead to 42-0 with 9:04 remaining.

In between, running back Donnel Pumphrey, who may or may not have played his final game in an Aztec uniform, ran and passed for a touchdown, the latter being the first of his career.  Pumphrey’s backfield mate, former walk-on fullback Dakota Gordon, rushed for and caught a touchdown, the latter coming off the arm of Pumphrey.

SDSU’s defense, in addition to pitching a shutout for the first 56½ minutes, forced three turnovers, with all three being interceptions thrown by Hayden Moore.  In just his third career start, the freshman Moore, pressed onto the field because of personal issues involving starter Gunner Kiel, passed for 202 yards.  The Bearcats’ lone touchdown came on Mike Boone‘s one-yard touchdown run.

UC finishes the year 7-6, its first time winning nine or fewer games since 2010.

Western Michigan Broncos: 2015 Bahamas Bowl Champions

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Jamauri Bogan rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns Thursday, powering Western Michigan past Middle Tennessee 45-31 in the Bahamas Bowl for its first bowl victory.
Western Michigan (8-5) had lost its previous six bowl games. The Broncos ended a four-game winning streak by Middle Tennessee (7-6).
Bogan broke a tie game with a 1-yard touchdown with 6:12 left, setting up the score with a 61-yard burst. He added another 1-yard score with five minutes remaining after Rontavious Atkins’ 29-yard interception return to the Middle Tennessee 4. Bogan also had a 62-yard touchdown and a 46-yard score. He averaged 11.3 yards per carry.
Western Michigan’s Corey Davis finished with eight catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Daniel Braverman had five receptions for 101 yards and a score.
Richie James had two touchdown catches and one touchdown run for Middle Tennessee. Brent Stockstill threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns to go with his interception.
Stockstill was 26 of 39 and finished his redshirt freshman season with 327 completions to break the NCAA freshman record held by Jared Lorenzen, who completed 321 passes for Kentucky in 2001. Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell was 18 of 26 for 297 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
One year after Western Kentucky and Central Michigan combined for 12 touchdown passes in the inaugural Bahamas Bowl — a 49-48 Western Kentucky victory — Western Michigan and Middle Tennessee produced a similar shootout.
Thursday’s matchup featured six touchdowns of 40-plus yards. The game already was tied 17-all by the end of the first quarter.
James capped Middle Tennessee’s first two possessions with a 46-yard touchdown run and a 44-yard touchdown catch.
Bogan had a 62-yard touchdown run to end Western Michigan’s first series. In the closing seconds of the first quarter, Davis caught a pass about 5 yards downfield, made a move past one defender and stiff-armed another before racing down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown.
After a scoreless second quarter, the big plays resumed.
Bogan gave Western Michigan its first lead with a 46-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half. Middle Tennessee tied it when Christian Collis turned a short completion into a 17-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left in the third period.
Western Michigan went back in front when Braverman caught a pass about 15 yards downfield and raced along the right sideline for a 68-yard touchdown with 12:47 left. Middle Tennessee tied it again with 9:41 left on Stockstill’s 29-yard touchdown pass to James, who ended up with eight catches for 126 yards.
But when Bogan scored a couple of more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Middle Tennessee couldn’t respond.
The Blue Raiders failed to capitalize on early opportunities. With the score 17-17 in the second quarter, Middle Tennessee’s Shane Tucker was stuffed by Grant DePalma and Austin Lewis on fourth-and-goal from the 1. On Middle Tennessee’s next series, a holding penalty nullified an 85-yard touchdown completion from Stockstill to Collis.

Season's Greetings From The Bedlam On Baltic Avenue.

Season's Greetings From 
The Bedlam On Baltic Avenue.