Monday, December 28, 2015

Minnesota Golden Gophers: 2015 Quick Lane Bowl Champions

DETROIT – The Gophers didn’t care that they got there with a 5-7 record. They just wanted their seven-game bowl losing streak to end.

On Monday, it finally did, as Minnesota came from behind in the fourth quarter for a 21-14 victory before an announced crowd of 34,217 at the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field.

After stopping the Gophers on fourth down near mid-field, Central Michigan took a 14-13 lead with 11:08 remaining, but the Gophers went back in front with a 13-play, 76-yard touchdown drive.

On third-and-3 from the 13-yard line, quarterback Mitch Leidner kept the ball on the read option and rumbled into the end zone.

With a five-point lead, the Gophers went for two. On what looked like a broken play, Leidner dodged a tackler and fired to the back of the end zone, where KJ Maye made the catch.

Central Michigan (7-6) drove to the Minnesota 42-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Cooper Rush threw a pass as he was about to be sacked on third down, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun made a one-handed interception.

The Gophers (6-7) held on for their first bowl win since they defeated Alabama in the 2004 Music City Bowl. They had been 0-3 in bowl games under former coach Jerry Kill, who served as an honorary captain for this game.

Rush came in averaging 308.6 passing yards per game with a 67.2 completion rate, but against the Gophers, he completed just 15 of 29 passes for 145 yards.

Leidner, who is scheduled to have left foot surgery after the team returns to Minnesota, played the whole game, even though the Gophers had talked about using freshman backup Demry Croft.

Leidner completed 24 of 30 passes for 223 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

In his final game for the Gophers, senior KJ Maye had eight catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Maye and fellow senior Rodrick Williams dumped a water jug over coach Tracy Claeys after time expired, and the Gophers celebrated with the 1,400 Minnesota fans who bought tickets for the game.

Navy Midshipmen: 2015 Military Bowl Champions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- It was appropriate that Keenan Reynolds' final touchdown at Navy thrust him into the NCAA record book and secured a milestone victory for the Midshipmen.

Reynolds wrapped up his record-setting college career in spectacular fashion: by running for three scores and throwing for another to lead Navy past Pittsburgh 44-28 on Monday in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman.

After the Midshipmen let a 24-point cushion dwindle to 38-28, Reynolds capped a nine-play drive with a 9-yard touchdown run with 4:19 remaining. It was his 88th career touchdown, which broke a tie with Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech for most in FBS history. It was classic Reynolds, given that he broke a slew of records and won a whole lot of games during his four-year run at the Naval Academy.

"To be able to seal the game and get the record at the same time is pretty cool," the 5-foot-11 senior said.

Reynolds ran for 144 yards on 24 carries, completed nine of 17 passes for 126 yards and had a reception for 47 yards on a trick play. He leaves Navy (11-2) as the FBS career leader in touchdowns and points (530). His 4,559 yards rushing are the most by a quarterback in FBS history, as he passed Pat White and Denard Robinson with Monday's game.

With Reynolds leading the way, the Midshipmen completed their first 11-win season in 135 years of football. That, more than all his personal accomplishments, is what Reynolds will remember.

"You play the game to win, so the record for wins is the one that means the most to me," Reynolds said.

The bowl win was the first game for the Midshipmen since they beat Army and coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to stay at Navy instead of taking the head-coaching job at BYU. Niumatalolo was glad he stuck around for Reynolds' finale.

"All of Keenan's accolades are well-deserved," the coach said. "What an unbelievable career he's had. Once in a generation, some of the things he's done. We're going to miss him."

Qadree Ollison rushed for 73 yards and scored two touchdowns for Pitt. Nate Peterman threw a touchdown pass but was intercepted three times. That added up to a disappointing ending for the Panthers (8-5) in their first season under coach Pat Narduzzi.

"Just have to keep getting one step closer," Narduzzi said. "You just have to take one step at a time. Told the seniors, they laid the foundation. We've done a lot of great things this year."

In the end, though, they couldn't cope with Reynolds.

"He's a super football player," Narduzzi said. "Make no mistake, there were reasons he was in the [running] for the Heisman Trophy."

After Quadree Henderson returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for Pitt, Navy went up 21-7 at halftime and built a 31-7 lead midway through the third quarter. Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in 17 seconds to close to 31-21 but could not complete the comeback.

The victory marked the first time Navy has won three straight bowl games.

"You always want to go out with a bang," Reynolds said, "and to win as a team was pretty awesome."

Playing before a sellout crowd of 36,352 in its home stadium, Navy used its triple-option attack to overwhelm a team that went 6-2 in the ACC and ranked 20th in the nation against the run. The Midshipmen finished with 590 yards of offense, including 417 on the ground and 114 by fullback Chris Swain.

After Henderson weaved from end zone to end zone for the game-opening score, Reynolds directed a 75-yard drive that ended with his 1-yard touchdown run. Later in the first quarter, Reynolds capped a 14-play march with a 5-yard touchdown. Navy's next touchdown came on an 11-yard pass from Reynolds to Tyler Carmona.

Niumatalolo momentarily abandoned the triple option in the third quarter in favor of a bit of trickery. Reynolds pitched the ball to fullback Shawn White, then went around the right side of the line for a catch-and-run that set up a 26-yard touchdown jaunt by Demond Brown.

"I was glad I actually caught the ball," Reynolds said.

It was 31-7 before Peterman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ollison, and a 22-yard fumble return by Jordan Whitehead got Pitt within 10 points. After Navy scored another touchdown, Ollison ran for a 45-yard score to make it 38-28.

But this was to be Reynolds' day. In his final significant drive with the Midshipmen, he converted three third downs and drew the Panthers offside on a fourth-and-3. Soon after that, he walked off the field for the final time.

"We can come back for our 20-year reunion," Reynolds said, "and talk about it and just kick back and laugh."

The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

The Christmas 2015 Roundup On The Bedlam

 The old, and the new: Homura Akemi (the iPad 3, left) and Akagi Nagumo (the iPad Air 2, right).

My belief is that every device has the soul of a moekko. My current desktop has the benevolence and purity of Madoka Kaname, a goddess and a proud Japanese nadeshiko onna no ko. I now own two iPads, one old, one new. The one iPad I had had for five years may have seen better days. As it is in a black case, one of mysterious cool and  determined confidence, it was given Homura Akemi's spirit and has been named as such. It is an iPad 3.

Now, I have a new iPad, an iPad Air 2. Originally it was meant to be placed in a blue case, it ended up in a red case due to my fondness for Stanford, for USC, for Long Beach City College, for Lakewood High School, for my old fraternity buddies at the Order of Tong International, for Harvard (though their shade is deeper) even. And for the Liberals of Canada, but not for the Republicans of the United States.

But most importantly, it was chosen red for Akagi, the carrier with an appetite as big as mind and a wiseness incomparable. She is also Fubuki (Tanaka)'s surrogate older sister. If she were given a human name, her last name would that of her last admiral, Chuichi Nagumo. Therefore, the name of my iPad Air 2 is Akagi Nagumo, as depicted in my fanfic, Butteflies and Dragons, which will conclude at the end of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

So for my next check from The Stoppage Time, I need to buy a new wall calendar, new computer speakers, a new webcam, a new headset, and groceries. My next check from the Bar Foundation will go to the bill. The new laptop may not arrive until February because a lot of cash is going to fly out the door the next two weeks. That leads me to my update on Pangya. A lot has happened over on Pangya Island. Let's review!

  • My main account is now a Top Master E.
  • My alternate account is now a World Pro E.
  • My alternate account now has the Jasmine Air Knight Set. The Jasmine Air Knights are currently A-rank Level 5.
  • My main and alternate accounts have all Stufffed Santa Boo Stocking Rares, the Santa's Club Set, the Jolly Santa Club Set, Lucia's figure skating outfit, Spika's Christmas Rares, and all the hairbands. Oh yes, and Hana R's Christmas Outfit.
  • My main account won a Kaz rare on the 10th coin of the Kaz Grand Prix event. It also won a second Kaz rare from a Premium Memorial Coin gifted from my friend ExcelsiorVindi (IGN: Basium).
  • All the quits that I incurred (including the one I got cheaply from going ZZZ in GP on my alt) are expected to be removed at the next maintenance since I have been playing 4 n go tourneys and Event GPs on the grind.
  • Madoka (a.k.a. the Classic Hana on my main) now has her own Christmas outfit. She looks fantastic in it.
  • Classic Nuri, Azer, Classic Cecilia, Max and Kaz are one filled mastery slot and a 250 games played milestone each from completion on my main. Yay, only 500 tiki points to seriously grind for next year.

So it's been a very eventful Christmas and post-Christmas. I guess with Iowa and Stanford facing each other, it looks smart in hindsight to have iPads in black and red cases. Just need some removable decals and they are ready to be posing next to each other in Pasadena. Cannot wait to ring in the new year, and oh yes, my new iPad is jailbroken, meaning it can watch sports using Kodi. Time to give Akagi some bauxite-er, a recharge.