December 29, 2007

Bulldogs win in ugly fashion

MEMPHIS - It wasn't pretty by any means. But then again, Mississippi State wasn't looking for style points.

And not many of the other kind of points for that matter, either.

In front of a record crowd of 63,816 on Saturday afternoon, Anthony Dixon scored from the 1 with 1:54 left to give the Bulldogs a 10-3 victory.

It was the lone offensive highlight of the day for either team.

Continue reading "Bulldogs win in ugly fashion" »

Make that two misses

MEMPHIS - With 12:31 left in the fourth quarter, Michael Torres missed a 37-yard field goal to the left that would have given Central Florida a 6-3 advantage.

However, the score remains 3-3.

It was the second miss of the day for the UCF placekicker. In the second quarter, he misfired on a 32-yard field goal to the right. Entering the game, he had made 16-straight kicks and was 19 of 21 overall.

I guess he picked a bad day to be off his game. Hey, that's baseball!

A Liberty Bowl record

MEMPHIS - Today's attendance is 63,816, a Liberty Bowl record. The previous mark was the 1991 showdown between Air Force and Mississippi State, where 61,497 fans entere the turnstiles.

Due to technical difficulties . . .

MEMPHIS - Sorry, the internet has been down for nearly two quarters, but we're now up and running.

And with 53 seconds to play in the third quarter, it's 3-3.

Continue reading "Due to technical difficulties . . ." »

We have points

MEMPHIS - Finally, points are on the board.

With 11:49 remaining in the first half, Michael Torres drained a 45-yard field goal to give Central Florida a 3-0 lead.

The Knights opened their drive at the MSU 46 and moved to the 28 in four plays before stalling out on an incomplete pass by Kyle Israel on fourth-and-7.

So much for the offense

MEMPHIS - Pundits predicted a high-scoring affair in the Liberty Bowl.

But after one quarter, neither Central Florida or Mississippi State have come close to scoring.

Continue reading "So much for the offense" »

No offense on opening drives

MEMPHIS - Five plays and punt.

That describes the opening drives for both Mississippi State and Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.

Each team collected one first down, but that's it. Let's see if they can do better on their second possessions.

Give us some Liberty

MEMPHIS - No. No. Elvis is not in the building. But the Missisippi State and Central Florida players have arrived.

Hope you are ready for some football, because fans here at the 49th annual Liberty Bowl certainly are. For further proof, just look at the ticket sales.

Bowl officials are expecting a crowd in excess of 62,000, which would be a record. Ironically, the 1991 matchup between Air Force and Mississippi State is the highest attended - 61,497. For this game, the MSU ticket office processed 33,800 ticket orders.

As for uniforms, the Bulldogs are in all maroon, while the Knights are in white pants and gold jerseys. And if Elvis were here, he'd be in all black I'm sure.

Anyway, here's what you should expect today . . .
* UCF junior running back Kevin Smith is just 180 yards shy of Barry Sanders' single-season rushing mark of 2,628.
* MSU sophomore running back Anthony Dixon needs 20 yards to reach 1,000 on the year. Only six backs in school history have accomplished the feat. Jerious Norwood of the Atlanta Falcons was the most recent in 2004.
* While most of the attention has been centered on the running backs, the game may come down to the play of the quarterbacks, Wesley Carroll for MSU and Kyle Israel.
* MSU and UCF have one commont opponent in UAB. The Bulldogs topped the Blazers 30-13 in Starkville, while the Knights rolled to a 45-31 win in Birmingham.

December 28, 2007

TCU wins 20-13

HOUSTON, Texas -- TCU employed its best sieve-I-mean-prevent defense late in the fourth quarter, allowing UH to drive 78 yards before denying the Cougars on three consecutive plays, the last coming as time expired.

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Cougars pull within one score

HOUSTON, Texas -- If UH comes back to win this game, it will be because of Case Keenum's heroic efforts.

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UH misses long field goal

HOUSTON, Texas -- The UH offensive line has struggled somewhat against TCU's very powerful defensive line, as they bear some of the responsibility for Anthony Alridge's lack of success today.

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TCU threatens, settles for field goal

HOUSTON, Texas -- Beginning with a 30-yard completion to Ervin Dickerson, TCU methodically drove down the field against a UH defense that was looking a bit worn out.

Continue reading "TCU threatens, settles for field goal" »

Big third-down conversion helps TCU to touchdown

HOUSTON, Texas -- Facing 3rd-and-12 from the UH 38, the Cougars got pressure to TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, but Dalton slipped one tackle before finding Jimmy Young for a 15-yard completion. Now the third quarter has ended, with TCU now facing 3rd-and-3 at the UH 16.

Continue reading "Big third-down conversion helps TCU to touchdown" »

TCU ties it up

HOUSTON, Texas -- After a great punt return gave the Horned Frogs excellent field position, TCU mounted a 30-yard drive before Chris Manfredini tied the game at 10-all with a 29-yard field goal.

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Another fourth down dilemma

HOUSTON, Texas -- The situation: TCU has the ball, facing 4th-and-1 at midfield. I don't have to tell you what happens next, do I?

Continue reading "Another fourth down dilemma" »

Halftime news and notes

HOUSTON, Texas -- One thing about college football I doubt I will ever understand: the appeal of wearing one of those God-awful hats the marching bands have.

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More broken play success

HOUSTON, Texas -- This time, Chris Thurmond's gusty fourth-down decision paid off.

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Miscues mar TCU drive

HOUSTON, Texas -- With the momentum in hand after tying the game, TCU squandered some of it on the subsequent drive.

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Workmanlike drive ties game

HOUSTON, Texas -- There wasn't anything spectacular about TCU's scoring drive that tied the game at 7-all, just a bunch of solid plays strung together.

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Broken play...touchdown Cougars

HOUSTON, Texas -- With the first quarter all but over (eight seconds left), UH quarterback Case Keenum showed why he won the starting job despite being just a freshman.

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A stark contrast

HOUSTON, Texas -- The early coaching edge goes to Chris Thurmond, at least in my book.

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As good as advertised

HOUSTON, Texas -- Gary Patterson's TCU teams have a reputation for playing very tough defense, and so far tonight they have lived up to it.

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Thurmond gusty early

HOUSTON, Texas -- The game opened on a good note for UH, with star running back Anthony Alridge returning the opening kickoff 31 yards to the 41.

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Texas Bowl pregame notes

HOUSTON, Texas -- Well, it's a beautiful evening here on the Texas Gulf Coast, not that we're enjoying it at Reliant Stadium.

Continue reading "Texas Bowl pregame notes" »

Texas Bowl preview

HOUSTON, Texas--To national observers, it looks like a matchup of a perennial mid-major powerhouse and another one on the rise. But Texans versed in the state's college football history and politics and history know no love is lost between two-time conference rivals Texas Christian University and the University of Houston.

Continue reading "Texas Bowl preview" »

December 22, 2007

Cincinnatti tops Southern Miss 31-21

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A dominant offensive performance from the No. 20 Cincinnati Bearcats lifted them to their first 10-win season since 1951 with a 31-21 victory in the PapaJohns.com Bowl over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. The Bearcats were led by mobile quarterback Ben Mauk who threw for 334-yards and four touchdowns in addition to leading the Bearcats in rushing. Mauk was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

Continue reading "Cincinnatti tops Southern Miss 31-21" »

Golden Eagles strike back

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Facing a 17-point defecit at the start of the fourth quarter, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles mustered up another long, grueling scoring drive ending with a Jeremy Young slant pass to Chris Johnson in the end zone to close the gap to 31-21 with 9:37 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The 11-play, 76-yard drive was once again helmed by the efforts of sophomore running back Damion Fletcher who hit his holes harder and quicker as the drive went on. While the odds still seem long for a Golden Eagle comebacker, the Bearcat defense will have a tough time sustaining another drive like that without a substantial breather.

Southern Miss attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff which was recovered by Cincinnati at the USM 47-yard line.

NOTE: Today's official attendance has been announced as 35,258.

Cincinnati dominating heading into 4th

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Heading into the final quarter of play at the PapaJohns.com Bowl, the Cincinnati Bearcats appear to be having no trouble moving the ball at will on offense while their defense has been able to hold the Southern Miss rushing attack in check. Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk has amassed over 300-yards through the air through the first three quarters and has spread the ball around to 8 different receivers.

While the Southern Miss defense continues to play with intensity and for the most part dominate the line of scrimmage, the elusiveness of Mauk, who is currently leading the Bearcats in rushing with 41 yards, has allowed the Bearcat signal caller to escape pressure and make plays on the ground while also allowing his receivers more time to get open. The Golden Eagles came in with a solid game plan to get physical with the Cincy receivers but the Bearcats' superior athleticism has given Southern Miss matchup problems all over the field.

Southern Miss faces a crucial offensive drive to start the fourth quarter but without a few lucky breaks, it may be too late for the Golden Eagles to mount a comeback.

Bearcat offense continues to roll

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Cincinnati Bearcats weren't intimidated by a long, pounding Southern Miss scoring drive and responded with one of their own ending in a 10-yard touchdown pass to Antwuan Giddens to extend Cincinnati's lead to 28-14.

The Bearcats were aided by several costly Southern Miss penalties on the drive but quarterback Ben Mauk continues to consistently and efficiently spread the ball around to his receivers while also finding ways to make plays with his legs with the opportunity arises.

If the Golden Eagles aren't able to respond with another scoring drive, their chances of catching up to the Bearcats will begin to slip away.

Golden Eagles pound their way back

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After giving up a quick score by Cincinnati early in the second half, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles responded with a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive capped off by a one-yard run across the goal line by quarterback Jeremy Young to close Cincinnati's lead to 21-14 with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter.

After struggling to find offensive production for most of the game, the Golden Eagle offense turned to sophomore running back Damion Fletcher who was the key player for the majority of the drive and set the Southern Miss record for rushing yards in a single season along the way.

Bearcats come out swinging in 2nd half

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After entering the locker room with plenty of momentum at the end of the first half, Cincinnati carried its offensive steam over into the second half scoring on its first offensive play of the half on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ben Mauk to tight end Earnest Jackson to put the Bearcats on top 21-7 with 13:17 remaining in the third quarter.

The play came on first down of the Bearcats' first possession of the half after Souther Miss ran an unsuccessful fake punt that came up short and gave Cincinnati the ball at the USM 29-yard line.

Bearcats lead at half 14-7

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A slow start gave way to a late offensive explosion for the Cincinnati Bearcats as wide receiver Dominick Goodman hauled in an acrobatic touchdown reception with 24 seconds remaining the half to give the Bearcats a 14-7 lead over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.

The catch came just minutes after Goodman (6 catches for 75 yards) appeared to haul in another impressive touchdown catch before the play was ruled an incomplete pass by replay officials. Goodman and the Bearcat offense were given a second chance after cornerback DeAngelo Smith grabbed his second intereception of the day off a Jeremy Young pass near midfield.

After jumping on the scoreboard first, the Golden Eagles weren't able to keep their offense moving withe same level of success for the rest of the half finishing with just 148 yards of total offense in the first half, including a mere 60-yards passing.

The Cincinnati offense, by contrast, began finding success through the air as the half went on with quarterback Ben Mauk connecting on 23-of-37 attempts for 229 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The bulk of USM's offense came on the ground with running back Damion Fletcher netting 77 yards on 12 carries. Fletcher's first half performance put him over the 1,500 yard mark for the season making him just the second player in Southern Miss history to rush for over 1,500 yards in a season.

Defensively, the Golden Eagles are led by linebacker Robert Henderson with 7 tackles in the first half including one tackle for loss, while the Bearcat defense is led by DeAngelo Smith who registered 4 tackles to go along with his 2 interceptions in the first half.

With the Cincinnati offense heating up as the game goes on, the Golden Eagle offense must take advantage of the opportunities its defense creates in the second half or risk being overtaken by the momentum established by Cincinnati in the first half.

Cincy touchdown overturned

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Cincinnati fans brought out the boos after a play initially ruled a touchdown was overturned. After an interception from DeAngelo Smith set up the Bearcats at their own 42-yard line, quarterback Ben Mauk began driving the Bearcat offense down the field and hit Dominick Goodman on a 37-yard pass in the end zone.

While the video replay appeared to show that Goodman's hands were underneath the ball, the replay booth overturned the call on the field calling the pass incomplete.

The Bearcats' drive ended with an incomplete pass on fourth down but after giving the ball back to Southern Miss on downs, USM quarterback Jeremy Young was picked off yet again by DeAngelo Smith, giving the Bearcats the ball on the USM 49 with just under 2 minutes to play.

Bearcats tie it up at 7-7

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - It took some time for the Cincinnati offense to find its stride but the Bearcats finally got on the scoreboard with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Ben Mauk to Dominick Goodman to cap off a 7-play, 75-yard drive during which the Bearcat offense looked as efficient and dynamic as it has looked all day.

Mauk was 5-for-5 for 65 yards through the air on the drive including a long passing play to tight end Connor Barwin who broke free after the catch to set the Bearcats up in good field position.

With just over six minutes remaining in the first half, the score is now tied 7-7.

Defense dominating the first half

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Both Cincinnati and Southern Miss entered Saturday's PapaJohns.com Bowl ranked among the best teams in their respective conferences on defense and so far those defenses have dominated their opposing offenses with Cincy holding the Eagles to 116 total yards in the first quarter and USM holding the Bearcats to just 75 total yards.

The majority of the game's biggest plays have come from defenders, including safety LeVance Richmond's interception of a Ben Mauk pass which the USM offense was unable to capitalize on.

The defensive frontlines for both teams continue to dominate the offense line, breaking up running plays in the backfield and forcing early throws that have led to early and overthrown passes.

UPDATE: Yet another big play from the defense as safety Justin Wilson just picked off Mauk again to give the Golden Eagles the ball inside their own 10-yard line.

Golden Eagles up 7-0

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - After floundering on offense early, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles finally broke through with the first scoring drive of the game when quarterback Jeremy Young hit wide receiver Shawn Nelson across the middle of the end zone for a touchdown to give Southern Miss a 7-0 lead with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter.

The score was set up by a 41-yard Damion Fletcher rush down the sidelines earlier in the drive to put the Eagles inside the red zone for the first time in the game.

With both defenses looking to have the upper hand physically, breaking big plays like Fletcher's long run may be the key to scoring for both offenses today.

Penalties derail early drives

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Both Cincinnati and Southern Miss are struggling to shake off some rust early in the game as both squads had their opening drives derailed by multiple penalties.

A false start followed by a 15-yard personal foul penalty ended a promising Cincinnati drive backing the Bearcats up deep into their own territory and forcing them to punt.

After starting their first drive at their own 35-yard line, Southern Miss ran into trouble as well with a 15-yard illegal blocking penalty. A nice option read run by Golden Eagle quarterback Jeremy Young allowed Southern Miss to recover enough field position to pin Cincinnati deep with a 47-yard punt from Britt Barefoot that rolled to a halt at the 1-yard line.

The Bearcats will now have to dig their way out of the end zone with a hungry Southern Miss defense looking to make a play.

Impressive crowd at Legion Field

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - With just under five minutes until kickoff, an impressive and enthusiastic crowd has filled the stands on this cold, gray day in downtown Birmingham. The even split between the red shirts and yellow shirts at the 50-yard line hearkens back to some of the great Iron Bowl games between Alabama and Auburn played here at Legion Field.

OK, the crowd isn't that impressive but it's certainly a more electric atmosphere than the PapaJohns.com Bowl saw here last year.

Southern Miss won the toss and will defer to the second half so the explosive Cincinnati offense will get a chance to seize momentum on the opening drive.

December 21, 2007

One bowl, one victory for FAU

NEW ORLEANS - Howard Schnellenberger's goal of bringing Florida Atlantic to national prominence is complete. Now it's time to set a new goal for his still very young football program.

No one could have imagined the heights Schnellenberger has reached in the eight years of FAU's football existence. The Owls (8-5) just moved up from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2005, and now they can call themselves bowl game champions after they defeated Memphis (7-6) in the New Orleans Bowl, 44-27.

Continue reading "One bowl, one victory for FAU" »

Owls putting game out of reach

NEW ORLEANS - It looked like FAU would have to be conservative considering its latest drive began at its own 4-yard line.

Instead, the Owls were very aggresive, driving the length of the field in 11 plays to push their lead over Memphis to 44-27, with 9:12 left in the game.

FAU's touchdown helped set a New Orleans bowl record for combined points. The previous record was 65. That record was set in the inaugural New Orleans Bowl in 2001.

A few Memphis fans have begun to make their way to the exits. Tonight's announced attendance was 25,146, which appeared to be split pretty evenly between Memphis and FAU supporters.

Smith makes big mistake

NEW ORLEANS - Rusty Smith had an almost perfect night until about five minutes ago.

Smith threw an interception in Memphis territory, and LeRico Mathis returned the pick 34 yards to the Tigers' 42-yard line. That's where Memphis will have the ball to begin the fourth quarter. FAU leads the Tigers, 37-27.

Another Tiger injured

NEW ORLEANS - Memphis QB Martin Hankins went down with some sort of leg injury after he was brought down following an incomplete pass.

Hankins limped off the field with the assistance of two trainers but began to place more weight on the leg once he hit the sidelines.

He left the game with 280 passing yards and three touchdowns. Junior Will Hudgens replaced Hankins.

Hankins joins backup running back T.J. Pitts as Memphis players who have been injured tonight.

Florida Atlantic still holds a 37-27 advantage with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Special teams with special play

NEW ORLEANS - Florida Atlantic's Wilfred Rivera just made one of the biggest plays of the game. And, surprisingly, the play had nothing to do with offense.

Rivera blocked a Memphis punt and gave his team the ball on the Tigers' 19-yard line. Two plays later, Rusty Smith threw his fifth touchdown pass of the game and put FAU up, 37-27, with 1:39 left in the third quarter.

Smith's five touchdown passes are a New Orleans Bowl record.

Closing the gap

NEW ORLEANS - On the three occasions Memphis made it to the redzone in the first half the Tigers were fairly successful, scoring at least a touchdown or field goal each time.

They made a redzone trip on their first possession of the second half, and the results were much of the same. Memphis opened the half by driving 69 yards on 14 plays to decrease Florida Atlantic's lead to 30-27.

Memphis' scoring drive lasted 5:30. The two teams have combined for 600 yards of total offense, and the two starting quarterbacks have combined for seven touchdown passes.

Memphis in good position going into half

NEW ORLEANS - With one drive, Memphis just went from being a possession away from a blowout to a possession away from being part of the most contested New Orleans Bowl in years.

The past four New Orleans bowls have all been decided by more than 10 points.

Continue reading "Memphis in good position going into half" »

Rusty? Not at all

NEW ORLEANS - Florida Atlantic's Rusty Smith just broke the 200-yard plateau with his fourth touchdown pass of the night.

Smith is 15-of-20 for 204 yards in the first half. The Owls were hampered by two false start penalties that backed up the extra point attempt 10 yards. FAU kicker Warley Leroy missed the attempt, but the Owls still have the advantage over Memphis, 30-13.

Tigers trying to chip away

NEW ORLEANS - Memphis' latest drive took 4:30 off the clock. Unfortunately, the Tigers were only able to put three points on the board and cut Florida Atlantic's lead to 24-13.

The Tigers drove 68 yards on 11 plays but couldn't find the endzone. Memphis quarterback Martin Hankins has thrown for 169 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Owls up by two touchdowns

NEW ORLEANS - Florida Atlantic's Chris Bonner just caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to increase the Owls' lead to 24-10.

Bonner's catch capped a 59-yard drive that lasted four plays and took 1:47 off the clock.

FAU's Rusty Smith is having an MVP-caliber game. With 10:25 left in the first half, Smith is 11-of-15 through the air with 141 yards and three scores.

Tigers' receiver injured ... Memphis scores

NEW ORLEANS - Memphis wide receiver Maurice Jones went down with an injury after picking up five yards on a reception.

Jones was carried off the field on strectcher but was moving both his arms and head while being taken away.

After Jones went to the locker room, the Tigers failed on a third-down conversion and were forced into a 38-yard field goal.

FAU now leads Memphis, 17-10.

Tigers, Owls very disciplined to start

NEW ORLEANS - Early on, tonight's game between Florida Atlantic and Memphis has been as disciplined as it can be.

The second quarter has just begun, and neither team has committed a penalty.

Both FAU's Rusty Smith and Memphis' Martin Hankins have thrown 13 passes. Hankins has completed eight, while Smith has connected on nine.

Memphis is deep in FAU territory, looking to cut into the Owls' 17-7 lead.

Owls make up for last possession

NEW ORLEANS - It seems like Florida Atlantic was extremely disappointed in only scoring three points on its last possession.

The Owls were so distraught that they made up for it quickly, using only four plays to drive 74 yards and take a 17-7 lead over Memphis.

Florida Atlantic forced Memphis to punt on its last posession. That punt was the first by either team so far tonight.

Finally, a little defense

NEW ORLEANS - Finally, a team played some defense here.

Florida Atlantic just went up 10-7, but the Memphis defense stopped the Owls from putting up six in the endzone.

The Owls returned the Tigers' kickoff 63 yards but only mustered 23 yards on six plays and had to settle for a 22-yard field goal.

There are 7:23 left in the first quarter.

Tigers tie it up

NEW ORLEANS - The offensive explosion is on in the Big Easy.

Memphis responded to Florida Atlantic's opening drive touchdown, going 67 yards on seven plays to tied the score at 7.

Memphis quarterback Martin Hankins did Florida Atlantic's Rusty Smith one better, completing all five of his pass attempts on the drive. Smith completed all four of his attempts on the Owls' scoring drive.

Owls waste little time

NEW ORLEANS - Florida Atlantic showed on the opening drive why its offense averaged more than 30 points per game and was ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference this season.

Assisted by a good kickoff return, the Owls drove 52 yards to jump ahead of Memphis, 7-0. Rusty Smith completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive, including a 4-yard pass to Charles Pierre for the touchdown.

Smith's touchdown pass gives him 28 on the season.

Fans beginning to get excited

NEW ORLEANS - It took a little while, but fans in the Louisiana Superdome are finally starting to get pumped up about the upcoming game between Florida Atlantic and Memphis.

Not even the lower level of the Superdome is filled, and only a few fans are scattered throughout the building's top two sections. But the atmosphere should have no effect for the two small schools looking for a big win.

Memphis just won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Florida Atlantic will receive the opening kickoff.

Tigers, Owls set for Big Easy showdown

NEW ORLEANS - Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger is no stranger to the postseason.

He's coached four bowl games in his career, and his teams are undefeated in those contests.

But those victories, which include an Orange Bowl win with Miami in January 1984 and a Fiesta Bowl triumph with Louisville in 1991, may be overshadowed by what Schnellenberger and his team have the chance to accomplish tonight when they face Memphis in the New Orleans Bowl.

Continue reading "Tigers, Owls set for Big Easy showdown" »

September 15, 2007

Goodnight Knights

ORLANDO - The only things that dampened UCF's opening game at the Bright House was the weather and Kyle Israel.

UCF, hold your head up high.

UCF fans, you're team will be one to reckon with.

And Texas QB Colt McCoy sang music to the fans' ears when he said after the game, "It was a tough environment for us to play."

The UCF Knights gave No. 6 Texas all that it could handle and more Saturday in the inaugural game held in UCF's Bright House Networks Stadium.

In the end, however, Texas was too tough and UCF's Kyle Israel made one two many mistakes, and Texas won the game, 35-32 in front of a sold-out Bright House.

Continue reading "Goodnight Knights" »

Texas' Answer

ORLANDO - The Longhorns answered by driving down field until an interesting exchange on the 26 yard line of UCF.

On 1st down, Colt McCoy attempted a pass that was nearly picked off and taken to the house by a UCF linebacker. That guy is going to have to work on his hands.

On 2nd down, McCoy threw a nice pass to Quan Cosby that looked like a spectacular catch. It was ruled incomplete and Texas challenged. The ruling on the field held.

On 3rd down, Ogbonnaya rushed for four yards in what looked like a give-up play.

That led to a Ryan Bailey field goal to give Texas back the lead, 26-24.

Continue reading "Texas' Answer" »

Bright House Upset?

ORLANDO - The third quarter belonged to the UCF Knights.

This has been a running back battle with UCF's Kevin Smith leading the way. Smith has 137 yards on 20 carries and two TDs and his huge 32-yard run after a Colt McCoy interception by Joe Burnett gave UCF the ball deep in Texas territory.

Smith was hurt on the tackle, but another Smith, Phillip, came into the game and immediately gained 11 yards to put the Knights on the two yard line as the third quarter ended.

The Knights are running all over the Longhorns so far in the second half. And that was even more evident when QB Kyle Israel sneaked right on 4th and 1 at the goal line for the TD that put the Knights ahead.

With 13:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, UCF is WINNING, 24-23.

UCF is winning.

Continue reading "Bright House Upset?" »

Knight And Day

ORLANDO - After a Texas field goal on their opening drive of the second half, UCF took the ball and did something they hadn't done in a while.

They scored a touchdown.

Texas only has themselves to blame. After UCF completed a third down conversion, the Longhorns hit the Knights late out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty.

Smith then took the next play 36 yards up the left side of the field and was forced out at the three. He would score on the next play to pull the Knights to within six. The score: Texas 23, UCF 17.

15 carry, 77 yards, 2 TDs, four on season

Smith carried 3 times for 41 yards and the score

Continue reading "Knight And Day" »

Texas At The Half

ORLANDO - On the biggest day in UCF football history, the God's haven't been smiling in their favor.

UCF has played step for step with Texas the entire half, but the score stands at 20-10 Longhorns because of one bad Kyle Israel pass.

That pass was intercepted by Brandon Foster and brought to the house for a touchdown to make the score 17-10 Texas.

Continue reading "Texas At The Half" »

Back To Work

ORLANDO - After only a 15-minute delay, the Knights and Longhorns are back playing.

Texas began with the ball after the UCF TD.

I just don't feel that the Knights can stand up to the Texas offense for too long. With playmakers like Charles, McCoy and Sweed, not many teams can.

And now, with a healthy and speedy Jordan Shipley, the Longhorns can hurt you in a multitude of ways.

Continue reading "Back To Work" »

A Rainy TD

ORLANDO - The Sunshine State is raining on the Knights parade.

Of course, before the teams left the field at 3:58 p.m. due to lightning in the area, UCF was able to score the first touchdown in the Bright House era.

And it came on a two-yard TD run by Kevin Smith.

The Knights embarked on an eight-play, 68-yard TD drive that went 2:37, and more importantly, they seemed to slice and dice a weak Texas secondary, and made it look easy.

Continue reading "A Rainy TD" »

Here Comes The Rain

ORLANDO - It's not so bright out here at the Bright House, as the rain is beginning to fall.

Texas just chipped in a field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 8:45 left in the first quarter, but UCF was robbed when on the previous fourth down play, the refs missed a delay of game call on Texas in which the 'Horns were at least two second over their alotted time.

The result was a fake field goal run by the holder, Jordan Shipley, a junior wide receiver used on fakes a lot, and a first down for Texas that allowed them to kick the next field goal when the Knights held tight again.

Continue reading "Here Comes The Rain" »

Play One

The first play of the Bright House era was a play action pass down the middle of the field that looked good until the Texas corner Ryan Palmer leaped in front to bat the ball down.

Love the aggressive play call by the Knights.

Of course, the drive ends with a dropped pass that would have been a first down, and the Knights must punt on their opening drive after a three and out.

Lots Of Gold

ORLANDO - For a team no longer called the Golden Knights, the Knights are dressed in gold.

The band in on the field and the stands are full and we are minutes from kickoff.

This place is sold out and UCF is serious about its football team right now.

Of course, Texas travels well and have taken over one endzone.

Continue reading "Lots Of Gold" »

Bright Beginnings

ORLANDO - They should call this place the Hot House. Or maybe the dehydration house, as the stadium is without a single water fountain anywhere on the premises.

I'm a native Floridian, but it is scorching in Orlando today for the inaugural game at Bright House Networks Stadium, the brand spanking shiny new $55 million stadium built on UCF's campus.

And who'd the Knights draw to christen their new digs? Why it's the 2-0, No. 6 Texas Longhorns, who reportedly had trouble getting into Orlando last night, but who you can also expect to make the Knights' first game an unpleasent one.

Continue reading "Bright Beginnings" »

September 01, 2007

Virginia Tech Wins, 17-7

BLACKSBURG, Va. - It wasn't pretty, but it'll do.

The Hokies limit East Carolina to 119 yards in the air, Sean Glennon throws for 245 yards and a touchdown, and Virginia Tech battles through an emotional home opener, taking a 17-7 win over the visiting East Carolina Pirates.

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BUH-Bye

BLACKSBURG, Va. - With 2:31 left in the game, the Hokie Nation can finally breath a sigh of relief.

Patrick Pinkney's pass on fourth down goes incomplete, Virginia Tech takes over at its own 36, and with a 10-point lead, it's time for Virginia Tech to run out the clock.

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More Important Than It Seems

BLACKSBURG, Va. - One of the most important drives of the day for Virginia Tech just ended with a 25-yard punt by Brent Bowden from the 34-yard line.

It may not have put points on the board, but East Carolina's gameplan is history.

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A Little Bit More Like It

BLACKSBURG, Va. - It took 46 minutes and 53 seconds, ladies and gentlemen, but Virginia Tech has its first offensive touchdown of the 2007 season. A 21-yard pass from Sean Glennon to tight end Sam Wheeler and a successful point after by Jud Dunlevy, and it's 17-7 Hokies.

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Fifteen Minutes Of Game

BLACKSBURG, Va. - As the Lane Stadium crowd does the "Hokie Pokey" at the end of the third quarter, it's still a 10-7 game.

Do I spot some white knuckles on those hands that are going in and out and being shaken all about?

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More Of The Same

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Halftime adjustments? What halftime adjustments?

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The Sights Of Saturday Morning

While we have a moment or two, here's a little bit of a look at what pregame looks like in Blacksburg.

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Halftime In Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, Va. - We've got a ballgame on our hands, ladies and gentlemen.

As the ECU Marching Pirates serenade us with "Good Golly, Miss Molly," there are probably more than a few folks saying, "Good Golly" at the game Virginia Tech finds itself in. The Hokies lead 10-7 at halftime, with the only offensive touchdown belonging to the Pirates.

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Mucho Macho

They've gone and done it now. Brett Clay throws an interception to Victor "Macho" Harris, Harris runs it back from the 17, and dives into the end zone to make it 9-7 Tech, 10-7 after a Jud Dunlevy PAT.

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Pirates Power Through

BLACKSBURG, Va. - East Carolina leads, 7-3, as Chris Johnson finds the end zone on a two-yard plunge 37 seconds into the second quarter.

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Close So Far

BLACKSBURG, Va. - One quarter is in the books, and Virginia Tech leads, 3-0. The Pirates are driving, though, at the Virginia Tech 14-yard line as the second quarter begins.

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One For One

BLACKSBURG, Va. - It's 3-0 Hokies on the first career attempt by senior kicker Jud Dunleavy, capping a 14-play drive by the Hokies that lasted about six minutes.

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The Bird Is Back

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Good morning from Lane Stadium. In half an hour's time on Worsham Field, the No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies open their season against the Pirates of East Carolina University.

And yes, it is a football game that's being played here today.

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July 31, 2007

C-USA: Bring on the Big Guns

New Orleans - The teams have all but left the building here at the Royal Sonesta Hotel and the vibe from C-USA is decidedly upbeat. These schools are certain that with so many BCS opponents scheduled, this will be the year the nation understands just how good C-USA is.

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C-USA: Expand the Brand?

New Orleans - Page nine of the C-USA media guide is a map showing the locations of each of the conference's 12 schools and two of them look awfully lonely, isolated on the right side of the page. UCF in Orlando and East Carolina in Greenville, North Carolina are nowhere near their conference partners. The solution? Some say it's easy - expand the conference.

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C-USA: Avoiding the One-Hit Wonder

New Orleans - With the C-USA championship still fresh in his mind, Houston head coach Art Briles is looking to start a dynasty and avoid the label "one-hit wonder."

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C-USA: "A League Poised for Greatness"

New Orleans - Commissioner Britton Banowsky's opening remarks were short and to the point - he believes his conference is on the verge of greatness.

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C-USA: Wake-Up Call

New Orleans -- The media is trickling in slowly, making their way from the complimentary breakfast buffet across the courtyard to the North Ballroom, where 12 tables are decorated with each of Conference USA's team's colors.

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July 30, 2007

C-USA: One Down

New Orleans - CSTV's Media Blitz has called it a wrap here in New Orleans, and the votes are in - Tulsa and Southern Miss are the teams to beat. Coverage continues tomorrow morning when Commissioner Banowsky takes the podium to start things off before round table discussions get under way with each team. Check back tomorrow morning for more news and notes from Conference USA Media Days.

C-USA: Fashion Forward

New Orleans -- Houston head coach Art Briles just got a lesson in fashion from running back Anthony Alridge.

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C-USA: Laughs All Around

New Orleans -- It's all fun and games on the set of CSTV's Media Blitz, but as UCF players Kevin Smith and Emeka Okammor left the stage all smiles, head coach George O'Leary was a bit befuddled by their opinions on the fourth-year coach's tendency to "get crunked."

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C-USA: The Commish Has Arrived

New Orleans -- East Carolina is out of the hot seat on Media Blitz, and be sure to catch the show on CSTV - Brian Jones took some choice jabs at offensive lineman Josh Coffman, who took it in stride. Commissioner Britton Banowsky has just arrived in the green room, and thanked me for being here, which is a welcome change from the circus that was the Big 12.

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C-USA: Welcome to New Orleans

New Orleans, La. -- Welcome to steamy New Orleans, where the Conference-USA chatter inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel is almost as hot as the temperature on Bourbon Street. CSTV's live media blitz is underway on TV and the players from all twelve schools are making their way through the maze of radio, television and print media on their way to the green room.

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