Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vols send Fulmer out a winner over Kentucky, 28-10

Game played Nov. 29, 2008

The Tennessee Volunteers came into the game knowing two things: they would not be going to a bowl game this season, and coach Phillip Fulmer, who was fired Nov. 2, would be coaching his final game on the Tennessee sideline.

With nothing else to play for, the Vols sent Fulmer off with a dominating 28-10 win over rival Kentucky, defeating the Wildcats for the 24th straight time on a cold, rainy senior day.

The Volunteers took their first lead of the game just as the first half ended. Trailing 3-0, Tennessee took possession at the Kentucky 35-yard line after the Wildcats’ Tim Masthay’s punt only traveled 33 yards. On fourth-and-2, quarterback Jonathan Crompton rolled out for a gain of two. Arian Foster caught a pass for 17 yards. On third-and-goal, Kentucky’s David Jones was penalized for pass interference, giving Tennessee a first down at the Kentucky 1-yard line.

After Foster rushed on three straight carries for no gain, Crompton snuck one yard for a touchdown on the 12th play of the drive as time expired in the second quarter. Daniel Lincoln kicked the extra point to give Tennessee a 7-3 lead.

Tennessee supplemented its lead on its first possession of the third quarter. After Crompton rushed for seven yards and a first down, Denarius Moore caught a 63-yard touchdown pass on the third play from scrimmage of the half. Lincoln hit the point-after to extend the Volunteers’ advantage to 14-3.

The Vols punched in another touchdown to begin the fourth period. Crompton rushed for eight yards and a first down before a personal foul on Kentucky’s Ashton Cobb resulted in another first down. Eric Berry ran for a 23-yard gain and Lennon Creer picked up eight on the ground before Montario Hardesty gained three yards on third-and-1. Creer then ran for a 5-yard touchdown, capping the 10-play, 80-yard drive, and Lincoln’s extra point made it a 21-3 game.

After a Wildcats punt, Tennessee scored another touchdown on an 11-play, 83-yard drive to completely blow the game open. Foster ran for three yards and a first down before Crompton picked up 12 on third-and-8. On third-and-8, Gerald Jones took a shotgun snap and ran 55 yards down the sideline before punching in a 2-yard score on third-and-goal. Lincoln’s boot extended the Volunteer lead to 28-3.

Kentucky scored the final points of the night on the ensuing drive. Quarterback Mike Hartline, seeing his first action since being replaced during the Wildcats’ Nov. 1 win over Mississippi State, hit E.J. Adams for a gain of 35 yards. Tony Dixon ran for five yards and a first down before Alfonso Smith punched in a 1-yard touchdown. Seiber’s boot closed out the scoring at 28-10.

Kentucky scored the game’s first points late in the first quarter. Starting quarterback Randall Cobb hit Smith for 14 yards on third-and-6. Seiber then kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 3-0 advantage.

After Tennessee’s Luke Stocker recovered the Wildcats’ last-ditch onside kick after Smith’s touchdown run, the Volunteers ran out the clock as the players and fans continued to pay tribute to Fulmer. Players gave Fulmer the traditional Gatorade bath with just under 40 seconds left on the clock. Then, after kneeling for the final time, Crompton ran off the field and handed Fulmer the game ball. Fulmer, ball in tow with his wife, Vicky, trailing behind him, then received a hug from Kentucky coach Rich Brooks.

Then, after waving to the relatively-small crowd with his team, Fulmer was picked up and carried off the field on his team’s shoulders, a fitting ending to the night Tennessee dubbed the Phillip Fulmer Appreciation Day.

Fulmer finished his career at Tennessee after a 35-year tenure with the Volunteers, including the last 17 as the head coach.

For Tennessee, Crompton completed six of eight passes for 101 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

Jones rushed five times for 67 yards and a touchdown, while Foster had 21 carries for 59 yards.

Moore made one reception for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Hartline completed five of seven attempts for 74 yards, while Cobb connected on four of seven throws for 23 yards.

Dixon carried 15 times for 48 yards to lead the Kentucky rushing game.

Tennessee’s 24-game winning streak in the series is the nation’s longest active winning streak by one team over another … Kentucky has lost six of eight games … Former Southern California assistant and Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin will be named Tennessee’s new head coach Monday, ESPN has reported. Kiffin was fired from the Raiders’ top spot Sept. 30 after a 5-15 total record … This is the third straight season Kentucky has won at least six games. The Wildcats had not accomplished that since 1954-56 … The Volunteers finish the season at 5-7 overall, with a 3-5 SEC record, fifth in the SEC East. Kentucky closes out the regular season with a 6-6 mark and is expected to receive a bowl invitation, despite finishing 2-6 in conference play, dead last in the division.

Video credit – ESPN2; Audio credit – Big Blue Sports Network

Friday, November 28, 2008

Cornhuskers knock Colorado out of bowl picture, 40-31

Game played Nov. 28, 2008

Nebraska’s Alex Henery drilled a school-record-long 57-yard field goal with just under two minutes to play as the Cornhuskers came back to defeat upset-minded Colorado 40-31 on Senior Day, keeping the bitter-rival Buffaloes from reaching bowl eligibility. The Huskers returned the favor one season after Colorado’s win over Nebraska in the season finale kept them from reaching the requisite six wins for a bowl berth.

Trailing 31-30, Nebraska got the ball back after a Colorado punt and began marching toward a game-winning score. Roy Helu Jr. ripped off gains of 16 and 24 yards. However, the Buffaloes’ Patrick Mahnke sacked quarterback Joe Ganz for a loss of 15 yards back to the Colorado 40-yard line, effectively knocking the Huskers out of field goal range.

Or so everyone thought. After a timeout, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini sent Henery on to try a 57-yard field goal, which Henery just snuck between the goalposts to give the Huskers a 33-31 lead with 1:43 to go.

Nebraska tacked on a defensive touchdown to seal the deal. Buffaloes quarterback Cody Hawkins’ pass was deflected by the Huskers’ Zach Potter and picked out of the air by Ndamukong Suh, who ran 30 yards past and through Hawkins into the end zone with 55 seconds to go. Henery’s boot gave Nebraska its final margin at 40-31.

Colorado drew the game’s first blood on the second play from scrimmage. Hawkins hit Riar Geer for a 68-yard score, and Aric Goodman booted the point-after to give the Buffaloes a 7-0 lead.

After a Nebraska punt, Colorado doubled its advantage. Josh Smith caught a pass for 44 yards before Demetrius Sumler ran for a 36-yard touchdown. Goodman’s kick made the score 14-0, Buffs.

The Huskers countered with a 9-play, 64-yard drive to get on the board. Alfonzo Dennard returned the kickoff 29 yards to the Nebraska 36-yard line. Helu caught passes for 11 and 19 yards before rushing for five and a first down. Todd Peterson pulled in a pass for 11 yards, and Nate Swift caught a 2-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal. Henery’s kick cut the Cornhusker deficit to 14-7.

The Buffaloes were forced to punt, and Nebraska immediately struck again. Mike McNeill caught a 53-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive, and Henery booted the extra point to knot the score at 14-14.

Nebraska’s Tyler Wortman intercepted Hawkins’ pass on Colorado’s next drive to give the Huskers a chance to take the lead. On third-and-12, Ganz hit Menelik Holt for 13 yards. Swift caught a pass for eight on third-and-5, and Henery hit a 35-yard field goal to give the Huskers and early-second-quarter lead, 17-14.

Colorado tied the score on its next possession. Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the Nebraska 36. Tyler Hansen rushed for eight yards and a first down. Goodman made a 37-yard field goal to tie the score again.

The Huskers took the lead back late in the half. McNeill caught a pass for eight yards and Ganz scrambled for 13. On third-and-2, Holt made a reception for nine. After Helu ran for six and a first down, Quentin Castille ran for a 1-yard touchdown on third-and-goal. Henery’s kick gave Nebraska a 24-17 lead.

Nebraska reclaimed possession when Thomas Lawson recovered Maurice Cantrell’s kickoff-return fumble. The Huskers were attempting to run a fake field goal when holder Jake Wesch blindly pitched the ball over his head to Henery, à la LSU’s Matt Flynn and Colt David from 2007. However, Colorado’s Jimmy Smith picked the ball out of the air and ran 58 yards for a touchdown. Goodman’s extra point tied the game at 24-24.

The third period began with the Huskers regaining the lead. Holt caught a pass for 20 and Helu rushed for 23- and 17-yard gains. Henery then hit a 27-yard field goal to take a 27-24 lead.

Colorado jumped back in front. On third-and-10, Geer caught a pass for 18. Ryan Deehan caught a 22-yard pass and, on fourth-and-1, Sumler ran for a 4-yard touchdown. Goodman’s kick gave the Buffaloes a 31-27 lead.

Nebraska cut its deficit to one point early in the final quarter after taking control of field position. The Huskers began their drive at Colorado’s 26-yard line after a Buffaloes punt, and Henery kicked a 37-yard field goal to make the score 31-30.

Trailing by nine, the Buffaloes’ last-ditch drive ended when Hawkins’ pass was intercepted as time expired by Nebraska’s Larry Asante to seal the Huskers’ victory.

For Nebraska, Ganz completed 19 of 26 throws for 229 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions, breaking Zac Taylor’s 2-year-old single-season-passing record.

Helu ran 25 times for 166 yards for the Cornhuskers.

McNeill caught three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Helu pulled down five throws for 49 yards, Peterson caught four passes for 44 yards and Holt made three receptions for 42 yards.

Hawkins completed 14 of 24 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Geer caught two passes for 86 yards and a score. Scotty McKnight caught four passes for 58 yards and Joe Smith caught two balls for 52 yards.

Sumler carried nine times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

NOTES: Nebraska has won five of six, while Colorado closes its season having lost seven of its final nine contests … Colorado scored over 18 points in a Big 12 game for only the second time all year … The Huskers (8-4, 5-3 Big 12) will make their 38th bowl trip in 40 seasons and stand second in the Big 12 North, behind Missouri. Colorado (5-7, 2-6) ends the year tied for fourth in the North with Kansas State.

Video credit – ESPN on ABC

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No. 1 Tar Heels in Maui title game after rout of Oregon

Game played Nov. 25, 2008

The top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the championship game of the Maui Invitational with a 98-69 semifinal victory over Oregon. Danny Green scored 21 points for the Tar Heels, who saw five players post double-digit scoring nights.

After Oregon’s Michael Dunigan opened the contest with a dunk, the Tar Heels seized control of the game with a 9-0 run and never trailed again. Tyler Hansbrough scored on a tip-in and Danny Green hit a 3-pointer before Deon Thompson dunked and scored again to give North Carolina a 9-2 lead.

Leading 18-11, the Heels then went on a 21-3 run to put the game out of reach early as the Ducks went about seven minutes without a field goal. Hansbrough scored seven points, including five free throws, during the run, while Ed Davis added four points, Green and Larry Drew II each hit 3s and Wayne Ellington and Thompson each scored two points to give Carolina a 39-14 lead. The Tar Heels held a 51-22 halftime advantage.

North Carolina only added to its lead early in the second half. Already up 55-27, the Heels embarked on a 11-4 spurt as Thompson scored four points, Ty Lawson made a 3-point play and Hansbrough and Green each contributed two points during the run to give North Carolina a 66-31 lead.

Oregon scored nine of the next 11 points, as Kamyron Brown hit two 3-pointers and Matthew Humphrey added another. However, the Tar Heels then posted a 14-5 run. Ellington scored five points, including a 3-pointer, Green dunked and hit another basket, Hansbrough and Lawson each scored two points and Thompson added one more as Carolina extended its lead to 82-45.

The Ducks did then put up one final run. Teondre Williams scored five points, including a dunk, while Garrett Sim, Humphrey and Drew Wiley hit back-to-back-to-back 3s. Ben Voogd and Dunigan also scored two points each to help Oregon post an 18-5 run to cut the deficit to 87-63.

Hansbrough, who played with a right-shin stress reaction and a left-ankle tweak after sitting out Carolina’s tournament-opening win over Chaminade, scored 16 points for the Tar Heels. Ellington added 13 and Thompson chipped in 11. Davis posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Dunigan poured in 16 points for Oregon, while Humphrey scored 11 and Sim added 10.

North Carolina (5-0) will try for its third Maui Invitational championship against Notre Dame Wednesday evening after the Fighting Irish held off Texas 81-80 Tuesday. The Ducks (3-2) will face the Longhorns Wednesday morning.

NOTES: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Oregon, 4-0 … The Tar Heels have won eight straight games in Maui and are 12-2 all-time in the invitational … The Ducks have lost seven straight games against ranked opponents.

Video credit – ESPN

Monday, November 24, 2008

Abrams leads Texas to 68-50 win over Hawks in Maui

Game played Nov. 24, 2008

A.J. Abrams scored 17 points as the No. 7 Texas Longhorns began the 25th annual Maui Invitational with a strong defensive effort in a 68-50 win over cold-shooting St. Joseph’s.

Texas took a big lead out of the gate and never really looked back. Leading 4-2, Damion James, Connor Atchley and Abrams each hit a 3-pointer as the Horns raced out to a 13-2 lead.

After starting 2-of-15 from the field and not scoring a field goal until a Darrin Govens layup nearly five minutes into the game, St. Joe’s had an 8-3 spurt to keep things interesting early. Trailing 20-10, Govens hit a pair of free throws, Tasheed Carr scored twice and Idris Hilliard hit a jumper to cut the Hawks’ deficit to 23-18.

However, the Longhorns immediately went on a 12-4 run to re-extend the lead to double digits. Atchley hit a jumper, Abrams nailed a 3 in transition, Varez Ward and Alexis Wangmene each made a pair of free throws, Gary Johnson made one from the charity stripe and Wangmene tipped in a missed free throw to take a 35-22 Texas lead.

St. Joseph’s scored six of the final eight points of the half to cut the Texas lead back to nine at halftime. Charoy Bentley made two free throws and Ahmad Nivins added a free throw and hit a 3 to end the half, with Texas leading, 37-28.

Texas began to salt the win away with an 11-2 run to begin second-half play. James scored seven points during the spurt, while Dexter Pittman and Atchley each added two as the Longhorns took a 48-30 lead.

Then, after the Hawks scored seven straight points, Texas scored the next 11. Johnson scored four points, including a slam in transition, Abrams scored three points and Atchley and Wangmene each hit jumpers to give the Horns an 18-point advantage at 59-37, which they would hold until the game’s conclusion.

For Texas, James scored 16 points and Johnson added 12.

Nivins posted a double-double for the Hawks, with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bentley added 10 points.

St. Joseph’s finished 17-for-56 from the field, at 30.4 percent, and 4-of-23 from behind the arc, or 17.4 percent.

NOTES: The win was the 250th for Horns coach Rick Barnes in his 11th season at the Texas helm … Texas leads the all-time series with the Hawks, 4-0 … St. Joseph’s has now lost seven straight games to top-25 teams outside the Atlantic 10 … This is Texas’ third Maui Invitational, while St. Joe’s is participating in its first … The 3-0 Longhorns will face the winner of Monday afternoon’s Notre Dame-Indiana contest Tuesday afternoon, while 1-2 St. Joseph’s will face the Irish-Hoosiers loser at 8:30 a.m. local time Tuesday morning.

Video credit – ESPN2

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Balanced No. 5 Sooners batter No. 2 Texas Tech, 65-21

Game played Nov. 22, 2008

Coming in, this matchup between No. 2 Texas Tech and fifth-ranked Oklahoma was billed by some as the underdog Red Raiders’ opportunity to clinch the Big 12 South title, a berth in the conference title game and, possibly, clear the way to the Bowl Championship Series national championship game.

Now? After a night of Sooner domination, the South and BCS races are as chaotic as ever.

Sam Bradford threw four touchdown passes and DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown each ran for over 100 yards as Oklahoma handed Texas Tech its first loss of the season on the Sooners’ Senior Night, a 65-21 drubbing.

The Sooners took the lead for good on their first possession of the night. After forcing a Texas Tech punt, Murray ran for 19 yards before picking up 25 on an option pitch. On third-and-3, Bradford hit Jermaine Gresham for 13. On third-and-goal, Murray ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run off right tackle, and Jimmy Stevens kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Oklahoma opened the second period by doubling its lead. Gresham caught a pass and ran down the sideline for 43 yards, then made a reception for 12. Brown ran for a gain of 11 up the middle before punching in a 3-yard score around the right side. Stevens’ boot made it 14-0, Sooners.

Texas Tech’s next possession ended in a turnover on downs when, at the Sooner 15-yard line, Graham Harrell threw an incompletion. Then, on the first play of Oklahoma’s drive, Murray picked up 23 yards. Bradford hit Murray on a swing pass for 31 yards before Gresham pulled in a 19-yard touchdown on a play-action pass, and Stevens’ kick extended the Oklahoma lead to 21-0.

Again, the Red Raiders gave the ball back to Oklahoma on downs when Harrell’s throw for Michael Crabtree from the Sooner 45 fell incomplete. Mossis Madu ran for 11 yards to begin the Sooners’ possession. Bradford scrambled for 13 yards before hitting a wide-open Juaquin Iglesias, who made a move to evade two tacklers before running for a 28-yard score. With the extra point, Oklahoma held a 28-0 lead.

Texas Tech finally got on the board on its next drive. Harrell hit Eric Morris for 34 yards and completed a 25-yard touchdown to Tramain Swindall. Matt Williams’ point-after made it a 28-7 score.

Oklahoma quickly scored to reclaim a four-touchdown lead. Murray rushed for 12 before Brown picked up three on third-and-2. Murray gained 10 yards on a screen play and Brown rushed for gains of 15 and 11 yards. On third-and-1, Bradford ran a sneak for a first down before Brown rushed for a 5-yard score, and Stevens’ kick made it a 35-7 lead with just over a minute to go in the half.

Texas Tech turned over the ball once more late in the half, and the Sooners capitalized. Harrell was intercepted by Travis Lewis, who returned it 47 yards down the sideline, and a personal foul on Tech’s Brandon Carter tacked onto the end of the play gave Oklahoma possession at the Red Raiders 1-yard line.

Murray then ran for a 1-yard score up the middle with 18 seconds left in the half, and Stevens’ extra point gave Oklahoma a stunning 42-7 lead at halftime.

Things only got worse for Tech as the half began. The Red Raiders attempted an onside kick to open the third quarter, but Nic Harris recovered the ball for the Sooners to give the offense possession at the Texas Tech 34. Bradford hit Murray for six yards on fourth-and-2 before Stevens booted a 33-yard field goal.

On the Red Raiders’ next possession, Shannon Woods fumbled the ball, and Oklahoma’s Keenan Clayton recovered and took off for 54 yards down the sideline to the Texas Tech 3. Brown then fought his way into the end zone for the touchdown, and Stevens’ kick made it 52-7.

Texas Tech scored its first points of the half on its next possession. On fourth-and-3, Detron Lewis caught a pass for 27 yards. Swindall pulled in a 15-yard reception before Morris caught an 11-yard touchdown off a deflection. Williams’ boot cut the Red Raider deficit to 52-14.

Oklahoma began its next scoring drive at its own 10-yard line. Murray and Brown each ran for gains of seven yards, and Manuel Johnson, who dislocated his left elbow in the Sooners’ win over Kansas Oct. 18, pulled in Bradford’s pass with only his left arm on a 66-yard touchdown play. Stevens missed the point-after, leading the score at 58-14.

The Red Raiders’ next drive ended at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Edward Britton lost a yard on fourth-and-1, giving Oklahoma possession at the Texas Tech 48-yard line. Madu caught a pass for eight yards before a 27-yard touchdown reception by Ryan Broyles on a screen play. Stevens’ successful conversion gave the Sooners a 65-14 lead.

Texas Tech scored the final points of the night after taking over at its own 1-yard line when Oklahoma’s Madu failed to convert on fourth-and-goal. Harrell hit Adam James for 22 yards. On fourth-and-6, Crabtree pulled in a 13-yard catch before Woods rushed for 12 on fourth-and-2. Lewis then caught a 27-yard scoring pass, and Williams’ kick set the final score at 65-21.

For the Sooners, Bradford completed 14 of 19 passes for 304 yards, with no interceptions.

Murray ran 18 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while Brown had 21 carries for 108 yards and three scores. Madu ran 10 times for 46 yards.

Gresham pulled in five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Murray caught four balls for 72 yards and Johnson made one reception for 66 yards and a score. Nine Sooners caught passes in the game.

Harrell, who limped off the field with a left foot injury in the final quarter but returned for Texas Tech’s last drive, completed 33 of 55 attempts for 361 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Lewis caught five passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Crabtree pulled in six passes for 62 yards, Morris caught four passes for 40 yards and Swindall made four receptions for 50 yards.

Baron Batch ran eight times for 47 yards for the Red Raiders.

Now, after Texas Tech blew an opportunity to clinch the Big 12 South with a win, several different scenarios present themselves as the Red Raiders, Sooners and idle Texas, which defeated Oklahoma but lost at Texas Tech, find themselves tied atop the division with identical 10-1 overall records and 6-1 in-conference marks. Oklahoma and the Longhorns have rivalry games left to play, as the Sooners will travel to Oklahoma State Saturday night and Texas hosts Texas A&M Thursday, while the Red Raiders play host to Baylor Saturday. Whichever team emerges from that three-way mess will face Missouri in the Big 12 title game in Kansas City Dec. 6, with a possible BCS championship tilt berth on the line.

NOTES: Texas Tech’s nation-longest 12-game winning streak was snapped with Oklahoma’s win … The Sooners lead the all-time series 12-4, with a 7-1 edge at home … Bradford’s final touchdown pass gave him 42 on the season, which set an Oklahoma school record for scoring passes in one season.

Video credit – ESPN on ABC

Friday, November 21, 2008

Duke drops Wolverines, wins 2K Sports Classic, 71-56

Game played Nov. 21, 2008

The No. 10 Duke Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and never trailed, knocking off Michigan 71-56 in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden.

Duke began the night with a 9-2 run out of the gate. Gerald Henderson scored and Jon Scheyer hit a 3-pointer from the corner before Brian Zoubek scored two baskets to give the Blue Devils an early 9-2 lead.

Michigan scored 13 of the next 21 points to climb back to within two points at 15-13 before the Blue Devils began to take complete control. Nolan Smith scored a basket, Elliot Williams hit two shots in a row and Smith made a jumper to give Duke a 25-15 lead. Smith’s shot was the fifth straight field goal the Blue Devils hit, ending an 8-0 spurt. The large lead held up until halftime, when Duke led, 39-31.

The Blue Devils took advantage of two more early second-half spurts to put the game out of reach. Smith hit a jumper to open the half. Henderson dunked in transition and made a free throw to convert a 3-point play before Lance Thomas hit a free throw and then a basket from the field to conclude an 8-2 run and open up a 47-33 advantage.

Michigan’s Manny Harris then scored the next five points on a 3 and a slam in transition before Duke scored eight of the next nine points. Scheyer made three free throws and Kyle Singler hit a 3 before a David McClure dunk ended the spurt, with the Blue Devils leading, 55-39, and well on their way to securing a 15-point victory.

Smith paced Duke offensively with 16 points. Singler, named the tournament MVP, added 15 points, while Henderson netted 12.

For the Wolverines, Harris led all scorers with 25 points. DeShawn Sims scored 10 points off the bench.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again Dec. 6, when the Blue Devils visit Ann Arbor, Mich. to take on the Wolverines.

Duke has now won seven straight games in the series. The last time Michigan defeated the Blue Devils was 1997 … Harris scored 96 total points in the Wolverines’ wins over Michigan Tech, Northeastern and UCLA and the Duke loss, the most ever for one player in the tournament, formerly known as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Harris’ total surpassed Chris Douglas-Roberts’ efforts for Memphis in 2007 … 5-0 Duke is back in action Sunday afternoon against Montana, while the 3-1 Wolverines take on Norfolk State Tuesday night.

Video credit – ESPN2

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Barber, Dallas post comeback win over Redskins, 14-10

Game played Nov. 16, 2008

Marion Barber rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries as the Dallas Cowboys won at Washington’s place for the first time in four tries, coming back to defeat the Redskins 14-10 and splitting the season series.

Dallas took its first lead of the night early in the fourth quarter. Barber ran for a gain of 13 yards before picking up another first down. On third-and-7, quarterback Tony Romo, playing for the first time since breaking his right pinkie finger Oct. 12, shoveled the ball to Miles Austin for eight yards. Martellus Bennett then pulled in a 25-yard touchdown toss, and Nick Folk’s extra point gave the Cowboys a 14-10 lead.

The Redskins had taken the lead on their first possession after a Dallas punt. Washington began that drive on the Cowboys’ 49-yard line after a personal foul face mask penalty on Dallas’ Pat Watkins on the punt. On third-and-5, Jason Campbell hit Santana Moss for 13 yards. Clinton Portis, playing after spraining his left MCL against Pittsburgh Nov. 3, ran for three yards and a first down. Portis then picked up nine yards on fourth-and-1 before a 2-yard touchdown reception by Mike Sellers and Shaun Suisham’s kick gave Washington a 7-0 advantage.

The Cowboys tied the score late in the first half. On third-and-5, Roy E. Williams caught a pass for 13. Jason Witten made a 28-yard catch and Terrell Owens pulled in a pass for 25 before Barber ran for a 2-yard score, which stood up under review. Folk’s boot knotted the count at 7-7.

Washington struck back to reclaim the lead immediately. Rock Cartwright returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards. Chris Cooley made an 11-yard reception before Suisham hit a 41-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 10-7 lead at halftime.

Dallas took over possession with 6:40 to go after a Washington turnover on downs and salted it away, holding the ball until the end of the game. Barber rushed for seven yards and a first down before picking up five more yards and another fresh set of downs. ON third-and-8, Barber caught a pass for 10. Then, on fourth-and-2 well within field-goal range, Barber dove for a gain of three yards with 1:02 to play, enabling the Cowboys to take a couple of knees to end the game.

For the Cowboys, Romo, wearing a splint on his throwing hand, completed 19 of 27 passes for 198 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Campbell hit on 22 of 24 attempts for 162 yards, one score and one interception to lead Washington.

Portis picked up 68 yards on 15 carries for the Redskins.

Cooley pulled in seven passes for 47 yards in the game.

NOTES: Washington had won five of seven overall in the series coming into the game … Dallas picked up its third win in seven games … The Redskins knocked off the Cowboys 26-24 Sept. 28 at Texas Stadium … Washington’s DeAngelo Hall posted a first-quarter interception of Romo in his first game with the team after being cut by Oakland last week … The Cowboys host San Francisco Sunday afternoon, while Washington travels to Seattle Sunday afternoon … Dallas (6-4) and the Redskins (6-4) are tied in second place in the NFC East, trailing the 9-1 Giants and leading 5-4-1 Philadelphia.

Video credit – NBC

Monday, November 10, 2008

No. 8 Duke crushes Presbyterian 80-49 in season opener

Game played Nov. 10, 2008

Kyle Singler scored 19 points as the eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils opened the season with an 80-49 defeat of Presbyterian in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic, pulling away late in the first half.

The Blue Hose scored the first points of the night on a layup by Al’Lonzo Coleman. However, Duke tied the score 19 seconds later on a Nolan Smith jumper and, after a nearly four-and-a-half-minute-long drought, the Blue Devils took control for good with an 11-2 run, as Jon Scheyer hit two jumpers, Greg Paulus made a 3-pointer, Lance Thomas scored a basket and Singler hit two free throws for a 13-4 Duke lead.

After Presbyterian cut its deficit to 17-11 when Josh Johnson hit a layup off a turnover, the Blue Devils scored the next 19 points. Scheyer scored six points during the run, Smith scored five, Singler hit four free throws and Thomas and Gerald Henderson scored two points apiece for a 36-11 advantage.

The Blue Hose did score nine of the next 11 points, as Dominic King scored five points, including a 3, Coleman scored three and Johnson added a free throw. However, at halftime, Presbyterian trailed, 46-22.

Duke made one final run late in second-half play, scoring 12 straight points. Smith scored six points during the run, while Thomas made a 3-point-play. Brian Zoubek scored two points and Henderson added a free throw. Smith’s dunk made the score 74-41.

Smith scored 15 points for Duke, while Scheyer and Thomas each chipped in 12. Singler cleared 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils.

Presbyterian was led by Coleman and King, who each scored 13 points.

NOTES: Duke became the fourth school in NCAA history to win 1,850 games with the victory … Presbyterian, in its second season in Division I, has never defeated a D-I school on the road after going 0-23 away from home and 5-25 overall last season … The Blue Devils have won 60 consecutive home non-conference tilts, nine straight season openers and 27 straight home openers … This was the first-ever meeting between the Blue Hose, who were picked to finish 10th and last in their first season in the Big South, and Duke, which was picked to finish second in the Atlantic Coast Conference … 1-0 Duke faces Georgia Southern Tuesday night and Presbyterian plays Houston after the Eagles defeated the Cougars 65-63 Monday night in the Durham Regional of the 2K Sports Classic. The Georgia Southern-Duke winner will advance to New York Nov. 20-21 in the tournament, formerly known as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Video credit – ESPNU

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Defense, Manning lead Colts to 24-20 win in Pittsburgh

Game played Nov. 9, 2008

The Indianapolis Colts’ opportunistic defense intercepted three passes and Peyton Manning threw for three scores, including the game-winner to Dominic Rhodes with just over three minutes to play, as the Colts knocked off the Steelers 24-20, winning in Pittsburgh for only the second time in 15 tries and climbing above .500 with the victory.

Indianapolis took its first lead of the game on its final drive. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception to Tim Jennings, who returned it to the Pittsburgh 32-yard line. On third-and-1, Rhodes ran for six yards. On the next play, Manning hit Rhodes wide open out of the backfield down the sideline for a 17-yard touchdown catch, his first scoring reception in five years. Adam Vinatieri kicked the extra point to give the Colts a 24-20 lead with just over three minutes to go.

Pittsburgh’s last-ditch drive got off the ground when Matt Spaeth caught a pass for 10 yards on third-and-3. Mewelde Moore then made a reception for seven yards and rushed for three on third-and-1. Max Starks, starting at left tackle for the fourth straight week in place of the injured Marvel Smith, was called for holding on first down, costing the Steelers 10 yards. Moore caught a pass for 16 yards on third-and-21 before Roethlisberger’s throw on fourth-and-5 into the end zone after time expired was batted multiple times and then intercepted by Indianapolis’ Melvin Bullitt to end the game.

The Steelers took the lead on their first possession of the game. Indianapolis’ Nick Graham committed a personal foul face-mask penalty on the opening kickoff, giving Pittsburgh the ball at its own 38-yard line. Moore rushed for three yards on third-and-1. Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for a gain of 23 yards on third-and-2. Nate Washington caught a pass for 17 before Moore punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to cap the 10-play drive. Jeff Reed’s extra point gave Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead.

Indianapolis answered immediately. On third-and-1, Joseph Addai ran for three yards. A Peyton Manning throw was tipped by the Steelers’ Ike Taylor, then caught by Reggie Wayne, who spun out of a tackle and ran 65 yards for the tying score. Adam Vinatieri kicked the point-after to make it a 7-7 game.

After the teams traded punts, Pittsburgh took the lead back early in the second period. On third-and-7, Hines Ward caught a pass for 22 yards. Moore made a reception for 10 on third-and-9. Ward made a catch for 41 yards on a flea-flicker after Roethlisberger dodged a sack on the pitch back from Moore in the backfield. Moore then ran for another 1-yard score, and Reed’s boot gave the Steelers a 14-7 advantage.

The Steelers added three more to their lead later in the quarter. Moore ran for nine yards and Spaeth caught a 13-yard pass on third-and-5 before Reed hit a 42-yard field goal.

The Colts scored the final points of the half after Keiwan Ratliff intercepted Roethlisberger, giving the offense possession at the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. Manning hit Harrison for 12 yards and the Steelers’ Deshea Townsend committed a holding penalty. Dallas Clark caught a 2-yard touchdown pass on third-and-goal with nine seconds to go in the half, and Vinatieri’s kick cut the Indianapolis deficit to 17-14 at halftime.

Indianapolis proceeded to tie the game on its first possession of the third quarter. On third-and-1, Anthony Gonzalez caught a pass for 12 yards, and Wayne made a reception for 12. Addai rushed for two yards on third-and-2 before Vinatieri hit a 36-yard field goal to tie the score at 17.

Pittsburgh took the lead back on its first possession of the fourth quarter, with a drive lasting nearly eight and a half minutes. Spaeth made a catch for 11 yards. Ward caught a pass for 18 on third-and-3 before Washington made a 6-yard reception on third-and-3. Moore picked up nine yards but was unable to score on three straight carries from inside the Indianapolis 5-yard line, with the Colts’ Eric Foster bringing him down on third-and-goal from the 1. After a delay-of-game penalty, Reed capped the drive with a 24-yard field goal for a 20-17 lead.

Manning completed 21 of 40 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions to lead the Colts offense, hitting on eight consecutive passes at one point.

Wayne made six receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.

For Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger, playing after re-injuring his separated right throwing shoulder Monday in a win over Washington, completed 20 of 42 attempts for 284 yards, with no scores and three interceptions.

Ward caught nine passes for 116 yards. Spaeth, starting at tight end as Heath Miller sat out with an ankle injury, made six receptions for 53 yards, while Moore pulled in six passes for 48 yards.

The much-maligned Colts run defense held Moore to 57 yards on 21 carries, with two touchdowns.

Willie Parker was inactive for the Steelers after suffering a shoulder injury in the game against Washington.

NOTES: The win was the first for the Colts in Pittsburgh since 1968, when the then-Baltimore Colts accomplished the feat … Roethlisberger passed Kordell Stewart to move into second place on the Steelers’ all-time passing yardage list. Roethlisberger now trails Terry Bradshaw on the franchise list … Indianapolis hosts Houston Sunday afternoon, while the Steelers are back in action against San Diego Sunday afternoon … The 5-4 Colts are in second place in the AFC South behind 9-0 Tennessee, while Pittsburgh, which dropped to 6-3, is tied with Baltimore atop the North.

Video credit – CBS

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boston College wins sixth straight over Irish, 17-0

Game played Nov. 8, 2008

The Boston College Eagles used a stellar defensive effort to defeat rival Notre Dame 17-0, knocking off the turnover-prone Fighting Irish for the sixth straight time. Montel Harris ran for 117 yards to lead BC offensively in the rain.

The Eagles took the lead for good on their second possession of the game. On third-and-3, quarterback Chris Crane hit Rich Gunnell for four yards. Harris rushed for 13 yards and, on third-and-10, Brandon Robinson caught a pass for 17 yards. Crane then ran for 22 before Steve Aponavicius hit a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

The Boston College defense put the next points on the board in the second period. With the Irish driving for the first time in the game, Paul Anderson intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and returned it 76 yards for a touchdown. Aponavicius’ extra point gave BC a 10-0 lead.

The Notre Dame defense forced the Eagles into a 3-and-out on their first possession of the third quarter, but the Irish’s Golden Tate fumbled the punt and Brad Newman fell on the ball for Boston College on the Notre Dame 48-yard line. On third-and-3, Ryan Purvis caught a pass for five yards. Harris rushed for a gain of 18 before Crane picked up 11 on the ground. Robinson then made a 9-yard touchdown reception, and the Aponavicius point-after gave the Eagles defense more points than it would need with a 17-0 edge.

Harris carried the ball 21 times for the Eagles. Crane also ran 11 times for 42 yards, while completing nine of 22 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.

For the Irish, Clausen was 26-for-46 for 226 yards, with no touchdowns and four interceptions.

Michael Floyd made five receptions for 69 yards, while Tate caught six passes for 66 yards and Armando Allen Jr. hauled in nine passes for 47 yards.

NOTES: BC’s win tied the “Holy War” at 9-9 all-time … The win was the Eagles’ third shutout of the season, after holding Kent State and Rhode Island scoreless earlier this year … The Boston College win snapped a two-game Eagles losing streak … BC’s now-21-game non-conference winning streak is the longest in the nation … The Eagles are back in action Saturday night at Florida State, while Notre Dame faces Navy in Baltimore Saturday afternoon … 6-3 Boston College remains 2-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play, fourth place in the Atlantic Division behind Florida State and Wake Forest at 4-2 apiece and Maryland, which sits at 3-2. The Fighting Irish drop to 5-4.

Video credit – ESPN

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Harrell, Crabtree give No. 6 Tech win over No. 1 Texas

Game played Nov. 1, 2008

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell threw a touchdown pass to receiver Michael Crabtree with one second to play as the No. 6 Red Raiders defeated top-ranked Texas 39-33. Harrell racked up 473 passing yards, completing 36 of 53 attempts with two touchdowns.

The Red Raiders, trailing 33-32 with 1:29 to play, started their last-ditch drive with Jamar Wall’s 38-yard kickoff return. Harrell completed a pass for five yards and a first down to Detron Lewis, then hit Lewis for 11 more yards. Edward Britton caught a pass for 10 yards before Harrell sailed a pass near the sideline to Michael Crabtree, who caught the ball, avoided two Texas tacklers and stayed in bounds to score a 28-yard touchdown with one second to play. Matt Williams’ extra point closed the scorebook at 39-33.

Texas Tech took an early lead on the Longhorns’ first offensive possession, after the Red Raiders’ Jonathan LaCour dropped a 42-yard punt at the Texas 2-yard line. On Texas’ first offensive play, Chris Ogbonnaya was tackled in the end zone by Texas Tech’s Colby Whitlock for a safety and a 2-0 lead.

The Raiders scored by more conventional means the next time they had the ball. Harrell completed a 15-yard pass to Lewis for 15 yards and hit Crabtree for 15. On third-and-10, Crabtree caught a pass for 18 yards to set up a 29-yard Williams field goal to make the score 5-0.

Texas Tech converted a 96-yard drive to add to its lead. On third-and-8, Harrell hit Britton down the sideline for a 46-yard gain. Harrell ran for nine yards himself on third-and-2 before Baron Batch ran for eight and a first down. Eric Morris caught a pass for nine yards, with a personal foul face-mask penalty on Texas’ Earl Thomas tacked onto the end of the play. Batch then ran for a 3-yard touchdown, and Williams’ point-after gave the Red Raiders a 12-0 lead.

The Red Raiders’ first possession of the second quarter resulted in another long drive and a larger lead. Shannon Woods rushed for seven yards and a first down, then Batch ran for 16 yards. Tramain Swindall pulled in a pass for 23 yards. On third-and-14, Harrell scrambled and hit Lyle Leong for a gain of 14. Morris caught an 18-yard touchdown pass, and the extra point gave Texas Tech a 19-0 bulge.

The Longhorns finally got on the board after Aaron Williams recovered a Crabtree fumble to give the offense possession. Ogbonnaya rushed for nine yards and a first down before Hunter Lawrence hit a 43-yard field goal.

Texas Tech got those points back on its ensuing drive. Crabtree caught a pass for six yards and a first down. Woods rushed for successive gains of 16 and 11 yards before Williams made a 31-yard field goal to extend the Red Raiders’ lead back to 22-3.

Texas scored the final points of the half. Quarterback Colt McCoy took off for a 27-yard rush and then hit Brandon Collins for 11. On third-and-25, Malcolm Williams caught a pass for 44 before Lawrence kicked a 25-yard field goal to set the halftime score at 22-6, Texas Tech.

The Longhorns began to get back into the game, scoring first in the second half when Jordan Shipley returned a LaCour punt 45 yards for a touchdown. Lawrence’s kick made the score 22-13.

Texas had the ball back when the Red Raiders defense made a play. Daniel Charbonnet intercepted a McCoy pass and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown, with Matt Williams’ boot giving Texas Tech back a 29-13 advantage.

The Longhorns were deep in a 3rd-and-15 hole on their next possession when Wall committed pass interference, giving Texas a first down. On third-and-2, Vondrell McGee ran for three yards. Malcolm Williams then caught a 37-yard touchdown pass. McCoy’s pass for Shipley on a 2-point conversion attempt was deflected by Whitlock, leaving the score at 29-19.

A big play on special teams from Texas set up another touchdown for the Longhorns. Matt Williams’ 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked before Texas committed a personal foul, giving the Longhorns possession at their own 9-yard line.

However, McCoy hit Malcolm Williams for a 91-yard scoring toss to begin the fourth quarter on the first play after the blocked kick, and Lawrence’s extra point cut the Texas deficit to 29-26.

Texas Tech responded to double its lead. Lewis and Britton caught passes for 22 and 15 yards, respectively. Woods ran for a 3-yard gain on third-and-2. Britton caught a pass for 11 yards and Batch ran for two yards on third-and-1. However, the Red Raiders committed a personal foul penalty on the Texas 10-yard line and were forced to settle for a 42-yard Donnie Carona field goal to make it a 32-26 score.

The Longhorns, who had trailed all night, took their first lead with 1:29 to go in the fourth quarter. McCoy hit Collins for 14 yards on third-and-5. Foswhitt Whittaker ran for 21 yards before Shipley caught a pass for 10. Ogbonnaya ran for six yards and a first down, then McCoy ran for a gain of five and a first down. McGee rushed for a 5-yard touchdown before Lawrence’s extra point gave Texas a 33-32 lead.

After the Red Raiders’ final touchdown, Tech was forced to kick off seven and a half yards from its own goal line after two personal foul penalties for celebration. After the squib kickoff from Carona and two Texas laterals, Texas Tech’s LaShawn Vation recovered a fumble to end the game as fans clad mostly in black rushed the field.

Crabtree pulled in 10 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown to lead the Red Raiders’ receiving efforts. Britton caught seven balls for 138 yards, Lewis caught five passes for 58 yards, Morris made four receptions for 46 yards and a score and Swindall hauled in two tosses for 52 yards.

On the ground, Woods rushed 14 times for 64 yards, while Batch ran 11 times for 58 yards and a touchdown.

McCoy completed 20 of 34 passes for 294 yards for Texas, with two touchdowns and an interception. Through the air, Malcolm Williams caught four passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Shipley chipped in six catches for 42 yards.

Whittaker gained 42 yards on six carries to lead the Longhorns’ rushing attack.

NOTES: Harrell passed former Hawai’i quarterback Colt Brennan to take third place on the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision career passing yardage list with 14,303 yards. Harrell trails former Hawai’i passer Timmy Chang and ex-BYU quarterback Ty Detmer on the list … McCoy became Texas’ all-time leading passer in yards with his 91-yard completion to Malcolm Williams in the fourth quarter … The Red Raiders snapped Texas’ five-game winning streak in the series with the win … Texas still leads the all-time series 42-15 … Nine different receivers caught passes for the Red Raiders … Both teams are back in action Saturday, when Texas Tech hosts Oklahoma State and Texas plays Baylor … The Red Raiders (9-0, 5-0 Big 12) now stand alone atop the Big 12 South, while the Longhorns (8-1, 4-1) share second place in the division with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Video credit – ESPN on ABC