Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ordonez, Inge, Tigers push Minnesota to brink, 7-2


The Detroit Tigers stand one victory away from their first American League Central title since 1987.

The Minnesota Twins? One loss from just another good season that ends just shy of the postseason.

Magglio Ordonez knocked in three runs, Brandon Inge tied his personal single-season RBI high and Detroit slugged past Minnesota 7-2 in Detroit Wednesday night, winning for the seventh time in 10 games and reducing its magic number to two games.

The Tigers and Twins tangle again Thursday afternoon in the series finale. If Detroit wins, it clinches the division; if Minnesota comes out on top, it remains alive – barely – heading into its final series of the season against Kansas City.

Trailing 2-0, Detroit took the lead for good in the second inning. Inge’s double off Twins starter Carl Pavano to the left-center field gap scored Miguel Cabrera and Ordonez, who had each singled.

With one out, Ramon Santiago then singled to right-center to score Carlos Guillen, who had walked, and Inge for a 4-2 edge.

The Tigers then tacked on three insurance runs to chase Pavano in the fifth. Ordonez doubled to center with two outs to score Santiago, who had reached on a bunt single, Placido Polanco, who had singled, and Clete Thomas, who walked.

Minnesota scored the game’s first runs in the top of the first. With one out, Jason Kubel singled to left against Tigers starter Eddie Bonine to score Orlando Cabrera, who had singled. Delmon Young’s single to center then scored Joe Mauer, who had singled.

Santiago went 2-for-3 for the Tigers at the plate, with two runs batted in. Cabrera, Ordonez and Inge each went 2-for-4.

Inge knocked in two runs, giving him 83 RBI on the season. That total matches his career high, set in 2006.

Bonine (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, working five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, with two walks and three strikeouts.

Young was 2-for-4 and Denard Span went 2-for-5 for Minnesota.

Pavano (13-12) lasted 4 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. He lost to Detroit for the first time in five decisions with Cleveland and the Twins this season.

The Twins lost for just the fourth time in their last 16 contests … Detroit reliever Zach Miner worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings. He has not been scored upon in his last 12 innings, spanning eight appearances … Detroit hosts the White Sox in its final series beginning Friday … The Tigers (85-73) hold a three-game lead over second-place Minnesota (82-76) in the Central … Nate Robertson will take the ball for Detroit in the series finale Thursday afternoon. He will oppose Minnesota’s Scott Baker.


Video credit – ESPN

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 5 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Oct. 3 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (4-0)/at LSU (Oct.10)/Drilled conference opponent Kentucky on the road.

2. Texas (4-0)/Colorado (Oct. 10)/Beat a pushover handily.

3. Alabama (4-0)/at Kentucky/Took care of business against a conference foe.

4. Virginia Tech (3-1)/at Duke/Big win over Miami; must avoid letdown against Blue Devils.

5. Oklahoma (2-1)/at Miami/Off this past week.

6. LSU (4-0)/at Georgia/Survived a deceptively tough road rivalry game.

7. Southern California (3-1)/at California/Good bounce-back conference win.

8. Texas Christian (3-0)/Southern Methodist/Another statement road win over a BCS automatic qualifier.

9. Mississippi (2-1)/at Vanderbilt/Not a bad loss by any means, but didn’t look good at all against South Carolina.

10. Penn State (3-1)/at Illinois/Hadn’t been tested until Saturday, and it showed.

11. Boise State (4-0)/UC Davis/Beat a pushover handily.

12. Oklahoma State (3-1)/at Texas A&M (Oct. 10)/Beat a pushover handily.

13. Ohio State (3-1)/at Indiana/Took care of business against Illinois.

14. Georgia (3-1)/LSU/Nice win over nonconference BCS opponent Arizona State.

15. Brigham Young (3-1)/Utah State (Oct. 2)/Solid win over conference opponent Colorado State.

16. Cincinnati (4-0)/at Miami (Ohio)/Pulled out win over notoriously feisty Fresno State.

17. California (3-1)/Southern California/Time to regroup after being absolutely drilled at Oregon; road doesn’t get any easier next week.

18. Oregon (2-1)/Washington State/Delivered a badly needed statement with a beat-down of Cal.

19. Georgia Tech (3-1)/at Mississippi State/Big conference victory over North Carolina.

20. Kansas (4-0)/Iowa State (Oct. 10)/Good win over feisty Southern Miss.

21. Houston (3-0)/at UTEP/Enters the polls after back-to-back wins over Big 12 foes.

22. Utah (3-1)/at Colorado State/Handled BCS opponent Louisville without much trouble.

23. Iowa (4-0)/Arkansas State/Re-enters the polls after big win at Penn State.

24. Michigan (4-0)/at Michigan State/Not a great win over Indiana, but pulled it out late.

25. Nebraska (3-1)/at Missouri (Oct. 8)/Beat a pushover handily.

Dropped out/Why?

North Carolina. Thoroughly dominated in a loss to Georgia Tech.

Miami (Fla.). No shame in losing at Virginia Tech, but they came out flat, paid for it dearly and didn’t show much fight most of the game. Killer schedule continues against Oklahoma this week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fox homer helps Cubs avoid sweep in St. Louis in 11


Jake Fox hit a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cardinals 6-3 in St. Louis Sunday night, salvaging the finale of their three-game series and snapping a four-game losing streak.

With the score tied at 3, Andres Blanco singled to right field with one out in the top of the 11th inning before Fox took Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs’ offering out to center field.

The Cubs tacked on one more for good measure when Koyie Hill, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, scored from third base on Brad Thompson’s wild pitch to close the scorebook at 6-3.

Carlos Marmol then came on out of the Cubs bullpen in the bottom of the inning and set down the Cardinals 1-2-3 to end the game.

Chicago drew first blood in the top of the fifth against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. Mike Fontenot hit an infield single with one out and scored on Blanco’s double off the center-field wall, beating second baseman Skip Schumaker’s relay to the plate.

The Cardinals took their first lead in the bottom of the same frame. Schumaker hit a one-out infield single and scored on Mark DeRosa’s double off the left-center field wall. Albert Pujols’ double down the left-field line knocked in DeRosa for a 2-1 edge.

The Cubs took the lead right back in the sixth. Micah Hoffpauir singled home Bobby Scales, who had walked, with one out. Aramis Ramirez, who had singled, then scored on Cardinals shortstop Brendan Ryan’s throwing error on Geovany Soto’s fielder’s choice.

St. Louis then knotted the score in the eighth. Matt Holliday drew a leadoff walk from Chicago reliever Kevin Gregg, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Yadier Molina’s two-out single to left to tie the game at 3.

It looked as though the Cardinals won the game in the bottom of the ninth, when Schumaker crossed the plate after Ryan Ludwick appeared to beat out a double-play grounder. However, second base umpire Marty Foster ruled Holliday had committed interference sliding at second, resulting in an automatic inning-ending double play.

So Taguchi, who came on as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, and Fontenot each went 2-for-3 for the Cubs. Blanco was 2-for-5.

Starter Carlos Zambrano scattered five hits and two runs over six innings, with six strikeouts and three walks. Esmailin Caridad (1-0) earned his first big-league win in relief, working 1 2-3 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Marmol got his 14th save.

Wainwright held Chicago to three runs on five hits over seven innings, with 10 strikeouts and two walks. Boggs (2-3) took the loss.

Schumaker went 2-for-6 for St. Louis.

NOTES: Chicago’s Milton Bradley, who hadn’t started since Thursday with inflammation in his left knee, was suspended before the game for the rest of the season after reportedly telling the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Daily Herald, “You understand why they haven’t won in 100 years here.” General manager Jim Hendry said, “Recently, it’s become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has. We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season” … The Cubs won for just the second time in nine tries at Busch Stadium this season … St. Louis has lost six of nine overall … This game completed the rivals’ season series, which the Cardinals won, 10-6, for the first time since 2004 … St. Louis (87-63) remains atop the NL Central, with a 10-game lead over the second-place Cubs (76-72) … The Cubs head to Milwaukee for three games, with Tom Gorzelanny pitching Monday night. St. Louis travels to Houston for a three-game series. Kyle Lohse will work Monday night.


Video credit – ESPN

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 4 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Sept. 26 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (3-0)/Kentucky/Didn’t dominate Tennessee but took care of business.

2. Texas (3-0)/UTEP/Revenge win over rival Texas Tech.

3. Alabama (3-0)/Arkansas/Beat a pushover handily.

4. Mississippi (2-0)/at South Carolina (Sept. 24)/Beat a pushover handily.

5. Virginia Tech (2-1)/Miami/Good win over quality Nebraska team.

6. Oklahoma (2-1)/at Miami (Oct. 3)/Beat a pushover handily.

7. Penn State (3-0)/Iowa/Beat a pushover handily. Time for their first test of the season against Iowa.

8. LSU (3-0)/at Mississippi State/Beat a pushover relatively handily.

9. California (3-0)/at Oregon/Good win at Minnesota.

10. Southern California (2-1)/Washington State/Patented letdown loss against a weaker conference foe in Washington after big nonconference win last week.

11. Boise State (3-0)/at Bowling Green/Took care of business at Fresno State.

12. Oklahoma State (2-1)/Grambling State/Beat a pushover handily.

13. Texas Christian (2-0)/at Clemson/Beat a pushover handily.

14. Ohio State (2-1)/Illinois/Beat a pushover handily.

15. Georgia (2-1)/Arizona State/Good shootout win at Arkansas.

16. Brigham Young (2-1)/Colorado State/Back to earth after blowout home loss to Florida State.

17. Cincinnati (3-0)/Fresno State/Good revenge win at Oregon State.

18. Miami (Fla.) (2-0)/at Virginia Tech/Another big road win over Georgia Tech.

19. North Carolina (3-0)/at Georgia Tech/Took care of business against East Carolina.

20. Oregon (2-1)/California/Knocked off pesky Utah.

21. Georgia Tech (2-1)/North Carolina/Thoroughly dominated at home by Miami.

22. Kansas (3-0)/Southern Miss/Beat a pushover (from an automatic qualifying conference – Duke) handily.

23. Utah (2-1)/Louisville/Long winning streak – and probably BCS aspirations – end at Oregon.

24. Michigan (3-0)/Indiana/Enters the polls after two wins over in-state pushovers and a good victories over Notre Dame in Week 2.

25. Nebraska (2-1)/Louisiana-Lafayette/Tough loss at Virginia Tech.

Dropped out/Why?

Texas Tech. Not a bad loss at Texas by any means, but didn’t have far to fall to exit the polls.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Florida outlasts Volunteers for 23-13 victory


Florida’s offense, best in the nation in yards per game and total points coming in, finally faced a big-name opponent and was significantly slowed.

No matter. Quarterback Tim Tebow still ran too hard, the skill positions still made too many plays and the defense was still too tough for the Gators to lose.

Florida (No. 1 ZSN/1 AP) got its pound of flesh from Tennessee with a 23-13 victory in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday afternoon. But the Gators didn’t blow out the Volunteers, which many predicted after first-year Vols coach Lane Kiffin infamously guaranteed a Tennessee win and made false recruiting allegations about Florida coach Urban Meyer during the offseason.

Already leading 13-6, the Gators took control by scoring 10 third-quarter points while holding Tennessee scoreless. After Joe Haden intercepted Volunteers quarterback Jonathan Crompton on the first possession of the second half, Chris Rainey ran for 12 yards, Tebow picked up 15 and Caleb Sturgis hit a 35-yard field goal.

After a Tennessee punt, Florida then found the end zone. Tebow escaped a sack and ran up the sideline for four yards on third-and-3, Rainey picked up 12 yards and Riley Cooper caught a pass for eight yards on third-and-4.

Tebow then ran for two yards and a first down and picked up six yards on third-and-3 before Jeffery Demps’ 7-yard touchdown run. Sturgis’ extra point gave Florida a 23-6 edge.

Tennessee didn’t show the white flag. Florida was driving on its next possession in the fourth quarter when Tebow fumbled, and Dennis Rogan scooped up the ball and ran 34 yards.

Bryce Brown caught a pass for 21 yards on third-and-10. Florida’s Jaye Howard then committed an excessive celebration personal foul, giving the Vols 15 free yards, before Montario Hardesty broke two tackles on a 17-yard touchdown run, the first touchdown the Gators defense had given up all season. Daniel Lincoln’s point-after cut the Tennessee deficit to 23-13.

The Volunteers then had another shot after a Florida 3-and-out, punctuated by Chris Walker’s sack of Tebow on third down. However, Florida’s Ahmad Black saved the day again for the Gators with an interception on fourth-and-6 with just under 2 minutes left, and Florida ran out the clock from there.

Florida took the lead on the first possession of the game. Brandon James returned the opening kickoff 50 yards, with a personal foul penalty tacked onto the end. Tebow picked up three yards on fourth-and-2 before Sturgis’ 37-yard field goal.

Tennessee evened the score the first time it got the ball. Hardesty ran for 20 yards on third-and-12, Gerald Jones caught a pass for 17 on third-and-6 and Crompton picked up another first down on third-and-inches. Hardesty ran for seven yards and a first down before Lincoln hit a 24-yard field goal, capping a 15-play drive that took eight and a half minutes off the clock.

The Gators then went back on top to begin the second period. Emmanuel Moody ran for 23 yards and Rainey picked up 11. David Nelson caught a pass for 12 yards on third-and-10 and Tebow ran for six on third-and-1 before Tebow’s 1-yard touchdown. Sturgis extended the Florida edge to 10-3.

The Vols cut into that deficit when Eric Berry made a diving interception, Hardesty ran for 10 yards and Lincoln kicked a 20-yard field goal.

Florida then got those points back with a longer drive. James returned the kickoff 30 yards, Demps ran for 21 yards off the option pitch, Aaron Hernandez made a reception for 18 yards on third-and-14 and James caught a pass for six on third-and-5 to set up Sturgis’ 29-yard kick for a 13-6 Gator advantage.

Tebow completed 14 of 19 throws for 115 yards, with an interception, and ran for 76 yards and a score on 24 carries. Rainey ran nine times for 64 yards. James returned three kicks 97 yards.

Hardesty ran for 96 yards on 20 carries, with a touchdown. Crompton hit on 11 of 19 passes for 93 yards and two picks.

Berry had 11 tackles to lead the Volunteer defense.

NOTES: Florida has won 13 straight games since its loss last September to Ole Miss. The winning streak is a new school record … Meyer is 5-0 against Tennessee … Florida has won 18 of 24 in the series and 10 of 12 in The Swamp … The Gators lead the all-time series for the first time ever, 20-19 … Tebow’s streak of 30 straight games with a touchdown pass, the longest active streak in the country, ended … Gators wide receiver Deonte Thompson did not play after injuring a hamstring on a touchdown catch last week against Troy … Florida has won 28 of 30 at home … Kiffin had made comments that he looked forward to “singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night long” after beating Florida this season … The Gators have interceptions in 15 straight games, the longest current streak in the nation … This game marked the first time the reigning Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year faced each other. Tebow and Berry won those awards last season … Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) travels to Kentucky Saturday night. Tennessee (1-2, 0-1) hosts Ohio on the same date.


Video credit – CBS

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rodgers, Jennings give Packers 21-15 win over Bears


On the same day former Green Bay hero Brett Favre made his debut for the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a game-winning touchdown with 1:11 to play to defeat the Packers’ other big rival, Chicago, 21-15, in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, making his regular-season Chicago debut after a tumultuous offseason and subsequent trade from Denver, threw a career-worst four interceptions against the Packers’ new 3-4 defensive scheme.

Additionally, Chicago lost a host of players to injury, including star linebacker Brian Urlacher, who had season-ending surgery for his dislocated right wrist Monday.

The Bears had trailed most of the night, but took the lead with just over 2:30 remaining in the fourth period. Cutler hit Earl Bennett for 11 yards and found Devin Hester for 24. Green Bay’s Al Harris gave the Bears a free first down by committing illegal contact on third-and-9, Jason McKie caught a pass for eight yards to convert another first down and Matt Forte moved the chains on third-and-inches to set up Robbie Gould’s 21-yard field goal for a 15-13 Chicago edge.

Rodgers, Jennings and the Packers needed only five plays to move 72 plays to the end zone. Jennings made a reception for seven yards and a first down before Rodgers found him again down the left sideline for a 50-yard score on third-and-1. Rodgers then connected with Jennings once more for the two-point conversion, which was upheld by replay, to go on top, 21-15.

The Bears had about a minute to try to reach the end zone, but Cutler’s first throw was intercepted by Harris, who returned it 29 yards to, for all intents and purposes, end the game.

The Packers drew the game’s first blood in the second quarter. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 11 yards on third-and-3 and connected with Jennings for 10. Ryan Grant ran for 17 yards before Mason Crosby banged home a 52-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

Chicago’s defense put the Bears’ first points on the board. Safety Danieal Manning sacked Rodgers in the end zone for a safety, cutting the Bears’ deficit to 3-2.

However, Green Bay’s defense stepped up immediately and made a big play of its own. Tramon Williams intercepted Cutler and ran 67 yards to the Bear 1. Grant punched it in from there, and Crosby’s extra point extended the Packers’ lead to 10-2.

The Bears offense finally found the end zone in the third quarter. Forte ran for 10 yards, Bennett caught a pass for 21 on third-and-9 and Cutler just barely picked up a first down on fourth-and-1. One play later, Cutler hit a wide-open Hester for a 36-yard score, and Gould hit the point-after.

After a Green Bay punt, Chicago then took its first lead of the night. Bennett caught a pass for 15 yards, Desmond Clark made a reception for 23 on third-and-2 and Gould hit a 47-yard field goal to take a 12-10 Bears lead.

The Packers got some help from Chicago’s special teams to reclaim the lead. In punt formation on fourth-and-11 from their own 26-yard line, the Bears, presumably trying to catch Green Bay with too many men on the field, sent upback Garrett Wolfe up the middle on a direct snap. However, Wolfe only made it four yards before Brett Swain, with some help from Desmond Bishop, snowed him under. Bears coach Lovie Smith then challenged that too many men were on the field, but lost.

Crosby ended up kicking a 39-yard field goal on the ensuing possession to take a 13-12 advantage.

Rodgers completed 17 of 28 passes for 184 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Jennings caught six passes for 106 yards and a score, Grant ran 16 times for 61 yards and a touchdown, and Jordy Nelson returned four kicks for 124 yards.

Cutler hit on 17 of 36 attempts for 277 yards and a score, in addition to his four picks. Hester caught four passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, Bennett had seven catches for 66 yards and Johnny Knox caught two balls for 82 yards. Forte had 25 carries for 55 yards, while Manning returned three kicks 80 yards.

NOTES: This was the rivals’ 178th meeting, the most by any two teams in NFL history. They met for the 21st time in a season opener … Bennett, Cutler’s college teammate at Vanderbilt, had no career catches prior to this game … The Bears had won seven of 10 in the series and four of five at Lambeau Field … The Packers (1-0) host Cincinnati Sunday afternoon, while Chicago (0-1) faces Pittsburgh Sunday afternoon.


Video credit – NBC

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 3 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Sept. 19 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (2-0)/Tennessee/Beat a pushover handily.

2. Texas (2-0)/Texas Tech/Beat a pushover handily.

3. Southern California (2-0)/at Washington/Big win on the road over Ohio State.

4. Alabama (2-0)/North Texas/Beat a pushover handily.

5. Mississippi (1-0)/Southeastern Louisiana/Good win over Memphis on Labor Day, off Week 2.

6. Oklahoma (1-1)/Tulsa/Beat a pushover handily.

7. Virginia Tech (1-1)/Nebraska/Beat a pushover handily.

8. LSU (2-0)/Louisiana-Lafayette/Struggled a bit but took care of business against Vanderbilt.

9. Brigham Young (2-0)/Florida State/Beat a pushover handily.

10. California (2-0)/at Minnesota/Beat a pushover handily.

11. Penn State (2-0)/Temple/Took care of business against Syracuse.

12. Oklahoma State (1-1)/Rice/Back to earth after an upset loss to Houston.

13. Boise State (2-0)/at Fresno State (Sept. 18)/Beat a pushover handily.

14. Texas Christian (1-0)/Texas State/Dominant victory in season opener at Virginia.

15. Ohio State (1-1)/Toledo (Cleveland)/Tough loss to a top-notch USC squad.

16. Georgia (1-1)/at Arkansas/Held on to beat a decent South Carolina team.

17. Georgia Tech (2-0)/at Miami (Fla.) (Sept. 17)/Dominated Clemson most of the night but had to hold on for a win.

18. Utah (2-0)/at Oregon/Beat San Jose State but didn’t look particularly good doing it.

19. North Carolina (2-0)/East Carolina/Needed a bit of good luck to beat UConn.

20. Oregon (1-1)/Utah/Squeaked out a win over Purdue. Still falling a bit from ugly loss at Boise.

21. Texas Tech (2-0)/at Texas/Beat a pushover handily.

22. Cincinnati (2-0)/at Oregon State/Dominating win over conference rival Rutgers in Week 1, then beat a pushover handily.

23. Nebraska (2-0)/at Virginia Tech/Beat a pushover handily.

24. Miami (Fla.) (1-0)/Georgia Tech (Sept. 17)/Big win at Florida State on Monday; off Week 2.

25. Kansas (2-0)/Duke/Beat a pushover handily.

Dropped out/Why?

Florida State. Fell to rival Miami in Week 1 and needed two touchdowns in the last minute to avoid loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State at home.

Notre Dame. Couldn’t hold on against Michigan. Time to see if the Irish are back for real.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Barkley, Trojans survive test at Ohio State, 18-15


In his first road collegiate start, Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley didn’t put up spectacular numbers, but he came up big when it counted.

Barkley led the Trojans on a game-winning fourth-quarter drive that culminated in a Stafon Johnson touchdown run with a minute to play as USC defeated Ohio State, 18-15, in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday night.

Trailing 15-10, Southern California (No. 3 ZSN/3 AP) put together a clutch 14-play, 86-yard drive to take a late lead. The Trojans were forced back to their own 5-yard line after a sack and a penalty, but began heading the right direction on a Joe McKnight catch-and-run for 21 yards on third-and-9.

Barkley then found Anthony McCoy for 25 yards and snuck for a first down on fourth-and-1. McKnight ran for seven yards to move the chains and Barkley moved the pile to pick up a third-and-1 before Johnson’s 2-yard score with just over 1 minute left. Barkley found McKnight for the two-point conversion to take an 18-15 lead.

The last-ditch Ohio State (No. 12/8) possession got off to a rocky start when quarterback Terrelle Pryor was flagged for intentional grounding, and ended when Pryor threw incomplete for Duron Carter into triple coverage on fourth-and-10 with 21 seconds left.

USC capitalized on an early Buckeye mistake to draw first blood. The Trojans’ Chris Galippo made a leaping interception of a poor Pryor throw on the game’s third play from scrimmage and returned it 50 yards down the sideline to the Ohio State 3-yard line. Johnson then cashed in a 2-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal, and Jordan Congdon hit the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Ohio State didn’t wait long to even the score. Dan Herron ran for five yards and a first down, Pryor hit Dane Sanzenbacher for a 57-yard gain and Herron hit the line again for a 2-yard touchdown, which was upheld by replay. Aaron Pettrey booted the extra point to tie the game.

The Buckeyes began the second quarter by taking their first lead of the night. Ohio State started the drive at the USC 44 after a short Trojan punt, and converted a third-and-1 when Herron ran for three yards. DeVier Posey pulled in a pass for 33 yards to set up first-and-goal at the USC 2, but the Buckeyes ended up settling for an 18-yard Pettrey field goal and a 10-7 edge.

USC tied the game again as the first half expired. Johnson ran for 29 yards, Barkley hit Stanley Havili for five and a first down, Damian Williams caught a pass for 18 and McCoy hauled in an 18-yard throw before Congdon, who had missed a 44-yard field goal off the crossbar on the Trojans’ last possession, hit a 20-yarder to end the second period.

Ohio State took the lead back, with some help from USC’s special teams. Backed up at the USC 10-yard line, Trojans long snapper Cooper Stephenson snapped the ball beyond the reach of punter Billy O’Malley and through the back of the end zone for a safety.

Posey returned the ensuing free kick 23 yards to the Trojan 44. Pryor found Brandon Saine for a 20-yard gain and hooked up with Posey for 10 more before Pettrey’s 22-yard field goal for a 15-10 Buckeye advantage.

Barkley, who appeared to sustain a minor injury to his throwing shoulder late in the third period but did not leave the game, went 15-for-31 for 195 yards, with one interception. McKnight ran 16 times for 61 yards, while Johnson had 11 carries for 50 yards and two scores. Williams caught five passes for 51 yards, while McKnight and McCoy each had two receptions for 45 yards.

Pryor, who looked comfortable and poised at times and rushed and rattled in some high-pressure situations, completed 11 of 25 tosses for 177 yards and a pick. Posey caught six passes for 81 yards and Sanzenbacher made two receptions for 58. Herron ran 18 times for 44 yards and a score.

Ohio State’s Lamaar Thomas returned three kicks for 86 yards.

NOTES: USC has won 12 straight games … The Trojans have finished victorious in their last seven games in the series and their last 10 contests against Big Ten opponents, dating back to a loss to Penn State in the Kickoff Classic in 1996 … USC has also won 14 straight nonconference games and 10 straight away from home … USC (2-0) is back in action at Washington Saturday afternoon, while Ohio State (1-1) faces Toledo in Cleveland Saturday afternoon.


Video credit – ESPN

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reed kicks Steelers past Titans in OT, 13-10


Not a bad way for the Pittsburgh Steelers to begin their defense of their latest Super Bowl title.

Jeff Reed hit a 33-yard field goal in overtime as the Steelers defeated the Tennessee Titans, 13-10, in the NFL season opener in Pittsburgh Thursday night.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 363 yards and a touchdown for the Steelers, while Santonio Holmes caught nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.

The contest wasn’t all positive for Pittsburgh, though. All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu sprained his MCL late in the first half and could miss three to six weeks.

The Steelers came oh-so-close to finishing off the Titans in regulation. Roethlisberger hooked up with Hines Ward for a gain of 30 yards with just over a minute to go in regulation, but Ward was stripped by Tennessee’s Michael Griffin and fumbled at the Titans 4-yard line. Stephen Tulloch fell on the ball for the Titans, effectively ending regulation.

However, the Steelers won the coin toss to begin overtime and drove for the winning score. Ward caught a pass for 11 yards, Mewelde Moore ran for two yards and a first down and Holmes made a reception for 11 on third-and-1. Roethlisberger hit rookie Mike Wallace for 22 before Reed’s boot gave Pittsburgh the victory.

Two late-second-quarter touchdowns sent the game into halftime tied. Roethlisberger hit Holmes for 12 yards and found Ward for 29 before Holmes caught a 34-yard touchdown pass. Reed’s extra point gave Pittsburgh a 7-0 edge with just under 1:30 left in the half.

Tennessee’s Kerry Collins wasted little time, though, hooking up with Kenny Britt for 57 yards on the second play of the drive and hitting Justin gage for a 14-yard touchdown one play later. Rob Bironas’ point-after evened the score again.

That score held up until the fourth quarter, when the Titans took the lead on their first possession of the period. Britt caught a pass for 15 yards, Gage made a reception for 15 more and Bironas nailed a 45-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead with 11 minutes to play.

Pittsburgh responded with a 12-play, eight-minute drive to tie the score. Willie Parker caught a pass for five yards, Heath Miller made a reception for three and a first down and Holmes pulled in a pass for 10. Roethlisberger hooked up with Holmes again for 15 on third-and-12 before the drive stalled. Reed’s 32-yard kick tied the game at 10 with three minutes left.

Roethlisberger connected on 33 of 43 passes, with two interceptions. Ward caught eight passes for 103 yards and Miller made eight receptions for 64 yards.

Collins hit 22 of 35 attempts for 244 yards, a score and a pick. Britt made four receptions for 85 yards, Gage caught seven passes for 78 yards and a score and Bo Scaife hauled in five tosses for 48 yards. Chris Johnson ran 15 times for 57 yards.

The Steelers did have the clear edge in the kicking game, as Bironas missed a field goal and had another block, while Reed hit both of his tries.

The Steelers have won seven straight openers, the league’s longest active streak … Tennessee outran Pittsburgh, 86 yards to 36 … Pittsburgh (1-0) is back in action at Chicago Sept. 20. The Titans (0-1) host Houston on the same date.


Video credit – NBC

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jeter ties Gehrig, Posada powers Yanks past Rays


Oh-for-12? No big deal.

The Yankees’ Derek Jeter broke out of his hitless slump in a big way Wednesday night, going 3-for-4 to tie legend Lou Gehrig’s franchise career hits record on a seventh-inning single.

Oh, and the Yankees won, too – Jorge Posada blasted a three-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning as the Yankees came back to hand the Tampa Bay Rays their eighth straight loss, 4-2, in New York, sweeping the two-game set.

Jeter’s other two base knocks came on a first-inning bunt single and a ground-rule double in the fifth. He had a chance in the eighth to break Gehrig’s record of 2,721 hits, but drew a walk from Rays reliever Grant Balfour.

Trailing 2-0, the Yankees plated all four of their runs in the eighth inning. Alex Rodriguez led off with a single to center before Hideki Matsui singled just inside the first-base bag.

Then, with Jerry Hairston Jr. pinch-running for Matsui, Nick Swisher grounded into what looked like a double-play ball, but Rays first baseman Chris Richard threw wildly into left field trying to get Hairston at second, and Rodriguez scored to cut the Tampa Bay lead in half.

That tenuous edge didn’t hold up long for the Rays. Posada came up as a pinch hitter for Brett Gardner and drove Balfour’s pitch into the right-field bleachers to score Hairston and Swisher for a 4-2 advantage.

The frame spoiled an excellent start for Tampa Bay’s Jeff Niemann, who held the Yankees to one run over seven innings but took a no-decision.

The Rays drew first blood immediately against New York starter Joba Chamberlain. Jason Bartlett led off the game with a homer to left, and Pat Burrell’s one-out single scored Carl Crawford, who had singled, for a 2-0 edge.

Rodriguez and Matsui each went 2-for-4 for the Yankees.

Chamberlain only worked three innings, yielding two runs on three hits, with a walk and three strikeouts. Alfredo Aceves and Jonathan Albaladejo (5-1) combined to work five hitless innings out of the New York bullpen.

Niemann yielded eight hits, with a walk and eight strikeouts. Lance Cormier (2-3) took the loss, failing to retire either batter he faced in the eighth and allowing two runs, one earned. Balfour blew his fifth save of the season.

The Yankees outhit Tampa Bay 10-3, despite going 1-for-12 as a team with runners in scoring position.

NOTES: The Yankees have won 12 of their last 14 games … The comeback victory was New York’s 45th of the season … Jeter also stole his 300th career base in the first inning … The Yankees (91-50) lead the AL East by nine games over second-place Boston. The Rays (72-68) trail New York by 18.5 contests in the division, and are 9.5 back of the Red Sox in fourth place in the AL wild-card race … New York is off Thursday before hosting Baltimore for three games, with Andy Pettitte working Friday night. Tampa Bay also will not play Thursday and travels to Boston for a three-part series. James Shields is slated to throw Friday night.


Video credit – ESPN

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Miami defense holds, Hurricanes beat Seminoles, 38-34


Miami’s Jacory Harris threw for 386 yards and two touchdowns and the Hurricane defense made a last-second goal-line stand as Miami beat Florida State 38-34 in Tallahassee, Fla., Monday night.

With the win, the Hurricanes beat their bitter rival to the north for the eighth time in their past 11 tries.

Trailing 34-31, Miami drove to take a late lead. Graig Cooper picked up two yards on third-and-inches before Harris hit Travis Benjamin for a 40-yard gain, which was confirmed by replay. Cooper finished off the drive with a 3-yard scoring run with just over 1:50 to play, and Matt Bosher’s extra point made it 38-34.

The Hurricane defense then stonewalled the Florida State offense to preserve the victory. The Seminoles drove to the Miami 2-yard line after a questionable defensive pass interference penalty, but forcer Christian Ponder to throw incomplete three times, the final time a low pass that Jarmon Fortson couldn’t corral, to end the game.

The Hurricanes drew first blood on their opening possession. Cooper returned the opening kickoff 28 yards. Harris hit Javarris James for 20 yards out of the backfield, and James ran for three on fourth-and-1.

Harris then hit a wide-open Benjamin for a 39-yard score on the next play, and Bosher kicked the extra point.

Florida State (No. 21 ZSN/18 AP) wasted no time in tying the score. Ponder found Fortson on a slip screen for 14 yards on third-and-3. Jermaine Thomas ran for two yards on fourth-and-1. Then, after a holding call set up a third-and-23 situation, Ponder hit Bert Reed for 34 yards with three Hurricane defenders in the vicinity. The Seminoles capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown catch by Caz Piurowski on third-and-6, and freshman Dustin Hopkins booted the extra point to tie the score at 7.

The Seminoles then took their first lead in the second quarter. Beginning at their own 2-yard line after a great Bosher punt, Fortson caught a pass for 26 yards and Ty Jones ran for 10 yards. Richard Goodman caught a pass for 13 yards before Hopkins drilled a 52-yard field goal, his first as a college player.

Miami regained the lead on the ensuing possession. Harris hit Dedrick Epps and Thearon Collier for gains of 19 and 18 yards, respectively. James ran for seven yards and Aldarius Johnson caught a pass for 11 before James’ 6-yard touchdown run. Bosher’s boot gave the Hurricanes a 14-10 lead going into halftime.

Florida State put together a drive bookended by odd plays to go back on top to begin the third quarter. The Seminoles began the drive at the Miami 46 after a personal foul on Bosher, the kicker, on the kickoff. Thomas ran for six yards, Rod Owens made a catch for 19 and the Hurricanes’ JoJo Nicolas committed pass interference to set up Ponder’s nine-yard touchdown run. Hopkins missed the extra point badly wide left, though, to leave the score at 16-14, Seminoles.

Florida State then got some help from its defense to open up a two-possession lead. Greg Reid intercepted Harris to give the Seminoles possession at their own 18-yard line. Piurowski caught a pass for 15 yards on third-and-6, Goodman made a reception for 28 and Louis Givens ran for a gain of 13 before Taiwan Easterling powered his way into the end zone on a 21-yard touchdown reception. Hopkins banged the extra point off the upright and in for a 23-14 lead.

Miami then put together a big-play drive that only resulted in three points. Cooper returned the kickoff 62 yards and Epps caught a pass for 27 yards, but the Hurricanes, given three cracks from the Seminoles 2, couldn’t find the end zone, and Bosher nailed an 18-yard field goal.

The Hurricanes then found a big defensive play of their own to regain the lead at the outset of the fourth quarter. Marcus Robinson stripped Ponder, and Josh Holmes recovered at the Hurricane 29.

Benjamin caught a pass for 29 yards on the first play of the drive, defensive pass interference on Patrick Robinson gave the Hurricanes a first down and Cooper ran for 13 yards before Harris snuck across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown, confirmed by replay. Bosher’s point-after gave Miami a 24-23 edge.

The Seminoles returned the favor with a big play from their defensive unit. Reid hit Harris’ arm as he was throwing, and defensive lineman Markus White picked the ball out of the air and ran for a 31-yard touchdown. Florida State then got back the point it lost on Hopkins’ missed extra point, as Ponder found Goodman for the two-point conversion for a 31-24 Florida State lead.

Miami evened the score again on its next drive. Leonard Hankerson caught a pass for 16 yards on third-and-15, Harris evaded a sack on third-and-6 and hit Benjamin for 20 and Collier made a 9-yard reception on third-and-6. Cooper then made a spectacular leaping reception for a 24-yard touchdown, and Bosher nailed the kick.

Jones ran for 27 yards, then five and another first down before Hopkins came up big again for the Seminoles with just over 4 minutes left, hitting a 45-yard field goal for the 34-31 lead.

Harris hit on 21 of 34 attempts for two scores and two interceptions. Benjamin made four catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, Hankerson caught four passes for 72 yards, Johnson caught three passes for 48 yards and Epps hauled in two passes for 46 yards. Cooper returned five kickoffs for 177 yards.

Ponder was 24-for-41, with 295 yards, two touchdowns and a pick through the air. Jones carried 14 times for 58 yards. Goodman came up with five catches for 82 yards, Reed made five receptions for 63 yards and Fortson caught three passes for 53 yards. Reid returned three boots for 100 yards.

Florida State lost for the first time in 15 home openers under head coach Bobby Bowden … The Hurricanes lead the all-time series, 31-23 … The team that scores first has won 17 of the last 19 games in the series and 22 of the last 25 … Miami has won 11 of the last 14 games decided by four points or fewer in the series; Florida State had won three straight under those conditions … Miami (1-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is off until facing Georgia Tech Sept. 17, while the Seminoles (0-1, 0-1) host Jacksonville State Saturday night.


Video credit – ESPN

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kouzmanoff, Stauffer, Padres take series in L.A., 4-3


Kevin Kouzmanoff knocked in three runs and Tim Stauffer won his third straight start as the San Diego Padres beat the Dodgers 4-3 in Los Angeles Sunday night to win their three-game series.

Kouzmanoff put the Padres on top in the first inning against Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. David Eckstein reached with one out on an error on Los Angeles second baseman Orlando Hudson, and Kouzmanoff’s fielder’s choice scored Eckstein.

He then tripled San Diego’s lead in the third. Everth Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and Eckstein singled to right ahead of Kouzmanoff, who singled to center field to score Cabrera and Eckstein for a 3-0 edge.

The Dodgers got on the board in the fourth. Manny Ramirez led off the inning with a single to right-center, and Russell Martin singled him home with two outs.

San Diego got that run back quickly. With one out in the fifth inning, Adrian Gonzalez homered to left to extend the Padres lead back to 4-1.

Los Angeles found some offense in the seventh to make things interesting. Pinch hitter Mark Loretta reached on a one-out Cabrera error and Rafael Furcal singled before Andre Ethier doubled to left with two down to score two runs and cut the Dodger deficit to 4-3.

The Dodgers then got the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth in the form of Furcal, who walked with one out. However, San Diego closer Heath Bell induced flyouts from pinch hitter and recent acquisition Jim Thome and Ethier to strand Furcal and end the game.

Stauffer (4-6) picked up his third consecutive win, a career high, after working 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on seven hits, with a walk and three strikeouts. Bell earned his 35th save.

Gonzalez went 2-for-3 for the Padres.

Kuroda (5-6), pitching in the majors for the first time since suffering a mild concussion after taking a line drive off his head off the bat of Arizona’s Rusty Ryal Aug. 15, yielded four runs, three earned, on four hits, with three walks and three strikeouts over five innings.

NOTES: San Diego has won five of its last six games and nine of 12 … The Dodgers lost for just the fourth time in their last 15 games with the Padres at home … Stauffer had lost four straight starts prior to his current winning streak … Ramirez is in a 3-for-17 slump … The Dodgers (81-57) hold a 3.5-game lead over second-place Colorado atop the NL West. San Diego (61-77) is tied with Arizona for fourth in the division … The Padres travel to San Francisco for three games, with Clayton Richard scheduled to work Monday afternoon. The Dodgers go to face the Diamondbacks for a three-game set, with Vicente Padilla pitching the Labor Day matinee Monday.


Video credit – ESPN2

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 2 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Sept. 12 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (1-0)/Troy/Beat a pushover handily.

2. Texas (1-0)/at Wyoming/Beat a pushover handily.

3. Southern California (1-0)/at Ohio State/Beat a pushover handily.

4. Alabama (1-0)/Florida International/Beat a strong Virginia Tech team.

5. Oklahoma State (1-0)/Houston/Beat a strong Georgia team.

6. Oklahoma (0-1)/Idaho State/Lost, but to BYU, so it wasn’t too bad of a loss.

7. Mississippi (0-0)/at Memphis (Sept. 6)/Haven’t played yet, so retain preseason ranking.

8. Virginia Tech (0-1)/Marshall/Lost, but to Alabama, so it wasn’t a bad loss.

9. LSU (1-0)/Vanderbilt/Beat an inferior Washington team, but didn’t play particularly well most of the game.

10. California (1-0)/Eastern Washington/Beat Maryland handily.

11. Brigham Young (1-0)/at Tulane/Beat an excellent Oklahoma team.

12. Ohio State (1-0)/Southern California/Didn’t play well against a good but ultimately inferior Navy team.

13. Penn State (1-0)/Syracuse/Beat a pushover handily.

14. Boise State (1-0)/Miami (Ohio)/Beat a good Oregon team.

15. Texas Christian (0-0)/at Virginia/ Haven’t played yet, so retain preseason ranking.

16. Oregon (0-1)/Purdue/Lost to a good Boise State team, but didn’t play well at all.

17. Georgia (0-1)/South Carolina/Lost, but at Oklahoma State, so it wasn’t a bad loss.

18. Georgia Tech (1-0)/Clemson (Sept. 10)/Beat a pushover handily.

19. Utah (1-0)/at San Jose State/Beat a pushover handily.

20. North Carolina (1-0)/at Connecticut/Beat a pushover handily.

21. Florida State (0-0)/Miami (Fla.) (Sept. 7)/ Haven’t played yet, so retain preseason ranking.

22. Texas Tech (1-0)/Rice/Beat a pushover handily.

23. Notre Dame (1-0)/at Michigan/Beat a good but ultimately inferior Nevada team.

24. Nebraska (1-0)/Arkansas State/Beat a pushover handily.

25. Kansas (1-0)/at UTEP/Beat a pushover handily.

Dropped out/Why?

Iowa. By all rights, should have lost to FCS opponent Northern Iowa. Outplayed in pretty much every aspect of the game.

West Virginia. Struggled against FCS opponent Liberty. Didn’t really take control until late.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bryant, Cowboys knock off Georgia, 24-10


Dez Bryant caught two touchdown passes from Zac Robinson as the Oklahoma State Cowboys began the season with a 24-10 win over Georgia in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday afternoon.

Trailing 7-0, Oklahoma State (No. 8 ZSN/9 AP) took the lead for good by scoring 10 points in a span of just over two minutes late in the second quarter. Robinson hit Bryant for 19 yards before Bryant made a diving 46-yard touchdown reception. Dan Bailey’s extra point with just over 2:20 to play in the half tied the score.

On the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive, the Cowboys’ Lucien Antoine forced Georgia’s Carlton Thomas to fumble, and Terrance Anderson recovered for Oklahoma State. Bailey hit a 28-yard field goal with 4 seconds to play in the half to give his team a 10-7 lead.

The Cowboys extended their lead on their first possession of the third period. Perrish Cox returned the opening kickoff 74 yards, and Kendall Hunter picked up two first downs on the ground, the second one on fourth-and-2 by literally the nose of the football, before Robinson plunged across the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown. Bailey’s point-after made the score 17-7.

Georgia (No. 14/13) immediately cut the Cowboy lead to one score. Senior quarterback Joe Cox, making his second career start, hit Aron White for 12 yards on third-and-5. Richard Samuel picked up six yards and a first down, then caught a pass for 11 yards. Shaun Chapas made a reception for 10 yards before Blair Walsh drilled a 53-yard field goal, his career long.

Oklahoma State doubled its lead early in the fourth period, with some help from the Georgia offense and a questionable personal foul call against the Bulldogs. The Cowboys’ Shane Jarka stripped the ball from Cox, and Nigel Nicholas recovered to give Oklahoma State possession at the Georgia 32.

Then, on the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs’ Reshad Jones was flagged for unnecessary roughness after hitting Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon high, although replays appeared to show Jones neither led with his own helmet nor hit Blackmon in the head.

Nevertheless, the penalty gave the Cowboys 15 free yards, and Bryant caught a 12-yard touchdown pass on third-and-4. Bailey’s boot extended the Oklahoma State lead to 24-10.

Georgia’s last-ditch drive ended with just over as minute to play when the Cowboys’ Patrick Lavine intercepted Cox’s pass on the ricochet after the Bulldogs’ Tavarres King juggled it. Keith Toston then picked up two first downs to help the Cowboys run out the clock.

The Bulldogs opened the scoring on their first possession of the game. A.J. Green caught a pass for 29 yards to convert a third-and-4, Samuel ran for 19 yards and Oklahoma State was offsides on a third-and-2 to give Georgia another first down. Cox hit Michael Moore, despite double coverage, for a 4-yard touchdown on third-and-goal, and Walsh kicked the extra point.

Robinson completed 11 of 22 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant hauled in three passes for 77 yards and two scores. Hunter ran for 75 yards on 23 carries, and Toston picked up 55 yards on 11 carries.

Cox, playing with flu-like symptoms, hit 15 of 30 attempts for 162 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Samuel carried the ball 20 times for 87 yards. Green made four receptions for 52 yards, while Orson Charles caught two passes for 46 yards.

Both punters played well also. Georgia’s Drew Butler hit seven punts for an average of 57 yards a boot, with a long of 75 yards. Quinn Sharp kicked six times for the Cowboys for an average of 50 yards, with a 61-yarder.

NOTES: Georgia offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who missed all of last season with a left knee injury, left the game during the third period with an injury to the same knee and did not return … The Cowboys have their highest preseason ranking in school history … Oklahoma State has won 16 straight home nonconference games and 15 of 20 at home overall … Georgia lost its season opener for the first time under coach Mark Richt, falling to 8-1 in lidlifters during his tenure. The Bulldogs drop to 34-4 in nonconference games in the Richt era … The Bulldogs were playing their first season opener against a top-10 team since tying No. 9 Tennessee 17-17 in 1967 … This was the teams’ first meeting in Stillwater since Georgia beat then-Oklahoma A&M 20-7 in 1947 … Oklahoma State (1-0) returns to action against Houston Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs (0-1) kick off their SEC schedule with South Carolina Saturday night.


Video credit – ESPN on ABC

Wiley nets 50th career goal, hat trick; Asbury wins, 5-0


WILMORE, Ky. – Senior forward Miranda Wiley became the first player in Asbury history to score 50 career goals, then added two more as the Eagles rolled to a 5-0 win over Bryan for their first victory of the season Friday night.

After a scoreless first half, Wiley’s historic goal came in the 48th minute, sending the ball into the top right corner of the net.

She added the Eagles’ third and fourth goals in a span of two minutes, knocking a shot past the diving Lions goalkeeper in the 63rd minute and scoring again in the 64th before being removed from the game to appreciative applause from the stands.

Freshman Rebecca Batey scored Asbury’s second goal in the 58th minute, curling her shot across the field and inside the right post. Freshman Kara Selle’s header off a Jessica Batey corner with 73 minutes elapsed set the final margin at 5-0.

Freshman goaltender Melanie Dickson started and faced only two shots, turning away a Bryan penalty kick in the 18th minute and knocking away a Lions corner in the 52nd minute. Junior Allison Smith finished the game in the net for the Eagles.

Asbury (1-3) hosts Bluefield College Saturday afternoon, while Bryan (1-1) faces Campbellsville in Wilmore just prior to that game.


Reprinted with permission from the Asbury Collegian.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gamecocks open season with 7-3 win over NC State


The South Carolina Gamecocks put together a dominating defensive effort to make a first-quarter Brian Maddox touchdown run stand up in a 7-3 win over North Carolina State in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday night.

The Wolfpack defense also put up a valiant effort, yielding only the one touchdown despite six South Carolina trips into NC State territory. But first-team all-ACC quarterback Russell Wilson mustered only 74 passing yards and no Wolfpack back ran for over 36 yards.

After South Carolina’s Devin Taylor forced Toney Baker to fumble and Darian Stewart recovered the ball at the Wolfpack 14-yard line, Maddox gave the Gamecock defense all the points it would need, picking up a first down on second-and-3 to the NC State 3 before punching in a 1-yard touchdown run. Spencer Lanning hit the extra point for a 7-0 lead with just over 9 minutes to go in the first quarter.

No more points were scored until the third quarter. Wolfpack defensive end Michael Lemon made a fantastic leaping interception of a Stephen Garcia throw to gain possession. After a pass interference penalty gave NC State a free first down, Wilson hit Owen Spencer for 15 yards and a first down to set up a 43-yard Josh Czajkowski field goal to cut the Wolfpack deficit to 7-3 with about a minute left to play in the third period.

NC State had one more good chance to score in the fourth quarter, after Rashard Smith returned a Gamecock punt 31 yards to the South Carolina 49. After another Gamecock pass interference penalty resulted in a first down, though, Wilson threw incomplete twice, was sacked on third down and threw incomplete for Jay Smith once more on fourth-and-11 for a turnover on downs with about 3 minutes to go.

South Carolina then managed to run out the clock, converting a third-and-4 when Garcia hit Moe Brown for 33 yards up the sideline for the biggest play of the drive.

Garcia was 13-for-22 for 148 yards, with an interception. Maddox amassed 66 rushing yards on 23 carries, with a score. Brown caught three passes for 54 yards, and Weslye Saunders made four receptions for 50 yards.

Wilson hit on 12 of 23 attempts through the air for NC State.

The Gamecocks have won 10 straight season openers and 13 of 14 … South Carolina took a 27-26-4 lead in the all-time series with the Wolfpack … Wilson set an ACC record with 272 straight passes without being intercepted, surpassing former Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford’s record of 270 in 2007 … South Carolina (1-0) opens its SEC schedule with a tilt at Georgia Sept. 12. The Wolfpack (0-1) host Murray State Sept. 12.


Video credit – ESPN