Sunday, November 29, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 14 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Dec. 5 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (12-0)/Alabama (SEC championship game, Atlanta)/Gators appear to be hitting on all cylinders heading into showdown with Alabama after dominating Florida State.

2. Texas (12-0)/Nebraska (Big 12 championship game, Arlington, Texas)/Just able to hold off a game Texas A&M team to finish regular season undefeated.

3. Alabama (12-0)/Florida (SEC championship game, Atlanta)/Came back late to beat rival Auburn and stay perfect. Up next: grudge match with Gators with a shot at the national title on the line.

4. Texas Christian (12-0)/Regular season over/Appear to be set for BCS appearance after drilling New Mexico in regular season finale.

5. Cincinnati (11-0)/at Pittsburgh/Downed Illinois prior to de facto Big East title game against Pitt.

6. Boise State (12-0)/New Mexico State/Broncos took Nevada’s best punch and held on. Now just the woeful Aggies stand between Boise and another undefeated regular season; the question is, will that be good enough for a BCS bid?

7. Ohio State (10-2)/Regular season over/Buckeyes dominated rival Michigan … again, in regular season finale. Full steam ahead to Rose Bowl.

8. Oregon (9-2)/Oregon State (Dec. 3)/Off this past week. Huge Civil War meeting this week.

9. Georgia Tech (10-2)/Clemson (ACC championship game, Tampa, Fla.)/Came up short against Georgia.

10. Iowa (10-2)/Regular season over/Dominant defensive effort to take down Minnesota in regular season finale.

11. Penn State (10-2)/Regular season over/Beat down Michigan State in regular season finale.

12. Pittsburgh (9-2)/Cincinnati/Fell on the road to a revenge-minded West Virginia team. Still has a shot at conference title and BCS bid, though.

13. Virginia Tech (9-3)/Regular season over/Hokies take apart Virginia to end regular season.

14. Miami (Fla.) (9-3)/Regular season over/Hurricanes took care of business against USF.

15. LSU (9-3)/Regular season over/Tigers knock off rival Arkansas in overtime on missed field goal in regular season finale.

16. Oregon State (8-3)/at Oregon (Dec. 3)/Off this past week. Travels to hated Oregon for a shot at the BCS.

17. Southern California (8-3)/Arizona/Trojans hang on for defeat of rival UCLA that was closer than the final score might indicate.

18. Houston (10-2)/at East Carolina (Conference USA championship game)/Cougars absolutely crushed crosstown rival Rice to conclude regular season.

19. Brigham Young (10-2)/Regular season over/Defeated Utah to cap a 10-win regular season.

20. Stanford (8-4)/Regular season over/Cardinal come back to down Notre Dame.

21. Oklahoma State (9-3)/Regular season over/Blew a shot at BCS berth with ugly loss at rival Oklahoma.

22. Wisconsin (8-3)/at Hawai’i/Off this past week.

23. California (8-3)/at Washington/Off this past week.

24. Clemson (8-4)/Georgia Tech (ACC championship game, Tampa, Fla.)/Tigers dominated by rival South Carolina in regular season finale.

25. Utah (9-3)/Regular season over/Utes fall in overtime at rival BYU’s place.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tide down Auburn 26-21, set up showdown with Gators


Perhaps the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide were looking ahead to next week’s battle with Florida, which also sports a perfect record. Or maybe their bitter rival Auburn was just straight-up better most of the game.

Either way, the Tide found themselves behind the Tigers 14-0 early and 21-20 with 8 minutes left in the final period.

Enter Greg McElroy and Julio Jones.

McElroy led Alabama on a 15-play, seven-minute fourth-quarter drive, hitting Jones for four first-down conversions before finding Roy Upchurch for a touchdown with 1:24 to play as the Crimson Tide defeated Auburn 26-21 in Auburn, Ala., Friday afternoon.

Now Alabama (No. 3 ZSN/2 AP) can drop all pretenses and finally focus on the rematch it has been waiting for all season – a meeting with Florida (No. 1/1) in the SEC title game that will likely determine which heavyweight goes to the national championship game.

But not before the Crimson Tide had all sorts of trouble with Auburn, which drew first blood on its first possession after an Alabama punt. Onterio McCalebb took a pitch ran for five yards on third-and-3 before Terrell Zachery ran 67 yards on an end-around to the end zone. Wes Byrum hit the extra point for a 7-0 edge.

Byrum then recovered his own onside kick to give the Tigers possession again. Quarterback Chris Todd took a lateral from Kodi Burns and hit Darvin Adams for 22 yards. Todd ran for 13 yards and a third-down unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Alabama’s Justin Woodall gave Auburn a first down to set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to Eric Smith on third-and-goal in the flat. Byrum extended the Auburn lead to 14-0.

After an exchange of punts, Alabama got on the board to open the second quarter. McElroy found Darius Hanks for 15 yards and Mark Ingram ran for three yards on third-and-2. Trent Richardson caught a pass for 13 yards before running for a 2-yard touchdown. Leigh Tiffin hit the extra point.

Given a short field, the Crimson Tide then scored the last points of the quarter to tie the game at halftime. After beginning at the Auburn 45, Upchurch caught a pass for 11 and McElroy hit Colin Peek for a 33-yard touchdown on third-and-9. Tiffin tied the game at 14.

Auburn’s quick-strike offense burned the Alabama defense again for the first score of the second half. Todd hooked up with a wide-open Adams on the second play of the Tigers’ second drive for a 72-yard touchdown down the sideline. Byrum’s boot gave Auburn a 21-14 advantage.

Alabama answered with a pair of third-quarter field goal to draw to within one. Javier Arenas returned a Tiger punt 56 yards up the sideline and Auburn was flagged for a face mask penalty to set up Tiffin’s 27-yard field goal.

The Tide’s Mark Barron then intercepted Todd at the Auburn 43 and Jones hauled in a pass for 18 before Tiffin was true from 31 yards out to cut the Alabama deficit to 21-20.

That remained the score until McElroy and Alabama took over with 8 minutes left and put together a drive nothing short of epic. McElroy found Jones for nine yards to convert a third-and-3 and six yards on third-and-5. Jones pulled in passes for 11 and seven yards for first downs before Richardson broke loose on a screen for 16 yards.

Faced with a third-and-3, McElroy then hit Upchurch on play-action out of the backfield for a 4-yard touchdown with 1:24 left. McElroy’s pass on the 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted by Auburn defensive lineman Jake Ricks, but Alabama had taken its first lead.

Given one last shot, the Tigers converted a couple of first downs, but Todd’s throw from the Alabama 37 as time expired was batted away to preserve the Crimson Tide’s perfect season.

McElroy completed 21 of 31 through the air for 218 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Jones amassed 83 yards on nine catches, Peek caught three passes for 53 yards and a score and Richardson ran 15 times for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Todd hit 15 of 25 attempts for 181 yards, two scores and a pick. Adams racked up 138 yards receiving on four catches, with one touchdown. Zachery ran for 68 yards on two end-around plays, with a score, and Ben Tate hit the line 18 times for 46 yards. Demond Washington returned four kickoffs for 99 yards.

NOTES: Alabama has won two straight in the series after Auburn took six consecutive meetings … Ingram, the SEC’s leading rusher, spent much of Alabama’s final drive on the sideline with an apparent injury … Friday’s game was the first time in the past 11 years that the winning team in the series was outrushed … Auburn has outscored Alabama 97-17 in the first quarter of the teams’ last 13 games. The Crimson Tide have not scored a first-quarter touchdown against the Tigers since 1996 … Todd set the Auburn school record for touchdown passes in a season with 21. He passed Jason Campbell’s 2004 season and Pat Sullivan’s 1971 effort; Campbell and Sullivan each threw for 20 … Eighteen of the teams’ last 22 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less … Alabama beat Auburn on the road for just the third time in 10 games and the first time since 2001 … The Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 SEC) face the Gators in the SEC title game in Atlanta Dec. 5. Auburn (7-5, 3-5) is off until its bowl game.


Video credit – CBS

Longhorns stay perfect with shootout win over A&M


Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, a Heisman Trophy hopeful, put up an outstanding individual performance in front of a national audience on Thanksgiving night.

It just so happens his night also helped the undefeated Longhorns stay on track toward the national title game.

McCoy threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a career-high 175 yards as the Longhorns remained undefeated with a 49-39 win over rival Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, Thursday night.

With the victory, Texas (No. 2 ZSN/3 AP) finished its regular season 12-0 and now almost certainly just needs a victory over Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game next weekend to sew up a berth in the national title game.

But this game marked a stark contrast from last season, when the Longhorns walked all over the Aggies, 49-9. The win was not secure until Texas A&M kicker Randy Bullock missed a 23-yard field goal from the right hash mark just wide right with just over 3 minutes left.

The Aggies fired the opening salvo on the game’s first possession. Quarterback Jerrod Johnson hit Jeff Fuller for a beautiful 70-yard touchdown down the sideline to convert a third-and-9 on the third play from scrimmage. Bullock’s extra point gave A&M a 7-0 edge.

Texas evened the score on its second possession. Tre’ Newton ran for a gain of 12 yards, McCoy picked up a first down on fourth-and-1 and Dan Buckner caught a pass for 12 on third-and-5 before McCoy found Shipley for a 14-yard touchdown. Hunter Lawrence hit the point-after to tie the game.

After an Aggie punt pinned them at their own 9-yard line, the Longhorns took their first lead. McCoy ran for a 10-yard gain before reeling off a 65-yard touchdown dash up the middle on the second play of the second quarter.

Texas A&M came back with a 92-yard drive of its own. Johnson ran for 14 yards, Christine Michael evaded a tackle behind the line and gained three yards on third-and-1 and Ryan Tannehill caught a pass for 36. Johnson then hooked up with Fuller for a 14-yard score, and Bullock tied the game at 14.

The Longhorns responded immediately to regain the lead. Malcolm Williams caught a pass for 45 yards down the sideline, James Kirkendoll made a reception for 12 and Newton took off for 21 yards. McCoy then found Shipley down the middle for a 14-yard touchdown.

The Aggies benefited from some good luck on special teams to tie the game right back up. A short A&M punt hit a Longhorn player in the leg, and the Aggies recovered at the Texas 36 yard-line. Cyrus Gray caught a pass for 15 in the flat on third-and-8 to set up Howard Morrow’s 14-yard touchdown catch in double coverage over the middle.

Texas managed to score once more to take the lead into halftime. Shipley caught a pass for 22 yards on the sideline and then made a sliding catch for 16 before Kirkendoll’s 5-yard touchdown reception with 4 seconds to play in the half. Lawrence gave the Longhorns a 28-21 advantage at the break.

The Aggies appeared to catch a break to begin the third period when their defense stuffed McCoy on another fourth-and-1 conversion attempt. But Michael fumbled away the handoff two plays later, and the Longhorns’ Sergio Kindle recovered the ball at the Texas 42 to put McCoy and company back in business.

Newton reeled off runs of 20 yards and six on third-and-1 before powering through a few Aggie tackles on a 7-yard touchdown run to open up a double-digit advantage for Texas.

Texas’ Earl Thomas intercepted Johnson in the end zone on the ensuing possession, but the Longhorns could do nothing with it and punted. The Aggies then scored their first points of the second half. Johnson ran for 38 yards up the middle to set up a 31-yard Bullock field goal to cut the A&M deficit to 35-24.

The Aggies then forced a punt and scored again to open the final quarter. Beginning his drive at the Texas 49, Johnson found Uzoma Nwachukwu for 12 yards and Michael ran for 11. Michael then spun his way to a 16-yard touchdown, and Johnson hooked up with Tannehill on the 2-point conversion attempt to cut the Aggie deficit to three at 35-32.

Texas retook a double-digit lead on its next possession McCoy broke free for a 43-yard run before Williams’ block in the back shortened that gain considerably. Undeterred, McCoy found Kirkendoll, who broke a tackle on third-and-12 and ran for a 47-yard score. Lawrence’s kick gave Texas back a 42-32 edge.

Texas A&M methodically answered with a score. Johnson ran for 11 yards and hooked up with Terrence McCoy for 17 yards into double coverage on third-and-15. Morrow just dragged a toe in-bounds on a 10-yard reception and Ryan Swope caught a pass for 27 yards before losing 15 yards for grabbing a defender’s face mark on a stiff-arm.

No matter. Johnson hit a leaping Fuller for a 20-yard touchdown, and Bullock cut the Texas lead to 42-39.

Texas wasted no time responding. Marquise Goodwin returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to the end zone, and Lawrence made the score 49-39, Longhorns.

However, Texas A&M could muster only the missed field goal from there, and Texas was able to run out the clock to complete an undefeated regular season.

McCoy hit 24 of 40 passes for four scores, against zero interceptions. He also ran for 175 yards on 18 carries, with one touchdown. Newton reeled off 107 yards and a touchdown on 16 carried. Williams caught nine passes for 132 yards, Shipley made eight receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns and Kirkendoll hauled in four tosses for 63 yards and two scores.

Johnson went 26-for-33 for 342 yards, four touchdowns and one pick and ran 14 times for 97 yards. Fuller caught six passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns, Tannehill caught four passes for 54 yards and Nwachukwu made four receptions for 42 yards. Michael ran for 83 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

NOTES: McCoy won the 44th game of his Texas career, extending his NCAA wins record … The Longhorns won for the 10th time in 14 tries against Texas A&M since the formation of the Big 12. Texas was victorious at A&M for just the fifth time in its last 13 games there … Texas leads the all-time series, 75-36-5 … This game featured the most points in series history … The game marked 10 years since a bonfire collapsed Nov. 18, 1999 before a Longhorns-Aggies matchup, killing 12 Texas A&M students and former students and injuring 27 … The Aggies have lost 13 straight games against top-10 AP teams, dating back to a 2002 win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma … Texas A&M has lost three of four overall … The Longhorns (8-0 Big 12) face the Cornhuskers in Arlington, Texas, in the conference final Dec. 5. The Aggies (6-6, 3-5) are off until bowl season.


Video credit – ESPN

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 13 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next regular-season game (Nov. 28 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (11-0)/Florida State/Beat a pushover handily.

2. Texas (11-0)/at Texas A&M (Nov. 26)/Drilled Kansas to clinch division.

3. Alabama (11-0)/at Auburn (Nov. 27)/Beat a pushover handily.

4. Texas Christian (11-0)/New Mexico/Dominated Wyoming to remain perfect.

5. Cincinnati (10-0)/Illinois (Nov. 27)/Off this past week.

6. Boise State (11-0)/Nevada (Nov. 27)/Beat a (conference) pushover handily.

7. Georgia Tech (10-1)/Georgia/Off this past week.

8. Ohio State (10-2)/Regular season over/Buckeyes dominate rival Michigan … again. Up next – Rose Bowl.

9. Oregon (9-2)/Oregon State (Dec. 3)/Knocked off Arizona in two overtimes to stay on top in Rose Bowl chase.

10. Pittsburgh (9-1)/at West Virginia (Nov. 27)/Off this past week.

11. Iowa (10-2)/Regular season over/Dominant defensive effort to take down Minnesota.

12. Penn State (10-2)/Regular season over/Beat down Michigan State. Waiting game for bowl season.

13. Virginia Tech (8-3)/at Virginia/Hokies take care of business against NC State.

14. Southern California (7-3)/UCLA/Off this past week.

15. Miami (Fla.) (8-3)/at South Florida/Came back to down Duke.

16. Oklahoma State (9-2)/at Oklahoma/Needed late comeback from third-string QB Brandon Weeden to knock off Colorado.

17. LSU (8-3)/Arkansas/Tigers undone by their own late mistakes and couldn’t quite pull off comeback at Ole Miss.

18. Oregon State (8-3)/at Oregon (Dec. 3)/Beavers still have a shot at Rose Bowl after disposing of Washington State.

19. Clemson (8-3)/at South Carolina/Tigers headed to ACC title game after beating Virginia.

20. Utah (9-2)/at BYU/Utes pull away early to down San Diego State.

21. Wisconsin (8-3)/at Hawai’i (Dec. 5)/Badgers fall at Northwestern.

22. Houston (9-2)/Rice/Cougars had no trouble with Memphis.

23. Brigham Young (9-2)/Utah/Took care of Air Force.

24. Stanford (7-4)/Notre Dame/Cardinal fell to bitter rival Cal.

25. California (8-3)/at Washington (Dec. 5)/Back in rankings after taking care of Stanford.

Dropped out/Why?

Arizona. Dropped a tough one at home to Oregon.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Northwestern holds on to knock off Wisconsin, 33-31


Northwestern’s Mike Kafka threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns and the Wildcat defense held Wisconsin’s rushing attack to less than half its usual league-leading output as Northwestern beat the Badgers 33-31 in Evanston, Ill., Saturday evening.

The Wildcats scored the game’s first points on their first possession. Scott Concannon ran for three yards on third-and-1 and Kafka hit Zeke Markshausen for 21 yards on third-and-10 before Kafka found Andrew Brewer for a 26-yard touchdown. Stefan Demos kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Four possessions later, Brewer caught a pass for 34 yards to set up a 45-yard Demos field goal to open up a double-digit lead, 10-0.

Wisconsin (No. 17 ZSN/17 AP) scored its first points the next time it had the ball. Scott Tolzien hit Garrett Graham for gains of 20 and 18 yards before John Clay ran for a 2-yard touchdown. Philip Welch’s point-after cut his team’s deficit to 10-7.

The Badgers then capitalized on a Wildcats turnover to take the lead. Jaevery McFadden recovered Concannon’s fumble at the Northwestern 37. Clay then converted a fourth-and-1 one play before a 27-yard Tolzien touchdown pass to Graham. Welch’s extra point made it 14-10, Wisconsin.

Northwestern got a jump-start on special teams to respond. Stephen Simmons returned the kickoff 64 yards, Markshausen caught a pass for eight on third-and-6 and Brewer hauled in a 12-yard touchdown.

After forcing a Badger punt, Kafka hit Jeremy Ebert for 28 yards before Markshausen threw a 38-yard touchdown to Sidney Stewart, capping a three-play, 80-yard drive.

Northwestern scored once more before halftime. Drake Dunsmore caught a pass for 26 yards to set up a 38-yard Demos field goal for a 27-14 lead at the break.

The Badgers opened the third quarter with points. Nick Toon caught a pass for 25 yards and made a reception for 15 on third-and-11 before Welch hit a 25-yard field goal.

Wisconsin then made a big play of its won on special teams. David Gilreath returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown, and Welch’s extra point cut the Badger deficit to 27-24.

The Wildcats got those points back on the ensuing possession. Brewer caught a pass for eight on third-and-6 before Demos’ 45-yard boot.

The Badgers turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, and Northwestern scored once more to open the fourth period. Stewart made a reception for 49 yards to set up a 34-yard Demos kick for a 33-24 Wildcats lead.

Wisconsin came right back with a touchdown. Gilreath hauled in a pass for nine yards on third-and-2 before Tolzien’s 13-yard touchdown toss to Graham. Welch cut the Badger deficit to 33-31.

The Badgers had a couple of late chances at points, but turned it over twice. Northwestern’s Brian Peters fell on a Clay fumble, and Jordan Mabin intercepted Tolzien to end the game.

Kafka threw for 325 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, going 26-for-41 overall. Brewer made six catches for 102 yards and two scores, Stewart hauled in four tosses for 94 yards and a score, Dunsmore made three receptions for 45 yards and Ebert caught four passes for 43 yards. Simmons returned four kickoffs 155 yards.

Tolzien hit 19 of 30 passes for 235 yards, two scores and a pick. Clay ran 23 times for 102 yards and a score. Graham made six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, while Toon hauled in seven passes for 80 yards. Gilreath returned two punts 70 yards.

NOTES: Northwestern has won six of eight … The home team has won the last nine meetings in this series … Wisconsin had run for over 200 yards in three straight games and averaged 208 yards per contest coming in; they were held to 100 today … The Badgers defense held Northwestern to 73 rushing yards. Wisconsin did not allow a conference opponent to rush for 100 yards this season. The last Big Ten team to go an entire season without yielding 100 yards to a conference opponent was the 1998 Ohio State defense ... Northwestern (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) is off until its bowl game. Wisconsin (8-3, 5-3) travels to Hawai’i for its regular-season finale Dec. 5.


Video credit – Big Ten Network

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holloway leads Rebels to 89-71 win over Indiana


Mississippi’s Murphy Holloway scored 26 points as the Rebels beat Indiana 89-71 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday evening.

However, first Ole Miss had to withstand an early Hoosier run. Trailing 11-9, Indiana went on an 11-0 spurt. Jeremiah Rivers scored six points during the run, while Verdell Jones III and Maurice Creek scored two points and Christian Watford hit a free throw for a 20-11 lead.

From there, though, the Rebels put together a 30-5 run to take control for good. Trevor Gaskins scored eight points, with a 3-pointer and an old-fashioned 3-point play, during the run. Terrico White and Eniel Polynice scored four points apiece, Reginald Buckner netted three points with a dunk, Chris Warren hit a 3, DeAundre Cranston made a 3-point play and Holloway poured in three points. Zach Graham netted two more for a 41-25 Rebel lead.

Warren scored 16 points for Ole Miss. Polynice and Graham each scored 10, while Holloway and Buckner each snagged nine rebounds.

Creek led the Hoosiers with 18 points. Jones netted 17 and Rivers poured in 14.

The Rebels (3-0) move on to face the winner of Thursday night’s Boston University-Kansas State game Friday evening. Indiana (2-1) will take on the Terriers-Wildcats loser.

NOTES: Indiana shot just 12-for-25 from the free-throw line … Ole Miss out-rebounded Indiana, 43-32 … This was the teams’ first meeting … Ole Miss improved to 2-7 all-time against current members of the Big Ten … The Rebels are 41-10 against nonconference opponents under coach Andy Kennedy.


Video credit – ESPN2

Monday, November 16, 2009

Manning-to-Wayne completes Colt comeback over Pats


Trailing by 13 points with just over 4 minutes left, it looked like the Indianapolis Colts’ perfect start was about to end.

After all, no team led by New England coach Bill Belichick had ever lost a game it led by that margin or more in the fourth quarter.

However, the Colts scored two touchdowns in that time span, including a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne with 13 seconds left, to beat the Patriots 35-34 in Indianapolis Sunday night.

New England’s Jonathan Wilhite intercepted Manning on the Indianapolis 31, and the Patriots turned that into a 36-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to build their lead to 34-21 took a 13-point lead at 34-21 with 4:12 to play.

Manning then went to work, hitting Joseph Addai and Austin Collie for gains of 12 and 17 yards, respectively. The Patriots’ Darius Butler was penalized for pass interference, a 31-yard penalty, before Addai ran for a 4-yard score on third-and-1. Matt Stover booted the extra point to cut the Colts’ deficit to 34-28.

Belichick then made a decision that uncharacteristically backfired. On fourth-and-2 from New England’s own 28 with just over 2 minutes left, the Patriots went for it, but Tom Brady’s completion to Kevin Faulk only went for one yard, giving Manning and Co. a short field.

Manning hit Wayne for 15 yards and Addai ran for 13 before Wayne caught the game-tying 1-yard score with 13 seconds left. Stover then tacked on the point-after for a 35-34 lead.

New England got one final shot. Brady hit Wes Welker, but Welker’s lateral dribbled along the ground until Benjamin Watson fell on it and was tackled by Jamie Silva to end the game.

Indianapolis drew first blood seven minutes in on Addai’s 15-yard touchdown catch.

The Patriots tied the game on their next possession. Bray ran for three yards on third-and-1 before Laurence Maroney ran for a 1-yard score. Gostkowski’s extra point was the equalizer.

New England opened the second period by taking its first lead. Randy Moss caught a pass for 20 yards on third-and-9 to set up a 31-yard Gostkowski field goal.

Two possessions later, Brady found Moss for a 63-yard touchdown and a 10-point lead.

The Patriots added to the lead on their next possession. Watson caught a pass for 36 yards before Julian Edelman’s 9-yard scoring reception. Gostkowski made it 24-7, New England.

Indianapolis came back for the last points of the half. Wayne caught a pass for seven yards on third-and-5, New England’s Leigh Bodden was flagged for pass interference and Wayne hauled in a 20-yard touchdown. Stover cut the Patriot lead to 24-14.

New England opened the fourth period with another score. Welker returned a punt 69 yards to set up a 5-yard Brady touchdown toss to Moss. Gostkowski stretched the Patriots’ edge back to 31-14.

Indianapolis’ Manning then hit Pierre Garcon for a 29-yard touchdown with just over 12 minutes left, and Stover’s kick cut the Colts’ deficit back to 31-21.

Manning completed 28 of 44 passes for 327 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He led his 40th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most in the league since 1998. It was the third time he victimized the Patriots in that manner.

Wayne made 10 receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Clark caught six passes for 65 yards, Garcon made three receptions for 50 yards and a score and Collie caught six passes for 45 yards. Addai ran for 41 yards on 10 carries.

Brady hit 29 of 42 throws for 375 yards, three scores and one pick. Moss made nine receptions for 179 yards and two scores, Welker caught nine passes for 94 yards, and Faulk ran for 79 yards on 12 carries.

Indianapolis (9-0) and New Orleans both won Sunday to remain the only undefeated teams in the NFL … Indianapolis leads the AFC South, with Jacksonville and Houston tied in second at 5-4. New England (6-3) is atop the East, with Miami and the New York Jets behind them at 4-5 apiece … The Colts head to Baltimore Sunday afternoon, while the Patriots host the Jets on the same date.


Video credit – NBC

Sunday, November 15, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 12 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Nov. 21 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (10-0)/Florida International/Workmanlike victory at South Carolina.

2. Texas (10-0)/Kansas/Won handily at Baylor.

3. Alabama (10-0)/UT-Chattanooga/Good win at Mississippi State.

4. Texas Christian (10-0)/at Wyoming/Beat up on Utah in huge game on road to BCS.

5. Cincinnati (10-0)/Illinois (Nov. 27)/Didn’t play spectacularly, but good enough to knock off West Virginia for best start in school history.

6. Boise State (10-0)/at Utah State (Nov. 20)/Dominant in victory over in-state rival Idaho.

7. Georgia Tech (10-1)/Georgia (Nov. 28)/Drilled Duke to clinch ACC title game berth.

8. Ohio State (9-2)/at Michigan/Clinches Big Ten’s BCS berth after defeating Iowa in overtime.

9. Oregon (8-2)/at Arizona/Opened a can on Arizona State to stay in the hunt for Pac-10 title.

10. LSU (8-2)/at Ole Miss/Uninspiring win over Louisiana Tech.

11. Pittsburgh (9-1)/at West Virginia (Nov. 27)/Hung on to beat Notre Dame at home.

12. Iowa (9-2)/Minnesota/Went from being in the national title hunt to almost completely out of the BCS picture altogether with second straight loss, this one at Ohio State.

13. Penn State (9-2)/at Michigan State/Didn’t really play well, but good enough to beat Indiana.

14. Virginia Tech (7-3)/NC State/Pretty easy victory over Maryland.

15. Southern California (7-3)/UCLA (Nov. 28)/Couldn’t have possibly played much worse in home loss to Stanford.

16. Miami (Fla.) (7-3)/Duke/Sloppy loss at North Carolina.

17. Wisconsin (8-2)/at Northwestern/Had little trouble with Michigan, which is looking increasingly worse every week.

18. Oklahoma State (8-2)/Colorado (Nov. 19)/Just held off Texas Tech.

19. Oregon State (7-3)/at Washington State/Drilled Washington to stay in Rose Bowl hunt.

20. Stanford (7-3)/California/Cardinal put together complete effort in domination of USC.

21. Clemson (7-3)/Virginia/Tigers enter rankings after beating up on Wolfpack.

22. Utah (8-2)/San Diego State/Thoroughly dominated at TCU.

23. Arizona (6-3)/Oregon/Fell to Cal; huge meeting with Ducks looms next week.

24. Houston (8-2)/Memphis/Cougars fell behind big at Central Florida and weren’t able to come all the way back.

25. Brigham Young (8-2)/Air Force/Cougars pull out ugly five-point victory over winless New Mexico.

Dropped out/Why?

South Florida. Completely embarrassed in shutout loss on national television at Rutgers.

Texas Tech. Came up just short at Oklahoma State.

West Virginia. Tough loss at Cincinnati.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moore, Pettis, Broncos down Idaho 63-25, stay perfect


Looking for a big win to boost their national profile, the Boise State Broncos beat up on a familiar foe.

Kellen Moore threw for five touchdowns, four to Austin Pettis, and the Boise State defense forced seven turnovers as the Broncos beat rival Idaho 63-25 in Boise, Idaho, Saturday afternoon.

The Broncos (No. 6 ZSN/6 AP) (10-0, 5-0 WAC) beat the Vandals for the 11th straight time and remained undefeated to stay alive in the hunt for a Bowl Championship Series bid.

Boise State capitalized on an Idaho turnover on its first possession to take control immediately. George Iloka stripped the ball from Vandals quarterback Brian Reader, and Aaron Tevis recovered for the Broncos on the Idaho 15-yard line.

Moore dived for a gain of two yards on third-and-1 and hit Pettis for a 4-yard touchdown toss. Pettis then found Kyle Efaw for the two-point conversion.

Derrell Acrey intercepted Reader on the next Idaho possession at the Vandal 31 to set up another Broncos score. Titus Young caught a 25-yard touchdown pass, and though another two-point conversion attempt failed, Boise State led, 14-0.

Idaho scored its first points from there to cut its deficit in half. DeMaundray Woolridge broke free on fourth-and-1 for a 29-yard touchdown run. Trey Farguhar hit the extra point.

The Broncos wasted no time finding the end zone again. Moore hit Pettis for an 8-yard score, and Kyle Brotzman booted an extra point for a 21-7 edge.

The Vandals responded with more points to open the second period. Reader found Daniel Hardy for 20 yards on third-and-9 and Princeton McCarty caught a pass for 12 on third-and-5 to set up a 30-yard Farguhar field goal.

Moore found Pettis for a juggling 12-yard completion on third-and-6 and a diving catch for 20. Young then pulled in a pass for 25 before Jeremy Avery ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Brotzman’s kick made it 28-10.

After a Vandal punt, the Broncos added to their lead again. Avery ran for gains of 36 and 12 yards before Moore and Pettis hooked up once more for a 20-yard touchdown.

Late in the first half, Idaho got some help from Bronco penalties and began to build some momentum after forcing a Boise State punt. Hardy caught a pass and ran for 59 yards on third-and-10. Then, Boise’s Jeron Johnson threw Idaho’s Max Komar down out of bounds for a personal foul on the heels of a 10-yard gain.

Acrey then broke up Reader’s pass on third-and-goal, but he was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit, giving the Vandals new life. Woolridge ran for a 1-yard touchdown on third-and-goal, and the extra point cut the Idaho deficit to 35-17.

As quickly as Idaho appeared to build some momentum, the Broncos ripped it right back with a big play on special teams. Young fielded the ensuing kickoff eight yards deep in his own end zone and returned it all the way back for a 100-yard touchdown. Brotzman gave Boise State a 42-17 halftime advantage.

The Broncos’ defense scored the first points of the third period. Cornerback Kyle Wilson intercepted Reader’s throw and took it 71 yards to the house.

Boise’s Brandyn Thompson made a diving interception on the net possession, and the offense turned that into points. Pettis made a juggling catch for 35 yards before running back Matt Kaiserman threw a touchdown pass to Efaw.

Three possessions later, Pettis partially blocked an Idaho punt before the Bronco offense continued its dominance, putting its final points on the board. Young caught a pass for 21 yards before Moore and Pettis hooked up one last time on a 14-yard touchdown. Brotzman’s point-after made it 63-17.

The Vandals scored the last points of the night. Reader hit McCarty for a 52-yard touchdown, and Deonte’ Jackson ran for the conversion out of the Wildcat.

Moore completed 22 of 32 passes for 299 yards, tying his career high with five scores against no interceptions. Pettis hauled in eight passes for 123 yards, Young caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown and Shoemaker made four receptions for 48 yards. Avery ran for 110 yards on 14 carries, with a score.

Reader, making his first career start, hit 17 of 27 throws for 305 yards, with one touchdown and five interceptions. Woolridge ran for 145 yards on 25 carries, with two touchdowns. Hardy caught four passes for 119 yards, McCarty made three receptions for 72 yards and a score and Komar snagged three tosses for 52 yards.

NOTES: Pettis caught his 14th touchdown of the season, a single-season school record … The Broncos last lost to Idaho in 1998, a 36-35 overtime decision … Idaho has lost three of four games after winning five straight … Vandals quarterback Nathan Enderle missed his second straight game with an injured rotator cuff … Boise State has won 54 straight regular-season home contests and 22 straight regular-season games overall … The Broncos have scored at least 40 points in six straight tilts with the Vandals … Boise has scored at least 45 points in all five conference games … Boise State returns to action at Utah State Friday night. Idaho (7-4, 4-3 WAC) is off next week and hosts the Aggies Nov. 28.


Video credit – ESPNU

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ginyard, Tar Heels blow away N.C. Central, 89-42


The North Carolina Central Eagles walked onto defending national champion North Carolina’s floor in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday night and made it a game for about eight minutes.

After that, the Tar Heels (No. 6 AP) had no trouble.

Senior Clarence Ginyard tied his career high with 17 points and two other Heels reached double figures as North Carolina beat up the Eagles 89-42 in the 2K Sports Classic.

North Carolina Central juniors C.J. Wilkerson and Vincent Davis hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close to within 19-17 in the first half. But from there, the Tar Heels went on a 32-3 run to close the first half. Ginyard led the way with eight points, including two transition dunks, during the run. Freshman Dexter Strickland netted seven points, including a 3-point play, sophomore Tyler Zeller scored six points with two dunks and senior Deon Thompson scored five points with an and-1. Freshmen John Henson, David Wear and Leslie McDonald each chipped in two points during the run. North Carolina led 51-20 at halftime.

The second half was just more of the same. Carolina started the second half with an early 18-4 run. Ginyard scored five points with a 3, sophomore Justin Watts dunked twice for four points, Thompson poured in four more points, Zeller and sophomore Larry Drew II made baskets and Strickland hit a free throw for a 70-26 advantage.

Fittingly, the Tar Heels ended the night with a late 15-3 run. McDonald scored five points, with a trey, and Watts hit a 3. Zeller, freshman Travis Wear and junior Will Graves netted two points apiece and Henson chipped in a free throw to go up 89-37.

Zeller scored 14 points and Thompson poured in 13 for Carolina. Eleven Tar Heels reached the scoring column.

Wilkerson led Central with 16 points.

NOTES: North Carolina outshot North Carolina Central, 58 percent to 26 percent, from the field … One game after committing 26 turnovers in a season-opening win over Florida International, the Tar Heels gave it away 18 times … This was the teams’ first-ever series meeting … Eagles head coach and former player LeVelle Moton made his debut on the sideline. Moton, a 1996 graduate, ranks third on North Carolina Central’s all-time scoring list … North Carolina (2-0) will host Valparaiso Sunday afternoon before returning to 2K Sports Classic action against Ohio State in New York Nov. 19. North Carolina Central (0-1) heads south to face Miami Saturday afternoon.


Video credit – ESPNU

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 11 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Nov. 14 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (9-0)/at South Carolina/Did what it needed to do to remain perfect against Vanderbilt.

2. Texas (9-0)/at Baylor/Took care of business against Central Florida.

3. Alabama (9-0)/at Mississippi State/Solid, if unspectacular, win over LSU to clinch the SEC West and another December date with Florida in Atlanta.

4. Cincinnati (9-0)/West Virginia (Nov. 13)/Survived high-scoring, defense-optional thriller over UConn.

5. Texas Christian (9-0)/Utah/Another easy outing with big conference win. Up next – Utah.

6. Boise State (9-0)/Idaho/Escaped upset attempt at Louisiana Tech.

7. Georgia Tech (9-1)/at Duke/Stays in control in ACC with overtime win over Wake Forest.

8. Southern California (7-2)/Stanford/Pulled out a win at Arizona State.

9. Ohio State (8-2)/Iowa/Buckeyes suddenly back in the Big Ten hunt with drubbing of Penn State and Iowa’s loss. Huge matchup against Hawkeyes this week.

10. Miami (Fla.) (7-2)/at North Carolina/Completely dominated Virginia at home.

11. Iowa (9-1)/at Ohio State/Hawkeyes’ tendency to flirt with danger – plus the loss of Ricky Stanzi – finally catches up with them in loss to Northwestern.

12. Oregon (7-2)/Arizona State/Fell at Stanford in high-scoring contest.

13. LSU (7-2)/Louisiana Tech/Played a pretty good game at Alabama but had no answer for Tide’s running attack, especially after quarterback Jordan Jefferson went down.

14. Penn State (8-2)/Indiana/Dominated by Ohio State, basically out of the running to return to Pasadena in January.

15. Utah (8-1)/at TCU/Did what it was supposed to do – drill winless New Mexico.

16. Houston (8-1)/at UCF/Cougars pull out heartstopping last-second win at Tulsa.

17. Virginia Tech (6-3)/at Maryland/Ugly win at East Carolina, but hey, the Hokies are back in the win column.

18. Pittsburgh (8-1)/Notre Dame/Drilled conference opponent Syracuse.

19. Oklahoma State (7-2)/Texas Tech/Took care of business against Iowa State.

20. Wisconsin (7-2)/Michigan/Tough road win at Indiana.

21. Arizona (6-2)/at California/Enters rankings after demolition of Washington State. After Oregon’s loss, very much in the hunt for a Rose Bowl berth.

22. South Florida (6-2)/at Rutgers (Nov. 12)/Off this past week.

23. Brigham Young (7-2)/at New Mexico/Absolutely drilled Wyoming on the road.

24. Texas Tech (6-3)/at Oklahoma State/Off this past week.

25. West Virginia (7-2)/at Cincinnati (Nov. 13)/Back in rankings after knocking off Louisville.

Dropped out/Why?

Notre Dame. Navy’s a tough team to beat, but the Irish frankly have no business losing to a service academy team (and being thoroughly dominated most of the game at that).

Oklahoma. Held to three points in an ugly loss at Nebraska.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ingram, Tide come back to clinch West over LSU, 24-15


Mark Ingram ran for 144 yards, Greg McElroy and Julio Jones hooked up for a big fourth-quarter score and the Alabama Crimson Tide booked a return trip to the SEC title game with a 24-15 win over LSU in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday afternoon.

Alabama (No. 3 ZSN/3 AP) (9-0, 6-0 SEC) also remained unbeaten and alive in the hunt for a BCS championship berth.

Kicker Leigh Tiffin hit three field goals and an extra point to become the Crimson Tide’s all-time leading scorer with 347 career points.

Alabama was trailing 15-13 early in the fourth quarter when it overtook the Tigers for the lead. McElroy hit Jones for a 73-yard score on the first play of the drive, and Trent Richardson took a pitch and ran for the two-point conversion to take a 21-15 lead.

The Tide defense forced a punt, and then the offense got some help from a crucial LSU penalty and a controversial call to take control for good. The Tigers’ Daniel Graff made contact with Alabama punter P.J. Fitzgerald on fourth-and-6, and then Ingram ran for two yards on fourth-and-1 to retain possession. LSU’s Patrick Peterson caught a McElroy throw heading out of bounds but was ruled out of play, and on the next play, Jones caught a pass for 10 on third-and-7. Tiffin hit a 40-yard field goal for a 24-15 advantage.

Alabama’s Robby Green then intercepted Tigers backup quarterback Jarrett Lee on fourth down to end the game.

LSU (No. 10/9) (7-2, 4-2) scored the game’s first points on a 13-play drive in the second period. Deangelo Peterson caught a pass from starter Jordan Jefferson for 28 yards, Russell Shepard made a reception for 13 and Charles Scott ran for four yards on third-and-2. Jefferson ran for 15 yards on third-and-7, Shepard ran for two and a first down and Jefferson found Peterson for a 12-yard TD. Josh Jasper booted the extra point.

The Tide scored its first points on the ensuing possession. Javier Arenas returned the kickoff 40 yards, Richardson ran for 11 and Marquis Maze made a reception for 12. Tiffin then kicked a 28-yard field goal to cut Alabama’s deficit to 7-3.

That remained the score until Alabama took its first lead on the first possession of the third quarter. Ingram caught a pass for 12 yards and ran for gains of 12 on consecutive plays. Ingram then ran for 18 more yards before Darius Hanks caught a 21-yard touchdown pass. Tiffin hit the point-after for a 10-7 advantage.

The Tigers combined effective special teams and strong defense for their next points. Jasper dropped a punt at the Alabama 1-yard line, and on third down, LSU’s Drake Nevis forced McElroy to commit intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

LSU’s Scott then ran for four yards on third-and-4 and reeled off a 34-yard gain before leaving the game, appearing to sustain an upper-body injury. Stevan Ridley then bounced to an 8-yard score. Going for two, Lee threw incomplete for Deangelo Peterson in the back of the end zone, with the Tide’s Mark Barron defending on the play. This left the score at 15-10, LSU.

Alabama opened the final stanza by cutting its deficit to two points. McElroy ran for 11 yards and Ingram ran for gains of 23 and 10. Ingram picked up two yards on third-and-1 before Tiffin’s 20-yard kick.

McElroy threw for two touchdowns and 276 yards on 19-of-34 passing with an interception. Jones caught four passes for 102 yards and a touchdown and Maze made six receptions for 88 yards.

Jefferson hit on 10 of 17 tosses for 114 yards and a score. Lee, the starter most of last season, completed 4 of 10 passes for 44 yards and a pick. Scott rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries, Terrance Toliver made four catches for 46 yards and Deangelo Peterson hauled in two passes for 40 yards and a score.

NOTES: The Crimson Tide has won six straight regular-season meetings with top-10 teams. LSU has lost four straight games against top-10 opponents … Tiffin surpassed Philip Doyle, who scored 345 points during his Alabama career … Alabama won for just the second time in the teams’ past seven meetings and the first time in five tries at home … Jefferson was knocked out of the game on a third-quarter hit by Alabama’s Nico Johnson. He did not return, and his condition was not immediately known … The Tide has 21 straight regular-season wins, tops in the nation … Alabama’s defense has allowed just three touchdowns in its last four games. LSU has yielded three scores in three games … Alabama travels to Mississippi State Saturday night, while LSU returns to action against Louisiana Tech Saturday night.


Video credit – CBS

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Virginia Tech dominates East Carolina, 16-3


Boy, was it ever ugly. But Virginia Tech’s typical combination of strong defense and special teams and an effective running attack helped it avoid a far more unsightly three-game losing streak.

Freshman Ryan Williams ran for a career-high 179 yards, quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran for the game’s only touchdown and the Hokies defense held East Carolina out of the end zone as Virginia Tech beat the Pirates 16-3 in Greenville, N.C., Thursday night.

The Hokies (No. 17 ZSN/22 AP) also won for the first time in three games and exacted a measure of revenge on East Carolina, who beat Virginia Tech 27-22 in the 2008 season opener.

Virginia Tech took the lead with two first-quarter field goals. Jayron Hosley returned a punt 33 yards to set up a 41-yard Matt Waldron field goal, his season long.

After another East Carolina punt – one of eight Matt Dodge hit on the day – Josh Oglesby ran for four yards on third-and-1, Williams reeled off an 11-yard run and Taylor found Xavier Boyce for seven yards and Jarrett Boykin for 11 for first downs.

Dyrell Roberts caught a pass for 23 before Waldron’s 22-yard field goal on the 14th play of the drive gave the Hokies a 6-0 lead.

Virginia Tech found the end zone for the only time in the game late in the second quarter. Boykin caught a pass for three yards on third-and-3, Taylor ran for four and a first down and Williams took off for 17. Taylor hooked up with Danny Coale for 13 yards on third-and-7 and Williams ran for five before Taylor’s 13-yard scoring dash. Waldron hit the extra point for a 13-0 advantage.

The Pirates gained some momentum heading into halftime, scoring just as the period expired. Patrick Pinkney hit Alex Taylor for eight yards on third-and-4, Brandon Jackson ran for three and a first down and Dwayne Harris caught a pass for 16. Taylor made a juggling one-handed snag as the ball deflected off a defender’s helmet for 13 yards and caught another pass for 12 to set up Ben Hartman’s 24-yard field goal for a 13-3 halftime score.

However, the Hokie defense bludgeoned the inefficient East Carolina offense the rest of the way, forcing a fumble and four second-half punts before putting the Pirates’ offense to bed. Pinkney’s third-down throw bounced off Dominique Lindsay’s hands, and Virginia Tech’s Rashad Carmichael plucked it out of the air at the East Carolina 13-yard line.

That led to a 31-yard Waldron field goal with just over a minute left in the game to close the scorebook at 16-3.

Virginia Tech’s Taylor hit 17 of 30 passes for 137 yards, running for 61 yards and a score on 11 carries. Coale made six receptions for 60 yards.

For the Pirates, Pinkney completed 16 of 33 attempts for 167 yards and a pick. Lindsay ran for 69 yards on 13 carries, Alex Taylor caught five passes for 60 yards, Darryl Freeney hauled in four passes for 50 yards and Harris corralled three throws for 45 yards.

Virginia Tech hasn’t lost three straight games in six years … The Hokies’ Brent Bowden punted seven times … Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer won his 225th career game … East Carolina’s string of six straight home wins was snapped … Virginia Tech has won seven of eight in the series … The Hokies have lost all nine opening coin tosses this year … The Hokies (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) return to conference play at Maryland Nov. 14. East Carolina (5-4, 4-1 Conference USA) looks to remain alone atop the C-USA East at Tulsa Nov. 15.


Video credit – ESPN

Matsui knocks in six runs, Yanks finish off Phillies, 7-3


One season ago, Hideki Matsui missed a couple of months with a knee injury and the New York Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1995.

World Series MVP Matsui turned in another spectacular performance Wednesday night to help the Yankees return to glory, knocking in six runs to tie a Series single-game record, and Andy Pettitte, the all-time winningest postseason pitcher, got the victory as the Yankees beat Philadelphia 7-3 in Game 6 in New York to win their 27th crown.

Matsui and New York went to work in the second inning, taking the lead for good against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez. Alex Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk ahead of Matsui, who hit an upper-deck shot to right for a 2-0 advantage.

Philadelphia cut its deficit in half in the third. Carlos Ruiz tripled to left-center with one down and scored on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly.

The Yankees got all the runs they would need in the bottom of the frame. Derek Jeter singled with one out to center, Johnny Damon walked and Martinez hit Mark Teixeira to load the bases. One out later, Matsui singled to left-center to score Jeter and Damon for a 4-1 edge.

New York tacked on three more runs for insurance in the fifth inning. Jeter led off with a ground-rule double to left-center and moved to third on Jerry Hairston Jr.’s bunt. Teixeira’s single to right-center then plated Jeter.

Rodriguez drew another free pass ahead of Matsui, whose double to center scored Teixeira and Rodriguez for a 7-1 advantage.

The Phillies scored what would prove to be the final runs of the season in the sixth. Chase Utley worked a one-out walk and Ryan Howard homered to left to make it a 7-3 game.

Philadelphia could get no closer, though, as New York reliever Damaso Marte rescued Joba Chamberlain from a two-men-on situation in the seventh inning and closer Mariano Rivera got the final five outs, ending the game and the season by inducing a Shane Victorino groundout to second.

Matsui went 3-for-4 for New York. Jeter was 3-for-5.

Pettitte (2-0), the Game 3 winner, again was solid if unspectacular, working 5 2-3 innings of three-run ball on four hits, with five walks and three strikeouts. He won his 18th career playoff game and earned his sixth series-ending win, including the clinchers over Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels in the earlier rounds of the postseason.

Martinez (0-2) only lasted four frames, allowing four runs on three hits. He walked two batters and struck out five.

NOTES: The title is the Yankees’ first since 2000 … Matsui tied former Yankee Bobby Richardson with six RBI in one game. Richardson accomplished the feat in the 1960 Series … Matsui became the first full-time designated hitter to win the World Series MVP award … Pettitte was working on three days’ rest for the first time since Sept. 30, 2006, with Houston. He is 4-1 all-time on short rest in the playoffs … Victorino started one game after New York’s A.J. Burnett hit him on the right hand with a fastball … Damon left after the third inning. He strained his calf running the bases … No Series has gone the full seven games since 2002 … Howard struck out once Wednesday, raising his total for the Series to 13, the most ever by one player in one World Series. He had been tied with Willie Wilson, who struck out 12 times in the 1980 Series with Kansas City … Martinez dropped to 1-4 against the Yankees in postseason play.


Video credit – FOX

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eagles fall to Campbellsville but head confidently into KIAC tournament


WILMORE, Ky. -- The Asbury men’s soccer team will head into the KIAC tournament on a four-game losing streak after falling to Campbellsville 2-0 in the homecoming game Friday afternoon. That’s the bad news.

The good news? The Eagles’ objective has become very simple: win, and they play on. Lose, and the season’s over.

Against the Tigers, Asbury was unable to capitalize on having a man advantage for over 70 minutes, after Campbellsville’s Keiber Angulo was sent off with a red card for fighting in the 14th minute.

Instead, Campbellsville found the net twice for the only goals of the game. Gustavo Valecillos sent a long, high shot just beyond Asbury freshman goaltender Dylan Fouts’ reach for the game-winner in the 21st minute.

The Tigers tacked on one more goal in the 76th minute. Casey Clarke navigated through traffic in the box to score, with an assist credited to Emmanuel Nfor, to set the final score at 2-0.

Asbury (4-13, 3-1 KIAC) out-shot Campbellsville (7-7-2) 14-6 overall, and 8-2 in the second half, but only five of the Eagles’ shots were on goal.

Combining Asbury’s erratic offense with what coach Josh Oakley characterized as a lack of discipline on Campbellsville’s part, the Eagles can’t help but feel like that game got away from them.

“[The Tigers] weren’t that disciplined and organized, but they were skilled,” Oakley said. “For the better part of an hour we were a man up, and we knew what we had to do … we just didn’t get it done.”

Some of Asbury’s players anticipated unusually rough play from the Tigers and were prepared for the first-half incident. Asbury freshman Randy Troyer and Campbellsville’s Pontus Yngve each also received yellow cards in the 14th minute.

“We just try to understand that, hey, [the opponent is] gonna come in, they might take a cheap shot or two, all you can do is get up and try to help it make you play harder [and] try to maintain a good level of self-control, because typically it’s the second foul that gets seen,” senior captain John Greer, who played his final home game, said.

“As soon as you see somebody get in [a teammate’s] face, what I’ve been taught since high school is you get in there and try to calm things down, but you better protect your teammate if they need protecting,” Greer said.

In addition to losing the game, Asbury lost the services of sophomore midfielder Julian Botella, who was shown yellow twice and sent off in the 86th minute. Since Botella already received one red card this season, he will have to miss the Eagles’ next two games. But Oakley didn’t seem too concerned about losing Botella.

“It’s just another player that can step in and step up,” he said. “I think it’d be harder for our team to adjust if it was a change that had to be made in the back line. Julian plays in kind of a floating role at midfield, and we have other players – for instance, Phillip Mullins and Adam Hicks – who can step in and play that role exactly how we need it played.”

The Eagles now move on to the KIAC tournament, which will be hosted by Mountain State (W.Va.). Their first-round opponent will be Brescia, which was the only conference team to beat Asbury this season, besting the Eagles 2-1 in Wilmore Sept. 19.

Coaches and players alike believe Asbury is clearly capable of defeating Brescia, but must play its best game.

“Our guys need to be ready to play,” Oakley said. “As of today, we are still playing, and a lot of teams in college soccer can’t even say that right now. I really like our first-round game, we’ve got the week to prepare for [Brescia]. We’ll watch some game film, put in the work on the field, and after that, as it is a players’ game, it’s in their hands.”

“I know they’ll definitely be prepped and ready to play; we’ll see what team shows up on the weekend. If we play as we can play, I’m confident that we can play on.”

“I can’t speak for the whole team, [but] the majority of us are feeling extremely confident, and we expect to be playing in the champion’s game on Saturday,” Greer said. “It really just depends on what team we show up as that day. If we go out there and have brain fart after brain fart, you know, it’s ‘pack up, we’re heading home.’ If we go out there and stick to the game plan and keep things organized and play well, I have no doubt that we’re gonna walk away with the conference championship.”

The Asbury-Brescia game is scheduled to kick off Friday afternoon. If they win, the Eagles then advance to the tournament championship Saturday afternoon, with a shot at the national tournament on the line.

And the Eagles believe they’re the team to beat.

“[If we] focus on playing the way we can play, we’ll be OK,” Oakley said.

NOTES: The Eagles’ four-game losing skid includes losses at NCAA Division I opponent Eastern Illinois and at home to Covenant College, which is transitioning into NCAA D-III.


Reprinted with permission from the Asbury Collegian.

Lee, Utley, Phillies beat Yankees, extend Series, 8-6


Win or lose, the New York Yankees knew they would be going back north to the Bronx after Game 5 of the World Series. Now the Phillies will be joining them.

Cliff Lee won his second game of the series, Chase Utley hit two more home runs to tie Reggie Jackson’s record for most dingers in one World Series and the Phillies sent the series back to New York with an 8-6 win over the Yankees in Game 5 in Philadelphia Monday night.

Trailing 1-0, Philadelphia took the lead for good in the bottom of the first against Yankees starter A.J. Burnett. Jimmy Rollins led off with a single to center, Burnett hit Shane Victorino on his right hand against his bat with a pitch and Utley homered to right on the first pitch he saw for a 3-1 lead.

The Phillies plated three more runs in the third. Jayson Werth singled to center to score Utley, who had walked and stole second. Raul Ibanez’s single to right then scored Ryan Howard, who had walked, to chase Burnett.

Carlos Ruiz’s one-out fielder’s choice scored Ibanez for a 6-1 advantage.

The Yankees dented their deficit in the fifth, when pinch-hitter Eric Hinske drew a walk and scored on Johnny Damon’s one-out grounder.

However, the Phillies used two more seventh-inning long balls to open up a six-run lead. Utley led off with a jack to right, and Ibanez homered with two down off the right-field upper deck for an 8-2 advantage.

New York made it interesting with four runs over their final two at-bats. Damon led off the eighth with an infield single, Mark Teixeira doubled to left and Alex Rodriguez’s double to left-center knocked in two runs to chase Lee. Robinson Cano lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Rodriguez, cutting the Yankees’ deficit to 8-5.

Reliever Ryan Madson came on out of the Philadelphia bullpen in a ninth-inning save situation, one night after closer Brad Lidge took the loss in Game 4. New York’s Jorge Posada greeted Madson with a leadoff double to right and scored on Derek Jeter’s double-play.

Damon then singled to center and took second on defensive indifference, but Madson struck out Teixeira swinging to end the game.

New York scored the game’s first run in the top of the ninth. Damon singled to center with one out and scored on Rodriguez’s two-out double to right.
Lee (2-0) scattered five runs on seven hits over seven innings, with three walks and three punchouts. Madson earned the save in relief.

Utley went 2-for-3, with four RBI. He hit his fifth homer of the series, matching Yankee legend Jackson’s output in the 1977 series against the Dodgers. Rollins and Ibanez were each 2-for-4.

Burnett (1-1), working on three days’ rest, lasted two innings, allowing six runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

Damon went 3-for-4, while Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with three RBI. He set the record for most RBI in a single postseason in team history with 18, breaking his tie with Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius.

Philadelphia will send Game 2 starter Pedro Martinez back to the mound in Yankee Stadium Wednesday night for Game 6. The Yankees are expected to counter with Andy Pettitte, also on short rest.

NOTES: Victorino underwent X-rays on his hand during the game. They were negative … The last team to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series was Kansas City in 1985 … Lee is 4-1 against the Yankees in the past two seasons … Burnett lost for the first time in his career in five appearances on short rest … This marked the first time in World Series history both starting pitchers have been from Arkansas … The Yankees’ Melky Cabrera was deactivated after slightly straining his left hamstring in Game 4. Infielder Ramiro Pena, who has not played since the regular-season finale Oct. 4, took his place on the roster … Brett Gardner made his first career playoff start for New York.


Video credit – FOX

Monday, November 2, 2009

A-Rod, Posada rock Lidge, push Phils to brink, 7-4


The Brad Lidge of the regular season has finally shown up.

New York’s Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada combined to knock in three runs off the Phillies’ closer to break a ninth-inning tie as the Yankees are one win from a World Series victory after a 7-4 win in Philadelphia Sunday night.

With the score tied at 4 in the top of the ninth and Lidge on out of the Philadelphia bullpen, New York put together a two-out rally. Johnny Damon singled to left, stole second base and took third after he found no one covering the bag. Lidge then hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch to bring up Rodriguez.

Rodriguez then doubled to left field to score Damon, and Posada knocked in Teixeira and Rodriguez with a single to left-center before being thrown out at second to end the inning.

Closer Mariano Rivera then earned his second save of the series, setting down pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino 1-2-3 to end it.

The Yankees took the lead in the first inning against Phillies starter Joe Blanton. Derek Jeter reached on a leadoff infield single, Damon doubled to right and Teixeira’s groundout scored Jeter.

Posada then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Damon for a 2-0 edge.

The Phillies cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the inning. Victorino doubled to center with one out off New York’s C.C. Sabathia and scored on Chase Utley’s double to right.

Philadelphia then evened the count in the fourth. Ryan Howard led off with a single to center and stole second before Pedro Feliz knocked him in with a two-out single to left.

The Yankees got to Blanton for two more runs in the fifth. Nick Swisher drew a leadoff walk and Melky Cabrera reached on an infield single before Jeter and Damon hit back-to-back RBI singles for a 4-2 edge.

Philadelphia hit two solo homers to tie the game. Utley hit a seventh-inning two-out homer to right, and Pedro Feliz took reliever Joba Chamberlain deep with two down in the eighth.

Damon went 3-for-5 for the Yankees. Jeter was 2-for-4, and Posada knocked in three runs.

Sabathia, working on three days’ rest, worked 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, with three walks and six strikeouts. Chamberlain (1-0) got the win despite allowing the game-tying home run. He struck out three batters.

Blanton pitched six frames, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and seven punchouts. Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson each worked scoreless innings before Lidge (0-1) came on.

Feliz went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Utley was 2-for-4, knocking in two.

A.J. Burnett, the Game 2 winner, will try to give the Yankees their 27th championship Monday night. Cliff Lee, who pitched a complete-game victory in Game 1, will try to keep the Phillies alive for one more game.

NOTES: Rivera has never blown a lead of three runs or more in postseason play … Utley’s home run off Sabathia was his third off the Yankee ace in this series … Lidge blew 11 saves in the regular season this year but was a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities in the playoffs.


Video credit – FOX

Sunday, November 1, 2009

ZSN College Football Week 10 Top 25 Rankings

School (Record)/Next game (Nov. 7 unless otherwise noted)/Why?

1. Florida (8-0)/Vanderbilt/Dominated rival Georgia for second straight season and looked like No. 1 in doing so.

2. Texas (8-0)/Central Florida/Very good road conference win at Oklahoma State.

3. Alabama (8-0)/LSU/Off this past week.

4. Texas Christian (8-0)/at San Diego State/Took care of business against UNLV.

5. Boise State (8-0)/at Louisiana Tech (Nov. 6)/Beat a (conference) pushover handily.

6. Oregon (6-1)/at Stanford/Big conference win over USC keeps Ducks in the driver’s seat to the Rose Bowl.

7. Cincinnati (8-0)/Connecticut/Again without Tony Pike, took care of business at Syracuse.

8. Iowa (9-0)/Northwestern/Hawkeyes have a nagging habit of playing awful football against lower-caliber competition – they were dreadful for three quarters against Indiana – but keep finding ways to win.

9. Penn State (8-1)/Ohio State/Turned it on in second half to knock off Northwestern.

10. LSU (7-1)/at Alabama/Took care of business to dispatch Tulane. Big game this week against Alabama.

11. Georgia Tech (8-1)/Wake Forest/Outscored Vanderbilt for nonconference win.

12. Southern California (6-2)/at Arizona State/Trojans were dominated at Oregon.

13. Ohio State (7-2)/at Penn State/Beat a pushover handily.

14. Miami (Fla.) (6-2)/Virginia/One-point escape at Wake Forest.

15. Utah (7-1)/New Mexico/Didn’t play particularly well but had enough to come back over Wyoming.

16. Houston (7-1)/at Tulsa/Won shootout over Southern Miss.

17. Virginia Tech (5-3)/at East Carolina (Nov. 5)/Hokies lost on the last play to a good North Carolina team. Second straight rough conference loss, all but out of the conference title and BCS picture at this stage.

18. Pittsburgh (7-1)/Syracuse/Off this past week.

19. Oklahoma State (6-2)/at Iowa State/OSU looking like the same old Cowboys – pretty good but not in the Big 12’s upper echelon after rough loss to Texas.

20. Notre Dame (6-2)/Navy/Dispatched Washington State in a neutral-site tilt.

21. Oklahoma (5-3)/at Nebraska/Didn’t look spectacular overall but got the win over K-State.

22. Wisconsin (6-2)/at Indiana/First appearance in rankings after dominating Purdue.

23. South Florida (6-2)/at Rutgers (Nov. 12)/Back in rankings after taking care of West Virginia.

24. Brigham Young (6-2)/at Wyoming/Off this past week.

25. Texas Tech (6-3)/at Oklahoma State (Nov. 14)/Back in rankings after dominating Kansas.

Dropped out/Why?

Mississippi. You can only get dominated so many times before you fall out of the rankings.

South Carolina. Rough loss at Tennessee, offense not looking so hot.

West Virginia. One week after re-entering rankings, Mountaineers drop back out with loss at South Florida.

Rodriguez, Swisher, New York out-slug Phillies, 8-5


Playing in just the second-ever World Series game on Halloween, slumping Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher showed up dressed as their old reliable selves.

Rodriguez, Swisher and Hideki Matsui each hit home runs as New York came back from a three-run deficit to beat the Phillies 8-5 in Philadelphia Saturday night and take a 2-1 lead in the World Series.

Andy Pettitte got the win for the Yankees, extending his MLB record for most career postseason wins to 17. Forced to bat since the game was played in Philadelphia’s NL park, he also chipped in an RBI single and scored a run.

Trailing 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning, New York cut a chunk out of its deficit. Mark Teixeira drew a one-out walk from Phillies starter Cole Hamels before Rodriguez lifted a shot to right off a camera. Originally the umpires, who have been nothing short of beleaguered all postseason, ruled the ball remained in play, but after review, the play was overturned and ruled a homer.

The Yankees then took the lead for good in the fifth. Nick Swisher led off with a double into the left-field corner and Pettitte blooped a one-out single to left-center to score him and tie the game.

Derek Jeter followed with a single to center ahead of Johnny Damon, who drove in Pettitte and Jeter, who almost ran up the jogging, jacket-clad pitcher’s back, to make the score 5-3 and chase Hamels.

Swisher, who was slumping so badly he was benched in Game 2, hit a sixth-inning one-out bomb to left-center to give New York a 6-3 lead.

The Phillies finally found some more offense in the bottom of the sixth. Jayson Werth hit his second home run of the night off Pettitte, this one off the upper deck in left, to lead off the inning.

New York scored two more runs to effectively salt the game away. Damon drew a one-out walk in the seventh, stole second base and scored on Jorge Posada’s two-out single to left.

Then, in the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Matsui, usually the Yankee DH but forced to sit as Pettitte took his hacks, hit his second homer of the series, this one a two-out shot to left, to give New York an 8-4 edge.

Philadelphia scored once more in the ninth, on Carlos Ruiz’s one-out homer to center. However, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera came on and promptly retired pinch-hitter Matt Stairs and Jimmy Rollins to end the game.

The Phillies jumped on Pettitte in the second, scoring the game’s first three runs. Werth led off with a jack to left. Pedro Feliz doubled with one out off the right-field wall, Ruiz walked and Hamels dropped a perfect bunt toward third base that resulted in a single to load the bases. Pettitte then walked Rollins to force in Feliz.

Shane Victorino’s sacrifice fly to left then scored Ruiz to give the Phillies a 3-0 advantage.

Swisher went 2-for-4 to lead the New York offense. Damon and Rodriguez each knocked in two runs.

Pettitte (1-0), pitching in his eighth World Series and seventh as a Yankee, allowed four runs on five hits over six innings. He walked three batters and struck out seven.

Hamels (0-1), the 2008 World Series MVP, continued his 2009 playoff struggles, yielding five runs on five hits over 4 1-3 frames. He walked two batters and recorded three strikeouts.

Werth was 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Phillies. Ryan Howard struck out three times, one game after striking out four times.

New York’s C.C. Sabathia, who took the loss in Game 1, is slated to pitch Game 4 Sunday night. Joe Blanton is scheduled to work for Philadelphia.

NOTES: The game began at about 9:15 ET after a rain delay of 1 hour and 20 minutes … The first World Series game played on Halloween was Game 4 in 2001, when the playoffs were pushed back because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. New York’s Jeter famously won that game against Arizona with a walk-off homer in the 10th inning … Rodriguez was 0-for-8 for the series with six strikeouts coming in … Philadelphia's Chase Utley saw his MLB record of reaching base in 27 straight postseason games come to an end, going 0-for-4 ... Nine of the last 10 teams to win Game 3 of the World Series when it was tied 1-1 have gone on to take the championship.


Video credit – FOX