Tag:ACC
Posted on: December 28, 2011 12:07 am
 

QUICK HITS: N.C. State 31, Louisville 24

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

N.C. STATE WON: 
The Belk Bowl wasn't supposed to have a lot of fireworks and explosive plays, but no one told the Wolfpack. Mike Glennon hit a pair of long touchdown passes -- including a 67-yarder to the electric T.J. Graham -- on his way to a 265-yard, 3-TD night, All-American safety David Amerson collected his ACC record-breaking 12th interception in 65-yard pick-six style, and NCSU rode those big plays to a 31-10 second-half lead. Though Charlie Strong pulled out as many stops as he had to make the comeback -- a fake punt, surprise onsides, throwback passes, and more -- the Wolfpack defense never looked like they'd yield that kind of lead, and finished the game having allowed the Cards just two touchdown drives longer than five yards.

WHY N.C. STATE WON: The final yardage totals: Wolfpack 351, Cardinals 391. So in a game as statistically even as this one (an unsurprising development, given their relative similarities, records, etc.), you'd expect it to turn on a handful of huge plays. And not only was that the case, but it was the NCSU defense that stepped up and made them. Amerson's thrilling interception return was one, but the Wolfpack also made a pair of huge fourth-down stops to deny the Cards what should have been multiple serious scoring opportunities. The first came late in the second quarter, with Dominique Brown stuffed on a 4th-and-1 at the NCSU 31; the second came in the fourth, with Louisville down 14 and desperate, when Victor Anderson went nowhere on 4th-and-1 at the Wolfpack 34.

Combine those two stops with the Cards' three turnovers, and it added up to just too many missed opportunities for a Cardinal offense not exactly known for its point-scoring prowess in the first place.

WHEN N.C. STATE WON: Not until a 4th-and-23 midfield heave from Teddy Bridgewater on the Cards' final drive was picked by Amerson -- extending his ACC record to 13 -- with under 40 seconds remaining.

WHAT N.C. STATE WON: In the grand scheme of things, not that much; moving from 7 to 8 wins after the roller coaster of the Wolfpack's season (lose to Boston College, annihilate Clemson) won't change the overall picture of the program's 2011. But it does offer some maor optimism going forward for the Glennon era, particularly with talents like Amerson around, too.

WHAT LOUISVILLE LOST: On the other side of the coin, one bowl loss doesn't change the general upward trend of the Cardinals under Strong, but it does show that -- considering the ACC also-ran Wolfpack weren't exactly heavyweights -- there's still a good ways to go before the 'Ville enters the ranks of the national elite.

FINAL GRADE: As with the Little Caesar's Bowl earlier in the evening, it's not accurate to say that the Belk Bowl was the best-played game we've seen this bowl season. But what it might have lacked in crisp execution and disciplined performances, it made up for with the high-wire theatrics of Graham, Amerson, and the dynamic Bridgewater, not to mention the Cardinals' dramatic-but-doomed late-game rally. We'll admit it; this game was far, far more entertaining than we expected. B+.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 2:43 pm
 

DeAndre Hopkins questionable after auto accident

Posted by Chip Patterson

Clemson's explosive offense may be lacking one very important tool when they face West Virginia in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. DeAndre Hopkins, the Tigers' second-leading receiver, was injured in an auto accident Tuesday morning and did not join the team as they departed for Miami to begin preparations for the bowl game.

Hopkins was driving from his home to Memorial Stadium to join the team when the accident took place, the sophomore has been diagnosed with a mild concussion and officially listed as questionable for the season-finale against Mountaineers.

“First of all, we are relieved that DeAndre is going to be all right,” Head coach Dabo Swinney said in a prepared statement.  “He is lucky. We are told he does not have any serious injuries and we hope to have him join us soon. Obviously, DeAndre is one of the main parts of our offense and this would be a big loss if he is not able to play. 

“But, it is too soon to speculate one way or another on his status for the game eight days from now.”

"Nuke" Hopkins has recorded 70 receptions for 854 yards in 2011, the fifth most in the ACC but still second on his own team. But that's the way it goes when you line up opposite ACC Freshman of the Year Sammy Watkins.

As one of the "senior" - Hopkins is a sophomore - members of the Tigers' receiving corps, Nuke was Tajh Boyd's go-to for key 3rd down plays or whenever Watkins was slowed by injury. With eight days to recover from what sounds like minor shakeups, I'd still expect Hopkins to be out on the field in Sun Life Stadium next week.

Get all the latest on Clemson and West Virginia up until kickoff at the Orange Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 8:23 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 9:02 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Missouri 41, North Carolina 24

Posted by Chip Patterson

MISSOURI WON. The Tigers scored on their first five offensive drives, and never gave North Carolina a chance to come back on the the way to a 41-24 win in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. Missouri quarterback James Franklin delivered another impressive dual threat performance - picking up 132 yards and a touchdownthrough the air while adding 142 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

HOW MISSOURI WON: North Carolina's offense never had a chance to get in a rhythm, with the Tigers' defense applying pressure to quarterback Bryn Renner and shutting down the Tar Heels' rushing attack. North Carolina picked up just 36 team rushing yards against Missouri, well below their regular season average of 147.4 yards per game. But that defense also benefited from the efficiency of Franklin and the offense. The Tigers scored on every offensive possession in the first half, and did not punt until the 7:16 mark in the third quarter. While the defense was delivering stops, the offense continued to grind away at the Tar Heels and create scoring opportunities by converting on key third downs. The extended drives kept the Tigers in the driving seat, all the way until the end. The victory gave the Tigers their sixth-straight 8-win season, and some great momentum on their way into the SEC East.

WHEN MISSOURI WON: Midway through the second quarter, North Carolina's defense needed to deliver a stop to keep the Tigers from scoring after a Gio Bernard fumble. Staring down a short field, Franklin converted on 2 third downs in the 40 yard drive on the way to increasing the Missouri lead to 24-7. On the Tar Heels' next play from scrimmage, a Dwight Jones bobbled catch turned into an astonishing interception for Tigers' defensive back Zaviar Gooden. At that point, it was clear things weren't going North Carolina's way.

WHAT MISSOURI WON: A fine highlight to show to their future conference partners in the SEC. James Franklin's performance against a talented North Carolina defense showed how comfortable he has gotten leading this Tigers' offense. Now with four-straight wins since Henry Josey's freak knee injury, Franklin has displayed the composure Missouri will need facing the SEC defenses in 2012.

WHAT NORTH CAROLINA LOST: North Carolina's roster has several NFL Draft hopefuls, but none of the prospects got much to put on tape from Monday night's loss. There was some speculation heading into the game that the talented draft class would look to make a statement in their final game as a Tar Heel. For whatever combination of reasons, the Tar Heels missed out on the opportunity to pick up their second-straight bowl victory because they didn't show up.

THAT WAS CRAZY: The aforementioned Dwight Jones bobble interception.  It was just one of those moments when the ball seemed to bobble forever, and the ease with which it fell to Gooden made you believe this was not North Carolina's day.

FINAL GRADE: B-minus. Franklin was still producing impressive plays on his feet well into the fourth quarter, and North Carolina's brief offensive explosion in the third quarter kept it interesting. But the Tar Heels' unenthusiastic showing in general took some of the luster of this matchup. Missouri was decidedly dominant throughout the game, and there was very little in doubt after the second drive of the game. .

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 3:33 pm
 

What remains of the Independence Bowl Trophy



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Missouri and North Carolina will battle in Shreveport on Monday evening in the Independence Bowl, but unfortunately for both teams, Missouri mascot Truman the Tiger already got his hands on the Independence Bowl trophy. The problem is Truman couldn't keep his hands on the trophy for very long, as he dropped it and broke it. Those are the remnants of the trophy pictured above.

When asked if he broke the trophy, Truman nodded his head and when asked what happened he threw his hands in the air like he just didn't care, and then covered his eyes while crying. So, in the end, he did care.

This is what the trophy looked like before it was broken. 

Posted on: December 26, 2011 2:33 pm
 

UVa's Mike London donates towards Cav facility

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Not long ago it surfaced that Mark Richt had made out-of-pocket payments to his assistants when he felt they had earned more than their contracted salaries had given them. But it turns out that Richt isn't the only big-time college coach willing to put his money where his mouth is where supporting his program is concerned.

Virginia head coach Mike London announced over the holiday weekend that he will be donating some $225,000 towards the construction of the Cavaliers' new indoor practice facility. The donation brings the total raised towards the facility to $9.5 million overall, with $13 million needed to break ground.

“Coach London’s generosity toward the indoor practice facility makes a very clear point about its importance; this is our top priority,” Cavalier athletic director Craig Littlepage said. Littlepage has targeted February as the deadline for raising the necessary remaining $3.5 million, a date that would see the facility open in time for fall camp in 2013.

“The indoor practice facility will get year-round use and I see it as a necessity for our football team," Littlepage said.

"The construction of the indoor practice facility is an important part of the effort to make our football program consistently successful," London said himself in a statement. "That's why I want to show my personal support for the fundraising effort by making this pledge ... It will allow us the opportunity to attract the types of student-athletes to Virginia who will play an important role in the building of the program. I can't think of a better way to express my commitment to the University and to the football program than to personally make a gift to this important project." 

London has been casually mentioned with other jobs this offseason but his name has gained little traction on the coaching carousel--perhaps because, as his donation would suggest, the Virginia native is, in fact, committed long-term to the Cavaliers' success.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: December 26, 2011 11:20 am
 

Orange Bowl to cost Clemson around 180K

Posted by Tom Fornelli

One of the main critiques of the current bowl system is how schools, more often than not, lose money by going to a bowl game. This year is no different, as Clemson is finding out that its first trip to a BCS bowl game is going to leave the school in the red.

According to The Post and Courier, with ticket sales where they are currently, Clemson is going to lose about $180,000 thanks to their trip to the Orange Bowl.

As of last week, Clemson had only been able to sell about half of the 17,500 tickets it had to buy from the Orange Bowl for the low, low price of around half a million dollars. Clemson will get a $1.75 million bowl allowance from the ACC, but all in all the trip is going to cost the school $1.91 million. This includes the price of the unsold tickets along with meals, lodging and travel costs for the football team, band, cheerleaders and support staff.

Though there are other benefits according to Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips.

"There is a perception problem; it's not a windfall," said Phillips. "You just want to be able to break even. Sometimes you don't even break even. But there are significant benefits. You get some extra practice time. And anytime you can get on national television, it continues exposure for your program, which is very significant value."

Yes, and that exposure for the program helps in things like recruiting, which helps bring even better players to Clemson. Players that will help Clemson consistently win and get to bowl games and lose more money.
Posted on: December 25, 2011 12:52 am
 

QUICK HITS: No. 22 Southern Miss 24, Nevada 17

Posted by Chip Patterson

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON. After both teams got off to sluggish starts, Southern Mississippi was able to take advantage of a 4th down stop on defense to secure a 24-17 win in an unusually low-scoring Hawaii Bowl.

HOW SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: After both teams entered the game with plans to crank up productive offenses, winning required big plays from defense and special teams on Saturday night. Southern Miss got a huge performance from defensive end Cordarro Law (seven tackles, two sacks) in the second half, and Austin Davis was able to deliver a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to seal a program-best 12th win for the Golden Eagles.

WHEN SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: With Davis held in check by Nevada's defense, the Golden Eagles did not benefit from the usual collection of big plays to fuel the offense. Luckily, the senior quarterback found Dominique Sulliivan for a 43 yard catch and run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning touchdown. Nevada was stout on D, but the Golden Eagles kept taking shots until they hit the home-run. In a closely played defensive showdown where punts nearly match first downs, just one big play is enough to change the course of the game.

WHAT SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI WON: A program-best 12th win for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss is not a perennial favorite, but there have been enough talented rosters come through Hattiesburg for the history-making season to mean something for the 2011 squad. Clearly the team is in a strange position with Larry Fedora on his way to Chapel Hill, but at least he stuck around to enjoy this win with his players.

WHAT NEVADA LOST: Their fourth straight game in the state of Hawaii, increasing their postseason struggles to five losses in their last six bowl appearances. Chris Ault's squad could not get over themselves and the mistakes, especially down the stretch. The Wolf Pack have been to seven straight postseasons, but the record did not get any better with the loss on Christmas Eve in Honolulu.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Despite being two of the top offensive teams in the country, both teams struggled to turn their high-powered schemes into points after the long lay-off. Maybe it was the circumstances, but it seemed like both teams got off to sluggish starts offensively, and neither was able to deliver their normal production by 2011 standards.

FINAL GRADE: C. Blocked punts in the end zone, big-time rushing performances, a one-score game in the final minutes. There war definitely enough positive aspects in this year's Hawaii Bowl to give the game some watchability, but the sluggish starts and lack of explosive plays was far from what we expected with these two squads. All in all felt very "meh" as a whole.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:39 pm
 

Hokies K Cody Journell suspended after arrest

Posted by Chip Patterson

Virginia Tech sophomore kicker Cody Journell's status for the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 against Michigan is now in jeopardy, after an alleged home invasion led to his indefinite suspension from the football team.

The sophomore kicker and two others were arrested and charged with breaking and entering by Blacksburg police late Wednesday night. Below is the report, via The Roanoke Times.

Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, Blacksburg police responded to a residence on Lee Street, just outside of the downtown area in reference to a physical altercation, according to a morning news release.

An investigation into an alleged home invasion began shortly after and resulted in the arrests of Cody J. Journell, 20; Matthew D. Dunton, 23; and Matthew I. Brady, 21. Each were charged with breaking and entering, a class 2 felony due to the alleged use of a dangerous weapon, according to police.

University policy dictates that Journell be suspended indefinitely from the football team until further information is gathered. As off early Thursday afternoon, all three men are currently being held without bond at the Montgomery County Jail while the investigation continues.

Journell led the ACC field goal percentage, hitting 14 of his 17 attempts on the season. The redshirt sophomore earned All-ACC honorable mention and connected on 43 of 44 extra points on the season. Should he be ruled out for the Sugar Bowl, the place kicking duties would likely be assumed by Tyler Weiss or kickoff specialist Justin Myer.

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