Tag:Big East
Posted on: December 30, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 6:52 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13



Posted by Chip Patterson


RUTGERS WON. The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 17-6 halftime lead thanks to some stellar running from Jawan Jamison, and the defense held off a late charge by Iowa State for a 27-13 win in the Pinstripe Bowl.

HOW RUTGERS WON: It didn't matter whether Chas Dodd or Gary Nova was under center for Rutgers, as long as they were handing the ball off to Jawan Jamison. The sophomore running back was a star for the Scarlet Knights on Friday, rushing 27 times for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Iowa State also featured a performance from their backup quarterback, but Steele Jantz' appearance on the Yankee Stadium field more out of necessity. Starting quarterback Jared Barnett sacked by Khaseem Greene early in the second quarter, coughed up the ball and was apparently rattled from the hit. Jantz struggled early but was able to mount a couple of impressive drives into Rutgers' territory to keep things interesting late in the game.

WHEN RUTGERS WON: After Jantz led a scoring drive to cut the Rutgers lead to 20-13, the Scarlet Knights delivered the ultimate answer with a 86 yard touchdown pass from Chas Dodd to Brandon Coleman. Dodd simply tossed the ball deep and high for the 6-foot-6 wide receiver, who used his 11-inch height advantage to pull down the ball over the defender and carry it to the end zone. Much of the emotion and momentum on the Iowa State sideline was erased, as the Cyclones then faced a two-touchdown deficit with less than ten minutes to play.

WHAT RUTGERS WON: Redemption. Finishing the 2010 season with six straight losses led to some serious discontent within the Rutgers community. Head coach Greg Schiano spoke before the season about bringing the toughness back to Rutgers football. Getting things done on the ground, and winning games with defense were the hopes for his 2011 team, and that's exactly how they won the Pinstripe Bowl on Friday.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST: An opportunity to finish an already successful season with a win. The Cyclones have had a much better season than their 6-7 record indicates, and not just because they knocked off Oklahoma State in arguably the biggest upset of the season. Paul Rhoads has plenty of these pieces coming back next season, but replacing offensive coordinator Tom Herman will be his first and most important offensive challenge. Jared Barnett can have a bright future with the Cyclones, and this overachieving squad will be back for more in 2012.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Anytime you have football in Yankee Stadium it's an odd experience to observe. The fans were right on top of the end zone in some areas, but empty stands behind midfield stood out in the awkwardly attended stadium.

FINAL GRADE: C+. Iowa State fans will walk away with that empty feeling, because of Jared Barnett's injury. Steele Jantz was able to channel some of his early-season success late in the fourth quarter to keep it interesting, but it still doesn't compare to the threat the offense presents with Barnett under center.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 10:58 am
 

PODCAST: Previewing Sugar Bowl & Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The CBS Sports College Football Podcast begins to wind down the Bowl Preview Series with a close look at the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3 and Orange Bowl on Jan. 4. The ACC is sending two teams to BCS bowls for the first time in conference history, and hope Virginia Tech and Clemson can improve the league's 1-4 record in the last five BCS appearances.

Brady Hoke's impressive first year at the helm takes the Wolverines to New Orleans, and Denard Robinson will look to find the end zone against a Hokies defense that has allowed just 17.2 points per game. ACC and Big East fans are expecting fireworks in South Beach with the high-powered offenses of West Virginia and Clemson on the field, but tune in to hear what Adam Aizer and J. Darin Darst think will be the difference-maker in the first BCS head coaching experience for both Dana Holgorsen and Dabo Swinney.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


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Get all the latest on both bowl games right up until kickoff at the Sugar Bowl Pregame and Orange Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Liberty Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could determine the Liberty Bowl

Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt vs. Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati

Running back Zach Stacy has been the most consistent piece of the Vanderbilt offensive attack all season. Stacy has put together five different 100-yard performances thus far, and will be counted on to stabilize the offense against a stout Cincinnati rushing defense. But the junior running back enters the bowl game with a heightened sense for the goal line, scoring seven of his 13 touchdowns in the final three contests of the regular season.

Lining up opposite of Stacy on the defensive line will be Cincinnati's dominant tackle Derek Wolfe. Wolfe led the Big East with 19.5 tackles for loss and added 9.5 sacks to lead the top ranked defensive unit. With mobile quarterback Jordan Rodgers also in the Vanderbilt backfield, Wolfe and the rest of the Bearcats defensive line will need to get penetration through the offensive line to disrupt the rushing game.

The Commodores have taken after their first-year head coach with a hard-nosed attitude and their success this season has come thanks to a strong rushing attack and much-improved defense. The best way for Cincinnati to make life easy for Zach Collaros, making his first appearance since breaking his ankle on Nov. 14, is to shut down Vanderbilt's rushing attack early and give the senior quarterback plenty of early snaps to find his groove. In order to make that happen, they'll need a big-time performance from Derek Wolfe.

Keep up with all the latest on Vanderbilt and Cincinnati at the Liberty Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:37 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Liberty Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

VANDERBILT WILL WIN IF: Zac Stacy and Jordan Rodgers can find success on the ground. One way or another, the Commodores need pick up yards on the ground against a stout Cincinnati defense. The Bearcats rank in the Top 10 nationally in rushing defense, giving up just 92.67 yards per game. But they did not have to face many rushers as strong as Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy, the SEC's third-leading rusher with 1,136 yards this season. Stacy has been reliable all season, and quarterback Jordan Rodgers has shown an impressive ability to make plays with his feet since taking over as the starter midseason. Both Stacy and Rodgers need to get comfortable and produce early, or else the Bearcats will be able to key in on their attack with hopes of holding another opponent under 100 yards rushing.

CINCINNATI WILL WIN IF: They take care of the ball on offense. One of Vanderbilt's strengths has been their ability to create turnovers at opportune times. Improving the turnover margin has been one of the biggest differences between the four-win 2010 squad and the Co-Big East champions this year. The Bearcats' best chance offensively is to stay multiple and stay productive, constantly keeping that Commodores defense on their heels. The unit needs to hit a rhythm and get quarterback Zach Collaros rolling in his first game back since breaking his ankle on Nov. 12. The fastest way to disrupt that rhythm is to end a drive by giving the ball away.

X-FACTOR: Zach Collaros' health. The biggest story heading into this year's Liberty Bowl is also the biggest unknown. Collaros clearly wants to play his final game in a Bearcat uniform, and the Cincinnati staff appears to believe he can give that injured ankle a run. The all-conference senior will likely be able to throw from the pocket, but one of Collaros' greatest strengths is his mobility. How his ankle is able to handle rolling out of the pocket, and possibly scrambling downfield will play a huge role in how aggressively the Vanderbilt defense can bring pressure. If Collaros is a sitting duck in the pocket, it will be a green light for an opportunistic defense to try and create a big play.

Keep up with all the latest on Vanderbilt and Cincinnati at the Liberty Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Pinstripe Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Pinstripe Bowl

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers vs. Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State

Rutgers had one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation this season, finishing with an average of 91.5 yards per game. That mark put them at No. 115 among FBS schools, and has become is an immediate concern with head coach Greg Schiano indecisive about his starting quarterback for the bowl game. However, the dreadful statistics from the season do mask one glimmer of hope for the Scarlet Knights' rushing attack: sophomore Jawan Jamison.

Jamison ran for 90+ yards four different times this season, including a 200 yard, two touchdown performance in a 20-3 win against Cincinnati. It wasn't always consistent, but when Jamison got going good things happened for the Scarlet Knights. Schiano would prefer the run to set up the pass with his shaky quarterback situation, and the best chance he has is with Jamison.

The responsibility to keep Jamison in check will fall on Iowa State linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. The pair combined for 208 tackles this season, tied for the most of any other defensive duo in the Big 12. They will need to stuff the run early to force either Gary Nova or Chas Dodd into third and long situations. Then you can hope the turnover prone Scarlet Knights will slip up, giving Iowa State a chance to capitalize on the opportunity. But if Jamison can establish the run, he will give better coverage opportunities to All-Big East wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.

Keep up with all the latest on Rutgers and Iowa State at the Pinstripe Bowl Pregame

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Pinstripe Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

RUTGERS WILL WIN IF: They can limit turnovers and establish the run early. The Scarlet Knights have been their own worst enemy at times this season, turning the ball over more times (28) than any team in the Big East. The impact on the game's result has been clear, with Rutgers averaging 3.25 turnovers per game in their four losses while the average in their eight wins was 1.875. Head coach Greg Schiano has stressed a desire to let the run setup the pass in this matchup, and that will require a strong showing from sophomore running back Jawan Jamison. Jamison has been up and down during the regular season, and the Pinstripe Bowl will be his first healthy opportunity to follow up on his 200 yard, two touchdown effort in a win over Cincinnati on Nov. 19. Jamison suffered an ankle injury early in the regular season finale against Connecticut, and the offense sputtered down the stretch in a 40-22 loss.

IOWA STATE WILL WIN IF: They can get a big performance from Jared Barnett. The freshman quarterback took over the starting job midway through the season, finishing with a 3-2 record as a starter. Barnett was a huge part of Iowa State's upset of Oklahoma State, throwing for 376 yards and adding 84 rushing yards in the overtime win. The rookie sensation was not given an easy task for an encore, having to finish the season on the road against Oklahoma and Kansas State. But with extra time to prepare, expect the Cyclones to utilize Barnett along with running backs James White (701 yards, eight touchdowns) and Jeff Woody (360 yards, five touchdowns) in a spread zone read attack. If Iowa State can spread that disciplined Rutgers defense and create some gaps, Barnett, White, and Woody should have opportunities to create big plays for the Cyclones.

X-FACTOR: Iowa State's offensive preparation. Head coach Paul Rhodes holds no ill-will towards offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who has accepted the same position on Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State. But before making the final move to Columbus, Herman has pledged his dedication to preparation and execution of a game plan for the Pinstripe Bowl. Herman's creativity and talent as a play-caller has been obvious in Iowa State's surprising success during the 2011 season, and freshman quarterback Jared Barnett will need as much guidance as he can get heading into his first career bowl start. It's only natural to wonder if Tom Herman's focus over the holiday season has been split between the two positions, and question if that will have an effect in Iowa State's preparation for Rutgers.

Keep up with all the latest on Rutgers and Iowa State at the Pinstripe Bowl Pregame

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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.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com