College Football News and Notes Week 13

College Football News and Notes Week 13

LSU remains No. 1; Kansas, Mizzou set for showdown as 2 vs. 3
November 18th, 2007

New York, NY (Sports Network) - LSU remained the top team in the latest Associated Press college football poll, but losses by Oregon and Oklahoma this past week allowed Kansas and Missouri to take the next two spots and set up a mammoth showdown this coming Saturday in Kansas City.

LSU (10-1) received 60 first-place votes and 1,619 points from a nationwide media panel to retain the top spot for a second consecutive week. The Tigers toppled Ole Miss, 41-24, this past Saturday and will face Arkansas this coming Friday before a trip to the SEC Championship Game.

Kansas (11-0) moved up two spots from fourth, earning three first-place votes and 1,541 points after its 45-7 shellacking of Iowa State this past Saturday, while Missouri (10-1) garnered one No. 1 tally to jump three spots from sixth to third.

The Jayhawks and Tigers will play for the Big 12 North Division crown and a berth in the conference championship game this coming Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be the 116th meeting -- and the biggest -- in the long history of the Border Showdown rivalry.

West Virginia (9-1) also benefited from the losses by Oregon and Oklahoma, as the Mountaineers received a first-place vote and moved up one spot to fourth.

Ohio State, just two weeks removed from being the top-ranked team, is back in the national title hunt at No. 5. The Buckeyes (11-1) completed their season with a 14-3 victory over Michigan and will wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Georgia, Arizona State, Virginia Tech, Oregon and Oklahoma round out the top 10.

The second 10 consists of Southern California, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Boston College, Virginia, Boise State, Illinois, Tennessee and Connecticut.

Clemson, Wisconsin, Brigham Young, Cincinnati and Auburn are the last five teams ranked. BYU and Auburn are new to the poll this week, replacing Kentucky and Michigan.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend will provide for plenty of interesting games, including the Turkey Day matchup between Southern California and Arizona State in Tempe.

A berth in the ACC Championship Game is on the line Saturday in Charlottesville when Virginia hosts Virginia Tech, while the Big East crown is up for grabs when Connecticut visits West Virginia.

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Oklahoma QB Bradford suffers concussion
November 17th, 2007

Lubbock, TX (Sports Network) - University of Oklahoma starting quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a concussion during the Sooners' 34-27 loss to Texas Tech Saturday night.

Bradford departed the contest after Oklahoma's first offensive play. Bradford made a tackle after teammate Allen Patrick fumbled.

"Sam was making the tackle there and got dinged," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "How serious it is, we'll just have to continue to see, but it was whatever form of concussion, so we weren't going to put him back out there."

However, Bradford came back out for another series after suffering the concussion before giving way to Joey Halzle.

"That's when we realized it, because he didn't say anything before that and that's when we realized it," Stoops said after Bradford came out for the second time. "I'm not sure whether it was a trainer or one of the players who said, 'Wait a second, he's not where he needs to be,' That's when they grabbed him and looked at him."

Bradford wasn't the only injury suffered by the Sooners. Stoops said wide receiver Adron Tennell tore an anterior cruciate and defensive end Alan Davis had a concussion. Also, running back DeMarco Murray's knee cap shifted.

The loss on Saturday put a damper on Oklahoma's hopes for a national title. The Sooners came into the game ranked third in the nation in the Associated Press poll and fourth in the BCS.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Gators expect Harvin back against FSU
November 18, 2007

Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's Percy Harvin worked out with teammates Sunday, and coach Urban Meyer expected the team's most dynamic receiver back against rival Florida State.

Harvin's return would give quarterback Tim Tebow and the 12th-ranked Gators a full complement of receivers for the first time in more than two months.

"I think we're a pretty special group if we're all healthy and we're all on it," Meyer said Sunday, a day after his team beat Florida Atlantic 59-20. "That helps Tebow obviously and helps the run game and helps everything."

Florida's receiving corps has been banged up most of the season.

Harvin was slowed during fall practice because of tendinitis in his knee and in his Achilles' tendon. Andre Caldwell sprained a ligament in his right knee in the second week of the season and missed most of the next four games. Riley Cooper had surgery last month to repair a broken finger and went five games without a catch.

Shortly after Caldwell returned, Cornelius Ingram sprained an ankle and played sparingly against Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.

Then Harvin's latest problem came up.

He missed the last two weeks of practice because of a sinus infection -- all while enduring painful migraines. He didn't travel with the team to South Carolina, then spent five days in the school infirmary last week. Doctors performed a CT scan and an MRI in hopes of diagnosing the cause of the headaches.

"They've done all kind of tests on him, and they were trying different medicines and they finally found the one that knocked the migraine out," Meyer said. "I think they tried three or four different IV medicines, and they found the one that kind of made it at least bearable."

Harvin was on the sideline and in the locker room Saturday, but a more encouraging sign for Meyer came the following day when he saw the 5-foot-11 speedster in the weight room.

"He says he's feeling a lot better," Meyer said. "I'm hoping he's ready to go."

If not, the Gators (8-3) still might be OK. They have scored 110 points in the two games without Harvin, thanks mostly to Tebow and Caldwell.

Tebow threw for 304 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 120 yards and five scores against the Gamecocks. The Heisman Trophy hopeful had 338 yards passing and three touchdowns and 31 yards rushing and a score against the Owls, becoming the first player in major college history with 20 touchdowns passing and rushing in the same season.

Caldwell has been Tebow's favorite target. The senior caught 11 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown at South Carolina, then followed it with 13 catches for 164 yards against Florida Atlantic. He also broke Carlos Alvarez's school record for receptions, finishing the game with 177.

"It was a remarkable moment for me," said Caldwell, who has 33 catches for 415 yards and three touchdowns the last three games.

Although Florida should be healthy at receiver against the Seminoles (7-4), the Gators could be without three defenders.

Cornerback Joe Haden sprained an ankle, defensive tackle Mike Pouncey hyper-extended a knee and defensive lineman Lawrence Marsh injured a foot. Meyer expected to know more about their injuries Monday.

Meyer does expect to have return man Brandon James back Saturday. James, who is fourth nationally in punt returns (18.7) and 13th in kickoff returns (29.0) sat out Saturday's game for violating team rules.

"There's certain things we expect of you on the field and off the field, and he didn't fulfill his obligation this week, so he didn't play," Meyer said.

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Sooners' leading rusher DeMarco Murray to miss Saturday's game.
November 19, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -Oklahoma's leading rusher DeMarco Murray has a dislocated kneecap and will miss Saturday's game against Oklahoma State.

Murray, who has 764 yards and 11 touchdowns for the 10th-ranked Sooners, was injured while trying to recover an onside kick in the final minute of a 34-27 loss at Texas Tech. The loss knocked Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) out of the national championship picture.

Coach Bob Stoops made the announcement during Monday's Big 12 coaches' conference call.

Murray was among four Oklahoma players injured against Texas Tech. Quarterback Sam Bradford sustained a concussion, and Stoops his playing status will be determined later in the week.

Receiver Adron Tennell tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season, and defensive end Alan Davis was also hurt.

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Brown lost for year

TCU coach Gary Patterson said his team still has a lot of work to do.

"And we'll have to do it without one of our best players," he said.

Horned Frogs starting junior tailback Aaron Brown is lost for the remainder of the season, including any potential bowl game, after suffering a severe right ankle injury in the third quarter of Saturday's 34-10 victory over UNLV at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Patterson doesn't discuss specifics of player injuries, but players are prepared to assume more responsibility with Brown's loss.

"Here, you have to be ready," tailback Joseph Turner said. "That's how we practice. You got to know everything, you got to know every position. If you're not ready to go, Coach won't put you in, but you've got to be ready."

Backup quarterback Marcus Jackson said other players will have to step up, and remembered how he had that experience last year when he had to enter the Baylor game. He also recalled what longtime TCU assistant coach Dick Winder told him.

"Winder always said you're one play away from playing," Jackson said. "We've always had that mentality."

Brown's loss comes after TCU finished with 58 carries for a season-high 251 yards rushing against the Rebels. It was the 20th consecutive time TCU had won when rushing for at least 167 yards.

"We're a running team," Turner said. "When we run real good, the pass opens up. If we get the run game established, we can dump it over their head."

By halftime, TCU had 32 carries for 181 yards, led by quarterback Andy Dalton, who had a team-high eight carries for 58 yards.

Dalton entered Saturday's game ranked sixth on the team in rushing with 82 yards on 68 carries, but had a team-high 12 carries for 60 yards in TCU's 27-22 loss to BYU. Against UNLV, he scored two of the Horned Frogs' first half touchdowns on a pair of 3-yard runs.

"You don't have a coverage made up that covers the quarterback," Patterson said. "Nobody does unless you've got a spy on him or doing other things. That adds another dimension and makes you have to account for him. It makes it a lot easier to do other things."

On all four scoring drives, which ended on touchdown runs, TCU had over half of its plays on each drive come on the ground. Dalton's first score was set up, though, following a 32-yard pass to Shae Reagan.

After that, TCU got three runs for 44 yards, including Dalton's 11-yarder to the Rebels' 12-yard line. Brown then gained 2 yards, and Dalton added 7 more before putting TCU up 14-0 on the first of his 3-yard touchdown runs. Brown scored on a 10-yard run, then Dalton followed with his second TD run to put the Frogs up 28-0.

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EARLY COLLEGE "LOOKING FOR AN ANGLE"

Southern Cal at ARIZONA STATE (Thursday)...ASU made valiant comeback try in 28-21 loss at Coliseum LY. Sun Devils roared back from 21-0 deficit to tie game at end of 3rd Q before USC scored winning TD with 4:29 to play. ASU is 7-2-1 as home dog since ‘97, but Trojan mentor Carroll is perfect 22-0 SU in the month of November since taking over at SC in 2001.

Alabama at AUBURN...One of Alabama HC Saban’s primary goals when taking over is to end frustrating 5-game losing streak in "Iron Bowl." Tide outgained Auburn 364-261 LY, but Bama couldn’t overcome 4-1 TO deficit in 22-15 loss "on the plains."

Utah at BYU...Underdog has covered 8 of past 9 in this rivalry for the "Beehive Boot" (those 8 decided by total of just 33 pts.). BYU snapped 4-game series losing streak in last-second 33-31 victory in Salt Lake City LY. Cougs went on 75-yd. drive, and on game’s final play QB Beck scrambled & threw 11-yd. TD pass to pull out win.

Georgia at GEORGIA TECH...In ‘06, Georgia Tech assistants were promised a bonus as extra incentive if Engineers could end 5-game losing streak vs. hated rival UGA. The monetary motivation didn’t work in LY’s 15-12 setback "tween the hedges," with GT offense again failing to score greater than 17 pts. in any of those 6 straight setbacks. Dawgs needed 4-yd. TD pass from QB Stafford with just 1:45 to eke out win.

Miami-Ohio at OHIO...Resurgent M-O sky high for rematch, as RedHawks’ 6-game series win streak was snapped in LY’s 34-24 loss in Oxford. Improved Miami defense will focus on Bobcats premier RB McRae, who piled up 180 YR, including TD jaunts of 48 & 66 yds!

Tulsa at RICE...This game elicits mixed emotions for new Tulsa HC Todd Graham, who served as Rice head honcho for just one year (‘06) before returning to Golden Hurricane, where he served as d.c. from ‘02-‘05. C-USA contender Tulsa amped for rematch following 41-38 home upset loss in '06 (DD-favored Hurricane’s only home defeat LY). Tulsa seriously outgained Rice 578-356, but season-high 4 TOs led to its demise. Owls are a hootin’ 19-5-1 as home dog since ‘97.

Cincinnati at SYRACUSE... "Investing" in Bearcat mentor Brian Kelly has been a wise idea, as he has compiled 25-7-3 spread mark since ‘05 (at both Central Michigan & Cincy). Floundering ‘Cuse just 1-5 vs. spread last 6 in sparsely-attended Carrier Dome. Bearcat defense had its finest moment of ‘06 in LY’s 17-3 series victory, allowing season-low 180 yds.

Oregon at UCLA...UCLA has thrived as home dog, going 8-2-1 in role since ‘97 (2-0 TY). Oregon has won 3 straight in Rose Bowl, but as an avg. 3-pt. dog (DNP in ‘05).

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THIS WEEK IN PARADISE

Tigers target Jayhawks

The NCAA football season is quickly winding down, and the top schools are scrambling for a good spot in the BCS bowl games. This week’s marquee matchup comes from the Big 12, where the surprising Kansas Jayhawks will try to remain undefeated against Missouri.

No. 3 Missouri (10-1) at No. 2 Kansas (11-0)

The Jayhawks are one of two remaining unbeaten teams, along with Hawaii, and they will host the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium with a berth in the Big 12 championship game on the line. The Tigers have won five in a row since losing at Oklahoma on October 13, as the nation’s fourth-ranked offense had another impressive day in a 49-32 win over Kansas State. Chase Daniel threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns for the Tigers, who have scored at least 31 points in every game this season. The Jayhawks rolled to a 45-7 rout of Iowa State behind 566 yards of offense, led by Todd Reesing’s 253 yards and four touchdowns. The Jayhawks open as a 2-point favorite at home in this massive Big 12 contest, as Kansas will be trying to avenge last season’s 42-17 loss to the Tigers.

No. 11 USC (8-2) at No. 7 Arizona State (9-1)

The Trojans head to Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday needing a win to claim the Pac-10 championship, with USC in the midst of a tough closing stretch. The Trojans forced three turnovers in their 24-17 win at California last week, and Chauncey Washington had a huge day with 220 yards and a touchdown on the ground for USC. The Sun Devils had to scrap for a 24-20 win at UCLA behind 200 yards and a touchdown pass from Rudy Carpenter. The Trojans are 3.5-point road favorites in this Pac-10 clash. The USC defense versus the powerful Arizona State offense should be the matchup to watch in this encounter.

No. 20 Connecticut (9-2) at No. 4 West Virginia (9-1)

The Huskies meet West Virginia at Mountaineers Field this weekend with a chance to take the Big East title, as Connecticut has won four of their past five games. The Huskies romped to a 30-7 win at home over Syracuse, forcing three turnovers and running for 185 yards. Pat White and Steve Slaton combined for 258 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in West Virginia’s 28-23 win at Cincinnati, and they can get in the driver’s seat in the Big East with a victory this weekend as well. The Mountaineers are 17-point home favorites in this crucial game, as they are tough at home and their third-ranked rushing offense makes them incredibly difficult to stop.

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Purdue WR Lymon kicked off team
November 20, 2007

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -Purdue wide receiver Selwyn Lymon was dismissed from the team Tuesday after being charged with drunken driving for the second time this year.

``Selwyn is the victim of making some very poor choices, and, in addition to dealing with the legal ramifications of those poor choices, he no longer will be a part of the football program at Purdue,'' coach Joe Tiller said in a statement.

A Tippecanoe County court magistrate on Monday ordered Lymon jailed without bond. He also was charged with resisting arrest and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device required as a condition of previous charges.

The Associated Press left a phone message seeking comment from his lawyer, Mathew Scott Sandy.

Police said Lymon had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly double the legal limit for driving in Indiana, when he was stopped about 3:15 a.m. Sunday in West Lafayette.

Prosecutors filed drunken driving and other charges against Lymon in September, following a March 20 fight outside a West Lafayette nightclub during which he was stabbed in the chest.

Lymon caught three passes for 35 yards Saturday during Purdue's 27-24 loss to Indiana. The junior from Fort Wayne had 40 catches for 450 yards and two touchdowns for Purdue (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten).

Tiller said he planned to meet with Lymon.

``As a human being, we will support him and do whatever we can to help him earn his degree,'' Tiller said.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Oregon State RB Yvenson Bernard has surgery on his right knee
November 20, 2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard had surgery on his right knee Tuesday.

Beaver coach Mike Riley described the procedure as a scope to clean up Bernard's knee, which was injured in the first half of the Beavers' 52-17 victory at Washington State last Saturday.

Oregon has a bye this week before playing Oregon at Autzen Stadium in the annual Civil War rivalry game.

``It's questionable at best for his return in time for the Civil War,'' Riley said. ``We feel better about his chances to play in our bowl game. But, we're talking about Yvenson Bernard, so I won't rule out anything at this point.''

Bernard, a senior, has rushed for 3,685 career yards, second most in Oregon State history.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo

Last week's 0-4 showing has simply reaffirmed what we've learned this season: early week steam moves are no indicator of actual against the spread performance. We've been tracking the games with the strongest early line movements all season and over the past seven weeks alone following the "sharp" early action would have net a subpar 17-24 ATS mark. It was certainly worth tracking, but in the end we proved that, at least for one season, there's no reason to get scared off a play simply because the line moves heavily against you early in the week.

These are the games that have seen the most significant early movement heading into college football's Week 14:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Texas Christian at San Diego State (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17)

Open: TCU -8.0.
Current: TCU -11.0.

Apparently the books are assuming that the Aztecs have mailed it in. San Diego State got bombed 55-23 last week against Air Force and now face one of the top defenses in the nation. TCU has covered three straight games and hammered the Aztecs 52-0 last year in Fort Worth. However, that may provide this SDS squad with some extra motivation and, in a season that's given us plenty of shockers, why couldn't this be one more?

Toledo at Bowling Green (2:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23)
Open: Bowling Green -8.5.
Current: Bowling Green -6.0.

One of the MAC's most venerable rivalries kicks off this weekend. Toledo has covered three straight in this series but the home team is a stellar 7-1 against the spread. Bowling Green is looking to lock up a solid bowl game and are equipped to handle the high-octane offense of the Rockets.

Texas at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23)
Open: Texas -9.0.
Current: Texas -5.5.

We have a strong reverse line movement on this game with over 70 percent of the early action backing the Longhorns despite the line dipping below several key numbers. Each team has had two weeks to prepare so we should expect a sharp effort from both. The home team is 7-2 against the spread in this series and in a tumultuous season this rivalry game means everything to Dennis Franchione.

Southern Methodist at Memphis (2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24)
Open: Memphis -11.0.
Current: Memphis -7.5.

After a start to the season that was just pathetic enough to make me go away from one of my expected sleepers, the Memphis Tigers have posted a strong 5-2-1 ATS run over the last three-quarters of the year. SMU is just an awful, horrible team and have virtually nothing to play for so I'm actually not certain what makes them such an appealing play. The Mustangs are 7-21 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to ten and are 3-9 ATS in their last 12. However, because of the reverse line movement this should be a game to stay away from.

UNLV at New Mexico (5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24)
Open: New Mexico -14.0.
Current: New Mexico -10.5.

The Lobos have been a bottomless pit for their backers this season. New Mexico is a solid 7-4 overall but just 3-8 against the spread. But they are still a tempting play against a UNLV team that has dropped seven straight games while going 2-5 ATS. The Rebels are just 1-11 ATS playing on the road after a straight-up loss but are 5-1 ATS in their final game of the year. I think this game is for masochists only.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Friedgen lukewarm on plans for Turner

QB will start, then 'we'll see how he plays,' coach says

If Maryland quarterback Chris Turner was looking for a declaration of support from his coach heading into Saturday's all-important game at North Carolina State, he got it yesterday.

Sort of.

At his weekly news conference, coach Ralph Friedgen gave Turner a less-than-ringing endorsement in announcing that the redshirt sophomore, who is ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing efficiency in the six weeks since he became the starter, would start against the Wolfpack in Raleigh, N.C..

"We'll start off with Chris and see how he plays," Friedgen said yesterday.

After practice, Turner, who was 16-for-32 for 242 yards and a touchdown in the Terps' 24-16 loss to Florida State on Saturday, was in full "Let's move on" mode.

"I wasn't happy, and I'm sure you can understand why," Turner said, referring to his being replaced for two series against Florida State. "We've talked, and we don't need the distraction. I just forgot how much of a perfectionist he is. I know that he's expecting that [perfection] out of everybody, and especially with me because I'm the quarterback. I respect that 100 percent. That's what I've learned and I'm going to stick by that."

Turner, who has completed 62.2 percent of his passes since taking over for injured starter Jordan Steffy in the 34-24 win over Rutgers on Sept. 29, was yanked by Friedgen in the second quarter in Tallahassee, after he went 6-for-12 in the first half with an interception and a week after he threw for three touchdowns in the Terps' upset of Boston College.

On the series before Turner was replaced, the Terps were called for a false start after a timeout, then Turner missed receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. All of that happened after the quarterback had stopped in the middle of a play, thinking he heard a whistle.

To top it off, Friedgen, who doubles as offensive coordinator and calls the plays, apparently made the change without telling his quarterbacks coach, John Donovan. Yesterday, Friedgen played down talk that there was miscommunication.

"I made the decision [to make the quarterback change], and I'm going to make that decision," said Friedgen, who added that he couldn't remember whether he had told Donovan that he was making the change while they were on the phone.

Donovan "is not watching Chris. He's watching the defense. He's breaking down the defense. The communication I had with him is not what Chris is doing but what the defense is doing."

The move caught Turner and some of his offensive teammates off guard.

"I was surprised," running back Lance Ball said. "I didn't think he was doing that bad. It did kind of disrupt the flow of the game a little bit. But mentally, Chris was ready to go back there and try to do something with it. He came back and played with a little bit more poise. It was his first time playing in Doak Campbell [Stadium]. It was just inexperience. I thought he came back and played pretty well."

Tight end Joey Haynos said, "Chris is a pretty resilient guy. He's been through some rough stuff. He's pretty tough, and he's going to keep on growing and maturing. He's just grown so much. He's going to be a good quarterback."

Friedgen and the Terps (5-6, 2-5 ACC) have more to worry about than quarterback play. Maryland needs to win Saturday to get to six victories, which would make it bowl-eligible.

To get there, Friedgen figures he needs more consistency and more healthy players, which might go hand-in-hand. Some of the team's walking wounded -- namely offensive lineman Andrew Crummey, defensive back Christian Varner and Ball -- are slowly returning to practice and could be ready to play Saturday.

Linebacker Erin Henderson, who hasn't practiced in a few weeks but played against Florida State, said he expects to play Saturday.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Fumbles may send Pitt's McCoy to bench

The Pitt Panthers are embroiled in a quarterback controversy as their last home game approaches, and the tailback position could be the next clouded in uncertainty.

Running backs coach David Walker said yesterday that talented freshman LeSean McCoy has to do a better job of securing the football when he runs or he'll lose playing time. McCoy has fumbled five times in the past six games and the Panthers have lost three of them. Two of the lost fumbles have come at crucial times in close losses over the past three weeks.

The Panthers were trailing, 17-10, in the third quarter of their 20-16 loss Saturday to Rutgers when McCoy caught a short pass from Kevan Smith and ran to the Rutgers 22. It would have given Pitt a first down and put them in position for at least a field-goal attempt, but McCoy fumbled while trying to get an extra yard and Rutgers recovered.

It was McCoy's second fumble of the game -- he was able to recover his first one -- and LaRod Stephens-Howling was in the backfield for Pitt's next offensive series. McCoy also lost a fumble near the goal line with 1:10 to play in Pitt's 24-17 loss Oct. 27 at Louisville.

Walker said that if McCoy doesn't quickly find a cure to his case of "fumblitis," Stephens-Howling will be the Panthers featured back once again. The Panthers (4-6, 2-3 Big East) already are trying to decide whether freshman Pat Bostick or redshirt freshman Kevan Smith will start at quarterback Saturday against South Florida (8-3, 3-3) at Heinz Field.

"We've already talked with LeSean about it and part of his maturation of a ballcarrier is he has to do a better job of protecting it, and if he can't protect it, then he can't carry the ball," Walker said. "The easiest thing all players understand is playing time, and that goes for whether they are doing something right or doing something wrong, so that is the number one solution because we have another guy that won't fumble the ball.

"Number two is, you can keep concentrating on [ball security] and keep coaching it in drills every time a guy gets a rep in drills. But the solution to this is easy -- the solution is [Stephens-Howling]. So I'd tell you my solution is easy -- either [McCoy] can learn how to carry the ball or he won't play. It is real simple."

Walker said he knows that McCoy, who usually speaks to the media on Wednesdays but is not being made available this week, is a freshman and is learning, but sometimes a tough love approach is the best.

Walker, who was a standout running back at Syracuse, also doesn't buy the rationalization that McCoy has fumbled in situations when he was trying to make extra yards. He said the most important thing for any running back is to hold on to the football.

"Maybe it is a little bit of him trying to do too much, but he'll learn that holding the ball is more important than the extra inch you are trying to get at that particular juncture of the play," Walker said.

"If we're trying to make a play and the ball is on the goal line and you are trying to extend the ball, that's another issue, but if you have the first down and the ball is inside the 25 you just have to know when to say when."

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt attempted to soften Walker's stance a little bit when he was asked about McCoy's fumbles but agreed that it could become a problem. He told a story about how former Pitt star Tony Dorsett used to carry the ball as if he were palming a basketball and how it always made coaches nervous. He said that McCoy, along with many great ones, has similar traits.

"Penalties and turnovers are something that you ask 'Are we coaching it? Are we working on it at practice?' " Wannstedt said. "If a guy is a repeated penalty offender, he can't play, and that goes with throwing interceptions. And LeSean has to realize he has to protect the ball better. But I don't think it is a problem with LeSean and I am not concerned about it because some guys are fumblers, but he is not."

Fumble issues aside, Walker is looking forward to working with McCoy in the offseason because he believes there are several areas that he can improve. McCoy has carried 220 times for 1,125 yards (5.1 per carry) and he has scored 11 touchdowns.

"He is a work in progress," Walker said. "He has been very productive in what we've asked him to do and we've asked him, at certain times, to carry the offense. But he will continue to improve, both with the ball in his hands and without the ball in his hands. And in order to be a complete guy and be exceptional and be considered one of the best, you have to make plays both with and without the ball in your hands, and he is working on it."

www.post-gazette.com

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Locker likely to make comeback

Jake Locker tried to keep 'em guessing.

Sitting at a table in front of a microphone answering questions Monday, Washington's Locker turned stiffly, slowly, his strained neck appearing no better than a week ago.

Finally, he let the cat out of the bag.

"I'm just joking around with you guys," Locker said as he began moving his neck with ease, adding that he thought about going for the full effect and wearing a neck brace.

Indeed, he says he has 100 percent mobility in his neck, and if so, will almost certainly be the starter for the Huskies in the Apple Cup on Saturday.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham was vague on the topic during his news conference Monday. But on his radio show later in the day, Willingham said that assuming that all goes as expected this week and Locker has no physical setbacks, "I'll probably go with Jake Locker" as the starter.

Notes

• WSU backup defensive end Mike Graise is considered questionable and backup Kevin Kooyman, is doubtful. Both have missed recent games with high ankle sprains.

www.seattletimes.com

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Hawaii quarterback says he is 'as close to 100 percent as possible'

Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan watched uncomfortably Friday night as the Warriors eked out a 28-26 win at Nevada.

He didn't like standing on the sideline - but he did it knowing that he would be healthy for this week's WAC championship showdown with Boise State.

No. 17 Boise State (10-1 overall, 7-0 WAC) - the five-time defending WAC champion - visits No. 14 Hawaii (10-0, 7-0) on Friday night at Aloha Stadium. The game kicks off at 7:06 p.m. MST and will air on ESPN2.

"That's why I sat out last week - so I could be 100 percent for the rest of the season," Brennan said Monday. "Now I don't have anything to worry about. I'm as close to 100 percent as possible."

Brennan took just two snaps in the Warriors' win Friday at Nevada after sustaining a mild concussion Nov. 10 against Fresno State. He threw two screen passes. The plays were put in the game plan to set up a package later in the game where Brennan would have thrown deep, he said, but backup Tyler Graunke played well enough that those plays weren't necessary.

Brennan said his team and the community already are pumped about this week's sold-out game. The Broncos are 6-0 against the Warriors in WAC play, including a 44-41 win in 2005 in Honolulu and a 41-34 win in 2006 in Boise.

"The struggle has just been to get here, to get to this point," Brennan said. "Everyone has been wanting to play Boise with the last two years - how crazy those games have been, how well we've done and come away with losses. We're dying to play Boise. To be here finally, it's a relief."

Brennan, a Heisman Trophy candidate, ranks fourth in the nation in pass efficiency (161.3) with 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He has missed two and a half games with injuries.

"He's a special player," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "He's just got a great knack for finding receivers. He's one of those guys that's got 'it.' "

NO SIGHTSEEING FOR BRONCOS


The Broncos are staying at a hotel right on the beach in Waikiki - but the beach might be more rumor than experience, at least until after the game.

The Broncos arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday night and will spend nearly all day Thursday in team functions such as meetings, a walk-through practice and meals.

The players should have some free time after the game because the team doesn't leave until Saturday morning. Junior tailback Ian Johnson, of course, met his wife after the Broncos' game in Hawaii two years ago.

"You really don't see the beach," Johnson said. "Your every 5 minutes are planned out to a T. Until after the game, you don't have any free time to go sit in the water, to go look at one shop. They strategically place us so you can't get to the beach without them knowing."

Past Bronco teams have had a little more time in Hawaii and have visited Pearl Harbor or other tourist destinations. This year's team won't do any of that, Petersen said.

The team also doesn't have much special planned to observe Thanksgiving. Players will be able to see their family members who make the trip, but the day will be treated like any other.

"We're going over there not for a vacation," Petersen said. "We're going over there to play a game. That's one of the traps teams can fall into. Hawaii is a beautiful place. You think it's time to relax and enjoy the people around you. That's playing right into their hands."

Boise State lost one day of preparation for the Hawaii game, the day the team usually uses to review the previous game. The players took Sunday off while the coaches developed the game plan - they did not do any work in advance, Petersen said - and practice began Monday. The Broncos will practice Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning and leave campus at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The team will report to the Varsity Center for meetings at 8 a.m. Wednesday. By the time the players go to bed - after a charter flight to Los Angeles and a commercial flight to Honolulu - it will be 3 a.m. MST.

That's a 19-hour day.

Hawaii, meanwhile, is on a fairly regular schedule.

"We're going to be extremely comfortable," Brennan said.

www.idahostatesman.com

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

News and Notes - Week 13
Northcoast Sports 

Toledo lost starting QB Opelt to injury in the 4Q and his backup, DJ Lenehan was 0-4 in his place. UT had a 313-206 yd edge at the half but Lenehan's first pass was int'd at the Ball St 13 which set up a Ball St TD which clinched the win for the Cardinals. UT did not generate a FD under Lenehan in their final 3 series...

N Texas and their 17 seniors suffered a tough loss in their final home game. NT led by as much as 21-0 and it was 27-17 with 7:08 left. NT missed a 26 yd FG which would have put them up by 6 with 1:18 left and ASU, driving for a tying FG, got a 2nd & 10, 27 yd TD pass with :02 left for the win...

Last week Miami, Oh was int'd in the EZ not once or twice, but three times costing them 21 points. Leading 7-0 MU passed up a 41 yd FG with the wind at their backs with 5:50 left and were SOD. Akron converted on 4th & 8 and got to the Miami 21 but a 4th & 10 pass was incomplete with 2:05 left as Miami won 7-0 on Wednesday night...

C Michigan wrapped up the MAC West Championship but they did not win the Michigan MAC Championship. The Award given out by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame goes annually to the team with the best record in games involving EM, CM and WM and EM finished 2-0 after pulling a 48-45 upset of CM. CM drove to the EM 14 but a 15 yd personal foul penalty pushed them back and they missed a 52 yd tying FG on the game's final play...

Hawaii's season is mirroring that of Boise St's last year. After another narrow road escape in which Colt Brennan only played 2 snaps and did not start, Tyler Graunke hit 33 of 46 for 358 yds, basically ending any hopes Brennan had for the Heisman Trophy. UH jumped out to a 12-0 lead but needed two Dan Kelly 45 yd FG's with :11 left. Kelly drilled the first one but Nevada had called time-out just before the kick so he had to rekick it. Kelly still nailed the 45 yarder with plenty to spare...

With Bobby Bowden's win and Joe Paterno's loss, Bowden moved into solid position to hold on to his lead for all-time career wins by a coach...

Wyoming came in allowing just 309 ypg. BYU, which had been avg 448 yds put up 497 in a dominating win. We used a 4H LPS on BYU and it was a comfortable victory with BYU having 303 yds in the 1H and leading 21-3 in a lead that could have been larger...

Illinois wrapped up a New Year's Day Bowl even though they were playing the week after their upset of Ohio St. They piled up 32 FD's and 541 yards vs Northwestern and led 35-7 after their 2nd drive of the 3Q in an easy 41-22 win...

Army had season highs for points and yards (rushing and passing) but the key play of the game came with :10 left in the half and Army leading 24-21. Tulsa got a 50 yd TD pass for the lead and did not trail again. Army got as close as 42-39 when Tulsa fmbl'd at their 6 but Army was SOD 4 plays later and Tulsa drove 11 yds for the game clinching TD...

Surprising stat from the Kansas St/Missouri game was that at the half KSU had a 248-145 yd edge. Missouri dominated the 2H outscoring KSU 28-7 until KSU got a garbage TD with 2:04 left to lose by 17...

Kansas QB Todd Reesing remained unbeaten as a starter in college ball and his 33 TD passes in just 11 games this year is just 2 shy of the school's career TD pass record. He also has 205 consecutive passes without an int and sets up what is the biggest Kansas/Missouri game ever and the series used to be known as The Border Showdown...

Duke was playing on National TV for the first time since 1996 and the game was befitting of a pair of 1-9 teams when it was 0-0 with under 2:00 left in the half. A key play was when ND converted on 4th & 1 with a 24 yd run down to the Duke 25 and got a 25 yd TD pass on the next play (1:17). Duke fumbled with just :16 left in the half and on 2nd & 10 the Irish got a 25 yd TD and turned a scoreless game into a 14-0 lead. ND built it to 28-0 before allowing Duke a garbage TD with 1:12 left...

Michigan players Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long all finished winless vs Ohio St. The game was played in rain and some snow and OSU dominated with a 16-8 FD and 279-91 yd edges. The key players were Beanie Wells who rushed for an OSU/Mich series record 222 yds and DE Vernon Gholston who harassed a banged up Henne all game long and finished with 3 sacks. OSU ended the game at the UM 8 yd line taking a knee and after Chris Wells 62 yd TD run 1:20 into the 3Q which gave the Buckeyes a 14-3 lead. There were 12 consecutive punts until Michigan was SOD at their own 33 with 3:03 left...

Boston College trailed Clemson most of the game but rallied for their 2nd huge win on the road in ACC play after earlier knocking off Virg Tech in Blacksburg. The victory iced the ACC Title appearance for BC and Matt Ryan moved into the top 3 in the Heisman chase...

Penn St appeared to have a comfortable win over Michigan St leading 24-7 after a fake FG for a TD in the 3Q and still led 31-21 in the 4Q but the Spartans, thanks in part to a fake punt on 4th & 5 from its own 25 rallied for a 35-31 win...

Air Force got their first undefeated home season since 1998 in a dominating 55-23 win over San Diego St. The Falcons piled up 569 yds rushing and 670 yards overall...

Ole Miss played a solid game vs LSU and in fact had a 466-396 yd edge. A couple of key plays hurt their chances. Ole Miss drove 57 yards to the LSU 2 on its 2nd drive but fumbled as RB Green-Ellis was trying to stretch the ball across the goal line. Ole Miss had a 215-165 yd edge at the half but trailed 14-7. Threatening to tie the game just before half, QB Schaeffer was called for a delay of game and they put Adams in and he threw an int in the EZ. LSU went on to a 17 point win...

Indiana led Purdue 24-3 in the 3Q with over double the yards but PU battled back to tie it at 24 with 3:39 left. Indy went on a 45/12pl drive with Austin Starr's 49 yd FG sending the first sellout crowd of the year into hysterics with :30 left for the 27-24 win guaranteeing Indiana a bowl...

Wisconsin was without RB PJ Hill but Zach Brown rushed for a career high 250 yds in his place. The Badgers trailed Minnesota 13-3 but went on to a 41-34 win to claim the Paul Bunyan Axe...

On October 13th, Cal was on their way to being #1 in the country but lost to Oregon. Last week, Cal took on a Washington team missing its star QB Jake Locker and lost for its 5th time in six games and only has hope for making it to a minor bowl...

Tennessee got their 2nd largest comeback in school history. They trailed Vanderbilt 24-9 but got 16 points in the 4Q. They were also fortunate that VU's 49 yd FG bounced off the upright with :30 left, possibly costing VU a bowl and possibly sending UT to the SEC Title game...

Tim Tebow became the first player in NCAA history to have at least 20 TD's passing and rushing in the same season. His 20 rushing TD's was an SEC record topping UGA's Garrison Hearst ('92), LSU's LaBrandon Toefield ('01) and Alabama's Shaun Alexander ('99). Florida only led 35-20 at the half but scored the game's final 24 pts to get the cover...

The Tar Heels have not won outside the state of NC since 2002 when they beat Arizona St. They had a great shot at beating Georgia Tech but settled for too many FG's and then leading 25-24, allowed GT a 27 yd FG with :16 left. NC did get a 24 yd pass but their 63 yd FG on the final play was blk'd...

W Michigan finally played up to their potential and piled up 489 yds vs a tough Iowa D. WM jumped out to a 19-0 lead and pulled the upset 28-19 in a game that will likely cost Iowa a trip to the post season...

San Jose St had a 474-413 yd edge vs LA Tech but settled for a 22 yd FG late 3Q and ended up losing by 4...

Tulane RB Matt Forté who leads the NCAA in rushing, had 194 yds and tied his own CUSA record with 5 TD's vs Rice. He now has 2,007 yards on the season and Tulane led 45-24 before Rice got a garbage TD with :25 left...

UCF RB Kevin Smith had 177 yards rushing and 2 TD's in the 1H as UCF built up a 35-13 lead vs SMU but then did not play in the 2H. SMU was pounded 49-20 in Phil Bennett's final home game as head coach...

ULM came in 0-11 vs SEC schools but Alabama was coming off an upset loss to Miss St, a loss to #1 LSU and had a huge game vs Auburn on deck, lost to ULM, 21-14. Alabama did have a 409-282 yd edge but a 4-0 TO deficit did them in...

South Florida showed why they were as high as #2 in the polls earlier in the year with a dominating 55-17 win over L'ville.

MISLEADING FINALS, FRONTDOOR AND BACKDOOR COVERS

It's not often a P gets a punt pinned inside the 5 yd line but the UAB/Memphis game amazingly had punts downed at the 1, 1, 3, 7 and 1 yd lines. The game also featured a 12 play drive for a 26 yd FG, a 12 play drive for a 32 yd FG, an 82 yd drive for a 21 yd FG, a 10 play drive for a 24 yd FG and a 12 play drive for a 38 yd FG. UAB was also int'd at the Memphis 35 and int'd in the EZ for a TB and Memphis, despite piling up 563 yards, had just 25 points while UAB had 338 yards and just 9 points...

Idaho only trailed Boise St 17-14 scoring a TD with 3:10 left in the 1H. Boise went 73/9pl scoring a TD with :35 left to lead by 10. Boise, after 17 & 12 yd PR's got 29 and 58 yd drives for TD's but only led 38-14 late 3Q. They converted on a 3rd & 29 with a pass interference for a FD giving them a 45-14 lead. UI went on an 76 yd drive and had a FD at the Boise 13 but was SOD at the 17 and BSU got ahead of the spread going 83/4pl for a TD. After a 27 yd PR, BSU added a 17 yd TD pass, 58-14 with 6:10 left...

Houston led 28-14 and 35-21 in the 4Q but Marshall got the backdoor cover with a 69/7pl drive for a TD with 2:31 left. UH rec'd the onside kick and got a FD run to the 22 of Marshall but then took a knee...

W Virginia was in control vs Cincinnati leading 28-10 in the 4Q. The Bearcats got a TD with 7:14 left and then Pat White fumbled on the next 2 poss. His 2nd fumble set UC up at the W Virginia 24 with 4:30 left and their TD with 2:26 left gave UC the backdoor cover.

KEY PLAYS OF THE GAME

Pitt had a 268-219 yd edge vs. Rutgers but settled for 33, 21 and 32 yd FG's during the game. They trailed 20-16 when they had a 1st & goal at the 5. Pitt got the game winning TD with :23 left but it was called back for offensive pass interference moving Pitt back to the 21 and on 1st & goal from the 21, they were int'd in the EZ...

Mississippi St ended up with a 27-20 FD edge and 501-429 yd edge vs Arkansas. Trailing 38-24, MSU was driving for the backdoor cover when they were not only int'd, but ret'd 70 yds for a TD with 6:49 left. The key to the Bulldogs loss was 5 turnovers including when they trailed 45-31 and were int'd at midfield with 1:17 left to ice the win for the Hogs...

Bob Stoops' brother, Mike, took care of business by knocking off Oregon and giving the Sooners an easy path to the National Championship game. Unfortunately, OU's star QB Sam Bradford, who was leading the NCAA in pass efficiency was inj'd on their 2nd poss after hitting 2 of 3 passes for 11 yds. With 5:00 to go, OU appeared to have a TD as Johnson hauled in the 4th & 7 pass and had his foot down but amazingly replay officials said it was incomplete. It was the 2nd straight time OU was robbed in Lubbock.

TURNOVERS CAN BE A MAJOR FACTOR

Washington St was at home and playing for a bowl game but imploded with an amazing 7 int's and a fumble lost. They also ran a fake punt at midfield and were stopped and later had a 1st & goal at the 2 but were SOD at the 1 which was basically like 10 turnovers. In the 1H, OSU had scoring drives of 42, 30, 18 and 17 yards and WSU's last two drives of the 1H ended on int's at the OSU 11 and in the EZ and it was 31-3 at the half despite just a 216-143 yd edge.

INJURIES OF NOTE

There were two key plays in the Oregon/Arizona game. The first came with the Ducks up 8-0 and having a 1st & goal at the AZ 4. Dixon hit a perfect pass to the EZ which bounced off his WR's chest and instead of being caugth for a TD, Arizona got a 44 yd IR which set up a Cats TD. The Ducks were driving again when Dixon was injured and missed the rest of the game. Backup QB Leaf struggled and in fact, even hurt his ankle in the 2Q and was not 100%. Due to a 42 yd IR TD and 56 yd PR TD by Cason, AZ led 31-14 at the half despite being outgained 290-194. The Ducks offense was not the same without Dixon in the 2H. After the game it was revealed Dixon tore his ACL on Nov 3rd and tried to play with the injury. Dixon will undergo surgery this week which will end his fine career...

Due to injuries, Kent St was down to their 4th string QB Jon Brown. They actually led Temple 14-6 in the 3Q but Brown hit 1 of 11 passes in the 2H and was int'd an amazing 4 times. Kent St also had horrible punts of 10, 29 and 24 yards and Temple rallied for a 24-14 win in a game they did have 23-7 FD and 375-124 yd edges...

When Florida St's top RB Antone Smith was lost to a shoulder injury vs Virginia Tech, they moved their top WR, Preston Parker to RB. He had 51 yds on his first 4 carries and finished with 133 yards on 20 carries in his first start. FSU led 21-6 at the half and held on for a 24-16 win and ended the game at the Maryland 24...

Navy and N Illinois were both missing their starting QB's. NI backup Ryan Morris hit 21 of 35 for 206 yds and Navy's backup Jarod Bryant rushed for 139 yards on 27 carries hitting 3 of 6 passes in Navy's 35-24 win...

TCU RB Aaron Brown inj'd his ankle late 3Q and left the field on crutches in TCU's 34-10 win over UNLV

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 13

Bradford cleared to play vs. OSU
November 22, 2007

Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford was cleared to play Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Bradford, the nation's top-rated passer, sustained a concussion last weekend at Texas Tech, but doctors determined he's healthy enough to face the Cowboys.

"Everything has checked out and barring any unforeseen circumstances Sam will play this week," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Thursday in a statement.

Bradford was injured in the first quarter of Oklahoma's 34-27 loss at Texas Tech, which probably knocked the 10th-ranked Sooners (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) out of national title contention. He has thrown for 2,520 yards and 28 touchdowns with only six interceptions this season.

Backup quarterback Joey Halzle completed 21 of 41 passes for 291 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in relief of Bradford against Tech.

Stoops didn't release additional information about injured defensive end Auston English, who is doubtful for Saturday. English has missed the past two games with a hairline fracture in his leg.

Oklahoma will be without leading rusher DeMarco Murray (knee), defensive end Alan Davis (concussion) and backup receiver Adron Tennell (knee).

The Sooners can clinch the Big 12 South title with a victory over rival Oklahoma State (6-5, 4-3). A win would send them into the conference championship game in San Antonio on Dec. 1.

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