Saturday, August 31, 2013

Indiana Rolls Past Indiana St In Opener 73-35

Indiana's Nate Sudfeld threw four touchdown passes, and Tevin Coleman rushed for 169 yards and two more TDs in Thursday night's record-breaking 73-35 victory over Indiana State.

The Hoosiers (1-0) scored 45 points in the first half, their highest total since the school started keeping records in 1949, and broke the Memorial Stadium scoring record by topping the 69 points Nebraska scored in 1978. The 73 points are the second-most in school history and 10 touchdowns scored are the most in school history.

They made it look easy, too. The Hoosiers used only 3 minutes, 57 seconds to score six first-half touchdowns. Ted Bolser caught two TD passes to extend his own school record for tight ends, and Shane Wynn added three more with TD catches of 43 and 3 yards and a 58-yard punt return.

Shakir Bell ran 18 times for 113 yards for Indiana State (0-1) but left late in the first half with a separated right shoulder that could keep him out a couple of weeks.

Indiana delivered on its promise Thursday night. They were better than last year.

The Hoosiers showed how much they've improved during the offseason by dominating overmatched Indiana State in the record-breaking season-opener.

Tre Roberson and Sudfeld each threw touchdown passes, while Shane Wynn scored three touchdowns and Ted Bolser scored twice, and the Hoosiers' defense forced two turnovers and constantly harassed the Indiana State quarterbacks. And that was just in the first 30 minutes.

Indiana (1-0) produced its highest first-half point total (45) since the school started keeping track in 1949, broke the Memorial Stadium scoring record (69) by Nebraska in 1978 and would have broken the school's all-time scoring record (76) if the Hoosiers hadn't taken a knee four straight times inside the Indiana State 20 in the closing minutes.

While most analysts figured Indiana's explosive offense would score points by the dozens, few expected the Hoosiers to make it look this easy. They consumed only 3 minutes, 57 seconds on six first-half touchdowns.

And they dominated this game in every possible facet.

Wynn caught a 43-yard TD pass from Roberson and scored on a 58-yard punt return, Indiana's first since Tracy Porter seven years ago. He added a 3-yard TD catch in the third quarter, his only other catch of the night.

Bolser extended his school record for TD receptions by a tight end with scoring catches of 12 and 9 yards.

Tevin Coleman broke free for a 34-yard TD run on fourth-and-1, and finished with 14 carries, 169 yards and two scores.

After allowing Indiana State to tie the score at 7 in the first quarter, Indiana stopped the Sycamores nine straight times -- enough to give ticket-holders at the game a discount at a local watering hole. Half of the 28 points weren't even the fault of the defense. Indiana State scored on a fumble return just before the half ended and an interception return just after it.

Shakir Bell led the Sycamores with 18 carries for 113 yards before leaving late in the first half with a separated right shoulder. The two-time Walter Payton finalist is expected to miss a couple of weeks.

Minnesota Races Past UNLV 51-23 in Season Opener

Minnesota's Marcus Jones returned the second half kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and the Gophers pulled away for a 51-23 victory over UNLV on Thursday, the 23rd loss in a row on the road for the Rebels.

Minnesota, which scored twice on special teams, turned a tight game into a romp without any scoring by the offense for the first 23-plus minutes after the intermission. Ra'Shede Hageman blocked a field goal that Martez Shabazz picked up and raced for a 78-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun scored on an 89-yard interception return in the fourth.

UNLV's Tim Cornett rushed 20 times for 80 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown run to cap a commanding opening drive for the Rebels. Shaquille Murray-Lawrence gained 108 yards on four carries for UNLV, which last won away from Las Vegas was Oct. 24, 2009, at New Mexico.

Philip Nelson ran for two touchdowns for Minnesota, including a 48-yard sprint in the second quarter. His best throw of the night was to freshman tight end Maxx Williams at the edge of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left in the first half. That score gave the Gophers the lead for good.

Nelson, though, was off the mark a lot. He went 10 for 22 for 99 yards and an interception and also fumbled on second-and-goal at the 1-yard line late in the second quarter. He recovered, but after an overthrow left the Gophers settling for a field goal. Backup Mitch Leidner relieved him late and ran for a score of his own.

For the most part, the Rebels had the better sophomore quarterback. Nick Sherry, who finished 35 for 50 for 226 yards, threw across his body on fourth down for a 34-yard touchdown pass to Devante Davis that put UNLV ahead 13-10 with 5:04 left in the first half. He added a short scoring toss in the closing minutes.

But Sherry, who was picked off three times by the Gophers last year, threw two interceptions in the fourth, the first of which went right to Boddy-Calhoun, one of two new starting cornerbacks for Minnesota.

Taking the Gophers to triple overtime in a 30-27 loss last season in the opener in Las Vegas certainly gave the Rebels some confidence, even though they won only two games in 2012, their third year under coach Bobby Hauck. Their strong start here didn't last, though, after a kickoff-time temperature of 92 degrees that felt more like Nevada than Minnesota in late August. Six misting fans on each sideline helped keep the players cool, and a strong student-section showing yielded a crowd of 44,208.

The last time the Gophers scored this many points was 63 in 2006 for a win over Indiana at the Metrodome.

Roland Johnson also blocked an extra point for Minnesota on a tough night for UNLV kicker Nolan Kohorst, who also missed a 49-yard field goal. Kohorst made a 32-yarder after Sherry's throw to the near corner of the end zone went in and out of the hands of Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver.

One negative for the Gophers was running back Donnell Kirkwood, who limped off with an injury to his right ankle after totaling only 30 yards on 11 carries.

UCF Charges Past Akron for Huge Season-Opening Win

The UCF football team ushered in a new era in the American Athletic Conference by rewriting the record books Thursday night in its 38-7 win over Akron.

History was made in just 58 seconds.

After a shaky start recovering a fumble in their own territory on the first play of the game, the Knights quickly recovered. They shattered open the game when quarterback Blake Bortles found sophomore receiver Breshad Perriman down the Knights' sideline. Perriman took one cut to the left, juking two Zips defenders, and sprinted the remainder of the 91 yards to the house for a 7-0 lead.

The pass broke the UCF school record for the longest play from scrimmage and longest pass play. Prior to Thursday, the longest pass in UCF history belonged to Darin Slack's 87-yard touchdown strike to Bernard Ford on Oct. 24, 1987. Perriman finished the night with a career-high 113 yards receiving in the game.

Basically, it was a defining moment.

"It was a great start. I didn't believe that play was going to come to me," Perriman said. "Every time I touch the ball I want to score. Honestly, I thought somebody was going to tackle me from behind. I feel I motivated everybody else to come out and play to their full potential."

The Knights put up impressive numbers in front of more than 35,000 in attendance. UCF nearly doubled Akron's total offensive yards (476 to 250) thanks to a career night from Bortles with his 314 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The defense was solid, allowing the Zips just 145 yards through the first three quarters and held them scoreless until 42 seconds remained in the game. Junior linebacker Terrance Plummer led the defensive charge with 10 tackles, three for loss.

"Everybody talks about the offense, and the offense is a big part of UCF. Defense is also a big part," Plummer said. "I think tonight was a statement that we had to come out and do everything right and play hard."

After the explosive 91-yard score, UCF closed out the first quarter with a 19-yard touchdown reception across the middle by junior receiver Rannell Hall to cap a 91-yard, 12-play drive.

The second quarter lulled until Bortles pulled off a flash of magic with seven minutes remaining. While UCF's quarterback evaded a defender, the ball popped out of his hands. He quickly recovered, grabbing the ball out of the air, scrambling, eluding more defenders and slinging it across his body while on the run to a darting J.J. Worton for a 39-yard touchdown. That score increased UCF's lead to 21-0.

"That's what separates quarterbacks who can make plays from those who can't," UCF head coach George O'Leary said of Bortles' save. "I thought he was on top of his game."

UCF wasn't done yet. Junior Shawn Moffitt capped the first half with a 32-yard field goal to send the Knights into the locker room with a 24-0 advantage.

The night continued to drag for the Zips as UCF running back Storm Johnson helped up the score another 7 points after taking the handoff and bouncing outside for a 9-yard scamper with 9:38 remaining in the third.

The Knights' defense set up the offense for another score when junior linebacker Troy Gray snatched his first career interception and returned it to the Akron 48-yard line. Bortles aired it out to Josh Reese, threading the pass to the redshirt junior inside the red zone. With the play, Bortles became the first Knight to breach 300 yards passing in four years.

Once again, Johnson piled on to the lopsided score, plowing in a 1-yard touchdown for a 38-0 lead.

Fifty-eight of the 66 Knights who dressed for the game made an appearance on the field. The Zips finally got points on the board when Nick Hirschman connected with Imani Davis on an 11-yard pass with less than a minute remaining in the game.

"I thought the kids went out and showed a lot of consistency," O'Leary said. "Overall, we played a lot of players and they had the opportunity to get in there and see where they are at. It was a good, solid win in the kicking game, offense and defense. Obviously we have some work to do in some areas, but overall I was pleased."

UCF travels to FIU on Sept. 6 for an 8 p.m. kickoff, set to air on CBS Sports Network.

Rutgers Football Falls to Fresno State in Opener 52-51

In its season-opener, the Rutgers football team dropped a hard-fought overtime game at Fresno State, 52-51, on Thursday night in Bulldog Stadium.

The Scarlet Knights were led by sophomore RB Paul James (Glassboro, N.J.), who had a career day with 182 yards on the ground. Nova threw for 348 yards and five touchdowns. Junior WR Brandon Coleman (Accokeek, Md.) to led the squad with 10 receptions and posted 105 yards receiving, while sophomore WR Leonte Carroo (Edison, N.J.) hauled in three touchdowns and amassed a team-high 124 receiving yards. Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Steve Longa (Saddle Brook, N.J.) led the team with nine tackles.

The Bulldogs got on the board first with a 10-play, 74-yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run by RB Josh Quezada.

The Scarlet Knights answered quickly with the help of true freshman Janarion Grant (Trilby, Fla.), who scampered 100 yards to pay dirt on his first-ever collegiate touch on the ensuing kickoff. The extra point by sophomore PK Kyle Federico (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) tied the game, 7-7, with 11:53 remaining in the opening quarter.

After holding Fresno State to a three-and-out, Rutgers took over possession. In a drive highlighted by a 28-yard pass and catch from Nova to Coleman, the Scarlet Knights posted three points as Federico nailed a 48-yarder field goal to give RU a 10-7 lead with 7:31 on the clock in the first.

Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs drove the ball to the Rutgers 8-yard line before redshirt freshman DB Ian Thomas (Baltimore, Md.) intercepted Fresno State QB Derek Carr in the end zone.

The Scarlet Knights capitalized on the turnover with just two plays as Nova hit Carroo for a 69-yard scoring strike. RU took a 17-7 lead with 14:30 remaining in the half.

Rutgers held Fresno State to another three-and-out and forced the Bulldogs to punt. The Scarlet Knights took over at their own 42-yard line. With the help of another Nova-to-Coleman big play, this time for 23 yards through the air, RU got into field goal position and Federico put one through the posts from 29 yards out.

After recovering an RU muffed punt, Fresno State went 41 yards on nine plays and found the end zone at the 4:17 mark in the second quarter to cut Rutgers’ lead to 20-14.

The Bulldogs closed the half with an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to score with one second remaining on the clock to take a 21-20 lead into the break.

In its second possession of the second half, the Scarlet Knights regained the lead. A 65-yard run by James got Rutgers down to the Fresno State 5-yard line and set up an 18-yard field goal by Federico to give RU a 23-21 advantage with 9:48 on the clock in the third.

Fresno State got the ball back and drove 75 yards on 10 plays, ending with a touchdown pass from Carr to WR Josh Harper for an 11-yard score. FSU regained the lead, 28-23, with 7:43 left in the third stanza.

Late in the third, James was again the highlight for the Scarlet Knights. He tallied 69 yards, including a 55-yard burst, which led to a one-yard touchdown pass from Nova to Coleman. Rutgers went for the two point conversion, and was successful as Nova rushed in on a quarterback draw to give the Scarlet Knights a 31-28 lead with 40 seconds on the board in the third.

The Bulldogs scored first in the fourth, going 40 yards on three plays, finding the end zone to take a 35-31 lead with 11:08 to go in the game.

With 7:51 on the clock, Rutgers senior DB Lew Toler (New Castle, Del.) recovered a fumble by Fresno State RB Marteze Waller at the Bulldogs’ 33-yard line. Later, Rutgers had a fourth-and-three play from the Bulldogs’ 13-yard line. The Scarlet Knights elected to go for it, and Nova found Carroo in the corner of the end zone to give RU a 38-35 lead with 5:32 remaining.

The Bulldogs responded with a 47-yard field goal by Colin McGuire on the next possession with 3:48 on the clock, tying the game at 38-38.

With 1:18 remaining, Nova found Carroo for the third time in the corner of the end zone for a 30-yard score with 1:18 on the clock. The Bulldogs answered, tying the game at 45-45 with 38 seconds left.

RU drove down the field late, but missed the game-winning field goal wide right to send it to overtime.

On the first play of overtime, Fresno State’s Carr found WR Greg Watson for a touchdown, taking the 52-45 lead. RU answered as Nova found Coleman in the end zone for the second time on the night, leaving the score at 52-51. The Scarlet Knights attempted the two-point conversion, but were unsuccessful.

The Scarlet Knights are back in action in their home-opener against Norfolk State on Sept. 7 at noon in High Point Solutions Stadium. The first 5,000 children inside the stadium receive a free pencil pouch.

Connecticut falls to Towson in Season Opener, 33-18

Towson running back Terrance West ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns and the Tigers defeated the Univeristy of Connecticut football team by a 33-18 score before a crowd of 30,689 at Rentschler Field on Thursday night. It was Towson's first win against an opponent from the bowl subdivision.

"I'm sure in the eyes of some, this will be considered very, very big," said Towson coach Rob Ambrose. "But we've played good competition before. We've played well but couldn't get a win. In the history of this, I suppose one day people will one day look back at this as very large thing. But the family in this locker room, we have goals. And for us to reach our goals we had to win."

Towson put up 393 yards of total offesne while holding UConn to just 287. Quarterback Peter Athens threw for 192 yards and another score and running back Sterlin Phifer caught a 23-yard touchdown and ran for another. West carried the ball a career-high 36 times, and broke the 100-yard mark for the 12th time in his career. The junior's two fourth-quarter scores put the game away.

UConn junior wide receiver Shakim Phillips (Paterson, N.J.) had two touchdown catches for Connecticut and redshirt junior wide receiver Geremy Davis (Lawrenceville, Ga.) caught five balls for 100 yards in the losing effort.

The Huskies, who are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons, had not lost to an FCS team since 2001, when they were making the transition from Division I-AA to Division I.

"I think they know this is one game and we didn't play well as a team in any area," said UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni. "I think there is some leadership in the locker room and from that regard, I think we'll be fine."

The Tigers were up 13-10 at halftime and trailed just once, at 7-0. The Huskies were held scoreless in the second half of this one until junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer (Newnana, Ga.) hit Phillips with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 3:29 left in the game that cut the deficit to 26-18.

But on UConn's next opportunity, freshman Brian Lemelle (Harrisburg, Pa.) fumbled a punt. West, who now has 46 career touchdowns, then put the finishing touches on the upset, scoring from 5 yards out with 16 seconds left in the game.

Connecticut took an early lead after a 92-yard drive that was set up with a diving interception by redshirt freshman safety Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.). The redshirt freshman was pressed into a starting role when Andrew Adams (Fayetteville, Ga.) went down in camp with a shoulder injury. Nine plays after the pick, Whitmer found Phillips breaking toward the left corner for a 31-yard catch-and-run.

Towson answered in just four plays. Phifer swung out of the backfield on a delay pattern and Athens found him wide open for a 23-yard touchdown. Phifer scored again in the second quarter on a five-yard run. That came two plays after Jon Desir tipped and intercepted a Whitmer pass at the UConn 29-yard line, a ball that ended up between Desir's legs.

The Huskies put together an 11-play drive and a had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line after a 22-yard run by McCombs, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal and went into the half trailing 13-10.

Towson controlled the second half. Athens took the Tigers on a 13-play 95-yard drive in the third quarter, finishing it himself. His dive from a yard gave the Tigers a 19-10 lead. Leon Kinnard, a transfer from UConn, made the big play of the drive, catching a 39-yard pass that set Towson up at the UConn 25-yard line.

Connecticut drove into Towson territory, but fumbled on fourth-and-1 at the 33-yard line, giving Towson the ball back.

The Tigers then drove 62 yards in 10 plays, with West going in from 6 yards out. The junior, who carried the ball a career-high 36 times, ran 1,051 yards as a sophomore, after rushing for almost 1,300 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns as a freshman.

UConn's Whitmer completed 15 of 27 passes for 199 yards and the two touchdowns. Husky juniro running back Lyle McCombs (Staten Island, N.Y.) had 76 yards rushing on 17 carries.

UConn fell to 9-3 in season openers since making the jump to the FBS in 2002, including 9-2 at Rentschler Field.

"You can't hang your head," said Whitmer. "You've gotta stay positive and come back to work on Saturday and get ready to go. The next game is up. This one is over."