Friday, September 5, 2014

Boston College Falls to Pittsburgh, 30-20

Tyler Murphy completed 10 of 28 passes for 134 yards, but Boston College lost to Pittsburgh 30-20 on Friday night in the first Atlantic Coast Conference matchup between the former Big East foes.

Murphy had a touchdown and two interceptions. The transfer quarterback also ran 15 times for 14 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run that, with the missed 2-point conversion, made it 30-20 with 43 seconds left.

Boston College recovered the onside kick, but Murphy's pass was intercepted in the end zone with 6 seconds left.

After running for 338 yards against UMass in their first game since the graduation of Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams, the Eagles gained 142 on Friday. The top running back for the Eagles, Myles Willis, gained 14 yards on seven carries.

James Conner ran for 214 yards and a touchdown to lead Pittsburgh

Chad Voytik completed 10 of 21 passes for 111 yards, connecting with Tyler Boyd for two touchdowns. A week after rushing for 409 yards in a 62-0 victory over Delaware, the Panthers (2-0, 1-0) ran for 305 against the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) - and Conner was again the star.

The 250-pound sophomore, who ran for 153 yards and four touchdowns against the Blue Hens last week, broke free for a 9-yard TD run against the Eagles that made it 27-7 in the third quarter and all-but put the game away.

Conner ran three times for 17 yards on the opening drive before it stalled at the Boston College 31 and Pitt settled for a field goal. On Boston College's first possession, Murphy broke free on a keeper for 51 yards before he was pushed out at the 1 while diving for the pylon.

Originally ruled a touchdown, it didn't go on the board until one play later when Tyler Rouse went up the middle to make it 7-3.

It stayed that way until Pitt scored on a 71-yard drive early in the second. The Panthers got 41 yards on carries by Conner before Voytik connected with Boyd on a 15-yard jump ball in the end zone to give the Panthers a 10-7 lead.

It was 13-7 when Boston College drove to the Pitt 27 but then took a 3-yard loss and a penalty to fall out of field goal range. The punt went into the end zone and left Pitt with 1:15 left in the half.

Boyd ran for 19 yards and picked up another 15 on a horse-collar tackle, then Voytik led the Panthers to the 5 before hitting Boyd for the touchdown that made it 20-7 at the half.

Pittsburgh made it 27-7 thanks to a 41-yard pass to Boyd that set up Conner's 9-yard touchdown run. Boston College answered with a 48-yard pass to Shakim Phillips, but could never get any closer until it was too late.

Conner Powers Pitt Past Boston College, 30-20

James Conner ran for 213 yards and a touchdown to lead Pittsburgh to a 30-20 victory over Boston College on Friday night in the first Atlantic Coast Conference matchup between the former Big East foes.

Chad Voytik completed 10 of 21 passes for 111 yards, connecting with Tyler Boyd for two touchdowns. A week after rushing for 409 yards in a 62-0 victory over Delaware, the Panthers (2-0, 1-0) ran for 305 against the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) - and Conner was again the star.

The 250-pound sophomore, who ran for 153 yards and four touchdowns against the Blue Hens last week, broke free for a 9-yard TD run against the Eagles that made it 27-7 in the third quarter and all-but put the game away.

Tyler Murphy completed 10 of 28 passes for 134 yards for Boston College, with a touchdown and two interceptions. The transfer quarterback also ran 15 times for 14 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run that, with the missed 2-point conversion, made it 30-20 with 43 seconds left.

Boston College recovered the onside kick, but Murphy's pass was intercepted in the end zone with 6 seconds left.

After running for 338 yards against UMass in their first game since the graduation of Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams, the Eagles gained 142 on Friday. The top Eagles running back, Myles Willis, gained 14 yards on seven carries.

Conner ran three times for 17 yards on the opening drive before it stalled at the Boston College 31 and Pitt settled for a field goal. On Boston College's first possession, Murphy broke free on a keeper for 51 yards before he was pushed out at the 1 while diving for the pylon.

Originally ruled a touchdown, it didn't go on the board until one play later when Tyler Rouse went up the middle to make it 7-3.

It stayed that way until Pitt scored on a 71-yard drive early in the second. The Panthers got 41 yards on carries by Conner before Voytik connected with Boyd on a 15-yard jump ball in the end zone to give the Panthers a 10-7 lead.

It was 13-7 when Boston College drove to the Pitt 27 but then took a 3-yard loss and a penalty to fall out of field goal range. The punt went into the end zone and left Pitt with 1:15 left in the half.

Boyd ran for 19 yards and picked up another 15 on a horse-collar tackle, then Voytik led the Panthers to the 5 before hitting Boyd for the touchdown that made it 20-7 at the half.

Pittsburgh made it 27-7 thanks to a 41-yard pass to Boyd that set up Conner's 9-yard touchdown run. Boston College answered with a 48-yard pass to Shakim Phillips, but could never get any closer until it was too late.

Seahawks send Green Bay packing

On the night when the Seahawks kicked off the NFL’s 2014 season as defending Super Bowl champions, they went out and also played like defending Super Bowl champions.

By the time their 36-16 victory against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night was over, the Seahawks had:

Rushed for 207 yards, with Marshawn Lynch running for 110 and two touchdowns;

Russell Wilson had passed for two touchdowns to pair of unlikely targets – wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and fullback Derrick Coleman;


Percy Harvin had shown what was missing last season when he was limited a handful of plays in the regular season by contributing 59 yards on seven receptions and 41 yards on four rushes – yes, he averaged more yards rushing (10.3) than he did receiving (8.4) – as well as a 31-yard kickoff return;

And a defense that got a 14-tackle performance from middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, an interception to setup a field goal by cornerback Byron Maxwell and a fumble-forcing sack by defensive end Michael Bennett for a safety was not happy – despite holding Aaron Rodgers to 189 passing yards and the Packers to 80 rushing yards.

“We played a great game,” Wilson said. “Defensively, we were lights out. Offensively, we were so physical, made a lot of plays.”

And the best part for the team’s third-year quarterback who passed for 191 yards and ran for 29? The 15-yard TD pass to Coleman on a fourth-and-1 play in the fourth quarter? Lockette’s run after the catch for his 33-yard TD in the second quarter? Either of Lynch’s scoring runs, a 9-yarder in the second quarter and a 3-yarder in the fourth quarter? Maxwell’s 21-yard return of his interception to setup the second of two field goals by Steven Hauschka? Cliff Avril’s sack of Rodgers on a fourth-and-5 play in the third quarter? Bennett’s safety-producing sack in the third quarter?

None of the above. What really floated Wilson’s boat on this night before a revved-up crowd of 68,424 12s was the fourth-quarter drive to Coleman’s TD reception – a 13-play, 80-yard tour de force that consumed seven minutes as the Seahawks imposed their will on the Packers.

“The best part of the game was that six- or seven-minute drive to end the game pretty much,” Wilson said. “That’s how we have to play great football.”


By the time Coleman ran into the end zone, there were only 2½ minutes to play and the Seahawks had pushed their lead to 20 points. The drive also underlined Wilson’s line about how so many players made plays in this game. Wilson completed four passes to four different receivers – tight end Luke Wilson, Lynch, Lockette and, of course, Coleman. Lynch ran five times for 14 times and had a 14-yard reception. Robert Turbin added a 4-yard run and Wilson ran twice for 14 yards.

And the offensive line of – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy and rookie Justin Britt – announced its presence with authority, play after play.

“That’s what we want to do, we want to end the game with the ball in our hands,” said Unger, the Pro Bowl center. “I thought we had an awesome drive there in the fourth quarter and that’s why we really play the game right there.

“We want to run the ball and be explosive in the passing game, and I think we did that tonight. This is kind of what we structured our offense to be.”

It was such a satisfying performance that even Lynch had something to say in the locker room.

“Thank you,” he offered.

Thank you, indeed.


“I’m really pleased with this night,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s a terrific night for us to get started.”

Asked to choose one big moment from his team’s big opening-game performance, Carroll said, “I thought the big sack we got on fourth down when they were getting across the 50 there. I thought that that time was when we really had a chance to let them keep going or not, and I thought that was the play that really gave us the momentum.

“I might be missing a bunch of other ones, but that’s the one I liked the most.”

Back to that defensive performance. After not having one pass thrown in his direction, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman begged to differ with Wilson’s lights-out assessment.

“I don’t know if we shut it down,” Sherman said after a reporter used that term. “They scored 16 points. (Rodgers) threw for 180 or something like that. That’s a little bit too much for our defense. We don’t like to give up those kinds of numbers.

“He was able to get the ball down the field a little bit. We made some mistakes. We had some penalties. So we’ve got to clean that up, and stop missing tackles, and we’ll have a good year.”

The Seahawks are 1-0, having taken advantage of their first opportunity to go 1-0, but not satisfied. Just the way it should be.

“It’s a one-game deal,” Carroll said. “I really don’t think it’s any more than that. They’re a really good team, and we’re really happy about this win to get it like that because we have so much respect for them. It’s just the first game. We have to come back all cranked up again and start over again and get ready for another championship matchup in San Diego.”

Because, after all, the game against Chargers in San Diego on Sept. 14 is the answer to: What’s Next?

Loss to Seahawks leaves Packers with empty feeling

Disappointment was etched on Coach Mike McCarthy’s face as he reviewed the details of his team’s 36-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

“I don’t feel very good about anything right now,” McCarthy said.

At the root of his disappointment was his team’s inability to run the ball and stop the run. That old-school football combination allowed the Seahawks to slowly assume control of a season opener that celebrated their victory in Super Bowl XLVIII last February.

The Seahawks pounded out 207 yards rushing and held a nearly seven-minute time of possession advantage over a Packers team that was taken out of its personality in the third quarter when Michael Bennett sacked and stripped Aaron Rodgers of the football to score a safety for the Seahawks, and when Cliff Avril sacked Rodgers on a fourth-and-5 play that was, for all intents and purposes, the moment of truth for the Packers.

“I felt that was an important drive in the game,” McCarthy said of his decision to go for it on the fourth-down play near midfield. “I thought the clock should’ve been restarted there. We got up against the clock.”

The ball wasn’t spotted by Referee John Parry’s crew until 15 seconds remained on the play clock.

“It would’ve given us more time to get some things done at the line of scrimmage with the coverage,” Rodgers explained.

Following the stop, the Seahawks moved down the field for a touchdown that gave them a 29-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“Playing the kind of football we sought, we did not accomplish that,” McCarthy said, referring to failures in the run game, then adding, “and we did not stop the run.

“They ran the ball. They ran it well. It’s the starting point of their offense. Marshawn Lynch had a huge night (20 carries for 110 yards). It all starts with their run game,” McCarthy said.

Eddie Lacy rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion. The Packers lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a knee injury in the first half. McCarthy said the injury has been preliminarily diagnosed as a sprain. “Right now, we do not fear a major injury,” McCarthy said.

“They broke a lot of tackles. I didn’t like the way we started the game. We got off to a rough start. When we battled back, we couldn’t sustain it,” he added.

Rodgers led a slick touchdown drive that battled the Packers back to within 29-16, and the Packers defense appeared to have forced a three-and-out with about nine minutes to play, but linebacker Brad Jones was penalized on the third-down play, and that gave the Seahawks a first down that would lead to a game-clinching touchdown.

On fourth-and-1 at the Packers 15 with 2:37 to play, Seattle Coach Pete Carroll nixed a field goal attempt. Russell Wilson then pitched a surprise pass to Derrick Coleman that resulted in an easy touchdown.

“My play sheet has way too many shot (big) plays that weren’t called tonight. A lot of those shot plays I just didn’t get called,” McCarthy said.

“Our preparation did not carry over this evening.”

Wildcats Edge UTSA, 26-23

Casey Skowron kicked four field goals and Nick Wilson picked up 174 yards on the ground, leading Arizona to a 26-23 victory over UTSA on Thursday night in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Arizona posted 454 yards of total offense in the contest, 85 of which came on the first play of the game, when Anu Solomon found Cayleb Jones for an 80-yard touchdown strike to give the Cats a 7-0 lead.

Solomon finished the game 17-of-32 for 231 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Jones led all receivers with 143 yards on four receptions.

Wilson, filling in for an injured Terris Jones-Grigsby, picked up his second 100-yard effort in as many collegiate contests, picking up 174 yards on the ground, including one score, a week after he gained 104 yards against UNLV in his collegiate debut.

Wilson’s 174 yards were part of a Wildcat ground assault that gained 223 yards. Jared Baker rushed for 32 yards on four carries while Solomon picked up 11 yards on eight attempts and Nate Phillips gained eight yards on his lone carry.

The Wildcats’ special teams were spectacular in the contest as Skowron connected on all four of his field goals, including a 44-yarder in the third quarter, his longest of the game. Two of Drew Riggleman’s punts were downed inside the 20-yard line; the junior had a long of 54 in the game.

Arizona’s offense had difficulties converting in the redzone, getting inside the Roadrunner 20-yard line on four drives, but coming away with a touchdown on just one of the drives.

Jared Tevis stood out on an Arizona defense that allowed UTSA to rack up 349 yards of total offense. Tevis led the team with 16 tackles and had the game’s lone interception, a pick that proved to ice the game for Arizona. Scooby Wright had 11 tackles, including one of Arizona’s three sacks on the night. Reggie Gilbert and Tellas Jones also came up with sacks in the contest.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Anu Solomon connected with Cayleb Jones on an 85-yard touchdown pass to give Arizona a 7-0 lead 18 seconds into the game.

The Cats would add to their lead after forcing a UTSA three-and-out. Arizona capped a seven-play, 38-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal to give Arizona the early 10-0 lead.

The Roadrunners would respond. After forcing an Arizona punt, UTSA took over at its own 15 with 5:56 remaining in the first quarter. Eleven plays and 85 yards later, Tucker Carter found David Morgan II on a 10-yard touchdown strike to cut Arizona’s lead to 10-7.

On its next possession, Arizona put together a promising drive, only to have it stall inside the UTSA 10-yard line. Casey Skowron’s 23-yard field goal capped a 12-play, 69-yard drive that took 3:44 off the clock.

UTSA grabbed its first lead of the game on an 18-yard rush by Kam Jones, finishing off a nine-play, 79-yard drive by the Roadrunners.

After the teams traded punts, Arizona took over at its own three yard line. On third down, the ball was snapped over Solomon’s head, causing the quarterback to step out of bounds for a safety and extend the Roadrunners’ lead to 16-13.

The freshman responded, leading the Wildcats on a nine-play, 85-yard drive before the end of the half. Wilson punched it in from two yards out after UTSA committed two key penalties on the drive, including a pass interference in the end zone, which gave Arizona the ball at the Roadrunner two-yard line.

On the Cats’ first drive of the second half, Arizona used the leg of Skowron to extend its lead. Skowron’s third field goal of the game, this a 44-yard try, gave Arizona a 23-16 lead with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter. The field goal concluded an 11-play, 57-yard drive that took 3:50 off the clock.

Skowron bailed the offense out on the ensuing drive when it sputtered in the red zone once again. Wilson and Solomon marched the Wildcat offense to the UTSA 10-yard line, but the Cats were unable to find the endzone and Skowron connected on a 28-yard field goal to give Arizona a 10-point lead.

After missing a field goal that would have brought UTSA within a touchdown, the Roadrunners found the endzone on their next drive to bring the score to 26-23. David Glasco II scored from six yards out for the Roadrunners, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive.

Arizona was unable to get anything going on its ensuing drive, turning the ball over to UTSA with 5:09 remaining and 80 yards away from taking a late lead. The Arizona defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out, punctuated by Reggie Gilbert’s first sack of the season.

The Wildcats punted the ball back to UTSA with 2:04 remaining; the Roadrunners took over at their own 15. After picking up 16 yards on the drive’s first three plays, Carter was picked off by Jared Tevis with 1:20 to go.

Arizona would turn the ball over on downs with 0:20 remaining, but UTSA was unable to muster anything on its final possession, giving Arizona a 26-23 victory.

The Wildcats return to action next Saturday when they welcomes Nevada to Arizona Stadium on Sep. 13 at 8 p.m. MST on Pac-12 Networks.

Arizona holds off Roadrunners on Thursday night, 26-23

Nick Wilson is off to a fast start for the Arizona Wildcats.

The freshman ran for 174 yards on 30 carries, and his go-ahead touchdown changed the momentum in Arizona's 26-23 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Thursday night.

Wilson gave Arizona a 20-16 lead with a 2-yard run with 26 seconds left in the first half.

"Every touchdown, every score, every point helps," said Wilson, who ran for 104 yards on seven carries last week in the Wildcats' season-opening victory over against UNLV. "We definitely had momentum going into the locker room. We made a few adjustments and a few changes and we pulled the win out."

Cayleb Jones had an 85-yard scoring reception for Arizona on the first play from scrimmage, and redshirt freshman Anu Solomon was 17 of 32 for 231 yards after throwing for 425 yards and four touchdowns against UNLV.

UTSA coach Larry Coker, who started the school's program in 2011 after his national-title stint at Miami, thought Arizona's touchdown at the end of the half changed the game.

"We had momentum, and they had that last score in the first half and got it back," Coker said. "If we had gone in ahead like we were, it could have changed the outcome. It was a very key time in the football game."

Casey Skowron made four field goals, converting from 44 and 28 yards in the third quarter to make it 26-16.

"We settled for way too many field goals and didn't execute down in the red zone," Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said. "There are so many things we need to clean up and get better at. But I didn't see anyone lose their poise. We took their best shot."

The Roadrunners, coming off a 20-point victory in their opener at Houston, pulled within three on David Glasco II's 3-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

Arizona intercepted two of Tucker Carter's passes in the final 1 1/2 minutes to seal the game, though the final pick off was nullified by a penalty.

The Wildcats had 452 yards of offense after setting a school record with 787 yards against UNLV

It looked as if it would be another blowout shortly after the opening kickoff. On the next play, Solomon flared a conservative sideline pass at Jones close to Arizona's 30. Jones eluded a tackle and scored on the 85-yarder 18 seconds into the game.

Jones was back in his home state after sitting out last season following his transfer from Texas. In Austin, he received a two-year probated sentence for misdemeanor assault for punching a Longhorns tennis player in 2013.

Jones caught four passes for 143 yards. He caught two passes in 10 games for Texas.

Arizona scored on the next possession as well after holding UTSA to three plays and a punt. The Wildcats got inside the 20 before Solomon was sacked by defensive tackle Ferrington Macon, which brought out Skowron for a 38-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game.

UTSA responded by going 85 yards for a touchdowns, using 11 plays and 5 minutes off the clock just before the end of the first quarter. Carter, who ran twice during the drive for 28 yards, got the Roadrunners on the board with a 10-yard scoring completion to tight end David Morgan II.

Carter finished with 228 yards and a TD on 22-of-33 passing.

After giving up Skowron's 23-yard field goal, the Roadrunners took a 14-13 lead on Kam Jones' 18-yard run.

It went to 16-13 with 4:43 before halftime when the spread-offense deep snap was high to Solomon, who scooped up the loose ball in his own end zone and was chased out of the end zone for a safety