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  • Toledo Looking to Bounce Back in Friday Night Game at Ohio

    Rockets and Bobcats square off in nationally televised game on ESPN2

    Oct. 31, 2005

    Toledo, OH - The defending MAC champion Rockets travel to Ohio this Friday needing a victory to stay in the hunt for the West Division title of the Mid-American Conference. Toledo and Central Michigan are tied with 4-1 league records but CMU holds the tie-breaker thanks to its win over UT last Saturday. Coach Frank Solich's Bobcats (4-4, 3-2 MAC) are in a four-way logjam at the top of the East Division standings with Miami, Akron and Bowling Green.

    Toledo (6-2, 4-1 MAC): Toledo lost its first MAC game of the year, a 21-17 heartbreaker at Central Michigan on Saturday. Toledo had a chance to win the game thanks to a stop by the Rocket defense on fourth-and-one at the 50-yard line with 1:35 to play. Bruce Gradkowski then moved the Rockets 46 yards to the CMU four to set up the final play with five seconds remaining, but a leaping Nick Moore could not corral a Gradkowski pass in the back of the end zone, giving CMU its first win over Toledo since 1994. Because Toledo no long controls its own destiny in the MAC West Division race, the Rockets cannot afford to lose another conference game and still hold onto any realistic hopes of returning to the MAC Championship Game. If CMU loses in any one of its final three games, Toledo can claim an outright MAC West title by winning its final three games. In any case, Toledo can earn a share of the title by winning three games no matter what CMU does. The Rockets have won at least a share of the MAC West crown six times in the last eight seasons, and have been to the MAC title game five times during that time period.

    Ohio (4-4, 3-2 MAC): The Bobcats are in a four-way tie for first place in the MAC East, thanks to a 34-20 win over Buffalo last week. Sophomore Kalvin McRae ran for 224 yards and two touchdowns to lead Ohio. McRae is third in the MAC with 937 yards this season.

    Quick Hitters
    Bruce Gradkowski became the first Rocket and just the eighth MAC player to surpass the 8,000-yard passing mark...The Rockets surrendered a 17-yard TD pass in the first quarter, the first points the UT defense has allowed this season in the opening stanza...Nick Moore finished with a career-best nine receptions for 101 yards and a TD.

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  • DJRamFan
    Chippewa Football Hosts Ohio: Game Notes
    by DJRamFan
    CMU kicks off three-game homestand this weekend.

    Oct. 12, 2005

    Complete Release in PDF Format
    Download Free Acrobat Reader

    The Match-Up
    Central Michigan University plays the first of three-in-a-row at Kelly/Shorts Stadium this weekend, hosting Ohio on Homecoming Weekend in Mount Pleasant. The Chippewas have rallied to win two straight games on the road and even their record at 3-3. Ohio is 2-3 after last weekend's 38-14 loss at Bowling Green. The Bobcats have alternated wins and losses each week this season.

    The CMU-Ohio Series
    CMU leads the all-time series, 17-4-2, but Ohio has won each of the past two match-ups. The Chippewas posted a record of 13-0-1 against Ohio from 1981-94, including 10 straight wins from 1981-90. The teams last met in 2001, with the Bobcats claiming a 34-3 win in Mount Pleasant on Homecoming.

    The Coaches
    Brian Kelly is in his second season as the head coach at Central Michigan University. He guided the Chippewas to a 4-7 record in 2004. Kelly arrived in Mount Pleasant after a successful 13-year stint at Grand Valley State University which saw him lead the Lakers to back-to-back NCAA Division II national championships in 2002 and 2003. (For a more extensive Kelly bio, see page 12.) Frank Solich is in his first season as the head coach at Ohio. In six seasons at Nebraska, Solich was twice named Big XII Coach of the Year (1999 and 2001) and led his teams to six consecutive bowl games. He is 60-22 as a collegiate head coach.

    Homecoming Notes
    CMU is 49-27-1 all-time in Homecoming games, but has lost six straight. The Chippewas' last Homecoming win was a 46-7 decision over Kent State in 1998. CMU has played Ohio twice on Homecoming, winning 42-18 in 1982 and falling 35-3 in 2001. From 1966-82, CMU won 17 straight Homecoming contests.

    Homecoming Weekend Special Events
    A pair of special events are taking place this weekend at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in conjunction with Homecoming festivities. Prior to kickoff on Saturday, the CMU athletics department will recognize nearly 100 former players from the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. Saturday is also Take a Kid to the Game Day at Kelly/Shorts. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted to the game free with a paid adult. Games and inflatables will also be set up on The Island before the game for kids to enjoy.

    Long Stay at Kelly/Shorts
    The Chippewas kick off a three-game homestand this weekend, hosting Ohio, Toledo and Northern Illinois on Oct. 15, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, respectively. The stretch marks the longest homestand for CMU since a three-gamer in 1996. That season, CMU defeated Akron (42-0) and Eastern Michigan (41-36) before falling to Ball State (24-17).

    Smith Saves the Day
    The CMU offense struggled to find a rhythm in last weekend's downpour,...
    -10-12-2005, 03:50 PM
  • DJRamFan
    D-II Notebook: Week 4
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 16, 2005

    By Brad Dopke

    Special to from College Sports Report

    As odd as it seems, we are going to see a few games sprinkled about D-II that will have huge impact on the playoffs. True, this is only the fourth week of football for the Division, but already a few teams find themselves in a win or else scenario when it comes to post-season hopes.


    It's been a while since a rep from the WVIAC made an appearance in the postseason, but that is looking to change this year. Monte Cater has his Shepherd Rams playing awesome football right now, and with wins over Virginia State (24-6), Shippensburg (34-32) and Slippery Rock (24-7), Shepherd could easily find itself in the midst of a playoff run.

    However, first things first, as Glenville State will be awaiting the undefeated Rams this Saturday. Glenville's only loss to date was a one-point decision to Millersville in the second week. Seeing at how top heavy the PSAC is, it seems that Glenville's only hopes for the post-season is by running the table in the WVIAC.

    There is another game in the Northeast region with huge playoff bearing implications when Bentley visits Merrimack on Saturday night. Like Glenville, Bentley will have to win out and capture the Northeast Ten title if it is to see any play in the post-season. However, the Falcons have tasted tough competition in the conference with a 33-24 win over Southern Connecticut.

    Merrimack was lucky to slip past an improved Bryant club in overtime, 41-40. Still, the Warriors have an awesome weapon in receiver Elfren Quiles, who leads the Division in receptions per game with 20 for 307 yards in just two games.

    Northeast Leaders: East Stroudsburg leads the Division in passing with a whopping average of 422 yards per game. Meanwhile, Edinboro has done it with defense, holding opponents to just 59 yards rushing in two games. Ironically, offense topped defense, as ESU defeated Edinboro 23-21 earlier this year.


    Expect plenty of fireworks when Delta State travels to North Alabama for a crucial Gulf South showdown. DSU (2-1) knows how to play on the road, having opened the season at Pitt State with a decisive 44-31 win. Although the Statesmen fell to I-AA Texas State the following week, they were tied 25-25 going into the fourth quarter before dropping a 32-25 decision.

    There is a key match up within that contest that will pit Delta State's talented quarterback Scott Eyster against UNA's Division II leading defense. Seven points is all North Alabama has surrendered for the season while DSU has topped 40 twice in three games.

    Presbyterian gave...
    -09-16-2005, 03:53 PM
  • DJRamFan
    I-AA Wrapup: Shakedown Saturday
    by DJRamFan
    Changes in the elite are emerging

    Oct. 3, 2004

    By David Coulson, Senior Columnist,
    Special to from

    As a youngster, I used to watch reruns of Star Trek every day after school. And I always wondered what it would be like to have Scotty's transporter in my house.

    Just think about how cool it would be to quickly beam yourself from one place to another.

    I could have used that device on Saturday to keep track of some great matchups in I-AA football -- matchups that will have obvious repercussions on the NCAA playoffs in the next month and a half.

    I would have started my journey by beaming to Tubby Raymond Field for the Delaware-Maine showdown in the Atlantic 10. As it was, I had to settle for watching the No. 4 Blue Hens and No. 8 Black Bears play a instant classic on my trusty, though less flashy VCR.

    This was a game that many thought would be a defensive struggle, but instead the two teams combined for 81 points and 954 yards of total offense.

    Delaware, which had showed almost no offensive consistency this season, jumped to a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter and had beaten its best scoring output of the season by the middle of the second period with a 27-7 advantage.

    Maine, which usually likes to control the ball on the ground behind big, senior tailback Marcus Williams, was forced to almost completely abandon its rushing attack and came charging back behind the arm of sophomore quarterback Ron Whitcomb.

    Whitcomb completed 22-of-40 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns, two of the scoring aerials to Christian Pereira (nine catches for 143 yards).

    When Whitcomb connected with Pereira on a 10-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter, the Black Bears pulled within 37-35 and Mike Mellow's 21-yard field goal finally gave Maine the lead with 7:12 to play, 38-37.

    But Saturday was the day that Delaware quarterback Sonny Riccio finally arrived. Much was expected when Riccio transferred last spring from Missouri to fill the void left by the graduation loss of I-AA.Org offensive player of the year Andy Hall.

    Riccio struggled in his first three games as a Blue Hen, games that included a loss to New Hampshire and two unimpressive wins over Towson and Division II West Chester.

    But Riccio hit 33-of-51 passes for 415 yards and a 28-yard touchdown and added a 12-yard scoring run against Maine. And he led Delaware on a clutch drive that resulted in a last-minute, game-winning touchdown.

    As soon as the gun sounded in Newark, Del., I would have been ready to say: "Scotty, beam me to Carbondale, Ill. for the Southern Illinois-Northern Iowa showdown."

    It looked for a half like it would be another week for the curse...
    -10-04-2004, 11:58 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Around The Big East - A Look At The Weekend Football Slate
    by DJRamFan
    The weekend schedule features four home games, four road games, and seven televised contests.

    Sept. 16, 2005

    Complete BIG EAST Weekly Football Release in PDF Format
    Download Free Acrobat Reader

    CBS rated the BIG EAST Conference's 2005 schedule the toughest in the country (Click here to look at the complete CBS schedule ratings). The BIG EAST schedule is particularly strong this weekend when BIG EAST Conference teams play three ACC opponents, one team from the Big 12 and one from the PAC 10. Take an inside look at all eight of Saturday's matchups:

    OREGON STATE at LOUISVILLE: On Saturday at Noon on ESPN, Louisville (1-0) plays host to the Oregon State Beavers (2-0). This is the first meeting between Louisville and Oregon State. It is the 2005 home opener for the Cardinals. Last season, Louisville was 5-0 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. UL won its 2005 season opener at Kentucky on Sept. 4, 31-24. Running back Michael Bush ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Cardinal defensive end Elvis Dumervil leads the nation in sacks, after setting a BIG EAST record with six versus the Wildcats. Oregon State improved to 2-0 on the season after rallying to defeat Boise State, 30-27, on Sept. 10 in Corvallis. Beaver quarterback Matt Moore completed 27-of-38 for 279 yards and one touchdown. Placekicker Alexis Serna kicked three field goals - 40, 32 and 29 yards. Oregon State is averaging 340.5 yards in the air through its first two games. Moore has 646 passing yards and five touchdowns. Wideout Matt Haas has 20 catches for 333 yards and two scores.

    VIRGINIA at SYRACUSE: In another nationally televised Noon game, Syracuse (1-1) hosts the Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) on ESPN2. Syracuse leads the overall series versus Virginia, 2-1. The Cavaliers took last season's meeting, 31-10, on Sept. 25 in Charlottesville. SU running back Damien Rhodes scored Syracuse's only touchdown in the game on a two-yard run. The Cavaliers out-gained the Orange, 427-254, in total offense. Virginia won its 2005 season opener, 31-19, versus Western Michigan on Sept. 3 at home. Western Michigan rallied from a 24-3 deficit to cut the Cavalier lead to 24-19 in the third quarter, but a Cedric Peerman one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for Virginia. Quarterback Marques Hagans was 17-of-25 for 252 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Hagans also ran for a touchdown. Virginia was 8-3 in 2004. After UVa., SU plays three of the next four on the road.

    WEST VIRGINIA at MARYLAND: Also on Saturday at Noon, West Virginia (2-0) plays at the University of Maryland (1-1), in a contest televised regionally by Jefferson Pilot Sports (Clearance List). Maryland holds a narrow 21-20-2 lead in the all-time series versus West Virginia. The Mountaineers took last season's meeting in overtime, 19-16, in...
    -09-16-2005, 03:57 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Florida State overcomes mistakes to down West Virginia
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 1, 2005 wire reports
    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida State overcame mistake after mistake to avoid an unprecedented third straight bowl loss.

    Leon Washington ran for 195 yards and Chris Rix crafted two long second-half touchdown drives, leading No. 17 Florida State to a 30-18 victory over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl on Saturday.

    Coach Bobby Bowden, facing his former school for the first time since the 1982 Gator Bowl, moved within one bowl win of Joe Paterno's NCAA record of 19 at Penn State. The Seminoles finished 9-3.

    Rix played poorly for much in his final game of an up-and-down career. Bowden's first four-year starter at quarterback fumbled three times and threw two interceptions, one of which led to a touchdown.

    But Bowden stuck with Rix and he eventually gave the Seminoles a spark.

    Rix completed five straight passes during a 90-yard drive, capped by his 14-yard TD pass to Craphonso Thorpe late in the third quarter. Thorpe leaped for the ball over Dee McCann in the right corner of the end zone for a 23-15 lead. It was only Rix's third TD pass of the season.

    Quarterback Rasheed Marshall and West Virginia's platoon of running backs shredded the nation's top run defense for 238 yards. Kay-Jay Harris carried 25 times for 134 yards and scored twice.


    But the Mountaineers (8-4) failed to find the end zone three times after advancing inside the 20-yard line.

    West Virginia has lost 11 of its last 12 bowls games and is 0-5 in the Gator.

    West Virginia, the only unranked team playing in a New Year's Day bowl, continued special teams mistakes that were costly in losses to Boston College and Pittsburgh to end the regular season.

    In the first half, two kickers missed extra point, Brad Cooper booted a kickoff out of bounds, and the Mountaineers later faked a 27-yard field goal attempt, but couldn't convert the first-down run.

    Backup Andy Good practiced his kicks feverishly before the start of the third quarter, and it paid off. He made field goals of 44 and 34 yards to cut the deficit to 23-18 early in the fourth period.

    Rix then led an 80-yard scoring drive, capped by James Coleman's 1-yard run. Rix finished 16-of-31 for 157 yards.

    The game featured the preseason favorites of the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference who couldn't secure BCS berths.

    The Seminoles needed only six plays to score a season-high 10 points in the first quarter.

    Washington went 69 yards down the right sideline on the game's second play for the longest TD run in Gator Bowl history. He had 135 yards by halftime and had only 12 carries for the game, or else he might have challenged the Gator Bowl record of 216 yards by Syracuse's Floyd Little against Tennessee...
    -01-01-2005, 02:55 PM