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I-AA No. 1 Southern Illinois Tries to Stop Upset Bug

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  • I-AA No. 1 Southern Illinois Tries to Stop Upset Bug

    Salukis bring balanced offense on the road.

    Sept. 23, 2004

    By Scott Mees
    www.SIUSalukis.com

    CARBONDALE, Ill.- The Southern Illinois University football team returns to Delaware on Saturday.

    No, not to face the team that dominated it in the first round of last season's Division I-AA playoffs -- that rematch could happen later this year.

    This time, the top-ranked Salukis will take on the Delaware State Hornets at Alumni Stadium in Dover, Del., at noon (central time).

    "We're going on the East Coast to a place we haven't played," said SIU head coach Jerry Kill.

    SIU (2-1) is coming off a lopsided 59-9 victory over William Penn, in which most of its starters were on the bench by halftime.

    The Hornets (0-3), on the other hand, have a record of 1-13 since the beginning of the 2003 season. Delaware State was picked to finish last in both Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 2004 preseason polls.

    Nevertheless, Kill is not underestimating his team's opponent, or the environment it may face.

    "You never know what's going to happen," Kill said. "You've just got to be prepared."

    Kill referred to (then No. 15) Western Illinois' loss at Hampton last weekend as a prime example.

    "It could rain," Kill said. "There are too many things you can't control in football."

    Running back Terry Jackson's playing status was still questionable as of Tuesday evening.

    "Terry practiced today," Kill said. "I don't know if he'll play or not, but he seems to be better."

    The Saluki head coach is pleased with all aspects of how his offense is performing.

    "We are about as balanced as we've ever been, since I've been here," Kill said.

    Kill added that he is happy with the efficiency of the passing game.

    "We're throwing the ball equally, as well as running it," Kill said. "We're throwing the ball very well."

    Through three games, SIU quarterback Joel Sambursky is 37-for-55 passing the ball. The junior has thrown four touchdowns and just one interception. Brent Little leads the team in receptions with 10 for 181 yards. Quorey Payne has five catches, but averages a whopping 29 yards per reception.

    The Saluki backfield continues to get more crowded as freshman Craig Turner is now in the mix. Turner -- in his debut -- led the Salukis with 93 yards rushing in the William Penn game. Arkee Whitlock added 89 yards, and Brandon Jacobs chipped in with 63.

    Freshman wide receiver Phil Goforth remains a couple of weeks away from playing, according to Kill.

    As far as a plan of attack goes, Kill said the Salukis would take what the defense gives them.

    "Hopefully, we'll move the ball and not turn it over," Kill said. "That's the big thing."

    This will be SIU's final non-conference game before it enters Gateway Conference action. The Salukis will host Northern Iowa on Oct. 2.

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  • DJRamFan
    Spartans Prepare For Shootout Against Hawaii
    by DJRamFan
    Michigan State can reach the .500 mark with a win over the Warriors in the season finale.

    Dec. 3, 2004

    HONOLULU (AP) - Before arriving on the islands, Michigan State prepared as best as it could for Hawaii, the tropical climate and the time difference. But there was one factor the Spartans may have overlooked.

    "The other factor is just the beauty of Hawaii," Spartans coach John L. Smith said. "There's so many distractions that it's hard to keep your mind on the game. My goodness, there's beautiful Polynesian gals walking around. The last things these guys are thinking about is football."

    That's just the way Hawaii wants it.

    The Warriors (6-5) need a win Saturday night against the Spartans (5-6) to earn an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl for the third straight year.

    "This game means a lot. If we lose, we don't want to live the rest of our lives saying, `We should've. We could've,'" Warriors running back West Keliikipi said. "If we lose, it'll be devastating. We worked too hard."





    A loss for Hawaii will also close the storied career of quarterback Timmy Chang, who this year became the most prolific passer in college football history. He owns the career NCAA marks for passing yardage (16,251), attempts (2,341), completions (1,328), interceptions (80) and total offense (16,066).

    "It's always hard to see (the seniors) go, but these guys have been here for five years -- since I've been here. So you get attached to them," Hawaii coach June Jones said.

    Chang, who has thrown for 3,437 yards and 30 touchdowns this season, is playing his best football as of late. He has 781 passing yards and 10 TDs in his last two games.

    His favorite target is pint-sized playmaker Chad Owens, who scored five times and had 276 all-purpose yards in Hawaii's 49-41 victory over Northwestern last week.

    The 5-foot-7 Owens is seventh in the nation in receiving with 7.36 receptions per game. He has also returned four punt for touchdowns this season.

    "You got some great talent at wideout," Smith said. "They run down the field and catch the ball. That little Owens guy is probably as good as there is in the country."

    Despite winning six straight at home, Hawaii is an underdog as it tries to beat a second Big Ten opponent in as many weeks.

    "We want to stay alive," Hawaii cornerback Abraham Elimimian said. "If we win this game, it's going to be very magical. If we don't, it's a bad way to end it as a senior."

    The Spartans are trying to finish their season on a winning note to avoid a losing season. Michigan State, eliminated from bowl contention with a 37-13 loss to Penn State on Nov. 20, had two weeks to prepare for Hawaii. ...
    -12-04-2004, 02:05 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Georgia Tech hopes to fare better against another ACC newcomer
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 27, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech wants to avoid being embarrassed by another ACC rookie.

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    The Yellow Jackets already lost to Miami, which joined the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. Now, they have a chance to even their mark against the other newcomer, Virginia Tech, in a home game Thursday night.

    For the incumbent schools in this basketball-crazy league, it's a matter of pride. They don't want to look like pushovers against two schools that were brought in specifically to beef up the ACC's football reputation.

    "That's a big part of it," Yellow Jackets center Andy Tidwell-Neal said. "This is Virginia Tech's first year. I'd like to think we're ready to play them. This was a good conference before they got here. We want to show them, just like every other school in the conference."

    So far, Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-2) and the others haven't had much success. No. 4 Miami is unbeaten and leading the conference standings. Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1) is one of three schools with just one conference loss.

    Earlier this month, the Yellow Jackets were thoroughly outclassed by the Hurricanes, losing 27-3. If they beat the Hokies, they'll take a major step toward their eighth consecutive bowl appearance. The hometown Peach Bowl will have scouts at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

    Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is understandably concerned about the Yellow Jackets' defense, which is coming off two stellar performances.

    Maryland managed just 81 yards in a 20-7 loss -- the fewest ever allowed by Georgia Tech in an ACC game. Duke didn't do much better, totaling only 184 yards while losing 24-7.

    "They bring a lot of pressure and they disguise it well," Beamer said. "We've got our hands full."

    Likewise for Georgia Tech.

    The Hokies are giving up just 11.6 points per game, including a pair of shutouts. They held their own against top-ranked Southern Cal, losing 24-13 in the season opener, and haven't given up more than 17 points in a game since.

    The only blemish on Virginia Tech's ACC record was a one-point loss to North Carolina State. The Hokies were in position to win, but Brandon Pace missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt as time ran out.

    The Hokies are solid at quarterback with senior Bryan Randall, who holds the school record with 32 consecutive starts. The running game was solidified by the return of diminutive Mike Imoh, who was suspended for the first three games. Only 5-foot-7, he's rushed for 331 yards since getting back on the field.

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    The Yellow Jackets also rely heavily on the running game with P.J. Daniels, who leads the ACC with an average of 105.8 yards per game. For good measure,...
    -10-28-2004, 09:23 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Oklahoma, Auburn Stumble In Openers
    by DJRamFan
    Top 25 teams tumble in first weekend

    Sept. 4, 2005


    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Bob Stoops found much to dislike in Oklahoma's season-opening performance. No consistent running game. Poor pass protection. Errant throws.

    And in the interest of fairness, he said the coaching also left something to be desired in a 17-10 loss to TCU on Saturday.

    "They outplayed us and outcoached us as a whole," the Sooners coach said Sunday.

    No team understands his pain better than Auburn. The 16th-ranked Tigers also stumbled out of the gates with a 23-14 loss to Georgia Tech.

    The two teams who spent the end of last season jockeying for the right to play Southern California for the national title likely want no part of the top-ranked Trojans at the moment.

    For Auburn, it was a turnover- and mistake-filled end to a 15-game winning streak that trailed only USC and Utah among active streaks. Keeping the season from going downhill was more on the team's mind in the locker room than the streak.

    "The winning streak, that was something we obviously all looked at," coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It's something we didn't harp on. It's been awhile since we lost a game, and it was good to see the seniors stand up and say a few words after the game (instead of) having their heads down."

    It's no real surprise that the offenses at both Oklahoma and Auburn sputtered against decent - though unranked - opening competition. Both were replacing terrific and seasoned quarterbacks in the Sooners' Jason White and the Tigers' Jason Campbell, White a Heisman Trophy winner and Campbell a first-round NFL draft pick.

    With the defenses gearing up to force Auburn's Brandon Cox and Oklahoma's Paul Thompson and Rhett Bomar to beat them through the air, neither team mustered much of a running game. Something that was seldom a problem for either offense last season.

    The result: Cox turned it over on the Tigers' final five drives, with four interceptions and a fumble.

    Thompson completed 11 of 26 passes for 109 yards with an interception for Oklahoma. Bomar was 2-for-5 for 19 yards.







    Not even the Sooners' super sophomore Adrian Peterson could produce anything on the ground. The Heisman runner-up ran for only 63 yards after setting an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 rushing yards.

    What went wrong? Good question, Stoops said.

    "It might be the attitude and discipline we came out and played with," he said. "Or it could be the play-calling. It really is hard to put your finger on it."

    Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek offered a blunt assessment.

    "We never got tough, and we never had the attitude we needed to win," said Dvoracek, one of the team's four...
    -09-05-2005, 08:17 AM
  • DJRamFan
    By Eric Esteban Independent Florida Alligator
    by DJRamFan
    By Ryan Colaianni University Daily Kansan
    Lawrence, KS (U-WIRE) -- Although Kansas football coach Mark Mangino has not named a starter for this Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic, all signs are pointing to junior Adam Barmann.

    Barmann started the first eight games last season, before suffering an apparent shoulder injury against Iowa State, ending his season. Barmann has since worked with the first team throughout spring practices and training camp.

    "Adam Barmann has picked up some ground coming out of the summer program. He's probably the most prepared of our veteran quarterbacks," Mangino said. "He still has to continue to improve to win the job."

    At the team's annual media day on Aug. 11, Barmann was asked if the starting quarterback job was his. He confidently answered "yeah."

    He passed for 1,427 yards with 12 touchdowns over nine interceptions.

    Pushing Barmann is senior Brian Luke.

    Luke led the team to victory over Missouri last season, yet was listed behind Barmann and senior Jason Swanson on the depth chart when spring practices ended in April.

    Since then, Luke went to Mangino and told him he wanted to be the starting quarterback.

    "I made it clear that I do not want to be the back-up, that I want to be the starter," Luke said. "But should I be the back-up I will do that with 100 percent pride."

    Mangino appreciated Luke talking to him in his office, rather than hearing it from another coach, Luke said.

    "I am as confident as I have ever been. I know the offense better than I ever have before," Luke said. "I am definitely looking forward to this season."

    Luke saw action in three games last year and his pass-efficiency rating was the highest of any of the team's quarterbacks. He passed for 467 yards and three touchdowns.

    Luke also nearly led Kansas to a victory over Texas, the week before the Missouri contest.





    "Brian Luke is a very good player who has a great command of the offense," Barmann said. "We have a lot of very good players at the quarterback position and it will make all of us better."

    Freshman quarterback Kerry Meier is also still in the mix for the job, Mangino said.

    "The young guy, Kerry Meier, each and every day he learns more and more about our offense," Mangino said. "You can see he's an awfully talented guy."

    Mangino hasn't said whether Meier wouldn't receive a redshirt this season.

    Senior quarterback Jason Swanson, who threw the go-ahead touchdown against Kansas State last season, apparently is not in the race for the starting job.

    "Swanson's been slowed down. He doesn't take many...
    -08-29-2005, 05:10 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Utah ready for big finale to breakthrough season
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 31, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    TEMPE, Ariz. -- Utah used an unstoppable offense to break through the walls surrounding college football's big bowls.

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    Now the unbeaten Utes are expected to do more than merely win the Fiesta Bowl. They are supposed to win big over Big East champion Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

    That's heady stuff for the Mountain West Conference champs, who will bring a large chunk of Salt Lake City's population with them for the game at Sun Devil Stadium.

    "This has been pretty dreamlike," quarterback Alex Smith said. "This has been a goal of ours since January, and to finally reach it, it's pretty surreal. I'm just trying to take it all in and not let it go by too fast."

    Coach Urban Meyer, who brought about Utah's improbable climb to national prominence, will coach his final game for the Utes, sharing duties with his successor, defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham.

    After two years at Bowling Green and two at Utah, Meyer is bound for Florida. He leaves behind a Utah program that represents the hopes of every school outside the six conferences that make up the Bowl Championship Series.

    The Utes (11-0) are the first non-BCS team to make it to one of the four elite bowls - automatically qualifying by finishing sixth in the BCS rankings.

    They did it with an offense that averaged more than 500 yards and 45 points per game. On 60 trips inside an opponent's 20-yard line, the Utes scored touchdowns 85 percent of the time. Utah scored fewer than 40 points in a game only twice.

    Meyer's explanation of his offense is simple.

    "It's a personnel-based offense," he said. "Spread the field, and let the good players touch the ball."

    Smith, fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, is the best of those players.

    Second in the country in passing efficiency, the junior from La Mesa, Calif., completed 66 percent of his passes this season for 2,624 yards and 28 touchdowns, with just four interceptions. He also ran for 563 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

    "They have an extraordinary player at quarterback," Pittsburgh coach Walt Harris said. "He's not only a good runner -- runs the option well -- he's also an outstanding passer. I think the other quality that separates him from most quarterbacks is he's tough as nails. He's the guy that makes it go."

    Smith, who might enter the NFL draft after this season, said there is no more enjoyable offense to run than the one Meyer has developed.

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    "We give a ton of different looks," the QB said. "It's pretty amazing when you can run the option and the spread from the same formation."...
    -12-31-2004, 02:56 PM
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