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  • Backup QB saves Southern Miss in overtime win

    Oct. 8, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Damion Carter came on in an emergency and saved Southern Mississippi's perfect start.

    Carter, the Golden Eagles' backup quarterback, threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Otho Graves in overtime, giving Southern Mississippi a 35-29 victory over Houston on Thursday night.

    It was just Carter's third pass of the season, and his only attempt of the game, but it helped Southern Miss win its fourth consecutive game to start the season, the first time the Golden Eagles have done that since 1981. Southern Miss has won 12 consecutive contests in Conference USA play since 2002.

    "Being the No. 2, you know you're always only one play away," Carter said. "I try to go out there with the same poise and confidence that Dustin goes out there with and be a team leader."

    Southern Miss (4-0, 3-0 C-USA), which blew a 14-point lead and trailed for most of the second half, forced overtime on starting quarterback Dustin Almond's 18-yard touchdown run with 1:22 remaining and Anthony Harris' game-tying 2-point conversion run.

    Almond pulled a hamstring in his left leg on the TD run, forcing Carter into the game.

    Carter "was really cool. I think he cherished the opportunity to go in there and make some plays," Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower said. "We wanted to run our offense and do the things that Damion does best."

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    Southern Miss had the ball first in overtime and scored when Carter rolled right and hit Graves, who made a fingertip grab in the back of the end zone. Dustin McCaleb's extra-point was blocked.

    "I don't know how I managed to get one leg in, but I made a big play," Graves said.

    Houston then advanced to the Southern Miss 15 before faltering with two plays for negative yardage, a false-start penalty and two incompletions.

    "We should have had some momentum entering the overtime (because) we got the blocked extra point," said Kendal Briles, Houston's backup quarterback-turned-multipurpose threat and the son of coach Art Briles.

    Southern Miss fans stormed the field after Kevin Kolb's final pass sailed out of the end zone.

    Kolb was 19-of-36 for 345 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars (1-5, 1-2), who rallied from a 21-7 deficit and led 29-21 before Almond's touchdown run.

    "I thought we had it wrapped up, because our defense was playing well," Kendal Briles said.

    Vincent Marshall had four catches for 190 yards, turning several short slants into long gains for the Cougars, who haven't beaten Southern Miss since 1996.

    "To play that hard and then lose, it hurts," Marshall said.

    Kendal Briles caught 10 passes for 101 yards, and ran for 24 yards and a touchdown.

    "The only way we're going to feel good is if we had one more point than they had, and we didn't have that tonight," Art Briles said. "They did what they had to do on defense to win the game, and we didn't."

    Houston had 518 yards to the Golden Eagles' 338.

    Southern Miss -- which entered giving up an average of 148 passing yards -- allowed more than that (206) by halftime.

    Almond was 16-of-28 for 169 yards with a touchdown to Antwon Courington for the Golden Eagles, who scored three of the first four times they touched the ball.

    "We just cannot keep getting behind early like that, because it takes so much energy to catch up that it drains you a little bit," Art Briles said.

    John Eubanks returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown for the Golden Eagles.

    Dustin Bell had field goals of 37, 39 and a school-record 53 yards for Houston.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Syracuse trounces BC to force four-way tie for Big East title
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 27, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    BOSTON -- If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

    Syracuse wasn't able to follow Boston College to the Atlantic Coast Conference or stop the Eagles from leaving the Big East. The one thing the Orange could do was deprive BC of a spot in the Bowl Championship Series and a farewell Big East title.

    "We heard it all week," said defensive back turned running back Diamond Ferri, who scored two touchdowns on offense and one on defense to help Syracuse beat No. 17 Boston College 43-17 on Saturday. "If they want to leave the conference, we wanted to send them out with a loss."

    BC needed a victory for its first outright championship in a league that has been depleted by the defections of Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC. The Eagles will join them next year but Syracuse, which tried to leave before being bypassed, made sure that they left on a sour note.

    Damien Rhodes ran for a 69-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage and 107 yards in all before leaving with a leg injury. With star tailback Walter Reyes already injured, the Orange (6-5, 4-2) turned to Ferri, a starting safety and former high school running back from nearby Everett, Mass.

    "That's probably one of the biggest performances I've ever seen in my entire life, in any sport, to be able to come in and play big-time college football like that," Rhodes said of his understudy.

    The Orange, who woke up Saturday morning ineligible for a bowl, moved into a four-way tie with BC (8-3, 4-2), Pittsburgh and West Virginia for first place in the conference. Syracuse has a chance at a BCS game if Pittsburgh loses to South Florida next week; if Pitt wins it would likely earn a Fiesta Bowl matchup with Utah.

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    "It gives us a share of the Big East championship. We've had a lot of special things that have happened here, but it's pretty special," Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said. "I'm just going to enjoy that we're bowl-eligible."

    BC will go to its sixth consecutive bowl game, but it will be a second- or third-tier event like the Insight or Gator. Athletic director Gene DeFilippo said six or more different bowl games could be in play.

    But the Fiesta and Sugar, BC's goals at the start of the day, are out.

    "I suspect at 8-3 we will go somewhere, but who knows where we'll end up," coach Tom O'Brien said. "We need another football game, especially for the seniors. ... For them, we need to play another football game."

    Ferri ran for 141 yards two touchdowns and scored again on a 44-yard interception that made it 36-17 and sealed the victory in the fourth quarter. Perry Patterson was 9-for-16 for 88 yards, adding 48 yards rushing and a touchdown in what could be Pasqualoni's...
    -11-28-2004, 05:20 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Greene becomes Georgia's winningest QB in rout of Vanderbilt
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 16, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    ATHENS, Ga. -- Except for one series, David Greene played about as well as he can for Georgia.

    It helps to have a pair of 100-yard runners in the backfield -- and Vanderbilt on the opposite side of the line.

    Greene passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, leading the 12th-ranked Bulldogs to a 33-3 rout of lowly Vanderbilt on Saturday.

    Greene found plenty of room to pass when the Commodores began crowding the line, trying without much success to stop Georgia's freshmen running backs.

    Danny Ware rushed for 127 yards and Thomas Brown had 122, including a touchdown. They were the first pair of Bulldog runners to go over 100 yards in the same game since Garrison Hearst and Mack Strong in 1992.

    "That's big," Ware said. "We want to do that every game."

    The Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from their first loss of the season, a 19-14 setback to Tennessee.

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    Greene became just the fifth player in SEC history to pass for 10,000 yards in his career. He also picked up his 37th victory, breaking a tie with College Football Hall of Famer Johnny Rauch as the winningest quarterback in Georgia history.

    "Wins are the thing," said Greene, just two wins away from Peyton Manning's NCAA record. "For a quarterback, that's what you're always going to be judged by. Wins mean more to me than anything else."

    The left-hander has struggled much of the season, coming into the game as only the ninth-rated quarterback in the SEC. But Greene had the right opponent to pad his numbers.

    Vanderbilt (1-5, 1-3) is only one defeat from its 22nd straight losing season. Georgia piled up a season-high 527 yards, holding the Commodores to just 187.

    Greene played seven possessions in the game, leading the Bulldogs to four touchdowns and a field goal, while another drive reached Vandy territory before stalling.

    The only time Greene looked out of sync was when he threw three straight incompletions late in the second quarter.

    "I felt like I played great except for one drive," he said.

    Greene completed 14 of 21 for 191 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter that put the game out of reach.

    Georgia scored on its first two possessions and led 16-3 at halftime. The Bulldogs followed the same script in the second half.

    Greene finished off an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 22-yard pass to Leonard Pope, the first touchdown of the sophomore's career and a 23-3 lead.

    On Georgia's next possession, Greene faced fourth-and-2 at the Vandy 38. He faked a handoff and lofted a perfect pass to Reggie Brown, who beat cornerback Bill Alford in...
    -10-16-2004, 02:42 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Gophers grind out Music City victory over Alabama
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 31, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Marion Barber III heard all about how Alabama stopped Auburn's vaunted running backs.

    Barber and teammate Laurence Maroney simply thought they were better.

    Barber ran for 187 yards and a touchdown and Maroney added 105 yards to lead Minnesota to a 20-16 victory over Alabama in the Music City Bowl on Friday.

    Barber and Maroney, the only teammates in NCAA history to each rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, were the only runners to go for more than 100 yards in a game this season against the Crimson Tide, who entered with the nation's second-ranked defense.

    "They're a duo, and they're both going to come at you," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said, grinning. "They must be pretty good, I guess."

    Alabama held Auburn to just 74 yards rushing in the Crimson Tide's final game, but Barber wasn't impressed.

    "I never looked at that," the soft-spoken Barber said. "We just came in more prepared."

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    The Golden Gophers (7-5) ran for 276 yards to overcome three turnovers -- including two by Barber -- on their first three drives. Still, they nearly gave the game away in the fourth quarter.

    Rhys Lloyd, who made field goals from 27 and 24 yards, missed a 24-yard attempt with 5:34 left that would have sealed the victory. Mason admitted he was worried since Minnesota lost games late against Michigan and Iowa.

    "When we missed the field goal that would have put us in pretty good shape, I said, 'Here we go again,'" Mason said. "I know if I'm thinking that, so are our kids, but we fought through."

    On Minnesota's next possession, it was pinned deep in its own end and elected to take a safety to make it 20-16 rather than attempt a punt.

    The decision nearly backfired.

    Alabama's Tyrone Prothro returned the free kick to the Minnesota 48, and four completions by Spencer Pennington got the Crimson Tide to the 15. But Pennington overthrew a Prothro in the end zone on third down and couldn't convert a fourth-and-5 with 1:14 to left, ending the game.

    "That's all you can ask for, a chance to win the game," Pennington said. "Prothro was open, and I threw it a little high."

    Alabama (6-6), making an NCAA-record 52nd bowl appearance, was forced to throw throughout the game with leading rusher Kenneth Darby limited because of an abdominal strain. The Crimson Tide had minus-2 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 21.

    Pennington, who finished 22-of-36 for 243 yards and a touchdown, frequently tried to let receivers make plays using short passes.

    "We didn't execute the way we should have," he said. "We felt...
    -12-31-2004, 02:57 PM
  • DJRamFan
    James Madison earns first Division I-AA championship
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 17, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- James Madison ran its way to its first Division I-AA national championship.

    Maurice Fenner had 164 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Justin Rascati also ran for two scores in a 31-21 victory over Montana on Friday night. The Dukes rolled up 314 yards rushing en route to their first national title.

    "It was two great quarterbacks. The difference was we could run it, and they couldn't," James Madison coach Mickey Matthews said.

    Rascati ran for 57 yards on 11 carries, and Fenner had 29 carries.

    The Dukes (13-2) were the first team to reach the title game by winning all three playoff games on the road, advancing past the second round for the first time.

    The two-time champion Grizzlies (12-3), playing in their fifth title game and led by Colorado transfer quarterback Craig Ochs, took a 21-17 lead in the third quarter, but couldn't stop James Madison's rushing attack.

    Trailing by four points, James Madison responded with a 72-yard drive -- all on the ground. Fenner capped the drive by pounding in for a score from the 1, putting the Dukes ahead for good.

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    Montana missed a 31-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter that would have tied the game, and the Dukes all but sealed the title on their next drive.

    Rascati scored on a 6-yard run one down after getting hit in the head, a play that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty on Montana's Kerry Mullan that gave James Madison a first down.

    The Grizzlies had a chance to rally, but James Madison's Clint Kent intercepted Ochs' pass with 6:17 remaining, and Montana was unable to move the ball the rest of the game.

    "It's a dream come true," said Rascati, who transferred from Louisville after last season. "It's something I've always dreamed of throwing in the backyard."

    James Madison's fans threw yellow streamers and some even jumped down from the stands onto the field to celebrate with the team as the final seconds ticked off the clock. All stayed on the field during a short fireworks show while security officials took down the goal posts.

    Montana appeared to be in control in the first quarter after holding James Madison to 2 total yards on offense (minus-4 rushing, and 6 passing). The Grizzlies' score on their opening drive was the only touchdown James Madison allowed in the first quarter this season.

    But the Dukes eventually got rolling on the ground.

    "I think they decided they were going to do it," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. "They played a great game and deserved to win."

    Montana was trying to win the school's third title, a championship that would have provided a perfect ending...
    -12-18-2004, 01:50 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Vols storm back to defeat Kentucky in SEC title-game tuneup
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 27, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was -- in a word -- relieved.

    With an appearance in the Southeastern Conference title game already wrapped up, the No. 15 Volunteers rallied with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to avoid an embarrassing loss and beat Kentucky 37-31 on Saturday.

    And while a field goal would have given Tennessee the lead in the final minute, the Vols didn't want to risk it after Kentucky had already blocked two kicks.

    Gerald Riggs finally put Tennessee ahead to stay with a 12-yard touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining.

    "Really relieved," Fulmer said. "I love each and every one of these guys, but they are making an old man out of me and the rest of the staff."

    Kentucky (2-9, 1-7) lost its 20th straight game to Tennessee, though the Vols' defense had another lackluster effort in its regular-season finale.

    On a cold rainy day, the Vols (9-2, 7-1) found themselves down 31-22 in the fourth quarter to one of the worst offenses in the country.

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    A trick play helped start the comeback. Rick Clausen tossed the ball to C.J. Fayton, who completed a 53-yard pass to Robert Meachem at the Kentucky 12. Tony Brown scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Clausen two plays later.

    Clausen was intercepted on Tennessee's next possession, but Kentucky could not take advantage and had to punt.

    The Vols got the ball back at their 40 with about 4 minutes left and trailing 31-29.

    They marched into field-goal range, but with Kentucky's Lonnell Dewalt having blocked an extra-point kick and a field goal earlier in the game, Tennessee passed up a chance to let the kicker try to win it.

    Dewalt finished the season with seven blocked kicks, a school record.

    Riggs ran straight through the line on third down for the touchdown, and Cedric Houston added another run for the 2-point conversion.

    Tennessee's Corey Campbell intercepted Shane Boyd's pass with 6 seconds left to seal the win.

    "We were able to overcome some of our mistakes in the first half," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks. "In the fourth quarter, the offense went into hibernation."

    The Vols said they believed they would win.

    "It seems like we've been down a lot in the fourth this season so it wasn't too bad. We were confident we could do what we needed to win," Tennessee offensive guard Rob Smith said.

    Clausen, playing for injured freshmen Erik Ainge and Brent Schaeffer, was 26-of-41 for 349 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Houston had 127 yards rushing on 24 carries, and Meachem had five catches for 145 yards and a touchdown.

    The Vols rolled...
    -11-28-2004, 05:25 PM
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