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Blocked FG helps save Boise State's perfect season in 2OT win

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  • Blocked FG helps save Boise State's perfect season in 2OT win

    Nov. 13, 2004 wire reports
    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- When San Jose State lined up for a 30-yard field goal that probably would have ended Boise State's winning streak, Gerald Alexander figured the Broncos had used up all their lucky breaks.

    He would have to do something extraordinary -- and the cornerback's block was the biggest of several plays that barely kept Boise State unbeaten.

    Jon Helmandollar scored his third touchdown in the second overtime, and the 14th-ranked Broncos extended the nation's longest winning streak to 20 games with a wild 56-49 victory Saturday.

    Jared Zabransky passed for 200 yards and scored one of eight rushing touchdowns by the Broncos (9-0, 6-0 WAC), whose Bowl Championship Series dreams got a reality check when they were mostly outplayed by one of their league's worst teams.

    The Spartans (2-7, 1-5) probably would have won it with that final boot from their solid kicker, Jeff Carr, with 1:07 left in regulation -- but Alexander still believed.

    "I have great confidence that I can get up and get a ball in a situation like that," Alexander said. "I was out the previous play, so I had time to rest up. I had a feeling I was going to try to block it."

    Boise State's defensive line, after getting dominated for much of the afternoon, got a strong push up front -- and Alexander got his hand on the ball, sending the game to overtime with that last defensive stand.


    "I totally had faith our guys would figure it out," said coach Dan Hawkins, whose team committed 14 penalties for 118 yards. "I totally believe in our special teams, and I thought they would come up with a play."

    Lance Martin's 1-yard dive capped San Jose State's tying drive with 4:42 left in regulation, and they rallied for another lengthy drive. But the Spartans couldn't believe Carr's kick was blocked.

    "I just knew we had it," Martin said. "Carr, he's money. You just knew it was going to be time to tear down the goalposts. When it got blocked, I was just shattered."

    Martin rushed for 112 yards, including a 16-yard score on San Jose State's first overtime possession. Lee Marks, who finished with 140 yards rushing, replied with a 12-yard TD run for Boise State.

    After Helmandollar's 1-yard scoring rush in the second overtime, cornerback Gabe Franklin drove San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis out of bounds at the 4 on a fourth-down option play. The Broncos celebrated with the orange-clad fans behind their bench.

    The jubilation probably won't last long: Boise State rushed for 280 yards, but also revealed significant flaws in its defense, special teams and discipline that couldn't be blamed on a 9 a.m. start.

    "We just made some careless errors," Marks said. "It could have happened if we had played at 7 o'clock at night."

    The Spartans lost their fifth straight and allowed at least 36 points for the seventh time this season, but they played well enough to please coach Fitz Hill.

    "They wanted to stand up today for some respect, and they earned that," Hill said. "This season has been one that has been strengthening our soul."

    Dale Rogers passed for 149 yards and rushed for two scores for the Spartans, who nearly knocked off Boise State with a big-play offense, two interchangeable quarterbacks and a touchdown on a fake field goal. Rufus Skillern caught 10 passes for 167 yards, including a 79-yard TD catch.

    There appeared to be less than 5,000 fans in the stands for the earliest game in Spartan Stadium's history to accommodate a national television broadcast. San Jose State mascot Sparty wore pajamas and a bathrobe.

    And the Broncos' defense definitely missed a wakeup call. San Jose State took a 14-7 lead in the first quarter with Rogers' 69-yard TD pass to Tyson Thompson and Tafralis' long throw to Skillern, both helped by big mistakes in the secondary.

    The Spartans led 35-28 midway through the third quarter after third-string quarterback Beau Pierce rushed for an 8-yard score on a fake field goal, and Bobby Godinez blocked a punt to set up Rogers' 1-yard TD dive.

    But the Broncos scored two touchdowns in 90 seconds, taking the lead on Helmandollar's 3-yard run late in the quarter.

    Linebacker Korey Hall was ejected with 7:29 left for kicking a San Jose State lineman in the head, capping the Broncos' undisciplined play with a penalty that aided the Spartans' tying drive.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Fresno State dominates Big 12 champs in shocking rout
    by DJRamFan
    Sept. 11, 2004 wire reports
    MANHATTAN, Kan. -- In 2001, Fresno State made a run at breaking into the Bowl Championship Series by beating big-name teams.

    The Bulldogs are at it again.

    Fresno State's 45-21 upset of No. 13 Kansas State was its second victory over a team from a BCS conference in seven days -- and their seventh since the BCS was established in 1999.

    With the big payday a BCS bowl guarantees, perhaps it's fitting that coach Pat Hill used a poker metaphor to describe his team's situation.

    "We are still at the main table," Hill said. "We were all in. We picked up all their chips, and now we've got a bigger pile -- and next week we'll go all in again."

    Fresno State (2-0) didn't have to catch many breaks against the Wildcats, either. After giving up an early touchdown on Bret Jones' 42-yard interception return, they dominated the defending Big 12 Conference champions the rest of the game.

    Bulldogs running back Dwayne Wright scored two touchdowns before tearing a tendon in his right knee in the fourth quarter, sidelining him for the season.


    Bryson Sumlin was originally credited with Wright's second touchdown, but Kansas State officials gave the TD to Wright after reviewing the tape.

    Paul Pinegar threw two touchdown passes to Matt Rivera and ran for another score, and Sumlin added one TD run in Fresno State's biggest win over a ranked team -- and the Wildcats' worst regular-season nonconference loss in 13 years.

    "I've been here for 16 years," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "You can remember some of the 1-10 and 5-6 (seasons). We never had a football team that just got beat up as badly as we did today."

    The Bulldogs' 45 points were the most given up by the Wildcats in a regular-season nonconference game since a 56-3 loss to Washington in 1991. Fresno State's previous most decisive win over a ranked team was a 44-24 defeat of Oregon State, then ranked 10th, in 2001.

    That season the Bulldogs, from the Western Athletic Conference, also knocked off Colorado and Wisconsin on the road.

    Kansas State (1-1) led 7-0 before it took a snap, but the Wildcats couldn't do much right after Jones' defensive touchdown less than 3 minutes into the game. They had only 2 yards of offense in the first quarter and trailed 31-14 at the half.

    Fresno State's defense, which scored three times in last Sunday's 35-16 win at Washington, held Kansas State star Darren Sproles to 37 yards on 11 carries and forced two key turnovers.

    "We realized that if we stopped him, it would be no contest," said cornerback Richard Marshall, who set up a touchdown with a third-quarter interception. "We knew the only person they have...
    -09-13-2004, 01:24 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Pinegar's five TDs guide Fresno State's upset of No. 18 Virginia
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 27, 2004 wire reports
    BOISE, Idaho -- Paul Pinegar shrugged off midseason criticism and kept throwing for touchdowns.

    Pinegar had five TD passes, including the game-winning 25-yarder to Stephen Spach in overtime, as Fresno State beat No. 18 Virginia 37-34 in the MPC Computers Bowl on Monday.

    "Winning feels great, especially against a Virginia team that has a great defense," Pinegar said.

    He was fabulous, completing 23 of 36 passes for 235 yards without an interception, helping the Bulldogs (9-3) erase a 21-7 second-quarter deficit and notch another win against a big-name team.

    Fresno State, the third-place team in the Western Athletic Conference, added the Cavaliers (8-4) of the Atlantic Coast Conference to a list of victims that has included Colorado, Oregon State, Wisconsin, Washington and Kansas State in recent years.

    "We've got a lot of great teams in the WAC: Boise State, Hawaii, UTEP," Pinegar said. "We've showed that we definitely can compete with some of the best teams in the nation."

    His five touchdown passes were a record for the game, formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl.


    Virginia got the first possession of overtime, taking a 34-31 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Connor Hughes.

    It didn't take Pinegar long to end it, though. He froze the defense with a play-action call and zipped a pass inside the 5 to Spach, who fought off a pair of would-be tacklers and dropped into the end zone.

    "We ought to be able to cover a post pass when we know it's a post pass situation," Virginia coach Al Groh said.

    The Bulldogs stormed off the sideline in celebration while the Cavaliers were left dazed.

    "When you catch the ball in that situation, you're just looking for the end zone," Spach said. "You just keep on running. I knew I was really close."

    Virginia had things in hand after Wali Lundy followed his big blockers and rumbled across the blue turf at Boise State's home field on a 20-yard TD run that put the Cavaliers up 31-24 with 6:20 remaining.

    But Pinegar wasn't finished. He started on the 17, turning to the ground game and working the clock to give Fresno State a chance to tie.

    Wendell Mathis ran 22 yards to Virginia's 25 and Bryson Sumlin reached the 15 on a 6-yard burst. On third-and-6 at the 10, Pinegar threaded a 7-yard pass into double coverage to tight end Duncan Reid, then spiked the ball to stop the clock at 28 seconds.

    That put the ball at the 3, but soon the Bulldogs faced fourth-and-goal. Pinegar rolled right and connected with Jaron Fairman for a TD with 11 seconds to go.

    "My last option was to tuck it and run, but that would have been...
    -12-28-2004, 10:42 AM
  • DJRamFan
    Northwestern ends 33-year losing streak vs. Ohio State
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 3, 2004 wire reports
    EVANSTON, Ill. -- The Northwestern players piled on top of each other in the corner of the end zone while students rushed the field, turning it into a purple mosh pit.

    They partied into the night long after Noah Herron's 1-yard touchdown run gave Northwestern a 33-27 upset of No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday night, not even caring when the north goal post held firm. This party was 33 years in the making, and they weren't about to go home early.

    "It's hard to put into words," said safety Jeff Backes, an Ohio native. "I came here with a dream to beat the Buckeyes and it's been 33 years. This is one I will never forget."

    Herron scored three touchdowns, including the winner in overtime, and Northwestern (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) backed up its pregame trash talk with its first victory over Ohio State (3-1, 0-1) since 1971. The win snapped the Buckeyes' 24-game winning streak in the series, and handed them their first loss in Evanston since 1958.

    "Thirty-three years was long enough," said Northwestern coach Randy Walker, an Ohio native.

    It also was Northwestern's first victory over a top-10 team since beating then-No. 7 Wisconsin in double overtime in Madison on Sept. 23, 2000.

    Ohio State has made it a habit of pulling out the close wins, winning 13 of its last 15 games that were decided by seven points or less. The Buckeyes beat Marshall earlier this season on Mike Nugent's field goal as time expired, and Nugent tied a school record with five field goals to beat North Carolina State two weeks ago.


    It looked as if the Buckeyes' luck might hold again Saturday after they rallied to score 10 points in the final nine minutes and force overtime. But the normally automatic Nugent misfired, with his 40-yard field-goal attempt sailing wide right on the first overtime possession.

    "It was probably one of the best balls I hit tonight," Nugent said. "I thought it was going to be dead-center."

    Instead, the Wildcats got a second chance to put the Buckeyes away and they made the most of it. On the second play, quarterback Brett Basanez scrambled to the left and up the sideline for a 21-yard gain. Two plays later, Herron bulldozed his way into the end zone for the winning score, setting off pandemonium at the stadium.

    "I wouldn't have requested to be at the end of (the streak)," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "But we are. Unfortunately, that's the case. We have to start trying to get better, starting tomorrow."

    Herron ran for 113 yards, rushed for two 1-yard scores and also caught a 12-yard TD pass. Mark Philmore had 134 yards receiving and a touchdown, the first of his career. Brett Basanez was 24-of-44 for 278 yards, two touchdowns...
    -10-04-2004, 01:14 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Gophers grind out Music City victory over Alabama
    by DJRamFan
    Dec. 31, 2004 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."


    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, 03:57 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Michigan State 49, No. 4 Wisconsin 14
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 13, 2004

    EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State used a powerful rushing attack, a trick play and a key defensive stand to defeat No. 4 Wisconsin 49-14 Saturday and knock the Badgers out of the national championship race.

    The Spartans (5-5, 4-3 Big Ten) handed the Badgers their first loss and knocked Wisconsin (9-1, 6-1) into a second-place tie with Iowa in the Big Ten behind Michigan. The win keeps bowl hopes alive for Michigan State.


    The Badgers entered the game ranked fifth in the Bowl Championship Series standings, primarily because of a dominating defense that had allowed 9.1 points a game - lowest in the nation. But Michigan State rolled up 551 yards of total offense, including 430 on the ground.

    Jehuu Caulcrick had 146 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries for the Spartans. Jason Teague had 112 yards and a TD on 17 carries. He also caught a 30-yard touchdown pass on a trick play in the first half, with the ball thrown by wide receiver Aaron Alexander.

    Anthony Davis led Wisconsin with 128 yards on 21 carries, including a touchdown.

    Michigan State grabbed a 28-14 lead on the first drive of the second half, sparked by the recovery of a surprise onside kick. It set up a 54-yard drive capped by Caulcrick's 1-yard touchdown run.

    The Spartans had preserved their halftime lead by stopping Wisconsin on four straight plays from inside the 1 late in the second quarter. Davis was stopped short of the goal line on fourth-and-inches by linebacker David Herron Jr. and cornerback Roderick Maples.

    The play was reviewed by Big Ten officials, but the play stood as called on the field.

    Michigan State got a first-half touchdown on a blocked punt by Marshall Campbell, recovered by Travis Key in the end zone.

    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -11-13-2004, 06:15 PM