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No. 19 Pittsburgh likely headed to Fiesta after rout in finale

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  • No. 19 Pittsburgh likely headed to Fiesta after rout in finale

    Dec. 4, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    TAMPA, Fla. -- Tyler Palko threw for a career-high 411 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters Saturday, helping No. 19 Pittsburgh rout South Florida 43-14 and virtually assure the Panthers the Big East spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

    Greg Lee scored on receptions of 18, 6 and 7 yards for Pitt (8-3), while Malcolm Postell returned one of his two interceptions 15 yards for a TD that gave his team a 13-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

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    Palko completed 19 of 28 passes and finished his afternoon by throwing for two scores in the last 1:27 of the third quarter.

    Marcus Furman's 11-yard reception finished an eight-play, 93-yard drive, and Palko and 270-pound tight end Erik Gill teamed on an 80-yard TD play on the final play of the period.

    The victory was the sixth in seven games for Pitt, which hardly resembled a BCS team in stumbling to 2-2 start that included an overtime victory over Division I-AA Furman and a 12-point loss at Connecticut.

    The strong finish, however, gave the Panthers a share of the Big East title with Syracuse, Boston College and West Virginia and sets up a likely date against unbeaten Utah (11-0) in the Fiesta Bowl.

    The Panthers also avenged an embarrassing loss to South Florida (4-7), which won the only other meeting between the schools 35-26 in just their second game as a Division I-A program three years ago.

    Some Pitt players said that game provided extra motivation this time.

    South Florida, which finished its final season as a member of Conference USA with a three-game losing streak, will move to the Big East next year and found out how difficult that transition could be.

    Although the Bulls had plenty of success moving the ball, Pat Julmiste was intercepted twice and Pitt also forced two fumbles to stop scoring threats. The Panthers also stopped another march inside their 20 on downs.

    Julmiste scored South Florida's first touchdown on a trick play, catching a 16-yard TD pass from Andre Hall after the 1,300-yard rusher took a pitchout and faked a handoff to receiver S.J. Green on an end-around.

    Clenton Crossley also scored on a 1-yard run for the Bulls.

    Lee finished with eight receptions for 153 yards, giving him 61 catches for 1,204 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The 300-yard performance by Palko was the sophomore's fifth of the year.

    The last time Pitt won at least eight games three consecutive seasons was 1981-83. The Panthers are headed to a bowl for the fifth straight year, but haven't played on New Year's Day or later since concluding the 1983 season in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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  • DJRamFan
    Florida State overcomes mistakes to down West Virginia
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 1, 2005
    SportsLine.com 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.

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    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
  • 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
    No. 18 Va. Tech staves off upset-minded North Carolina
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 6, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Mike Imoh ran for 236 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as No. 18 Virginia Tech won 27-24 over North Carolina, which missed a 54-yard field goal with about a minute left that would have tied the game.

    The Tar Heels, who upset Miami last week on a last-play field goal by freshman Connor Barth, seemed poised for more late-game heroics. North Carolina drove to the Tech 26 in the closing minutes, but an 11-yard sack of Darian Durant on third down made Barth's job much tougher. His 54-yard attempt fell short.

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    Bryan Randall added a rushing score for the Hokies (7-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won five straight games. Brandon Pace had two field goals for the Hokies, who nearly blew a 13-point second-half lead.

    Virginia Tech kept its hopes alive of winning the ACC title in its first season in the league. The Hokies close the season with Maryland, Virginia and Miami, and winning out will give them the title in a league they had long hoped to join.

    North Carolina (4-5, 3-3), coming off that 31-28 win against Miami, missed an opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time in three years.

    Imoh skipped over falling defenders and squeezed his 5-foot-7 frame through narrow running lanes, carrying 31 times to power the Hokies' offense. He passed the 200-yard mark with a 13-yard touchdown run for a 27-14 lead with 3:40 left in the third quarter.

    But North Carolina fought back. Tom O'Leary blocked a punt by Vinnie Burns deep in Virginia Tech territory and D.J. Walker recovered the ball and rolled into the end zone to cut the deficit to 27-24 early in the fourth quarter.

    Chad Scott had another big day for the Tar Heels. After rushing for 175 yards last week against Miami, he ran for 122 against the Hokies, making him the first Tar Heel in seven years to put together consecutive 100-yard games.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -11-06-2004, 01:09 PM
  • DJRamFan
    RedHawks roll in first game without Roethlisberger
    by DJRamFan
    Aug. 29, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    OXFORD, Ohio -- Josh Betts passed for three touchdowns and ran for a score to lead Miami (OH) to a 49-0 rout of Division I-AA Indiana State on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.

    Betts, making his first start as the replacement for first-round NFL Draft choice Ben Roethlisberger, led the RedHawks to six touchdowns in the seven possessions he played. He completed 17 of 27 passes to help Miami win its 14th straight game, the longest streak in Division I-A.

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    The game started 49 minutes late because of lightning that flashed near Yager Stadium. After kickoff, the RedHawks wasted little time overwhelming the Sycamores.

    Miami scored on its first five possessions, including Betts' scoring passes of 16 yards to Luke Clemens and 30 yards to Michael Larkin. Betts also scored on a 1-yard sneak.

    Ryne Robinson returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and had two other punt returns for scores -- a 67-yarder in the second quarter and an 82-yarder in the fourth -- called back by penalties.

    Miami turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions after Mike Kokal replaced Betts at quarterback. Twice the RedHawks were moving in for scores but fumbled at the Indiana State 8 and 20 yard lines.

    Clemens was Miami's leading rusher with 69 yards on nine carries. Martin Nance caught six passes for 75 yards. Betts also threw a 5-yard TD pass to Larkin to close the scoring.

    Sidney Montford led Indiana State with 39 yards rushing on 16 attempts. Jake Schiff was 12-of-21 for 104 yards an interception.

    Miami totaled 454 yards of offense to 204 for Indiana State. The RedHawks averaged 43 points and 501 yards a game last season, when Roethlisberger led Miami to a 13-1 record and a win in the GMAC Bowl.

    Miami will have a tough time extending its winning streak to 15. The RedHawks play at No. 8 Michigan next Saturday.


    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -08-29-2004, 12:50 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Rix starts, but Sexton cements FSU victory over Duke
    by DJRamFan
    Nov. 6, 2004
    SportsLine.com wire reports
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Backup quarterback Wyatt Sexton led three long scoring drives in the second half, and Gary Cismesia tied a school record with five field goals in his college debut to lead 13th-ranked Florida State past Duke 29-7 Saturday.

    Sexton completed 11 of 15 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown while taking the Seminoles on drives of 93, 80 and 70 yards to break open a tight game with 20 straight points.

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    Florida State (7-2, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) struggled on offense in the first half, managing three short field goals from Cismesia to make it 9-0.

    Sexton replaced Chris Rix, who failed to get the Seminoles into the end zone in the first half while making his first start in six weeks. Rix went 9-of-15 for just 94 yards and threw an interception that set up Duke's touchdown -- his 37th pick at FSU.

    The Seminoles reached Duke's 1, 6 and 3 on successive series in the first quarter before settling for the kicks by Cismesia, a freshman playing in place of slumping senior Xavier Beitia.

    Rix, under a heavy rush, was intercepted by Duke's Cody Lowe at midfield late in the second half to set up the game's first touchdown. Lowe ran 26 yards to the Florida State 24, and eight plays later Cedric Dargan scored on a 1-yard run to pull the Blue Devils within 9-7.

    Duke wasted a second-half scoring chance when Mike Schneider was intercepted in the end zone by Pat Watkins.

    The Seminoles went up 19-9 on Cismesia's fourth field goal, and Sexton's 45-yard touchdown pass to Chris Davis. The hosts made it 26-7 with a little more than 11 minutes left on freshman Lamar Lewis' 4-yard TD run.

    Cismesia's fifth field goal, from 43 yards, tied a school record. Sebastian Janikowski -- now with the Oakland Raiders -- kicked five in a game twice for FSU, and Bill Capece did it once.

    AP NEWS
    The Associated Press News Service

    Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
    -11-06-2004, 01:08 PM
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