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  • Griz host pass-happy New Hampshire

    By Peter Bulger Montana Kaimin
    Missoula, MT (U-WIRE) -- Montanans often complain about people from out-of-state moving in on their land, but they don't seem to mind visitors to Missoula on Saturdays. That's because the Montana football team is 110-16 all-time in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

    The Grizzlies, who are 10-2 on the season, are 8-0 as the home team this year. After defeating Northwestern State in a first-round playoff game at home last week, Montana's all-time playoff record at Washington-Grizzly is 18-3. So Montana fans did a collective fist-pump when fourth-seeded Georgia Southern lost to New Hampshire last week, allowing the Grizzlies to bid for a second-round home game. As expected, Montana outbid the Wildcats of UNH and will host them Saturday in a nationally televised game at 2 p.m. Let the hospitality begin.

    "I would hate to play on an opposing team (in Washington-Grizzly)," said Jon Talmage, a junior receiver for the Grizzlies. "Having to travel across the country, then face the crowd and the weather, it's pretty much like a 12th man on the field for us."

    But if any team's up for the challenge, it's UNH. The Wildcats, also 10-2 on the season, are 8-0 on the road. They've beat good teams, such as defending-champion Delaware, I-A Rutgers and playoff-regular GSU, in front of crowds numbering near or greater than the average Washington-Grizzly turnout. Still, the game will present a monumental task for the Wildcats said head coach Sean McDonnell.

    "The advantage obviously goes to Montana at their place," McDonnell said.

    An advantage increased in two ways by UNH's no-huddle, pass-heavy style of offense. First, since the Wildcats don't huddle, they call their plays at the line of scrimmage. Crowd noise, of which there's plenty in Washington-Grizzly, will make play calling difficult for UNH freshman quarterback Ricky Santos. The other factor hurting the Wildcats is an injury to their best receiver, sophomore David Ball.

    Ball, who has accounted for nearly 30 percent of UNH's offense, broke his ankle early in last week's game and will not play Saturday. Even without Ball, the Wildcats' offense can produce. UNH came back from a 21-6 deficit last week to win 27-23, dealing GSU its only first-round playoff loss ever. Santos, a fourth-stringer before the season, took over midway through UNH's first game and put together an excellent season. He was one of 16 finalists for the Walter Payton Award, along with Grizzly senior quarterback Craig Ochs. Santos averages 247.6 yards per game with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Senior wide receiver Shaun Diner had six catches for 55 yards for the Wildcats last week. That was the most by any UNH receiver in Ball's absence. The Wildcats' passing game is their strength, but they also average a respectable 143.33 rushing yards per game. Running backs R.J. Harvey and John McCoy, a senior and junior respectively, gained 107.5 yards per game and have scored 14 touchdowns combined.

    "(Pass defense is) definitely something we're going to stress this week," said Shane MacIntyre, a junior linebacker for the Grizzlies. "They've got a good quarterback, so we're going to have to try and get pressure on him. Everyone on the defense is going to have to do their job so we can try and prevent a big air attack."

    Everyone on the Grizzly defense did their job last week, allowing fewer yards than in any other game this year. The difference, though, is Montana had to shut down an excellent running team last week, not a passing team. Its weakness this year has been pass defense, but it did hold NSU to 102 passing yards last game. Montana's young defense rotates frequently, and 27 players made tackles last week. Junior tackle Alan Saenz had the team's only sack along with three tackles. Cornerbacks Kevin Edwards and Jimmy Wilson, a junior and freshman respectively, each had interceptions for the Grizzlies.

    "They do a great job stopping the run," McDonnell said about the Montana defense. "They get to the ball quickly, they play hard and they tackle well. Going into the game, moving the ball against them is going to be a major challenge for us."

    Moving the ball won't likely be the problem for Montana's offense. The Grizzlies are coming off a 500-yard outing against the nation's best defense and they benefit from an improved running game to compliment their season-long success throwing. Lex Hilliard, a Montana sophomore running back, rushed for 171 yards on just 14 carries and scored a school record-tying four touchdowns last week. He led a 268-yard rushing performance by Montana, which averaged 141.8 yards on the ground before the game. However, the main concern for UNH may be Ochs, who McDonnell calls "a great trigger-puller." His numbers on the season are similar to Santos', with Ochs throwing for fewer touchdowns and interceptions but more yards.

    He has no shortage of targets, as eight Grizzlies had multiple catches last week. Senior receiver Levander Segars led the team with five catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Montana's offense will face a UNH defense that plays by a bend-but-don't-break philosophy, McDonnell said. They allow nearly 400 yards per game, but McDonnell said their strength is playing in the red zone. They've allowed 24.3 points per game this year. Last week, UNH allowed only six points in the second half. The Wildcats made two stands on fourth down late in the game to seal the victory. It was just a matter of getting used to GSU's offense, McDonnell said.

    Senior end George Peterson, a first-team all-conference selection, anchors the UNH defense with 74 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Senior free safety Aaron Thomas's 116 tackles are tops among the Wildcats and he also has two interceptions and a sack. The team leader in interceptions is sophomore defensive back Corey Graham, who has four along with 103 tackles. "Their defense plays hard, fast and physical," Talmage said of UNH. "They match up well with us. Their defensive line is playing well right now but so is our offensive line. It looks like a good match up." Graham also boasts the nation's second-best kick return average of 31.47 yards. He had two big returns against GSU, of 99 and 44 yards, to aid UNH's comeback. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

    It will be the Grizzlies' first national television appearance this year, while UNH played on ESPN2 last week. The 2 p.m. kickoff time was set to accommodate ESPN and temporary lights have been installed in the stadium because it's likely to get dark by the end of the game. The winner of the game plays the winner of Saturday's contest between Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington in a semi-final.

    Eastern Washington hosts Sam Houston at 4:30 p.m. (PST) at Woodward Stadium in Cheney. The location and date of the semi-final game will be determined by bidding.

    (C) 2004 Montana Kaimin via U-WIRE

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  • DJRamFan
    Battle of strengths key Minnesota's Saturday matchup
    by DJRamFan
    By David McCoy Minnesota Daily
    Minneapolis, MN (U-WIRE) -- Anyone who has been paying even remote attention to Minnesota's football team the past three weeks has noticed the way it has been able to run all over its nonconference opponents with ease.

    After those three games, the Gophers are averaging 335 yards per game.

    That figure is No. 1 in the country.

    But the Gophers know they can't get too excited about that fact.

    After all, they haven't exactly faced the nation's toughest run defenses, such as, well, Purdue.

    The 11th-ranked Boilermakers have the nation's best run defense, giving up an average of just 16 yards on the ground per game.

    And they just happen to be Minnesota's next opponent at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Metrodome.

    "Everything goes up a notch," Gophers center Greg Eslinger said. "You've got to play at your absolute peak. There's no such thing as taking a play off or getting a bad block, because if those things happen, you're going to have some serious consequences because you're going up against the best opponents in the league."

    On the flip side, Purdue's running attack is ranked fourth in the Big Ten at 225 yards per game while the Gophers' run defense is ranked sixth, giving up an average of 95 per game.

    Their passing attacks are similarly ranked. The Gophers are seventh in the Big Ten in both passing offense and defense, while the Boilermakers are ninth in passing offense and 10th on defense.

    The present scenario could mean one of two things: The team that wins the key matchup between the Gophers rushing offense and Purdue's run defense will have the crucial advantage, or the two strengths will cancel out and whichever team can revive its mediocre passing attack will dominate through the air.

    Wide receiver Logan Payne said the Gophers receiving corps not only feels responsibility for taking the pressure off their top-ranked running backs, but also feels the need to make big plays as well.

    "The home run is going to be there," Payne said. "There's no way that they can stop our run and also take away the home run. The challenge is there, and we need to make those plays."

    While the Gophers' ground game has been consistent each week, their passing attack has been spotty at best.

    But quarterback Bryan Cupito said he saw a lot of improvement in the passing game between the Colorado State game (190 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic (230 yards, two touchdowns, no picks).

    "We proved that we can catch the ball as good as we can run the ball," Cupito said. "We're ready for Purdue."

    Not quite on the former. Better be on the latter.
    -09-20-2005, 02:29 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Aggie defense is the only bright spot in a 16-13 win over Baylor
    by DJRamFan
    By Stephen Sills The Battalion
    College Station, TX (U-WIRE) -- The game was ugly, admittedly, but in the end there was one thing that proved to be a ray of light for A&M: the Aggie defense.

    Although many fans hoped the Aggie offense would come out and annihilate Baylor as payback for last year's debacle, its performance Saturday was, to say the least, sub-par. Quarterback Reggie McNeal threw two interceptions in the game and ran for only 83 yards, after coming into the game averaging more than 400 yards of total offense alone.

    The team was averaging 250/250 passing/rushing yards, but on Saturday the offense totaled only 132/155 passing/rushing yards. These totals will not win ball games in the Big 12.

    Let's get back to the defense, though. Although it may not have looked exciting from the stands, the defense did some things right. They combined to sack the Baylor quarterback five times for a total loss of 40 yards, kept Baylor to 125 yards of total rushing and broke up five key passes. The stop on the A&M 3-yard line when Baylor attempted to go for it on fourth and one early in the game also proved a lot, as the A&M defense kept the Aggies in the game for 60 minutes.

    Even with these positives, I have to bring up what the Aggies did wrong. Baylor running back Paul Mosley posted a 100-yard rushing game, only the third of his career, including a 57-yard scamper on the third play of the game, giving Baylor a first down on the 14-yard line. The Aggie cornerbacks are playing the players and not the ball, something that will have flags flying in every game; the defensive line is not getting enough pressure on quarterbacks, and the defense is still missing tackles that lead to first downs in key situations.

    Both teams had two turnovers, but for the first time in the last 14 games that the Aggies were even in or lost in the turnover battle, A&M came out with the win.

    The Aggies got lucky, though, especially when Baylor intercepted McNeal's pass on the A&M 18-yard line, and the ensuing play resulted in a first down for Baylor on the 4-yard line.

    The other big play came on an Aggie punt that was fumbled by Baylor defensive back Willie Andrews after a hard hit from Aggie defensive back Ronald Jones. Aggie tight end Boone Stutz recovered the ball on the A&M 49-yard line, keeping Baylor from good field position, but McNeal's second interception came five plays later, wasting the opportunity.

    When Baylor coach Guy Morriss was asked about the key to the game, he said, "I thought we had opportunities that we didn't take advantage of." This was definitely the case for both teams Saturday.

    Looking back for a second, how did the Aggies win Saturday against the Bears?

    The offense didn't click until the end of the game, when McNeal led...
    -10-03-2005, 04:27 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Unblemished Techs Meet on Gridiron
    by DJRamFan
    The ACC game will be televised on ABC at 3:30 p.m.

    Sept. 20, 2005

    The 15th-ranked Yellow Jackets (3-0, 1-0 ACC) travel to Blacksburg, Va., for an Atlantic Coast Conference divisional showdown against No. 4 Virginia Tech (3-0, 2-0 ACC) this Saturday at Lane Stadium. The game is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised to a split national audience on ABC (WSB-TV in Atlanta). Radio coverage for the game will broadcast on 790 The Zone (WQXI-AM 790) and WREK Radio (WREK-FM 91.1).

    "This is a tough Virginia Tech team and a big ACC showdown that could set us up real good going into our off week next week," said senior wide receiver Damarius Bilbo. "These are the games that you come to college for."

    Georgia Tech is off to its first 3-0 start since the 2001 season, and have not started a season 4-0 since the 1990 season where the Jackets captured their fourth national championship. The Hokies are the defending ACC champions and are riding a seven-game conference winning streak heading into Saturday's game.

    "Having watched them on film, they deserve that No. 4 ranking," said head coach Chan Gailey. "I don't see a weakness on their team in regards to offense, defense and special teams. They are very impressive and it will be a great challenge for us to go into their place and win the game."

    Virginia Tech is led by quarterback Marcus Vick, brother of Atlanta Falcons pro bowl quarterback Michael Vick. Vick, a redshirt junior, leads the ACC in passing efficiency at with a 164.5 rating, completing 60.1 percent of his passes (34-56) and throwing six touchdowns to one interception.

    "I knew about his athleticism and the fact that he could run the football, but he's a better passer than I thought he was going to be," said Gailey about watching Vick on film.

    Joining Vick in the backfield is tailback duo of Mike Imoh and Cedric Humes. Imoh and Humes rank ninth and 10th in the ACC in yards per game with 56 and 50.3, respectively. Imoh leads the team with 168 rushing yards, while Humes has 155. The Hokies are averaging almost 37 points per game and stand 20th in the nation in scoring offense.

    "Obviously, they are very big up front," said senior safety Chris Reis. "We have faced some big lines, with Auburn and UNC, but they are just big and physical up front. They are going to run the ball until we stop them and that's one of our key things: to stop the run and force them to do something that they don't like to do, which is pass."

    "I think everyone knows they like to run the football," said Gailey. "They've worked pretty hard on their passing game in the past few games to make that aspect better. They have good enough wide outs that can go by you in a heartbeat if you're not paying...
    -09-20-2005, 02:30 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Tulane falls, 45-21, despite 376 yards from Lester Ricard
    by DJRamFan
    Heavyweights, Saginaw Valley State (6-0) and Grand Valley State (6-0) face off in a crucial contest

    Oct. 14, 2005

    By Brad Dopke

    Special to from College Sports Report


    Well, it won't be high noon at the O.K. Corral, but the Saturday night gathering at Lubbers Stadium just might go down in history. That is when the pair of heavyweights, Saginaw Valley State (6-0) and Grand Valley State (6-0) face off in a crucial contest to see who gets to sit in the GLIAC driver's seat.

    Saginaw enters the fray ranked fourth in the most recent AFCA coach's poll while Grand Valley continues to hold onto the top spot.

    Although both teams field sizzling offenses that average over 900 yards of offense combined, it is defense that most likely will rule the day.

    John DiGiorgio continues to spearhead the Saginaw defense, as the senior linebacker has amassed 69 tackles (40 solo) on the season to date. SVSU has also gotten steady play from its defensive linemen, with Danny Fodrocy and Josh Miller combining for 18 tackles for loss thus far as well.

    On offense, look for a pair of quarterbacks to continue mistake-free leadership for both clubs. Although still a junior, GVSU's Cullen Finnerty is not new to big games, and has the added benefit of getting to hand off to Toledo transfer Astin Martin. On the flipside, sophomore Chris Dougherty leads SVSU, and has tossed eleven touchdowns to just one interception on the year.

    Prediction: SVSU has been knocking off better opposition steadily and comfortably. GVSU has yet to show that it is deserving of its top national ranking. Look for Saginaw to prove the AFCA poll wrong and post a 24-21 win.


    That isn't the only showdown in the GLIAC, as Michigan Tech starts Saturday's play with a visit to powerful Northwood. Tech is coming off a tough loss to Wayne State (MI) while Northwood has rattled off six straight wins since a season-opening 9-7 loss to Saginaw Valley State.

    Daryl Graham has emerged as the main threat for Michigan Tech as the sophomore running back has rushed for 727 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. That tally is especially impressive when combined with junior Lee Marana's 718 yards and seven scores.

    Northwood is equally impressive in running the ball, for the Timberwolves average just under 300 yards per game on the ground.

    Prediction: As good as Tech is at running the ball, it is going to have its hands full against Northwood's stout defense. Northwood gives up less than a hundred yards on the ground, which will prove to be the difference,...
    -10-15-2005, 09:13 AM
  • DJRamFan
    ACFC Week 3 preview
    by DJRamFan
    Apprentice School (0-2, 0-1) at SUNY Brockport (1-1, 0-1)
    Special Olympics Stadium
    Brockport, N.Y. 1 p.m.

    Apprentice Notes

    This is the first meeting in any sport between Apprentice School and SUNY Brockport and the first time the Builders have faced a New York team since 1995 when they met Cortland State.
    Sophomore QB Rameriz Crumbley was named to the ACFC Offensive Honor Roll this week for his performance last Saturday at Frostburg State. He was 10-of-16 for 96 yards and helped lead the Builders to a nearly 13 minute advantage in time of possession.
    The Apprentice School defense has been nothing short of shocking in the first two games as they have allowed a total of 36 yards rushing. Frostburg State had 11 yards for the game, with 10 of those coming in the last quarter. Kean rushed for 25 yards in the season opener.
    Senior Ricky Doles continues to be the jack of all positions for the Builders. He's the leading receiver with 15 catches for 107 yards, leading returner averaging 10 yards per punt return and 38 yards per kickoff return, and the leading punter averaging 29 yards per punt. He earned ACFC Special Teams Honor Roll for this week after a 38 yard kickoff return, two punt returns averaging five yards per and three punts averaging 34 yards per kick.
    Brockport Notes

    Senior QB Bob Darnley had success at home last season. He had three touchdown passes in each of the four regular season home games in the 2003 season.
    Senior DB Troy Anderson, a three-year starter, recorded his 100th career tackle in last week's game at Salisbury.
    SUNY Brockport started out 1-1 two seasons ago but then won six straight and later reached the NCAA's. Three years ago, the Golden Eagles also were 1-1 and stood 1-2 before winning seven straight games and reaching the playoffs.
    Brockport opens the home season this week. The Golden Eagles 10-1 in the last 11 regular season games at Special Olympics Stadium.
    Only two road games remain, and after next week, only one more contest awaits.
    Brockport has never faced Apprentice. This is the second straight week that the Golden Eagles will face an opponent for the first time, and both are new ACFC rivals.
    SUNY Brockport will attempt to keep a streak alive of consecutive home opening victories. The last time Brockport lost a home opener was in 1998 to (then future ACFC rival) Buffalo State, 34-27. The Golden Eagles have won five straight home openers and seven of the last eight.


    Wesley (1-0) at Buffalo State (0-2)
    Coyer Stadium
    Buffalo, N.Y. 1 p.m.

    Wesley College Notes

    This will be the first meeting between Wesley College and Buffalo State College.
    Senior Captain Rocky Myers was named Atlantic Central Football Conference Defensive...
    -09-15-2004, 09:05 AM