Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather

News Nuggets, 12.20.04
 —  —  —  —  —

Previous Day Nuggets...             Next Day Nuggets...

Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

GMAC Bowl history sets stage for Tigers-Falcons shootout


12.19.04: Houston AD livid with Nebraska over cancellation ... Duke cans offensive coordinator Galbraith ... Majerus retreats back to TV booth ... More...
12.18.04: Wolfpack's Hodge not short on self-esteem ,,, James Madison rushes to I-AA championship ... More...
12.17.04: Nebraska icon Osborne irked with aloof AD's ... William & Mary QB captures Payton Award ... More...
12.16.04: Pirates hawking hoops tickets with a twist ... Majerus ditches TV gig to rescue Trojans ... More...
12.15.04: Bowl season kicks off with Southern Miss victory ... Marshall linebacker suspended for bowl game ... More...
12.14.04: Preview: USM, North Texas kick off bowl season ... Former ECU assistants McFarland, Brindise land jobs ... McLendon to bolt Wolfpack for NFL draft ... More...
12.13.04: Musical chairs at full tilt as coaches change jobs ... List of Division I-A coaching changes ... Heisman Trophy chronology 1935-2004 ... More...
12.12.04: Title game of the Heismans set ... All-time Heisman winners list ... Blue- Gray Classic scratched again ... More...
12.11.04: Job security for SMU coach comes with lofty mandate ... Panel pushing to tie bowl bids to grad rates ... More...
12.10.04: Gamecocks' ol' man "Pops" still in the limelight ... Lou Groza Award winners ... Ray Guy Award winners ... More...
12.09.04: East Carolina releases 2005 baseball schedule ... BCA urges athletes, coaches to shun Gamecocks ... More...
12.08.04: All-Conference USA and C-USA All-Freshman teams ... Petrino waves off suitors to stay at Louisville ... More...
12.07.04: Syracuse chancellor decides to stick with Pasqualoni ... Zook selected to rejuvenate struggling Illini ... More...
12.06.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, bowl lineup & TV ... BCS rankings, bowl pairings ''' AP football poll ... More...
12.05.04: FLwed BCS produces another messy title picture ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...

While the history of the GMAC Bowl is brief, it has featured some very entertaining games.

The 2004 matchup should be no exception.

Bowling Green looks to continue the recent postseason success of Mid-American Conference teams when it faces Memphis on Wednesday in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The Falcons (8-3) had the most potent offense in the MAC this season, ranking second nationally in pass offense (335.6 ypg), fourth in total offense (501.6 ypg) and scoring offense (43.6 ppg), and fifth in passing efficiency (165.9).

Memphis (8-3) also boasts a high-powered attack that finished 10th in the country in total offense (464.5) and scoring (35.1).

The Tigers feature one of the country's best running backs in DeAngelo Williams, who rushed for 199 yards or more in three of his last four games and finished third in Division-I with 166.2 rushing yards per game this season.

``I hope the scoreboard operator gets plenty of sleep the night before the game, because Bowling Green and Memphis can light one up in a hurry,'' GMAC Bowl president Jerry Silverstein said.

Memphis finished tied for second in Conference USA behind Louisville, which was on the losing end of the last two GMAC Bowls, falling 49-28 to Miami of Ohio last season and 38-15 to Marshall in 2002.

The most memorable game in the bowl's five-year history came in 2001, when Byron Leftwich led Marshall to a 64-61 victory over David Garrard and East Carolina.

While the Tigers finished the regular season with three straight wins to earn a trip to Mobile, Bowling Green squandered a 20-point halftime lead and had a seven-game win streak snapped with a 49-41 loss to Toledo in its regular-season finale. That defeat prevented the Falcons from appearing in the MAC championship game for the second straight year.

Sophomore quarterback Omar Jacobs had an outstanding season for Bowling Green, finishing first in the country with 36 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Jacobs was second nationally in total offense (357.1 ypg) and fourth in pass efficiency (167.8).

A strong rushing attack seems to be the best way to beat the Falcons, who allowed an average of 243 yards on the ground in their three losses — all on the road — to Oklahoma, Northern Illinois and Toledo.

Memphis may have a big advantage in this game with Williams, who averages 6.2 yards per carry, going up against Bowling Green's undersized front four that averages 256.8 pounds.

The Tigers rely heavily on Williams, but also need quarterback Danny Wimprine to avoid mistakes. Wimprine threw for 2,568 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, but was picked off 13 times and completed only 55.4 percent of his passes.

Memphis proved it can keep up with the nation's top offense when it lost 56-49 to then-No. 14 Louisville on Nov. 4. Williams rushed for 200 yards on 26 carries and Wimprine threw for 361 yards and four TDs as Memphis fell short of beating a ranked opponent for the first time since 1996.

``Bowling Green is a really explosive offensive team and a really aggressive defensive team,'' Tigers coach Tommy West said. ``I think philosophy-wise they are a lot like Louisville, both offensively and defensively.''

The MAC has quietly become one of the nation's better conferences over the past few years and that has translated into bowl success. The MAC has won eight of nine bowl appearances since the 1998 season, including a 5-0 mark against Conference USA schools.

Bowling Green, 19-6 in two seasons under coach Gregg Brandon, has won three straight bowl games, including a 28-14 victory over Northwestern in the 2003 Motor City Bowl.

After failing to reach a bowl for 32 years, the Tigers will be playing in their second straight postseason game following last season's 27-17 victory over North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl.

``Last year I didn't really feel any pressure to win the bowl game. It was almost a sigh of relief to everyone that we were going,'' West said. ``After 32 years, it was just good to go, but, saying all that, I knew how important a bowl win is. We had to finish and we did. This time, I think it is important to win, too.''

This will be the first meeting between the schools.

Memphis reinstates Banks after one game

MEMPHIS — Memphis reinstated sophomore forward Sean Banks to the team Sunday after he served a one-game suspension.

Banks, the team's second-leading scorer and the Conference USA freshman of the year last season, was suspended by coach John Calipari on Dec. 14 for a violation of team rules. He was averaging 16 points and 6.1 rebounds in nine games.

The Tigers (6-4) host Louisiana Tech on Monday night. They beat Austin Peay 71-66 on Saturday.

Banks rejoined the team Sunday in time to participate in a walkthrough practice. In addition to missing the Austin Peay game, he did not practice with the team from Dec. 14-17.

Mounting attrition challenges Pitino, Cards

LOUISVILLE — While Louisville coach Rick Pitino soberly rehashed the Cardinals' 60-58 loss to Kentucky in his postgame news conference Saturday, a phone rang in the media room.

``I'm not here,'' Pitino cracked. ``Tell them I've had a bad night.''

Rapidly, though, Louisville's problems are becoming no joke.

Already depleted, the Cardinals (6-2) lost freshman forward Juan Palacios to an eye injury early in the second half. Pitino played only six players the rest of the game and the Wildcats stormed back from 16 points down for the victory.

``When he went down, I felt that we were going to really struggle if I had to go with some of those guys,'' Pitino said. ``Against a good team, you can't play six people and win.''

Palacios led all scorers at halftime with 11 points, and had a block and two rebounds. The 6-foot-8 Colombian was going for a rebound when Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo accidentally poked him in the left eye with 17:16 left.

Pitino said Palacios suffered a cornea abrasion and was out indefinitely.

``He's pretty bad. He can't even open his eye,'' Pitino said.

Palacios' injury overshadowed the return of 6-8 Otis George, who missed Louisville's previous four games with a pre-stress fracture in his right foot. George finished with six points and six rebounds in 21 minutes on Saturday.

Louisville lost 6-9 forward Brian Johnson before the season because of a recurring knee injury. Pitino reinstated 6-10 freshman Terrance Farley for an undisclosed violation of team rules this week, but Farley isn't ready to log heavy minutes.

That leaves Pitino with few options inside and limited versatility. Francisco Garcia, a 6-7 swingman, never left Saturday's game and played much of it out of position at power forward. Garcia finished with eight points.

Still, the Cardinals were fresher at the start on Saturday, dominating Kentucky inside and smothering the Cats with defense. The Wildcats went eight minutes without a point as Louisville built a double-digit lead. Kentucky shot 21 percent in the first half (5 of 24).

But as the second half wore on, Pitino began to see fatigue take hold. The Cardinals' errors increased and the Wildcats (7-1) closed the gap to set up the dramatic finish.

``You make mental mistakes when you're tired,'' Pitino said. ``That's what happened.''

The Cardinals still led 58-57 when Kentucky coach Tubby Smith called timeout with 4.8 seconds left to set up the decisive play.

Patrick Sparks, who finished with a game-high 25 points, inbounded the ball, then received a pass in the corner. He pump-faked, then jumped into airborne Louisville forward Ellis Myles to draw a whistle from referee J.B. Caldwell.

Sparks, a 71 percent career shooter from the line, coolly swished all three shots with 0.6 seconds left. O'Bannon's desperation heave from half-court wasn't close, and the Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak to their archrivals and former coach Pitino.

Pitino coached Kentucky from 1989-97, winning the 1996 NCAA championship. After a stint with the NBA's Boston Celtics, he took over at Louisville in 2001.

``It was an amazing win for us,'' said Kentucky coach Tubby Smith, now 2-7 against Pitino, his former boss at Kentucky. ``This should go a long way for the confidence of this team.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:07 PM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.