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News Nuggets, 12.23.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Bowling Green shakes off Memphis in GMAC Bowl


12.22.04: Up-and-coming programs tangle in GMAC bowl ... Petrino hits jackpot with new pact at U of L ... College basketball power indexes ... More...
12.21.04: Cold, hard facts about health swayed Majerus ... Basketball panel tinkering with RPI formula ... More...
12.20.04: GMAC Bowl history sets stage for Tigers-Falcons shootout ... Memphis reinstates Banks after one game ... Mounting attrition challenges Pitino, Cards ... More...
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...

MOBILE — Omar Jacobs passed for 365 yards and five touchdowns, leading Bowling Green to a 52-35 victory over Memphis Wednesday night in the GMAC Bowl.

The Falcons (9-3) turned a shootout into a blowout after leading 35-28 at halftime to win their fourth consecutive bowl game.

Jacobs got them started with four first-half touchdown passes -- two apiece to Charles Sharon and Steve Sanders -- and P.J. Pope helped carry them the rest of the way.

Pope ran 28 times for 151 yards and a pair of 1-yard touchdowns, also scoring on a 13-yard reception for the only score of the third quarter.

The Tigers (8-4), playing in back-to-back bowl games for the first time, couldn't keep up with the nation's No. 4 offense, which totaled 558 total yards.

Memphis star DeAngelo Williams rushed for 120 yards on 18 carries before limping to the locker room at the end of the third quarter with a fractured right fibula.

Danny Wimprine nearly matched Jacobs' performance, going 26-of-39 for 324 yards and four touchdowns but passing for just 11 yards in the third quarter and losing a fumble.

Jacobs, whose 41 touchdown passes led the nation and set a Mid-American Conference record, completed 26 of 44 passes with an interception to earn Most Valuable Player honors.

At halftime, the teams seemed poised to take aim at the 2001 GMAC Bowl, the highest scoring bowl game in history with 125 combined points for Marshall and East Carolina.

The offenses stopped themselves early in the third quarter. Jacobs threw only his fourth interception of the season to give the Tigers the ball at Bowling Green's 41.

Memphis tried to go for it on fourth down but was twice penalized for having 12 men on the field.

Bowling Green made it 42-28 on the ensuing possession with Pope slipping underneath for a 13-yard touchdown catch on third-and-7

The Tigers then squandered another trip across midfield when a scrambling Wimprine fumbled the ball and Bowling Green's Mike Thaler recovered 31 yards behind the line of scrimmage to set up a field goal.

Even the weather worked in the offenses' favor, however, with a driving rainstorm subsiding a few minutes before kickoff to clear the way for Jacobs and Wimprine to go to work.

They took full advantage. Jacobs capped his four-touchdown half with a 17-yarder to Sanders, who reached over defensive back Cameron Essex in the end zone with 37 seconds left.

Wimprine was nearly as good, throwing for a 42-yard score to tight end John Doucette, a 60-yarder to Chris Kelley and a 39-yarder to Maurice Avery on a screen pass. Williams momentarily stopped the aerial show with a 31-yard scoring run down the sideline.

Sanders had seven catches for 124 yards and Sharon gained 117 yards on five catches.

Not surprisingly, it was a night for offensive records.

Jacobs set the MAC record with his 41st overall touchdown rushing or passing in the first quarter, adding four more. He also joined Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich as the league's only 4,000-yard passers.

The Falcons also set the MAC record for scoring average in a season.

Wimprine, meanwhile, went over 10,000 career passing yards.

Primetime bowl preview: Bearcats vs. Herd

FORT WORTH — There are plenty of similarities between Cincinnati and Marshall besides their 6-5 records.

The Fort Worth Bowl will be the last game for each before moving to different conferences. Cincinnati is going to the Big East from Conference USA, the league Marshall will join next year after winning five of the last seven Mid-American titles.

If not for winning streaks after poor starts, neither senior-laden team would be playing Thursday night (6;30 p.m., ESPN). It's the eighth bowl for both the Bearcats and Thundering Herd.

``We've sort of been roller-coaster type teams, played some really good games, played some games we'd both like to have back,'' Marshall coach Bob Pruett said. ``Our quarterbacks are very similar ... if they have a good day, we usually have a good day. If they have an off day, we sort of have a tough day.''

Cincinnati knows that too well. The Bearcats lost their regular season finale 70-7 to No. 7 Louisville when quarterback Gino Guidugli was out with a broken bone in his throwing hand.

Before that, they had won four straight with Guidugli completing 71 percent of his passes for 1,022 yards with 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a career-best 377 yards passing one game, a school-record five TDs in another.

Without Guidugli, the Bearcats got 33 yards passing from two quarterbacks and trailed Louisville 63-0 before scoring.

``Nobody wants to end the season on a game like that,'' said Guidugli, whose 24 TD passes are one short of the school record.

``It's critical for us because obviously that game was not who we are,'' first-year coach Mark Dantonio said. ``If we're not successful, it's a lost cause. We need to vindicate ourselves and play with the same attitude prior to that.''

That loss to the C-USA champion may not have even been the most humiliating. The Bearcats were 2-4 on Oct. 9 after a 48-29 loss at Army, which ended a 19-game losing streak that was the nation's longest.

Instead of going in a rebuilding mode then, Dantonio stuck with his group of 19 senior starters. They responded with four wins and now return Guidugli, who was back at practice last week after his cast was removed.

The Thundering Herd, whose last losing record was in 1983, began this season with three straight losses, including at No. 8 Georgia and No. 24 Ohio State. They then won their first five MAC games, but losses to Akron and Bowling Green denied a departing championship.

``We get to play one more game, a chance to prove we're a good team,'' said Josh Davis, only the second receiver in NCAA history with 300 career receptions. ``It was one of the toughest schedules Marshall ever had. We overcame a lot of things.''

Marshall was left out of the postseason last year despite going 8-4 with a win over Big 12 champion Kansas State. The Herd are in this year because the Big 12 didn't have enough teams to fill its Fort Worth slot.

At the school known for offensive stars like Randy Moss, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich, defensive end Jonathan Goddard was the MAC's top defensive player with NCAA highs of 16 sacks and 28 tackles for losses. Quarterback Stan Hill has thrown for 2,250 yards with 17 TDs and 13 interceptions.

Marshall has won its last five bowls, including a 25-13 win over Cincinnati in the 2000 Motor City Bowl. That was the last game between the schools, which are only about 125 miles apart.

The bowl is sponsored by PlainsCapital.

Tranghese: BCS not interested in playoff

NEW YORK — Where the Bowl Championship Series goes from here remains to be seen — but it's definitely not going away.

``We're not heading toward a playoff,'' Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said.

The Associated Press has told the BCS to stop using its poll to determine which teams play for a national title.

The BCS appears to be willing to move on without the AP poll. Coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg has said the BCS hopes to have a new formula ready by April.

So for the second straight season and the fifth time since the system was implemented in 1998, the BCS will be change the way it computes its standings.

``I wasn't surprised by the AP's decision,'' Tranghese said. ``I don't think it's a negative issue. We're just going to have to put our heads together and come up with an alternative way of picking the teams for the 1-2 game.''

This season, the BCS streamlined its formula and put heavy emphasis on the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The goal was to make it more likely that Nos. 1 and 2 in the polls played in the national title game, unlike last season when Southern California was a consensus No. 1 but left out of the BCS championship.

Without the AP poll, the BCS's current formula is left with the coaches poll and six computer rankings.

The BCS could just stick with those two and change the weighting system. Or it could add more computers. Or maybe it could even revive the strength of schedule component, which was eliminated because it was deemed redundant.

``We certainly have other options on how to select and rank the teams,'' Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said.

The BCS already was looking at the possibility of a selection committee picking the teams for the championship game, taking a page from the NCAA basketball tournaments.

But a committee probably wouldn't be the best way to fill the two at-large spots.

And starting with the 2006 season, the number of at-large teams is destined to go up as the BCS expands to five games to allow greater access to teams from outside the six conferences that now have automatic entry.

``Adding the fifth game is going to give us less pressure,'' Hansen said. ``One of the problems has been good teams being left out. With one more game, that's less likely to happen.''

The original BCS formula was comprised of an average of the two human polls, an average of three computer rankings, total losses and strength of schedule.

Since then the computers rankings have changed in number and name and other elements have come and gone. The polls have been a constant.

The coaches poll is not likely to follow the AP's path.

``We went into it with a specific reason,'' said Grant Teaff, the president of the American Football Coaches Association, which oversees the poll. ``When the concept came up to have two teams play for a national championship it fit with the coaches' desires. We have the BCS, which is far from perfect, but it has provided by and large what the coaches want.

``We'll be a part of it if we are asked to be a part of it.''

The AP's move is not without precedent.

The New York Times pulled its computer rankings out of the BCS this year because the newspaper felt it was a conflict of interest.

The AP said in a statement that the BCS's unauthorized use of its poll has ``harmed AP's reputation and interfered with AP's agreements with AP poll voters.''

So losing the AP poll doesn't spell doom for the BCS and is not a step toward creating the playoff system the fans and a growing number of coaches want.

The university presidents have made it clear they won't sign off on a playoff system. When the BCS added its fifth game earlier this year, the idea was floated to have the top two teams after the Fiesta, Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowl play in the new game for the championship. Even that was shot down.

ABC, unhappy with idea of another BCS game with no championship ramifications, tried to push the BCS toward a playoff during contract negotiations for broadcast rights. But the BCS simply found another suitor, happy to buy what it was selling.

The BCS signed a four-year deal worth $320 million with Fox last month for the broadcast rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls from 2007-10 and the national title game from 2007-09.

``The BCS is here and it's going to continue,'' Tranghese said. ``But the BCS is a target for all the playoff proponents. When something like this happens they jump on it. They look at something like this as a crack. They don't understand the strong position of our presidents.''

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


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