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News Nuggets, 12.30.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Boston College tests ACC waters in Tire Bowl


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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...
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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...
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12.15.04: Bowl season kicks off with Southern Miss victory ... Marshall linebacker suspended for bowl game ... More...
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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...

Boston College, less than a year away from its move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, is getting an early look at where it is headed.

The 25th-ranked Eagles can extend their bowl winning streak to five games Thursday when they meet North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl (1 p.m., ESPN2).

Boston College (8-3) narrowly missed reaching a Bowl Championship Series in its final season in the Big East. The Eagles' 36-17 loss to Syracuse on Nov. 27 forced them to settle for the matchup with the Tar Heels instead of a likely spot in the Fiesta Bowl.

Still, the trip to Charlotte, is something Boston College has been anticipating.

``I think the ACC is maybe waiting to see what kind of team is coming into its conference,'' Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said. ``What type of fan support they are going to have? I think it is very important for our school, our fans and our football team to show up.''

The Eagles received good news on quarterback Paul Peterson's status. Peterson, who missed the Syracuse game due to a fractured bone in his right hand, was cleared to start throwing on Dec. 13 and expects to play.

``It felt really good to get my hand on the ball again,'' Peterson said. ``It's getting stronger and stronger every day.''

Peterson owns a career 11-2 mark as a starter and threw for a career-high 383 yards in a 24-23 win at Notre Dame on Oct. 23.

``Our best player didn't play (against Syracuse),'' O'Brien said. ``He was standing next to me on the sidelines. It would have made a difference and he will make a difference on the 30th of December.''

The Eagles' defense has received a huge boost from freshman linebacker Brian Toal, who was named Big East rookie of the year after registering 70 tackles and starting the final seven games. Toal is just the second defensive player since 1994 to win the award.

North Carolina (6-5) is making its first bowl appearance since a 16-10 win over Auburn in the 2001 Peach Bowl. The Tar Heels have won their last five bowl games.

The 2001 win over Auburn also capped the Tar Heels' last three-game winning streak. North Carolina won two straight to close the regular season, including a 40-17 win at Duke on Nov. 20.

Quarterback Darian Durant will make his final start for North Carolina. The senior is the school's all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns and completions. He threw for 14 scores this season.

Senior tailback Chad Scott has come on during the last four games after spending most of the season as a backup. Scott has rushed for 511 yards and scored six touchdowns to help North Carolina win three out of four.

``We're not surprised Chad did what he did, but we had never seen it,'' North Carolina coach John Bunting said. ``The only problem we've had with him is sometimes he hasn't been able to practice or finish games. We've seen glimpses of what he can do. He has a tremendous amount of burst.''

Defensively, North Carolina has struggled all season and ranked 109th in the nation by allowing more than 443 yards per game. The Tar Heels did not have one player selected to the All-ACC first- or second-team defense.

North Carolina was 1-5 against ranked foes, including non-conference losses to No. 5 Utah and No. 7 Louisville.

This is the third meeting between the teams, which split matchups in 1981 and 1984.

Syracuse reverses field, ousts Pasqualoni

SYRACUSE — Syracuse fired football coach Paul Pasqualoni on Wednesday, eight days after a 37-point loss in a bowl game — and less than a month after giving him a vote of confidence.

``Sometimes you just know you need to make a change,'' athletic director Daryl Gross said. ``He's had a long tenure here. He served the student athletes well. He is a tremendous man. The things he's done here, you can marvel at.

``I just think it's time to go in a different direction. We're going into the heart of the recruiting season right now. We needed to act one way or another.''

Pasqualoni, who was unavailable for comment, departs after 14 years with a 107-59-1 record and a 6-3 mark in bowl games. He is the second-winningest coach in school history, behind Ben Schwartzwalder, who had 153 victories.

But the Orange struggled to break even after going 10-3 and finishing ranked No. 14 in 2001. They were 4-8 in 2002, Pasqualoni's only losing season, and 6-6 the last two years.

Gross, a former assistant at Southern California who was hired only two weeks ago to replace the retiring Jake Crouthamel, cited several factors for his decision, including declining attendance and the team's inconsistent play.

``Obviously, there has been some success here, but as of late it hasn't been on a consistent basis,'' Gross said. ``In looking at the past few seasons, there were some inconsistencies in there. At the same time, there were some opportunities to do some great things that didn't materialize, and that's unfortunate. And that's part of coaching. Sometimes it's just bad luck.''

Gross said a search for Pasqualoni's replacement will begin immediately, adding that he will look for a defensive-minded coach with experience in both college and the NFL.

Pasqualoni, who had one year left on his contract, becomes the 11th Division I football coach to be fired this year. His firing came after Chancellor Nancy Cantor announced Dec. 6 that he would return for his 15th season. But Gross was hired 11 days later, and the Orange's humbling 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl helped seal Pasqualoni's fate.

``Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that that game would get that sideways,'' Gross said. ``Sometimes that happens in a bowl game situation.''

Crouthamel, who hired Pasqualoni to replace Dick MacPherson, gave his coach a positive evaluation after the Orange upset then-No. 17 Boston College in the season finale. That vaulted Syracuse into a four-way tie for the Big East championship and made the Orange eligible to play in the postseason.

Syracuse began the season with a 51-0 loss at Purdue on national television, the most lopsided season-opening defeat in the program's 112-year history. And after nearly upsetting Florida State and beating Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Syracuse lost for the second straight time at lowly Temple, a team with a total of 13 Big East wins that has been booted out of the conference. That loss ended up costing Syracuse the Big East's BCS berth in the Fiesta Bowl, which instead went to Pittsburgh.

Dwindling home attendance also was a problem. For five home games this season, the Orange averaged just over 37,000, about three-quarters of capacity in the 49,000-seat Carrier Dome and nearly 10,000 fewer than 1998, Donovan McNabb's final college season. Since McNabb left for the NFL after the 1998 season, the Orange have an overall record of 39-33 and 21-20 in the Big East Conference.

``There is some restlessness in the community about football,'' said Gross, who left town immediately for the Orange Bowl in Miami. ``You want to have some hope, and we hope to do great things with a new coach.''

Only Penn State's Joe Paterno, Florida State's Bobby Bowden, Air Force's Fisher DeBerry, Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer and Kansas State's Bill Snyder have longer tenures at the same school than Pasqualoni, whose firing also ends a Syracuse tradition of continuity. The Orange were the only Division I team to have the same head coaches in both football and basketball since 1991.

Basketball coach Jim Boeheim, in his 29th year and a supporter of Pasqualoni, watched the news conference from a side room but declined to comment and walked away while it was still in progress.

Pasqualoni was slated to become president of the American Football Coaches Association in 2005. AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff said the association's bylaws prevent Pasqualoni from taking the position unless he obtains another job.

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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