Saturday, November 30, 2013

Furman Rides Hollman To 30-20 NCAA First Round Playoff Win Over South Carolina State



ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- Jairus Hollman returned a punt a school record 90 yards for a touchdown and later scored on a 34-yard interception return to power Furman past South Carolina State, 30-20, in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) first round playoff action at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Furman (8-5), the Southern Conference's champion, league's automatic qualifier, and winner of five straight games, will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, to play top-ranked and two-time defending national champion North Dakota State next Saturday in a 3:30 ET game that will be televised by ESPN3.

Hollman, a sophomore nickel back and second team All-Southern Conference choice, got Furman on the board in the first quarter when he fielded a short punt at the Furman 9-yard line and sprinted up the field in front of the Paladin bench before cutting back to the middle of the field on the way to the end zone.

The return, which cut S.C. State's lead to 7-6, marked the longest punt return in Furman history, topping the previous standard of 88 yards by Vince Perone, Jr., vs. East Tennessee State in 1973.
The Atlanta, Ga., product, who was credited with a game high 11 tackles, including three for-loss, polished off his outstanding defensive performance in the third quarter with a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave the Paladins a 27-13 lead.

His "pick-six" represented Furman's fourth of the campaign.



The Paladins used a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Reese Hannon to Ryan Culbreath midway through the second quarter to take a 13-10 advantage, but S.C. tied the game with a Nick Belcher 23-yard field goal on the first series of the second half.

Furman responded on the ensuing possession, using a 53-yard run by running back Tanner Skogen to help cover 77 yards to the end zone. Quarterback Reese Hannon's 1-yard touchdown sneak on fourth down put the Paladins up, 20-13, following the conversion.

At that point Furman's defense — and Hollman — turned in the game deciding play when he stepped in front of pass by Bulldog quarterback Richard Cue, collecting it at the S.C. State 34 and racing untouched into the end zone for a 27-13 lead.

S.C. State pulled to within a score following a 4-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Kollock to Austin Smith with 13:22 remaining in the game, but the Paladins had the last say on the scoreboard, moving 48 yards in nine plays to set up a 32-yard Ray Early field goal that increased the advantage to 30-20.
Furman's defense forced punts on the Bulldogs' final two possessions, and the Paladins ran the clock out, taking a knee at the S.C. State 3-yard line to end the contest.

Skogen, a sophomore running back who entered the game with only 56 career rushing yards, stepped in for banged up junior Hank McCloud to run 13 times for a career high 116 yards, nearly all of it coming in the second half.  The Paladins registered 216 yards on the ground and finished with 283 total yards on just 47 snaps.

Furman's rushing success helped take the pressure off its passing game, which faced a South Carolina State defensive unit that entered — and exited — the contest with a nation leading 62 sacks.
South Carolina State posted 287 yards in total offense on 75 plays.

Carl Rider and Marcus McMorris joined Hollman in notching 11 tackles apiece, and Gary Wilkins finished with seven stops, including two for-loss, and a sack.

The victory was Furman's first playoff triumph since 2005 and improved the Paladins' all-time playoff record to 18-14.

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Box Score



COURTESY FURMAN UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

Tennessee State Tigers Shutout Butler Bulldogs on the Road, 31-0



INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The No. 17 ranked Tennessee State football team won its first playoff game since 1986 with a, 31-0, victory at Butler on Saturday.
 
The TSU defense held the Bulldogs (9-4) to 257 yards of total offense, forced three turnovers and notched its first shutout since its, 31-0, victory over Southeast Missouri on Nov. 11, 2006.
 
Meanwhile, the TSU (10-3) offense gained 415 and quarterback Michael German completed 14-of-24 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
 
Tim Broughton was the go-to-back on the ground, rushing for 80 yards on nine carries for an 8.2 average.
 
After a slow start to the game for both teams, German got TSU on the scoreboard first, as he found receiver Ryan Mitchell open in the middle of the field for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:38 remaining in the opening quarter. The pitch and catch capped off a 17-play, 82 yard drive in which German was 6-of-9 for 64 yards.
 
With the score, German passed James Wade for 6th on the school’s all-time passing touchdown list. The redshirt junior now has 43 for his career.
 
After a Butler punt on the Bulldogs’ following possession, the Tiger offense put together another scoring drive that culminated in a 45-yard field goal by Jamin Godfrey. A 19-yard pass to Wesley Samuels and a 15 yarder to fellow tight end A.C. Leonard allowed TSU to jump ahead, 10-0, with 9:10 to go before halftime.
 
Butler had to punt again on its next series, but German fumbled the ball on a third-and-nine at the TSU 22 and the Bulldogs recovered. Butler’s following three plays netted the squad minus-seven yards and BU’s Jon Treloar missed his first field goal of the year, preserving the Tigers’ 10-point cushion.
 
Big Blue took advantage of its opponent’s miscue and marched 79 yards down in the field in seven plays for a TSU touchdown, one minute before halftime. On the scoring play, the Bulldogs rushed six defenders and German took three steps and fired the ball out to Samuels for 17 yards to take a 17-point lead. A 45-yard run by Broughton earlier in the series allowed the Tigers to get within striking distance.



De’Ante Saunders picked off Butler quarterback Matt Lancaster as the first half expired and Tennessee State went into the locker room up, 17-0.
 
TSU outgained BU, 256 to 97 in the first half and held the Bulldogs to just five first downs.
 
The Tigers fumbled the opening kickoff of the second stanza, but recovered. They were not as lucky two plays later when Leonard coughed up the ball following a 25-yard reception. BU’s Jeremy Stephens picked it up, ran down the sideline and was finally brought down at the TSU 20.
 
Again, Butler was unable to capitalize on the TSU turnover, and turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert a fourth-and-one.
 
Later in the quarter, Daniel Fitzpatrick recorded his FCS-leading seventh interception of the year and raced 26 yards for his third touchdown of the season. The pick-six put TSU in control, 24-0, with 10:35 left in the third.
 
Fitzpatrick is now tied with Brent Alexander and Roger Robinson for the second-most interceptions for a single season in school history.
 
Butler went for a fake punt on its next possession, but it failed, giving TSU great field position at the BU-42. Ronald Butler came in at quarterback, and engineered a four-play drive that ended with a 21-yard pass to Mitchell for another TSU touchdown.
 
The extra point that followed made the score 31-0 with 5:07 left in the third and also gave Godfrey his seventh point of the game. The senior is now Tennessee State’s all-time leader in career points with 307, passing Alfred Reese who played from 1969-72.
 
Fitzpatrick picked off another pass on Butler’s next offensive series, but TSU was unable to score, as Telvin Hooks fumbled at the BU 12 yard-line right when the third period expired.
 
Butler had one final chance at points with a 31-yard field goal attempt with 4:14 left in the game, but the kick went wide left, preserving the Tigers’ shutout and extending TSU’s season.
 
With the win, TSU notches its 10th victory for only the 12th time in school history.
 
With the victory, Tennessee State will travel to Charleston, Ill. on Dec. 7 for a re-match with the No. 2 ranked Panthers of Eastern Illinois. Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.

Highlights  » 
 
PDF    TSU-BU Book

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COURTESY TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

Ram Ramblings: WSSU finally runs out of spare parts in 7-0 loss to Shepherd

SHEPHERDTOWN, West Virginia  --  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a better defense than what Winston-Salem State has put on the field over the last three seasons. I finally saw one better this afternoon in Shepherd, an aggressive bunch who aren’t very big but are very quick.

It’s tough to say how things would have turned out if quarterback Rudy Johnson wouldn’t have suffered a collarbone injury in the first quarter after he got sacked. Johnson never did come back into the game and it was up to the seldom-used DeShean Townsend to try and get WSSU on the board.
 
To be fair, Townsend, who is 6-3 and 240 pounds, hadn’t been thrust into any meaningful game in his three seasons with the Rams. He’s been the consummate scout-team player and is one of the more vocal players on the team and has a great nickname – “The Big Show.”

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Coastal Carolina Downs Bethune-Cookman 48-24



Final Stats |  Quotes |  Photo Gallery  Watch Replay   Highlights  »

CONWAY, South Carolina  --  Alex Ross threw a career-high four touchdowns - two to Matt Hazel - and Walter Payton Award candidate Lorenzo Taliaferro added one on the ground to lead #11 Coastal Carolina to a 48-24 victory over #12 Bethune-Cookman in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

The Chanticleers set a program record with 11 wins, improving to 11-2, while the Wildcats drop to 10-3. Coastal Carolina will now travel west to face #8 seed and fourth-ranked Montana for the second round, Dec. 7 in Missoula.

Defensively for CCU, Buck Buchanan Award candidate Quinn Backus led the Chanticleers with 15 tackles, including three for losses, while fellow linebacker Mike McClure had eight stops, three for losses, and a 59-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Sophomore Richie Sampson added nine tackles, including three for losses and two sacks, and forced the fumble McClure returned for a score.

Coastal got on the board first. Taliaferro converted two third downs and accounted for 37 of the 62 yards on five carries. Ross capped the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Blanks. Alex Catron added the point after for a 7-0 lead with 9:55 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing Bethune-Cookman drive, Richie Sampson knocked the ball out of the hand of Wildcat quarterback Quentin Williams. Chanticleer linebacker Mike McClure grabbed the ball in midair and returned it 39 yards for his first career touchdown.

The Wildcats bounced back to get inside the CCU 25. The big play was Williams turning a busted play into a 23-yard gain. A penalty backed the Wildcats up on third down and they went for it on fourth-and-four. Williams once again made a play with his feet, escaping a near sack and getting to the CCU 12. However, the Chanticleer defense stiffened and Jonathan Cagle came on to make a 23-yard field goal cutting the B-CU deficit to 14-3 with 3:05 left in the opening frame.

The Chants responded by taking to the air, covering 82 yards in just seven plays. Ross hit DeMario Bennett for 12 yards, Niccolo Mastromatteo for 22 and capped the drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Hazel as CCU led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter.

To open the second quarter, Williams had a run of 10 yards then completed passes of 12 and 40 yards to Eddie Poole, the second getting the Wildcats down to the four. Two plays later, Williams found paydirt from four yards out to make the score 21-10.

After the teams traded punts, Coastal struck quick with a 50-yard Ross to Tyrell Blanks completion to the B-CU seven yard line. On third down, Taliaferro scored from eight yards out to give Coastal a 27-10 cushion.

Bethune-Cookman attempted to get on the board late in the second quarter, kicking a 33-yard field goal. Coastal blocked the kick, but was offside on the play. The Wildcats then spread the field with their field goal personnel on the field. The pass was complete, but Sampson tackled Jordan Murphy on the CCU three to force a turnover on downs.

The Chants pushed their advantage to 34-10 with 4:39 left in the third quarter with a pair of 23-yard completions. First, Ross hit Mastromatteo then John Israel to cap a four-play, 53-yard drive. On CCU's next drive, Ross hit Israel for 25 yards and the next play Hazel made a highlight-reel, one-hand catch for a 21-yard touchdown and 41-10 lead.

Bethune-Cookman scored and the two-point try with 8:29 left to make the score 41-18. The drive covered 14-plays and 84 yards and ended with Bethune-Cookman facing fourth-and four as Brodrick Waters hit Poole for a 16-yard touchdown pass.

The Wildcats forced a three-and-out and only need two plays to make the score 41-24. Waters found Cary White down the right sideline for a 32-yard gain then he scrambled and scored from 27-yards out.

With just over five minutes to play, Bethune-Cookman  tried an on-side side, which Taliaferro recovered on the B-CU 46. On the Chants' first play from scrimmage, Travis Small had a 29-yard run to the 17, marking his second-longest run of his career. On the next play, he finished the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the season.

Coastal, hosting its second playoff game, wins its first home playoff game - falling 17-10 to Western Illinois in 2010 at home.  Coastal, who is making its fourth NCAA playoff appearance (2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013), wins its second playoff game, defeating Bethune-Cookman, 24-14, last season in Daytona Beach, Fla. Also, Coastal improves t o 7-0 at home this season, tying the CCU record as the 2004 Chanticleers (the second year of CCU football) also went 7-0 in Brooks Stadium.



COURTESY COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

WSSU falls in D-II playoffs

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Allen Cross scored the only touchdown on a 29-yard run in the third quarter, and Shepherd held on for a 7-0 win against Winston-Salem State on Saturday in the second round of the Division II football playoffs.

Shepherd, seeded No. 1 in Super Region I, improved to 11-0 and advanced to play the West Chester-Bloomsburg winner. WSSU, the national runner-up last season, finished 10-2 and had a 10-game winning streak snapped.

PHOTO GALLERY: Shepherd 7, WSSU 0
  

Week 14: HBCU Football Scorecard


90th Turkey Day Classic, Thursday, November 28, 2013
Alabama State 41, Stillman 28  Highlights  »  
(8-4, 7-2 SWAC), (6-4, 4-3 SIAC) 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

NCAA Division II Championship Playoffs, 2nd Round

Shepherd Rams 7, Winston-Salem State Rams
(11-0, 9-0 MEC),  (10-2, 7-0 CIAA)

NCAA Division I FCS Championship Playoffs,  1st. Round

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 48, Bethune-Cookman 24  Highlights  »  
(11-2, 4-1 Big South), (10-3,7-1 MEAC)

Furman Paladins 30, South Carolina State Bulldogs 20   Watch Replay 
(8-5, 6-2 Southern),  (9-4, 7-1 MEAC)

Tennessee State Tigers 31, Butler Bulldogs 0    Highlights  » 
 
(10-3, 6-2 OVC)                 (9-4, 7-1 Pioneer)

The 40th Annual Bayou Classic, New Orleans
Southern Jaguars 40,  Grambling State 17 
(8-4, 7-2 SWAC)          (1-11, 1-8 SWAC)



Career Days Lead Hampton Lady Pirates Past Utah State

NORTHRIDGE, California  Freshman guard Malia Tate-DeFreitas and senior forward Alyssa Bennett each had career days on Friday, as the Hampton University women's basketball team outlasted Utah State 98-88 in the Matadome to open the Cal State Northridge Radisson Hotel Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic.
Tate-DeFreitas (Harrisburg, Pa.) poured in a career-high 36 points on 12-for-25 shooting (and 6-for-11 from distance), while Bennett (Hampton, Va.) set career highs in points (26) and rebounds (17) in recording her third double-double of the season.

Senior guard Nicole Hamilton (Hampton, Va.) added 14 points and 12 assists.

The Lady Pirates (4-2) handed Utah State its first loss of the season. Tate-DeFreitas is the first Lady Pirate to score 30 points or more in a game since Keiara Avant netted 32 at Morgan State last season.

She also set career highs in field goals made, field goals attempted, and 3-pointers made.

Hampton led 6-3 after a Tate-DeFreitas trey – Hampton's first two baskets were 3-pointers from Tate-DeFreitas – at the 18:37 mark, but Utah State battled back to take a 15-11 lead on a 3-pointer from Stephanie Bairstow.

Lynette Johnson put the Aggies up 20-16 at the 13:58 mark with a layup, but the Lady Pirates answered with a 7-0 run to take a 23-20 lead with 11:50 left in the half following a layup from sophomore guard Ryan Jordan (Manassas, Va.).

Utah State clawed back, taking a 32-30 lead at the 7:25 mark on a layup from Franny Vaaulu, but Hampton responded with a 16-4 run, taking a 46-36 lead with 3:33 left in the half on a layup from Hamilton.

The Lady Pirates went into the half with a 51-42 lead – marking the first time since 2009 they had scored 50 points or more in the opening 20 minutes of a game.

Tate-DeFreitas had 20 points at the break.

Hampton scored the first four points of the second half, taking a 55-42 lead at the 19:10 mark of the second half on a Bennett layup. An 11-3 Utah State run cut that lead to 58-53 with 17:11 left to play, before Hampton went on an 11-2 run to take a 69-55 lead on a trey from Tate-DeFreitas with 14:16 to play.

Bennett gave Hampton its largest lead of the game with 11:53 to play, when she converted a layup to put the Lady Pirates up 76-57.

The Lady Pirates led by double digits for much of the second half, though the Aggies cut the lead to 91-82 with 1:52 left to play after a 3-pointer from Vaaulu. Hampton answered by making three of its next four free throws, as Utah State started fouling, to take a 94-82 lead with 1:04 remaining.

Another Vaaulu trey cut Hampton's lead to 96-87 with 49 seconds left, but Tate-DeFreitas hit a pair of free throws with 46 seconds left to put the game away.

Utah State missed its three field goal attempts in the final 34 seconds.

The Lady Pirates shot 46.7 percent (35-for-75) from the floor and made 11 of their 25 3-pointers (44.0 percent). Hampton also held a 50-40 edge on the glass, while also scoring 27 points off of 16 Utah State turnovers.

Hampton's 98 points were the most scored in a game in the David Six era.

Utah State (4-1) shot 43.8 percent (32-for-73) from the floor and made 12 of its 29 3-pointers (41.4 percent). Vaaulu led four Aggies in double figures with 27 points.

The Lady Pirates will play for the CSUN Thanksgiving Classic title on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. EST, taking on either Santa Clara or Cal State Northridge. For more information on Hampton University basketball, please call the Office of Sports Information at (757) 727-5811, or visit the official Pirates website at www.hamptonpirates.com.

Box Score

COURTESY HAMPTON UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

EKU Women's Basketball Falls to Florida A&M, 64-58

SOUTHERN MISS THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT AT HATTIESBURG, MS

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi  –  The Eastern Kentucky University women's basketball team fell to Florida A&M, 64-58, in its opening game of the Lady Eagle Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday night at Reed Green Coliseum.

EKU (3-4) led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but FAMU (5-1) went on 15-0 run and took the lead, 55-54, when Taneka Rubin hit a layup with 6:29 remaining in the game.

The Lady Colonels trailed by only one point, 57-56, and had a chance to retake the lead with 1:20 on the clock, but sophomore Shelly Harper failed to convert a layup under the basket.

FAMU's Jasmine Grice sank six free throws in the final minute of play to seal the win for the Lady Rattlers.

Harper finished with a career-high 16 points in the loss, three of which came on her first-career three-pointer in the first half. Senior Marie Carpenter also scored 16 points, sinking 4-of-11 from behind the arc.

Two Lady Colonels, sophomore Miranda Maples and freshman Nicole Bowers, grabbed 10 boards each and led EKU to a 46-39 rebounding advantage over FAMU.

EKU shot just 22.2 percent (8-of-36) from the field in the second half compared to 50 percent (14-of-28) in the first half.

Grice led all players in the game with 25 points.

FAMU led for most of the first half and held a 25-20 advantage with 5:44 on the clock. However, a three-pointer by Carpenter from the top of the key sparked the EKU offense as the Lady Colonels ended the half on a 16-6 run. A jumper in the lane by Carpenter with four seconds on the clock sent EKU into the locker room at halftime up by five, 36-31.

EKU continued to push the tempo in the first eight minutes of the second half, as Carpenter knocked down two more three-pointers and freshman Mariah Massengill connected on a triple of her own to give the Lady Colonels their largest lead of the game, 54-42, with 12:04 remaining.

The Lady Rattlers, however, exploded on a 15-0 run at that point and never trailed again.

EKU will play Mississippi Valley State in the tournament's consolation game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

COURTESY EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

Team Effort Leads PVAMU Panthers To Win Over Bethune-Cookman 89-80

GREELEY, Colorado  --  Demondre Chapman scored 21 points as the entire starting lineup scored in double figures in Prairie View A&M's 89-80 win over Bethune-Cookman in the third leg of the Colorado State Challenge on the campus of Northern Colorado Friday evening.

The Panthers led from start-to-finish as they wasted no time en route to an 11-1 lead with 14:43 left in the contest. BCU would trim its deficit to seven but the Panthers responded with a 10-2 run to lead 35-20 at the 5:19 mark. However, the comfortable lead would whittle down as the half came to an end as BCU drew to within 42-37 with 36 seconds left. With time winding down in the half, PVAMU junior forward Hershey Robinson nailed a pair of free throws to send the Panthers into the locker room up 44-37.

Prairie View A&M took BCU's best punch to open the second half as its lead dwindled down to 51-49 less than four minutes in. Sensing the momentim slipping away, junior guard Montrael Scott nailed a trey for a 54-49 lead coupled with three straight points from Chapman for a 57-51 advantage at the 14:20 mark. BCU once again kept nipping on PVAMU's heels as they closed to within four points nearly a minute later but the Panthers fought back with an 8-0 run which spanned three minutes to jump ahead 65-53.

From that point, the Panthers led comfortably and remained in control for the rest of the contest as the closest BCU would get was a seven-point margin on two occassions. Prairie View A&M was solid from the free throw line as they sealed the contest by shooting 19-of-23 from the charity stripe in the second half.

Chapman led the Panthers with 21 points and nine rebounds followed by 18 from Scott, 14 from Robinson and 10 apiece from Tre Hagood and John Brisco. Hagood also dished out 10 assists while Jules Montgomery grabbed six rebounds, forced three steals and blocked two shots.The challenge comes to an end on Sunday as the Panthers face tourney host Northern Colorado at 3 p.m.

BOX SCORE

COURTESY PRAIRIE VIEW A&M UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

Clark-Atlanta knocks off WSSU in Fresh Coast Classic

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin  -- Clark-Atlanta handed Winston-Salem State an 89-81 loss Friday afternoon in the first round of the Fresh Coast Classic in Milwaukee.

The Rams, 2012 tournament champions, fell to 2-3 this season.

Javan Wells came in averaging 2.5 points a game but led the Rams with 33 points. However, WSSU struggled again from the foul line, making just 20 of 45 free throws.

Jordan Husley led Clark-Atlanta with 25 points, and Jarrel Joye added 19 points.

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'Relaxed' Jenkins not pressing B-CU this time

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida  -- Bethune-Cookman football coach Brian Jenkins said he is “relaxed and confident'' heading into today's FCS playoff game at Coastal Carolina.

That's a good thing for the Wildcats, because the players follow their coach's lead. And last year, B-CU was anything but relaxed heading into its playoff game with the Chanticleers.
In hindsight, Jenkins said that was his fault.
 
“I think the problem was I didn't have the team prepared well enough for the atmosphere mentally,” he said of B-CU's 24-14 home playoff loss to Coastal Carolina last year. “I think I had them too high, too juiced up, and because of that we played outside of ourselves.”
 
The Chanticleers jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead at Municipal Stadium. Johnnie Houston's 68-yard interception return made it 24-0 early in the fourth quarter. B-CU scored twice in the final seven minutes of the game.
 

A&T Snaps Losing Streak With Win Over Longwood

WEST LONG BRANCH, New Jersey   Senior guard Lamont Middleton scored a career-high 33 points to lift the North Carolina A&T men’s basketball team to an 85-78 victory over Longwood, Friday evening at the Barclays Center Classic.

The Aggies (2-4) snapped a four-game losing streak as Longwood fell to 2-5 overall.

Middleton knocked down five 3-pointers and was 6-for-16 from the field. Middleton made his way to the free throw line 20 times where he made 16. He also tallied a game-high four steals.

Seniors Richaud Pack and Jeremy Underwood also pitched in as Pack finished with 22 points off the bench for A&T and Underwood recorded 11. Freshman Jerome Simmons led the Aggies defensively with eight rebounds and sophomore Bruce Beckford tallied seven.



After tying the game at 35 going into the locker room at the half, the Aggies unleashed a 14-4 run to open the next 20 minutes, which was capped off with a dunk by Simmons to give A&Ta 49-39 lead at the 16:05 mark.

A&T remained ahead and took its largest advantage of the game, 68-50, with a pair of free throws from Middleton with just under nine minutes to play in the game. But Longwood found its way back into the game with a 17-6 run which produced three 3-pointers to cut the Aggies lead to 77-69 with 4:18 left.

Longwood continued to apply pressure and got within six at 79-73 with 2:12 remaining. The Aggies regained control to close out the game. A&T shot 57.1 percent from the field in the second half. The Aggies also capitalized on their trips to the free throw line where they were 38-for-39.

Tristan Carey led Longwood with 20 points and hit four of the team’s seven 3-pointers, Lucas Woodhouse scored 19 and Karl Ziegler added 17.

A&T will face the winner of the Monmouth/Mississippi Valley State game on Saturday, Nov .30 at 7:05 p.m., in the final game of the Barclays Center Classic.


COURTESY NORTH CAROLINA A&T STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

Fobbs considered a Grambling State coaching candidate

GRAMBLING, Louisiana (SportsNetwork.com) -- McNeese State assistant football coach Broderick Fobbs is considered a possible head coaching candidate for the opening at Grambling State.

The FootballScoop coaching website reported Wednesday that Fobbs could be named the team's new coach in the near future.

Fobbs, 39, was a standout running back and two-time team captain at Grambling State under legendary coach Eddie Robinson, graduating in 1997.

He is in the first year of his second stint at McNeese State and the sixth year overall. He is handling tight ends this season and was a co-offensive coordinator during his first stint with the Cowboys.

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Former Alabama State standout Greg Jenkins scores first career TD for Oakland Raiders

DALLAS, Texas  -- Former Alabama State quarterback Greg Jenkins scored his first career NFL touchdown on the game's first play for the Oakland Raiders against the Dallas Cowboys.

On the opening kickoff, Dallas' Terrance Williams fumbled. Jenkins, who was added to the active roster less than a week ago and was playing in his second career NFL game, scooped up the fumble and scored from 23 yards out.

The game was nationally televised in front of an afternoon Thanksgiving audience on CBS.

Jenkins, a Dade City, Fla., native who redshirted at Troy for one semester before transferring to Jacksonville State, is listed as a receiver for the Raiders, but is making his mark on special teams coverage and as a punt returner.

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Ram Ramblings: All settled in here in West Virginia for Saturday's game

SHEPHERDSTOWN, West Virginia – By the time Andrew Dye, one our ace photographers, and I arrived at our hotel this afternoon I quickly came upon Coach Connell Maynor and a few of his coaches playing basketball.

The hotel has a nice gym and workout area and the WSSU coaches and others were taking advantage of some down time to play basketball. There were about nine coaches and other staff members at WSSU who took part as well as Maynor’s brother, Craig, who played basketball for WSSU and the late Big House Gaines.

“It’s just a way to get a good workout in and let off some steam,” Connell said a little later after he and the Rams did a short walk-through at Shepherd University’s stadium which is called Rams Stadium. Shepherd has the same nickname as WSSU. “The guys were resting while we played some basketball, and then after the walk-through we’ll have a nice dinner at the hotel and get ready for the game.”

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WSSU will learn today if it’s road-worthy

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- No. 9 Winston-Salem State hopes to continue its run in the Division II football playoffs today when it plays No. 6 Shepherd, but with both teams on 10-game winning streaks, something will have to give.

Kickoff for the second-round game is set for noon (WTOB 1380) in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

WSSU is 10-1, but Coach Connell Maynor wasn’t at all happy with the performance in last week’s 27-20 home win against Slippery Rock — a game in which the Rams had a season-high four turnovers and 17 penalties.



"We weren’t sharp at all on offense,” Maynor said. “I don’t know if it was the layoff or everything else that went on. I just know we have to play much better as we get deeper in these playoffs.”

WSSU has the top-ranked defense in Division II, with averages of 232.4 yards and 15 points a game allowed, and Shepherd (10-0) ranks No. 2, with 247.9 yards and 13 points allowed.

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B-CU's Brian Jenkins Named MEAC Coach of the Year



NORFOLK, Virginia -– For the third time in four years, Bethune-Cookman football head coach Brian Jenkins was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, announced Friday afternoon from the MEAC Office in Norfolk, Va. A total of 12 Wildcats student-athletes were named to the first-second- and third team, respectively.

Jenkins, now in his fourth year at the helm in Daytona Beach, has compiled a 37-10 overall record, the third-winningest coach in the FCS among the 2010 hires. Jenkins led the Wildcats to a 7-1 MEAC mark and a 10-2 overall record, including the school’s first-ever victory over an FBS opponent when the Cats defeated FIU earlier this year in Miami. The Wildcats defeated Florida A&M, 29-10, to clinch a share of the conference’s regular season title and secure the MEAC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division I (FCS) Championships. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 12 in both The Sports Network’s FCS and FCS Coaches Poll.  He has led Bethune-Cookman to three MEAC titles in four years and fell just one game shy of back-to-back undefeated MEAC finishes.

For the Wildcats on the All-MEAC First Team were Andrew Edouard (C), Alex Monroe (OL), Rashard Brown (OL), Jarkevis Fields (LB) and Nick Addison (DB). For Addison and Fields, this is the second time in as many years the duo has earned All-MEAC First Team accolades.

Edouard, Brown and Monroe helped pave the way for an offense that led the MEAC and ranked ninth in the NCAA with 3,003 yards rushing. Brown and Monroe each earned MEAC Player of the Week honors this year, while Edouard came on strong at the center position from the beginning of the year.

Defensively, Jarkevis Fields led the Wildcats with 94 tackles, including six tackles for loss and two interceptions. Addison led the Wildcats’ secondary that ranks as one of the top defensive backfields in the country, as he leads the team with five interceptions and adding 58 tackles. As a unit, the Wildcats defense ranks first in the nation for pass efficiency defense, as well as second nationally in passes intercepted, pass defense and total defense.

Named to the MEAC Second Team for the Cats were running back Isidore Jackson, wide receiver Eddie Poole, defensive lineman Dyron Dye and defensive lineman LeBrandon Richardson.

Jackson is the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3,245 yards in his career, while Eddie Poole is the school’s all-time leader in consecutive game with a catch, stretching a span of 47 games – his entire career as a Wildcat. Dyron Dye transferred into the Wildcats from the University of Miami prior to the season, and quickly helped the defensive line with 36 tackles and a team-best six sacks. As for Richardson, he is third on the squad with 54 tackles and a team-best 13.5 tackles for loss.

On the All-MEAC Third Team from Bethune-Cookman is offensive lineman Anthony Kibler, as well as Tevin Toney (DL) and Tim Burke (DB). Kibler has been a mainstay on the B-CU offensive line all season, while Burke and Toney have been consistent sources of defensive pressure on that side of the ball.

Howard’s Greg McGhee (QB) was named MEAC Offensive Player of the Year as he led the MEAC in total offense (272.9 avg./g) and ranked second in passing yards per game (198.2 avg./g). He completed 228 passes on 385 attempts (59%) with 16 touchdowns in 12 games this season. South Carolina State’s Joe Thomas earned MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors recording 116 total tackles, 84 solo, with a conference-best 19 tackles for a loss during the 2013 campaign.

North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen was selected MEAC Freshman of the Year, and it was Tristan Bellamy of South Carolina State earned MEAC Offensive Player of the Year.

For more information on the Bethune-Cookman University football team, please log onto BCUathletics.com. Once there, you will find up-to-date news, stats and information regarding the Wildcats football program.

Fans can keep up-to-date with all B-CU Athletics via twitter at Twitter.com/BCUathletics, in addition to the official football twitter page at Twitter.com/BCUGridIron. You can also become a fan of the Wildcats on Facebook at Facebook.com/BCUathletics.


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COURTESY BETHUNE-COOKMAN UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION

SC State Hosts Furman In FCS First Round Playoff Action

SCSU COACH OLIVER "BUDDY" POUGH
COURTESY SCSU ATHLETICS
ORANGEBURG, S.C — Mid-Eastern Athletic Co-Champion South Carolina State in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) first round playoff action Saturday at Oliver. C. Dawson Stadium. Kick-off is 1 p.m. and it will be televised by ESPN3.

The winner of the Furman-South Carolina State contest will play at No. 1 seed and two-time defending national champion North Dakota State on Dec. 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 SC State had 13 student-athletes to earn All-MEAC honors, including redshirt senior linebacker Joe Thomas be selected as the MEAC Defense Player of the Year, while teammate redshirt senior center was named Offensive Lineman of the year, the league announced.

 South Carolina State (9-3, 7-1 MEAC) claimed a share of its 15th Mid-Eastern Athletic Championship with a 17-3 win over Norfolk (11/23) clinched an at-large berth and will be make its fourth appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs since 2010 under Pough.

 Meanwhile, Furman (7-5, 6-2 SoCon), which claimed a share of its 13th Southern Conference championship with a 27-14 win over Wofford on Saturday and the league's playoff automatic qualifier, will be making its 16th appearance in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs and first since 2006.

A preseason No.2 MEAC pick and posted one of the best turnovers in school history after finishing 5-6 last season, to a 9-3 finishing this season and share of the league crown. The Bulldogs won the last 8-of-9 games, only losses coming to nationally ranked opponents in #6 Clemson (10-1), # 11 (FCS) Coastal Carolina (11-1) and #14 Bethune-Cookman (10-2).

SC State played its first FCS (formerly I-AA) playoff game against Furman in 1982 in Greenville. The Paladins own a 10-4 lead in its series with the Bulldogs (9-3, 7-1 MEAC), having last met in 1998 (27-19 Furman win) in Greenville.

Twenty four teams comprise the NCAA FCS playoff field, with eight seeded squads earning first round byes. The national championship is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2015, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and will be televised by ESPN2.


COURTESY SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION 

Gold Nuggets lose in OT to NAIA No. 2 Oklahoma City


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Xavier University of Louisiana led for nearly 33 minutes Friday before losing 72-70 in overtime to Oklahoma City in a matchup of ranked NAIA Division I women's basketball teams in the Capital City Classic.

Paige Gauthier had 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals for the Gold Nuggets (4-4), who are ranked 15th. Whitney Gaston-Loyd scored 11 points, and Carmen Holcombe had 10 points, a season high, plus five rebounds and four steals.

Yvonte Neal scored 24 points for the Stars (3-0), who are ranked second, and Autumn Lau had 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Danielle Tucker's layup for Xavier with two seconds remaining in regulation tied the score at 66. Oklahoma City scored the first six points of overtime to take its largest lead and held on after Gauthier missed a 3-pointer with 39 seconds to play and the Nuggets trailing by two.

Xavier had one final possession after forcing a turnover with six seconds remaining but was unable to attempt a shot before the buzzer.

Xavier scored 33 points off of 31 Oklahoma City turnovers.

Gauthier's 3-pointer gave Xavier a 27-17 lead at 6:25 of the first half before the Stars scored 14 straight for a 31-27 halftime advantage.

Gauthier scored 10 points during a 12-4 run which gave Xavier a 44-40 lead with 13:28 remaining in regulation. The Nuggets led for nearly 13½ minutes in the second half before Lau's basket gave the Stars a 65-64 lead with 58 seconds to play. Tucker's overtime-forcing basket came after Neal made 1-of-2 free throws with 16 seconds remaining.

Oklahoma City had won its last nine non-conference home games by an average of 38.2 points. Xavier rebounded from a 75-46 loss to NAIA No. 23 Oklahoma Baptist on Thursday.

"Great effort by both teams. Great job by our ladies to bounce back after a very disappointing second half yesterday," XU coach Bo Browder said. "We put that game out of our minds and played hard for 45 minutes tonight. We didn't win, but we were very, very close against an Oklahoma City program which has always given us problems. That's encouraging.

"The key for us is bringing that focus and passion to every game. When we do, we'll be fine."

Xavier will fly home Saturday, then travel to NCAA Division I's Louisiana-Lafayette for a 2 p.m. game Sunday. The Gold Nuggets' next home game will start at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against William Carey at the Convocation Center.

Box score

By Ed Cassiere, SID
XULAATHLETICS
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA

Butler Bulldogs Make First Division I Playoff Appearance

2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship
BUTLER (9-3) vs. TENNESSEE STATE (9-3)
Saturday, November 30, 1 p.m. (ET)
Butler Bowl - Indianapolis, Indiana
ESPN3

Game Notes



PLAYOFF TIME:  Butler will make school and conference history when it takes the field at the Butler Bowl against Tennessee State in the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship.  The game against the Tigers from the Ohio Valley Conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Nov. 30, and will be telecast on ESPN3.  The Bulldogs are the first team in school history and the first team from the Pioneer Football League to advance to the Division I football playoffs.  Butler earned that honor by sharing the 2013 PFL championship with Marist and then being selected to represent the conference through the league's tie-breaker system.  The two teams remained tied through each of the PFL's tie-breaker steps until the final rankings tie-breaker, which uses the seven rankings/ratings of the College Sporting News' Gridiron Power Index and the NCAA's Simple Rating System (SRS).  The Bulldogs prevailed in five of the ranking systems to earn the PFL's first automatic bid to the Division I football playoffs.  Butler will be playing a postseason football game for the fifth time in school history.  The Bulldogs competed in the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 1983, 1988 and 1991, before moving to the NCAA Division I in 1993.  The team's only Division I postseason game came in 2009, when the Bulldogs won the PFL title and faced Northeast Conference winner Central Connecticut State in the Gridiron Classic, a playoff game between the two leagues.                                      

Butler won its only previous Division I postseason football game in 2009.

TITLE RUN:  Butler closed out its second consecutive Pioneer Football League championship and its third league title in five years with a 58-27 victory at Morehead State in the final regular season game.  The win was Butler's third straight and seventh in the team's last eight outings.  The Bulldogs, playing 12 regular season games for the first time, matched the second-highest win total in school history with a final 9-3 record.  The team also tied the school record for PFL wins with a 7-1 mark.  Head coach Jeff Voris guided the Bulldogs to a school record 11-1 mark in 2009, and he also led Butler to 7-1 PFL records in 2009 and 2012.

The 2013 Bulldogs are the seventh Butler team to win nine games in a season.

CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT:  Butler left nothing to chance in closing out its second consecutive Pioneer Football League title in the final regular season game at Morehead State.  The Bulldogs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes of that game and stretched that margin to 34-6 by halftime.  The host Eagles did make a run early in the third period, but the Bulldogs scored 24 of the game's final 31 points to seal the outcome.  Butler rolled up 639 yards in total offense and racked up 32 first downs in the win.  It was the second consecutive game that the Bulldogs topped 600 yards in total offense.

Butler set a school-record with 5,699 yards in total offense in 2013. 

PFL HONOR:  Senior Trae Heeter was named Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Butler's title-clinching win at Morehead State.  Heeter rolled up 319 all-pupose yards and scored five touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 28-point win.  He scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game to give Butler an early lead, and he added three more TDs before the final buzzer sounded.  The 30 points matched the second-highest single game scoring total in Butler history.  The former Lawrence North High School running back wound up rushing for 180 yards and four touchdowns, and he added 139 yards and another TD on five pass receptions.  The 319 all-purpose yards were the seventh-most posted in the PFL this season.  It was the second time this season that Heeter earned the league's weekly honor.

HOT FINISH:  Butler didn't lead the PFL in scoring offense, but no team was more potent than the Bulldogs over the final two weeks of the season.  In the final two regular season games, Butler rolled up nearly 1,400 yards in total offense and racked up 130 points!  The Bulldogs set a school record with 717 yards in total offense in a 72-12 victory over Valparaiso.  One week later, Butler piled up 639 total offense yards and 58 points at Morehead State.

Butler scored at least 30 points in eight of 12 games this season.

BUILDING PERMIT:  Jeff Voris assumed the position as Butler's head coach in 2006, taking over a team that was coming off an 0-11 season.  He improved Butler's win total in each of his first four seasons at the helm, capping that run with an 11-1 record and Butler's first conference championship in 15 years in 2009.  Voris has added two more conference titles since 2009, and he's guided the Bulldogs to a 17-6 record over the past two seasons.  The Butler coach, now completing his eighth season with the Bulldogs, already owns Butler's only postseason football victory (a 28-23 win over Central Connecticut State in the 2009 Gridiron Classic), and he's the first coach to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division I football playoffs.

RUSH ORDER:  Trae Heeter wound up leading the PFL in rushing for the second consecutive season.  The Butler back, who topped the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for the second straight year, finished the regular season with 1,311 rushing yards, an average of 109.2 yards per game.  Heeter rushed for 100 or more yards in seven of Butler's 12 games, including a season-high 227 yards in Butler's PFL opener at Jacksonville.  His 1,311 yards rank as the seventh-highest single season total in Butler history.  Heeter led the PFL in rushing a year ago with 1,103 yards, an average of 100.3 yards per game.  His 3,265 career rushing yards rank as the fourth-highest total ever at Butler.

Trae Heeter is the fourth player in Butler history to rush for 3,000 career yards.

AIR QUALITY:  Senior quarterback Matt Lancaster has only played two seasons with the Bulldogs after transferring from Illinois State, but he'll finish his career as one of Butler's all-time passing leaders.  In 22 career games at Butler, the West Lafayette, Ind., native has thrown for 5,347 yards and 40 touchdowns.  He ranks fourth on Butler's all-time list for passing yards, and he holds both the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on Butler's single season passing list.  Lancaster has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his last 10 starts and in 21 of 22 career games at Butler.  The Butler quarterback also ranks second on the team in rushing with 678 yards on 117 carries.

Matt Lancaster set a Butler single season record for total offense (3,317) this year.

CLOSING ACT:  Wide receiver Brendan Shannon is putting a strong finish to an outstanding career at Butler.  The senior from Lombard, Ill., is riding four consecutive 100-yard receiving performances, including 102 yards on six catches in the Bulldogs' title-clinching win at Morehead State.  He caught at least five passes in each of his last nine games, and he topped the 100-yard mark in receiving yards in seven of those nine contests.  His 978 receiving yards this season ranks as the fourth-highest single season total in Butler football history, and he stands fifth on Butler's all-time passing list with 1,964 career receiving yards.  Shannon is third all-time at Butler with 161 career pass receptions.

Brendan Shannon leads the PFL in pass receptions/game (7.1).    

STEAL WILL:  Butler ranks seventh nationally with 30 takeaways this season.  The Bulldogs' plus-0.9 turnover margin ranks 10th in the NCAA Division I FCS.  Butler led the PFL in both categories.

BULLDOG BITS:
•Matt Lancaster is 16-6 as a starting quarterback at Butler.  He's been the starting quarterback for two of Butler's four PFL championship seasons.

•Matt Lancaster ranks second in the PFL in total offense (302.0), and he's tied for third in the league in touchdowns scored (12).

•Matt Lancaster ranks fifth in the PFL in passing efficiency (142.5) and he's sixth in the league passing average (239.9).

•Matt Lancaster posted the third-highest single game passing total in Butler history with 395 yards against Dartmouth.  He set school records for completions (42) and attempts (68) in that game.

•Matt Lancaster threw for four touchdowns in a game twice this season and both times all four TDs came in the first half.  He did it in Butler victories over Wittenberg and Valparaiso.

•Matt Lancaster passed for over 300 yards in each of Butler's final two regular season games.  He's passed for 300 yards in four career games at Butler.

•Running back Trae Heeter stands fourth on Butler's all-time scoring list with 198 career points. Leroy Thompson (1953-56) is third with 202 points.

•Trae Heeter is seventh on Butler's single season scoring list with 98 points this season.  He's bidding to become the fifth player in Butler football history to score 100 points in a season.

•Trae Heeter ranks 15th in the NCAA Division I FCS in rushing yards per game (109.2).

•Trae Heeter ranks second in the PFL in scoring (8.0).

•Trae Heeter ranks second in the PFL in all-purpose yards (143.4).

•Trae Heeter owns the top scoring performance in the PFL this season with five touchdowns against Morehead State.

•Trae Heeter has the second-best rushing performance in the PFL this season with 227 yards against Jacksonville.

•Trae Heeter led the PFL this season with seven 100-yard rushing performances.

•Trae Heeter was No. 1 in the PFL stats for conference games only in rushing, scoring, touchdowns and all-purpose yards.

•Wide receiver Brendan Shannon ranks 8th in the NCAA Division I FCS in receptions per game (7.1).

•Brendan Shannon ranks second in the PFL in receiving yards (97.8).

•Brendan Shannon ranks 11th in Division I in receiving yards per game.

•Brendan Shannon shared the PFL lead with seven 100-yard receiving performances in 2013.

•Brendan Shannon is tied with Dan Bohrer (2008) for fourth place on Butler's list for single season receptions (71).  Tom Redmond (1972) is third with 73 catches, while Zach Watkins holds the first (80, 2011) and second (78, 2009) spots.

•Wide receiver Tom Judge has caught a touchdown pass, thrown a touchdown pass, had a rushing attempt, returned a punt and punted the football this season.

•Senior Sean Grady ranks third in the PFL in pass intereptions (4).

•Sean Grady stands sixth in the PFL in passes defended (0.92/game).

•Linebacker Zack Sedivy is tied for fourth in the PFL in fumbles recovered (0.18).  Teammates Paul Yanow and David Burke are tied for eighth (0.17).

•Placekicker Jon Treloar, perfect on nine field goal attempts this season, is one of five players tied for the top spot nationally in field goal percentage.

•Jon Treloar has connected on 54 of 58 PAT kick attempts and ranks sixth in the PFL in PAT Kicking Percentage (93.1%).  He also stands fourth in the league in kick scoring (6.8).

•Jon Treloar set a Butler single season record with 54 successful PAT kicks this season.

•Jon Treloar set a Butler single game record with nine PATs against Valparaiso.

•Butler's offensive line was recognized by Beyond Sports Network as the national Offensive Line of the Week for the unit's performance against Valparaiso.

•Butler leads the PFL in fewest quarterback sacks allowed (0.92).

•Butler leads the PFL in both Red Zone Offense (92.5%) and Red Zone Defense (68.3%).

•Butler leads the PFL in first downs (293).

 COURTESY BUTLER UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

Winston-Salem State Rams’ Miller takes to learning on the fly

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Fullback Will Miller of Winston-Salem State was tempted to spike the ball after catching the first touchdown pass of his career in last weekend’s playoff victory against Slippery Rock.

Adding to the temptation for Miller, a 24-year-old junior and 2007 Carver High graduate, was the fact that it was the first touchdown he scored, ever, after years of toiling as a lineman through youth football and into high school.

"The funny thing was it was my only touchdown, and it was actually a highlight on ESPN,” Miller said. “How great is that?”

WSSU highlights don’t usually make it to ESPN’s “Sports Center.” But they did this time, because the Rams were in the national news after the attack on quarterback Rudy Johnson at a CIAA luncheon Nov. 15 and the playoff game was Johnson’s first since then.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Shepherd is winning despite limited scholarships

SHEPHERDTOWN, West Virginia  -- It’s difficult to know for sure which of the 16 teams left in the Division II football playoffs has the smallest number of scholarships, but Shepherd at least is a candidate for doing the most with the least.

Shepherd (10-0) has about 19 scholarships, said Coach Monte Cater, who has 200 wins in his 27 seasons at the school. His team’s opponent for Saturday’s second-round game, Winston-Salem State, has about 28 scholarships, and the Division II maximum is 36.

Cater has seen many changes in Division II, but one constant is that teams with the most scholarships usually have an advantage in the postseason.

"You tend to see that as the playoffs unfold," he said.

"We just try and work with ...

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S.C. State, B-CU: 2 shots at breaking MEAC skid

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina  -- The time for “campaigning” for more favorable representation in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is over.

With two teams in the field of 24 for the first time since 2010, Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State have turned their attention toward ending the conference’s 16-game losing streak in the playoffs this weekend in the Palmetto State. The Wildcats will get a second crack this Saturday in Conway at Coastal Carolina in a rematch of last year’s first-round matchup, while the 25th-ranked Bulldogs play host to Furman.

“I’ve stopped trying to campaign,” said Bethune-Cookman head football coach Brian Jenkins, who was outspoken about the MEAC deserving an at-large berth. “I’ve just put my focus towards taking care of business we need to take care of since we’re one of the teams that was automatically selected. But I’ll tell you what? I think it also speaks volumes that the selection committee and many others are starting to take notice in selecting us as well as South Carolina State as one of the top teams, as well as Tennessee State.

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Bethune-Cookman seniors lead ball-hawking secondary

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida  --  Cornerbacks Tim Burke and Dion Hanks arrived at Bethune-Cookman together three years ago, and since then they have collected three championship rings. Now the seniors want to earn one more before they leave.

“Our goal is to win a national championship,” said Burke, who won Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles with the Wildcats in 2010, 2012 and this season. “We've got to win four more games to make it (to the title game).”
 
First, B-CU has to win an FCS playoff game for the first time, which they will try to do at 1 p.m. Saturday in a first-round contest at Coastal Carolina. The winner travels to No. 8 seed Montana next week for the round of 16.
 
The corners have been on the losing end twice in the playoffs, both times at home (against New Hampshire in 2010 and Coastal in 2012).
 

TSU Tigers to Take on Butler Bulldogs on Saturday's Playoffs

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -- On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will play in its first postseason game since 1999 when the squad travels to Butler for the opening round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
 
The Tigers were off for the first time all season last weekend, giving them a chance to get some of their banged up players healthy.
 
Redshirt junior quarterback Michael German is one who benefited from the extra rest, and he is cleared to participate against the Bulldogs.
 
German, who has only played in five contests this year, has completed 45-of-78 passes for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Pompano Beach, Fla. native has also not thrown an interception all year.

Freshman Ronald Butler has filled in admirably for German this season, completing 130-of-223 passes for 1343 yards, 12 scores and only four picks.
 
However, the offense has not been the same when German is forced to miss. TSU is 4-3 in such contests and only scored an average of 18.4 points per game. With German, TSU is 5-0 and averaging 42.2 points.
 
The Tigers could use the points, but the Big Blue defense has been dominant this season, only allowing 278.9 yards per contest. TSU also sits inside the top ten in third down conversion defense (1st), tackles for loss (5th), passing efficiency defense (6th), scoring defense (6th) and rushing defense (9th).
 
The stellar play of the unit starts upfront where the Tigers boast a defensive line that consists of four players who have recorded at least four sacks on the year. Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Bass is first on the squad with 10, which ranks him tied for seventh nationally. Senior, and fellow First Team All-OVC’er, Antonio Harper plays at the defensive end spot, and is fourth on the team with 44 stops and tied for second with 11 tackles for loss.
 
The Tigers will need to continue to play well on defense on Saturday when they take on Butler (9-3) who won the Pioneer Football League for the second consecutive time.
 
Butler will be the first PFL team to participate in the playoffs, benefiting from a defense that currently ranks seventh nationally with 30 takeaways in 2013 and the squad has a +0.9 per game turnover margin, which is 10th in the FCS. Senior Sean Grady leads the squad with four interceptions on the year.
 
Offensively, senior quarterback Matt Lancaster is averaging 239.9 passing yards per game and has 19 passing and 12 rushing touchdowns this season. Senior tailback Trae Hester was the only PFL rusher to average over 100 yards per game this season, finishing the season with 1,311 yards and 13 scores.

TSU has never faced Butler, but is 1-3 all-time in the Playoffs (and an additional 1-2 in years vacated). This will also be the first time that Tennessee State has played 13 games in one season.
 
The winner of Saturday’s game will meet Eastern Illinois on Dec. 7.
 
TSU will kickoff at Butler at 12 p.m. CT, and fans can watch the game on ESPN3.



COURTESY TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION 

TSU players say playoffs are way to go



NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- For years fans of big-time college football have been clamoring for what the Football Championship Subdivision has had for decades: a playoff system.

The Football Bowl Subdivision will finally take a step in that direction next season when it introduces a four-team playoff.

It will be a step in the right direction, according to some of Tennessee State’s players. The Tigers are getting a taste of the playoffs, which were expanded this year to 24 teams, for the first time since 1999.

“The playoffs are what football is about,” said TSU senior running back Tim Broughton, who rushed for 1,046 yards on 212 carries in the regular season. “It’s how the NFL does it, and that tells you all you need to know.”

The Tigers (9-3) will visit Butler (9-3) on Saturday in the first round. The winner moves on to play No. 2 Eastern Illinois, which has a first-round bye.

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Nuggets lose to Oklahoma Baptist in Capital City Classic

Paige Gauthier
OKLAHOMA CITY -- After a halftime tie, Oklahoma Baptist pulled away for a 75-46 women's basketball victory Thursday against Xavier University of Louisiana in the opening game of the Capital City Classic.

The Lady Bison (6-1), ranked 23rd in NAIA Division I, won their fifth in a row.

Paige Gauthier scored nine points and Vinnie Briggs eight for the Gold Nuggets (4-3), ranked 15th in the NAIA.

Jalissa Council scored a career-high 24 points, 15 in the second half, for Oklahoma Baptist. Elisabeth Daniels scored 17 points, and Charity Fowler had 11.

Xavier trailed 20-15 after Zbeyda Aremi's layup for OBU at 5:54 of the first half, but the Nuggets got five points from Briggs to rally for a halftime tie at 28. Xavier took its final lead, 27-26, on Chelsea Broussard's layup with 36 seconds remaining.

Oklahoma Baptist scored the first seven points of the second half and led 46-32 after Council's 3-point play with 13:43 remaining.

The Lady Bison outshot the Gold Nuggets 50 to 32.1 percent from the floor -- 65.4 to 25.9 percent in the second half -- and outrebounded them 47-29.

Xavier will play NAIA No. 2 Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Friday in the final game of this event.

Box score

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director
XAVIER UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA
XULAATHLETICS