NCAA Football News

Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer Dances in Locker Room After Military Bowl Win

The Virginia Tech Hokies got a 33-17 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Military Bowl on Saturday, and head coach Frank Beamer was pumped up after the game.

While celebrating the win in the locker room, the 68-year-old head coach started to get down with all of his players huddled around him. The dance moves were a bit questionable, but Beamer gets a pass since his team played so well.

[Vine, h/t SB Nation]

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Military Bowl 2014: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Game Grades and Analysis

The Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats, 33-17, in the Military Bowl on Saturday. It's Tech's second bowl victory over Cincinnati in the last six years, as Tech beat Cincinnati in the 2008-09 Orange Bowl. 

The Hokies relied on a strong performance by their special teams, defense and running game. Tech forced three turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Freshman kicker Joey Slye hit all four field-goal attempts, including attempts from 45 and 49 yards.

Junior running back J.C. Coleman led Tech's rushing attack with 157 yards on 25 carries, his fourth straight game of at least 90 yards or more. 

Head coach Frank Beamer watched this one from the press box, while son Shane coached the team from the sideline. It was only the second time in Beamer's 28 years as head coach of the Hokies where he's been forced to coach from the box. 

Here are the grades and analysis from both Virginia Tech and Cincinnati in the Hokies' Military Bowl victory.

 

Cincinnati Game Grades Analysis:

Pass Offense: Gunner Kiel was terrific, even with two interceptions. His absence changed things in the second half. Michael Colosimo gave them a spark late, but it wasn't enough. 

Run Offense: Colosimo led the team in rushing, mainly because the score forced Cincy to pass the ball, and Tech's defenders were dropped deep, leaving open running lanes for Cincy's passer in the second half. 

Pass Defense: Tech passed for just 124 yards. The Bearcats were strong in coverage and pressured Michael Brewer the entire game.

Run Defense: Cincinnati allowed 200 yards rushing to a team ranked No. 91 in rushing entering the game. That's unacceptable, especially with Tech being one-dimensional.

Special Teams: The Bearcats missed an early field goal and gave up a big return at the end of the half that led to points for the Hokies. 

Coaching: Tommy Tuberville inexplicably brought Colosimo in on obvious passing situations in the second half. He would use Shaq Washington or Mike Boone as the Wildcat QB. It led to two wasted possessions as Colosimo proved he could throw the ball. 

 

Virginia Tech Game Grades Analysis:

Pass Offense: Brewer wasn't great. However, he played with toughness and made a couple of very good throws under pressure. His first-half interception cost the Hokies points.

Run Offense: JC Coleman was terrific. He had several longer runs and also proved he could pound it between the tackles for tough yards. 

Pass Defense: The Hokies gave up several big plays in the passing game, especially in the first half. The Hokies did record two interceptions and forced a Kiel fumble that led to a touchdown. 

Run Defense: The numbers indicate Tech gave up 160 yards on the ground. That's deceiving. Colosimo ran for 54 yards in the fourth quarter with Tech playing with six defensive backs. Cincy struggled to run the ball when the game was close. 

Special Teams: Beamerball returned, it appeared, on Saturday. Slye was 4-of-4 on field goals, and Der'Woun Greene gave the return game a lift. Special teams was responsible for the majority of VT's points. 

Coaching: Frank Beamer will get the win on his coaching record. However, his son, Shane, did an outstanding job preparing the Hokies. Tech looked strong in all phases, specifically on special teams, in the win over Cincinnati. 

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Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech: Score and Twitter Reaction for 2014 Military Bowl

Virginia Tech ended an up-and-down 2014 season on a high note Saturday, as the Hokies defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 33-17 in the Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

The game was tightly contested throughout the first half, but Cincinnati struggled to keep up in the second, especially after star sophomore quarterback Gunner Kiel left with an injury in the third quarter.

One can only assume that Virginia Tech had a bit of extra motivation entering the game, as head coach Frank Beamer recovered from throat surgery in time to coach from the press box, according to Nathan Warters of The Free Lance-Star:

His son, Shane Beamer, essentially acted as the head coach on the sidelines, but junior defensive tackle Corey Marshall made it clear before the game that Frank Beamer had prepared the team to succeed even without being on the field, per Tom Schad of The Washington Times:

"[Coach Beamer's] left a good imprint on this football team," Marshall said. "We know how to conduct ourselves even if he's not steering the ship, until he gets back right. … We'll go out here and take care of business for him."

Marshall proved prophetic, as the Hokies played hard and were especially strong in the game's latter stages.

Cincinnati was able to move the ball quite smoothly throughout the first half due to the play of Kiel. Unfortunately for the Bearcats, though, they struggled to finish their drives.

After kicker Andrew Gantz missed a 51-yard field goal on Cincinnati's opening possession, its next one ended with Kiel throwing an interception in the end zone. He was picked off by sophomore cornerback Kendall Fuller.

Fuller impressively went up and wrestled the ball away from the Cincinnati receiver in midair. Hokies Journal speculated that he may have tricked Kiel into throwing in his direction:

The Hokies were unable to capitalize on that turnover, however, as junior quarterback Michael Brewer threw an interception of his own just three plays later.

According to Jacob Emert of TechSideline.com, Brewer was totally to blame for the pick, as he made things simple for sophomore safety Zach Edwards:

That would prove to be a costly miscue, as the Bearcats finally managed to cash in on the ensuing drive. Kiel completed three passes of 20 or more yards, including a 31-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver Chris Moore, to put Cincinnati on top 7-0.

Per Bearcats Football on Twitter, that touchdown was Kiel's 31st through the air in 2014, which tied a school record:

That lead was short-lived, though. It took Virginia Tech less than two minutes to answer with a touchdown of its own. A roughing the passer call helped the Hokies get into Cincinnati territory, while a bit of trickery set up the eventual score.

Freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford took a reverse, only to stop and throw a beautiful pass back to the quarterback for 30 yards. According to Warters, it was heralded as a spectacular toss on the telecast:

Junior running back J.C. Coleman ground his way to paydirt from a yard out just three plays later to make it 7-7.

After a pair of subsequent Cincinnati drives stalled, Kiel was intercepted for a second time in the closing seconds of the first quarter. This time, it was sophomore cornerback Chuck Clark who made an athletic, one-handed pick.

Per Mitch Carr of 8News WRIC, Clark may have saved a big play in the other direction with his circus catch:

The Hokies took advantage of field position in Cincinnati territory, and freshman kicker Joey Slye hit a season-long 45-yard field goal to put the Hokies back in control 10-7.

After getting the ball back with just under seven minutes remaining in the half, Kiel orchestrated another strong drive for the Bearcats. Cincinnati ate up six minutes and 23 seconds, and although it couldn't find the end zone, Gantz tied the game back up with a 25-yard field goal.

Most probably assumed that the score would be even at halftime, but sophomore running back Der'Woun Greene had other ideas for the Hokies when he returned the kickoff 46 yards to midfield. 

A 17-yard pass from Brewer to Ford put Virginia Tech in field-goal range, and it once again put points on the board, as Slye bettered his previous career long with a 49-yard make at the gun.

Virginia Tech took a 13-10 lead into the locker room despite the fact that Cincinnati dominated the half statistically, according to Mike Barber of The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The Hokies clearly picked up some momentum from that late score, and they carried it over to the second half. Their first drive started with six straight runs, which got them all the way down to the Cincinnati 16.

Virginia Tech eventually found the end zone when Brewer tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Ryan Malleck, which made the score 20-10.

There was definite pressure on the Bearcats to make something happen after that score. And the Hokies continued to pour it on.

Kiel was sacked by junior linebacker Deon Clarke on the next drive, which caused a fumble. Big defensive tackle Nigel Williams scooped it up before fumbling in his own right, but Hokies cornerback Greg Stroman finished the play by recovering it and scoring a touchdown.

After Virginia Tech went up 27-10 on that play, injury was added to insult. Kiel was shaken up and had to be taken back to the locker room, per ESPN's Tom Gelehrter:

According to the ESPN telecast, Kiel suffered a head injury on the play, and he did not ultimately return.

With backup Munchie Legaux also injured, the Bearcats turned to No. 2 receiver and former high school quarterback Shaq Washington under center.

He surprisingly came out firing with a 31-yard completion to junior wide receiver Mekale McKay, but Cincinnati couldn't score on the drive.

After Slye added yet another field goal to put Virginia Tech up 30-10 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Bearcats were forced to abandon the Wildcat concept and turn to senior third-string quarterback Michael Colosimo.

As pointed out by Norm Wood of The Daily Press, Colosimo had very little game experience prior to Saturday's game, despite being a senior:

There wasn't much expected of the walk-on quarterback and former baseball player, but Colosimo made some plays to get Cincinnati back in the game.

With an excellent 43-yard throw to Moore for the first passing touchdown of his career, Colosimo pulled the Bearcats to within 13 points of the Hokies with less than 11 minutes left in the game.

Cincinnati attempted a somewhat surprising onside kick immediately after, but it didn't work, as the ball went out of bounds.

That allowed the Hokies to add another field goal with just under nine minutes left, which meant the Bearcats faced a 16-point deficit.

Cincinnati had a chance to make things interesting, but it couldn't make anything happen, and Virginia Tech went on to win 33-17.

Saturday marked Virginia Tech's 22nd consecutive season with a bowl appearance, and while the Hokies went just 6-6 during the regular season, the Military Bowl win helped them improve to 7-6.

That means that Virginia Tech also now has 22 straight winning seasons, all of which have come under the watch of Beamer. This may not have been an ideal year for the Hokies, but a Military Bowl win and an upset of Ohio State earlier in the season are great building blocks.

The Bearcats had a chance to win 10 games for the third time in four years, but Tommy Tuberville's team fell just short of that goal.

Losing Kiel certainly hurt its chances Saturday, but Cincinnati's future is bright with such a fine young signal-caller in place.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Bowl Picks 2014-15: Predictions for Every Remaining Postseason Game

The 2014-15 college football bowl season has already featured several exciting matchups, but the best is very likely yet to come.

In addition to the College Football Playoff games and other bowls featuring highly ranked teams, there are plenty of other less-heralded bowls that have the potential to be extremely entertaining as well.

While not every bowl has a ton riding on it, there is no question that every team involved wants to end the season on a high note.

Here is a full slate of picks for every remaining bowl game, along with a closer look at some of the most intriguing, under-the-radar bowls.

 

Picks for Under-the-Radar Bowls

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Texas A&M

The AutoZone Liberty Bowl will feature two 7-5 teams that looked elite at times during the 2014 regular season. Both West Virginia and Texas A&M scored some high-profile wins, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in a head-to-head situation.

The Mountaineers were the only team to beat Baylor, thus costing it a CFP spot. WVU also lost to Alabama by just 10 points and fell to TCU by one, so there is no question that it can hang with the big boys.

Although the Aggies faded after a 5-0 start, they managed to end Auburn's CFP hopes with an upset victory.

Most would have figured early in the season that this game would feature a quarterback battle between Clint Trickett and Kenny Hill. While Hill was replaced by freshman Kyle Allen several games ago, Trickett has been injured.

In fact, the senior intends to retire from football due to concussion issues, according to SportsCenter:

Stepping away has to be a difficult decision for Trickett, but he has a positive outlook regarding his final season of football, per ESPN.com's Jake Trotter.

"I would love to be out there and finish the season with my guys [for] my last game," Trickett said. "It's unfortunate how it ended, but I had a great senior year."

While the sample size is small, sophomore signal-caller Skyler Howard has been great in place of Trickett. He threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Iowa State, so he should be ready to step up.

He also has a pair of elite wide receivers to throw to in the form of Kevin White and Mario Alford, so there is plenty to like about the Mountaineers' chances in this game.

The Aggies can be potent in their own right, but West Virginia will simply have a little too much offensive punch.

 

Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford

The 2014 season was likely a disappointing one for Stanford, as it has grown accustomed to being in contention for national titles, but it has a chance to end on a high note by beating Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl.

On the heels of victories over California and UCLA, the Cardinal will enter the bowl with momentum on their side. The Terrapins, on the other hand, have been a model of inconsistency by trading wins and losses through their past eight games.

Perhaps Stanford's greatest advantage is the fact that the Foster Farms Bowl will take place at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, according to Pac-12 Networks:

That means it will essentially be a home game that will undoubtedly feature plenty of Cardinal fans in the stands. At the same time, though, Stanford head coach David Shaw doesn't believe his team will have an advantage, per Stanford play-by-play announcer Scott Reiss:

The biggest key to Stanford's success in this game may be the play of senior quarterback Kevin Hogan. Nobody is ever quite sure how Hogan will perform from one game to the next, but he is coming off a contest that saw him complete 84 percent of his passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns.

He may not be that efficient, but he should be able to move the ball against a Maryland defense that allows 29 points per game.

Conversely, the Cardinal defense ranks No. 2 in the nation at 16 points allowed per contest. With such a strong defense and a game close to home, Stanford should find a way to come out on top.

 

TicketCity Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Washington

It took a virtual miracle for Oklahoma State to make itself bowl eligible, and now that the Cowboys have put themselves in that position, they have a legitimate chance to score a bowl victory.

The Pokes will meet 8-5 Washington in a game that may favor the Huskies on paper—although OK State is still flying high after upsetting Oklahoma in Bedlam to end the regular season.

Oklahoma State has also received a late-season spark from freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph. He is averaging over 270 yards and two touchdowns per game in a pair of starts, and he didn't look overmatched in the least as he led the Cowboys past the Sooners.

Rudolph's rapid emergence has been quite surprising, especially since he hasn't necessarily shown a ton of promise in practice, according to Tim Ahrens of OColly.com:

The Huskies have a young quarterback in their own right in sophomore Cyler Miles, who has started for most of the year. Miles has 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions, but even he has admitted that this has been a trying season for him, per Adam Jude of The Seattle Times.

"It's been a hard time this year, personally," Miles said. "I don't want to give you the sob story, but I thank God and I thank my teammates."

Miles has played much better down the stretch, so the TicketCity Cactus Bowl should feature an intriguing matchup between two up-and-coming gunslingers.

It could conceivably go either way, but Rudolph is performing so well that the Cowboys should have a slight upper hand in this one.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Texas A&M Wins Liberty Bowl Singing Competition Thanks to Trey Williams

The Texas A&M Aggies and West Virginia Mountaineers held a friendly singing competition before playing each other in this year's Liberty Bowl.

Several players from both sides gave respectable performances, but it was Aggies running back Trey Williams who stole the show.

Watch the video above as Williams (at the 1:54 mark) shuts it down with his rendition of R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind," causing his teammates to go crazy.

[YouTube, h/t Yahoo Sports]

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Louisville's Chris Jones Blatantly Flops vs. Kentucky

The Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats were playing in a very tough Top Five matchup on Saturday, and the two teams were trying to do whatever it took to gain an edge.

Unfortunately, flopping was also used.

In the second half, Louisville's Chris Jones blatantly flopped while trying to guard Kentucky's Dakari Johnson. ESPN's Jay Bilas was not pleased with Jones' decision. 

Former Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins shared his thoughts on the flop over Twitter.

[Vine, h/t Twitter]


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Miami Football: 10 Best Highlights of Duke Johnson's Career

According to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson has declared for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Johnson leaves behind an outstanding legacy in Coral Gables, beginning with his commitment to the 'Canes as a junior in high school. He verbally pledged to Al Golden and Co. exactly 500 days before he could officially sign but never wavered or fell victim to recruiting games.

Once in the orange and green, Duke punished opposing teams for more than 5,000 all-purpose yards, exploiting open space as a runner, receiver and kick returner.

He created many memorable plays, but 10 performances stand out above the rest. The highlights are organized chronologically.

Begin Slideshow

Rose Bowl Showdown Is Program-Defining Game for Oregon Ducks

Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State and…Oregon? The College Football Playoff is like three blue bloods and two yellow shoes.   

Nationally, when people think about Oregon, they think about fast pace, gimmicky plays, wild uniforms, highlighter yellow socks and shoes, Nike money, outrageously posh facilities and a lot of wins out there in a far corner of the country, where games finish too late for the rest of the country to watch.

But for all those wins, Oregon doesn't have the blue-blood status of those other three schools—the history of national titles and iconic coaches, the automatic SportsCenter leads most weeks, the relevance even when the team's not in the Top 10 nationally. The Ducks aren't in that club yet. But they're close.

That's why Oregon needs this Rose Bowl on Thursday against Florida State. In fact, this whole College Football Playoff means so much more to them than it does to the other teams.

For one great, defining moment—re-defining, really—Oregon needs to beat a traditional power and win a national title. Then the Ducks will finally have arrived among the national elite. For all they have done over the past several years—the comeback win over Michigan State, a Heisman trophy, etc.—they still do not have a signature win.

As every high school kid knows, it takes forever to overcome your history, erase your big mistake, change your identity.

"Somebody asked me yesterday what it's like to be with the blue bloods," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd at the Heisman Trophy ceremony where Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won. "We're very proud to be competing with the blue bloods. Someday maybe we'll be a blue blood."

It's just so hard to gain admittance to the club. We've seen worst-to-first teams in the pros, but they have drafts to help even things out. At this point, Oregon is a regional power, though it has pushed into the national mainstream with a Heisman and a coach who successfully jumped to the NFL. But the door into the club of college football elites usually only goes one way:

Out. 

Just ask Nebraska. And the gatekeepers have been thinking about throwing out Michigan, too, unless they really can get Jim Harbaugh to leave the NFL. There hasn't been a first-time national championship winner since Florida won it in 1996. Of the titles won since then, three went to Alabama, two to Florida State and one to Ohio State.

What's different about Oregon football—and this is just my opinion from time spent there—is that while its fans want to win, not everyone there exactly wants the Ducks to be in the club. Eugene is still a hippie town in an area made up of folksy villages. The sports legend is a track hero, Steve Prefontaine. Oregon is sort of a family experience. And if the national college scene sees Oregon as an interloper, the people of Oregon see the national scene as the interloper on them.

Oregon has spent decades climbing the stepladder. Rich Brooks brought the Ducks out of the Toilet Bowl era and then Mike Belotti made them a fixture in bowl games. Then Chip Kelly, an outsider from New Hampshire, took Oregon up another level, and the fans were already a little uneasy about it.

Kelly took the Ducks to four straight BCS bowl games, though. Their bowl wins weren't over blue bloods, but over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. When the Ducks played Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, it was an ugly loss.

They got so close four years ago, reaching the BCS title game and losing to Auburn 22-19. But that looks closer in history books than it did in real time. Back then, Oregon was the gimmicky team running a goofy offense. In the title game, the Ducks faked a punt and ran fake-reverses. They also had those ridiculous bright yellow socks and shoes.

It just did not give the Ducks the look of a real powerhouse, especially in contrast to Auburn, which physically bullied Oregon.

History just takes so long to overcome. For Oregon, that means Nov. 19, 1983—the Toilet Bowl. On a horrible, rainy day, water was pouring down the aisles onto the field, making deep puddles on the sidelines. And on the middle of the field, one of the worst-played games ever took place.

Oregon 0, Oregon State 0. That was the final. There were 11 turnovers and four missed field goals. The coaches in the press box, because of the fog forming on the windows, had to open those windows and sit there while rain hit them sideways. In the final three minutes, the teams combined for three interceptions and a fumble.

That was a long time ago, but it's still stuck in the memories of longtime Oregon football fans, who also need a defining win to replace that game. For all the success the Ducks have had, there is still residue from back then that leads to doubts today.

Mark Helfrich, in his second year after replacing Kelly, is a local boy in Oregon. Last year, he told me that when he was a boy, he'd be out in the gravel parking lots at Oregon football games, playing pickup games with his friends. So he has that Oregon-family feel.

But in Helfrich's first year, Oregon lost to Stanford and broke its run of BCS bowl games. And when Oregon lost to Arizona this year, even the locals were wondering if the local boy was in over his head.

Those doubts were the residue of the Toilet Bowl, to paint an ugly picture. So now Oregon has its chance. Even one win—over Florida State—will go a long way. Two wins over the blue bloods would change everything.

Those victories would put Oregon in the club, and its past? It would be flushed away.

 

Greg Couch covers college football for Bleacher Report. He also writes for The New York Times and was formerly a scribe for FoxSports.com and The Chicago Sun-Times. Follow him on Twitter @gregcouch.

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Oregon Football Fan Makes Duck-Themed Pancakes

For Oregon Ducks fans looking for a creative treat to serve during the Rose Bowl matchup between the Ducks and the Florida State Seminoles, this might be a good idea to try out.

One Oregon fan uploaded this video to YouTube showing viewers how to make Duck-themed pancakes. It doesn't look easy, but for those who enjoy a challenge, the end result looks pretty cool if you do it right.

[YouTube, h/t College Spun]

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Alabama Fan Brought to Tears After Son Gives Him Sugar Bowl Tickets

For many diehard Alabama Crimson Tide fans, this would be the Christmas present of a lifetime.

The lucky father in this video received tickets to the Sugar Bowl game against Ohio State on New Year's Day. Once he realized what his present was, he was overcome with emotion.

Be sure to watch the entire reaction in the video above, as the father can't even speak before eventually being brought to tears.

[YouTube, h/t College Spun]

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Independence Bowl 2014: Live Score, Highlights for Miami vs. South Carolina

Miami 3, South Carolina 0—Mid 1st Quarter

The Miami Hurricanes and South Carolina Gamecocks are meeting in the 2014 Duck Commander Independence Bowl.

ABC is broadcasting the game. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates and analysis. Please add your thoughts in the comments section.

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Game Designers Create Rose Bowl-Themed 'Duck Hunt' Game

The Oregon Ducks will play the Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day, and people are coming up with all kinds of ways to get ready for the big College Football Playoff game.

To get Seminoles fans pumped up, Flat Miner Studios created its own version of the classic NES game Duck Hunt, allowing players to shoot down flying Oregon Ducks on a football field. The Florida State fight song plays any time a player shoots down a duck.

For those interested in trying it out, you can play the game here.

[Flat Miner Studios, h/t For the Win]

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Sun Bowl 2014: Arizona State vs. Duke

Arizona State 20, Duke 17 ; HALFTIME

A fascinating clash will take place Saturday afternoon as the Arizona State Sun Devils (9-3) face off against the Duke Blue Devils (9-3) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.

The game will begin at 2 p.m. ET. It can be seen on CBS.

Odds Shark has Arizona State as a 7.5-point favorite. A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com.

 

 

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Pinstripe Bowl 2014: Live Score, Highlights for Boston College vs. Penn State

The Boston College Eagles (7-5) take on the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-6) in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Boston College has a chance to improve its win-loss record for the third-straight year under second-year head coach Steve Addazio, who led the Eagles to a 7-6 overall record in 2013.

Meanwhile, Penn State finished the season with a .500 record under first-year head coach James Franklin. The Nittany Lions entered the 2014 season under a bowl ban due to NCAA sanctions, but the ban was lifted in September, making the team eligible for postseason play.

Penn State boasts one of the nation's top scoring defenses, as their 17.7 points allowed per game rank No. 7 out of all FBS teams. However, the Nittany Lions offense—particularly their rushing attack—ranks almost dead last.

Boston College boast a strong defense of its own, ranking No. 19 in scoring defense, while its offense heavily favors the running game, which ranks No. 14 in the country.

This game sets up to a low-scoring affair, but can the Eagles' strong rushing attack give them the edge over the Nittany Lions' stout defensive line?

Stay tuned right here for live updates and analysis as we head to kickoff. 

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Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Live Score and Highlights

The Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6) meet the Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) Saturday in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md. The game will be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. 

The Bearcats, winners of seven in a row and co-champions of the American Athletic Conference, are led by freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel. Kiel completed 60 percent of his passes and tossed 30 touchdowns in leading Cincinnati's high-scoring offense. 

The Hokies arrived to this point a bit differently. At 5-6 entering the season finale against in-state rival Virginia, Tech needed a win just to become bowl eligible. The Hokies won and are appearing in their 22nd consecutive bowl, the second-longest current streak behind Florida State.

The Hokies struggle on offense but do have some playmakers in Bucky Hodges and Isaiah Ford. As usual, Virginia Tech is led by a stingy defense that will provide Kiel his biggest test yet. 

You can watch the game live on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET, but make sure to stay right here with us for live scoring updates, analysis and the best postgame coverage around.

You can find the official box score at NCAA.com.

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A Blast from the Past: Barry and the Badgers Face Auburn in the Capital One Bowl

The date was January 2, 2006. It was a Monday. The 9-3 Wisconsin Badgers were taking on the 9-2 Auburn Tigers at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

This game would also be the last game Barry Alvarez would ever lead the Badgers into battle as head coach. Or so he thought.

I was there, among the 57,221 fans in attendance at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Up until that point, Alvarez and the Badgers were 7-3 in bowl games, which included three wins in the Rose Bowl. The only losses Alvarez and the Badgers had suffered were at the hands of SEC teams.

They had lost twice to Georgia in the Outback Bowl and once to these same Tigers at the Music City Bowl three years earlier.

Overall, Alvarez had changed the football culture in Madison, Wisconsin, helping make the program one of the better ones in the country.

Before Alvarez arrived in Madison, the team had gone 6-27 under head coach Don Morton from 1987 to 1989.

The attendance at the games at Camp Randall Stadium had been dwindling as well. In fact, the last home game played under Morton in 1989 against Michigan State drew only 29,776 fans.

Kevin Cosgrove was on the inaugural coaching staff put together by Alvarez. In fact, Cosgrove was with Alvarez longer (1990 to 2003) than any other assistant coach who ever coached under him at Wisconsin.

I had a chance a while back to chat with Cosgrove, who is now the defensive coordinator at New Mexico, about what it was like when Barry took over in 1990.

“As with everything Barry always did, he had a plan,” said Cosgrove. “When he got that job, he pretty much knew who he was going to hire. Barry put together a strong staff, and then the first couple of years he fine-tuned it and turned it into a great staff.”

Cosgrove also talked about the attendance issues.

“Attendance was down. Interest in the Badgers was nil,” Cosgrove said. “I think the Badgers averaged 30,000 fans per game the year before we got there. But we gradually pumped it up until it became sellout after sellout."

Alvarez and his staff certainly turned around the football program. In just his fourth year at Wisconsin, the Badgers went 10-1-1, shared the Big Ten title and won the Rose Bowl.

Overall, Alvarez and his Badgers were 118-73-4 in his time as head coach. Included in that were three Big Ten titles and three victories at the Rose Bowl.

That tenure was supposed to end on that early January day in 2006.

Barry had the Badgers ready to play as they dominated the game versus the Tigers. The Badgers led 17-0 at halftime.

The Badgers were led by running back Brian Calhoun, who rushed for 213 yards in the game. Quarterback John Stocco also threw for 310 yards against the seventh-ranked Tigers.

When it was all said and done, the Badgers won 24-10. The score made the game appear closer than it really was. Wisconsin had 548 total yards while holding Auburn to just 236 total yards.

After the game, Alvarez was quite pleased, as one would imagine. He was most happy about the legacy he had created at Wisconsin.

"The main thing I'm most proud of is that we brought pride back to our fans for our football program," Alvarez said.

That day was supposed to be the last time Alvarez was going to be the head coach of the Badgers. He had turned over the reins to Bret Bielema after the game in order to concentrate on his job as athletic director at Wisconsin.

Bielema went 68-24 in his seven years at Wisconsin and also won three Big Ten titles. He shocked everyone shortly after the Badgers had thumped Nebraska 70-31 in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game by taking the head coaching job at Arkansas.

This was before the Badgers were about to play in their third straight Rose Bowl versus Stanford. The seniors on the team asked Alvarez to coach the team, and he obliged.

The result? The Badgers played hard but lost 20-14 to a good Cardinal team.

After Bielema left, Alvarez hired Gary Andersen to be his replacement. Andersen went 19-7 as head coach of the Badgers, which included winning the Big Ten West Division title this year before getting whipped 59-0 by Ohio State in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game.

Now two years later, it's like deja vu. Why? Andersen also decided to leave shortly after the game to become the head coach at Oregon State.

Even though Alvarez has secured Andersen's replacement by hiring Paul Chryst to become the new head coach, Alvarez will once again lead the Badgers as interim head coach in the 2015 Outback Bowl against the same team he coached against in the 2006 Capital One Bowl, the Auburn Tigers.

The game will be the 10th bowl game the Badgers have played in Florida and the fifth they have played in Tampa. Overall, the Badgers are 4-5 in the nine previous bowl games they have played in Florida and 1-3 in the Hall of Fame/Outback Bowl in Tampa.

I've been to many of the bowl games that the Badgers have played at Florida and was at the first bowl game they played in the Sunshine State at Tampa Stadium, when it was called the Hall of Fame Bowl. The Badgers played the Duke Blue Devils in that 1995 contest.

Because of my friendship with Cosgrove (we were buddies in college), I was able to see the Badgers work out at Tampa Stadium in practice a day before the game.

A couple of friends and I also sat next to the coaches' wives as Wisconsin beat Duke 34-20.

That was the first game in which Cosgrove was the defensive coordinator for the Badgers. He replaced Dan McCarney, who left to become head coach at Iowa State.

Cosgrove stayed on as defensive coordinator until 2003. He was a part of the 1998 and 1999 Wisconsin teams that won back-to-back Big Ten titles and the Rose Bowl.

In 1998, the Badgers were ranked fourth in the nation in total defense and first in scoring defense. In 1999, they were ranked 15th in the country in total defense and fifth in scoring defense.

After the game, my fondest memory was being at the team hotel (Westin Tampa Harbour Island) and smoking a victory cigar with a number of the coaches (including Alvarez and Cosgrove) overlooking the Hillsborough River from the balcony.

I'll be going to the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium with my son Andrew to watch Alvarez and the Badgers once again. If the outcome is anything like the game I saw in Orlando nine years ago when Alvarez and Wisconsin faced Auburn, Badger Nation will be quite happy.

The game also gives Alvarez a chance to leave the field as a winner in his last game as head coach. He thought he did that in 2006 when the Badgers beat Auburn in the Capital One Bowl. But that changed when he coached the Badgers in the 2013 Rose Bowl when Wisconsin lost to Stanford.

Now he gets a second chance to leave the field as a winner as interim head coach. I like his chances. And I'll be there to witness it.

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