Owls Streak Past Hawks

Every fan of Bruce Lee’s movies in the 1970s knows that the dynamic martial arts star was about to kick some butt whenever his opponent drew blood. The Owls got down to business in the same manner Saturday afternoon reeling off 23 unanswered points after visiting Monmouth scored in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter.

The fast start caught the Owls by surprise. “We came out super flat,” admitted defensive end Mason Harris. “Defensively we didn’t have any energy but after that when we got on the sidelines looked at each other and picked it up and came back out.”

When the defense came back out they put in work. Monmouth made only one more trip into the Owls side of the 50 in the first half and that resulted in a failed field goal attempt. Meanwhile, the Owls offense ground out 16 points dominating the time of possession battle 18:52 to 10:06.

Looking at the size differential across the front such a feat appeared almost inconceivable. Both tackles for the Owls weighed less than 250 pounds, which is unheard of in today’s era where 300 lbs is considered svelte. Clearly neither that nor the third string center starting mattered much as the Owls out-rushed the Hawks 341 yards to 187 yards. Running back Chaston Bennett rushed for 124 yards on 6 carries and quarterback Trey White added another 108 yards. As a team, the Owls averaged close to 6 yards rushing every time they toted the rock.

Defensively, the Owls –excuse the pun- were flying around the ball. Six Owls defenders made the stat sheet for having a tackle-for-loss. Linebacker Kyron Minter played like a man on fire racking up 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and an interception.

Monmouth’s struggles continued long into the second half primarily because the Hawks defense was unable to get the Owls offense off the field. Kennesaw State converted 12 of their 15 third downs. “Twelve of fifteen, it will give you a chance,” said Head Coach Brian Bohannon. “Big thing we have to continue to work on is just getting the ball in the end zone.” The Owls reached the red zone 7 times coming away with three touchdowns and a field goal.

With the win, Kennesaw State ‘Protected the Nest’ by remaining unbeaten at home. The Owls will get one more chance at keeping their home record spotless when 13th ranked (FCS) Charleston Southern (7-1, 4-0) hits town.



Ducks Outlast Sun Devils in Offensive Thriller

Score, score, and score some more was the order of the day as the visiting Oregon Ducks defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 61-55 in triple overtime.

Going into the game scoring for both teams was not in question; so much as which team’s defense was going to make the defining stop. The Ducks had scored 61 points twice for wins and given up 62 in a loss. Arizona State gave up its largest point total (42) in a loss to USC and had scored more than 35 points in each of its four wins.

The fairly low scoring first half gave way to an explosive third quarter. Demario Richard scored two touchdowns to help ASU open an 11 point lead with 4 minutes remaining in the quarter. Less than ten seconds later, the Ducks cut the lead to 4. Charles Nelson took the ensuing kick-off goal line to goal line for a touchdown.

Arizona State took the lead halfway through the fourth quarter and was poised to put the game out of reach until Mike Bercovici tossed his first interception of the game. Tyree Robinson’s interception and 19-yard return gave the Ducks a short field and 5 minutes on the clock.

Plenty of time, right? Wrong. Oregon needed almost all of that time, two third conversion two third downs and two fourth downs to tie the game at 41. On fourth and goal from the 8 and 23 seconds remaining, quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr. scrambled away from the defensive pressure and lofted a pass that receiver Bralon Addison climbed an air staircase to get. Aidan Schneider’s point after sent the game into overtime that might not have happened had ASUs Zane Gonzalez had made any one of his three missed field goals.

The first two overtimes played out identically to the back-and-forth scoring of the third quarter. In the final overtime, Adams’ touchdown pass to Addison went to the officials’ booth for an instant replay review. Addison’s toe was precariously close to the back line. After the review, Oregon was awarded the score much to the dismay of ASUs Head Coach Todd Graham. “I thought the guy was out of bounds,” said Graham. “But I don’t know. They reviewed it, so evidently he wasn’t. I don’t know.”

Arrion Springs ended the Sun Devils chances picking off Bercovici in the end zone. “The play was simple, the play was called in and we executed it,” said Bercovici of the play. “As a quarterback, I told myself to make sure the ball gets completed or thrown away. It’s on me at the end of the game putting the ball in jeopardy like that.”



Falcons Rescued by Defense, Again

Atlanta’s 10-7 win over the Tennessee Titans was without a doubt the grimiest ugly win thus far in the 2015 season.

Owls Out-Kick Bulldogs

Nick Perrotta’s interception with 4 seconds remaining in the game preserved the Owls lead and gave Kennesaw State its first conference win a 12-7 grinder over Gardner-Webb at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

With the win, the Owls became the first team in Big South Conference history to win its first conference game.

Kennesaw State Head Coach Brian Bohannon relied on four field goals from Justin Thompson and 170 yards rushing from quarterback Trey White to control the clock and the scoreboard. “We didn’t throw the ball as good as we have maybe a week ago as far as pitching and catching” explained Bohannon. “I knew if we could get ahead two scores in the second half we were going to wear the clock out because I knew our defense could stop them.”

The Owls defense stopped the Bulldogs for most of the game until midway through the fourth quarter. Aided by a 15-yard face mask penalty on the Owls, the Bulldogs crossed midfield for the third time in the half and the game. Gardner-Webb needed only one third-down conversion on the drive, a third and one at the Owls 12. Bulldogs quarterback Tyrell Maxwell rushed for 67 yards including a 17 yarder to the Owls 1 yard line. Josh Bettistea carried it in for the game’s only touchdown to narrow the score to 7-9.

White and Company responded with a 58-yard drive. On the drive, the local product from nearby St. Pius X completed his longest pass of the game a 39-yard strike to Justin Sumpter to the Bulldogs 21. The Bulldogs defense hunkered down forcing the Owls to settle for Thompson’s fourth field goal.

The score expanded the lead back to a touchdown and set up the dramatic finish.

Rather than kicking the ball deep, Thompson squibbed the kick where up-man Quinton Patterson fielded it and returned it to the Gardner-Webb 40. The short field worked against the youthful Owls defense as the Bulldogs moved deep into Kennesaw State territory. Tyrell Maxwell, who had completed only 8 of 21 passes on the day, converted a fourth and 10 by firing a strike to wide receiver Jacob Henderson at the Owls 6 yard line.

With only 19 seconds remaining and no timeouts, the Bulldogs opted to take their chances through the air. Maxwell completed one of his next three attempts to set up fourth and 4 with four seconds remaining. On third down, a running back Bobby Clark dropped a bullet from Maxwell in the middle of the end zone. Maxwell attempted to test the middle of the Owls defense with his final throw finding nose tackle Nick Perrotta instead. “Coach Newberry made the same call towards the end of the game there a couple of times in a row that put me in a spot to basically screen the quarterback drop kind of in coverage,” explained the red-shirt junior. “I guess I’ve been wearing the wrong jersey since ETSU (East Tennessee State University) because they keep throwing to me. Again, just like ETSU, they threw right to me.”


Saints Clip Falcons in the Bayou

Alford OT Pick Offsets Slow Start

Stillman Starts Fast, Holds on

Stillman College jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first half and held on long enough to defeat Clark Atlanta 22-14 at Panther Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Brett Standifer fired a 39-yard strike to Hudson Cain three minutes into the first quarter to give the visiting Tigers a 6-0 lead.

Stillman added a second touchdown at the top of the second. Sophomore wide receiver Malik Williams hauled in a pass from Standifer inside the 20 and dragged CAU defensive back Joshua Tate inside the 5-yard line. Once Williams reached the 2, the lanky receiver dove stretching the ball across the goal line.

CAU head coach Kevin Ramsey substituted red-shirt freshman quarterback Dashawn Blow for starter Matthew Vincent to open the second half.

Blow had as much success as Vincent in his first series but got it together the second time out. Running back Jaha McCray picked up 34 of his game high 125 yards on the first snap. On the strength of McCray’s rushing and assisted by two personal foul penalties against the Stillman defense, the Panthers were well positioned for the score at the 2. Blow called his own number on second and goal from the one to close the score to within 9.

Standifer’s 19-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter provided the Tigers with a 16 point cushion.

The Panthers cut the lead to 8 points midway through the quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by McCray.

Stillman nearly saw the lead and the win slip away as CAU came up 1 yard short of the 93 yards needed to attempt a game-tying two-point conversion. Thanks to 30 yards in penalties against the Tigers defense and 60 yards from the Panthers offense, Clark Atlanta was at the threshold of the end zone a third time.

Senior defensive tackle Zamir Carlis snuffed the Panthers comeback bid forcing the ball out of Blow’s arms and into the hands of sophomore defensive end Everett Curry and the offense at the 1.

CAUs defense held the Tigers forcing a punt but only after all but 30 seconds were run off the clock. Curry ended the Panthers plans for a last-ditch Hail Mary pass by sacking Blow as time ran out.

Clark Atlanta travels to Columbia, SC to face the only other winless team in the conference Benedict College. Stillman travels south on I-65 to face the western division leading Tuskegee.


Sun Devils Continue Dominance Over Buffaloes

Arizona State continued their dominance over Colorado with yet another huge performance from the offense that netted a 48-23 win over the Buffaloes in Tempe, Arizona.

The Sun Devils have scored 38 or more points in each of the last five contests against the Buffs. And their average margin of victory is 29.

When you’re brimming with confidence and playing that well against an opponent the bounces just seem to fall in your lap. Demario Richards fumble bounced into the hands of tight end Kody Kohl who outpaced the defense 28 yards to the end zone. “You know we never want to put the ball on the ground, but we practice those situations, and fumble drills, you know hectic situations,” explained ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici.

Colorado saw another Arizona State touchdown hit the scoreboard before finally posting one of its own. Sefo Liufau’s 42-yard pass to Sean Irwin set up Phillip Lindsay’s 16-yard touchdown run. Liufau threw for 129 yards more than Bercovici’s 260 but the Sun Devils quarterback had better results. Five of Bercovici’s 20 completions went for touchdowns, four more than Liufau had on the day.

Bercovici didn’t have to throw as many passes because the Sun Devils running game was fairly unstoppable. D.J. Foster headed up a committee of rushers that gutted the Buffs defense for 260 yards on 40 carries.

ASUs defense kept Colorado between the 20-yard lines for most of the game. The defense sacked Liufau 8 times and intercepted him once. Fourteen of the Sun Devils points came off of Buffaloes turnovers. Senior Antonio Longino wreaked havoc from his linebacker position. The East Cleveland, Ohio native received loads of praise from head coach Todd Graham for his 8 tackle – 2.5 sack performance. “Tony Longino was phenomenal,” said Graham. “He’s coming off the edge most of the time, so it’s something he does pretty well and we have adapted what we’re doing to what he does well. So, I think he’s played really well. He played really well last week and I thought tonight was his best game of his career since he’s been here.”

With the win, Arizona State moves to 4-2 and second place in the PAC-12 South Division behind undefeated Utah (5-0, 2-0). The Sun Devils can rearrange that placement with a win over the Utes in Salt Lake City at the end of the week.

All photos by Kevin C. Cox, CORE 360 Sports

Mountaineers Roll Over Panthers

Appalachian State proved why it is considered one of the top programs in the Sun Belt conference as they rolled over Georgia State 37-3 in the Georgia Dome.

If the Mountaineers were further north up the interstate there would have been a Civil War reference about a certain general kicking butt and taking names in Atlanta. Being that App State is situated in the hills of western North Carolina, the phrase has little connection or validity. Although, the black and gold clad Mountaineers did lay down an awful smack down on the Panthers.

There were no remnants of the Panthers vaunted offensive attack present for the game against the Mountaineers. Georgia State managed to gain only 225 yards of total offense with 166 yards coming through the air. By the end of the first quarter, the Panthers had as many yards in penalties (-20) as they did on offense.

“They did what they do,” explained Georgia State Head Coach Trent Miles. “They squeezed on the underneath routes; they can give pressure with four guys and don’t have to blitz every time to give pressure and they took advantage of it.”

The Mountaineers, on the other hand, combined a solid ball control offense with big plays to take a 17-0 lead in the first 15 minutes. Quarterback Taylor Lamb returned to the field where he led Calhoun High to two consecutive appearances in the Georgia High School Association championship game that included one championship title. Lamb picked up where he left off rushing for 53 yards, passing for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. The red-shirt sophomore connected on touchdown passes of 29-, 9-, and 30 yards to three different receivers.

Lamb’s 29-yard strike to Bobo Beathard capped an 8 play 82-yard drive that served to open the scoring floodgates.

Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle finished the game completing 21 of 37 passes for 166 yards. It was a tough day for the senior. The Mountaineers defense sacked him three times and picked off a pass.

Appalachian State didn’t just win the football game, they won the name game as well. The Mountaineers roster includes names like McElfresh (Mc-Elf-fresh), Beathard (grandson of former NFL exec Bobby), Law, Slate, Stout, Edge-Campbell, Shaq Counts, and Zach Matics that are just screaming to be used in a movie.

What was noticeable about the loss was the plethora of players from Georgia on the Appalachian State roster. In addition to Lamb, there are approximately 25 players that were recruited out of the Peach State.



Falcons Run By Texans Low on Watt-age

Atlanta scored six unanswered touchdowns, three by Devonta Freeman, to complete a lopsided 48-21 victory over the Houston Texans at the Georgia Dome.