Friday, November 17, 2006

Saturday News and Notes

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Here are news and notes from  private clipboard.  They are compiled from hometown newspapers and the team’s own press releases.



Ohio State-Michigan

Detroit News

As the second-ranked Wolverines prepare to face the top-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, they enter with a hard-nosed defense that leads the nation against the run (29.9 yards). They’re third in total defense (231.4). The Buckeyes, however, present a challenge. They rank first in the Big Ten and eighth nationally in scoring offense (35.8 points), and are directed by quarterback Troy Smith, the Heisman Trophy frontrunner. Michigan knows Smith. He burned them the last two seasons in Ohio State victories, gaining 337 yards total offense last season and 386 in 2004. Because the defensive front—featuring Woodley, who has a Big Ten-high 11 sacks, and tackle Alan Branch, who has had five tackles for loss—is so athletic, the Wolverines believe the attacking nature of the front four is enough to wreak havoc. They have 41 sacks and are second nationally (3.6 average). Last year, they had 24 in 12 games. (Ohio State, by the way, has only allowed 13 sacks.) English credits offensive coordinator Mike DeBord for some of the success the defense has enjoyed this season. Michigan leads the nation in time of possession (34.11 average), and the offense has been on the field 82 more plays than the defense. By popular request, check out our new “Bet It Trinity” full year pass! You get the top three sports services, every play in every sport for 365 days.


JS Online

A week ago, University of Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema knew quarterback John Stocco would not play against Iowa. This week, Bielema believes his fifth-year senior might be able to play in UW’s regular-season finale Saturday against Buffalo.“He has really made a lot of gains in the last five days,” Bielema said Thursday night after practice. Stocco, who suffered a separated right shoulder two weeks ago against Penn State, threw the football in practice Wednesday. On Thursday, he passed the ball and worked on handoffs. If Stocco is cleared to play in his final home game, that decision will be made sometime Saturday. Joe Duffy’s sports betting selections are at   

San Diego State-TCU

Sign On San Diego

San Diego State coach Chuck Long said yesterday that junior Kevin O’Connell, who missed six straight games after being injured in the season opener, will start at quarterback for the Aztecs.  Redshirt freshman Kevin Craft, who has started the past five games, will also play, Long said.  Long said junior free safety Ray Bass, who earned Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against UNLV, will make his second consecutive start in place of senior Brett Sturm (ankle). He (O’Connell) has shown more production lately,” Long said. “He’s earned this.”


Arizona Republic

The Wildcats have won back-to-back games against Top 25 opponents, including a 24-20 victory over No. 8 California Saturday. After consecutive 3-8 seasons, 5-5 Arizona is one win away from bowl eligibility with two games remaining. Last season, five of the losses were by seven points or fewer. This season, the Wildcats are playing with more confidence, which explains how they overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit against the Golden Bears. If there’s a defining moment in what Stoops has done for this program, that game was it. Stevie Vincent’s is pioneer in forensic handicapping and part of    


Hartford Courant

Keeping an eye on the statuses of wide receiver Larry Taylor and cornerback Darius Butler for Saturday’s game at Syracuse. Taylor sustained a blow to the head in last Saturday’s 46-45 double overtime victory over Pittsburgh. Butler injured a hamstring in the same game. Backup running back Terry Caulley, who had surgery on a broken left ring finger Monday, will be out as well as offensive lineman Mike Hicks, who sustained an ankle and knee sprain against Pittsburgh. Lou Allen will back up Donald Brown at running back with redshirt freshman Andre Dixon behind them. has the top plays from the top sports service in their highest ranked sports.    


Washington-Washington State

Seattle Times

Cougars wide receiver Jason Hill won’t play in the Apple Cup, but slot receiver Michael Bumpus might. WSU coach Bill Doba said Bumpus will dress for the game and might be able to play. He is unlikely to start and won’t be used as a punt returner. Hill and Bumpus suffered high ankle sprains Nov. 4 against Arizona. No change on the quarterback front for UW. Willingham said quarterback Carl Bonnell has looked good in practice and will start. Johnny DuRocher has not practiced and won’t play, but will likely make the trip. And Willingham confirmed that receiver Sonny Shackelford has been working as the emergency quarterback behind new backup Felix Sweetman. • Willingham said Jason Wells has progressed to the point he could start at free safety Saturday ahead of Hemphill, who has started the past two games. Wells was running with the first team during practice Thursday. • RB Luke Kravitz, out the past three games with a knee injury, “may also be able to see some action,” Willingham said. More questionable is DT Donny Mateaki, struggling with a calf injury.



Tennessee’s offense needs a lift. That’s where LaMarcus Coker comes in. After a speedy recovery from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, the Vols’ redshirt freshman tailback from Antioch returned to the field in Saturday’s 31-14 loss at Arkansas.In his first game back, Coker came off the bench to run for 51 yards on nine carries, injecting life into a dormant running game and giving the Vols reason to believe they can get their offense back on track for the final two games of the regular season. Now, UT’s leading rusher is set to return to the starting lineup Saturday against Vanderbilt, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Vols had only 14 points and 266 yards of total offense — both season lows — against the Razorbacks. Coach Phillip Fulmer said Coker’s return provided a spark for the Vols, who haven’t had a 100-yard rusher since Coker ran for 125 yards against Memphis on Sept. 30. Last week, tailbacks Montario Hardesty, Arian Foster and Coker ran for a combined 104 yards on just 22 attempts. Erik Ainge is back — officially. After practicing all week, Ainge was named the starting quarterback The Vols’ offense hasn’t been the same without Ainge. has the top plays from the top sports service in their highest ranked sports.    

Oregon State-Stanford

Corvallis Gazette Times

Anthony Wheat-Brown, the starting flanker for the Oregon State football team, has been suspended for Saturday’s game at Stanford, coach Mike Riley said Thursday afternoon. Wheat-Brown is a third-year starter. He has caught 21 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns this season. Jackson has five receptions for 139 yards and a TD.

South Florida-Louisville

Tampa Tribune

Last season when Louisville visited the University of South Florida, oddsmakers predicted a rout. And it was. Except, instead of the favored Cardinals coasting, the three-touchdown-underdog Bulls buried the birds 45-14. “We blew it,” Louisville running back Kolby Smith said. “Shocked, stunned, you name the word, and that was how we felt. They got us. Everything went wrong. It was a wake-up call for us. You can’t just flip the switch on and off. You’ve got to play the game.”Smith, who was among nine Floridians who started for Louisville last season, said everyone kept asking the same question. “I had a whole bunch of family there,” said Smith, of Tallahassee Rickards. “It was tough on them, too, having to answer all those questions about ‘What happened?’ It was hard, hard, hard.” The 10th-ranked Cardinals (8-1, 3-1 Big East) host USF (7-3, 3-2) Saturday night, and the Bulls know what to expect. “They’re thinking revenge,” USF cornerback Trae Williams said. Besides seeking revenge against USF, the Cardinals will try to regroup from last week’s stunning 28-25 loss at Rutgers that knocked UL out of the national title picture.


Des Moines Register

The Gophers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten Conference) need a victory to earn their seventh bowl in eight seasons.Mason’s team faced postseason elimination the past two weeks and responded with a 63-26 thumping of Indiana and a 31-18 win over Michigan State. This was projected as a retooling year for Minnesota. The offensive line was revamped and more of a burden was placed on quarterback Bryan Cupito, the Gophers’ all-time leading passer with 6,916 yards. The Hawkeyes (6-5, 2-5) have lost four consecutive conference games for the first time since 1999. Stevie Vincent’s is pioneer in forensic handicapping and part of    

New Mexico-BYU

Salt Lake Tribune

Thanks to last week’s 55-7 win over Wyoming, BYU now leads the nation in home scoring margin with a 37.2 average margin of victory. The Cougars have outscored opponents 241-55 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. LSU is second at 36.0 and Hawaii is third at 34.6. Approved sportsbooks are at   

Kansas State-Kansas


Kansas State freshman quarterback Josh Freeman has jolted the Wildcat offense back to life midway through what’s becoming a glorious first season for KSU coach Ron Prince. One good enough for Big 12 coach-of-the-year honors, perhaps? Amidst K-State’s current three-game winning streak, Freeman has completed 55 of 77 passes for 681 yards and six touchdowns. He’s thrown only two interceptions in that stretch and propeled K-State (7-4 overall, 4-3 Big 12 Conference play) from the bowl bubble into a solid post-Christmas matchup to be determined. K-State has scored at least 30 points in each of its last three games, victories over Iowa State, Colorado and No. 4 Texas. Freeman’s makeup gives K-State’s passing game the edge against KU’s pass defense, which is improved but still not proven to be immune to problems against a precise quarterback.   


Wichita State-George Mason

Press Notes

Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for Saturday’s George Mason men’s basketball season opener against Wichita State and not only will it be the first chance for fans to see the Patriots in action at home since making the Final Four, it will also be a chance for fans to see the Washington Regional Championship trophy. Joe Duffy’s sports betting selections are at   

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