Woods gathering tickets for his fans in Pflugerville
Oregon State back expects ‘about 120’
SAN ANTONIO — Oregon State running back Storm Woods knew his allotment of six Alamo Bowl tickets would not be enough to satisfy his friends and family members in Pflugerville. So the former Pflugerville High star got busy asking his teammates who weren’t using their tickets to transfer them over to him. So what was the result? “I got 89 tickets,” Woods said. “And those are just the ones I came up with. I expect to see about 120 people show up to support me.”
Woods, a redshirt freshman who led the Beavers with 843 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, said had the Beavers been selected to play in the Holiday Bowl, he would not have gotten the chance to play in front of so many familiar faces. He smiled when reminded that this game will also be a big deal in the hometown he shares with Texas All-American defensive end Alex Okafor, a former high school teammate he affectionately calls “Oaky.”
“It’s very big,” said Woods, who has spent time with his mother, grandmother and siblings this week. “I’m blessed to be able to play against him, but at the same time I’m trying to get a win. I’m going to have to be aware of where he is at all times because he’s a dominant player.”
Tickets update: An Alamo Bowl official said only a few scattered tickets remain for Saturday’s game, and a sellout in the 65,000-seat Alamodome is possible.
A Texas spokesman said “just a few” of the Longhorns’ allotment of 12,500 tickets remain unsold. The bowl official said temporary seating could be added, if needed.
The attendance record for the bowl is 66,166 set in 2007, when Texas A&M played Penn State.
Remember the running backs: With Major Applewhite now coaching quarterbacks instead of running backs as part of his new responsibilities as primary co-coordinator, do his running backs feel abandoned?
The question, asked jokingly, brought smiles to running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown.
“I think he still has love for us RBs,” Gray said. Added Brown: “Like Johnathan said, he still has a little love for us, I hope.”
Applewhite said graduate assistant Blair Peterson is working with the running backs until coach Mack Brown hires a full-time assistant. That’s expected shortly after the bowl game.
“(Peterson) is very in tune to the offense,” Applewhite said. “He’s been in the offense a couple of years, so he’s been able to help us in that area. I think the guys have taken to changes and done a great job with it.”
Jinkens has arrived: One of the highlights for Texas at the end of the season was the emergence of freshman linebacker Peter Jinkens. The Dallas Skyline product plays with an enthusiasm that coordinator Manny Diaz likes.
“He’s added a little bit of spunk,” Diaz said. “Peter’s brought a little bit of bravado to our bunch, and has gotten in some plays we can get excited about.”
A statistical comparison of TCU’s and West Virginia’s first season as Big 12 members shows a clear contrast between offense and defense: 7-5 4-5 29.3 397.0 157.5 239.5 23.1 332.0 103.9 228.1
Record Conf. rec. Scoring Total off. Rush off. Pass off. Scoring def. Total def. Rush def. Pass def. 7-5 4-5 41.6 518.5 177.6 340.9
38.1 469.6 142.5 327.1 going to take. We need to get deeper, stronger. Mostly, we’ve got to keep growing up.”
Led by breakout stars like defensive end Devonte Fields (nine sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss) and junior cornerback Jason Verrett (six interceptions, 14 pass breakups), the stout TCU defense that lines up against Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl ranks 18th in yardage, 10th against the rush.
The offense, ranked between 55th and 65th in key categories, needs lots of improvement.
West Virginia, preparing for Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, has a top10 offense and a bottom10 defense. Holgorsen already has shaken up the defensive staff this month.
Problem is, the offensive firepower — quarterback Geno Smith, scatback Tavon Austin and wideout Stedman Bailey — is headed to the NFL.
“There’s no minimizing those losses,” Holgorsen said, “but long-term I think the increased visibility and resources as a Big 12 member will pay off in recruiting and other areas. We’ll adapt. We’ve won before, and we’ll win again.”
Brendon Kay wasn’t sure if he’d get another shot. When he did, he made the most of it.
Duke running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left and Kay threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce with 44 seconds to go, lifting the Bearcats to an improbable 48-34 win over the Blue Devils on Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C.
Kay threw for 332 yards and his four scoring passes were a Belk Bowl record.
Duke appeared to have the game in hand and was driving for the goahead score — and its first bowl victory since 1961 — but the final 80 seconds proved disastrous. With the game tied at 34, Snead fumbled and Bearcats defensive lineman John Williams recovered.
Kay quickly took advantage of the change in momentum, connecting with Kelce down the middle for the go-ahead score. Kelce got behind the Duke defense on a seam route, caught the ball in stride and raced the final 60 yards to the end zone as Blue Devils fans looked on in stunned silence.
Cincinnati (10-3) sealed it on the next series when Maalik Bomar came crashing into Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, forcing a deflection that Nick Temple returned 55 yards for a touchdown.
Renfree threw for 358 yards — another Belk Bowl record — for the Blue Devils (6-7). Conner Vernon, the ACC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, had 190 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in his final game for the Blue Devils.
Duke, which came in having allowed 51 points and an average of 294.5 yards rushing over its previous four games, struggled to stop Cincinnati after the first quarter.
The Bearcats piled up 554 total yards of offense, including 130 yards on the ground by George Winn. Duke wasn’t too shabby on offense, either, as the two teams combined for a Belk Bowl-record 1,114 yards.
Kay’s MVP performance comes after a career beset by injuries, but this turned out to be his night to shine.
San Jose State 29, Bowling Green 20: The best season in San Jose State history? There’s a good case for it, yet it’s one nobody could make if the person with the awkward role of interim, onthe-way-out coach hadn’t finished the job.
The Spartans are done for the year with an 112 record. Ten wins go to Mike MacIntyre, who rebuilt a program that was 1-12 just two years ago before leaving this month for a better payday at Colorado.
Win No. 11 goes to defensive coordinator Kent Baer, who was put in charge and got to speak in a victorious locker room after Thursday’s win over the Falcons (8-5) in Washington, D.C.
“I didn’t cry, but I wanted to,” Baer said. “I stood tall, took a couple of deep breaths. It’s been a little emotional the last few days.”
Baer wanted to stay at San Jose State, but he was passed over for the fulltime job in favor of San Diego’s Ron Caragher and plans to follow MacIntyre to the Buffalos. With all those distractions going on, the Spartans could be forgiven for being a little rattled ahead of their first bowl game since 2006.
Instead, San Jose State capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940, recovering quickly from the shock of MacIntyre’s departure with the help of Baer.
Florida: Safety De’Ante Saunders and offensive tackle Matt Patchan are leaving the program.
Coach Will Muschamp announced the pending transfers Thursday after the fourth-ranked Gators landed in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
Muschamp says “I think they needed a fresh start and that’s all I’ve got to say about it.”
Saunders, a sophomore from DeLand, played in eight games this season. He had 18 tackles and an interception. Saunders played in 12 games last year, including nine starts, and finished with 26 tackles and two interceptions.
Patchan, a fourth-year junior from Tampa, has missed all season with a pectoral injury.
Southern Cal: Matt Barkley came to Southern California as a hot-shot recruit, seemingly destined to be the Trojans’ next star quarterback. For the most part he delivered on that promise during a record-breaking four-year run as USC’s starter.
Barkley, though, won’t get to give a grand finale.
He won’t play in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech on Monday because of a lingering injury to his right shoulder. Doctor’s didn’t clear him to play, coach Lane Kiffin said.
“It’s a tough day,” Barkley said. “As you heard from Coach Kiffin I won’t be playing on the 31st. I’ve worked as hard as I could to get back for this game, but nature’s not allowing it and the doctors aren’t allowing it, which is the most important thing. They’re looking out for my best interest, and I trust their judgment in how things have turned out.”
Kiffin said Max Wittek will start. The redshirt freshman will be making his second career start.
Cincinnati’s Anthony McClung dives in for the score on a short pass as Duke’s Anthony Young-Wiseman tries to stop him in the Belk Bowl.