Last year, Louisiana-Lafayette needed kicker Brett Baer to hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired to beat San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl.
This time around, Baer hit a 40-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining to give the Ragin Cajuns a 43-34 lead over East Carolina in the New Orleans Bowl. That would be the final score with ECU unable to move the ball with virtually no time left on the clock. ULL now has back-to-back nine-win seasons, and for the first time in school history, back-to-back bowl wins.
But ULL’s victory did not come without a little controversy. Two Ragin Cajun touchdowns could have been overturned and one wasn’t reviewed at all. A 68-yard touchdown run by ULL running back Alonzo Harris could have been a touchback as it appears ECU safety Chip Thompson punched the ball out of Harris’ hands right around the goal line, but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call on the field and the touchdown stood.
In the third quarter, ULL receiver Javone Lawson showed remarkable concentration on a touchdown catch which he initially bobbled. Television replay showed the ball came close to touching the ground, but play on the field was not stopped to officially review the catch. However, Baer’s extra point attempt was blocked, keeping ECU within six points toward the end of the game.
But ULL was able to make one final defensive stop. That ended up being the difference in the game. Mark Hudspeth‘s name has come up briefly in the coaching carousel, but back-to-back nine win seasons at ULL might make him a hotter coaching commodity in 2013.
In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”
Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.
At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August. The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.
“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to GoVols247.com‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”
Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.
Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5. The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.
De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland. Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.
“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”
Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.
Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).
In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well. The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury