Ben Russell, Shane Carden

Big fourth quarter carries East Carolina over Ohio in Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl


East Carolina scored three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of the game to blow open a tight contest and win the 2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, 37-20, over Ohio in St. Petersburg on Monday.

It was ECU’s first bowl win since 2007 and gave the Pirates (10-3) just their second 10-win season in school history. Ohio finished up the season 7-6.

For a while, it looked like the Bobcats might pull off the mild upset. They led the Pirates, 20-17, early in the fourth quarter following Josiah Yazdani’s 28-yard field goal, then got the ball back on a perfectly-executed onsides kick.

But Yazdani missed a 45-yard field goal attempt — his first miss of the season after 14-straight makes — and then ECU asserted itself.

That meant giving the ball to Vintavious Cooper, who rushed for 74 of his career-high 198 yards in the final quarter, including touchdown runs of 22 and 31 to put the game out of reach.

Shane Carden threw for 273 yards and also rushed for 40 yards for the Pirates, who piled up 568 yards of offense (including 281 on the ground).

Tyler Tettleton threw for 228 yards and a touchdown for the Bobcats but he threw three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter that killed any chance for an Ohio comeback.

The bowl win caps the best season for ECU since 1991, when the Pirates finished 11-1.

Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil to return for Texas A&M on Oct. 24

Associated Press
1 Comment

As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.

From the university:

The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits.  During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.  In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles.  He later corrected his account and since apologized. 

As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.

Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”

The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.

Hope he’s been practicing.

Report: Steve Spurrier set to retire

Steve Spurrier

Say it ain’t so, Steve.

According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.

Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.

He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.

But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.

Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:

Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.