Special teams were the key to North Carolina’s 39-17 victory over Cincinnati in the 2013 Belk Bowl on Saturday.
Ryan Switzer — the game’s MVP — returned his NCAA-record-tying fifth punt return for a touchdown and T.J. Logan took back a kickoff 78 yards for a score as the Tar Heels surged to a 29-3 lead then survived a special teams mistake of their own to notch their first bowl win since 2010.
UNC finishes the season at 7-6, while Cincinnati closes out at 9-4.
The game turned in favor of the Tar Heels during a key first quarter sequence. With UNC up, 7-0, punter Tommy Hibbard nailed a 59-yard punt that pinned the Bearcats at their own six. Three plays later, Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay was sacked by Brandon Ellerbee and Kareem Martin for a safety to make the score, 9-0. The Bearcats free-kicked back to the Tar Heels and that’s when Logan weaved his way to a 78-yard kickoff return. Suddenly, it was 16-0 and the Bearcats were stunned.
UNC opened its lead to 36-10 before Cincinnati regained its composure. Receiver Shaq Washington moved over to quarterback and promptly ripped off a 52-yard run. Two plays later, he was in the end zone after a nifty 10-yard scamper and the score was 36-17 with the fourth quarter barely underway.
Things got more interesting when Leviticus Payne recovered a fumble by T.J. Thorpe on the ensuing kickoff. The Bearcats had a first and goal at the UNC five yard line with plenty of time left. Would UNC choke this one away?
Not this time. The Tar Heels held when Kay’s fourth-down pass fell off the hands of Washington in the corner of the end zone.
It was a flat performance by the Bearcats, who came into the game as winners of six of their last seven. UC will try to regroup next year, most likely with touted Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel taking over at quarterback.
North Carolina finished up the season on a hot note, winning six of its last seven games (the one loss was by two points to Duke). A 1-5 start prevented this talented team from reaching its potential, but Larry Fedora has to be happy with how things worked out in the end, winning his first bowl game as the Tar Heels head coach.
Temple’s non-conference schedules will have a decidedly Power Five flavor to them in the future.
The AAC school announced Friday that it has reached agreements on future home-and-home series with a pair of ACC schools, Boston College and Duke, as well as one from the Big Ten, Maryland. The series with BC and UofM both start in 2018 and both are on the road, with the Owls traveling to College Park Sept. 15 and to Chestnut Hill two weeks later. The Blue devils will play in Philadelphia Sept. 14, 2019, to conclude the series, while the Eagles come calling September 18, 2021.
Temple will start their series against Duke with a road game to open the 2022 season Sept. 3, while the Blue Devils will make their way to Philly Sept. 16 the following season.
Temple and BC have faced each other 35 times since 1937, with the latter holding a decided 27-6-2 edge in the series. The team’s last played in 2004, and the Owls’ last win came in 1999. Maryland and Temple have squared off just eight times, the first coming in 1997 and the last in 2012. The Terrapins have won seven of the eight, the only loss coming by 31 points at home in 2011.
Duke and Temple have never faced each other on the gridiron.
With this announcement, plus the recent announcement of a three-game series with Oklahoma, Temple will play 14 games against Power Five teams the next eight seasons. Those will include, in addition to the aforementioned, games at Penn State (2016), at Notre Dame (2017) and a pair of home-and-home series against Rutgers (2020-21, 2022-23).
When Boise State opens its 2016 season in a little over a month, the Broncos could do so with a very depleted secondary.
An unspecified violation of team rules prevented Dylan Sumner-Gardner from playing in or even traveling to BSU’s Poinsettia Bowl win over Northern Illinois in late December. Chanceller James (pictured, No. 29), meanwhile, did not participate in the annual spring game for an unknown reason.
Both players are starting safeties for Bryan Harsin, and the head coach declined to state with any certainty whether one, both or none of the defensive backs would be on the field when they open the season Sept. 3 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
“It’s where it is right now, just with our team,” Harsin said according to the Idaho Press-Tribune when asked if the players would be facing any type of punitive measures for the start of the season. “I’ll kind of leave it at that.”
James started nine of the 13 games in which he played last season as a redshirt junior, finishing fourth on the Broncos in tackles with 55. All told, he’s started 12 games the past two seasons.
Sumner-Gardner started the first four games of 2015 before sustaining a season-ending injury. The junior played in 13 games as a true freshman in 2014.
With rumors swirling around one of the top young defensive playmakers on Florida State’s roster, there’s some relatively positive news to report on that front.
Warchant.com reported that Derwin James did indeed undergo surgery on his foot two weeks ago to repair what was described as a small fracture. The good news is that the procedure is described as being “minor” in nature. Even better? The timeline for a return of 4-5 weeks.
From the Rivals.com website:
With the start of football practice scheduled for August 9, which is right at four weeks following surgery, the Noles’ second-leading tackler from 2015 is expected to be able to participate. And he should be 100 percent recovered with no limitations in time for the second week of practice.
James was the most heralded member of FSU’s 2015 recruiting class, a five-star prospect rated as the No. 5 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board. And, suffice to say, James lived up to the plaudits.
As a true freshman, James’ 91 tackles were second only to Reggie Northrup’s 94. He was also second on the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (4.5).
For that, he was named a freshman All-American and third-team All-ACC. This offseason, he was named to the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award watch lists.
A statement from Colby Delahoussaye expressed thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers he had received since the weekend. Friday, his family expressed a similar sentiment.
On their way home from a kicking camp Saturday night, Cornhuskers punter Sam Foltz and ex-Spartans punter Mike Sadler were killed in a car accident as they were driving through a severe thunderstorm in Wisconsin. Additionally, LSU placekicker Colby Delahoussaye, a backseat passenger in the Mercedes driven by Sadler, was injured in the crash that claimed the players’ lives.
In a statement, the Delahoussaye family said it “sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support for Colby since the accident” while also reminding people to “continue to pray for the families of Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz during this very difficult time.”
Our family sincerely appreciates the outpouring of support for Colby since the accident last weekend. The number of calls, emails and text messages that we have received from people throughout the country has been overwhelming and much appreciated. Colby is in good hands with treatment to his injuries and he’s making progress with his recovery.
“We ask that you continue to pray for the families of Mike Sadler and Sam Foltz during this very difficult time. Mike and Sam were wonderful young men who Colby had great admiration for. Please keep their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Delahoussaye sustained burns to his legs and lacerations that required stitches, but it’s the former injury that’s being credited with saving his life.
“All he remembers is that the fire was burning his leg and that woke him up,” Dwayne Delahoussaye, told the Baton Rouge Advocate. “He was knocked unconscious. The burning sensation revived him. That’s all he remembers. He doesn’t even know how he got out. He doesn’t know where he crawled out of.”
In 2013 and 2014, Delahoussaye, a senior walk-on with the Tigers, converted on a combined 24-of-29 field goal attempts. He was replaced last season by Trey Domingue, who announced earlier this month that he was transferring from LSU after his scholarship wasn’t renewed before confirming this weekend that he’ll be continuing his collegiate playing career at Texas.
It’s unknown if Delahoussaye, expected to be the Tigers’ primary placekicker this season, will be healthy enough to participate in the start of summer camp, which kicks off early next month.