keith wenning

Sneak Peek: 2014 GoDaddy Bowl


WHO: 7-5 Arkansas State (Sun Belt Conference) vs. 10-2 Ball State (MAC)

WHAT: GoDaddy Bowl (15th year)

WHERE: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Birmingham, Ala.

WHEN: Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET

WHY: For the third consecutive year, Arkansas State goes into its bowl game without its head coach, while Ball State will be looking for its first bowl win in seven tries.

The Red Wolves lost Hugh Freeze to Ole Miss in 2011, Gus Malzahn to Auburn in 2012 and this year saw Brian Harsin head back to Boise State, which means defensive coordinator John Thompson will run the team for the second-straight postseason. He’ll have a tall task trying to contain Ball State’s high-scoring offense.

The Cardinals averaged 40.1 points per game and are led by quarterback Keith Wenning, who threw for 3,933 yards and 34 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Wide receiver Willie Snead was his main target, with 97 receptions for 1,429 yards and 14 scores. Tailbacks Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks combined for 1,459 yards and 20 touchdowns. So this is a balanced, dynamic attack.

The Red Wolves were not quite as proficient on offense, but they did get a solid season from dual-threat quarterback Adam Kennedy, who threw for 2,337 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 514 yards and four scores. The ASU rushing attack is pretty good, churning out yards at the rate of 207 per game.

Will the Red Wolves falter as the result of another postseason filled with coaching turbulence?  Will the Cardinals finally get that bowl victory? Our guess is ‘yes’ on both accounts.

PREDICTION: Ball State 38, Arkansas State 17

Steve Spurrier discusses retirement; Gamecocks name Shawn Elliott interim coach

Steve Spurrier
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Odds are pretty good Steve Spurrier has coached his final game as the Head Ball Coach, but Spurrier let it be known he is not going to go away quite as easily as you might think. Spurrier addressed the media today as South Carolina made its transition between coaches official. Spurrier noted he is resigning as head coach, but he is not necessarily retiring. As previously reported, Shawn Elliott will take on the role as interim head coach of the Gamecocks effective immediately.

The first thing Spurrier wants to remind everybody is he is not retiring. This is simply a resignation from his current position. Spurrier left the door open to possible options down the road for him in his post-coaching career. The idea of Spurrier walking away from the football world never to be heard from again is a startling one, so it is good to know he is not going to let that happen.

“College football is a game of recruiting, as well know,” Spurrier said when assessing why it was right for him to leave his job now. “That’s another reason I need to move on. I don’t know if coaching is completely over or not. It is fun being on a team. I might be a consultant for someone. I doubt if I’ll be a head coach again, but who knows?”

Spurrier said he realized Sunday the time to walk away was now and explained he always knew he would need to step aside the moment he saw himself holding the program back. That echoes the sentiment he has shared over the years, especially when asked about coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden as they each got up in the years. This season South Carolina is off to a 2-4 start, so the writing was on the wall for Spurrier, who also said it was in the best interests for all if an inevitable change was handled immediately.

“We’ve slipped. It’s my fault. I’m the head coach,” Spurrier said of South Carolina’s recent struggles.”We haven’t lost it. We’ve got a dang good team.”

“Our team is not in shambles despite what some might say,” Elliott said when he was given a chance to speak to the media. “We’re going to do everything we can to make the University of South Carolina proud of this football program.”

Elliott will now have the rest of the season to show what he can do as a head coach, and he knows this will be a bit of an open audition for the job as South Carolina starts searching for its next head coach.

Mark Dantonio quickly tosses aside South Carolina discussion

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.

He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.

“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network

Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.