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Akron moving on from Terry Bowden as head coach


After a fifth losing season in the past seven years, Akron is making a head coaching change. Terry Bowden will no longer be the head coach of the Zips, according to multiple reports surfacing on Sunday afternoon.

Bowden was hired by Akron prior to the 2012 season. Bowden had come off three good years with Division 2 North Alabama a little more than a decade after his last head coaching gig with Auburn from 1993 through 1998. In seven years with Akron, the Zips had gone 35-52 with just two bowl trips and one season that ended with a winning record, although this year’s highlight was a road win at Northwestern for Akron’s first win against a Big Ten team since before the 20th century (1894). Bowden also coached Akron to the first bowl victory in program history against Utah State in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Bowden, the son of former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden and brother of former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden, has a career coaching record of 175-114-2 with jobs ranging from Auburn and Akron to Division 2 schools Salem and North Alabama to a job with FCS Samford.

What’s next for Akron reains to be seen. The same may be true for Bowden.

Morningside College claims first NAIA national title

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A 16-yard touchdown pass from Trent Solsma to Connor Niles with 1:29 remaining handed Morningside College its first NAIA national championship on Saturday, capping a 35-28 win over Benedictine in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Morningside College is located Sioux Falls, Iowa, while Benedictine College is in Atchison, Kan.

The Solsma-to-Niles connection was massive for Morningside. Solsma completed 19-of-36 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions, with the bulk of the damage going to Niles, who caught seven passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns.

The game started with a Shaefer Schuetz 26-yard touchdown pass for Benedictine, as the Ravens held leads of 7-0, 14-7 and 20-14 — all in the first half. But the Morningside defense stepped up in the second half, allowing the Mustangs to take control of the game with two Solsma touchdown passes, the first an 80-yarder to Niles, then a 19-yard score to Reid Jurgensmeier, putting Morningside in front 28-20 at the 9:53 mark of the third quarter.

Benedictine forged the game’s third tie with a 1-yard Frank Trent rush with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter, then had a chance to take the lead again after forcing a Morningside punt, but a holding call killed the Ravens’ drive and then disaster struck when a botched punt snap handed Morningside the ball at the Benedictine 18-yard line with two minutes remaining. On a 3rd-and-8 from the 16, Solsma found Niles for the winning score.

“It was going to him no matter what,” Solsma said. “He’s made big plays his entire career. This was no different.”

Niles’ catch, the last of his career, saw him finish with 6,175 career receiving yards, the most in NAIA history.

“I just remember catching it and then going to my knees,” Niles said. “After that, it was all cameras and teammates mobbing me. This is absolutely amazing.”

Morningside had been on the cusp of their first national title for the majority of the decade; the Mustangs lost the NAIA title game in 2012 and then fell in the NAIA semifinals in four of the past five seasons. The semifinal round saw Morningside avenge its 2016 and ’17 playoff losses to the University of Saint Francis — who would go on to win those seasons’ national titles — in a 34-28 overtime thriller.

“I’ve been motivated to not let this season end,” Morningside head coach Steve Ryan said. “The toughest part for me was that, at the end of the night, the year would be over. I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished. It ended the way we were hoping … I’m ecstatic.”

Report: Former No. 1 recruit Jaelan Phillips leaves team at UCLA

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UCLA linebacker Jaelan Phillips has left the team and is unlikely to return, according to a report from BruinReportOnline.

Phillips, a Redlands, Calif., native, was the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. He enrolled in January of that year but has yet to make an impact one would expect of the top overall player in his class. He started his first game as a Bruin as well as three more in 2017 and finished the year with 21 tackles, seven TFLs and 3.5 sacks.

He appeared in just four games as a sophomore, posting 20 tackles with one sack, while battling a number of injuries.

According to the report, Phillips is considering quitting football altogether, but if he does transfer and play elsewhere — he would have two years of eligibility remaining — it would be at a school that offers a music production/technology degree, which UCLA does not.


Valdosta State wins fourth Division II national championship in thriller

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The best game you (probably) didn’t see on Saturday went down in McKinney, Texas, where Valdosta State (Ga.) took down Ferris State (Mich.) in a thrilling Division II National Championship.

In a back-and-forth game that saw the lead change hands seven times in the second and third quarters, Valdosta State seemingly seized control when Rogan Wells hit Travis Taylor for a 1-yard touchdown toss, handing the Blazers a 42-31 lead with 4:25 left in the third quarter.

Ferris State pulled back within 42-38 by the end of the third quarter, though, through this acrobatic touchdown grab by Keyondre Craig.

Wells’ fifth touchdown pass of the game put Valdosta State in front 49-38 with 11:36 to play, but a Ferris State field goal cut the lead back to single digits, and then a turnover on downs at the Ferris State 34 gave the Bulldogs a chance to send the game to overtime. A 5-play, 66-yard drive gave Ferris State the touchdown it needed with 40 seconds left, but the requisite 2-point try was no good.

“When I saw the ball high and wide, that was a great feeling,” Valdosta head coach Kerwin Bell told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This was the first one we pulled out (this season) — 0-for-1,” Ferris State head coach Tony Annese told the Detroit Free Press afterward. “In the end, I told them it was my fault we lost because we probably should have had a better two-point conversion play.”

Valdosta State’s defense held, and the 49-47 win gave the program its fourth Division II national championship.

Wells earned MVP honors for Valdosta State, hitting 19-of-31 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns. Ferris State’s Jayru Campbell — winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy, Division II’s Heisman Trophy equivalent — completed 10-of-18 passes for 99 yards with a touchdown and an interception while posting a game-high 22 carries for 122 yards and a score.

Valdosta State, picked fifth in the Gulf South Conference in preseason, completed the first undefeated season in school history at 14-0. The national title is Valdosta’s first since 2012; the Blazers also won national titles in 2004 and 2007.

No coach? No problem for AppState in rout of MTSU to capture the New Orleans Bowl

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No head coach? No problem for one of the best Group of Five programs around.

Appalachian State had no issues in the wake of Scott Satterfield’s departure to Louisville, looking every bit as good as they have this season under an interim staff during a 45-13 rout of Middle Tennessee State in the New Orleans Bowl to round out the first Saturday of postseason action in college football.

Following a slow start in the first quarter, the Mountaineers started to dominate in all three phases and ran off six-straight scoring drives at one point to take control. They stuffed fake punts, ran multiple trick plays and broke off big run after big run. We may be just one day into bowl season but it will be hard to top this kind of overall performance the rest of December.

AppState quarterback Zac Thomas did throw two interceptions, but both came off tipped passes and the youngster more than made up for those turnovers in other areas. He finished the night with 177 yards and a trio of touchdown passes but saved his best highlight for a reception on a ‘Philly Special’ type of play in the second quarter when he caught a wide open score in the end zone.

Receiver Malik Williams was also pretty good throwing the football and finished with 38 yards through the air and a pair of touchdown passes while recording one reception for 22 yards. Running back Darrynton Evans wasn’t too shabby either, breaking off a 62 yard run on his way to 108 overall. Not to be out done, backup Camerun Peoples raced 63 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter too. Pretty much everybody on offense found some success in the game, which was a good reason the scoreboard looked as lopsided as it did.

That end result certainly put a damper on MTSU’s season and was far from the way that head coach/quarterback combination of Rick and Brent Stockstill wanted to go out in their final game together. The latter had a tough time on just about every drop back, throwing 330 yards and a touchdown but also getting picked off twice to go with six sacks. Chaton Mobley rushed for 47 on the ground but the Blue Raiders had to fight for every single yard and were hampered by the turnovers and a brutal performance on third down.

A lot of that is a testament to the solid foundation that Satterfield has installed in Boone, N.C. and leaves behind for new head coach Eli Drinkwitz, who was at the Superdome watching on with glee at what he’ll have coming back in 2019. The program is now 4-0 in the postseason since ascending to the FBS level and won 11 games for the second time in four seasons to go with their outright Sun Belt title this year.

It’s not often that a team can keep things rolling after so many changes at the top but AppState firmly falls under the category of a great program that can withstand just about anything thrown at them and proved it with a convincing New Orleans Bowl victory.