FCS playoffs continue without ASU
RICHMOND, Va. ó James Madison took over the top perch in the FCS with a thrilling regular season comeback at home against Appalachian State. Many viewed the September matchup as a likely preview of the national championship.
The Dukes (12-1) are now just one victory away from the title game ó they play Montana (13-1) at home tonight ó but the other finalist won’t be the three-time champion Mountaineers.
Richmond ended Appalachian State’s FCS record 13-game postseason winning streak with a 33-13 victory on the Mountaineers’ home field, turning seven turnovers into stunning domination.
The Spiders (11-3) play at Northern Iowa (12-2) in the other semifinal Saturday, and first-year coach Mike London thinks it’s no surprise that half the field still standing in the second tier of college football comes from the CAA. Delaware won the championship in 2003, and James Madison won it in 2004.
“Playing that caliber of competition week in and week out, for us a lot of times, you find out what kind of team you are,” London said.
James Madison has only played Montana once before, and the Dukes’ 31-21 victory in 2004 came in the national championship game, making JMU the last team other than Appalachian State to win it.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ó Tim Tebow won the Maxwell Award for the second year, edging Texas’ Colt McCoy and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell for the honor given to college football’s best all-round player.
The Florida star joined Notre Dame quaterback Johnny Lattner as the only two-time winners of the Maxwell Award. Lattner won in 1952-53.Earlier, Tebow took Disney’s Spirit Award for service off the field.
Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford beat out Harrell and McCoy for the Davey O’Brien Award. Bradford led the nation in passer rating (186.3) and TD passes (48) while throwing for 4,464 yards.
McCoy was the Walter Camp Player of the Year, leading the All-America team.
Michael Crabtree, a Texas Tech sophomore, won his second straight Biletnikoff Award for best wide receiver. Crabtree caught 18 touchdown passes and has 93 receptions for 1,135 yards.
Shonn Greene of Iowa won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back, finishing ahead of Knowshon Moreno of Georgia and Javon Ringer of Michigan State.
The Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) was won by Andre Smith of Alabama.
On the defensive side, Rey Maualuga of USC won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player over James Laurinaitis of Ohio State and Aaron Maybin of Penn State.
The Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back) went to Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State. He finished ahead of Eric Berry (Tennessee) and Taylor Mays (USC).
Matt Fodge of Oklahoma State won the Ray Guy Award (best punter), and Graham Gano of Florida State the Lou Groza Award (best kicker).
Alabama’s Nick Saban was selected the Coach of the Year.
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Central Florida’s athletic department has hired an independent attorney well versed in NCAA matters to investigate “procedures and policies” surrounding its football program.
The hiring comes in the wake of an internal investigation following the recent collapse and hospitalization of player Brandon Davis during an offseason conditioning workout Dec. 3.
Davis was released from Florida Hospital East on Wednesday night with a clean bill of health. Nine months ago, UCF wide receiver Ereck Plancher collapsed and died during an offseason workout, and Plancher’s family has informed UCF that it intends to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the University, claiming negligence by coach Georgy O’Leary and his staff.
AUBURN, Ala. ó Auburn reportedly interviewed TCU’s Gary Patterson for its vacant head coaching position, joining a list that includes Tulsa’s Todd Graham, Ball State’s Brady Hoke and Buffalo’s Turner Gill.
Gill’s attorney, Steve Mooney, told The Post-Standard in Syracuse that his client had interviewed with both Syracuse and Auburn but hadn’t been offered another job.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has also reportedly interviewed Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley. Georgia assistant Rodney Garner and Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, both former Auburn players, have also interviewed for the post.
Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, a former Auburn assistant, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.
STARKVILLE, Miss. ó Dan Mullen, the offensive coordinator at Florida, was introduced as the new coach at Mississippi State to the clanging of cowbells and the cheers of about 200 fans on campus.
BEAVERCREEK, Ohio ó Ohio State freshman defensive end Nathan Williams has been charged with shoplifting at a suburban Dayton mall.
TUCSON, Ariz. ó Arizona coach Mike Stoops said linebacker Sterling Lewis would be suspended for the Las Vegas Bowl after being arrested early Thursday on an extreme DUI charge.
The 21-year-old Lewis took a breath test that registered his blood alcohol content at above .15, nearly twice the legal limit in Arizona of .08.
JACKSON, Miss. ó Alcorn State football coach Ernest T. Jones has been fired days after filing a lawsuit seeking the reinstatement of seven assistant coaches, his attorney said Thursday.
The firing was latest development in a series of events that began Thanksgiving Day when athletic director Darren Hamilton declined to renew the one-year contracts for seven assistant coaches. Hamilton has refused to discuss why the coaches were fired.