College Football Notebook: Chizik faces challenges at Auburn

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 15, 2008

Associated Press
The college football notebook …
AUBURN, Ala. ó Gene Chizik will be formally introduced Monday as Auburn’s football coach. As soon as that’s done, he’ll have a lot of work to do.
The former Tigers defensive coordinator needs to assemble a staff and salvage recruiting following Tommy Tuberville’s resignation. He also faces some skepticism among fans, in part because his Iowa State team lost its final 10 games this season, leaving his record there at 5-19 in two seasons.
“I know that we have found the right fit for Auburn,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement, describing Chizik as “a high-energy coach that is an outstanding motivator and demands a tough, physical style of football.”
When Chizik was the defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2004, the Tigers went 13-0 and the next year he went to Texas. With him as defensive coordinator, the Longhorns also went 13-0 and won the national championship.
The 46-year-old Chizik was hired Saturday in Memphis, Tenn., after three final days of negotiations and two face-to-face meetings with Auburn officials.
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa ó Eric Ward and the Richmond Spiders never doubted, never wavered.
Down 20-7 going into the fourth quarter? Well, get some stops on defense and start moving on offense.
Which is just what they did.
Eric Ward threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Joe Stewart with 14 seconds left and Andrew Howard kicked the extra point, giving Richmond a 21-20 victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday and sending the Spiders to the Football Championship Subdivision title game.
“I knew we weren’t out of the game,” Ward said. “We were going to have opportunities to get the ball back. We’ve got a great defense. I was confident they’d get the stops we needed.”
Richmond (12-3) reached the final for the first time and will play Montana in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday night. The 12 victories are a school record for the Spiders, who lost to Appalachian State 55-35 in last year’s national semifinals.
FLORENCE, Ala. ó The celebration was just the beginning for Minnesota Duluth coach Bob Nielson and his team Saturday when the inevitable question was asked about what it means to the university to have won its first NCAA Division II football championship.
“I guess it means we’re not a hockey school anymore,” Nielson said as players around him began laughing.
Ted Schlafke threw for two touchdowns to lead Minnesota Duluth to its first NCAA Division II football championship with a 21-14 win over Northwest Missouri State.
The Bulldogs (15-0) had never won a Division II playoff football game before this season.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó Greg Dillon threw three touchdowns and rushed for another score as Grambling State defeated Jackson State 41-9 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game.
Dillon was 12-of-17 passing for 137 yards and one interception.The Grambling State quarterback connected with Kiare Thompson for a 5-yard touchdown pass midway through the opening quarter, and then lofted a 39-yarder to Dante Cheek with 1:39 remaining in the first to give his team a 13-0 lead that held up until halftime.
That proved to be enough for the Grambling State (11-2, 7-0) defense, which forced five Jackson State (7-5, 6-1) turnovers.