Notes, quotes and things picked up on the run from coast-to-coast and all the stops in between and beyond.
The mighty USC Trojans are ineligible for post season play, but the Trojans can count the annual traditional against the UCLA Bruins ( 5-3, 6-5) Saturday at the Coliseum as their third “bowl” game of the season. The other two are upset victories over (7-1,9-1) Stanford, 56-48 and (7-.1, 9-2) Oregon, 38-35. The Trojans “thundering herd” showcased some of the most talented players in college football in QB Matt Barkley (4-TDs, 24 of 36 for 323-yards and the 74th TD of his career), Robert Woods (2 TDs), Curtis McNeal (20 for 94-yards and one TD ), Marquise Lee (8 for 187-yards and one TD), Marc Tyler (12 for 48-yards and one TD), T.J. McDonald (blocked punt) and the Crenshaw High trio of linebacker Hayes Pullard (team high 14 tackles, including a fumble recovery and a sack), Marcus Martin (star guard who paved the way for the “Trojan’s Thundering Herd) et al will be out to repeat this all-star play against the Bruins in their “Third Bowl Game” of the season before closing up shop until the 2012 campaign.
Check this: Trojan Robert Woods is on a receiving record-setting pace on the eve of the UCLA game. His 99 receptions are three shy of the university’s and Pac-12 standards set by all-American Keyshawn Johnson, the No. 1 over all pick in the NFL draft by the New York Jets. Woods has scored 13 TDs and on Monday Woods was announced as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented yearly to the top receiver in the nation.
The Ducks had their share of Coach Robert Garrett’s Crenshaw High talent too, headed by De’Anthony Thomas, who rejected an offer from USC to join the Oregon Ducks. Thomas, the L.A. All-City of Player of the Year last season, didn’t have his best game of the season, but he added a TD to his freshman record (14) and Thomas had three rushes for 49-yards and three catches for another 162-yards on a trio of kickoff returns, including a 96-yarder for a TD. Terrell Turner, a senior, defensive end for the Ducks, from Crenshaw High had four tackles.
Crenshaw High grads were on parade for both the Trojans and Ducks in one of the biggest college football games of the 2011 season. The Trojans put the clamps on Oregon’s LaMichael James (78-yards rushing, half of his national leading 150-yards average and QB Darron Thomas (forced him into three fumbles).
The Bruins tuned up for the Trojans with a 45-6 win over Coach Jon Embree’s Colorado Buffalos at the Rose Bowl.
QB Kevin Prince (a career high 4 TDs, 15 of 19 for 225-yards and he rushed for 84-yards), Johnthan Franklin (162-yards rushing and he needs only 143-yards to become the first Bruin to post consecutive 1,000-yards since DeShaun Foster in 2000 and 2001), Derrick Coleman ( 21 for 77-yards ), Nelson Rosario ( 6 catches for 102-yards and one TD), Joseph Fauria (2 TDs and six on the season, the most since Mercedes Lewis had in 2005).
Hold it a minute? Baylor’s Q B Robert Griffin III moved up in the Heisman Trophy race as he accounted for 551-yards and four TDs in pacing his team to a 45-38 upset win over No. 6 Oklahoma. Griffin’s record-setting play helped shake up the race for the Bowl Championship Series. Baylor (7-3) ranks No. 20 in the USA Today’s Coaches Poll.
Can QBs Michael Vick and Vince Young lead the Philadelphia Eagles from a “nightmare” to the Dream Team Young predicted the team would be when he signed his contract. Stepping in for the injured Vick Sunday, Young hit Riley Cooper with an eight yard pass for the go ahead TD with 2 minutes and 45 seconds to play to pace the (4-6) Eagles to a 17-10 victory over the (6-4) New York Giants. The Giants and Cowboys (6-4) are tied for first in the NFC East and the Eagles are in third place. Young was 23 of 36 for 258-yards and two TDs. DeSean Jackson got back on track with six catches for 88-yards, including a 10-yard catch that set up Young’s second TD pass.
Michael Bush rushed 30 times for 103-yards and a TD in the (6-4) Raiders’ 27-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The Raiders were slapped with 12 penalties for 117 yards in the battle with the Vikings. The Raiders host Coach Lovie Smith’s Chicago Bears Sunday.
Johnny Knox caught three passes for 97-yards and one TD in the Bears’ 31-20 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Tampa Bay Rays’ QB Josh Freeman hit on 28 of 38 for 342-yards, two TDs and two interceptions in a 35-28 defeat at the hands of Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers hit on 23 of 34 for 299-yards and three TDs and one pick.
The Detroit Lions’ Kevin Smith was the leading running back in the NFL’s 11 week of play with 16 carries for 140-yards and two TDs. QB Mattthew Stafford passed for five TDs to get the Lions in the win column.
Matt Kemp, an every day star, has agreed to a $160-million eight year contract to remain with the team. Kemp and Dodger owner, for the moment, Frank McCourt, were at Mona Park in Compton to dedicate the Dodgers Foundation’s No. 19 inter-city baseball field in L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’ Second District.
How destructive is Devin Hester, the Chicago Bears’ flanker, punt and kick-off returner? Hester dashed 82-yards on a punt return for six points in the Bears’ 37-13 win against the Detroit Lions. This was Hester’s 12th punt return for six, the most in NFL history. This is the 18th return for Hester (12 punts, five kickoffs and a missed field goal attempt). This enabled Hester to move into second place behind Hall Famer Deion Sanders’ record of 21.
I don’t agree with those writers and broadcasters who are demanding Penn State should not accept a bowl bid. The major culprits in the Penn State sex abuse allegations have been ousted. Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, head coach Joe Paterno and university’s president have been jailed or fired. The players didn’t do anything wrong, the leaders, including Penn State’s president Graham Spanier, who has also been fired. The next to go should be Gov. Tom Corbett, who approved $3-million for kid’s charity, which Sandusky founded, even though he knew of the scandal.
However, I do agree with part of USA Today’s columnist Christine Brennan demand when she writes:
“Penn State should also consider donating its share of all Big Ten Bowl revenue, which it still would receive, to a fund for the victims of the crimes Jerry Sandusky allegedly committed.” This, I wholeheartly agree.
The Texas Rangers’ Ron Washington would get my vote for AL Manager of the Year. Not because he’s black, but for leading his Texas Rangers to back-to-back World Series appearances. And Washington’s Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays’ Joe Maddon, who was selected in a landslide as the winner of the honor. Maddon didn’t win a wild card entry for the playoffs until the final game of the regular season.
How good will the Cal State Long Beach ‘49ers be, after upsetting No.8 Pittsburgh, 86-76? Casper Ware (career high 28 points) and James Ennis (19 points) believe the ‘49ers can be as good as they want to be. The ‘49ers snapped Pittsburgh’s 58 game non conference winning streak.
Tiger Woods came up with the winning point in the Presidents Cup to enable the Americans to capture the title, 19-15, in Melbourne. Australia.
Tiger Woods will not start his 2012 season in his traditional San Diego tournament at Torrez Pines. Instead Tiger will play in a Jan. 26-29 tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, according to the organization.
In leading the Houston Cougars to a 11-0 season, Coach Kevin Sumlin is making $1,200,00 per season as a one of the highest paid college football coaches of color. Turner Gill, the former all-star QB, earns $2,100,000 at Kansas.
Kentucky’s Joker Phillips, $1,701,339, plus other pay of $1,150.
Kent State’s Darrell Hazell, in his first year, is earning $300,000. Louisville’s Charlie Strong makes $2,305,000 per year. Virginia’s Mike London receives $1,780,000 plus other fees per year. Incidentally, London’s Cavaliers (8-3,5-2) could be in contention for a BCS bowl berth date after Saturday’s 14-13 win over Florida State. If the Cavaliers beat Virginia Tech Saturday, they could be in the battle for a BCS spot.
New Mexico State’s DeWayne, the former UCLA assistant collects $375,000 plus a maximum bonus of $185,000. New Mexico’s Mike Locksley, before he was fired earned $750,000, plus a maximum bonus $315,000.
The Williams sisters—Venus and Serena—are scheduled to play in an exhibition in Milan on Dec. 3 against Italy’s Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. The 103rd ranked Venus says she has continued tennis practice and working out in the gym.
Walt Hazzard and his UCLA cheer leading sweetheart Jalesa were the unofficial King and Queen of the Westwood campus in the late ‘60s. He was the NCAA Tournament Player of the Year, Jules was the queen of the cheer leaders and Walt’s queen too.
Hazzard died Friday. He was 69. Hazard was a Bruin through and through. He was a two-time All-American (1963-1964), a three year starter and was the main man in Coach John Wooden’s first of 10 NCAA Championship teams. And Hazzard coached UCLA from 1984-1988 and his team made one NCAA appearance and won the 1985 NIT championship and he was named Pac-10 Coach of the year. He posted a record of 77-47 at UCLA.
Brad Pye, Jr., can be reached at Switchreel@aol.com.