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Syracuse and West Virginia to Clash in the Camping World Bowl Today 1

Posted on December 28, 2018 by Chris Kent

For the first time in five years, Syracuse University is in a college football bowl game. The No. 17 ranked Orange will face No. 15 West Virginia on Friday Dec. 28 in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fl. Kickoff is set for 5:15 pm and the game will be televised on ESPN.

It is the second time Syracuse has played in this bowl game as the Orange also appeared in it when it was called the Champs Sports Bowl in 2004. Georgia Tech beat Syracuse 51-14 in what was the final game for Orange head coach Paul Pasqualoni. This year’s bowl appearance is the first bowl game for Syracuse since it beat Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl following the 2013 season.

Head coach Dino Babers is restoring prominence to Syracuse football.

Behind a breakthrough 2018 season in which the Orange went 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, head coach Dino Babers has restored Syracuse to national prominence on the gridiron. The Orange finished second behind No. 2 Clemson in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Orange, who handed Clemson its’ only loss in 2017, gave the Tigers all they could handle this season before Clemson handed Syracuse its’ first loss of the season 27-23 on Sept. 29.

In his third year as Orange head coach, Babers lead Syracuse to a five-win improvement from 2017 that was sparked by a pair of four game win-streaks. Along the way, Syracuse defeated perennial national power Florida State 30-7 on Sept. 15 for the first time since 1966 which ended a 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles. Syracuse finished undefeated (6-0) at home in the Carrier Dome this season, its’ first undefeated home season since 2001 and only its’ fourth all time since the dome opened in 1980.

West Virginia is the fourth-most common opponent for Syracuse as the two have met 60 times on the gridiron with the Orange holding a 33-27 edge. Only Pittsburgh (74), Penn State (71), and Colgate (67) have played Syracuse more often than the Mountaineers. The Orange and Mountaineers formerly met yearly as members of The Big East Conference. The last time the two met was in 2012 when the Orange won 38-14 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY to cap an 8-5 season.

Syracuse emerged this season behind the play of senior quarterback Eric Dungey. Aside from various injuries causing him to miss 10 games over his first three years, Dungey started all 12 games this season for the first time in his college career. Dungey will leave Syracuse as one of the top quarterbacks in Orange history. Dungey and Syracuse legend Donovan McNabb are the only two quarterbacks in school history with 6,000+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards. Entering the 2018 season, Dungey, who is Syracuse’s career leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, stands among the top 10 in school history in 10 other categories including completion percentage (2nd, 61.7 %), passing touchdowns (5th, 40), and passing yards (4th, 6,472). Dungey threw for a season-high 411 yards in a 51-41 win over North Carolina State on Oct. 27 to extend his school career records to 10 300-yard passing games and three 400-yard passing games.

Dungey was healthy nearly the entire season in 2018 and was named the ACC Quarterback of the Week four times. The 6-4 226-pound signal caller was named to the All-ACC Third Team and was the recipient of Syracuse’s Bill Horr award as team MVP. Dungey pressures the defense with his dual threat capability in passing and running where he exudes toughness. In completing 60.1 percent of his passes (205-for-341) this season, Dungey has thrown for 2,565 with 17 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. On the ground, Dungey is second on the team with 732 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns. Read the rest of this entry →

Babers Has Syracuse Football on the Rise 0

Posted on October 04, 2018 by Chris Kent

Syracuse is climbing its’ way back to prominence in college football.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Dino Babers has Syracuse thinking big again on the gridiron.

Known more for its’ notoriety as a college basketball power over most of the last two decades during which the Orange went to three Final Fours and won one national championship, Syracuse is re-emerging on the gridiron. In his third year as head coach of the Orange, Dino Babers is resurrecting Syracuse while positioning the program to return to its’ glorious past. That has not been seen since names like Donovan McNabb, Keith Bullock, Dwight Freeney, Rob Konrad, Marvin Harrison, and Donovin Darius dotted the roster from the mid and late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.

The chief evidence for the rise of the Orange came last Saturday, Sept. 29, when Syracuse took No. 3 ranked and undefeated Clemson (5-0, 2-0) to the brink of defeat on its’ home field. Only a timely and late rally by the Tigers held off a very game Orange team as Syracuse came up just short in a 27-23 loss. The Orange lead 16-7 at the half and had a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied with two unanswered touchdowns to pull out the win and drop Syracuse (4-1, 1-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. That is news in itself as this season’s 4-0 start marked just the fifth time that Orange football opened 4-0 and the first time since 1991. It was a marked improvement for Syracuse which had been outscored by the Tigers 70-6 in its’ last two trips to Clemson Memorial Stadium, including a 54-0 blowout there in 2016, Babers’ first season. This year’s showing against the Tigers proved that the Orange can play with a perennial power that has made the last three college football playoffs and is trending there again this year.

Lofty accomplishments like that were mirrored earlier this season on Sept. 15 when Syracuse defeated Florida State 30-7 for the first time as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference in this there sixth season as an affiliate. The gigantic victory ended the Orange’s 10-game losing streak to the Seminoles and marked Syracuse’s first win over Florida State since 1966 when pro football hall of fame running back Floyd Little played for the Orange.

Although Syracuse has been 4-8 in each of Babers’ first two seasons, there has been progress. Babers’ has lead the Orange to landmark victories against teams nationally ranked and at the top of the ACC during each of his first two seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

College Football Tailgating Traditions 0

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Samantha Waites

FSU-sod-cemetery-2So, it’s the time of the year when college football is at its peak. The only thing that steals the limelight from them is the tailgates. The tailgating traditions are loved by all. Who doesn’t like experimenting with food and drinks? And to show your hatred towards your rivals, people go to unimaginable extents sometimes. Universities across the country have their own traditions but there are a few we just can’t love. Here’s a sneak peek at such traditions.

  • Auburn’s Toilet Paper:

Well, never thought that this would make it to the list but guess what, everyone loves Tping their opponents place. This started in 1972 when Auburn won and is continued until today. Try this out sometime.

  • Florida State’s Sod Cemetery:

You never forget where you were for your team’s biggest win but for Florida State Seminoles, this was a start to a tradition. They literally etch the memories in stones. There aren’t any remains in this graveyard except for clumps of grass from the opponents’ fields. This tradition began in 1962. Read the rest of this entry →

DeShaun Watson Proving He Belongs in the NFL 0

Posted on September 30, 2017 by Dean Hybl
DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

DeShaun Watson has already proven that he belongs on the field with the Houston Texans.

Sometimes the decisions made by teams in the NFL Draft can be very strange. Generally, the NFL is a performance-based league, however, when it comes to draft picks, and most especially quarterbacks, choices are often made based on projected ability, instead of how someone has actually performed on the football field.

That was certainly the case in the 2017 NFL Draft when two quarterbacks with relatively average college pedigrees were chosen ahead of one of the most successful quarterbacks in recent college football history. Something that can be confusing and frustrating for those who follow US Sportsbooks.

While DeShaun Watson was leading the Clemson Tigers to back-to-back National Championship Games following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Mitch Trubisky at the University of North Carolina and Pat Mahaomes at Texas Tech were playing on mediocre teams.

Trubisky spent two seasons as a backup quarterback at UNC before he finally earned the starting spot for the 2016 season. Though he was a solid quarterback in his 13 stats, his performance on an 8-5 team hardly give the impression he was the next great NFL player.

While Trubisky tossed 30 touchdowns on the season with only six interceptions, in the five UNC losses, he threw only eight touchdowns while suffering all six of his interceptions. His worst performance of the season was against Virginia Tech when he completed only 39.4% of his passes for 58 yards and two interceptions.

Yet, the Chicago Bears thought enough of Trubisky to trade up to pick him with the second pick in the 2017 Draft.

The son of a former Major League Baseball pitcher, Mahomes had significantly more experience than Trubisky during his three college seasons.

Playing on a Texas Tech team that had only one winning year in his three seasons, Mahomes saw significant action as a freshman before starting the last two seasons.

The Red Raiders posted a 12-13 record during those two years while making one bowl appearance. Mahomes racked up huge numbers over the last two seasons tossing 77 touchdowns with 25 interception and compiling over 9,700 yards through the air. For his career, Mahomes completed 63.5% of his passes for 11,252 yards, 93 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. Read the rest of this entry →

Memorial Day Remembrance: Nile Kinnick – American Hero 0

Posted on May 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy representing the University of Iowa.

Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy representing the University of Iowa.

In honor of Memorial Day, we remember a former Heisman Trophy winner who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and was more than just a football hero; he was an American Hero.

In 1939 with war starting in Europe, but the United States still two years removed from entering the war, Nile Kinnick Jr. led the Iowa Hawkeyes to an improbable run into the national Top 10.

A talented all-around athlete, Kinnick had been a Junior Legion baseball teammate of Bob Feller. He also excelled in both basketball and football first at Adel High School in his hometown and then, after the family moved to Omaha following his sophomore year, at Benson High School.

Choosing to return to his home state and attend the University of Iowa, Kinnick played both football and basketball as a sophomore in 1937.

He earned All-Big 10 and third team All-American honors in football. On the basketball court he ranked 15th in the Big 10 in scoring.

Following an injury-plagued junior season in which he earned honorable mention honors on the gridiron, Kinnick decided not to continue his basketball career and instead looked to concentrate on his senior football season for the Hawkeyes.

After posting a 2-13-1 record on the football field during the two previous seasons, the Hawkeyes and their senior leader looked to change their fortune in 1939.

Dubbed the “Ironmen” because most of the starters played both ways and rarely came off the field, the Hawkeyes posted a 6-1-1 record, finished second in the Big 10 and were ranked ninth in the final AP Poll.

Kinnick was the unquestioned star of the Hawkeyes in 1939.

Known for his late game heroics, Kinnick scored the game winning touchdown against Notre Dame and threw late touchdown passes in wins over Indiana and Wisconsin.

Playing primarily at left halfback, Kinnick rushed for 374 yards and five touchdowns. Though he attempted only 31 passes, he totaled 638 passing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also served as the punter and placekicker while also returning punts and kickoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

You Are Looking Live – Remembering the Career of Brent Musburger 1

Posted on January 29, 2017 by Dean Hybl
There was Brent Musburger on the far left sitting with Joe Namath poolside prior to Super Bowl III.

There was Brent Musburger on the far left sitting with Joe Namath poolside prior to Super Bowl III.

Part of the memory for all sports fans are the faces and voices of the announcers and commentators who have helped connect us with great sports moments. As someone whose first memories of television sports include watching the NFL Today during the 1970s, Brent Musburger is one of those figures for me. His catch phrase of “You are looking live” still makes me excited and indicates that I better pay attention because something big could be about to happen. The announcement this week that the 77-year-old Musburger will be retiring from play-by-play duty on January 31st will leave a void in the sports world, but he has provided generations of fans with some great memories.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Musburger began his career in the late 1960s and very quickly found himself in the middle of the action and controversy.

Writing for Chicago’s American newspaper, Musburger covered the 1968 Olympics and the controversial “black power” salute by Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos. In the article, he stated that “Smith and Carlos looked like a couple of black-skinned storm troopers” who were “ignoble,” “juvenile,” and “unimaginative.” Years later Musburger said that comparing the two athlettes to Nazis was “harsh”, but stood by his opinion that the Olympic stage was not the appropriate place to make a political statement.

Just a few months later, Musburger found himself poolside in Miami as one of a handful of reporters sitting with a brash young quarterback who was holding court before Super Bowl III. As it turned out, Joe Namath was just the first of many Super Bowl heroes with whom Musburger would rub elbows.

Beginning in 1968, Musburger was first a radio and then television anchor for WBBM in Chicago. He later moved to Los Angeles where he was a news co-anchor at KNXT (now KCBS-TV) and worked alongside Connie Chung.

In 1973 Musburger began serving as a play-by-play announcer for NFL games on CBS – his color commentating partners included Bart Starr, Tommy Mason and Wayne Walker – and two years later was given the role that would make him famous. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Iron Man Randy Smith
      February 2, 2019 | 5:58 pm

      Randy Smith-BravesThe Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month may have had a pretty common name, but his iron man streak as an NBA player was anything but ordinary.

      In a streak that lasted more than a decade, Randy Smith played in 906 consecutive NBA games to establish an NBA iron man record that lasted more than a decade.

      That Smith made it to the NBA at all was somewhat of an underdog story.

      A three-sport standout at Bellsport High School in Long Island (basketball, soccer and track), Smith also was a three-sport All-American at Division II Buffalo State College. He helped lead the Bengals to three straight basketball conference championships and a spot in the 1970 Division II Final Four.

      Read more »

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