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Home | Tag Archives: hyundai sun bowl

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Gallery+Audio+Story: Fans and Traditions Keep Hyundai Sun Bowl Fresh, Fun

It was a day of family, food and football as the Stanford Cardinal took on the Pitt Panthers in El Paso’s 85th Annual Sun Bowl Game. The energy was high, both on the field and in the stands.

Out in the parking lot, before the game, the connection of community, both local and from afar, was everywhere.

This was my first time covering the Sun Bowl, and only the second Sun Bowl game I’ve ever been to. I decided to go out and discover what people like best about the city and the game.

No matter who I spoke to, there was one common theme – El Paso is a great city with great people.

The Villarreal family, all Stanford alums, were out to show their support for both their school, their team, and the city of El Paso.

“Well, the Sun Bowl is, you know, it’s our marquee event,” says Jose Louis Villarreal of El Paso. “Growing up here, it’s a matter of pride to showcase the city.”

For Jose he attends every Sun Bowl game Stanford has ever played in, beginning in 1977 when he was only in the sixth grade. He’s also attended a total of 30 Sun Bowl games!

“Both things run in my blood, Stanford and the Sun Bowl, and it’s just a great day,” said Jose. “The Sun Bowl has a reputation of being the most hospitable bowl,” says Jose. “Stanford has been to other higher tier bowls, and they say there is no comparison to the way they’re treated here.”

“First time at the Sun Bowl, first time in El Paso,” says Jeff Gamza of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “It’s a beautiful area.”

Before today’s game, he spent three days in El Paso, and what stands out to him?

“The landscape and all the mountains,” said Jeff. “This is a beautiful area.” He also spoke of the people and the fan fiesta.

“People of El Paso have been very friendly,” he said. “The Sun Bowl committee has done a great job here. The fan fiesta was great; it was open to the entire public for free. They had some great stuff there for the kids and the families. It was a great time.”

Lynn and Matt Watson made the trip to the Sun Bowl from Claysville, Pennsylvania.

“We are huge Pitt fans, we’ve been at every Pitt game since he was six-weeks-old,” said Lynn Watson as she pointed to her son Matt, who is not seventeen years old.

Matt will be graduating from high school soon and will be heading off to college not long after. What does he want to do?

“I’m not sure yet,” says Matt, “but probably something to do with sports.”

Don Barr, who is originally from Pennsylvania, and now lives in Phoenix came to El Paso to cheer on Pitt.

“I love everything about Pitt, we’re very close to Pitt,” says Don. “I like the basketball, especially when they were in the Big East, now they are in the ACC. We’ve always been Pittsburg Fans.”

Barr added that Pitt has played one of the toughest football schedules in their division.  “At one point they played about seven teams that were in the top twenty,” said Don.

Patricia and Doug have a daughter in the Pitt Marching Band.  “She’s a senior,” said Patricia as Doug said they were so proud of her.
“And we love El Paso,” said Patricia. “People are so friendly here. Every Uber we’ve taken has been wonderful.”  This was their first time in El Paso and Texas.

For everyone who came from out of town, they could not stop talking about how friendly El Paso is, or how much they loved the food – even Chico’s Tacos.

As I continued to walk through the crowds, talking to people, they were just amazed that El Paso is as friendly as it is.  Then, there are those, like the Villarreal family, who are from El Paso, who’ve made the Sun Bowl game a family tradition.

“We always come to the Sun Bowl,” says Ray Lopez. “It’s our tradition,” says his wife, Cynthia.

The Lopez family has been to at least fifteen games they say. Who are they cheering for? Let me tell you; their answer was one of the best I’ve ever heard.

“We are only going for Stanford ‘cuz we have our annual tickets that we pay for,” says Cynthia Lopez. “We’re right next to the band. So, whoever’s on our side, that’s who we root for, who I root for.”

Then there is the food. In every parking lot, there are people who’ve brought out the grills and began cooking. I was treated to everything today, from hamburgers to burritos. But the best ones came from Carl Townsend.

“We have about 20-25 people that we tailgate at the Sun Bowl every year,” said Carl Townsend. “I try to make what I call the world’s best burritos.”

Let me tell you, they were made from smoked filet mignon and they literally melt in your mouth!

“I’ve been to probably the last twenty-five in a row,” said Carl Townsend, talking about how many Sun Bowl games he’s attended. “Sometimes we have really good games; sometimes we don’t. But you know what? We always have a good time.”

“It’s a very positive image for the city of El Paso,” said Carl of the Sun Bowl. “We have the best weather in the United States. We are a progressive town, a good town. It’s seen nationally.”

He was rooting for Pitt, as he is originally from the mid-west. But there was a bit more behind his decision.

“Stanford, their top boys, don’t like to show up, so I root for the Pitt Panthers,” he said.

It was about this time that I caught up with Drew, a member of the Stanford band.

“This is my first time in El Paso,” said Drew. “It’s beautiful. I’ve never been in a desert like this before; I don’t really know if this is a desert. It’s beautiful, and the people are really nice.”

Now, if you’ve never seen the Stanford Marching Band before, I don’t know what to tell you. They are a band that has as much fun as humanly possible.

“They are fun,” says Aubrey, a ten-year-old from Pittsburgh. “It’s not boring when they play.”

She’s right, and Drew agrees.

“It’s a lot of fun,” says Drew. “It’s a good way to express ourselves, a good way to just have a good time on campus. I love it. We rock out every day.”

I also spoke with Brad Townsend, the band director for Pitt. Ten years and twelve years ago he was at the Sun Bowl when he was with Oregon State.

“I like, it’s just a big event,” said Brad. “Everybody in town is so into it and so appreciative of the teams being here.”

Those fans, the people from El Paso, from out of town, this game is big. Even if you are Robles, an excited four-years-old, who is attending his first Sun Bowl. His dad has attended the past four Sun Bowl games. What does he like best?

“The excitement, the marching bands, battling it out. Everybody hitting hard on the field,” said Robles. “A good family environment.”

What does he say to those who have never attended a Sun Bowl game before?

“You’ll see a great game, a lively game,” said Robles. “The two teams are going to play very hard, all the way to the fourth quarter. You’re going to see two great marching bands. Very loud and thunderous. It’s just an excellent atmosphere.”

Simi Fehoko, wide receiver for Stanford, who took a two-year break from football to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Korea made his bowl debut today.

It’s been good; it’s been fun this whole week of games and events. People are very nice,” said Simi. “Football is big in Texas. We went to the mall the other day, and everybody was stopping us, ‘oh, you play football for Stanford,’ it was just awesome.”

To sum it up, the one thing almost everyone had to say was that this is an amazing game, a tradition that continues. For those who came
from out of town, they simply couldn’t believe how friendly everyone is.

El Paso is, as I’ve discovered through the eyes of visitors, an amazing place.

***
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Story in Many Pics: Stanford Slips by Pitt 14-13 to Take Hyundai Sun Bowl

For the second time in three years the Stanford Cardinal came to El Paso and were outgained yardage-wise by their opponent, and for the second time in three years the team from the Pac-12 came out with a Sun Bowl victory as the Cardinal outlasted the Pittsburgh Panthers, 14-13, to win the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Stanford (9-4), which had to stave off a late North Carolina rally in 2016 to win by two points, had to do the same on Monday in front of 40,680 fans to hold on to a one-point win over Pitt (7-7). It is the first one-point final in the Sun Bowl since 2006.

The game was also turnover-free for the first time in 20 years.

With the win the Cardinal move to 4-1 in the Sun Bowl. The four wins are the most my any team, other than El Paso’s own UTEP (five wins), in Sun Bowl history.

Stanford was outgained in total yards 344-208, lost the time of possession battle by over seven minutes and went 1-for-10 on third downs, but found a way to pull out the victory on a lost fumble by quarterback K.J. Costello at the 3-yard line that somehow found its way right into the hands of running back Cameron Scarlett who was standing in the end zone.

“It’s not about yards, it’s about points. There’s so many different stats and I appreciate the Pro Football Focus stuff, but that doesn’t win football games,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “You’ve got to run the ball well, you’ve got to stop the run, you’ve got to be great on first down, you’ve got to be great on third down and you’ve got to be great in the red zone.”

Pitt had a final possession to try and steal the win, and after a 4th-and-11 conversion from its own 3-yard line with 2:27 left it seemed as if it might just be the Panthers’ day. But another fourth-down conversion fell short a few plays later and sealed the win for the Cardinal.

Scarlett finished with 94 yards on the ground and two touchdowns for Stanford on his way to being named the C.M. Hendricks Most Valuable Player of the game. Costello finished with 105 yards through the air while senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside had three catches for 90 yards, including the biggest catch of the game, a 49-yard catch and run that set up the wacky winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Thomas Booker nabbed the Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Trophy as the game’s best lineman.

“Coach Shaw referred to it in the locker room, I mean this game was a lot like the season, the first half of the season, but effort was never a question with these guys, they are going to figure it out,” Costello said.

On the Pitt side, quarterback Kenny Pickett finished 11-of-29 for 136 yards passing. Senior running back Darrin Hall finished with a game-high 131 yards on the ground while receiver Taysir Mack accumulated 68 yards on four catches.

“I look at our 208 yards rushing and 344 total yards to their 208 and I just doesn’t add up how that score ends up being 13-14 but that’s really the only stat that matters,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said.

The game got off to a slow start as the Sun Bowl had a scoreless first quarter for the first time in six years.

The Panthers drove into Cardinal territory during its first two drives, including getting to the Stanford 28-yard line on its second drive of the day. But a loss of yardage during a running play and a 10-yard sack thwarted the Panthers’ drive.

Pitt finally broke through on the second play of the second quarter as its third drive ended on a 29-yard field goal by Alex Kessman. The biggest play on the 6-play, 54-yard drive was a 47-yard scamper by Hall. Kessman was named the John H. Folmer trophy winner as the game’s top special teams player after going 2-for-3 on field goals.

“Really we just wanted to take advantage of the coverage that they were showing. We felt that we could get the ball out quick and do some work there, which I thought we did,” Pickett said. “We only had a couple of explosives down the field passing. I wish we had some more deep shots that would’ve ended up in touchdowns.”

Stanford, on the other hand, could not getting anything going during its first four drives as the team from the Pac-12 started the game with four consecutive three-and-outs. The Cardinal were held to a total of three yards in the first quarter and did not get their initial first down until the 10:53 mark of the second quarter.

But after its initial first down, the Stanford offense finally came alive as the Cardinal went on a 7-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Scarlett.

Even though Stanford was outplayed by the Panthers, they still held a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Pitt, however, had an answer. The Panthers showed the power of their running game as they answered the Cardinal touchdown with one of their own.

Pitt’s 75-yard drive ate up over five minutes of playing time and culminated with a 6-yard touchdown run by Hall, who finished with 93 yards rushing in the first half. The touchdown gave the Panthers a 10-7 led at the half.

The teams traded three-and-outs to start the second half, but with Pitt at midfield during it s second drive, Pickett hit Mack down the left sideline for a 41-yard hookup that put the ball at the Cardinal 9-yard line.

The Panthers could not punch it in the end zone, however, as they settled for Kessman’s second field goal of the day, a 28-yarder that increased the Pitt lead to 13-7 at the 8:13 mark of the third quarter. It would be the only score of the quarter.

“Offensively we have to finish drives in the red zone,” Narduzzi said. “Overall, offensively and defensively we outplayed them we just didn’t win on the scoreboard which is unfortunate and I feel bad for our seniors.”

Stanford’s winning drive began in the third quarter, and after eight plays and 78 yards the Cardinal marked the final points of the game with 11:28 left.

Pitt drove down the field on its next possession trying to answer Stanford’s score as it had in the first half. The Panthers drove to the Cardinal 35-yard line, but a couple of negative plays forced a 55-yard field goal, which Kessman missed short and wide right.

Pitt would get its final try after forcing a Stanford punt, but the drive ended after a non-conversion of a 4th-and-three with 1:44 left.

Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald Post

FINAL: Stanford 14 (9-4, 6-3 PAC-12), Pitt 13 (7-7, 6-2 ACC)  |  Attendance: 40,680

SUN BOWL GAME NOTES
The 17 combined points at halftime were the least since Dec. 31, 2012 when USC and Georgia Tech combined for 14 points. Georgia Tech and Utah combined for 17 points at the half on Dec. 31, 2011.
The 20 combined points through three quarters were the fewest since 21 points combined by USC and Georgia Tech on Dec. 31, 2012.
Stanford’s one-point win over Pitt was the first one-point margin of victory since Oregon State edged Missouri, 39-38, on Dec. 29, 2006.
The combined 27 points was the least since Oregon State’s 3-0 victory over Pitt on Dec. 31, 2008. The 2012 Sun Bowl saw 28 combined points (Georgia Tech 21, USC 7).
The three combined touchdowns were the least since USC and Georgia Tech combined for four touchdowns on Dec. 31, 2012.
The combined 552 total yards was the least since 451 yards were combined for in 2008 (Pitt vs. Oregon State).
Stanford and Pitt combined for zero turnovers. It’s the first time since Dec. 31, 1998 (TCU vs. USC) that neither team committed a turnover in the Sun Bowl game.

STANFORD NOTES
With Stanford’s victory, it now has four wins in the Sun Bowl game, the second most ever behind UTEP’s five victories. The Cardinal also defeated North Carolina, 25-23 (Dec. 30, 2016), Michigan State, 38-0 (Dec. 31, 1996) and LSU, 24-14 (Dec. 31, 1977).
Stanford has won its last two Sun Bowl appearances, but has been outgained yardage wise in both contests. North Carolina outgained Stanford 398-283 on Dec. 30, 2016, while Pitt outgained Stanford, 344-208.
Stanford punter Jake Bailey punted nine times (401 yards), ranking tied for seventh most in Sun Bowl history. Bailey’s three punts inside the 20-yard line ranks tied for sixth most in Sun Bowl history.
Jake Bailey, who tallied 401 yards on nine punts, is one of seven punters in Sun Bowl history to hit 400-plus yards.

PITT NOTES
Pitt’s Alex Kessman connected on a 29-yard field goal, first points for Pitt in the Sun Bowl since Dec. 30, 1989. Henry Tuten caught a 44-yard touchdown from Alex Van Pelt in the fourth quarter that year.
Darrin Hall rushed for 123 yards. He’s the first player to rush for over 100 yards in the Sun Bowl game since Stanford’s Bryce Love rushed for 119 on Dec. 30, 2016. Hall added a touchdown, six-yard rush in the second quarter.

SUN BOWL MVP
Stanford RB Cameron Scarlett was named the C.M. Hendricks MVP
Scarlett rushed for 94 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns
Scarlett is the seventh RB to win the C.M. Hendricks award since 2005
Scarlett gave Stanford a 7-3 lead on a one-yard TD run during the second quarter
Scarlett gave Stanford the go-ahead lead with a fumble recovery in the end zone in the fourth quarter with 11:28 to play
Scarlett had a long rush of 16 yards during the third quarter

First Quarter Notes
First scoreless first quarter since in the Hyundai Sun Bowl since 2012.
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards, 114-1.
Pitt RB Darrin Hall rushed for 67 yards.
Stanford LB Sean Barton tallied four total tackles.

Second Quarter Notes
Pitt tallied 112 yards compared to Stanford’s 84.
Pitt threw for 53 yards and rushed for 59.
Stanford threw and rushed for 42 yards, respectively.

Halftime Notes
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards in the half, 226-85.
Pitt edged Stanford in total possession time, 19:43 – 10:17.
Pitt went 4-of-9 on third down, while Sanford went 0-of-5.
Stanford linebacker Sean Burton finished the first half with seven total tackles.
Pitt running back Darrin Hall rushed for 93 yards, which was more than his previous game in the ACC Championship.

Third Quarter Notes
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards, 65-16.
Pitt held Stanford to zero pass yards in the third quarter.
Stanford rushed for 16 yards compared to Pitt’s 15 rushing yards.

Fourth Quarter Notes
Stanford regained the lead (14-13) with a fumble recovery touchdown by Cameron Scarlett at the 11:28 mark.
Stanford outgained Pitt in the final quarter, 107-53.
Stanford tallied 46 pass yards compared to Pitt’s 38.

Story in Many Pics: Hyundai Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta

Sunday featured the party before the big game, as fans and bands from both Stanford and Pitt headed downtown for the annual Fan Fiesta.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the fun in this ‘Story in Many Pics’

Hyundai Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta, El paso Convention Center, El Paso TX , December 30, 2018, Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post

Herald Post Preview: 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl – Pitt vs Stanford

The 85th edition of the Hyundai Sun Bowl features, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Pittsburgh Panthers meeting the Pac-12’s Stanford Cardinal.

The two storied programs look to add another winning chapter to their history in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, the second-oldest bowl game in the nation.

Pitt, who finished the 7-6, was the ACC-runner up after losing in the ACC Championship game to undefeated and current No. 2 in College Football Playoff, Clemson. Stanford finished third in the Pac-12 at 8-4, ending the season on a three-game winning streak.

Three of Pittsburgh’s losses were to undefeated teams, two currently in the CFP, the aforementioned Clemson, No. 3 Notre Dame and eighth ranked University of Central Florida (UCF). The Tigers and Fighting Irish are set to play each other in the CFP Semifinal on Dec. 29, while UCF will be facing LSU in the Fiesta Bowl. In addition to playing three top-10 ranked CFP teams, Stanford will be the 11th bowl participant on Pitt’s schedule this year.

“Our invitation to the Hyundai Sun Bowl presents us with a tremendous challenge as well as an exciting opportunity,” Narduzzi said. “I have a great deal of respect for Coach Shaw and the outstanding program he has built at Stanford. They are entering this game with a lot of momentum, having won their last three games. I know our team will be excited about facing a strong Pac-12 program like Stanford.”

Stanford started the season with four straight wins, capped off with an improbable comeback victory in overtime at Oregon, 38-31. Despite the hot start and ranking as high as No. 7, the Cardinal would end up losing four of their next five games, beginning with a loss at Notre Dame 38-17. Notre Dame also defeated Pitt 19-14 earlier this season.

“They’re always talented. They’re physical, and they’ve always got great quarterbacks and fullbacks, so it’s going to be a great game,” said Narduzzi. “I’m honored to be able to get a chance to go play Stanford again.”

This will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1932, and the fourth meeting overall. Pitt leads the series 2-1, Pitt won the first meeting 16-7 at Stanford in 1922, while Stanford won the rematch, 7-0 in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, 1928. Pitt’s only loss in 10 games that season. Four years later, Pitt responded with a 7-0 victory over Stanford at Pitt Stadium in 1932.

Pop Warner, legendary football pioneer, coached both programs, Pitt from 1915-23 and Stanford from 1924-32. Warner led Pitt to 29 straight victories and three National Championships (1915, 1916 and 1918). Warner also led Stanford to a National Championship in 1926.

Warner led Stanford to its lone victory over Pitt in the 1928 Rose Bowl, the win over his former team was his last appearance in the Rose Bowl. Warner’s name is also associated with the “Pop Warner Little Scholars program”, a nonprofit youth football organization for kids aged 5-to-16 in the United States. He started the program in 1929 to keep kids busy and out of trouble.

Pitt returns to a bowl this year after missing a bowl for the first time in 10 years. This will be the 34th bowl game for Pitt (13-20 overall), and fourth Sun Bowl for a team looking to give coach Pat Narduzzi his first bowl win (0-2). Pitt is also looking to avenge an infamous 3-0 loss to Oregon State in 2008, their last Sun Bowl appearance.

The lowest scoring bowl game since Air Force and TCU played to a scoreless draw at the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1959.

Although, Narduzzi has yet to win a bowl game as Pitt’s coach, he did top Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl, 24-20, as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator. This will be Narduzzi’s first Sun Bowl.

On the other side of the field, Stanford is making their 30th appearance in a bowl, going 14-14-1 all time in bowl games. They are making a school record 10th straight trip to a bowl game. The Cardinal will be playing in Texas for the third year in a row, returning to the Sun Bowl it won in 2016, for the fifth time. Stanford is 3-1 in previous Sun Bowl appearances. Stanford went to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio in 2017.

Stanford head coach, David Shaw, 4-3 in bowls, has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year four times (2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017). He has also coached three Heisman Trophy finalists – quarterback Andrew Luck, RB’s Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love. Stanford will seek their fourth straight victory and fourth straight season of at least nine wins.

“Our players had a great time in El Paso,” Coach Shaw said on a conference call on Selection Sunday, “The hospitality was off the charts. The reception (for the players and coaches) is the best of all the bowls.”

Sun Bowl fans could witness a high scoring affair as teams put up over 400 yards of total offense and 23 points a game. Pitt allowed 401.4 total yards per game and 28.8 points, while Stanford allowed 415.6 yards per game and 23.75 points per game.

Both teams averaged over 370 yards of offense and 25 points a game. This will be a clash of offensive approaches, as Pitt loves to run the ball. For the first time in school history, Pitt had two 1,000-yard rushers, Qadree Ollison (1,222) and Darrin Hall (1,046).

Pitt’s success is due to its tremendous ground game, averaging over 229 yards per game. While the Panthers have found success on the ground, the Cardinal is winning through their air attack, averaging over 287 yards per game.

Stanford has not averaged more passing yards than rushing yards per game since 2014, but had to adapt and become pass-focused due to Love struggling with injuries.

“Well the biggest thing for us, after this difficult season we had,” said Shaw, “is getting our guys healthy.”

Stanford saw the return of junior guard Nate Herbig and team MVP senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside last week in the rivalry game, against California and will hope to return junior tight end Kaden Smith and senior wide receiver Trenton Irwin, among others.

Love previously had success playing in the 2016 Sun Bowl, filling in for Christian McCaffrey and finishing with 119 yards on the ground and a 49-yard touchdown reception. However, this season an ankle injury limited Love to 834 total yards (739 rushing and 99 receiving) and six touchdowns.

Leading the newfound Stanford air attack is junior K.J. Costello who passed for 3,429 yards and 29 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Costello took over as the leader of the offense when 2017 Heisman runner-up Bryce Love, went down with an injury early in the season.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, quickly established himself as Costello’s favorite target, leading the team with 60 receptions, 969 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Cardinal’s jump ball specialist is looking to be one of the first wide receivers drafted next season.

Despite the injury setback suffered by Love, many draft insiders project him as one of the first running backs that will be selected. If this were to happen, it would add to the long line of Sun Bowl participants being selected early in the NFL draft.

Whether you are turning in to see the bright futures of pro prospects or are a fan of either of these esteemed programs, the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl is sure to entertain diehard football fans in a matchup that has been decades in the making.

Story in Many Pics: Pitt, Stanford Visit Fort Bliss

The players and staff from the Pitt Panthers and Stanford Cardinal took time after practice Friday to visit our troops at Fort Bliss.

Players heard from Fort Bliss officials, then made their way to motor pool and were introduced to Military Equipment Simulators before heading off to dinner on post.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the tour in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Pitt Panthers visit with the Troops at Ft Bliss Texas, December 28, 2018, Andres Acosta, El Paso Herald-Post

Story in Many Pics: Pitt Panthers Practice at Socorro ISD’s SAC

The Pitt Panthers took to the practice field Friday morning at Socorro ISD’s Student Activities Center (SAC) in Far East El Paso.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the practice in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

The Stanford Cardinal will face off against the Pitt Panthers in the 85th annual Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Years Eve, El Paso Texas, Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post

Story in Many Pics: Stanford Takes to the Practice Fields, Tours El Paso

Ahead of next week’s Hyundai Sun Bowl, both teams are making the rounds from the practice fields to local tourist spots around the Sun City.

On Thursday, Stanford players and staff made their way around El Paso. Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta has been following the fun, and we bring you his view of the festivities in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Stanford Cardinal visits the Lucchese Boot store in El Paso Tx, December 27, 2018, Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post

Video+Gallery+Quotes: Hyundai Sun Bowl Coordinators Press Conference

On Thursday, the offensive and defensive coordinators for both Stanford and Pittsburgh met with the press to talk about their approaches to the Hyundai Sun Bowl, as well as key information regarding players and the season.

Pitt Offensive Coordinator – Shawn Watson
Opening Statement…
“Appreciate the opportunity to be here. The hospitality has been unbelievable. We’ve been here a day, but you guys have been awesome to us. We’re excited about having the opportunity to play Stanford, a great opponent, a classy program, a well-coached football team.”

On strengths of the offense throughout the season.
“We’ve done a nice job of running the football. I think we’ve gotten a lot of guys included in that. Being able to present counters to our base run game. We’re continuing to grow in the area of passing the football. That’s some place that we’ve got to continue to grow at and that’s a process. Especially with young receivers, young quarterbacks and we’re making our way through that. We’re really excited about the effort the kids have given us. We came through our mid part of our season and did an excellent job.”

On getting over the ACC Championship loss.
“We did not play our best that day. The thing we’ve got to do… I’ve got a great group of guys, they are really prideful people and they want to get that taste out of their mouth and get back to business.”

On how teams they have already faced compare to Stanford.
“We’ve played teams that are similar in terms of how they structure themselves with their fronts. They do some things that are just different. We’ve seen the odd front. We’ve seen the even front. We’ve seen the four down front. What they do a nice job of, is they close the back end and they play a lot of single spoke back ends, cover 3 coverages which is different. In looking at that film you see why they do what they do because of the league they play in. That’s what’s so cool about these bowl games. The leagues are so different that you get into another aspect of football and you’ve got to be creative. Their league is a little bit different than ours with the offenses they see and how they structure themselves to beat those offenses so it’s always a nice challenge.”

On whether the offense feels pressure to get going during the last game of the season.
“For our guys, the coaches too, it’s a matter of pride. We were rolling and doing really well and we want to get back to being us. And that’s just us getting back to the fundamentals of the game and going back to work and we’ve been able to do that during our prep time. It’s been good to get that behind us and now we’ve got to go prove it.”

On whether they can put in any new wrinkles into the offense.
“You always can because you’ve got time so you’ve always got a chance to add to yourself or put new things in that come off of what you do. You try to scout yourself and do things that look similar, but they’re really not.”

On establishing a run game.
“In today’s game, you’ve got to really balance yourself. You’ve got to be able to throw the ball efficiently as well as run the football. To run the football, you’ve got to throw it is what I’m saying. Our plan, without giving away too much, we’ve got to take advantage of the pass game to open up the run game. We’ve got to help that run game out with the passing game.”

Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator Randy Bates
Opening Statement…
“Before I get started I would like to say thank you to the bowl people. I have been to many bowls over my young career and this is the most welcoming I’ve ever been at, couldn’t be more excited.

On the importance of winning the eighth game…
“I don’t count. I just go one (game) at a time. I couldn’t even tell what number of game this is. I think this probably is the first time in my career we’ve played 14 games. We don’t count the number we’re playing one team, one week at a time. It’s always important to win a game doesn’t matter if it’s the first win, the fourth win, the 10th win or the 14th win. The important thing is that we’re here to win the game.”

On having enough time to recover from loss in ACC Championship game…
“We met today this morning for the first time with the kids since they had five or six days off. And they’re wide-eyed and ready to go. I’m excited with the attention tat we had and the excitement I felt a level of energy at our meetings. We’re headed to practice right now and I expect nothing else at practice.”

On what he’s learned as a long-time defensive coordinator…
“I think it’s been a learning experience not just for me but also for our players. It took a little while to used to each other and hopefully at this point we all feel like we’re really beginning year two. As a group, I think they know what the expect from me, I know what to expect from them and we can move forward.”

On how different Stanford is without running back Bryce Love…
“I don’t think they (change). If you look at the season, all of their running backs have played quite a bit so I don’t think they’ll change their offense. Coach (David) Shaw does what he does and does it very well. He’s one of the best offensive coordinators in the country. They do what they and I’m sure they’ll have some wrinkles but they do what they do very well and that’s why they’ve been success so I don’t expect a big change in their offense.

On playing a Cover 2-man defense against Stanford…
“I think we’re going to do a lot of different things coverage-wise and front-wise. The beautiful thing about having as many games as we have is we’ve done several things throughout the course of the year so we can go back and draw many of the things that we’ve done over the last 13 games. Yes, they’ll be some changes and exactly what they’ll be… tune-in and you’ll be able to see.”

Stanford Offensive Coordinator – Tavita Pritchard

Opening Statement…
“I’d like to just say it’s great to be back. I had the great fortune of being my third time here. Played in this game in 2009 and was back as a coach the first time and now. This third time is fun because I have a 20-month old but seeing it through his eyes now. We got of the plane and saw Amigo Man and dancing it was a lot of fun. It’s been just what I remember, the hospitality has been off the charts amazing and our guys are having a phenomenal time so far.”

On adjusting without Bryce Love…
“Bryce Love is we believe the best back in college football, unfortunate that he won’t be with us. You know it’s cliche, but football is a man up sport. We’ve felt that in a few different ways this year up front and at different positions and we’ll treat this no differently. We have to come out, we have to find guys that do what he gives us, or what he gave us. Kind of as a committee, but we have a couple of guys that we feel like will fill in.”

On Pitt against guys like JJ Arcega-Whiteside…
“When you compare to some other guys they’ve played, obviously Clemson has a very talented receiving core, we saw that it was their most recent game. The challenge to playing the Pitt defense obviously is that they have a system that they believe in, and they play it extremely well, they play it very hard. They know that system inside and out. I wouldn’t even say its what they’ve done against certain guys necessarily but just in how they play generally. The two corners outside are phenomenal players, they really do a good job of coming down and challenging you, mixing in their different techniques. The safeties, like I said they know that defense really well. You can tell by how they communicate, you can tell by how quickly they diagnose plays and they go fill their gaps or get into coverage. So i think the biggest challenge isn’t necessarily how they’ll play us specifically but just how they play.”

On their focus leading up to the Sun Bowl…
“ I would say we’ve had a wrinkle here and there, just because you have more time to prepare for the game. I think probably like maybe Pitt echoed and coach Lance will say, when you get to this point in the season you kind of are who you are and you stay in your lane. So, we’re gonna do what we feel we do best. So it’s a combination of those two things, we were perfecting some of the things that we’ve already had in but also adding a couple things we feel can attack Pitt’s defense. That’s a permissible challenge, so we feel like we do have to have some other things in there.”

On passing more than expected…
“Yeah I think so. We haven’t run the ball as well as we would like this year. I don’t think that’s any big mystery. We’ve talked about it at different times and points in the season. We want to be a team that can run or throw the football. By necessity we’ve had to throw it a little bit more this year, but in varying degrees we’ve had success doing that.”

Defensive Coordinator – Lance Anderson

Opening Statement – On the Hyundai Sun Bowl and El Paso…
“I’m excited to be here. This is my third Sun Bowl as well. We had 2009 against Oklahoma, 2016 against North Carolina and then looking forward to this year’s matchup against Pittsburgh. One of the things I like most about the Sun Bowl is, I’m a huge college football fan. I love a game of college football and this is the second oldest bowl game. So just the history, tradition – you look at some of the players that have played in this game, the teams that have been a part of this, it’s fun to be a part of this history and tradition. Also what I like about this is the whole community – this is the whole El Paso area is so invested and involved in this bowl game. You get here and you feel how important this bowl game is to the entire community and it’s fun to be a part of that as well. So, looking forward to being here, looking forward to all the activities and things going on throughout the week, but most importantly most excited about the matchup with Pittsburgh. They’re a good physical football team, they run the football well, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us. You know, defensively we’ve been a little bit up and down, a little bit inconsistent, we’ve had some really good games, others where we maybe didn’t play as well, so we’re looking for that one last opportunity where we can go out and play some good football and we know it’s going to be a tough physical matchup.”

On Pitt Establishing a Run Game…
“I think they’ve run the ball really well all year long – 2,000 yard rushers that are both big physical running backs, a couple tight ends that are almost like offensive linemen, so I would expect that they would come out and try to run the football.”

On This Past Season…
“I think one of the things we’ve done best throughout the year is our guys have played hard, they’ve really bought in mentally to what we’re doing, they understand the defense well, there are just times we need to execute better and make more plays, we need to play a little bit more physical, but I’ve really been pleased with the effort of our guys all season long.”

On The The Difference of Respective Conferences…
“Yes, it is different, there is no question about that but you go back to the beginning of the season and we opened the season with San Diego State. That was another very run oriented team, a lot of big personnel groups where they would put multiple tight ends and fullbacks on the field, very committed to running the football – play action, bootlegs were a big part of their game, so there are definitely some similarities between what San Diego State did and what you see from Pittsburgh.”

On Pitt’s Play Difference In Last Two Games After Losing Key Starters…
“You go back and you watch the offensive line in those games. I think the center was a good football player, so I think they definitely feel his loss, but as a unit that’s a very good group – a big physical group, we expect them to play well. I think having this month or so time of preparation will allow them more time to gel as a unit. I think that’s so important on the offensive line and they have a lot of talented big physical guys, so I expect they play well upfront.

On Sophomore Cornerback No. 11 Paulson Adebo…
“Paulson Adebo is a tremendous talent, he’s a guy that we recognize shortly after we got here that thought could be pretty special. Great length, runs really well, great ball skills, but until the guy gets on the field and performs then that is just potential. But he has maxed out potential this year and he’s played at a high level. You’ve seen everything that he does, you see his speed, you see his length, you see his ball skills. Another thing I’ve been impressed with is his willingness to tackle, he does not shy away from contact. We’ve had some games this year where he’s missed tackles and he understands that’s a place where he needs to get better. He never shies away from contact, always working to get better where I think he’s had a great season for us but he’s got a huge upside. He can be really special.”

Story in Many Pics: Stanford, Pitt Arrive for Hyundai Sun Bowl

Under a West Texas sky that seemingly displayed all the seasons under the sun in just a few minutes, Stanford and Pittsburgh winged their way to the Sun City ahead of next week’s annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the arrivals in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

The Standford Cardinal arrival in the Sun City for the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl, Atlantic Aviation, El Paso TX, December 26, 2018, Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post

Gallery+Story: 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Set: Stanford vs Pitt

Sun Bowl Officials and football fans gathered at Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino for ‘Selection Sunday’ ahead of the annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Headlining the 85th Annual game will be Stanford and Pittsburgh, both teams making return visits to El Paso.

“This is another great matchup with two really good football teams,” Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association Bernie Olivas said. “To have a conference runner-up in our game is always great.  We are ecstatic for the teams to arrive and enjoy a fun and exciting week with the Borderland community.”

The 8-4 Cardinal returns to the Sun City, where they hold a 3-1 record in the Sun Bowl, most recently downing North Carolina 25-23 in 2016.

The Pitt Panthers roll into the borderland fresh off the ACC Championship game, with a 7-6 record overall this season.  Pitt last played in the Sun Bowl in 2008, losing 3-0 to Oregon.

According to the Pittsburgh Gazette, Pitt and Stanford have met three times before – the most recent game in 1932 – with the Panthers beating Stanford; Pitt leads the all-time series 2-1.

The 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl is set for Monday, December 31 at Sun Bowl Stadium, with kick-off scheduled for 12 p.m. (MT).

All information for the game can be viewed online. Fans can also call the Sun Bowl Association office (915-533-4416) and are also invited to stop by the Sun Bowl Association office located at 4150 Pinnacle Street, Suite 100 in El Paso to purchase tickets.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was at the selection, and we bring you his view of the game in the gallery below.

Officials Announce Line Up for Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic

Fans don’t want to miss the opportunity to see future PGA Tour  players in action as the 2018 Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic is set for November 18-20 at the El Paso County Club.

Current PGA players such as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have hit the links at the El Paso Country Club and this year there are 29 amateurs from around the country invading the Borderland.

“The golf committee continues to work tirelessly to bring some of the best amateur players in the country to El Paso,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “This year is no different. We invite everyone to come out and watch the competition and even get autographs and pictures with future pros.”

Participants are from all around the country and the world and have accomplished some amazing achievements on the course.  They have achieved All-America status or have a high-amateur ranking.

“Players are invited to this tournament because of their many college achievements and outstanding amateur career and ranking,” said Tournament Director Bob Kimble.  “I can assure the fans that many future PGA Tour players will be out on the course during this tournament.”

Doug Ghim of Texas won last year’s All-America Golf Classic carding rounds of 67-64-64.

The Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic is one of the premier amateur golf tournaments in the country. Some of golf’s brightest stars have traveled to El Paso to compete in the tournament since its inaugural year in 1974.

Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Justin Thomas, Notah Begay and Jerry Pate are just a handful of past participants who went on to have successful PGA careers.

College All-America Golf Classic Alumni have combined to win 52 major championships and have earned over $2 billion in career earnings.

The annual event starts with the Titleist Long Drive Contest and PING Putting Contest on Sunday, November 18 at 9 a.m. (MT).  The best opportunity for fans to get photos with the future PGA players and obtain autographs is on Sunday immediately following the two contests.

Rounds one and two are scheduled for Monday, November 19 with a shotgun start scheduled for 8 a.m. (MT) while the final round is set for 8 a.m. (MT) on Tuesday, November 20.

The Lee Trevino Trophy will be presented to the winner immediately following Tuesday’s play.

 

2018 Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic Participants

 

John Augenstein – Hometown: Owensboro, Ky. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Vanderbilt

  • 2018 All-SEC Second Team and 2018 SEC Academic Honor Roll selection
  • Named to the GCAA Freshman All-American team and as a GCAA Honorable Mention All-American selection in 2017
  • Named SEC Freshman of the Year and to the All-Freshman Team in 2017
  • Clinched the SEC Championship in 2017 after winning the deciding matches in the semifinals against Florida and the finals against Texas A&M
  • Career round of 63 came in second round of Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2017

 

Quade Cummins – Hometown: Weatherford, Okla. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Oklahoma

  • Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection and All-Region pick by the GCAA after the 2017-18 season
  • Won the 2016 Oklahoma Amateur Championship
  • Finished third at The NCAA Norman Regional shooting his fifth 67 on the season. That was the seventh top 10 finish of his career.

 

Brad Dalke – Hometown: Norman, Okla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Oklahoma

  • Second-team Division I PING All-American after the 2017-18 season
  • Named a 2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection
  • Sank championship-clinching putt at the 2017 NCAA Championships
  • Earned first collegiate win at the 2017 NCAA Stanford Regional
  • Competed in The 2017 Masters and 2017 U.S. Open
  • 2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection
  • Finished as the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Amateur

 

Alex del Rey – Hometown: Madrid, Spain – Amateur Status: Jr. at Arizona State

  • Two-time Spanish National Champion (U16/18).
  • Posted four top-10 finishes and had a 70.89 stroke average in 12 tournaments and had 12 rounds in the 60s in sophomore season.
  • In 2017-18 he earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors after a solid sophomore season and then earned PING All-West Region honors.
  • An accomplished junior golfer on the Spanish circuit, he has been a member of the Spanish national team since the age of 14

 

Chandler Eaton – Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Duke

  • Named to PING All-East Team after averaging a 71.70 scoring average over 37 rounds, second best on the team
  • T-15 finish at the NCAA National Championship, giving him honorable mention All-America status
  • A PING All-East Region selection after the 2016-17 season and was also named to the All-ACC and All-ACC Academic teams that year
  • Tied for the team lead in rounds played (39) during the 2016-17 season and also garnered the team’s second-best scoring average with a 71.74 that year

 

Austin Eckroat – Hometown: Edmond, Okla. – Amateur Status: So. at Oklahoma State

  • Received honorable mention All-America recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America after the 2017-18 season
  • Finished at 218 and alone in 19th place at the NCAA Columbus Regional before posting a 1-over 289 total at the NCAA Championship to tie for 19th place. earned a 1-up victory over Alabama’s Davis Shore in the NCAA title match
  • Runner-up at the 2018 Pacific Coast Amateur
  • Runner-up to teammate Hayden Wood at the 2018 Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship

 

Stephen Franken – Hometown: Raleigh, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at NC State

  • ACC Player of the Year and ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
  • GCAA and Golfweek Second-Team All-American
  • All-ACC, ACC Honor Roll and ACC All-Academic Team
  • Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar and PING All-Region East Team selection
  • Finished season with stroke average of 70.56 in 36 rounds played … Season stroke average was second lowest in program history
  • In 12 tournaments during his junior year, Franken finished in the top-10 eight times, the top-five six times and won once

 

Will Gordon – Hometown: Davidson, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Vanderbilt

  • 2017-18 Scoring Average: 70.89
  • Named GCAA Honorable Mention All-American and a GCAA All-America Scholar
  • Won medalist honors at the East Lake Cup in front of a national television audience on the Golf Channel with an even-par 72
  • 2018 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2018 GCAA Honorable Mention All-American and 2018 All-SEC First Team selection
  • 2017 Tom Cousins Award, 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2017 SEC Community Service Team
  • 2016 GCAA Freshman All-American, 2016 SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll, 2016 All-SEC Second Team and 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team

 

Blaine Hale – Hometown: Dallas, Texas – Amateur Status: Sr. at Oklahoma

  • 2017-18 stroke average: 71.69
  • Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection after the 2017-18 season
  • All-Region selection by the GCAA
  • Finished fourth at The 2018 NCAA Norman Regional shooting a 54-hole score of 209 (-7)
  • Earned wins in the semifinal and final to help OU secure the 2017 NCAA Championship
  • Shot career-low 64 at Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational (Oct. 1-3)
  • Two top-5 and six top-10 career finishes during his OU career
  • 2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection

 

Harry Hall – Hometown: Hayle, England – Amateur Status: Sr. at UNLV

  • Named PING All-West Region after the 2017-18 season
  • Selected All-Mountain West for the third straight year
  • Named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar and also Academic All-MW for the third straight year
  • Was a member of the international team at the Arnold Palmer Cup
  • Finished first in Santa Rosa at the U.S. Amateur Qualifier and also finished first in Las Vegas at the U.S. Open Pre-Qualifier
  • Earned Dean’s List honors for both Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 and was named to the Academic All-MW team for the second straight year in 2017. He also earned the league’s Scholar-Athlete Award that year

 

Philip Knowles – Hometown: Bradenton, Fla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Florida

  • PING All-American, honorable mention in 2018 and the North Florida Male Athlete of the Year during the same year
  • PING All-Southeast Region and All-ASUN First Team in 2017 and 2018
  • ASUN All-Freshman team in 2016
  • ASUN All-Academic in 2018 and ASUN Academic Honor Roll for three consecutive years (2017-18 | 2016-17 | 2015-16)

 

Walker Lee – Hometown: Houston, Texas – Amateur Status: So. at Texas A&M

  • 2017-18 stroke average: 73.03
  • Tied atop the player leaderboard at the Aggie Invitational (211,-5) to earn his first career victory and was named SEC Freshman of the Week following his win at the Aggie Invite
  • Finished tied for 32nd at the NCAA Bryan Regional and posted a tie for 41st at the NCAA Championship to help that Aggies advance to match play
  • Before arriving at Texas A&M, Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings regarded Lee as the No. 2 player in the state of Texas as well as the No. 18 player nationally

 

Joshua Martin – Hometown: Pinehurst, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Carolina

  • Has played in 18 tournaments with a stroke average of 73.55 over 51 rounds during his time at North Carolina
  • Semifinalist at the 2016 North Carolina Amateur Match Play Championship (was No. 1 seed after two rounds of stroke play)
  • The No. 1 ranked player in the state of North Carolina and No. 14 in the nation by Golfweek in 2015
  • AJGA Rolex All-America selection in 2010 and 2012 • The 2014 North Carolina Junior Player of the Year by the Tar Heel Youth Golf Association and the Carolinas Golf Association
  • Won the 2014 North Carolina Amateur with rounds of 67-65-71-67 becoming the youngest champion in event’s history

 

Patrick Martin – Hometown: Birmingham, Ala. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Vanderbilt

  • Averaged 71.37 strokes per round as a junior
  • 2018 GCAA Honorable Mention All-American, GCAA All-America Scholar and 2018 All-SEC Second Team
  • 2017 Nicklaus Award Finalist, 2017 GCAA First Team All-American, 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2017 All-SEC First Team
  • • 2016 All-SEC Second Team, 2016 Tom Cousins Award Winner, SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll and 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team
  • Led Vanderbilt with 70.34 stroke average in 2016-17, the second-lowest in program history.
  • Finished runner-up at the SEC Championship after posting a 10-under par, 200, a Vanderbilt record at the event.
  • Won the Schenkel Invitational in 2017 for his first collegiate individual title

 

Garrett May – Hometown: Hope, Ark. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Baylor

  • 2016-17 stroke average: 71.24
  • Earned 2018 Golfweek All-America third team honors and honorable mention All-America from GCAA
  • Two-time PING All-Central Region selection (2017, 2018)
  • Two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, picking up second team honors in 2017 and first team recognition in 2018
  • Earned 2018 GCAA All-America Scholar recognition and five-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection.

 

Bryson Nimmer – Hometown: Bluffton, S.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Clemson

  • Three-time first-team All-ACC selection and two-time All-ACC Academic team
  • Three-time All-District by Coaches Association and honorable mention All-American by Coaches Association as a sophomore and second-team All-American as a junior
  • Ranks third in Clemson history in career stroke average with a 71,58 figure (min of 50 rounds
  • Has three top eight finishes at the ACC Tournament… won ACC Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2015-16, he was just the third Clemson player to win the award

 

Mason Overstreet – Hometown: Kingfisher, Okla. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Arkansas

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 71.52
  • PING All-Region Team and SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll
  • Earned his first collegiate win as he was co-medalist at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate with rounds of 65-65-70 for a career-best 10-under par 200
  • Reached the round of 16 at the 2018 U.S. Amateur
  • As a freshman was the NCAA Championship runner-up and a PING All-America honorable mention

 

Turk Pettit – Hometown: Auburn, Ala. – Amateur Status: So. at Clemson

  • 2017-18 Scoring Average: 70.97
  • First-team All-ACC as a true freshman and was an honorable mention All-American
  • Finished the 2017-18 season ranked No. 35 in the nation by Golfweek and 65 by Golfstat in the final rankings
  • Had second round 65 at NCAA Regional to tie Clemson record for low score at any NCAA Tournament in history
  • Two-time State Champion in Alabama, also won Alabama Amateur in 2016 and finished runner-up in 2017

 

Peng Pichaikool – Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand – Amateur Status: Jr. at Mississippi State

  • 2017-18 Scoring Average: 71.75
  • Placed in the Top 5 twice and in the top 10 three times
  • In December of 2017, he shot 9-under at the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship, an Asian Development Tour (pro) event in Thailand, to a tie for 12th, the best finish by an amateur
  • In January 2018, he competed against some of the best collegiate talent at the Jones Cup, where he placed fifth
  • Tied for 30th and took a share of the best amateur finish at another Asian Tour event, the Thailand Open, in June.
  • He was named to the SEC All-Freshmen team after the 2016-17 season and named to the GCAA Ping All-Region Team that year

 

Spencer Ralston – Hometown: Gainesville, Ga. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Ga.

  • 2017-18 Scoring Average: 70.86
  • Chosen as an Honorable Mention All-American by PING and the GCAA
  • Named Second-Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches
  • Named to the PING All-Southeast Region Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America
  • Named to the SEC’s All-Freshman Team after the 2016-17 season
  • Won the Tommy Aaron Award as Gainesville’s Player of the Year four times, was named All-State four times and named 5A Player of the Year three times

 

Matthias Schmid – Hometown: Maxhvette, Germany – Amateur Status: Fr. at Louisville

  • 2016-17 Stroke Average: 71.72
  • Selected as a PING all-region honoree
  • Became a member of the Germany junior team with a second-place finish at the Belgium U18 and a win at the Evolve
  • Won the Bavarian champion in 2017, shooting a career-low 199 and 17-under par

 

Alex Smalley – Hometown: Wake Forest, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Duke

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 70.78 (program record)
  • 2017-18 PING All-East team and All-ACC honors
  • Set program records in the categories of most birdies made in a season (152) and rounds at par or better (25)
  • 2016-17 All-ACC Team
  • 2016-17 All-ACC Academic Team
  • 2016-17 Division I Ping All-Region Team (East)
  • Finished 2016-17 season with best stroke average on team
  • Finished 2016-17 season with lowest round of 54 on team
  • Won the individual medal at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club

 

Brandon Smith – Hometown: Frisco, Texas – Amateur Status: Jr. at Texas A&M

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 71.84
  • PING All-America honorable mention selection
  • Was in the hunt for medalist honors throughout the NCAA Bryan Regional (206, -10) before ultimately finishing in a tie for second, one stroke of the lead
  • Stood out as the highest-placing Aggie during stroke play at the NCAA Championship (287, -1) where he finished tied for 11th to help A&M advance to match play
  • Qualified for the Texas Amateur Championship for four consecutive years before arriving at Texas A&M

 

Austin Squires – Hometown: Union, Ky. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Cincinnati

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 71.91
  • 2017 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year
  • 2017 & 2018 AAC First Team Honoree
  • 2017 NCAA Tournament Regional Individual Participant
  • 2017 & 2018 U.S. Amateur Qualifier, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2018
  • 2018 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar
  • Qualified for the U.S. Amateur in Pebble Beach, California, advancing to the quarterfinals of match play, the deepest run by a Bearcat in the nation’s top amateur tournament in school history

 

Jackson Suber – Hometown: Tampa, Fla. – Amateur Status: Fr. at Ole Miss

  • High School Stroke Average: 71.0
  • Two-time State individual runner-up
  • In 2016, was named Tampa Bay Hillsborough Player of the Year, Spectrum Sports Player of the Year, and H.B. Plant’s Player of the Year
  • Had a third-place finish in the Florida Amateur, a top-20 in the USJR Championship and Florida Boys Jr. Amateur
  • Named to 2018 Wyndham Cup Team

 

Travis Trace – Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Florida

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 72.66
  • 2018 PING All-American, honorable mention and PING All-Southeast Region, 2nd team
  • 2018 All-ASUN, 2nd tea
  • 2017 ASUN All-Tournament and 2017-18 ASUN Academic Honor Roll (2017-18)
  • Became first UNF player to qualify for NCAA DI Championship as an individual in May of 2018

 

Thomas Walsh – Hometown: High Point, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Virginia

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 70.71
  • PING third team All-America
  • Finished the 2017-18 season 39th in final Golfstat ranking and No. 65 by Golfweek
  • 2018 ACC individual champion
  • Was 12th at the 2018 NCAA Regional
  • Named an honorable mention All-American by PING/GCAA after the 2016-17 season

 

Hayden Wood – Hometown: Edmond, Okla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Oklahoma State

  • Was named a first-team Academic All-Big 12 pick
  • Tied for 23rd place at the NCAA Championship
  • Earned medalist honors at the 2017 U.S. Amateur
  • Earned honorable mention Rolex All-America honors in 2012
  • Helped Edmond North to four consecutive Oklahoma Class 6A state titles

 

Chun An Yu – Hometown: Taoyuan, Taiwan – Amateur Status: Jr. at Arizona State

  • 2017-18 Stroke Average: 71.61
  • Won the 98th annual Western Junior title in the summer of 2015 as he rallied late and won in a sudden-death playoff and joined the likes of Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk on the Milt Woodard Champions Trophy.
  • Won the 2015 Junior Players Championship with a 5-under 67 and won the tournament by one stroke after trailing by six.
  • Finished second at the 2014 Callaway Junior Championship and finished third at the 2014 Asia games

Video: Sun Bowl Parade Volunteer Float Builders Talk About the Joys of Helping

With the 82nd Annual Sun Bowl Parade only a couple months away, float building is underway and local volunteers are sharing their experiences.

In a video produced by the Sun Bowl Association, volunteers talk about why they continue to dedicate their free time to build floats.

Sun Bowl Parade officials say their event is “the largest community event in the west Texas, New Mexico and Mexico area, it brings together service clubs and civic organizations as well as all sectors of business and industries within the community.”

“The holiday pageant is planned, coordinated and produced by volunteer efforts and draws an annual crowd of over 250,000 spectators,” officials add.

Back in 1935 the El Paso Downtown Lions Club first organized the parade, which was held on New Year’s Day from 1936 until 1978, when the event was rescheduled for Thanksgiving Day.

The parade, sponsored by FirstLight Federal Credit Union, is scheduled for Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 22, 2018 with a start-time of 10 a.m. (MT).

The parade runs down Montana Ave from Ochoa Street and ends at Copia Street.

For more information on the parade go to the Sun Bowl Association website.

Gallery+Story: Sun Bowl Association, CFP Foundation to Honor Local Teachers

The Sun Bowl Association, along with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, are partnering to present the ‘Extra Yard for Teachers Week’ and are honoring two area Teachers of the Year.

“We believe we have some amazing and most caring teachers here in El Paso,” said Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “We wanted to make sure we took this opportunity to say, ‘thank you’ to all our teachers and honor a couple of individuals who deserve recognition.”

Anna Peden, of the Clint Independence School District, and Eduardo Hinojos, of Socorro Independence School District, will be recognized on December 31, 2018 during the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Game.

Ms. Peden has been an educator for 29 years and currently teaches fifth grade at Desert Hills Elementary school in the Clint ISD. Mr. Hinojos has been a teacher for ten years, teaching Government and Political Science at Americas High School in the Socorro ISD.

While Peden and Hinojos were presented with a certificate, t-shirt, gift card, and two tickets to the Hyundai Sun Bowl football game to honor and thank them for all that they do as educators, the Hyundai Sun Bowl will also recognize all teachers in attendance at the game.

‘Extra Yard for Teachers Week’ is set for September 15-22.  This is the Sun Bowl Association’s first year partnering with the CFP Foundation.

The CFP Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to using the platform of college football to spread positive messages and promote a culture of giving. ‘Extra Yard for Teachers Week’ is a CFP event that helps recognize, support, and celebrate all the amazing educators in our nation.

For more information, visit the Extra Yard for Teachers Week website.

85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Game Tickets Now on Sale

Officials with the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl announced on Wednesday that tickets are on sale now for the Southwest’s most iconic bowl game.

The 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl will kick off at 12 p.m. (MT) Monday, December 31, 2018 and will feature teams from the ACC and Pac-12 conferences.

“I am continually amazed that our local fans are so loyal to this longtime tradition and to see how excited they are every year to return to the Sun Bowl for great football games,” said Hyundai Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas.

“Our game is an El Paso tradition and the prices for tickets are very affordable, especially when one compares it to other forms of entertainment.”

Ticket prices start at just $22 with other options priced at $32, $47, $57 and $62. A map of the stadium’s layout can be found here and ticket information can be found here.

Tickets for the game can be purchased online or by calling the Sun Bowl Association office at 915-533-4416. Fans are also invited to stop by the Sun Bowl Association office in El Paso at 4150 Pinnacle Street, Suite 100 to purchase tickets. Fans have already begun purchasing tickets and renewing their ticket plans.

Fans can help send others to the game through our “Salute a Soldier Program” and “Take a Child to the Game Program.”

“As a non-profit organization we are always looking for ways to have others join us in giving back to the community,” Olivas said.  “Our ‘Salute a Soldier Program’ and ‘Take a Child to the Game Program’ are two great ways to show love to the community we live in.  The Fort Bliss soldiers who have received tickets in the past have been ecstatic and it’s always great to give tickets to children, especially as a Christmas gift.”

The “Salute a Soldier Program” allows fans and companies the opportunity to give a Fort Bliss soldier a memory to last a lifetime. As a sponsor, you will give the soldier an opportunity to attend the game while your company is recognized during the game.

If a fan or company would prefer to take part in the “Take a Child to the Game Program” that person or company affords local children the opportunity to attend the Hyundai Sun Bowl. With the game falling only four days after Christmas, this would make an excellent Christmas gift. The goal is to send 3,000 children to the game and give them an experience they will never forget.

Along with the goodwill that comes with sending a child to the game, any person or company taking part in this program will receive recognition at the game. The Sun Bowl Association is happy to provide a list of youth organizations that your company may choose from, if you do not already have a connection with one in the community.  Contact the Sun Bowl Association ticket or marketing offices for details on the two programs.

This year’s game marks the 51st consecutive year the Sun Bowl has been broadcast by CBS, which makes it the second longest program on the same network on all of television only behind the Master’s Golf Tournament.

The Hyundai Sun Bowl also works with Ticketmaster, call the Ticketmaster toll free line at 800-745-3000 or download the Ticketmaster mobile app for both iOS and Android to purchase tickets. Tickets purchased through Ticketmaster will have additional handling and convenience fees.

YMCA Hyundai Sun Bowl Challenge Returns for the 2018 College Football Season

The Sun Bowl Association is teaming up with the YMCA of El Paso to give football fans around the country another chance to win a $1,500 Sun Bowl Game Package for the Hyundai Sun Bowl by participating in the YMCA of El Paso Hyundai Sun Bowl Challenge.

“The YMCA has always enjoyed being a part of the events that the Sun Bowl Association puts on,” said Bill Coon, CEO/President of the El Paso YMCA. “The community has been very generous to us and other organizations such as ours, so we are more than happy to partner with the Sun Bowl Association to do this.”

The contest starts this week as the 2018 college football season is now underway. Each week contestants will attempt to predict the winners of 10 predetermined Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Pac-12 games, the Hyundai Sun Bowl conference affiliates.

The first game for contestants to predict is set for Friday, August 31.

With each game valued at one point, a weekly winner will be determined by the individual who accumulates the most points. In addition, contestants will be asked to estimate the total points scored by both teams of a predetermined game.

In case of a tiebreaker, the contestant with the most accurate prediction of total points scored will be the weekly winner.

“Fans from around the country continue to have a great time with this promotion and we want to continue to make the college football experience a fun and exciting one so once again we are teaming up with the YMCA of El Paso,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas.

“We would like to thank Bill Coon and the YMCA of El Paso for the continued support, and hope the contest makes the college football season more exciting for everyone that participates.”

The 13 weekly winners will win two 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl tickets along with one month free adult membership to the YMCA of El Paso. Weekly winners will automatically advance to “Championship Week,” in which they will once again predict the winners of each college football conference championship game.

The contestant with the most correctly chosen conference title games will receive two Captain’s Club level tickets to the 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl, two VIP Pre-game tent party tickets, one parking pass and one-year family membership to the YMCA of El Paso.

Football fans must register for the Hyundai Sun Bowl Challenge by logging into the contest website. For complete rules and regulations click here.

Week One Games:

Colorado vs. Colorado State

Friday, August 31 at 7:30 PM (MT)

Washington State vs. Wyoming

Saturday, September 1 at 1:30 PM (MT)

No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn

Saturday, September 1 at 1:30 PM (MT)

UNLV vs. No. 15 USC

Saturday, September 1 at 2:00 PM (MT)

North Carolina vs. California

Saturday, September 1 at 2:00 PM (MT)

No. 14 Michigan vs. No. 12 Notre Dame

Saturday, September 1 at 5:30 PM (MT)

Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama

Saturday, September 1 at 6:00 PM (MT) –

BYU vs. Arizona

Saturday, September 1 at 8:45 PM (MT)

No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU

Sunday, September 2 at 5:30 PM (MT)

No. 20 Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Florida State

Monday, September 3 at 6:00 PM (MT)

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