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Home | Tag Archives: the u

Tag Archives: the u

Cougars edge Hurricanes in snowy Hyundai Sun Bowl 20-14

On a snowy day in El Paso, the Washington State Cougars outlasted the weather and the Miami Hurricanes to take the 82nd edition of the Hyundai Sun Bowl 20 to 14.

The Cougars took the win, despite being held scoreless by the ‘Canes defense in the increasingly snowy second half.

Late in the game, a pass attempt by Miami Running Back Joseph Yearby would turn out to be costly for the Hurricanes. Only down by four at that point, the play was set up to give them the lead, but the ball slipped out of Yearby’s hand, and then was intercepted by Washington State’s Shalom Luan – icing the six-point victory for the Cougars.

“It was a play that we carried into the game we worked on it for a week and a half, two weeks, we knew it was going to be there. We knew we had to do a great job at setting it up,” Interim Head Coach, Larry Scott said. “We called it at the right time and the ball just slipped out of his hand.”

The Cougars struck first after Quarterback Luke Falk found running back Jamal Morrow down the middle for a 31-yard catch and run.

As the Hurricanes took the field for their first possession, the snow began to fall, but that didn’t stop Miami from matching the Cougars’ score.

The second quarter would be dominated by the Cougars and aided by a number of penalties against the Hurricanes. The Cougars would
score 13 unanswered point before the half – including Defensive Back Rayshawn Jenkins – before getting ejected for targeting a Washington State player in the end zone.

Miami was penalized six times for 63 yards in the first half, hurting their chances in scoring position and finishing the game with a total ofFullSizeRender nine penalties for 105 yards. The Cougars took advantage of that holding a 20-7 lead at halftime.

“I thought as a team we really complemented each other’s play a little bit, I thought offense started pretty quick, defense started slow, special teams was reasonably steady, of course weather makes it challenging,” Cougars Head Coach Mike Leach said. “The challenging part isn’t to make a play here and there, the challenging part is to be consistent… I thought our defense played well at the end.”

After a snowy halftime show, the Hurricanes and Cougars went scoreless in the third quarter; the falling snow intensifying as the game progressed.

FullSizeRender (2)It took two plays for The U to ignite a comeback attempt, starting with a 60-yard run on a reverse play by Braxton Berrios to the Cougars’ 5-yard line. Mark Walton would finish the drive on the ensuing play to cut the lead by six after a touchdown run.

The Hurricanes would have one last chance to take the lead after forcing a punt with 3:13 left to play, Berrios would field and return a punt to the Cougars’ 28-yard line and that’s when the drive ended after the interception by Shalom.

Falk who missed the team’s last game of the regular season and had not played in over a month, would be named Player of the Game after completing 29 of 53 passes for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“It was different, I thought we were playing in the sun bowl and we ended up getting the snow bowl,” Falk said. “I thought we allowed the weather to affect us on offense more than it should have, but like I said, the defense just had our back. They really should get the game ball instead.”

This marks he first bowl win for the Cougars since the 2003 Rose Bowl while Miami drops to 0-6 in bowl appearances since 2006. Leach helped the Cougars improve from 3-9 in 2014 to a 9-4 finish in 2015 to go along with the Sun Bowl victory.

“I think it’s only a stepping stone, this program is on the rise, it’s just been a team effort all season long,” Falk said. “We want to carry the tradition now.”

Miami will now close the book on the Al Golden era that began after their last visit to the Sun Bowl in 2010 and welcome new head coach, Mark Richt.

“Obviously they’re upset because they fought, one thing they did not do is give in or give up, or quit,” Scott said. “They fought to the bitter end…when you fight and you keep calling and believing that things don’t work out, it hurts, but at the same time I told them they had nothing to be ashamed of.”

82nd Hyundai Sun Bowl Preview: ‘Canes, Cougs set to light up the Sun Bowl

The 82nd annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game will feature a pair of 8-4 teams from opposite coasts. The Hurricanes (ACC) hail from sunny Miami, Florida; while the Cougars (PAC-12) travel from the Pacific Northwest state of Washington.

Aside from their identical win-loss record, both programs are making their second-ever appearance in the bowl game, but this will be the first time they play each other.

The Cougars defeated Purdue 33-27 in 2001, while the Hurricanes fell to Notre Dame 33-17 in front of a sold-out crowd in 2010. Miami is looking for its first bowl win since 2006, while Washington State hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2003 Rose Bowl.

Here’s a look at both squads and how they made it to El Paso.

THE ‘CANES

The Hurricanes or as fans call them, The U, is a program in search of the route to return to their elite status among the college football ranks. Miami, and their fans, look to add to their five National Championships, a feat they haven’t achieved since 2001. Miami produced 26 NFL first round picks from 2000-2008, success they’re looking to replicate with new Head Coach Mark Richt.

This year’s team is in transition, much like their last visit to the Sun Bowl, and  are welcoming a new head coach. The Al Golden era ended after worst loss in program history to Clemson, 58-0 on October 24. That loss dropped them to 4-3, after beginning the season with three straight victories. Interim Head Coach Larry Scott, held down the fort for the Canes’ new head man Richt, going 4-1 to end the regular season.

It was the game that followed their loss to Clemson that helped spark their 4-1 finish, as Miami was down 27-24 to Duke with six seconds left in the game; the ‘Canes would need eight laterals on the game’s final kickoff to win the game 30-27 in thrilling fashion.

The Hurricanes offense is led by Quarterback Brad Kaaya, who threw for 3,019 yards, 15 touchdowns against four interceptions. Behind him are running backs Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton who combined for over 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns.

The defense that has  allowed 28-points per game and more rushing yards than passing yards on a per game average, will have its hands full with Washington State’s high-octane offense.

THE COUGS

The Washington State Cougars are led by Mike Leach, formerly the head coach at  Texas Tech, who – along side Stanford’s David Shaw – were awarded the 2015 PAC-12 Co-Coach of the Year. Leach is in his fourth year with the program, improving the team from a 3-9 season in 2014.

Leach has established an offense that’s reminiscent of what he had at Tech – averaging 32-points per game – and has produced yet another 4,000-yard passer in Luke Falk who ranks fifth in the nation in passing yards adding 36 touchdowns, with only eight interceptions.

Falk missed the Cougars’ last game of the season against Washington after suffering a head injury against Colorado on Nov. 21. Falk will return to the starting lineup against Miami.

The Cougars also have a pair of wide receivers with double-digit touchdown catches: Gabe Marks who has over 1,100 receiving yards and Dom Williams who’s three yards shy of 1,000 yards.

Their defense, like Miami’s, is allowing 28-points per game; a troubling stat as it is the same point total the Hurricane’s offense averages.

The Cougars have not had consecutive losses all year, after losing their season opener, they managed to win back-to-back games before suffering their second loss followed by a pair of three-game win streaks in between their final two losses.

THE PREDICTION

Expect points to be scored here, with both teams giving up four touchdowns. While the Cougars’ fast-paced offensive attack will be on display, Miami has the talent at the skill positions to keep up with the Cougars.

I see the Canes outdueling the Cougars in a high-scoring affair that ends with The U on top 38-32; signaling a Sun-ny future as Miami enters the Richt Era.

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