NCAA

Slew of Spartans receive national, conference recognition

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Slew of Spartans receive national, conference recognition

SJSU was recognized nationally by appearing in its first ever Bowl Championship Series poll Sunday. On Monday, the spotlight continued to shine on several players part of the No. 25 BCS-ranked Spartan football team.Our kids are starting to get a lot of honors, which they should. Its exciting, head coach Mike MacIntyre said Monday in his weekly press conference.Defensive back Bene Benwikere took home the most hardware for tying a school record with three interceptions in Saturdays 52-43 win over Louisiana Tech. Most notably, he was awarded the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, the first Spartan in school history to receive the honor.MacIntyre jokingly called Benwikere a ball hog.Wherever the ball is, Bene shows up, MacIntyre said. He just has that knack, some people do. His ball-hawking ability has been huge for us.He was also named the National Defensive Back of the Week and is one of three National Defensive Performers of the Week, as announced by the College Football Performance Awards program.Once I got one after that I felt a lot more confident, Benwikere said after Saturdays game, the game started to slow down to me a whole lot more and after that I was able to read the quarterback a lot better too. It gave me my confidence.Benwikeres final interception of LA Techs Colby Cameron came with just less than a minute remaining in the game and the Spartans ahead of the Bulldogs by 9. The pick led to a series of kneels to drain out the clock, clinching SJSU its first 10-win season since 1987.All season weve heard that (Cameron) hasnt thrown any interceptions until last week, when hes thrown two, Benwikere said, so we were just waiting for him to make mistakes. We were trying to attack him and after I finally got one everybody knew that we could get one so we were trying to stop the long passes.Running back DeLeon Eskridge took home Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. He ran for 217 yards on 28 carries and tied a career high with 3 touchdowns on Saturday. Two of Eskridges touchdowns and 143 of his rushing yards came in the second half crucial to SJSU in keeping pace with quick scores from LA Tech.Eskridge and tight end Ryan Otten were given honorable mentions for players of the week at their respective positions by College Football Performance awards. Otten, who has already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, hauled in 6 passes for 87 yards against LA Tech.For the second time this season, quarterback David Fales has been named one of eight Manning Awards Stars of the Week. Fales threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-37 passing in Saturdays win. The nations most accurate passer at 72.1 percent, Fales set single-season school records in touchdown passes (31), passing yards (3,789), total offense (3,669) and completions (294) in 2012. Its amazing, Fales said after Saturdays game about his first season with SJSU, however deflected his success towards his teammates. I have four receivers that can go up and make a play, an O-line that will hold for four seconds and a running back that will hit the hole and pick up any blitzes so I think as an offense as a whole its great for us.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

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AP

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

MORAGA, Calif. – Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball head coach Randy Bennett has been rewarded with a new 10-year contract, President James Donahue and Director of Athletics Michael Matoso announced today.
 
Bennett enters his 17th season at Saint Mary’s, which begins Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins and ranks second in all-time wins for any coach in the West Coast Conference. His contract will run through the 2026-27 season at Saint Mary’s.
 
Last year the Gaels finished the season with a school record 29 wins for the second straight year, earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the round of 32.
 
“I’m appreciative and thankful to President Donahue, Mike Matoso and the Saint Mary’s administration for their support. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to work at such a great institution,” Bennett said. “We’ve had great student-athletes and assistant coaches who have put a lot of hard work and effort into building the program to this level. My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family around this environment. We are excited to continue what we have started here 17 years ago.”
 
Over the past 10 years, Bennett has led the Gaels to an impressive 263-76 overall record for a .776 winning percentage. The winning percentage is the best in California and ranks fifth nationally during that stretch.
 
“Randy represents what Saint Mary’s College is all about. He exemplifies the College’s ongoing commitment to the development of our student-athletes,” Donahue said. “He is not only a remarkable coach, but he is a valued and respected leader on our campus. We are excited to have him committed to this long-term agreement and look forward to him leading Saint Mary’s basketball for the next decade.”
 
Bennett has led his teams to the post season 11 times, with six NCAA Tournament appearances (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017) and the school's first NIT appearances (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016). No other SMC coach has guided his squad to more than one post-season appearance.
 
“It is an exciting day for Saint Mary’s College to announce a 10-year extension for Coach Bennett. Randy embodies the core values of the college and we are very fortunate to have him,” Matoso said. “He has built this program from the ground up and we envision great things for the program in the future under his leadership. His teams have performed extremely well on the court and have matched that success both in the classroom and in the community.”
 
In addition to team accomplishments, Bennett has had 20 different players earn All-WCC recognition, with a total of 29 first team and eight honorable mention selections. He also coached former Gaels Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, who currently play for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as many others professionally around the world.
 
In 2017, senior Jock Landale was named the first Gael to be in the top-5 for the Kareem Abdul Jabaar award under Bennett’s tutelage. The center was an AP Honorable Mention and member of the WCC First Team after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
 
Also under Bennett’s tenure, in 2012, Dellavedova gave the Gaels the first back-to-back WCC players of the year since 1962. He also became the school's first-ever male first-team Academic All-America selection and was among five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. He earned all-WCC honors three times and twice was a honorable mention All-America selection.

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