NCAA

Kutztown advances to Cup Quarterfinals at Collegiate Rugby Championship

Kutztown advances to Cup Quarterfinals at Collegiate Rugby Championship

CHESTER, Pa. — A man simply identified as Dan appeared on the jumbotron Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium. He was the participant, or better yet, the victim, of a halftime giveaway game, a harmless, usually forgettable PR stunt. But Dan’s experience offered more.
 
The game was “The good, the bad and the ugly.” Dan’s simple objective was to name five teams participating in this weekend’s Collegiate Rugby Championships. He did and had the choice of three prize packs — one good, one bad and one ugly. He chose prize pack C, which ended up being the bad. He received a black trash bag and had to collect garbage from those sitting nearby. Sorry, Dan.
 
The jumbotron gig mimicked the rugby witnessed during Saturday’s opening round of pool play. The teams that were supposed to be good were, in fact, good. Local schools’ failure to advance to the Cup quarterfinals constituted the bad. And some of the lopsided scores were downright ugly. 
 
Of the 24 teams competing in the CRC, five hail from the region: Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Penn State, University of Delaware and Kutztown. Only Kutztown advanced to the Cup quarterfinals, explained below.
 
Teams are split into six four-team pools, playing each team in their pool once in a 7-on-7 match with seven-minute halves. In such short contests, the importance of a single score and the damage of a costly mistake are magnified. 
 
Winners are awarded three points while losers get one. A draw results in two points for each team.
 
Pool winners, along with the two top-scoring second place teams, advance to the Cup quarterfinals, the most desirable landing spot out of the tournaments happening Sunday. The next best eight teams place in the Plate quarterfinals, while the bottom eight find themselves in the Bowl quarterfinals. Everyone’s a winner, except not really.
 
The good
Kutztown looked like it’d be the one local school to advance to the Cup quarters. In four years of CRC participation, it's gone to the finals twice. Based on the product it put on display in Pool F, it appeared ready to get over the hump this year. 

The Golden Bears used some shifty jukes to make South Carolina look silly in Game 1, walking away with a 36-0 win. Against Tennessee, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some Volunteers left with broken ankles. Dmontae Noble and Aaron Gray danced around the opponent. Indiana completely reversed the narrative, though, when it handled Kutztown, 29-19, in the evening’s penultimate battle. 

The loss left the Golden Bears in second place with just seven points, but thanks to a massive point differential of 75, it was enough to qualify for the Cup quarters as the final seed.
 
Cal, the other Golden Bears, has won this tournament four years in a row. It didn’t land the toughest draw and coasted through Pool E. In a morning bout with Clemson, the Golden Bears allowed a couple of early tries but emerged smoothly 33-12. 

Penn State appeared to pose a challenge at times but faded as well. When Cal would reverse field, the last man had enough speed to break free and sprint for a try. But when Penn State tried to swing it, it seemed as if a wall of Cal defenders met them every time. The result was a Cal win, 28-19. And as for Delaware, it didn’t even look like they belonged on the same field as Cal, who wiped out the Hens, 54-0.
 
The bad
St. Joe’s fared decently, but after missing the Cup quarters by just one point last year, it surely would have liked to have finished better than third in Group C. The Hawks took down Navy in their early match. They had some bright moments against Army, including a Noah Niumataiwalu rampage that took a hoard of Black Knights to take down and that eventually turned into a try a few tosses later. But St. Joe’s is a program on the rise and has a ways to go before reaching the top. As such, both losses to Army and Lindenwood came by double digits.
 
Penn State had respectable results as well. The Nittany Lions routed Delaware 31-0, to start. The 28-19 loss to Cal was about as good as a team can hope for against a powerhouse of Cal's magnitude. And in the evening’s last match against Clemson, the Nittany Lions impressed with a 31-7 win. Unfortunately for them, their seven points weren’t enough to place them in the Cup quarters. It’ll be the Plate for them.
 
The ugly
Those outside of Temple’s camp saw a tough weekend coming for the Owls. The team’s been plagued by injuries this year. Still, it would’ve been tough to predict things going as poorly as they did. 

Temple finished the day without notching a single point while allowing 94. By the end of their third and final defeat, the disappointment showed. Distraught players fell to their knees and held their arms above their head in disbelief as Boston College, a team that lost its first two outings of the day, scored another easy try to bring it to 24-0. Fortunately for the Owls, the clock ran dry soon thereafter to put them out of their misery.
 
Some of Delaware’s experience was just as hard to watch. There was the shutout at the hands of Penn State. It fell narrowly to Clemson, 20-12. But the last bout with Cal was cringeworthy, and not just because one attempt to tackle a Golden Bear ended up pulling down his shorts to briefly expose his rear end. Cal was faster and more fluid. It scored at will. The game ended at 54-0. 
 
But Temple and Delaware weren’t the only schools to contribute to the flood of blowouts. A team was shut out 10 times Saturday. Tennessee supplied two of them, with Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and South Carolina each chipping in an empty effort as well. These teams did well to get to this point, but the results Saturday just go to show the gap between the good and the great. 
 
Bonus points
• The Army-Navy football game is one of the more celebrated collegiate sporting events every year, so it was fun to see the two service academies square off in Pool C. Midshipman Torran Raby inflicted an early stiff arm that got a good reaction from the crowd. The match stayed within one-possession for its entirety. But a try from the speedy Black Knight Harrison Farrell with a little more than a minute to play sealed the deal for the Black Knights, whose postgame jubilation was the most excitement displayed all day. The rivalry is real between the two institutions.

 
• Life University’s captain is named Harley Davidson. Really.
 
• St. Mary’s owns historic success, with three national titles in 15-on-15 play. Dartmouth has reached the CRC quarters every year but one since the event began eight years ago. When the two met in the final game of Pool A, each with six points, a close contest was brewing — until the second half happened. The Gaels took a 7-7 tie at the midway point and used bad Big Green turnovers to turn it into a 26-7 drubbing. 
 
• Life and Arkansas State, both teams expected to contend for the championship, went into its final Pool B match with two wins each. Both teams scored within the first few seconds of their initial possession. One Red Bull was handed a red card in the final minute as things got heated. Life took advantage of the man-up situation and tied the match at 19, where it would end in a tie. 
 
• Dan came back on the jumbotron later, and it was revealed he also got some food vouchers in addition to his trash bag. Congrats, Dan.

Walk-on to Heisman: Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield wins in landslide

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Walk-on to Heisman: Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield wins in landslide

NEW YORK -- Baker Mayfield took a unique road to the Heisman Trophy, a long and winding climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players to ever play college football.

The brash, flag-planting Sooners star became the sixth Oklahoma player to the win Heisman Saturday night in one of the most lopsided votes in the 83-year history of the award.

Stanford running back Bryce Love was the runner-up, making it five second-place finishes for the Cardinal since 2009. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, last year's Heisman winner, was third, the best finish by a returning winner since Tim Tebow of Florida in 2008.

Mayfield received 732 first-place votes and 2,398 points. Love had 75 first-place votes and 1,300 points and Jackson received 47 and 793. Mayfield received 86 percent of the total points available, the third-highest percentage in Heisman history behind Ohio State's Troy Smith (91.63 percent) in 2006 and Oregon's Marcus Mariota (90.92) in 2014.

Mayfield is the third player to win the Heisman heading to the College Football Playoff. The second-ranked Sooners meet No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. He is the first senior to win the award since Smith and the first Heisman winner to begin his career as a walk-on since athletic scholarships started in the 1950s.

"It's been a tough journey," Mayfield said during his acceptance speech. He choked back tears thanking his parents and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.

"Tried to play it cool," Mayfield said later. "That's not my thing though. I'm a guy that wears his emotions on his sleeve."

Mayfield finished fourth in the Heisman voting two years ago and third last year.

"It's motivating for me to be the best in the country," Mayfield said.

He entered this season as one of the favorites and jumped toward the front of the pack when he led the Sooners to an early victory at Ohio State that he celebrated by planting the OU flag in the Horseshoe turf.

He later apologized for that, but that has been Mayfield's career. Spectacular play fueled by grudges, slights and trying to prove doubters wrong. Moxie is the word that gets attached to Mayfield often, but at times poor judgment has gotten him in trouble on and off the field.

Those were really the only marks on Mayfield's Heisman resume because his play has been consistently stellar. He has thrown for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns this season for the Big 12 champion Sooners (12-1). For his career, Mayfield is eighth in FBS history in yards passing (14,320) and sixth in touchdown passes (129). He is likely to leave college with the two best single-season passer ratings in major college football.

Pretty good for a scrawny kid who grew up in Austin, Texas, rooting for Oklahoma, but did not receive a scholarship offer out of high school from either the hometown Longhorns or his beloved Sooners.

At Lake Travis High School, Mayfield won a state championship at a school that regularly pumps out Division I quarterbacks. Mayfield was undersized at 6-1 and received just one offer from a Power Five program -- Washington State.

Instead, he walked-on at Texas Tech and started eight games as a freshman. With a glut of quarterbacks in Lubbock, Mayfield left and had only one school in mind.

Oklahoma had Trevor Knight, coming off a Sugar Bowl victory against Alabama and with three more seasons left of eligibility, but that did not dissuade Mayfield.

Mayfield thanked former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who also was at the Best Buy Theater in midtown Manhattan, for welcoming a "chubby, unathletic kid into the program with open arms."

His departure from Texas Tech was contentious. At first, he lost a year of eligibility, despite not being on scholarship. Texas Tech could have given permission to waive the lost year, but did not.

Mayfield eventually got that year of eligibility back when the Big 12 tweaked its rules, but he never did let it go. For his last game against Texas Tech this season, he wore the "Traitor" T-shirt that some Red Raiders fans wore when he first returned to Lubbock with Oklahoma.

Later in the year, it was Kansas -- or all teams -- that tried to get the volatile Mayfield off his game. Jayhawks captains refused to shake his hand during the pregame coin flip. They trash-talked Mayfield and even took a late hit at him. He responded by screaming profanities and making a lewd gesture that television cameras caught. That led to a public apology from Mayfield, his third this year.

The first came after he was arrested in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in February for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing. He pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors and paid a $300 fine. The second came after that flag planting in Columbus, Ohio, after the Sooners beat the Buckeyes. Mayfield said before that early season showdown that the Buckeyes had irked him by celebrating on the Sooners' field in 2016.

Mayfield joins Jason White and Sam Bradford as Oklahoma quarterbacks who won the award since 2003. Only Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC have won more Heisman trophies with seven each.

Mayfield is an old-school winner. For decades, seniors dominated the Heisman, but over the last 10 years four juniors, four sophomores and two redshirt freshmen have won the Heisman. By comparison Mayfield has been around forever, that first season at Texas Tech coming in 2013. He has played 47 college games. Only USC's Carson Palmer with 50 had played more when he won his Heisman in 2002.

There is at least one more game to play for Mayfield, and maybe two. He and the Sooners will go into the playoff as a slight underdog against Georgia, which seems only appropriate for a player who has built his career on exceeding expectations.

Asked what has been his best moment, Mayfield predictably answered: "It hasn't happened yet."

FG try wide on final play as Army holds off Navy in thriller at Linc

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FG try wide on final play as Army holds off Navy in thriller at Linc

BOX SCORE

Just when you thought Army-Navy couldn't get any more intense, it snowed.

Then 60 minutes of bruising football came down to squinting through that snow to see where a long field goal attempt would land.

Wide left. Cue the celebration for Army. The Black Knights are back.

Bennett Moehring narrowly missed a 48-yard field goal on the final play and Army held off Navy 14-13 on Saturday to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996.

Army (9-3) earned its second straight win over Navy (6-6) following 14 straight losses in the series.

"We've got seniors in there that went 4-8 as freshmen and 2-10 as sophomores," Army coach Jeff Monken said. "Now they've won 17 games in the last two years. Really an incredible change."

After trailing most of the game, Ahmad Bradshaw pushed over the goal line on a quarterback sneak with 5:10 remaining and Blake Wilson kicked the extra point to put Army ahead.

But Navy's spectacular Malcolm Perry wasn't finished.

The quarterback, who ran for 250 yards on 30 carries and a 68-yard score in the second quarter, led Navy to the Army 31 with 3 seconds left.

Navy elected to try a field goal, and after about 10 players used their feet to clear the steady snow during a timeout, Moehring's kick was long enough but drifted barely left.

"Came up a couple of feet short," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "This is a great rivalry. It was another classic game."

Army cut its deficit in the series to 60-51-7 in a matchup of bowl-bound teams. The Black Knights claimed the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy thanks to an earlier victory over Air Force.

"That trophy hadn't been in our possession for 21 years," said Monken, in his fourth season. "To be able to accomplish that with this team is a great source of pride."

In a game that included only three passes -- Army completed its lone toss -- the Black Knights produced a 13-play, 65-yard drive to take a late lead. John Trainor tiptoed the sideline for 8 yards one play before Bradshaw's 12th touchdown of the season.

Bradshaw also scored the go-ahead touchdown in last year's victory over Navy.

"I actually don't think I would've gotten in if not for my fullback and my offensive line," said Bradshaw, who rushed for 94 yards on 21 carries. "I kind of stopped, but I felt like (fullback) Andy (Davidson) picked me up and kind of walked me into the end zone."

Navy took advantage of the ensuing kickoff going out of bounds and moved down the field. Perry dropped a shotgun snap on fourth down at the Army 37, but picked up the ball and ran for a first down. But Navy committed two false start penalties, making the final field goal attempt more difficult.

Snow started falling in the late morning on the 29-degree day. Workers used blowers to uncover the lines and hashmarks during timeouts as a light snow fell throughout.

The teams, both of whom run the triple-option, combined to complete only 59 passes all season. The snow made both coaches want to throw it even less as Navy went ahead 7-0 on Darnell Woolfolk's 3-yard run on the opening possession.

The first pass came with under 9 minutes left in the second quarter. Army completed its only pass, a 20-yard wobbler from Bradshaw to Calen Holt, midway through the third quarter.

The weather made one of sports' biggest rivalries an even more physical contest. Army's all-white uniforms -- a nod to the 10th Mountain Division of World War II -- served as almost camouflage in the snow.

Perry was the star through three quarters. Getting the start at quarterback ahead of Zach Abey, his long touchdown run in the second quarter was his third rushing TD of more than 65 yards this season.

Perry looked like he might have another long touchdown run, but he stumbled and fell at the Navy 11 early in the third quarter. Army senior John Voit chased him down.

"I'm not sure if I hit his foot or not," Voit said. "But I think I got enough where he slipped in the snow and thank God he went down."

Army then held Navy to a Moehring's second field goal, from 24 yards, to make it 13-7 and allow for their fourth-quarter comeback.

"There was never a moment our guys doubted we were going to win the game," Monken said. "When you love a group of people like I love them, I can tell when their emotions change. We never lost momentum."

The takeaway
Army: Monken has Army on a major upswing. This victory will do wonders for a program that had suffered through the longest losing streak by either team in this rivalry.

Navy: Perry was the fastest and most dangerous player on the field, and Niumatalolo indicated the quarterback job will be his next season. Navy outgunned Army 296-241 but was again hurt by costly penalties.

Jasper coaches
Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper coached after missing Wednesday's practice to be with his 14-year-old son. Jarren Jasper has had medical issues as he awaits a heart transplant.

Milestone
Simone Askew made history when she led the Corps of Cadets in the pregame march-on. Askew is the first black woman to be first captain, the highest student position at West Point.
 
Trump & Tillerson
A year after attending the game as president-elect, Donald Trump tweeted that he would be watching on TV. "On behalf of an entire Nation, THANK YOU for your sacrifice and service!" the president wrote.

After the game, Trump tweeted: "Great Army - Navy Game. Army wins 14 to 13 and brings home the COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY! Congratulations!"

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson handled the opening coin toss.

Up next
Army: Armed Forces Bowl vs. San Diego State on Dec. 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Navy: Military Bowl vs. Virginia on Dec. 28 in Annapolis, Maryland.