NCAA

Veterans lead Temple past St. Joe's in Josh Brown's return

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Associated Press

Veterans lead Temple past St. Joe's in Josh Brown's return

BOX SCORE

For nearly 15 minutes of game time, Temple senior Josh Brown sat on the sidelines. Literally.

Because St. Joe’s didn’t have a stationary bike for him to use, Brown stayed loose by sitting on the court beside the Owls' bench, stretching his left leg as Temple fought back from an early deficit.

And with 6:29 left in the first half, Brown checked in for the first time this season, contributing to the Owls' 78-72 win over Big 5 rival Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).

If you ask Brown though, he wasn’t too hyped for this game because of the influence of his teammates.

“These guys kind of made it just another game for me,” Brown said. “They just kept me even-keeled, kept my jitters down and it was just another game for me out there.”

The senior captain, who worked his way back after suffering an Achilles injury during offseason workouts, injected himself straight into the action late in the first half. Brown looked himself, not seeming hobbled or hesitant while staring down a sold-out Hagan Arena crowd, not to mention a youthful St. Joe’s team. The Owls' leader made an impact on and off the ball offensively while adding an edge to Temple's defense, including an impressive block in the second half.

A minute after entering, Brown drained a long jumper with his foot on the line. Just before the end of the half, he scored for the last time in the game, finishing with four points.

Coach Fran Dunphy said the original plan was to limit Brown to five minutes in each half, but the senior got 14 total minutes, playing 7½ minutes in the final half.

“I’m delighted that Josh Brown played,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “Absolutely delighted. These kids get 120 opportunities and for that kid to come back from whatever that injury was that quickly, I’m delighted because he’s a nice kid as everyone that represents Temple is because of Fran. … What better way than to be in a Philadelphia game your first time out.”

Off to a 5-2 start, the Owls have oftentimes been carried by their young core, particularly freshmen Alani Moore II and Quinton Rose alongside sophomore Shizz Alston. However, with the return of Brown, the upperclassmen made the biggest impact in the road win.

Temple overcame its slow start thanks to some lights-out shooting from junior Obi Enechionyia. The 6-foot-10 forward presented a matchup nightmare for the Hawks, making 6 of 10 shots before the break, including a 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc. Martelli compared the junior to the Hawks’ recent graduate, Isaiah Miles, a stretch-forward who can’t be guarded by a traditional forward or center.

“I try to be that type of player [like Miles] and cause problems for the other team,” Enechionyia said. “I think that opens a lot of opportunities not just for myself but for my teammates. When they have to focus on a guy more than usual, guys get open.”

Despite a cold start to the second half for Enechionyia, the junior came on at the end. With Temple up just one point in the final two minutes, Enechionyia found his way open for a three. While it rimmed out, Daniel Dingle — the only senior to start for either team — produced a key tip-in.

“The Dingle tip-in to me was the play,” Martelli said. “We had done a really good job really on everybody but Obi, but plays at the rim, just leaving some plays out there. … Plays at the rim, to me, were the deciding factor.”

Enechionyia then finished off the Hawks with a block on one end and a dagger from three to produce the 78-72 final margin.

In a similar situation to the Owls, the Hawks have had to rely on a young core after losing DeAndre' Bembry and Miles from last season. Despite a third straight loss, St. Joe's acquitted itself well in front of a raucous home crowd.

The Hawks' starting backcourt made the biggest noise as Saint Joseph's made the Big 5 game a back-and-forth contest in the final 20 minutes. Junior Shavar Newkirk and sophomore Lamarr Kimble combined for 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, making 7 of 10 from three. Newkirk had 22 points, his fourth straight game with at least 20 points.

Each time Temple sought to put away the Hawks in the second half, St. Joe's would respond with a key run. Martelli pointed out that his squad reversed an early-season trend of losing the first five minutes of the second half, cutting into Temple’s three-point first-half lead despite the Owls making their first four shots after the break.

While Temple’s upperclassmen would finish off St. Joe’s, the Owls’ freshmen made an impact yet again. Rose dazzled with his court vision off the bench, dishing three assists to go with a 14-point effort. Thanks to Rose and Brown, Temple’s bench outscored St. Joe’s, 22-9.

After the hard-fought matchup, neither team gets a reprieve from Big 5 action in its next game. St. Joe’s makes the short trip to the Pavilion for a date with No. 2 Villanova while Temple returns home to face Penn.

With his first game home on Saturday, Brown has the chance to keep taking a step forward in his recovery and possibly extend his minutes. After topping the Hawks, the senior guard sat at the podium with a large grin. When asked about the ice on his left leg, Brown smiled even wider while referencing another Philly basketball player who returned from injury this year.

“It’s just protocol,” Brown said about the ice. “Trusting the process, that’s all it is.”

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

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USA Today Images

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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USA Today Images

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.