Wizards

Vandy caps best season in century at Music City

201212311224446987580-p2.jpeg

Vandy caps best season in century at Music City

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt coach James Franklin kept rattling off how his Commodores had just posted the program's best season in nearly a century by finishing on a seven-game win streak capped by a victory in the Music City Bowl.

Yes, Vanderbilt now wins at football and wins big.

And Franklin says everybody better get used to it because this is just a taste of more to come from the smallest and only private university in the SEC.

``We're not going anywhere,'' an emotional Franklin said.

Jordan Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and the defense forced a season-high five turnovers Monday as the Commodores beat North Carolina State 38-24. At 9-4, it's their best record since going 9-1 in 1915, and it's only the third time Vanderbilt has won as many as nine games in a season.

Vandy's winning streak, currently the best in the Southeastern Conference, is its longest since an eight-game run in 1948, and its 15 wins over the past two seasons is the program's best total since 1926 and 1927. Franklin said those dates mean it's been a very long time since the Commodores had won.

He credited the school for the program's success, citing the support he received in turning around the former SEC doormat.

``It's the university deciding to hire some psycho that nobody ever heard of and gave him a chance and an unbelievable group of guys that bought in and believed in everything that we asked them to do,'' Franklin said.

The Commodores matched the most points they'd ever scored in any of their previous five bowls by halftime with a 28-14 lead, and they turned those turnovers into 17 points. Rodgers threw for only 108 yards and ran four times, but he credited the defense for most of the hard work.

``The way our running game was going, the way our offensive line was blocking, didn't need me to do much,'' Rodgers said. ``And I think I lined up at receiver almost as much as I did at quarterback, and that's because we had the numbers.''

Interim coach Dana Bible ran N.C. State (7-6) after Tom O'Brien was fired at the end of the regular season. It was the Wolfpack's fifth game of the season with at least four turnovers, and it helped wipe out a 424-225 advantage in total offense.

Bible took the blame for two of the interceptions for being aggressive.

``We took the other approach,'' Bible said. ``Again a Southeast Conference team, Southeast Conference talent, those type things. We weren't going to play it safe. We weren't going to play back on this team. We were going to be attacking on it, and if they made a play on it, more power to them.''

This was the 27th bowl for N.C. State, which had won its last two postseason games. But they couldn't overcome mistakes that included a bad shotgun snap that cost the Wolfpack 21 yards on the opening drive.

The Commodores took control from the opening drive, moving 65 yards for a touchdown that put them ahead to stay. Officials initially called Chris Boyd out of bounds, but the video review showed the sophomore got the toes of his right foot down on a 5-yard TD pass from Rodgers.

Rodgers also found Jordan Matthews on a screen the receiver took 18 yards for a TD, while Stacy and Wesley Tate each scored TDs out of the wildcat. Carey Spear added a 30-yard field goal, and Rodgers capped Vanderbilt's scoring with a 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Commodores safety Kenny Ladler had the first interception and also recovered a fumble.

``It wasn't about going three-and-out,'' N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon said of the Wolfpack's struggles. ``It was just a matter of turning the ball over.''

Tony Creecy scored on a 1-yard TD run for the Wolfpack, Tobias Palmer returned a kickoff 94 yards for a TD, and Glennon connected with Rashard Smith on a 19-yard TD with 2:06 left.

``They were better today,'' N.C. State safety Earl Wolff said.

The game was so in control that even when something went wrong for Vanderbilt it didn't cost as so many mistakes in the past did. Trey Wilson picked off a Glennon pass on the opening drive of the third quarter only to be stopped by his own teammate, tackle Jared Morse, at the N.C. State 35.

Franklin immediately ran up to Morse yelling at the junior, making it clear that's not how it's done at Vandy these days.

``I'm sure there will be some pictures of that over the Internet,'' Morse said.

---

Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: What the Ramon Sessions signing means for Tomas Satoransky

ap_723024003451.jpg.crdownload.jpg
Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: What the Ramon Sessions signing means for Tomas Satoransky

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller offered their reaction to the Ramon Sessions signing and how it could affect Tomas Satoransky. Plus, how the Wizards match up with the new-look Cavs and how Kelly Oubre, Jr. broke out of his slump.

Chase also explained his epic fail with an Oubre interview and they revisited an Instagram post from months ago that foreshadowed much that has gone down this season.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

usatsi_9194805.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a long-term FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.