College Football: Flyers buoyed by return of quarterback Jeske

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 8:31 AM
Updated: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 10:28 AM


            Dayton quarterback Alex Jeske fires a pass during a FCS playoff game vs. Western Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 28 at Welcome Stadium. Staff photo/John Boyle
Dayton quarterback Alex Jeske fires a pass during a FCS playoff game vs. Western Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 28 at Welcome Stadium. Staff photo/John Boyle

It took a little longer than expected, but the Dayton Flyers (1-4, 0-2) are hoping that Alex Jeske will be worth the wait when he takes the field Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa against Drake (3-2, 2-0).

The fifth-year senior quarterback was cleared to play by team doctors earlier this week and it didn’t take Rick Chamberlin long to move Jeske back in to the starting lineup.

»ARCHDEACON: UD family helps Yingers cope with tragedy

“I think that Alex will be mentally prepared to get back in there,” Chamberlin said this week. “I’m sure that it won’t be perfect because he hasn’t scrimmaged or done anything like that, but Alex is a seasoned veteran and he’s been there before.”

Jeske broke a bone in his foot during a workout a week before summer camp started. Doctors removed his foot from a protective boot three weeks ago, but the Dayton medical staff has been cautious with the comeback.

The Flyers are 1-4 with Kyle Kaparos as the fill-in quarterback. The redshirt sophomore from Columbus has improved since he took over, but the coach says Jeske has some intangibles that can’t be denied.

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“Alex has a lot of confidence in what he’s able to do, plus physically his arm is stronger than Kyle’s, and with three years experience he can read defenses faster,” Chamberlin said.

The Flyers will need every advantage they can get on Saturday. While Dayton has a 25-8 record in the all-time series, most of those wins have come at Welcome Stadium.

“We haven’t done real well out there since 2009,” Chamberlin said. “Just like any (Pioneer Football League) opponent, it’s tough to win on the road.”

For the second week in a row the Dayton defense will face one of the best quarterbacks in the league

Grant Kraemer has thrown 11 touchdown passes in the first five games, averaging nearly 300 yards a game through the air.

Dayton is riding a three-game losing streak. The Flyers haven’t lost four in a row since 2006.

“I know that everyone wants to get that next win,” Flyer defensive back Andrew Lutgens said. “I don’t think there is panic or urgency.

“The coaches do a great job keeping us on an even keel…we just have to keep grinding and getting better. You don’t want to ever start worrying or panicking or changing too much because that’s when you get in a lot of trouble.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Drake, 2 p.m., AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO

Tennessee icon Phillip Fulmer back in the saddle recruiting for Vols again

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:11 AM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee College Football Hall of Fame coach Phillip Fulmer is back on the road recruiting again, seeking out the best “Jimmy’s and Joe’s” he can find for the Vols.

Fulmer, who coached Tennessee to a 152-52 record from 1992-2008 — including the 1998 national championship — used to like to say “It’s not the Xs and Os, but the Jimmy’s and Joe’s” that mattered most during the Vols’ era of dominance.

“You can not take a mule to the Kentucky Derby,” Fulmer said Sunday night on the ‘The Nation’ Vol Network show Sunday night. “We’ve got to get players.”

RELATED: Jeremy Pruitt makes recruiting request to help Tennessee get going

Fulmer replaced John Currie as Tennessee’s athletic director on Dec. 1 and hired new football coach Jeremy Pruitt six days later on Dec. 7.

There’s just one catch: Pruitt will finish out this season as Alabama’s defensive coordinator and is essentially on loan to recruit for the Vols through Dec. 17, before the start of the recruiting “dead period.” The dead period means coaches cannot see recruits or their parents face to face or visit their high schools.

Fulmer, once known for his great recruiting prowess to the extent of playing himself in the movie “The Blind Side,” is once again qualified to be on the road as a recruiter until Pruitt can fill out his coaching staff.

 

The new early signing period starts on Dec. 20, and the Vols hosted several 2017 commits this weekend who plan to sign early and enroll in school in January.

“I’ve passed my test and I’m ready to hit the road here, made a lot of phone calls,” the 67-year-old Fulmer said Sunday night. “[Recruiting] is something, if you have the passion, and everyone knows how much I care for what Tennessee is and what it’s done for me, and I want it to be great again. This has actually energized me.

“You like to compete, and we’ve really got a great opportunity in front of us. We’re looking forward and not behind.”

Tennessee is coming off the school’s first-ever eight-loss season and winless league slate.

Fulmer insists the Vols aren’t that far from where they need to be to compete for championships, likely referencing the back-to-back nine-win seasons and top-25 finishes under former coach Butch Jones in 2015 and 2016.

“We’re not that far removed from where we were competing for championships,” said Fulmer, whose program last played in the SEC Championship Game in 2007, when he was still the head coach. “We just have to remind everyone that’s what we’re about.”

Fulmer made it clear the Vols are casting a wide net, too.

“We’ve tripled the number of guys we’re looking at,” Fulmer said, “and I like the way we’re going about getting ready to compete.”

T.J. Watt emotional while giving teammate the credit for his game-winning sack

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:09 AM

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker T.J. Watt took down Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on the last play of the game on Sunday Night Football. The Steelers were up, 39-38, and Watt’s strip sack sealed the game.

It was a critical win for their playoff position and division standings. It was a tough game against a fierce rival. It was also the first game they played without linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is done for the year after suffering a serious spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals. Shazier had to have spinal surgery and he Facetimed with his teammates after the win, but his absence in the locker room was still felt.

“This is all a product of Shay,” Watt said, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s what makes this defense go. We had to do it without him. It was tough, but I was proud of the way we brought it together and never gave up.”

Never giving up is true. However, they also surrendered 38 points and Ravens running back Alex Collins ran for 120 yards and a touchdown. It was clear that they missed Shazier’s presence on the field, as well.

The only sack of the game was Watt’s, perhaps showing how the defense was learning how to play without Shazier and adapting all night – and finally getting it right when it mattered most.

“I was just trying to use all the energy I had left in the tank,” Watt said. “It was a long game. We had a lot of rush opportunities throughout the game. I felt like I was getting close. Toward the end, I just wanted to give it everything I had and make a play for the defense.

“I just wanted get to the ball. I was saying, ‘Don’t throw it away, don’t throw it away.’ Sometimes we’re so close as rush men that they just throw it away at the end. Knowing that they had to make a big play I thought he’d be hanging onto it. I just went for the ball when I got to him.”

Auburn football: Good things continue to fall on The Plains

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:06 AM

Auburn

Auburn football is the No. 1 topic in the War Eagle Wakeup every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Tigers’ sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Auburn football, recruiting, basketball and more.

It’s beginning to look a lot like …

There was a different kind of excitement across the Southeast on Friday night and into the early hours of Saturday morning as a light snow began to fall.

Some parts of Alabama, according to the National Weather Service, saw up to 5 inches of snow. While it certainly wasn’t a blizzard by any means, it was just enough to bring some Christmas cheer to The Plains a little early.

With finals happening this week and next and Christmas break right around the corner, the snow was a perfect touch, making an already beautiful campus even more stunning.

In other Auburn football news:

Beating the Blazers

Auburn basketball earned a big win over UAB on Saturday night in Auburn Arena.

The Tigers downed the visiting Blazers 85-80 in front of a buzzing crowd. It was a quality win and the eighth so far this season for Bruce Pearl’s team.

Junior guard Bryce Brown stepped up with Mustapha Heron sidelined (back spasms), scoring 27 points. Point guard Jared Harper handed out 5 assists and added 21 points.

Desean Murray delivered another big game, pouring in 18 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, while forward Anfernee McLemore collected 9 rebounds — and added 2 more blocks to his season total.

Next up

Auburn has been hard at work on the court having played three games in six days. Now, it’s time for a little rest.

The next few games are going to be telling for Auburn basketball and it all starts when the Tigers take on Middle Tennessee in Birmingham on Saturday (Dec. 16).

Tigers notch another win 

Auburn women’s basketball earned its fourth straight win, beating Southern on Saturday night at Auburn Arena.

The Tigers got off to a slow start but came together and posted a 30-point fourth quarter to finally notch a win. Freshman Unique Thompson scored 18 points and added 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season.

Tweet of the day 

Cam Newton did this on Sunday afternoon:

And then he did this:

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily War Eagle Wakeup Auburn football post right here.

The post Auburn football: Good things continue to fall on The Plains appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama football: Minkah Fitzpatrick ready for another shot at Hunter Renfrow

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 8:06 AM

Alabama football drives the conversation here at the Rammer Jammer , SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap, but we’ll cover news for every facet of the Crimson Tide. Every morning, we’ll be here for the latest on Alabama football, basketball and every sport on campus.

Familiar foe

Alabama will face Clemson in the College Football Playoff for the third straight year. By now, these teams know each other inside and out. Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is ready for another shot at Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. In the past two seasons, Alabama has brought the best out of Renfrow, who has 17 catches for 180 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Crimson Tide. Renfrow kept Clemson in the 2016 game and caught the game-winning touchdown for the Tigers in the 2017 contest. Fitzpatrick will play a big part in shutting down the former walk-on. This season, Renfrow has 55 catches for 571 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In other headlines …

  • Alabama punter JK Scott discussed the botched field goal hold against Auburn and how he’s able to laugh it off now that Alabama is in the playoff.
  • Alabama basketball guard Collin Sexton landed in the top 5 of DieHards’ ranking of college basketball freshmen.
  • Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson sent out a strong message about the Crimson Tide’s title aspirations.

Overlooked heroes

Alabama is known for having not only one of the best head coaches in Nick Saban but one of the best all-around support staffs in the country. This includes coordinators, strength coaches and analysts. Those staffers tend to receive a lot of praise, but one section of the program sometimes gets overlooked, despite being among the best in the nation. Head athletic trainer Jeff Allen and his medical team make sure Alabama players come back from injury as strong as they previously were. Allen and his team of trainers are an integral part of Alabama’s success.

Coming up short in duel in desert

Alabama basketball is playing a tougher nonconference schedule this season. On Saturday, the Crimson Tide played perhaps its toughest game of that improved schedule by traveling to Tucson, Ariz., to take on the Arizona Wildcats. The Crimson Tide came up just short, losing to Arizona, 88-82. Alabama battled and received 30 points from Sexton in the loss. Arizona forward Deandre Ayton, a likely top 5 pick in the draft, had 29 points and 18 rebounds. Still, Alabama showed it can compete with the best.

Built by Bama

UFC fighter Eryk Anders, who played linebacker at Alabama, improved to 10-0 with a win by unanimous decision over Markus Perez.

Around the Capstone

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