Categories
Hawaii Sports

Wyoming runs past Hawaii, Warriors struggle on road

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Xazavian Valladay and Trey Smith each rushed for 85-plus yards and two touchdowns, and Wyoming cruised past Hawaii 31-7 on Friday night. Valladay carried it 32 times for 163 yards and Smith gained 89 yards on 20 runs for Wyoming (1-1, 1-1 Mountain West), which has won nine straight home games. Levi Williams passed for 112 yards. Valladay’s 18-yard touchdown on the opening possession was the only TD over 7 yards for either team. He added a 6-yard score, and Smith had scoring runs of 1 and 2 yards. Chevan Cordeiro was 11-of-26 passing for 110 yards with one interception for Hawaii (1-1, 1-1). Dae Dae Hunter scored Hawaii’s lone touchdown on a 3-yard run to pull to 10-7 in the second quarter. The Rainbow Warriors were outgained 281-123 on the ground and turned it over twice. Wyoming claimed the Paniolo Trophy for the 15th time in the 25 meetings between the schools. The Cowboys have won eight of the last 10 meetings. UH’s two wins during the stretch game at home in 2014 and ‘18. The Cowboys have now won six straight meetings at War Memorial Stadium. UH’s last win in Laramie occurred in 1991 (32-17). UH had its school-record four-game Mountain West regular-season win streak snapped. It was also Hawaii’s first loss in its last four MW regular-season road games. Hawaii dropped to 11-23 all-time in Mountain West road games, but is 7-3 in its last 10 conference road games. Cordeiro lost his first career game as a UH starter. He is now 5-1 in six career starts. Hawaii senior receiver Jared Smart has caught a ball in all 17 games he has played in. He has caught no less than three passes in all but one of those games. Since joining the Mountain West in 2012, the Rainbow Warriors have played back-to-back conference road games in consecutive weeks four times and have yet to pull a road sweep. UH lost both games in 2012 and 2015 and split in 2014 and ‘20. Hawaii’s 110 passing yards was its lowest total since passing for 88 yards in a loss at Boise State in 2015. The Rainbow Warriors gave up five sacks against the Cowboys and has surrendered nine total sacks in its first two games.

WYOMING 31, HAWAII 7
Hawaii 0 7 0 0—  7
Wyoming 10 0 7 14—31
First Quarter
Wyo—Xazavian Valladay 18 run (John Hoyland kick), 11:53.
Wyo—Hoyland 30 FG, 9:55.
Second Quarter
UH—Dae Dae Hunter 3 run (Matthew Shipley kick), 1:04.
Third Quarter
Wyo—Trey Smith 1 run (Hoyland kick), 4:22.
Fourth Quarter
Wyo—Valladay 6 run (Hoyland kick), 8:19.
Wyo—Smith 2 run (Hoyland kick), 1:48.
TEAM STATISTICS
HawaiiWyoming
First Downs 12 24
Rushing 31-123 59-281
Passing yards 110 112
Comp-Att-Int 11-26-1 9-18-0
Total offense 233 393
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties 7-60 5-47
Punts-avg 6-44.8 4-37.8
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING—UH, Miles Reed 7-54, Calvin Turner 6-37, Hunter 8-22, Melquise Stovall 1-9, Chevan Cordeiro 9-1; Wyo—Valladay 32-163, Smith 20-89, Levi Williams 7-29.
PASSING—UH, Cordeiro 11-26-1—110; Wyo—Williams 9-18-0—110.
RECEIVING—UH, Zion Bowens 1-47, Jared Smart 4-32, Turner 2-24, Stovall 2-11, Hunter 1-4, Reed 1-(minus 8); Wyo—Valladay 2-32, Ayden Eberhardt 3-26, Dontae Crow 1-25, Nate Weinman 2-22. Parker Christensen 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—UH, Shipley 44; Wyo, Hoyland 36.

_______________

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Thursday’s Results

Georgia Southern 24, South Alabama 17

Fresno State 38, Colorado State 17

Friday’s Results

Wyoming 31, Hawaii 7

Maryland 45, Minnesota 44, OT

Tulsa 34, East Carolina 30

Categories
Hawaii Headlines

Retired official fined for accepting free meals

HONOLULU (AP) — A former top examiner for the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been fined $5,000 for accepting free meals from a vendor he oversaw.

The state Ethics Commission announced the fine levied against Tian Xiao, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Xiao was the chief examiner of the Financial Surveillance and Examination Branch for the commerce department’s Insurance Division before retiring in late 2019.

Xiao accepted about $654 worth of meals, including dinner for himself and his wife at the upscale Nobu Honolulu restaurant that cost $500 for a party of three, the ethics commission said.

Xiao allegedly violated the state’s Gifts Law and Gifts Reporting Law by accepting four meals from vendor Risk & Regulatory Consulting, LLC. in August and October 2018 and July and September 2019, the commission said.

He failed to file gift disclosure statements for any of the meals, the commission said.

Xiao said he was responsible for negotiating a contract rate for Risk & Regulatory Consulting. He monitored the company’s work conducting financial examinations of regulated insurance companies on behalf of the state insurance division, the commission said.

Xiao considered the meals with unidentified company representatives to be social dinners and said he took them hiking and paid for meals, baked goods, coffee and other snacks on occasion, the commission said. Xiao could not immediately be reached for comment, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Risk & Regulatory Consulting representatives told ethics commission staff they did not recall Xiao paying for any meals.

Xiao told investigators he gave a company representative $100 in cash after the Nobu Honolulu dinner, but the official said Xiao did not pay for any portion of the August 2018 meal.

The commission made no findings of fact or conclusions about whether Xiao violated the state ethics code.

Categories
Hawaii Headlines

Judge: Spy case too complex for speedy trial

HONOLULU (AP) — A case against a former CIA officer accused of spying for China is too complex for a trial to happen until at least September 2021, a judge ruled Thursday.

Prosecutors asked the judge to declare the case complex against Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, a former CIA officer and contract linguist for the FBI. He was arrested in August after an undercover operation in which prosecutors say he accepted thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for his past espionage activities. He told a law enforcement officer who was posing as a Chinese intelligence officer that he wanted to see the “motherland” succeed and that he was eager to resume helping China after the coronavirus pandemic subsided, prosecutors said.

The case is “so unusual and so complex that it is unreasonable to expect adequate preparation” for a trial to happen anytime soon, said U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield.

Much of the evidence is classified at secret or top-secret levels, Mansfield said.

“We don’t oppose this motion. It’s clearly a complex case,” said Ma’s defense attorney, Birney Bervar.

Declaring the case complex means that Ma waives his speedy trial rights.

“All I want is a fair trial,” Ma said by phone from the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Later Thursday, Bervar filed a motion asking for reconsideration of an order detaining Ma pending trial.

Ma’s relatives are offering $1,060,000 in cash and mortgages to allow him to be released to his sister and brother-in-law, the motion said.

His niece, Yvonne Lau, wrote a letter on his behalf, saying she is willing to pledge $500,000 equity in her east Honolulu home to ensure he doesn’t flee.

“His family is here in the United States and I do not believe he would ever leave his family behind to escape to China as the government alleged,” wrote Lau, who is interim executive director of the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission and an attorney.

It’s not clear when a judge will rule on the motion.

Categories
Hawaii Headlines

Report: Pilot in plane crash had risk-taking history

By CALEB JONES and JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — The pilot of a plane that crashed and killed all 11 on board had a history of taking unnecessary risks and pushing the limits of his skills to give passengers an exciting ride, witnesses told federal officials.

The docket released Wednesday contains reports from a National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the 2019 plane crash that became one of the deadliest civil aviation accidents in the United States over the past decade.

The NTSB reports did not provide a specific cause for the crash. They did note that two skydivers boarded the flight at the last minute. There were also reports that outlined repairs made to the plane after a previous accident in 2016.

Witnesses and other pilots, including Anthony “Tony” Skinner, a former pilot at the same parachute company, who said the accident pilot, Jerome Renck, sometimes flew aggressively and took risks that he wasn’t trained for.

Skinner said “Renck would bank hard and pitch up aggressively on departures, and he had seen him do that as a ‘thrill ride’ for the passengers,” the report said. ”The pilot would also do negative-G dives for the ‘weightless’ effect for fun, but he heard some jumpers would complain.

Skinner said Renck, a French national who was the company’s only pilot at the time of the crash, “told him he had done barrel rolls in the accident airplane, but not with passengers,” according to the report.

A tandem skydiving instructor for the skydiving operation, Brian Wagner, said he liked Renck’s piloting.

“He said he liked flying with Jerome since he seemed to fly consistent and predictable each flight, which he liked in a pilot,” the report said. “He always expected a ‘pretty hard pull out,’ and all the flights were the same predictable flight path.”

Accounts from skydivers on the day’s previous flights were also included in the report.

“Takeoff was a little spicy for my liking but for the most part in control,” said skydiver Stephen Hatzistefanidis. “He definitely banked it a little hard on a high rate turn at a seemingly low altitude.”

A witness, Sayar Kuchenski, had been skydiving on the plane and flew on it the day before the crash.

In an email to the NTSB, Kuchenski said on previous flights “the pilot would sometimes take off at an extremely steep angle and aggressive climb right after leaving the runway. This was presumably done for fun to intentionally create a high-gravity environment.”

Kuchenski asked the pilot not to fly that way because the engines could stall, “which would be unrecoverable that close to the ground.”

She said Renck respected her opinion and no longer flew that way while she was on board.

A maintenance report said Robert Seladis, a mechanic who worked on the aircraft, was interviewed a few days after the crash but then stopped communicating with investigators.

Federal Aviation Administration records showed that his certificates were revoked in 2005 due to falsification of records on two aircraft, the report said. He was later allowed to be reexamined and a new certificate was issued in 2015.

Seladis, a contractor, was in possession of the plane’s logbooks, and attempts to retrieve those were also unsuccessful, the report said.

Seladis couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The plane, which crashed on Oahu’s north shore on June 21, 2019, was the fourth of five scheduled skydiving trips that day for the plane and pilot.

The plane banked and then inverted shortly after departing the small coastal airport and crashed nose down next to a road. No one survived. It was the deadliest civil aviation accident in the U.S. since a 2011 crash at an air show in Nevada killed 10 people.

In 2016, the aircraft sustained substantial damage to its tail section while carrying skydivers over Northern California. The plane went into a diving spin and the skydivers struggled to get out of the plane. No one died.

Repairs were made to get the plane back into service before it was sent to Hawaii.

The plane was being run by Oahu Parachute Center. The company did not have the proper permits to take people skydiving at the time of the crash, according to documents released by the state.

The state reports said Oahu Parachute Center was “not in good standing” with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as of April 2019. It was also not a registered tenant for the state land it occupied at the airport.

The company’s owner, George Rivera, was granted a permit in 2010 for a company under a different name — Hawaii Parachute Center — that allowed parachute repairs and rigging, but not skydiving operations. An attempt to reach Rivera was unsuccessful Wednesday.

Rivera left the airport about 90 minutes before the fatal accident. He told investigators it was possible the pilot may have performed aggressive takeoff maneuvers to show off when he was not there.

In the aftermath of the crash, the NTSB called on the FAA to tighten its regulations governing parachute operations.

Categories
Iowa Sports

Cyclones look to get back on track at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Iowa State learned in an opening home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette that you can’t overlook anybody in college football.
Especially in such a bizarre season as this one.
Maybe that’s why Cyclones coach Matt Campbell made winless Kansas sound like the best of Clemson and Alabama rolled into one this week. No. 23 Iowa State may be a massive favorite as it heads to Lawrence to take on the bumbling Jayhawks, but Campbell isn’t about to let his players — or anyone else — believe that it will be a walk-over in Memorial Stadium.
“The most impressive piece to me is the growth and the young talent on this roster,” Campbell said. “When you look at this team, you see a really impressive young football team that’s coming. So it will be a great challenge not only for us but for everybody.”
While the Cyclones (3-2, 3-1 Big 12)) bounced back from that opening loss to reel off three straight wins, including one over Oklahoma, before a competitive loss to sixth-ranked Oklahoma State last weekend, the Jayhawks (0-5, 0-4) have struggled to find anything to feel good about in a season that began with a loss to Coastal Carolina and hasn’t gotten much better.
Their latest letdown came against their biggest rival, too. Kansas State ran roughshod to a 55-14 victory last weekend that was every bit as lopsided as the final score; the Wildcats scored on offense, defense and special teams, getting a pair of punt return touchdowns from Phillip Brooks in the win.
“Keep chopping wood. We just keep chopping wood,” Jayhawks linebacker Kyron Johnson said. “There are situations that are similar to life that we just have to come back from. And trust me, we are getting better every week. We are improving.”
It hasn’t helped that the Jayhawks have been missing several players to injuries and COVID-19 diagnoses; they were down to their third-string punter last weekend. It also was their first game since All-Big 12 running back Pooka Williams decided to opt out of the remainder of the season to spend time with ailing family in Louisiana.
“Here’s what I’d tell those guys, all of those, we’re a good football team,” Kansas coach Les Miles said. “We’ve got talent and good coaches and we’re going to put it together.”
HALL OF A RUNNING BACK
Cyclones running back Breece Hall, who grew up just south of the Kansas campus in Wichita, is second nationally with 716 yards rushing in just five games. He has eclipsed 100 yards in each game this season.
“It’s the Big 12,” Hall said this week, “so there could be a surprise any given Saturday. End of the day we have to come out and play one of our best games. They’re still in the Big 12 and their players are on scholarship. They’re here just like we are. So you can’t really take them as a joke or anything like that.”
PRETTY PURDY
The Cyclones’ Brock Purdy was a fringe Heisman Trophy contender coming into the season, and the junior quarterback has started to come on the past couple weeks. He torched Texas Tech for 302 yards and a couple touchdowns two weeks ago, and he threw for 161 yards and a score while running for 38 yards and another TD against the Cowboys.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels is still learning the ropes as a Big 12 starter, but it’s easy to forget that he just turned 18 this week. He was 22 of 39 for 207 yards with a pick-six against the Wildcats last weekend.
“I would be willing to bet that is the youngest quarterback starter in the country — if not the country, certainly the conference,” Miles said. “It’s pretty special what he’s getting accomplished right now.”
GROUND CONTROL
One of the big reasons Iowa State lost 24-21 to Oklahoma State was its inability to stop the run. Not only did the Cowboys’ do-everything running back Chuba Hubbard run for 139 yards and a score, elusive quarterback Spencer Sanders also found plenty of room to run. He carried 15 times for 71 yards and another touchdown.
“Try to limit his run game or try not to allow him to kill us with his feet as much,” Cyclones safety Greg Eisworth said of the prospect of facing Daniels, another capable runner. “He’s a great athlete and a great player and you see all that on film.”
SO MUCH STREAKING
Iowa State will be trying to win its sixth straight in the series while the Jayhawks will be trying to beat a ranked team for the first time since beating No. 15 Georgia Tech on Sept. 11, 2010. The last time Kansas beat a ranked Iowa State team was Oct. 18, 1980, though the Big 12 later made the Jayhawks forfeit the win for using an ineligible player.

Categories
Iowa Sports

Hawkeyes take on Northwestern

IOWA CITY (AP) – Kirk Ferentz’s best Iowa teams tend to improve by the week, which means the Hawkeyes better get going if they want to be a factor in the Big Ten West.
The timetable is accelerated this season because of the conference’s shortened schedule. Ferentz is looking for his team to make a big jump at home against Northwestern on Saturday after its season-opening loss at Purdue.
“If we’re going to be successful, that’s paramount,” Ferentz said. “We have to do that. There’s just not much wiggle room. It’s eight scheduled games plus one, so every game is really critical.”
Northwestern comes to Iowa City off a 43-3 win over Maryland and looking much improved following a three-win season in 2019. The Wildcats’ offense has a polished quarterback in Peyton Ramsey and a rushing attack that generated 325 yards in the season opener against the Terrapins.
The Wildcats’ defense surrendered just 74 yards over nine different possessions after Maryland finished its first possession with a field goal.
“We need to bring our A game,” Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said. “With eight plus one, every game is extremely important. With the way our standings work, we need to play our best on Saturday.”
Petras was mostly solid in his first career start, overcoming a slow start against Purdue to throw for 265 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
“Obviously he wanted to go out there and throw for a million touchdowns and a million yards. Not realistic,” offensive lineman Coy Cronk said. “For someone’s first start, the poise and his ability to lead when it wasn’t going perfect I was impressed with. I think Spencer’s headed in the right direction. I like the way he’s approached this week — flushing it and moving on and let’s get ready to go 1-0 this week.”
SPREAD IT AROUND
Look for the Hawkeyes’ experienced receiver corps to get more involved. Tight end Sam LaPorta and running back Tyler Goodson combined for 10 receptions against Purdue. Ihmir Smith-Marsette, the leading receiver in 2019, was targeted five times and had no catches and two drops, according to Pro Football Focus.
“I think they’re going to take some shots, especially with their new quarterback,” Northwestern cornerback Cam Ruiz said. “I think he has an arm. We need to stay on top, we need to make some plays like we did last week. Keep it going, get some picks, get some turnovers.”
SILENT TREATMENT
Iowa’s Cronk and Northwestern’s Ramsey lived together for two years when they played at Indiana. Both are graduate transfers.
“He’s one of my best friends in the entire world. I love him to death,” Cronk said. “He knows this week we’re not going to be talking to each other and there’s not a whole lot of love lost there.”
PADDY THE PUNISHER
Northwestern senior linebacker Paddy Fisher has 322 career tackles in 40 career games, most of any active Big Ten player and third-most of any active FBS player.
BALL HAWKS
Iowa’s two interceptions against Purdue gave the Hawkeyes 55 since 2017, most among Power Five teams and tied with Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech for most in the FBS.
FUN WITH FITZ
Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald has had more success against Ferentz than any other current Big Ten coach, having gone 8-6 against the Hawkeyes. Asked about there being no fans at Kinnick Stadium to heckle him Saturday, Fitzgerald feigned ignorance.
“It’s always seemed to me every year I’ve been to Iowa City that people really like me,” he said. “Maybe I just missed it.”

Categories
Ohio Sports

Fields, No. 3 Ohio State expect No. 18 Penn State’s best

By TRAVIS JOHNSON Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Justin Fields looked eager to make up for lost time during Ohio State’s season-opening blowout of Nebraska, operating the Buckeyes’ offense with such efficiency pollsters vaulted his team to No. 3 in the polls after four quarters of nearly flawless football.
Throwing 20 completions and a pair of touchdown passes in 21 attempts will do that. So will running for a team-high 54 yards and another score. Leading the Buckeyes (1-0) to the end zone six times in 10 drives was helpful, too.
It was a heady start for a program that spent the first six weeks of the season watching from home and a quarterback that looks like a possible Heisman favorite now that Clemson star Trevor Lawrence is dealing with COVID-19.
Still, Fields has been around long enough to know how it works in 2020. Given the truncated schedule, there is no wiggle room. All the swagger Ohio State showed last week can vanish in an instant on Saturday at No. 18 Penn State (0-1).
The Nittany Lions were supposed to challenge the Buckeyes for Big Ten supremacy. That was before Penn State was stunned in overtime by Indiana last Saturday, meaning any shot it has at staying in the race depends on it knocking off Ohio State for the first time since 2016.
Fields understands the stakes. A win and the Buckeyes may be able to cruise all the way to the regular-season finale against rival Michigan. A loss? Fields would rather not go there.
“Being at Ohio State, we expect to win every day but to manage those expectations, I think we just have to take it one game at a time, one week at a time,” Fields said. “You can’t really look in the future.”
The Nittany Lions would prefer not to look into the past. Their stumble on the road against the Hoosiers was mostly the result of self-inflicted wounds. Ohio State offers a chance at a reprieve, though Penn State knows it needs to do more than give the Buckeyes a game. The last four meetings have been decided by a total of 16 points, but Ohio State won the last three.
“It’s not something that goes through my mind, like, ‘Oh, we can hang with this team,'” Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford said. “I’m not here to hang with Ohio State. I’m here to beat Ohio State.”
Clifford, who tossed two interceptions last week, has some more confidence after his first post-game film session with new offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca.
“You can control what you see,” Clifford said. “I’m bound to miss another pass this year. Our running backs are bound to miss a hole or a cut, a guy might not make a block. Those are physical mistakes that we can correct. It’s the mental mistakes where, could you have prepared for?”
STINGY D
The Buckeyes tightened up on defense last week after surrendering a quick opening scoring drive against Nebraska.
They forced five punts, two turnovers and allowed 10 points the rest of the way. They’re anticipating a tougher test this week with Penn State’s speed on the perimeter. Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade, who was tasked with guarding former Penn State star KJ Hamler, has had eyes on newcomer Parker Washington all week.
“He reminds me of KJ a little bit,” Wade said.
NO FANS
The Nittany Lions will be short-handed inside Beaver Stadium.
By at least 110,000 people.
They aren’t the only ones disappointed at the prospect of the usually packed stadium — among the biggest in the country — being sparsely populated by cardboard cutouts paid for by fans.
“It’s definitely a challenge of a big stage in college football, a big stage in our life as a Buckeye,” Wade said. “I really love the White Out. I love the competition. I love their fans trying to rile us up. I love that because when we go there and when we beat them it’s just fun so I really, really wish they had it, but with the COVID-19 you can’t do anything about it.”
NEW BACKS
The Nittany Lions will likely use a pair of freshmen to spell starting running back Devyn Ford. It’s a position group with plenty of talent, but little experience with Journey Brown and Noah Cain out.
Keyvone Lee and Caziah Holmes don’t look like true freshmen physically. Holmes packs 210 pounds on his 5-foot-11 frame while Lee, at 6-foot, looks every bit of 230 pounds.
This playing time will be their development phase, coach James Franklin said.
Cain was hurt last week and will miss the season with an undisclosed injury. Brown is out indefinitely with an unspecified medical condition.
___
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Categories
Ohio Sports

No. 3 Ohio State faces first road test at No. 18 Penn State

By The Associated Press undefined
No. 3 Ohio State (1-0) at No. 18 Penn State (0-1), Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
Line: Ohio State by 12.
Series record: Ohio State leads 21-14.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Ohio State can take a big step toward controlling the Big Ten’s East Division with a win. Penn State needs to get its offense on track and will look to bounce back from a controversial loss.
KEY MATCHUP
Penn State’s defensive line vs. Ohio State QB Justin Fields. Although Fields might prefer to sit in the pocket and pick defenses apart with his arm, he can also escape and extend plays with his feet. Rangy DEs Shaka Toney and Jayson Oweh will be tasked with keeping Fields contained.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: RB Master Teague III. He was pretty efficient last week with 41 yards and two scores on just 12 carries. The 225-pounder could be a load for Penn State’s front seven to deal early in the game as starting linebacker Jesse Luketa will miss the first half due to a targeting penalty last week.
Penn State: QB Sean Clifford. The second-year quarterback was hard on himself after tossing two interceptions in the opener and will need to limit mistakes against a defense that allowed him to complete just 47% of his passes a year ago.
FACTS & FIGURES
The last four games between these teams have been decided by a combined 16 points and five of the last nine were decided by a touchdown or less. … Ohio State has won 14 straight Big Ten games. … Penn State has won seven consecutive home openers. … Fields’ 20-for-21 passing accuracy last week was the best single-game effort for a Buckeye QB with at least 11 attempts in program history. … Clifford generated 357 yards of total offense last week. …This is the latest opening game at Beaver Stadium since an influence pandemic delayed the 1918 season until Nov. 2.
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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Categories
Ohio Sports

Penn State’s goal: Trying to stop Fields from having a day

By TRAVIS JOHNSON Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Penn State defensive tackle Antonio Shelton saw something new this week as he watched recent film of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
It’s an attribute that could make it even tougher for the 18th-ranked Nittany Lions to contain one of the country’s most mobile and accurate quarterbacks on Saturday when Fields and the third-ranked Buckeyes visit Beaver Stadium.
“He’s not going down on first contact,” Shelton said. “He’s definitely grown as a player in that regard.”
The way Shelton sees it, pocket pressure and quarterback hurries aren’t going to be good enough.
It’s a widely shared message inside Penn State’s defensive line room this week. If Fields can move around freely, he’s likely to find an open receiver. If he’s forced to the perimeter, the Nittany Lions will need a defender with impeccable technique to take him down.
Maybe two.
“It’s not fun playing a guy that knows how to move in the pocket and knows how to move at the right time in the pocket,” Penn State defensive end Jayson Oweh said.
Fields did so consistently in the Buckeyes’ 52-17 season-opening win last week over Nebraska where he turned in the most accurate performance by an Ohio State quarterback in program history with at least 11 attempts. Fields completed 20 of 21 passes for 276 yards with two touchdowns. While most of his work was done from his wide stance, in the pocket, Fields also threw well on designed rollouts and maintained his accuracy when forced to scramble.
Both abilities have become hallmarks for him. Fields completed 67% of his passes a year ago — including a 16-for-22 clip against Penn State — with 41 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
“He’s one of the best I’ve seen do it in a while,” Penn State defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said.
One key to Fields’ success as a passer? He takes his time when he knows he has it and isn’t spooked by collapsing pocket space.
“The game definitely kind of looks slower, the defense looks slower moving,” Fields said. “I never think about it in terms of numbers. I’m willing to do whatever to help the team win, whether that’s not scrambling at all, whether that’s scrambling every play. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
But it definitely matters to a defense looking to get off the field. Penn State found this out last year when Fields turned in one of the better rushing games of his career, running for 68 yards on a career-high 21 carries. Of those attempts, two came on third-and-long situations where Fields scrambled for 14 and 17 yards to keep the drives going in a 28-17 victory.
He also scampered for 22 yards on a fourth-and-5 in the first half to spark another scoring drive and further demoralize the defense.
“When you’re close to making a play, you have to make it,” Shelton said. “You’ve got to get him on the ground.”
The Nittany Lions, who lost their season opener last week by one point in overtime to Big Ten foe Indiana, think they have the pieces to do it. As one of only two teams with 40 or more sacks each of the last five seasons, Penn State’s defensive linemen pride themselves on playing hard late into games.
They’re not going to forget that they helped give Penn State’s offense a chance to win with a few kneel downs last week after Shaka Toney flew around Indiana’s left flank for back-to-back sacks and hurried an incompletion on the next play.
“We’ve just got to keep on applying the same pressure that we did in that second half of the game,” Oweh said. “We were just flying around.”
___
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Categories
Ohio Sports

No. 7 Cincinnati looks to avenge losses to Memphis

By JEFF WALLNER Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati played Memphis twice in a span of eight days last season, in the final regular-season game and again in the American Athletic Conference championship. Both games were close, but both were losses for the Bearcats.
“It comes down to the last six minutes in both those games,” said Bearcats coach Luke Fickell. “It’s about having the mental toughness to be in one of those games that comes down to the last four to six minutes and being able to come out on top.”
On Saturday in Nippert Stadium, the teams meet again with No. 7 Cincinnati (4-0, 2-0 AAC) looking to continue its push toward a potential College Football Playoff berth and Memphis (3-1, 2-1) hoping to climb into the AAC title race.
It’s a different Tigers team this time around.
Running backs Patrick Taylor and Antonio Gibson are both in the NFL. Sophomore running back Kenny Gainwell opted out before the season due to COVID-19-related deaths in his family. Wide receiver Damonte Coxie opted out on Oct. 19.
Senior QB Brady White is one of the few who returned on offense. He passed for a combined 486 yards and three TDs in the two games against Cincinnati last year.
“I was watching both of our games versus them last year, it’s different bodies that we have out there offensively,” said Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield. “Some of our offensive line faced them and so did our quarterback. But it’s a whole new set of skill players.”
The Bearcats, who are coming off a 42-13 blowout win at SMU last week, are loaded with talent, particularly on defense. Quarterback Desmond Ridder earned American Athletic Conference player of the week honors last week.
“Arguably the best defensive line in the conference, arguably the best linebacker corps in the conference, arguably best secondary,” said Silverfield. “They’re going to try play you man coverage because they feel like they got better players and allow their defensive line to get after it.”
Cincinnati is hoping for a different result from last season and to end a five-game losing skid to the Tigers. Fickell said any mention of a possible College Football Playoff berth is premature.
“When you get to the end of the season, I’ll be able to talk about it,” Fickell said. “Our guys need to understand we have a long way to go. We need to find a way to finish. Two times (last season) we didn’t, and both ended up being against Memphis.”
RIDDER RISING
After a slow start to the season, Ridder enjoyed a career night in the win at SMU, with three rushing touchdowns and one passing. Ridder’s 179 rushing yards were a school record for a quarterback. His 91-yard TD run put the game away in the fourth quarter. “The great thing about Dez is he has a really, really good confidence level,” Fickell said. “It does take some things off his shoulders. It’s nice to get a little mojo going, especially on the road.”
PLAYING IT SAFE
The Bearcats will play their final three home games without fans after the university decided to extend its COVID-19 protocols. “It’s a disappointment that a lot of people in our league continue to have fans in the stands and I guess we’re not,” Fickell said. “For our kids, it’s a tough situation to go on the road and see what other people have.” There were 7,898 fans for the Bearcats game at SMU last week. The Cincinnati Bengals allowed 12,000 fans in Paul Brown Stadium for Sunday’s game against the Browns.
OFF LIMITS
Silverfield said Cincinnati isn’t allowing the Tigers onto the field at Nippert Stadium on Friday for a walk-through because the turf is being painted after an MLS match on Wednesday night. “Before we take off, I’m literally going to have to show our team pictures of the stadium because I want them to visualize,” Silverfield said. “Instead of being able to stretch and do some ball drills at their stadium we’re probably going to have to do it in the parking lot of the hotel.”
BEEN AWHILE
Memphis hasn’t defeated a top-10 opponent since beating No. 6 Tennessee 21-17 in 1996. The Tigers’ last road win over a top-10 team came on Sept. 13, 1975 when they beat No. 7 Auburn 31-20.
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