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  • It’ll be North Dakota State vs. Illinois State for the FCS National Championship

    Illinois State UNH

    The FCS National Championship will be an all-Missouri Valley affair.

    North Dakota State punched the first ticket Friday night with a 35-3 win over Sam Houston State, taking a 7-3 halftime lead and exploding from there. The Bison will play for their fourth straight national championship – and three of them could come at the expense of Sam Houston State after beating the Bearkats in the 2011 and 2012 championship games.

    On Saturday, Illinois State booked its ticket to the championship in epic fashion. The Redbirds trailed top-seeded New Hampshire 18-6 through three quarters, but notched touchdowns in successive drives – traveling 173 yards in 19 plays – to take a 21-18 lead.

    New Hampshire had one chance to tie or take the lead, but its eight-play, 29-yard drive was halted at the Illinois State 46 when Sean Goldrich’s 4th-and-3 pass to Kyon Taylor was stopped for no gain. Illinois State consumed the game’s final four minutes and eight seconds to punch its first ticket to the FCS title game. Quarterback Tre Robertson carried the Redbirds, completing 18-of-31 passes for 278 yards while also leading the club with 12 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown. His prolific effort overcame a lost fumble at the New Hampshire goal line in the first half.

    Illinois State (13-1) and North Dakota State (14-1) finished the regular season as co-champions of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They did not meet in the regular season, and each suffered its lone loss on the road to Northern Iowa. Illinois State avenged its loss to the Panthers with a 41-21 win in a second-round playoff game on Dec. 6.

    A win by North Dakota State will make the Bison the first FCS team to win four straight national titles since the subdivision was formed in 1978. Appalachian State also claimed three straight national titles from 2005-07.

    The FCS National Championship will be held Saturday, Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

    Congratulations to North Dakota State’s Chris Klieman and Illinois State’s Brock Spack for reaching their first FCS title games as head coaches.

     

  • Wisconsin-Whitewater wins yet another Division III national title

    FoxSports.com

    FoxSports.com

    They did it again.

    Wisconsin-Whitewater dethroned juggernaut for the second year in a row and sixth time in eight seasons to claim yet another Division III national championship on Friday night.

    Mount Union is good every year, but this year’s squad seemed a cut above even the best Purple Raiders teams. Mount Union entered Friday out-scoring its first 14 opponents by a composite 844-130 (average score: 60-9) while allowing just two opponents to play within 41 points and fresh off a 70-21 win over Wesley (Del.) in last week’s semifinals.

    But, as in years past, none of that mattered against Wisconsin-Whitewater.

    The Warhawks took a 30-14 lead into halftime, but Mount Union responded with 17 straight points to take a 31-30 lead in the third quarter. For one play. Matt Behrendt (365 yards, four touchdowns) hit Dennis Moore for a 75-yard screen pass on the first play of Whitewater’s next possession, re-taking the lead at 37-31. The Warhawks pushed the lead to 40-31 with 12:20 remaining, and the clubs traded field goals from there for a 43-34 final score.

    Win or lose, Friday night’s game was Lance Leipold’s finale as Wisconsin-Whitewater’s head coach after he accepted the Buffalo job on Dec. 30. But like nearly every other game in his tenure, Leipold goes out with a win. The win pushed Leipold to an unthinkable 109-6 in his eight years at the helm, giving him an equal number of losses and national championships.

    Congratulations to Leipold and his staff. It’s bittersweet to see one of the greatest runs in college football history come to an end, but watching Leipold take his coaching wizardry to the FBS will be one of the most fun story lines to watch in 2015.

  • Southern Oregon wins its first NAIA national championship

    Southern Oregon

    Southern Oregon

    Southern Oregon traveled across the continent and is coming home with its first national championship. The Raiders topped Marian (Ind.) 55-31 in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday.

    “We fulfilled a dream because the players bought in,” Southern Oregon coach Craig Howard told the Associated Press. “These guys have done everything we asked, and I promised these guys they would leave Southern Oregon with a degree and a national championship.”

    Southern Oregon rode its prolific offense – the Raiders averaged 51.5 points per game in their four playoff wins – to the title, as quarterback and NAIA National Player of the Year Austin Dodge completed 21-of-39 passes for 429 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Marian quarterback Hayden Northern matched Dodge yard-for-yard and touchdown-for-touchdown, throwing for 495 yards and four touchdowns, but was undone by six interceptions.

    “The turnovers were big,” Marian coach Mark Henninger said. “We probably left 21 points on the board in the first half. Playing against a team like Southern Oregon, you can’t turn the ball over like that and you can’t miss tackles like we did.”

    Marian held a 571-495 yardage advantage and a 27-17 edge in first downs, but was undone by a 6-1 turnover deficit.

    Southern Oregon led 24-7 through one quarter – aided by a pick-six of Northern – and 38-10 at the half. Marian out-scored the Raiders 14-0 in the third quarter but never pulled closer than 14 points in the second half.

    Southern Oregon finishes the season at 13-2 with wins over No. 9 MidAmerica Nazarene, No. 1 Carroll College, No. 3 Saint Xavier and No. 7 Marian en route to the crown.

    Congrats to head coach Craig Howard, offensive coordinator and NAIA Coordinator of the Year finalist Ken Fasnacht and the rest of the staff for the national title.

  • Kevin McGiven – 2014 Quarterbacks Coach of the Year

    2014-CoY-Logo

     

    Kevin McGiven – Utah State University

     

    FootballScoop is proud to announce that Kevin McGiven (Utah State) is the 2014 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year presented by ProGrass.

    Many quarterbacks coaches prepare their entire room to play, but in the end only one guy actually does. In 2014, Kevin McGiven prepared his entire room, and that’s because his entire room had to play.

    The season began with Chuckie Keeton back in the starting lineup after missing the back half of the 2013 season due to a knee injury. He played the Aggies’ first three games – against Tennessee, Idaho State and Wake Forest – and completed 51-of-92 passes for 426 yards with two touchdowns against four interceptions while rushing 20 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Keeton led Utah State to wins in two of those three games, but he was again lost for the season after injuring the same knee that cost him much of the previous season.

    Enter Darrell Garretson, a sophomore who set a Utah State record a year ago by becoming the first Aggie signal caller to win his first five starts. Garretson finished the Wake Forest win, then played against Arkansas State, BYU, Air Force and Colorado State, hitting 91-of-135 passes for 1,140 yards with eight touchdowns against three interceptions, good for a 153.45 passer rating that would have ranked 14th nationally with enough attempts to qualify. But Garretson injured his wrist against Colorado State and was done for the season.

    On came Craig Harrison, a senior that played in nine games in 2013. He finished up the Colorado State game and then started the next week against UNLV, completing 13-of-23 passes for 221 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. But lightning struck a third time, as Harrison injured his knee against the Rebels and was not seen again.

    Finally, there was Kent Myers, a true freshman that began the season fourth on the depth chart and in line for a redshirt until injuries thrust him on the field. Duty called and Myers answered, leading the Aggies to a 4-1 record to close the season by completing 74-of-104 throws for 798 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 41 times for 240 yards and four touchdowns.

    In the end, four different quarterbacks piloted the Aggies to a 9-4 record while combining to complete 238-of-377 passes (63.1 percent) for 2,714 yards with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while rushing 88 times for 379 yards and seven touchdowns.

    “Kevin’s done an incredible job organizing our offense and keeping us on track,” said head coach Matt Wells. “Our offense has been seamless from quarterback to quarterback, and that’s because Kevin does a great job relating to our quarterbacks and what each player needs to prepare.”

    McGiven is in his second season as Utah State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Wells, and also spent the 2009 season as the Aggies’ quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach. A native of Orem, Utah, McGiven played at Eastern Arizona Junior College and Louisiana Tech. He broke into coaching as an student assistant at Louisiana Tech and has previously coached at Mountain View (Provo, Utah) High School, Southern Utah, Weber State, Memphis and Montana State.

    The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Dave Baldwin [Colorado State], Sonny Cumbie [TCU], Tom Herman [Ohio State] and McGiven) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

    McGiven will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

    Previous winners of the Quarterbacks Coach of the Year award are Josh Heupel (Oklahoma, 2008), Tom Rossley (Texas A&M, 2009), Philip Montgomery (Baylor, 2011) Mark Helfrich (Oregon, 2010 and 2012) and Randy Sanders (Florida State, 2013).

    keystats

    4 quarterbacks started games          27 total touchdowns
    135.8 composite quarterback rating          9-4 regular-season record
           

     
     

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  • What coaching staffs were the best and worst values of 2014?

    Steve Berkowitz, the same man who put together the USA Today head coach and assistant coach salary database, came out with a chart recently detailing which coaching staffs were the best value of the 2014 season.

    The formula took into account the annual salary of the head coach, and his nine assistants and their total number of wins up until this point in the season.

    Of the 105 programs that made their 2014 salary information available, 11-2 Northern Illinois provided the best “bang for the buck” factor, costing just $116,820 per win. Worst on the list? Colorado who won just two games, costing just over $2.3 million per win.

    Not surprisingly, non-Power 5 conferences dominate the top of the list, but the first Power 5 school listed is Oregon at #36.

    The bottom ten teams include some of the larger names in college football including programs like Iowa State, Washington State, Michigan, Texas and South Carolina.

    Take a look at the full break down here. Below is a shot of the top 10, and bottom 10 coaching staff values of 2014.

    Top 10 values

    Top5values

    Bottom 10 values

    bottom5values