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  • Watch the West side of Kyle Field come crashing down

    NewKyleField.j[pg

    Back in February of 2013, Texas A&M announced plans for a $450 million renovation of Kyle Field that would appropriately take one of the most iconic stadiums in the country into the 21st century.

    This morning the renovations of Kyle Field started a new chapter – literally with a bang – as crews used dynamite to implode of the West side of the stadium.

    Hundreds gathered to see the historic moment, and while it is a bit sad to see history torn down, the renderings of what the Aggies are upgrading to make this moment more exciting than sad…at least to most.

    Here’s a video of the implosion, along with a few reactions from Twitter.

  • Colorado State-Pueblo wins its first Division II national championship

    KansasCity.com

    KansasCity.com

    Minnesota State-Mankato entered Saturday averaging more than 42 points and 450 yards per game. They didn’t come close to hitting either average in the Division II national championship, as Colorado State-Pueblo stormed the Mavericks for a 13-0 victory.

    Meeting at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday’s tilt was the first Division II national championship game for either program. The win gave CSU-Pueblo not only its first football national title, but its first national championship in any sport.

    The ThunderWolves won by mimicking a brick wall on defense, holding MSU to 265 yards of total offense, nearly 195 yards below their average and only 105 rushing yards, less than half their season average.

    Chris Bonner threw for 191 yards, including five connections for 84 yards and the game’s only touchdown to Paul Browning, and Cameron McDondle ran for 113 yards to power the ThunderWolves’ offense.

    Every national championship is monumental for a head coach, but this one is especially head coach for CSU-Pueblo’s John Wristen. He played quarterback at the school, then known as Southern Colorado, in the early 1980’s, then watch the program get disbanded in 1985. Wristen resurrected the program in 2007 and has served as its head coach ever since, leading the ThunderWolves step by step and inch by inch until taking the ultimate step on Saturday.

    “Our defense was outstanding. Our offense made the plays they needed to,” Wristen said. “I was convinced if we understood the process, played as hard as you can and play for each other — and not being perfect, but fixing your mistakes — we had a chance to be here.”

  • 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.