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NAIA schools holding their own against the FCS

We got a few notes this past weekend on some memorable performances from NAIA schools against FCS opponents, and after taking a look at a few, we found a couple that were worth mentioning.

Central Methodist University (MO) went toe to toe with FCS Southeast Missouri State University before falling 55-44. CMU outgained the Redhawks on the ground 356 - 301. Head coach Alan Dykens has led an impressive change in the running game improving from 81st in the country in 2010 to currently being ranked 7th in the country.

St. Francis (IL) scored an upset of FCS Georgia State 30-27 in OT on Saturday.  St. Francis recovered an onside kick with 1:22 left and got out of bounds twice on the drive to set up a game tying 30 yard field goal to send the game into overtime.  The Fighting Saints, led by head coach Mike Uremovich, outgained Georgia State by more than 120 yards and won the battle for time of possession by 6 minutes.

It's good to see a few NAIA schools competing with schools with a lot more resources. Impressive jobs by both staffs.

No joke, another new helmet for Notre Dame

Notre Dame just revealed their newest helmets (for those of you counting, this is their 4th helmet of this season). Notre Dame announced that they will wear the new lids along with their green jerseys Saturday against Maryland (at least doing this against Maryland makes sense). A few weeks ago they also revealed a newer version of the classic gold helmets, but this a far stretch from the "classic" look.

The new helmets are part of a new series labeled the "Shamrock Series" and are covered in 24 karat gold leaf with an oversized shamrock on each side and leprechaun on the back.

Without further comment (although we welcome yours below), below is a pic that the Notre Dame equipment staff just tweeted out.

Screen Shot_2011-11-07_at_5.16.09_PM


"An intoxicated kicker is better than no kicker"

Tennessee was hosting Middle Tennessee Saturday night at 7. 

On Thursday, the Vols starting kicker hurt himself in practice; but expected to be able to play. Pre-game he said he couldn't go. Then during warmups, his backup pulled a muscle.

So Derek Dooley did what any coach would do...at 6:10 (50 minutes before the game) he called the frat house to get a hold of a redshirt freshman (Derrick Brodus), and had a police escort pick him up to get him to the stadium.

Brodus said he was laying on the couch, watching football when he got the call. "I didn't know what was going on...thought it was a dream."

Dooley said that we he shared the idea of calling Brodus with the staff, some were worried that the young man might have been enjoying a few frosty beverages given that he wasn't planning to dress out. 

When asked after the game about the decision Dooley said "'Hey, an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody. Just get him here and we'll do a Breathalyzer. Fortunately, he didn't have anything bad."

Derrick Brodus showed up 10 minutes before kickoff, and ended up earning the game ball going 3 of 3 in PAT's as well as kicking a 21 yard field goal in the Vols 24-0 win over Middle Tennessee.

How does this stuff keep happening to Dooley? Glad this one had a happy ending.


Prepare yourself for some serious MAC football

A quick look ahead revealed that we're in for a treat this week.

Two MAC games tomorrow night (NIU at Bowling Green and Western Michigan at Toledo), one Wednesday night (Miami OH at Temple) and one Thursday night (Ohio at Central Michigan). 


Ole Miss

Ole Miss has announced a 2pm (central) press conference with the University Chancellor and the athletic director. 

Houston Nutt is scheduled to speak at 3pm. 

We'll see if we can capture a live feed and if so will place it on this page. Obviously, we'll recap the news here as well.

Reports out of Oxford are that Coach Nutt will finish out the season and then resign. Very important question is whether it will be announced today that athletic director Pete Boone is stepping down as well. 

We'll keep you posted here throughout the day. 

Noon (central) Update> We have been told that Pete Boone will remain AD for up to 12 months while the University attempts to find the right person to replace him; however the same sources tell us that Boone will have little to no say in the search for the next head coach. We are told the search committee will be chaired by Archie Manning and Fedex VP Mike Glenn. 

2PM Update> 5 member search committee headed by Archie and Mike Glenn will make a recommendation to the Chancellor (Dan Jones) who will be charged with hiring the next head coach. Glenn leads Fedex's sports marketing worldwide. Boone says that last Summer he was asked (by the Chancellor) to come up with this plan (to use a search committee in lieu of him making the decision). Jones added that Archie and Mike Glenn will also lead the search for a new AD. Coach Nutt will be paid a buyout of $6 million over the course of five years. 

Come to the game, win a deer stand

Rule #1 - Know your audience.

Saturday Arkansas State is hosting a huge Sun Belt game (yes we did just make that statement). Hudspeth is bringing ULL (or UL, or Louisiana-Lafayette, or just Louisiana...or whatever it is that they want to be known as now) into town with an 8-2 overall, 6-1 Sun Belt record to play Hugh Freeze's Arkansas State team that is 7-2, 5-0. 

Freeze wants the place packed and rowdy. So what did he do?  

Free Beer? No; but probably the next best thing. This morning Freeze tweeted:

I know it's opening day of deer season, So go out to the woods early in the morning. Come in at noon and get to our game at 2pm win a deer stand

Yes, A-State is giving away a deer stand at the game. That's knowing your audience. Well played Coach Freeze, well played. 

New interim AD fired coordinator without consulting coach?

For those of you following the saga unfolding at Western Carolina, this revelation probably isn't shocking; but for the rest of universe, this might sound odd.

Two weeks ago, Western Carolina University dismissed their athletic director and brought a former senior associate AD out of retirement to serve as the interim AD. That's not the shocking part.

So, what was one of the first things the new interim AD did? He dismissed the defensive coordinator without discussing it with the head football coach.

Take a second and think about that.

Head coach Dennis Wagner is in his fourth season at the helm of the Catamounts. They currently are 1-8 this season and are a combined 8-35 under Wagner. 

Cavaliers bowl eligible for the first time since 2007

Virginia notched their sixth win of the season against Maryland on Saturday, making them bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.

The last time (2007) that the Cavaliers earned bowl eligibility was also against Randy Edsall, while he was at Connecticut.

Mike London's team was impressive on both sides of the ball, putting up their best offensive performance of the season with 527 yards of total offense, 220 coming on the ground.  With a field goal in the first quarter, the Terps became only the second team in 9 games to score in first quarter against UVA.  Virginia has now given up a total of 10 points in the first quarter through those nine games, tied with Stanford for best in the country.

The 6-3 Cavaliers will take on Duke Saturday and wrap up the season against Florida State and Virginia Tech. Mike London and his guys have to be pleased with how this season is progressing.