NCF Nation: Jack Griffin

Non-AQ players of the week

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
4:30
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Here are the non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each conference. The independent players are chosen by a nationwide media panel.

Conference USA

Offense: Case Keenum, QB, Houston. Keenum threw for 534 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns, breaking the NCAA mark for career touchdown passes in a 73-34 win over Rice.

Defense: Milton Howell, DB, Tulsa. Howell tied school and conference records with three interceptions for 44 return yards a 38-7 win over SMU.

Special teams: Tyron Carrier, KR, Houston. Carrier tied the NCAA FBS all-time record with his seventh career kickoff return (matching Clemson’s C.J. Spiller). Carrier returned the opening kickoff 100 yards.

Independent

Offense: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. Floyed had six receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown in Notre Dame’s 56-14 home win over Navy. Floyd and his first career rushing touchdown in a win over Navy.

Defense: Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame. Te'o had a game-high 13 tackles including 2 1/2 tackles for loss.

Special teams: J.D. Falslev, KR, BYU. With the Cougars trailing 35-13 late in the third quarter, Falslev returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown --BYU’s first punt return for a touchdown since Nov. 9, 2006, a span of 64 games.

MAC

East Division

Offense: Zac Dysert, QB, Miami. Dysert went 20-for-25 for 313 yards and a record-tying five touchdowns in a 41-13 victory over Buffalo. Dysert now has 7,166 career passing yards, ranking second behind only Ben Roethlisberger (10,829).

Defense: Luke Batton, LB, Kent State. Had 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry in a win over Bowling Green.

Special Teams: Freddy Cortez, K, Kent State. Went 2-for-2 on field goal attempts against Bowling Green.

West Division

Offense: Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan. White became the school's career receptions leader in a 45-35 win over Ball State with nine catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns. White holds the record with 261 career receptions and is over 1,000 yards for the season.

Defense: Johnnie Simon, Western Michigan. Had 10 tackles, a pass break up, two hurries and his second career interception in a 45-35 win over Ball State.

Special Teams: David Harman, K, Central Michigan. Kicked a career-high three field goals and accounted for nearly half of Central Michigan's points in a 23-22 win at Akron.

Mountain West

Co-offense: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming. Ronnie Hillman, RB, San Diego State. Smith threw for a career-best 341 yards and scored four total touchdowns in a 30-27 upset over San Diego State. Hillman had 25 times for 224 yards and two touchdowns. His 99-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the longest rush in the nation in 2011 and is also the longest in MW history. Hillman also had a 71-yard touchdown reception, finished with a career-high 305 all-purpose yards.

Co-Defense: James Dunlap, DL, UNLV. Jonathan Anderson, S, TCU. Dunlap had a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, seven tackles and a forced fumble in a 38-35 win over Colorado State. Anderson finished with a career-high and team-best 17 tackles and recorded his first career interception in a 38-28 win over BYU.

Special teams: Deante' Purvis, KR, UNLV. Had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and posted 202 total yards on five kick returns in a 38-35 win over Colorado State.

Sun Belt

Offense: Alonzo Harris, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette. Harris ran for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Middle Tennessee, and became the first Cajuns running back to post a 100-yard game since 2009.

Defense: Melvin White, DB, ULL. White had an interception, fumble recovery and seven tackles in the win over Middle Tennessee.

Special Teams: Jack Griffin, K, FIU. Griffin tied a career-best with three field goals in a 23-20 overtime win over Troy. Griffin kicked a 20-yarder that tied the score with 3:31 to go in regulation, then won the game with a 22-yarder in overtime.

WAC

Offense: Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada. Went 19-of-29 passes for 283 yards with no interceptions and rushed 13 times for 60 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-34 win at New Mexico State. Nevada trailed 27-20 at halftime before Fajardo scored two third-quarter touchdowns to give the Wolf Pack the lead for good.

Defense: Aaron Brown, LB, Hawaii. Had a team-high nine tackles (five solo), including 1.5 for a loss, and an interception in a 16-14 win over Idaho.

Special teams: Kenton Chun, K, Hawaii. Kicked a game-winning 35-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining in a victory at Idaho. Chun also made a 27-yard field goal. Entering the game, he had one career field goal attempt, making a 38-yarder in the season opener against Colorado.

Top 10 non-AQ moments of 2010

January, 18, 2011
1/18/11
11:00
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What would a season wrap be without a list of the top 10 moments of the non-AQ season? So here it goes.

1. Tank Carder bats down Scott Tolzien’s 2-point conversion attempt. The best moment of the season simply because it preserved TCU’s 21-19 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, allowing the Horned Frogs to finish No. 2 in the final rankings as the top non-AQ team in the nation.

[+] EnlargeNevada Wolf Pack kicker Anthony Martinez
AP Photo/Cathleen AllisonAnthony Martinez's game-winning kick in overtime shocked Boise State and led Nevada to its best season ever.
2. Anthony Martinez kicks a 34-yard field goal in overtime to beat Boise State. In one of the biggest upsets of the season, Nevada took advantage of two misses from Broncos kicker Kyle Brotzman to pull off the 34-31 win. It was Martinez, a redshirt freshman, who calmly delivered the game-winning kick, triggering a wild celebration and helping the Wolf Pack finish with the best season in school history.

3. Kellen Moore delivers the game-winning touchdown over Virginia Tech. Moore threw the 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis with 1:09 remaining, lifting the Broncos to a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech. The win may have lost its luster at the end of the season, but at the time, it kept Boise State in the national conversation and proved once again the Broncos had what it took, not only to compete, but to beat the teams from the automatic qualifying conferences.

4. TCU smacks Utah. The stakes were high. College GameDay was in Salt Lake City for the huge clash between No. 3 TCU and No. 5 Utah, two undefeated non-AQs jockeying for BCS positioning. The Horned Frogs dismantled Utah 47-7 as Andy Dalton threw for 355 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boyce early in the first quarter that set the tone for the game.

5. Brandon Burton blocks BYU’s game-winning field goal attempt. Not only was this the last game between BYU and Utah as conference rivals, it's also presumably the last time they will end the season against each other. Burton delivered a classic finish, blocking a 42-yard attempt by Mitch Payne to help Utah hold on for a 17-16 victory. Utah had erased a 13-0 deficit to come from behind and win.

6. Austin Boucher throws a 33-yard touchdown pass to Armand Robinson with 33 seconds left to help Miami (Ohio) win the MAC title game. This was supposed to be Northern Illinois’ night. The Huskies finished unbeaten in league play and were the overwhelming favorites to win. But Boucher, a redshirt freshman, converted a fourth-and-20 on the final drive, then hit Robinson for the game-winning touchdown as Miami (Ohio) completed the best turnaround in college football. The RedHawks went 1-11 last season.

7. Navy beats Notre Dame. Alexander Teich had his way against the Irish, running for 210 yards as the Midshipmen won in a 35-17 rout. It was Navy’s third win over Notre Dame in four years, as it racked up 367 yards on the ground – the most ever for Navy against the Irish. Teich also became the first fullback in school history to run for over 200 yards in a game.

8. Dominique Davis’ prayer answered. Trailing 49-45 with seconds remaining in the season opener for both teams, the only option East Carolina had to win was to throw a Hail Mary into the end zone. Davis heaved the football into the end zone, and James Jones came up with the 33-yard touchdown to complete the improbable 51-49 victory. The teams combined for 1,117 yards and swapped the lead 12 times. If Tulsa had won, the Golden Hurricane would have played in the C-USA championship game and East Carolina would not have made a bowl.

9. Air Force knocks off Navy. When the Falcons beat the Midshipmen 14-6 early in the season, they got the upper hand in the race for the Commander-In-Chief Trophy. Air Force beat Navy for the first time since 2002 and also ended the Midshipmen’s 15-game service academy win streak. It was an emotional win for the Falcons, whose win over Army later in the season ended Navy’s seven-year hold on that CIC Trophy.

10. FIU kicks a last second field goal to beat Toledo. In what was one of the best finishes during bowl season, FIU kicker Jack Griffin booted a 34-yard field goal with no time left to give the Panthers a 34-32 win over the Rockets in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. It was a great moment not only because of the heart-stopping ending, but because FIU won its first bowl game in its first bowl appearance and finished with its first ever winning record.

2010 non-AQ All-Bowl team

January, 14, 2011
1/14/11
11:00
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Our final look at the 2010-11 bowl season leaves us with the non-AQ all bowl team:

OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeCorey Robinson
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyTroy quarterback Corey Robinson threw four touchdown passes in the New Orleans Bowl.
QB Corey Robinson, Troy: There were plenty of candidates to choose from, but Robinson gets the nod. He went 32-of-42 for 387 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a dominating 48-21 win against Ohio in the R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

RB Adonis Thomas, Toledo: His team might have lost, but it wasn’t really Thomas’ fault. He did all he could to help the Rockets, rushing for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns (averaging 8 yards a carry) in a 34-32 loss to FIU in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State: Hillman ran for a Poinsettia Bowl-record 228 yards in a 35-14 win against Navy. He also scored three rushing touchdowns and caught the first touchdown pass of his career, and set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman.

OL Matt Reynolds, BYU: Helped the Cougars run for 219 yards on the ground in a 52-24 win against UTEP. The Cougars also did not give up a sack in the game.

OL Nate Potter, Boise State: Helped the Broncos rush for 202 yards in a 26-3 win against Utah in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

OL Logan Pegram, Northern Illinois: He was part of a terrific effort from a Huskies' offensive line that totally dominated the Humanitarian Bowl. The Huskies shut down the Fresno State passing attack, holding the best sack duo in the country in Chris Carter and Logan Harrell without a sack.

OL Joe Pawlak, Northern Illinois: Also part of the Huskies' offensive line that opened holes for Chad Spann and Chandler Harnish, and allowed the Huskies to run for 203 yards.

C Trask Iosefa, San Diego State: Helped the Aztecs pile up 279 yards on the ground in a win against Navy, and held the Midshipmen without a sack.

WR Greg Salas, Hawaii: The Warriors looked terrible on offense, and Salas was the only player who seemed to show up. You have to give a nod to a guy who led all receivers during bowl season with 214 yards on 13 catches. He added two scores in a 62-35 loss to Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

WR Cody Hoffman, BYU: Had eight catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns in a 52-24 win against UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl for the first 100-yard game of his career.

TE Virgil Green, Nevada: Had 62 yards on four catches in a 20-13 win against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. He helped open up the offense early in the game.

DEFENSE

DE Jake Coffman, Northern Illinois: Set a Humanitarian Bowl record with three sacks, added another 1.5 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble en route to a 40-17 win against Fresno State.

DE Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy: Had eight tackles, including three for a loss, and a New Orleans Bowl record 2.5 sacks in a 48-21 win against Ohio in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

DL Bruce Miller, UCF: Led the best defensive effort of the season, helping hold Georgia to 82 yards rushing, while notching eight tackles and 1.5 sacks in a 10-6 win against the Bulldogs in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

DL Shea McClellin, Boise State: The Broncos had a dominating performance against Utah, holding the Utes to 200 total yards. McClellin had one of the team’s four sacks.

LB Tank Carder, TCU: He only had the biggest play of the game, swatting down a 2-point conversion with two minutes left to save a 21-19 win against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio.

LB Curnelius Arnick, Tulsa: He had two interceptions, including one that was returned 54 yards for a touchdown in a 62-35 win against Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

LB Stephen Anderson, Army: Had 10 tackles, one interception and half a sack in Army’s 16-14 win against SMU in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The defensive effort was its best of the season and allowed the Black Knights to finish 2010 with a winning record for the first time since 1996.

S Colin Jones, TCU: He had a career-high 10 tackles and also added two pass break-ups in the 21-19 win against Wisconsin.

S Kreg Brown, FIU: Brown had the first two interceptions of his career, but they were mighty big ones in a 34-32 win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. His second interception in the fourth quarter set up a touchdown that gave FIU a 28-24 lead.

CB Dayonne Nunley, Miami (Ohio): His 52-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter gave Miami its first lead of the game en route to a 35-21 win against Middle Tennessee in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. He also had a fumble recovery.

CB Josh Robinson, UCF: Not only did he have an interception, he helped keep A.J. Green in check, allowing him just 77 yards in receptions – and a long of only 18 yards in a win against Georgia.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P Brian Stahovich, San Diego State: He might have only punted three times in a win against Navy, but all three of his punts landed inside the 20, and he averaged 40.3 yards a kick. Navy didn’t return a punt.

PK Jack Griffin, FIU: Nailed a 34-yard field goal with no time left to give FIU the win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. He made his other field-goal attempt in the game, a 31-yarder, and all his extra-point attempts.

PR Rishard Matthews, Nevada: His 72-yard punt return for a touchdown ended up making a huge difference in a 20-13 win against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It was Nevada’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2001.

KR T.Y. Hilton, FIU: His 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter helped spark the Panthers’ rally in the win against Toledo in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Hilton finished with 174 yards on five kickoff returns.

*AP Damarius Johnson, Tulsa: Had to add in the all-purpose category to give a nod to Johnson, who had 329 all-purpose yards and set the NCAA career record in that category in the win against Hawaii.

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