NCF Nation: Kawaun Jakes

SEC stutters in off-brand games

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
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The SEC East fight between Florida and Tennessee took center stage in prime time tonight, followed closely by Missouri's nail-biting victory against Arizona State. While those two matchups took up most of the airwaves and the attention, the rest of the league struggled a bit in several low-key matchups.

First up is Week 3's black eye for the conference:

Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT): The Sun Belt downed an SEC team for the second consecutive weekend -- though Western Kentucky's overtime win against the Wildcats isn't quite on par with Louisiana-Monroe's upset of No. 8 Arkansas last week.

The Hilltoppers raced out to a 17-0 lead on Kentucky before eventually allowing the Wildcats back into it. Kentucky forced overtime with just 24 seconds remaining when quarterback Maxwell Smith found wide receiver DeMarcus Sweat for a 22-yard score that tied the game at 24-24. Kentucky scored to open the overtime period, but Western Kentucky answered on a two-yard run from running back Antonio Andrews.

The Hilltoppers opted to go for two points and the win rather than kick an extra point. The decision worked to perfection when Andrews took a screen pass from quarterback Kawaun Jakes, only to fire back to Jakes on a halfback pass. Jakes strolled into the end zone for the 32-31 win.

Mississippi State 30, Troy 24: The Bulldogs seemed to have Troy under control when they took a 23-7 lead at halftime. But the Trojans roared back on the strength of 223 yards rushing, with three rushing touchdowns.

Bulldogs wide receiver Chad Bumphis did whatever he wanted to the Troy secondary. He caught six balls for 180 yards and three touchdowns, the last of which put Mississippi State up by nine with seven minutes to play. Troy kicked a field goal to cut the lead to six with four minutes to play, but the Bulldogs were able to hold on.

South Carolina 49, Alabama-Birmingham 6: The Gamecocks eventually downed the Blazers by quite a convincing score, but there was plenty of bumbling in a first half that saw UAB cut the lead as close as eight.

Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson both saw time at quarterback for South Carolina. Shaw had the better completion percentage, as he went 8 of 14 for 107 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Thompson only completed 5 of 10 passes, but he had the better stats, with 177 yards for two touchdowns and no picks.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore carried 12 times for 85 yards, and his lone touchdown of the night put the Gamecocks up 21-6 just before halftime. South Carolina outscored the Blazers 28-0 in the second half to pull away -- the biggest highlight coming on a 94-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to wide receiver Damiere Byrd.

Non-AQ Players of the Week

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
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Here are your non-AQ players of the week, as selected by each league.

Conference USA

Offense: Tulane WR Casey Robottom. Had a career-high 10 receptions for a career-best 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a 34-24 win over UTEP. His 43-yard touchdown catch gave the Green Wave the lead for good with 5:30 remaining in the game.

Defense: Houston LB Sammy Brown and UCF DE Darius Nall. Brown led the Cougars with eight tackles, two sacks and a forced a fumble in a 45-20 win over SMU. In the past two games, Brown has recorded nine tackles for loss and four sacks. Nall had 2.5 sacks, forced a fumble, had a pass pressure and tied for the team lead with six total tackles as UCF defeated Rice 41-14.

Special Teams: Houston KR Tyron Carrier. Scored on a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a win over SMU. It was the sixth of his career. Clemson's C.J. Spiller holds the NCAA career record with seven kickoff returns for touchdowns.

Mid-American

East Division

Offense: Kent State WR Tyshon Goode. Had a career-high 12 catches for a season-high 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-6 win at Bowling Green. He also extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 15.

Defense: Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson. Led the Owls with six tackles and a career-high 2.5 sacks in a 42-0 win at Buffalo. Temple had its first shutout since 1992 and first shutout of a BCS opponent since 1984.

Special teams: Kent State K Freddy Cortez. Scored 12 points in a 30-6 victory at Bowling Green. Cortez tied his career-high with three field goals (29, 32, 30), while making all three extra points. He missed a 51-yarder.

West Division

Offense: Western Michigan WR Juan Nunez. Had six receptions for a career-high 192 yards and three touchdowns in a 56-10 win over Akron.

Defense: Northern Illinois LB Tyrone Clark. Had two interceptions in a 33-7 win over Central Michigan. Both came in the second quarter to stop Chippewa drives and ensure that the Huskies would have a halftime lead.

Special Teams: Toledo KR Isaiah Ballard. Returned three kickoffs for 103 yards, including a 56-yard return, in a 31-24 win over Ball State.

Mountain West

Offense: TCU RB Ed Wesley and Utah QB Jordan Wynn. Wesley had a career-high 209 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries to help the Horned Frogs beat Air Force 38-7. Wynn completed 23 of 29 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of action in a 59-6 win over Colorado State.

Defense: BYU LB Brandon Ogletree. Had career highs of five solo tackles and three tackles for loss in a 25-20 win over Wyoming. Four of the tackles came on Wyoming’s final drive of the game, and two were for a loss.

Special Teams: BYU KR Cody Hoffman. Had 104 kick return yards in the victory over Wyoming. In all, Hoffman averaged 26.0 yards on four kick returns.

Sun Belt

Offense: Western Kentucky QB Kawaun Jakes. Went 18-of-22 for a season-high 262 yards and one touchdown in a 54-21 win over Louisiana, snapping a 26-game losing streak. He also picked up 28 rushing yards and scored two rushing touchdowns. He led the Hilltoppers to scores on nine straight offense possessions.

Defense: Arkansas State DB Adrian Hills. Recorded a career-high two interceptions, including one returned 37 yards for a touchdown, over the final 10 minutes of a 37-16 fourth-quarter comeback victory against Florida Atlantic.

Special Teams: Western Kentucky K Casey Tinius. Score 12 points in the Hilltoppers’ victory over Louisiana. His 47-yard kick as time expired in the first half tied a career long.

WAC

Offense: Hawaii running back Alex Green. Ran for a career-high 172 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries in a 45-7 win at Utah State. He had a career-long rush of 60 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Defense: Hawaii linebacker Corey Paredes. Had a game-high 10 tackles and two interceptions at Utah State. Paredes helped anchor a defense that held its opponent to 181 yards of total offense, the fewest in a game for the Warriors since 2005.

Special Teams: Fresno State K Kevin Goessling. Made all four of his field goal attempts in a 33-18 win at San Jose State. Goessling was also 3-for-3 on extra point attempts to run his consecutive streak to 116 -- 12 shy of the all-time WAC record.

Non-AQ Weekend Rewind

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
2:00
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Let's take a look at the good and the bad for the non-AQs in Week 8.

The good: Pollsters might not have noticed, but Utah is on an incredible tear. The Utes are No. 3 in the nation in scoring offense, having scored more than 50 points in four of their wins. They are outscoring opponents 183-36 in league play – the latest a 59-6 win against Wyoming that was one of their most complete games of the season. People have slammed the Utah schedule, but the Utes did beat Iowa State 68-27 – the same Cyclones team that just beat Texas.

TCU is on a tear, too, outscoring its opponents 141-10 in four Mountain West games.

[+] EnlargeGee Gee Greene
AP Photo/Rich SchultzRunning back Gee Gee Greene and Navy dominated Notre Dame, 35-17.
You have heard all about Navy’s impressive 35-17 win against Notre Dame. Those Navy seniors are now the third class in Academy history to beat Notre Dame three times, joining the classes of 1937 and 1964.

Meanwhile, the past two weeks have seen two winless teams win. Western Kentucky became the latest on Saturday in a 54-21 win against Louisiana. One interesting nugget from the win -- the victory was the first career coaching win for head coach Willie Taggart. It came on the same field where he played his last collegiate game, in 1998, when the Toppers dropped the season finale.

Say what you will about the WAC, but the league has five teams that are .500 or better right now.

The bad: Two MAC bowl teams from last season are having a difficult time of it in 2010. Bowling Green, which went 7-6 last season with a trip to the Humanitarian Bowl, has been eliminated from bowl contention after a 30-6 loss to Kent State. The Falcons have dropped five straight and are 1-7, including 0-4 in the MAC. Injuries have hurt, but so has the loss of several key players from last season. Bowling Green has struggled to run the ball, averaging 1.9 yards a rush, and has had trouble stopping the run, too. “We’ve got to find a way to play much better than we’ve been playing,” Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said.

Defending West Division champion Central Michigan is at 2-6 and needs to win out to even be bowl eligible, but that would give it no guarantees for getting into a game. The Chippewas went 12-2 last season and have made four straight bowl games. But they have a new head coach in Dan Enos and are without quarterback Dan LeFevour, one of the best players in school history.

Meanwhile, Utah State has been outscored 69-13 in its past two WAC games. … Winless Akron has failed to score more than 17 points in its four MAC losses.

The heartache: UAB has read through this script before, and the Blazers have got to hate the results. Yet again, they came oh so close to upsetting an SEC team before coming up just short. UAB pulled ahead of Mississippi State 24-23 with 10 minutes to go in the game, but failed to hold on. The Bulldogs kicked two field goals to squeak out a 29-24 victory. No need to relive the 32-29 overtime loss to Tennessee earlier in the year that featured five missed field goals. Oh, wait. We just went there.

The off-balance: BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team would go with a power run game more in the final part of the season. He wasn’t kidding. The Cougars had a season-low 81 yards passing in a 25-20 win against Wyoming, while racking up 217 yards on the ground. This is not necessarily good news, considering Cougars fans probably want to see more out of true freshman Jake Heaps. Is he not developing or does he not have playmakers around him? BYU has to win three of its final four to become bowl eligible. With games against UNLV, Colorado State and New Mexico, that remains a possibility.

A few more helmet stickers: Kent State receiver Tyshon Goode had a career-high 12 receptions for a season-high 158 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Bowling Green. … Western Kentucky quarterback Kawaun Jakes’ 262 passing yards and 290 yards of total offense in a win agaist Louisiana were the most for him since his first career start when he passed for 276 yards and posted 320 offensive yards at Navy last year.

A few injury items to note: San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman has a hip pointer, but isn’t expected to miss any games. … Air Force isn’t going to get any of its injured players back this week for Utah. Jared Tew (leg) and receiver Kevin Fogler (knee) are still out, and nose tackle Ryan Gardner (groin) and receiver Zack Kauth (ankle) won’t practice this week.

Week 9 look-ahead: Plenty of big games ahead this weekend. No. 8 Utah begins the tough stretch of its schedule with a trip to Air Force. East Carolina travels to UCF for a big Conference USA showdown. Western Kentucky might even be able to put together a two-game winning streak as it hosts North Texas. The Mean Green will be playing their first game since coach Todd Dodge was fired.

Lunchtime Links

October, 25, 2010
10/25/10
12:30
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Hard to believe we are already headed into Week 9.

Byron Hout has made the move to middle linebacker worth it for Boise State.

Navy outplayed, outfought, outcoached and outworked Notre Dame.

TCU coach Gary Patterson had his relentless work ethic instilled in him at a young age.

Utah might be playing its best football of the season, just in time for the tough stretch of its schedule.

BYU is going to use its bye week to try to improve its offense.

San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman has a hip pointer, but coach Brady Hoke doesn't expect that to keep him out of action.

Tulane answered the challenge coach Bob Toledo gave them with a win over UTEP.

Western Kentucky quarterback Kawaun Jakes on his team snapping a 26-game losing streak, "I feel like a million bucks."

The secret to Northern Illinois' success? Depth.
We told you about quarterback battles still going on among the non-AQ schools in a two part series yesterday: Part I and Part II.

Here is a look at the quarterback battles that have already been decided as we close in on the start of the season:

Akron

Winner: Patrick Nicely.

Buzz: Nicely and Matt Rodgers played pretty evenly throughout fall camp and split the reps evenly. But Nicely emerged thanks to his play throughout the spring and camp. He started seven games as a true freshman in 2009, completing 120 of 222 passes for 1,349 yards and six touchdowns.

Bowling Green

Winner: Matt Schilz.

Buzz: With Tyler Sheehan gone, Bowling Green turns to the redshirt freshman, who has never thrown a pass in a collegiate game. The Falcons have had much stability at the quarterback position, so it will be interesting to see how Schilz does this season.

Colorado State

Winner: Pete Thomas.

Buzz: The highly touted true freshman enrolled in school early and beat out redshirt freshman Nico Ranieri. The last time a freshman started at quarterback for Colorado State was Caleb Hanie in 2004.

[+] EnlargeStewart
Hunter Martin/Getty ImagesTemple's Chester Stewart needs to improve his completion percentage for the Owls to succeed this season.
Louisiana Tech

Winner: Steven Ensminger.

Buzz: The Auburn transfer found new life under new coach Sonny Dykes’ spread offense. After playing tight end last spring under former coach Derek Dooley, Ensminger was able to beat out Ross Jenkins, who started parts of the past two seasons.

Marshall

Winner: Brian Anderson.

Buzz: The incumbent survived a challenge from A.J. Graham, Eddie Sullivan and former Clemson player Willie Korn to emerge as the starter once again. Korn ended up transferring. Important to note: Anderson is learning his third different offense, now that new coach Doc Holliday is there.

New Mexico

Winner: B.R. Holbrook.

Buzz: Holbrook won the job over freshman Tarean Austin and Brad Gruner, and coach Mike Locksley cited his knowledge of the offense, the way he moved the team during scrimmages and his mostly error-free play.

New Mexico State

Winner: Matt Christian.

Buzz: Coach DeWayne Walker went with the junior college transfer over Jeff Fleming, who was 1-7 as a starter last season. Christian had been nursing a sore elbow during camp. Watch for Andrew Manley, a freshman from Hawaii, in case Walker decides not to redshirt him.

North Texas

Winner: Nathan Tune.

Buzz: Tune got the opportunity to compete for the starting job with Derek Thompson after last season’s starter, Riley Dodge, moved to wide receiver because of the accumulation of injuries to his arm. Tune, a former walk-on, has served as the backup the past two seasons.

Temple

Winner: Chester Stewart.

Buzz: Stewart emerged as the leader for the job during the spring when Vaughn Charlton moved from quarterback to tight end. Stewart played last season but had his struggles, completing 40 percent of his passes, throwing for three touchdowns and three interceptions.

UAB

Winner: David Isabelle.

Buzz: Isabelle won the job over Bryan Ellis to replace Joe Webb. Coach Neil Callaway cited Isabelle’s athleticism, but also said Ellis would play this season. Isabelle has played in spot duty behind Webb.

Western Kentucky

Winner: Kawaun Jakes.

Buzz: The sophomore started eight games last season, and coach Willie Taggart says Jakes has shown potential to be a very good quarterback in the new West Coast offense that is being installed. Jakes missed nearly all of spring after injuring his ankle during a pickup basketball game and had to work his way back into Taggart’s good graces.
Here's a breakdown of three issues facing each program heading into the spring:

Arkansas State Red Wolves
Spring practice starts: March 29
Spring game: April 24
What to watch:
  • Three-time All-Sun Belt rusher Reggie Arnold is gone and finding his replacement will be their top priority. Derek Lawson, who was third on the team in rushing with 244 yards and two touchdowns, returns and he’ll be the incumbent through spring. But he’ll face competition from Sir Gregory Thornton and Frankie Jackson in the fall.
  • Ryan Aplin, who started three of the final four games last season, should be the leading quarterback this spring. Redshirt freshman Phillip Butterfield, however, will also challenge him for the spot. Butterfield was in the mix last fall camp before his season ended with a knee injury.
  • Arkansas State is currently without an offensive coordinator after Clay Helton, who came over from Memphis last month, left for USC last week. The Red Wolves still have a month before spring football starts, but trying to fill that void this late is going to make any transition to a new offense tough.
Florida Atlantic Owls
Spring practice starts: March 31
Spring game: April 24
What to watch:
  • The Owls lost seven starters from the offense, including four from the offensive line. The only player returning is center Ryan Wischnefski. Several players will be fighting for those spots, including Troy Niblack, Samuel McRoy, Jared Pizzuti and Max Karrick. The 2009 FAU offensive line was the best in the program’s short history. It helped FAU become the No. 2 passing offense in the Sun Belt.
  • FAU returns senior quarterback Jeff Van Camp, who started the second half of the season after Rusty Smith was injured. But six of the team’s top seven receivers are gone, including both tight ends Jason Harmon and Jamari Grant. Senior Lester Jean is the lone returning receiver. He had 501 yards and four touchdowns last season. The good thing is that FAU quarterbacks like to spread the ball around, so developing a new rapport with some receivers this spring shouldn’t be too difficult.
  • The team is counting on new defensive coordinator Kurt Van Valkenburgh and secondary coach Dick Hopkins to make the defense competitive. The Owls had one of the worst defenses in the country and one of the worst in program history. There will be a lot of competition in the secondary, especially since three walk-ons filled those starting roles.
Florida International Golden Panthers
Spring practice starts: March 3
Spring game: April 1
What to watch:
  • Senior Wayne Younger and junior transfer Wesley Carroll, who came from Mississippi State where he was an all-freshman selection in 2008, will compete for the starting quarterback job after Paul McCall graduated. Younger played in spot time last year and threw four interceptions and no touchdowns.
  • Darriet Perry should be the leader heading into the running back competition, but Perry struggled at times last year, mostly because of injuries. Kendall Berry, who played out of the Wildcat last year, and Syracuse transfer Jeremiah Harden also will compete for the starting role.
  • New offensive coordinator Scott Satterfield will be happy to see star receiver T.Y. Hilton back after he struggled with knee injuries most of last year. Hilton is one of the most dynamic receivers in the conference and having him healthy should give the offense confidence.

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