Valdosta Daily Times

Top Sports News

January 3, 2014

Meyer, Swinney guide teams back to BCS stage

Miami Gardens, Fla. — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has never had any issue acclimating to the biggest stages in college football. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is sounding like someone who’s getting comfortable under the brightest lights as well.

Meyer has coached in four previous BCS games. He’s never lost.

Swinney has taken his team to the BCS one other time, and lost by 37 points.

Of course, come Friday night, none of that will matter. The seventh-ranked Buckeyes (12-1) and the 12th-ranked Tigers (10-2) will be squaring off in the Orange Bowl, where Meyer will aim to keep his BCS record perfect and Swinney will try to have his team, as he put it, “continue to climb the mountain.”

“When you have an opportunity to come to a BCS ball game and lose it, you want to get back and have another opportunity,” Swinney said Thursday. “There’s only six teams, I think, in the country that have been in two BCS bowls the last three years, and we’re one of them. So it’s a great opportunity for us to have a chance to win one.”

Meyer would say the same thing. His team had visions of playing in Pasadena, Calif. for the BCS national championship next week, but the loss in the Big Ten title game — the first under Meyer in 25 games since he took over in Columbus — knocked the Buckeyes out of the title picture.

So instead, Ohio State headed to South Florida, where Meyer will look to add the Orange Bowl to his BCS collection that already includes two title-game wins and a Sugar Bowl victory while at Florida, and a Fiesta Bowl triumph from when he coached Utah.

“It’s a chance to go compete,” Meyer said. “Whether it’s checkers or ping pong, we’re going to try to win the game. Our job every time we keep score is to win. It’s the mentality we try to create within our program. Whether it’s the Orange Bowl, whether it’s the eighth game of the season, we’re trying to win the game.”

Clemson lost the Orange Bowl two years ago to West Virginia, 70-33 — the game turning when the Tigers fumbled the ball away in the second quarter, on a play where they would have taken the lead. Instead, the floodgates opened.

The Tigers are 21-4 since.

“This team has more than responded,” Swinney said.

———

Here’s five things to watch in the Orange Bowl:

THE QB BATTLE: Tickets to the Orange Bowl aren’t inexpensive, but the shows that Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller can put on may make the admission price seem like a bargain. Boyd has accounted for 38 touchdowns this season; Miller has scored 32 with either his arm or his feet. It’s Boyd’s finale; it may be Miller’s as well if he elects to go pro, as some expect he may.

BUCKEYE D: If there’s a weakness on a team that’s 24-1 in the past two seasons, it may be Ohio State’s pass defense. Each of the Buckeyes’ last four opponents have completed at least 60 percent of their passes, throwing for 1,363 yards in that stretch. And with that side of the ball dealing with some injury concerns for the Orange Bowl, it’s clearly to Clemson’s advantage.

RUN (AND) HYDE: Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde has 1,408 yards in 10 games this season, and says he’d like to cap his college career by setting the Orange Bowl record for yards in a game. Hyde has averaged 7.7 yards per carry; Clemson’s defense has yielded 3.7 per attempt. Hyde is the first running back to top 1,000 yards under Meyer, and is 116 yards away from fifth all-time on Ohio State’s list.

WELCOME HOME: The Buckeyes and Tigers both recruit the Sunshine State heavily. Together, the teams have 13 players from the state, including six starters. Among the notables: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins (who may be playing his college finale), Clemson DB Jayron Kearse; Ohio State top tackler Ryan Shazier; Hyde, the Ohio State running back; and Ohio State DL Joey Bosa, who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and the powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas program.

KICKERS: If the game comes down to a kick, odds are that either Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro or Ohio State’s Drew Basil will deliver. Catanzaro has made all 56 of his extra-point tries and is 13 of 14 on field-goal attempts. Basil is 74 for 75 on extra-points and 9 for 10 on field goals.

 

1
Text Only
Top Sports News
  • 150723-Lowndes_Brooks5.jpg Winding Down

    In its final 7-on-7 test of the summer, Randy McPherson was pleased with how the Lowndes football team looked Wednesday morning.
    Brooks County coach Maurice Freeman, on the other hand, was worried about the kind of hole the Trojans would have dug for themselves at Martin Stadium against the Vikings and Lafayette (Fla.) had it been a real game.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

  • Grable signs with Tampa Bay

    Another former Valdosta State football player joined the ranks of the National Football League when linebacker Jeremy Grable signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday morning.

    July 23, 2014

  • MaryAlice.jpg Just Keep Running

    Forrest Gump once said, "I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere." In the case of 18 year-old Mary Alice Smoot, anywhere is Tampa, Fla.
    After four years of unparalleled success running cross-country at Valwood, Smoot will continue running competitively next season at the University of Tampa.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10U ELITE World Series Champs.jpg DKSA Elite win USSSA Global World Series

    DKSA ELITE just continues to win, the 10U team’s latest victory came in the USSSA Global World Series held in Destin, Fla. July 8-12.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Valwood.jpg A Different Look

    With football summer workouts in full swing, occasionally the intensity and competitive drive can wane going against teammates. But on Friday, Valwood, Brookwood, Lanier County and Tiftarea Academy broke up the monotony by meeting at Goddard Field for a four-team, 7-on-7 passing league.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • pilcher.jpg Berrien competes in 6-team passing camp

    If Ed Pilcher had his way, Berrien High would never throw the football.
    But that doesn't mean the veteran coach doesn't enjoy the opportunity that a passing league, or the six-team passing camp at Cairo on Thursday morning, can provide his Rebels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bubba Walker promoted to defensive coordinator

    Valdosta State Linebacker Coach Bubba Walker has been promoted to fill the open posiiton of defensive coordinator for the Blazer football team according to an announcement made by VSU Head Coach David Dean Thursday.

    July 18, 2014

  • Albritton wins NCAA Elite 89

    Courtney Albritton's tremendous 2013-2014 season earned her one more award Thursday night when the Valdosta State softball star won the NCAA's Favorite Elite 89 Winner contest by securing the more votes than any other student-athlete.

    July 17, 2014

  • Justin Roper named Valdosta State quarterbacks coach

    Valdosta State’s hirin of Justin Roper as quarterbacks coach, previously reported by The Times, was officially announced by the school and Blazer head football coach David Dean on Wednesday.

    July 17, 2014

  • Lowndes_Tville 2.jpg Sneak Preview

    Fall practice doesn’t start for another eight days.
    Still, Lowndes High and Thomasville High got a sneak preview of what Friday nights will look like Wednesday morning at Martin Stadium.

    July 17, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results