Union beats Minnesota for first hockey title

PHILADELPHIA – Union College won its first NCAA hockey title Saturday night, scoring three times in a 1:54 span in the first period in a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.

Mike Vecchione tied it at 2 with 4:01 left in the first, Eli Lichtenwald gave the Dutchmen the lead 57 seconds later, and Daniel Ciampini capped the spree with 2:57 to go.

"I don't think anyone will call us Cinderella anymore," said Shayne Gostisbehere, who had a goal and two assists. "These guys, my brothers, they do everything for me. I don't care about anything else, we're national champions."

Max Novak, Kevin Sullivan and Mat Bodie also scored and Colin Stevens made 36 saves for Union (32-6-4), the 2,200-student liberal arts college in Schenectady, N.Y., that competes in Division III in all other sports.

"A little bit speechless right now," third-year coach Rick Bennett said. "Just happy for our school, for this program and the past players. It's an unbelievable experience."

Justin Kloos, Sam Warning, Taylor Cammarata and Hudson Fasching scored for Minnesota (28-7-6). Adam Wilcox stopped 41 shots for the five-time champion Gophers.

"Both teams are better defensively than a 7-4 score shows," said Bodie, the Union captain. "It's just one of those games where crazy bounces happen. We just wanted to stick with our process. We thought we were playing pretty well and great things happened."

Cammarata pulled Minnesota within one with the lone goal in the second period, but Novak restored the two-goal cushion on a deflection at 5:31 of the third.

Fasching cut it to 5-4 with a power-play goal with 3:40 left. Sullivan put it away with 1:22 to go, and Bodie scored into an empty net with 44.2 seconds remaining.

Union College Dutchmen

The Union College Dutchmen went 16-0-1 in their last 17 games en route to their first-ever NCAA hockey title.

"Just one shift at a time," Bodie said. "This is the biggest game of our lives, hands down, but you've got to treat it like any other game. It was tough, I had people texting me, people calling me and stuff, and, you know, it was real tough to keep that mindset, but with our sport psychologist we were able to get that done."

Kloos opened the scoring on a rebound 2:37 into the first period. Gostisbehere responded for Union by weaving through three opponents and beating Wilcox with a wrist shot to glove side at 9:26. Less than a minute later, Warning squeaked a bad-angle shot between Stevens and the pipe to put Minnesota up 2-1.

Union won its final 12 games and went 16-0-1 in its last 17. Ciampini scored three goals in the Dutchmen's 5-4 victory over Boston College in the semifinals Thursday night.

The Dutchmen have competed in Division I since 1991-92.

Minnesota lost for the seventh time in the title game. The Gophers were making their first appearance in the championship game since winning its second straight title in 2003.

NOTES: Union last met Minnesota in 2010-11, when it won 3-2 in Minneapolis. The overall series is tied 2-2.. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren dropped the ceremonial first puck. Holmgren played for the 1974-75 Minnesota team that lost to Michigan Tech in the national title game… The 2015 Frozen Four will be played at TD Garden in Boston.


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AU star Mason, too

Tre Mason’s final run at Auburn was a record-setting touchdown.

(USATSI)Tre Mason's final run at Auburn was a record-setting touchdown
More Draft: NFL Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Latest news | Underclassmen
Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason became the latest underclassmen to announce he will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2014 NFL Draft.

The 5-foot-9, 205-pound junior is the No. 2 running back and No. 49 overall prospect this year, according to NFLDraftScout. com ratings. He is currently projected as a second round prospect rated behind only Arizona junior Ka’Deem Carey (No. 42 overall) among running backs.

Mason is shorter than ideal, but makes up for it with a powerful lower body. He is a decisive one-cut runner who attacks the hole and shows vision to set up his blocks. With a pair of massive performances in the SEC Championship Game and the BCS title game to close out his career, Mason could rise up draft boards quickly if he runs well in pre-draft workouts. He is currently believed to run the 40-yard dash in the 4. 5-second range.
Mason broke Bo Jackson’s single-season rushing record on his last carry at Auburn in Monday’s BCS title game loss to Florida State, led the SEC in rushing and was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

“After all the thought, talking to family and friends, I talked to my mom and dad, went over it a lot with them, ” Mason said. “I’m going to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft. “

“I just came in here wanting to be the best, ” Mason said. “Breaking Bo Jackson’s record was a goal of mine from the time the season started, and I believe God blessed me with the opportunity to do that. “

Mason leaves Auburn after rushing for more than a 1, 000 yards each of the past two seasons, including his 1, 816 yards this season, a mark that broke Jackson’s record of 1, 786 yards set in 1983.

Mason is the second Auburn player to announce he is leaving early for the NFL. Offensive tackle Greg Robinson said Tuesday he will enter the draft.

Auburn is now projected to lose three offensive starters – Mason, Robinson and senior fullback Jay Prosch – from an unit that led the nation in rushing and broke school records for total offense, rushing offense, rushing attempts and plays from scrimmage. All of them helped Auburn finish with a 12-2 record and a No. 2 national ranking after losing to Florida State 34-31 in Monday night’s BCS title game.

Mason rushed for 195 yards Monday, including a 37-yard touchdown run late in the game that broke Jackson’s record.

More Draft: NFL Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Latest news | Underclassmen

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NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview/Pick- #24 Duke vs. #21 Texas A&M

blue devils

#24 Duke Blue Devils (10-3) vs. #21 Texas A&M Aggies (8-4) 12/31- 8:00PM EST




Line: TA&M -11.5

Over/Under- 75.0


In what is expected to be his final collegiate game, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel will lead his #21 Aggies against this year’s surprise team, the #24 Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.


The Blue Devils (10-3) will have yet another daunting task of trying to stop a great quarterback. In their ACC title game against No. 1 Florida State, they had this year’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston to contend with and lost the battle and game 45-7.


Now it’s Manziel who will provide another test.


When we found out our matchup, we were all pumped about it because it’s awesome to play against a guy that exciting and an offense that good,” Duke linebacker Kelby Brown said. “It’s a chance to make a statement for ourselves, and it’s just fun. It’s the nature of a competitor.”


Having already faced Winston, the Blue Devils can’t really take anything from that game to use against Manziel because they have different styles and run different offenses.


Duke linebacker David Helton, who led the ACC with 122 tackles says Winston and Manziel are “two different quarterbacks.”


Winston “is definitely a scrambler as well, but he’s not as much as a scrambler as Manziel is,” he added. “Manziel is built on scrambling. … He likes to sit back there and kind of make magic happen, whereas Winston is more a bigger guy and he likes to sit in the pocket a little more than Manziel does. Different mindsets for both of them.”


Manziel is expected to enter the NFL draft in April, but the redshirt freshman hasn’t reveled his plans.


I’m not going to reflect on that until it is his last day,” Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. “All I can tell you is what he has done for the university up to this point (is) well-documented. His numbers speak for themselves. He is without a doubt the most exciting player in America.”


Manziel was the first freshman to take home the Heisman last year, but this season came in fifth in the voting. He has been mostly unavailable for the media this year to avoid any distractions to his team.


Most thought Texas A&M (8-4) will contend for a national title, but went 0-4 against ranked opponents and are coming off back-to-back losses to LSU and Missouri.


If we can win this game, it’ll be the first time in the history of this program we’ve won three bowl games in a row,” Sumlin said.


Duke has had great year, setting a school record for wins, beat two Top 25 opponents, won their first Coastal Division title in the ACC and actually shut out Florida State for the first quarter before the Seminoles ran away with it.


Once you play against the best and you play against somebody else, you can look at it and say, ‘OK, we played against the best, so what (else) is there out there?” freshman cornerback DeVon Edwards said. “If we do good against them, we should do good against anybody.”


The Blue Devils are led by Anthony Boone, who lost his first career game as a starter in the ACC title game, and says trying to outplay Manziel “doesn’t win football games.


Guys like that are going to put up numbers. To try to go out there and compete with them is where I’ll try to do too much and mistakes will happen,” Boone said.


Boone had three turnovers against the Seminoles and a repeat performance will not bode well for their chances against the Aggies who can put points up behind Manziel, as the oddsmakers have made them a big (minus -11.5) point favorite on Tuesday night, but get the latest lines on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


The Blue Devils will be without their rushing leader Jela Duncan (562 yards), who was suspended for an undisclosed violation of its academic policy.


Texas A&M suspended standout freshman linebacker Darian Claiborne who is tied for the team lead with 89 tackles. He was arrested Sunday on two drug possession charges.


Duke will have a chip on their shoulder to prove to the critics they can play with the big boys, but Texas A&M has too many weapons to stay with and I predict the Aggies capturing their third straight bowl game and Manziel going out a winner.


Prediction/Pick: Texas A&M

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


NCAA Prediction Bowl Game Preview & Free Pick- #10 Oregon vs. Texas

ncaa prediction longhorns vs ducks

#10 Oregon Ducks (10-2) vs. Texas Longhorns (8-4) 12/30- 6:45PM EST




Line: ORE -14.5

Over/Under: 67.0


For the final time on Monday night in the Alamo Bowl, Texas longtime head coach Mack Brown will be set to coach his last game for the Longhorns after 16 seasons.


Brown will call it quits after the Alamo Bowl and his resume consists of his Texas’ team averaging 11.2 wins from 2001-09, recording two Big 12 titles, his 2005 team went undefeated and won a national championship and played for another four years later. However, since losing to Alabama 37-21 in that national title game back in 2009, Texas is 30-20, including a 5-7 mark in 2010, which was Brown’s only losing season.


The Longhorns (8-4) were ranked 15th to begin the season, but lost two of their first three that quickly put Brown in the hot seat. They were able to bounce back and put themselves in the Big 12 title game with a BCS bowl berth on the line against then-No. 9 Baylor, but lost 30-10 to make them 1-3 against Top 25 opponents.


The standard is really high here,” said the 62-year old Brown. “We set a standard at this place. You’d better win all of them. I understand that.… The standard is really high here and I’m proud of being part of setting that standard.


I sincerely want to get back to the top and that’s why I’m stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again.”


Brown has 158 victories at Texas, second all-time and will stay on as a special consultant to Texas school president Bill Powers. Brown was offered the opportunity to remain head coach, but felt it was best to turn the reins over.


I felt like I could stay,” Brown said. “I really felt like it wasn’t best for the university to stay.


It’s been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change.”


Brown would like nothing more than go out a winner where the Longhorns will be trying for their second consecutive Alamo Bowl victory, but facing an Oregon team will not be easy.


Case McCoy will be calling the signals for the Longhorns , in what will be his final game, but has struggled completing 57.4 percent of his passes while throwing 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.


The Texas offense will be facing an Oregon defense that will be led coordinator Nick Aliotti, who will be retiring after 24 years with the Ducks, including 17 as defensive coordinator.


It’s the Oregon offense that will be the biggest challenge for the Longhorns to contain, where the Marcus Marioti led offense is ranked second in the FBS averaging 573.0 total yards and third at 46.8 points per contest.


Marioti was an early to mid season Heisman hopeful and has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,412 yards with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions. The sophomore sensation has thrown a touchdown in each of his 25 career games and set a single-season school record in 2013 with 3,994 total yards.


It was his struggles in November that hurt his Heisman stock as the Ducks (10-2) lost to then-No. 6 Stanford 26-20 and a 42-16 blowout defeat at Arizona on Nov. 23. In a season that saw the Ducks ranked as high as No. 2 in the BCS, Mariota feels that he has some unfinished business and announced he will be returning for his junior season… much to the delight of Oregon fans.


It’s an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates,” he said. “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great university.”


Oddsmakers are expecting the Ducks to do a number on the Longhorns making them a huge (minus -14.5) point favorite on Monday night, but get the latest lines on the game up until kickoff right here at Wonder Punter.


I expect the Longhorns to play hard to try to send coach Brown out a winner in his final game, but I feel Oregon has too much fire power for Texas to handle and predict the Ducks finishing the season strong to win the Alamo Bowl.


Prediction/Pick- Oregon

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter


No. 20 NIU whips Toledo, clinches MAC title game berth

TOLEDO, Ohio – Backed up against the tip zone on third down, Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch had the protection right the place he wished.

He dropped again, waited till he noticed an opening and scrambled up the center for a primary down that sparked a ninety nine-yard drive, clinching a 35-17 victory towards Toledo on Wednesday night time.

The No. 20 Huskies also secured a fourth consecutive journey to the Mid-American Convention title sport.

Lynch, their do-it-all quarterback, mentioned he by no means felt rattled even with little room for error. That’s because he mentioned the Huskies practice those ninety nine-yard drives.

“That is a momentum killer,” he said. “It’s a real dagger to the protection.”

Lynch completed with three touchdowns – all in the second half – and 161 yards. The third rating on a 1-yard dive came at the end of the Huskies’ lengthy drive in the fourth quarter.

He ran for 62 yards on seven carries during the drive, the big play coming when he scrambled out of the tip zone to select up a primary down.

The Huskies (eleven-zero, 7-zero MAC) prolonged their 24-recreation conference profitable streak and are off to the perfect start at school history.

Lynch was 17 of twenty-two for 202 yards passing and ran for 161 yards on 28 carries. He’s 23-2 as a starter.

Northern Illinois is still within the hunt for a second successive Bowl Championship Collection look after playing within the Orange Bowl final season. The Huskies are 16th on this week’s BCS rankings.

They should hold successful and move forward of Fresno State in the standings to maintain their hopes alive.

Northern Illinois is the primary MAC workforce to appear in 4 consecutive league championship games since Marshall did it six seasons in a row from 1997-2002. The Huskies have received the past two MAC titles.

The Huskies’ offense sputtered in the first half with out their two leading receivers, Tommylee Lewis and Da’Ron Brown, because of injuries. Lewis didn’t costume for the sport and Brown went out within the first quarter with an injured toe.

Toledo (7-four, 5-2) shut down Lynch too, holding him to only 30 yards on the bottom within the first half.

However there was no panic.

Huskies coach Rod Carey said all he needed to do was remind his group to complete their drives.

“That calmed the guys down,” Carey stated.

One man he wasn’t fearful about being rattled was his quarterback.

“He’s fairly decisive,” Carey mentioned. “When he’s operating and making plays, that is just him.”

Lynch’s second touchdown came when he faked a handoff and raced up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown, pulling the Huskies ahead for good at 21-17 with 6:15 left within the third quarter.

“He is all the time poised,” mentioned receiver Juwan Brescacin, who had eight receptions for 121 yards. “That is why we’re nearly as good as we’re.”

Lynch has thrown for at the very least 200 yards and run for one hundred in the identical sport 11 occasions in his profession. He moved into third place on the school’s speeding record behind Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner, each of whom went on to the NFL.

Terrance Owens threw two landing passes for Toledo.

Toledo’s leading rusher, David Fluellen, started after missing the previous two video games with what the workforce has referred to as a lower leg harm, however he was held to 54 yards on 15 carries – far under his 133-yard average.

The Rockets led 10-7 at the half after Owens discovered a large open Alonzo Russell alongside the appropriate sideline for a 45-yard touchdown, putting Toledo forward.

The Huskies drove 85 yards on the opening possession of the second half to take again the lead 14-10, scoring on a 12-yard run by Lynch, his first of the game.

Owens got here again with a 36-yard touchdown to Bernard Reedy, who stretched out to make the catch in the back of the top zone, pulling the Rockets ahead 17-14 midway in the third quarter.

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NCAA Precition and Picks week 13

Who Has The Most To Achieve Or Lose On Opening Day?

Good rivalry recreation proper out of the gate. That is no cake walk for the Gamecocks, although enjoying this at dwelling is a huge help. NC completed a respectable 8-4 (5-3 ACC) last season (put up season bowl ban), and I always really feel like SC is a bit overrated due to Spurrier. The Tar Heels are predicted to be higher in 2013, with many feeling they’ve the very best offense in the ACC. Any sort of a win could be okay, however a loss can be pretty bad and certain drop SC APPROACH down in the polls. You gotta be rooting for Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels.

Definite impartial website sport at Reliant Stadium in Houston. OSU comes in tied with LSU at #2 with the most to lose. As a double-digit favorite, any loss is a large number for the preseason Big 12 champion Cowboys. The apparent key matchups are OSU’s QB’s and WR’s vs the Bulldogs’ young secondary, and Miss State’s experienced and physical offense vs a protection that had hassle getting off the sphere in 2012. Whereas OSU would look to be the superior crew overall, the Bulldogs offense brings the EXACT ingredient essential to neutralize the Cowboys’ strength.

Two performs on the end are all that separates this Wisconsin team from being a win away from a spot within the BCS title game. The schedule exterior of the B1G was actually dangerous, however they have blown away 5 convention foes and rolled up bunches of points alongside the best way. Had they gained at Ohio State, they still might be in place to make a case for a seat within the closing two by avenging their other loss, however scheduling UNLV, Oregon State, Northern Illinois and South Dakota isn’t the best way to go about it.

I figured on two of the  games being high scoring and so they have been, however didn’t realize the SEC would go bigger than the Pac-12 (seventy two-fifty one) which was the opposite of my total factors predictions on the wins for Arkansas (55) and Oregon (eighty five). Then there was the game of the century which performed out like the sport of the cent, as in a penny should have been the value of a ticket. I love protection, however it was a bit of a lot for me to observe these quarterbacks struggle. I blew the decide though and at 2-1 I now stand 27-7 straight up.

In my School Football Prime 25 it would seem like I’m disrespecting the SEC, however I just wish to see more motion before I worry too much about the prime 5 or 10. That is the primary of three conference-title-game previews. It’s funny how the more issues change, the extra they stay the same. Six occasions, these groups have met for the SEC championship. If the Gators lose this one within the Swamp, it’ll be robust for them to rebound and win subsequent week at LSU. Getting swept just about takes them out of SEC division title rivalry. The strain is firmly on them.