June 5, 2019Ancillary Events
Thank you to all who attended the Behind the Credential event! We had a great night of learning about what goes into putting on world-class NFL and collegiate football events.
December 27, 2018Football
As Baylor topped Vandy 45-38, the match-up did not disappoint. It was an exciting game from the first play to the last. The crowd at NRG Stadium was predominantly green and gold; the Baylor crowd and their cheers were the 12th Man for the Bears in their victory over the Commodores.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has come along with this team from last seasons 1-11 finish. His team was led by Texas Bowl MVP quarterback Charlie Brewer. Brewer rushed for 109 yards in 16 carries, passing for 384 with 21 completions in 34 attempts. His ability to extend the play with his legs was a game changer, so much so that Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason commented on Brewer in his post-game presser. “He ran as well as their running backs did. The reality was, he was the difference in this ballgame. He was able to keep drives alive with his legs and that was tough for us.” Brewer had a dozen different targets at his disposal; the Bears should make a big impact next season in the Big 12. Rhule has made big strides with this team in season two.
The Bears offensive stats from the game were beyond impressive, 668 total offensive yards, an average of 8.2 yards per play with three scoring plays at 30+ yards. Vandy’s were just as impressive with 573 total offensive yards, an average of 9.2 yards per play, also with three scoring plays of 30+ yards. If you get a chance to watch a replay of the game, I highly recommend it. My words can not do the back and forth action justice. Both teams now know what they need to work on defense for next season. Not to say there wasn’t any defense there was, but each team struggled to stop the run. Now is the time to tighten up, tweak, as well as work on finishing the plays. Perhaps a little more hustle would have helped both teams.
Senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur completed 18 out of 37 attempts for 286 yards and one touchdown. Shurmur also broke several Vanderbilt team records in Thursday night’s game. He ended his college career with 8,865 yards, 64 touchdowns, 722 completions in 1,264 attempts, the most in Vanderbilt team history. Vandy’s breakout star this season was running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn had two breakaway touchdown runs, 68 and 69 yards. He also set a Texas Bowl record with 243 rushing yards. Vaughn made such an impact on Coach Rhule that he sought him out after the game to let him know his thoughts “I just want to tell you, that was as impressive as anything I’ve ever seen, that was really impressive. You’re impressive on tape, too, but seeing you live — that was impressive,” Rhule praised Vaughn. Ultimately, Vaughn was equally impressed with Rhule for taking the time to speak to him. “I’ve never had a coach from another team come and talk to me about my performance so it means a lot that I got his attention, too.”
The Bears will have Brewer as their returning quarterback. Vanderbilt will have to replace Shurmur, which will be no small feat. They will also have to replace defensive force Joejuan Williams, who just announced he will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Meanwhile, Commodore Nation will be waiting anxiously to find out if Jared Pinkneyand Vaughn will return or take their talents to the league. Needless to say, both teams have laid a solid foundation for the future. This was a match-up of two teams on the come up, the game was one of the better bowl games of the 2018 season, as there was no shortage of action. If you are a fan of either team you have some great football in your future. 2019 will be big for Baylor as well as Vanderbilt.
Fun Facts From The Game
Here are a few of the fun facts from the post-game notes and quotes.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt shattered a Texas Bowl-record with a combined 1,241 total yards, surpassing the previous Texas Bowl record of 1,037 yards set by LSU and Texas Tech in 2015.
· The Bears and Commodores tied a Texas Bowl record for the most points scored in a game with 83 points, tying the previous record set in 2015.
· The 2018 game featured a Texas Bowl record nine lead changes.
· The teams combined for 571 rushing yards, the most combined rushing yards in Texas Bowl history.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt also combined for a Texas Bowl-record 670 yards passing, surpassing the previous record of 624 in 2015.
· The two teams combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter, making tonight’s game the highest-scoring fourth quarter in Texas Bowl history.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt also tied a Texas Bowl record for the most points scored in the first quarter with 24, tying the previous record set by Texas Tech and Minnesota in 2012.
· Vanderbilt RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn recorded the second- and third-longest touchdown runs in Texas Bowl history with a 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 69-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
October 6, 2018Football
The No. 17 Sam Houston State Bearkats exploded for 47 unanswered points on their way to a 54-21, win over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday at NRG Stadium in the 93rd edition of the Battle of the Piney Woods.
The win gave the Kats (3-2, 2-1 SLC) their eighth straight win in the series over the Lumberjacks, extending the longest run by either team in the history of the series.
Quarterback Ty Brock accounted for four touchdowns in the first half and the Kats, including a 32-yard reception on a pass from Eric Schmid early in the second quarter that broke the game open. In all, Sam Houston ran up 500 yards of total offense while holding SFA (1-4, 1-3 SLC) to under 300 yards for the second consecutive year.
The three Bearkat quarterbacks combined to hit 11 different receivers for total completions and four touchdowns with Nathan Stewart leading the way with 87 yards on four catches and his first touchdown reception of the year. Davion Davishad a score and 69 yards on five grabs, while McCray hauled in one from Dare for the Kats’ final touchdown of the day.
Defensively, Derick Roberson led the way with three sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss as part of a day that saw the Kats finish a season-high six sacks and 12.0 tackles for loss. DJ Curtis picked off SFA quarterback Foster Sawyer a pair of times, including a pick-six in the second quarter that gave Sam Houston the lead for good.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was a high-scoring first half with both teams getting in on the action early, but it was the Lumberjacks who were able to take advantage of an early Bearkat miscue after Quin Jones intercepted Brock on the second snap from scrimmage of the game at the Bearkat 35-yard line. Foster Sawyer then connected with Tamrick Pace from nine yards out to put the ‘Jacks up 7-0 less than four minutes into the game.
Two drives later the Kats took advantage of a short field of their own to tie things up at 7-7. A good punt return from Davion Davis and an SFA penalty set Sam Houston up at the Lumberjack 20 and three players later Brock found Davis in the left corner of the end zone for the score.
Sawyer immediately led SFA back down the field connecting on five of six passes for 55 yards on a 10-play drive that covered 75 yards and finished on a 5-yard run by Josh McGowan into the end zone.
But from there, it was all Bearkats as Sam Houston exploded for 37 unanswered points to end the half. The first points of that run came when Brock connected on big plays to both Davis and Dee Bowens before running one into the end zone from eight yards out to knot it up at 14-14.
It took one more snap from scrimmage for the Kats to take their first lead of the game when Curtis picked off Sawyer on the opening play of the ensuing drive and raced 30 yards untouched into the end zone for the Kats’ first pick-six since 2015.
Two drives later Sam Houston got creative two drives later when Schmid took a throwback pass on the left side and hooked up with Brock on the other side of the field for a walk-in, 32-yard touchdown that pushed the lead to 28-14.
Curtis then set the Kats up once again on the next drive, picking a deflected ball out of the air for his second interception of the half and setting the Kats up at the 22-yard line. Two plays later Kyran Jackson went in from four yards out for his first score of the game, giving the Kats a 35-14 lead with less than 10 minutes to play in the half.
Stewart got in on the action when Brock found him for a score from 43 yards out, his first touchdown of the year and Tre Honshtein closed out the half as he nailed a 27-yard field goal as time expired to give Sam Houston a 44-14 lead midway through the game.
After Roberson’s second sack of the day put an end to SFA’s first drive of the second half, the Bearkats quickly added to their lead as they went 56 yards on nine plays on a drive that ended in a 23-yard field goal from Honshtein.
Roberson’s big day continued one drive later when he sacked SFA quarterback Jake Blumrick, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Scean Mustin at the SFA 42-yard line. Mike Dare then marched the Bearkat offense right down the field, eventually hitting McCray out of the backfield for a 17-yard touchdown that upped the lead to 54-14. The score would stay that way until late in the fourth quarter when Blumrick found Pace from 21 yards out for a touchdown.
September 7, 2018Soccer
Luis Suarez Leads Uruguay to 4-1 Win Over Mexico in Friendly
Taking on an inexperienced Mexico squad, Uruguay had no trouble showcasing its talent with a 4-1 victory in Friday’s friendly at Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Using most of the roster that made it to the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals in Russia, Uruguay had three goals in the first 40 minutes.
Luis Suarez found the net twice in the first half, including one on a perfectly-placed free kick that fooled everyone on the Mexico side.
This was Uruguay’s first action since losing to France in the World Cup—the country’s lone defeat in nine matches this year. Mexico used this match as a test for the future, with 11 players on the roster aged 23 or under.
Per ESPN.com, of the 24 players on Mexico’s roster, nine of them had zero caps on their resume. This was a test to see how the future stars were going to fare under the bright lights in front of a huge crowd.
Diego Lainez, Roberto Alvarado and Jonathan Gonzalez were among the players who received their first call-up to the national team.
one of them were able to make a significant impact against Uruguay, though all of them saw action as substitutes for interim manager Ricardo Ferretti.
After an unceremonious exit in the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup—the seventh straight time the team has failed to get past that stage—Mexico made wholesale changes to its roster. There is a plan in place to make things better, even if the short-term results look like what happened Friday.
Luis Suarez Silences Critics with Dazzling Effort
ESPN.com’s Graham Hunter wasn’t shy about criticizing Suarez’s performance with Barcelona during UEFA Champions League play last season, when he finished with one goal in 12 matches:
“Sadly, however, there’s another element, one that explains why Barcelona wanted to add [Antoine] Griezmann to a squad that were already La Liga and Copa del Rey winners.
Mexico’s Youth Movement Needs More Time
Even though this wasn’t the result Mexico was hoping for, there are positive takeaways from the match.
Raul Jimenez, one of the few experienced veterans on the roster, scored the team’s lone goal on a penalty kick.
“Last season, the normally prolific centre-forward had scored three times in 15 competitive matches by deep into November. The SOS signals were loud and clear. Worse, Suarez’s touch, his timing and his sharpness all looked like they’d deserted him. He was frustrated, confused and hard to watch.”
Graham pointed to Suarez’s meniscus injury that required surgery as one reason for his struggles, but then he went further in his assessment of the Uruguay star’s talents.
“This guy remains an extraordinary footballer,” Graham wrote. “But Father Time scythes down our capabilities little by little, and not only were Barcelona well within their rights to plan ahead, but also, the harsh fact is that their problem is going to increase rather than disappear.”
Suarez is 31 years old and likely nearing the end of his physical peak, but Friday was a strong reminder of how dominant he can still be.
His penalty kick near the end of the first half was a thing of beauty.
This was the showing Suarez needed to have against a team he should have picked apart. It’s a confidence-booster for him and alleviates any concern Uruguay may have to start moving ahead without its superstar striker.
Mexico Needs to Settle on New Manager
While the youth movement in Mexico is a good thing, keeping Ferretti as interim manager isn’t what this team needs.
Leading up to Friday’s match, Ferretti told reporters at a press conference he wasn’t committing full-time to Mexico because of his other job:
“The reason [for not wanting to be Mexico coach] is that last month I started a new three-year contract [with Tigres]. Continuity in a Mexican team is almost impossible and Tigres have given it to me and with these three years I’ll complete 11 years in the same institution. Do you remember if that has ever happened in Mexican football? That loyalty between us is very important.”
Ferretti is 100 percent correct. Juan Carlos Osorio turned down a contract extension after the World Cup, leaving El Tri in a lurch. He did leave on a high note with a 1-0 victory over Germany in group play in Russia.
Including Ferretti, Mexico is on its sixth head coach since 2010. A lack of continuity from the top is going to make it more difficult for budding stars like Lainez and Gonzalez to hit their stride and carry the team to a new place.
Ferretti has another job he is committed to, so the decision-makers with El Tri need to figure out their long-term answer at head coach soon.
September 1, 2018Football
HOUSTON — Just after Mississippi piled up more than 500 yards in a blowout of Texas Tech on Saturday quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was asked about his group of receivers led by A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge and D.K. Metcalf.
“They’re so talented,” he said. “They’re the best in the nation. I believe that in my heart. I’m grateful they’re on my side and I can throw to them.”
On Saturday the Rebels showed that they have a pretty good running game, too.
Ta’amu threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and Scottie Phillips ran for a career-high 204 yards and two more scores to give Mississippi the 47-27 win.
Phillips said having such a talented group of receivers helps him out.
“They spread everything out and it gives me a lot more running room,” he said. “We’ve got a veteran o-line and that makes my job a whole lot easier.”
Phillips extended Mississippi’s lead to 37-20 when scampered 65 yards for a touchdown with about seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Da’Leon Ward‘s second touchdown on a 9-yard run got Texas Tech within 10 later in the third, but Ta’amu found Brown for a 34-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the fourth quarter to make it 44-27.
Ole Miss coach Matt Luke liked the way Ta’amu spread the ball around on Saturday.
“We go to space and if they want to double-team one we’re able to go to the others so I think that’s pretty unique,” Luke said. “It did work out with a lot of balance and that’s good.”
“True freshman, first game, that type of atmosphere, just took a while I think for him to settle in,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I was proud of how he protected the football, that’s what we asked him to do. Protect the ball. Led some nice drives, a couple we’d like to have back, but I thought overall he handled himself well.”
Ta’amu got things going early when he connected with Metcalf for a 58-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game.
The Red Raiders evened it up when Ward ran 15 yards for a score on their first possession. That touchdown was set up when T.J. Vasher made an Odell Beckham-esque one-handed catch for a 31-yard gain two plays earlier. Vasher grabbed the ball with his right hand as he leapt above the defender and secured it with both hands before crashing to the turf near the sideline.
Ole Miss regained the lead quickly when Jaylon Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
The Rebels were up 17-7 when Carter was injured when he was tackled by a pair of defenders on a run for no gain. He tried to remain in the game but fell to the ground at the line and was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room. Kingsbury said it was a left ankle injury, but said he didn’t have any details on the severity of the injury.
Mississippi’s first touchdown from Phillips, a run of 39 yards, came next to make it 24-7 late in the first quarter.
Bowman made a nice throw under heavy pressure for a 14-yard TD pass to Ja’Deion High to cut the lead to 27-17 about two minutes before halftime.
Mississippi: Ta’amu looked great from the start of this one, using a variety of receivers and running the offense with ease. He’ll have one more week to fine tune things before the Rebels begin Southeastern Conference play.
Texas Tech: Bowman handled things pretty well after being thrown into action following Carter’s injury. But if Carter is out for an extended period of time he’ll need to keep developing for the Red Raiders to succeed. Texas Tech’s defense will also have to figure out how to limit big plays after the Rebels exploited it for several on Saturday.
“That can’t happen,” he said. “We need to be more disciplined and find a way to not do that. We’re lacking secondary coming in and to lose those guys obviously didn’t help the matter. We’ve got to talk about it, practice and have to be better.”
THEY SAID IT
Texas Tech defensive lineman Broderick Washington on giving up 210 yards rushing: “That really disappointed me because what we work on on the defensive line and what we pride ourselves on is stopping the run. Obviously we didn’t do it. They came in big chunks though. We just need to minimize the big plays.”
–ESPN.com >> View Full Recap