LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky men’s basketball program has released additional televised non-conference games for the 2012-13 season, including the annual Blue-White scrimmage and both exhibition games. Former Northeast standout Alex Poythress is a freshman on this year’s team.
CBS Sports will televise five games, adding the Baylor (Dec. 1) and Louisville (Dec. 29) games to the three UK conference games announced earlier.
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast 16 Kentucky men’s basketball games this season. Ten Southeastern Conference games were previously selected and six non-conference games were selected. The Eastern Michigan (Jan. 2 on ESPNU) game was added, and Kentucky’s road game at Auburn on ESPNU (Jan. 19) is now slated for 9 p.m. ET.
Previously released games airing on the ESPN family of networks include: Maryland (Nov. 9 on ESPN) in the Barclays Classic, Duke (Nov. 13 on ESPN) in the Champions Classic, Notre Dame (Nov. 29 on ESPN2) as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge, Portland (Dec. 8 on ESPN2) and Marshall (Dec. 22 on ESPN2).
Fox Sports Net will televise both the Samford (Dec. 4) and Lipscomb (Dec. 15) games.
FS South picked up the majority of UK’s non-conference games, including the Northwood (Nov. 1) and Transylvania (Nov. 5) exhibition games, as well as Lafayette (Nov. 16), Morehead State (Nov. 21) and Long Island (Nov. 23). UK IMG Sports Network will tape delay all games carried live by FS South.
UK IMG and FS South will also televise both Big Blue Madness (Oct. 12) and the Blue-White scrimmage (Oct. 24) live.
With the official start of college hoops practice less than three weeks away, anticipation is mounting for the second year of Tennessee basketball under head coach Cuonzo Martin. That excitement continued Wednesday, as Blue Ribbon Yearbook ranked the Volunteers No. 22 in its preseason top 25 poll.
Tennessee returns four starters and six of its top seven scorers from last year’s 19-15 squad, which finished second in the Southeastern Conference standings and posted three wins over teams ranked in the top 15.
Point guard Trae Golden, who will be a junior this season, led the Vols in scoring last year with 13.6 points per game. Rising senior forward Jeronne Maymon earned second-team All-SEC honors a year ago after averaging 12.7 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game as a junior.
Additionally, Memphis, Tenn., native Jarnell Stokes earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team after averaging 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a mid-year enrollee a season ago.
Senior shooting guard Skylar McBee also returns this season and boasts 12 games of starting experience from his junior year, during which he shot a team-best .391 from 3-point range.
Other Vols with significant experience under their respective belts are senior forward Kenny Hall (6.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg), junior guard Jordan McRae (8.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg), sophomore guard Josh Richardson (2.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg) and sophomore center Yemi Makanjuola (2.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
Fans interested in purchasing a copy of the 2012-13 Blue Ribbon Yearbook can do so online by visiting: www.blueribbonyearbookonline.com. The iPad version goes on sale Oct. 4, and printed versions are expected to begin shipping on Oct. 12.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Nate “The Train” Landwehr improved his professional record to 2-0 Friday night with a second round TKO win over Knoxville’s Chris Wright (6-2-1) at “XFC 20: High Octane” at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tenn.
Landwehr set off the the AXStv-televised main card in a big way with some of the biggest body slams we’ve ever seen in an MMA bout. This guy is aggressive, he’s nasty and he is quickly developing a cult following.
Fans of “The Train” will recall our video interview with him from back in June at XFC 18. In fact, that video has become somewhat legendary. Well my friends, if you enjoyed that one, you are really going to love this one. Without further ado, take it away Mr. Landwehr…
CHARLESTON, Ill. –Jimmy Garoppolo threw five touchdown passes, all longer than 50 yards, Saturday to lead Eastern Illinois to a 65-15 victory against Austin Peay State University in Ohio Valley Conference action at O’Brien Field.
The loss left the Govs 0-5 on the season, 0-3 in OVC play.
Eastern Illinois improved to 3-2 on the season. It was the third time this season the Panthers scored 50 or more points. It also was the most points scored against the Governors in an OVC game during its two tenures in the league.
Garoppolo finished the game 18 of 31 for 453 yards in throwing those five TDs. He also rushed for another score as he finished the game with 541 yards in total offense.
Even though Austin Peay held the ball for a stunning 21:52-to-8:08 margin the opening half, it was EIU’s quick-strike ability that left the Govs dazed. After EIU held the Govs on the day’s first possession to three-and out, it took just three plays for the Panthers, the OVC’s top scoring offense, to respond. Garoppolo found Chris Wright down the left sideline for 66 yards and EIU quickly led, 7-0.
After the Govs again failed to capitalize on its next possession, EIU had its longest drive of the day, going 74 yards in nine plays, with Jake Walker running 28 yards to make it 14-0.
Again APSU was unable to respond, missing a long field goal. The Panthers took over at their own 34 and on the first play Garoppolo hooked up with Keiondre Gober for a second 66-yard TD pass. That gave the Panthers a 21-0 lead heading in the second quarter.
After EIU’s Cameron Berra made it 24-0 with a 28-yard field goal, APSU finally scored when Ryan drove the game 75 yards in 14 plays, culminated with an eight-yard scoring toss to Devin Stark.
But before the Govs could even catch their breath, the Panthers scored in two plays—a 20 second drive—when Erik Lora,, who caught 21 passes a week ago, hauled in a 50-yard pass down the left sideline.
The Govs scored with 39 seconds left in the half on a Wesley Kitts 15-yard run. But that was still too much time left on the clock for EIU. Garoppolo hit Wright with his second long strike, this one down the middle from 63 yards out with 23 seconds left.
APSU lone bright spot was running back/wide receiver Terrence Oliver, who finished with nine catches for 100 yards, joining Devin Stark as Govs’ receivers with 100-yard receiving games.
EIU had a trio of receivers with 100-yards in receptions, led by Lora (7 for 139), Wright (3 for 137) and Gober (3 for 132).
EIU finished the game with 671 yards in total offense compared to 329 for the Governors. APSU quarterback Jake Ryan completed 23 of 46 passes for 205 yards and one TD.
Lady Govs shake off rust at Louisville Classic
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Austin Peay State University women’s cross country team had a hard time shaking off the rust at Saturday’s Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic. The Lady Govs finished 39th as a team in the middle (Blue) race at one of the biggest meets in the Ohio Valley area.
“The women did okay today,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “It’s not what I thought we were capable of doing, but the long lay-off between meets may have played a part in that.”
Junior Xiamar Richards led the Lady Govs with an 82nd-place finish out of 337 runners, finishing the five-kilometer course in 19:08.50. Senior Chantelle Grey completed the race in less than 20 minutes as well, coming in 167th at 19:49.27.
Junior Kendra Kirksey (20:34.47, 232nd), junior Miranda Weed (20:53.78, 275th) and senior Alyssa Molnar (22:10.08, 314th) rounded out the scoring for Austin Peay.
“This team has a lot of potential,” Molnar said. “We’ll need to make some adjustments but I think we can get there before the end of the season.”
The Lady Govs will be back in action at next weekend’s JSU Foothills Invitational in Oxford, Ala.
Kessler leads Govs with personal-best at Louisville Classic
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Austin Peay State University men’s cross country team struggled to get going at Saturday’s Greater Louisville Cross Country Classic. The Govs finished 46th in the middle (Blue) race, on the course that will host the NCAA Championships in November.
Junior Konnor Kessler led the Govs for the third time this season, turning in a personal-best 26:56.60 mark in the men’s eight-kilometer event.
“Konnor had a nice race today,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “He’s stepped up big for us this year.”
Junior Tyler Kepley (27:28.57, 254th) and senior Geofrey Kosgei (27:43.63, 275th) finished close to the middle of the pack for the Govs. Junior Genaro Martinez (29:18.15, 340th) and freshman Austin Dabbs (29:54.75, 349th) also earned points toward Austin Peay’s team score.
“We were flat all the way around today,” Molnar said. “I’m not sure why; maybe it was the amount of time between the meets. Today was definitely not the kind of showing we wanted in a big meet.
The Lady Govs will be back on the course next weekend at the JSU Foothills Invitational in Oxford, Ala.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The ankle injury Kenny Britt suffered, and the shoulder injury that knocked out Jared Cook last week against Detroit resulted in both Titans playmakers being listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Houston.
Britt did not participate in team activities but underwent some indoor training and a few exercises outside Friday.
“I went in the bubble to do whatever I had to do,” Britt said. “I got some work done and I’m happy about it.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak said the team must wait and see how Britt’s ankle is feeling and how much it would affect his mobility Sunday before making a decision on if he will play when the Titans (1-2) visit the Texans (3-0).
Britt said he’s done all the mental preparation and film study this week. He also took a look at the play during which he suffered his injury: a tackle by former Titans linebacker Stephen Tulloch.
“That 55 guy,” Britt said with a little laugh. “He wound up on me, Tulloch. He came from behind and spun and tackled, and my foot got caught. I actually pulled my foot — I felt him landing on it — and I pulled my foot out just in time. That really saved me some weeks (of recovery time). I didn’t know it was him until I watched the film.”
Cook missed practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday but progressively did more each day and said he feels good about his chances of playing. Cook has 11 catches for 164 yards so far this season that included a difficult catch in traffic that he turned into a 61-yard TD against Detroit.
Munchak said he was also encouraged by the progress that Cook has made in his recovery.
“He’s done what you’d hoped he’d do,” Munchak said. “He practiced yesterday on a limited basis. He came out today feeling fine, better than he was yesterday. He practiced more today. So yeah, we feel good about it going in.
“Again, when it’s not an ankle or a knee or something that affects a receiver or a tight end,” Munchak continued, “like it does Kenny (Britt), when you have to run so much … It’s good to see that he’s heading in the right direction. Kenny is getting better, it’s just a matter of how much he can do on that ankle.”
The Titans involved Craig Stevens more in the passing game after Cook left, and the tight end responded with career highs of five catches for 63 yards and had a sixth catch taken away after a video replay. Munchak credited Stevens earlier in the week for executing even though he was being asked to do things he hadn’t frequently practiced.
“I don’t get all the reps like Cookie does when we do that three-wide, but I was ready, I was prepared,” Stevens said. “I made a few little mistakes out there, but I thought I did OK. Hopefully we’ll have him for the next game.”
TITANS EXPECT EXPERIENCE TO HELP
The Titans have a young defense, but several players have already logged two previous games against the Texans.
“I think the good thing is we’re a young football team, but last year we played them twice,” Munchak said. “These guys have a good feel for how they play and what it’s all about, the D-line does now. Last year it was a little different when you had (Jurrell) Casey and the other linebackers, then you had Casey and (Karl) Klug and guys that hadn’t played. Sen’Derrick (Marks) was playing a new position last year. I think it’s good knowing that we played them twice last year, and they have a good feel for what they’re going to get out there this weekend.”
Strongside linebacker Akeem Ayers said linebackers must avoid getting caught in traffic and staff off blocks to counter Houston’s dual-threat offense. Ayers said he and his 2011 draft classmates become better equipped for the challenge with each game.
“Experience helps out a lot because there are not that many teams that have that style of offense, really, with the boots and the stretch run plays all look the same,” Ayers said. “So going against them the first time, it’s like everything is new, and then you play them the second time and you’ve got a little more experience and you know what to expect. For me, especially, and last year’s (rookies), going into the third game of playing them since we’ve been here, we’re a little more familiar with the offense now. We’ve got a better idea on how to play it and each know what to expect.”
Second-year middle linebacker Colin McCarthy will miss his third consecutive game, Munchak said.
McCarthy suffered an ankle injury in the season-opener and missed practice all week as he continued to recover.
The Titans will continue with the combination of 11-year veteran Will Witherspoon and six-year pro Zac Diles in place of McCarthy.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said Thursday that keen eyes and maintaining discipline on each play are paramount against the Texans.
Tennessee (1-2) visits Houston (3-0) Sunday and is preparing for a balanced offense that uses cutback runs and fakes handoffs to set up deep pass attempts that can result in big plays. The Texans completed a pass of at least 46 yards on three of their four touchdown drives against Denver last week.
“If you’ve got great eyes, you’ve got a chance to win,” Gray said. “Keep your eyes on your man if you’re playing man-to-man, and if you’re in zone, you’ve got to stay in your area because they’re going to test you.
“If a guy leaks out in the first quarter, and you don’t cover him,” Gray said, “guess what, you’ll probably see that play again and it will probably end up in a touchdown because you probably didn’t fix it, so you know, they’re going to test everything you do, from zone to man, fire zones, to zero blitzes. You better make sure that you’re not just sitting in there and doing one thing the whole day, because they will have an answer for it.”
Cornerback Jason McCourty nearly echoed Gray after Thursday’s practice.
“The key is discipline, especially with your eyes,” McCourty said. “You’ve got to make sure when you’re in man-to-man, you keep your eyes on your man and you’re staying with him no matter what. And when we’re in zone, you’ve got to have zone discipline and know that you don’t need to be chasing the play all over the field.”
The Texans’ primary running threat is Arian Foster (79 carries for 294 yards), and their primary receiving threats are WR Andre Johnson (13 catches for 212 yards) on deep passes and TE Owen Daniels (13 for 160) on underneath routes. Johnson scored on a 60-yard TD pass from Matt Schaub against Denver. The Texans mimicked a successful rush attempt by Foster to force Broncos defensive backs to lose focus on Johnson.
Houston is averaging 150.3 rushing yards (fifth in NFL) and 244.3 passing yards (18th in NFL) through three games.
“Their offense is one of the best out there,” cornerback Alterraun Verner said. “Just misdirection and finding ways to get everybody involved and make plays on that team because you can’t just key-in on the run because Arian Foster is really good, but if you put everybody in the box, then Andre will take you up top. They’re so balanced, and I think that’s why they’re so tough.”
Verner said the Titans must trust that each defender will handle his responsibility on a play to limit big gains on cutback runs.
“If you go ahead and be one of those people that starts trying to make the play that’s not really your play to make, then that can cause you to make the play even worse,” Verner said. “When you try to be a hero or when you just aren’t capable of it, then you get cut off or get out of your gap, and that’s when bad things happen.”
Defensive ends Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan said the defensive front must contain the running game first so it is less effective in setting up the deep passes. They said doing so will come down to execution.
“They block who they’re supposed to block and the running back finds the gaps that he’s supposed to hit and he’s just good at making people miss,” Wimbley said. He’s a strong runner, very fast, so we just definitely have to be fundamentally sound and do our job.”
The Texans have given up just three sacks of Schaub this season, in part, because of the success of their run game, their bootleg plays and the fact that they’ve built double-digit leads by halftime in each of their three games.
“I think in order to be an effective pass rusher, to have the opportunities to rush the quarterback, you have to stop the run,” Wimbley said. “We’re aware of that, and I will definitely have to do my part in the run game as well and get after the quarterback in the passing game.”
Morgan said defenders, especially in the secondary, must not get “caught up in the smoke and mirrors of their offense.”
“As a defensive lineman, you’ve kind of got to be weary of the cut blocks,” Morgan said. “For us, it’s not so much a mental game as it is for (defenders) on the back end. They’re playing coverage, and they’re playing sometimes man-to-man on certain guys, so they’ve got to do a good job of being very disciplined.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cortland Finnegan no longer patrols the secondary for Tennessee, gone for a bigger paycheck in St. Louis. That leaves the current Titans looking forward to the chance of facing – and trying to slow – Houston’s Andre Johnson.
And everyone likely will get a chance at defending the 6-foot-3 receiver.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner, who wrested a ball away from Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew last week and ran it back for his first career touchdown, says he’s excited by the challenge of defending Johnson a week after going up against Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.
“These are the type of games that DBs look forward to,” Verner said. “We thrive under these conditions because you know you’re going to get tested and you’re going to see balls thrown your way. You can’t make a play unless you see a football thrown at you. That’s why I’m excited.”
Cornerback Jason McCourty said defensive backs definitely relish the chance to play against one of the NFL’s top receivers. Johnson is averaging 78.9 yards per game through his career, the highest among any player with at least 100 games. Johnson has 13 catches for 212 yards with two TDs this season.
The Titans (1-2) managed to double-team Calvin Johnson last week, and the Lions receiver still finished with 10 catches for 164 yards with only one touchdown when no TDs or big yards are the goals.
“You get to this week, and you talk about a team with Arian Foster in the backfield and along with Ben Tate,” McCourty said. “They do a lot of runs and a lot of misdirections and boots. You definitely can’t focus on just Andre Johnson because their offense as a whole is a very tough one.”
The Titans are near the bottom in many defensive categories. They are 31st giving up 463 yards per game, 30th allowing 312.7 yards passing so far, and 28th giving up an average of 8 yards per pass play. They’ve only gotten one interception through three games, with Verner picking off a Philip Rivers pass in a 38-10 loss on Sept. 16.
Houston (3-0) is averaging a middling 244.3 yards passing this season only because the Texans’ run game is so good. Titans coach Mike Munchak said the Texans also have moved Johnson around to get him open. That’s why everyone in the secondary has to be ready to defend Johnson while also staying disciplined to help against the run.
Johnson, who once got so ticked off at Finnegan pushing at his face mask that he slugged away at the cornerback, has been in this AFC South rivalry long enough not to be fooled by statistics.
“They know us, we know them and it’s just a game where you get after each other, so it’s a very physical game,” Johnson said. “They have a great front. They get after the quarterback real well. They have a good back end so what they do, they do it very well.”
Texans coach Gary Kubiak isn’t eyeing the stats much, either, after watching the Titans play against Tom Brady, Rivers and Matthew Stafford. He also sees little difference in the Tennessee defense without Finnegan in coordinator Jerry Gray’s schemes, where aggressiveness is key.
“It’s just obviously doing it with a different corner out there,” Kubiak said. “We see the same group, see them getting after the quarterback extremely well, really causing a lot of havoc there in the pocket. It’s always a good battle when we get together. It’s always a dang good physical contest when we play.”
Both McCourty and Verner are a bit more cerebral in their approach to playing defensive back than the feisty Finnegan, but no less physical. Verner said Finnegan tends to irritate receivers by being physical and in their face each and every play, something Johnson doesn’t appear to like.
That doesn’t mean the Titans want to goad Johnson too far.
“Hopefully, we can stay away from any brawls and just go out there and play tough football,” McCourty said.
NOTES: MLB Colin McCarthy (right ankle) and WR Kenny Britt (ankle) did not practice. McCarthy could miss a third straight game if he can’t practice some Friday. Britt said he hopes to play Sunday if he can push off his ankle. LG Steve Hutchinson did not practice due to a day of rest. TE Jared Cook (left shoulder) was limited.
RICHMOND, Ky. – Austin Peay State University’s volleyball team will look to maintain the early pace when it travels Saturday to Eastern Kentucky for a 1 p.m. Ohio Valley Conference match.
Austin Peay (8-10, 2-1 OVC West) sits one game behind Southeast Missouri for the divisional lead entering the second weekend of conference play. The Lady Govs have won two straight since losing its OVC opener, including a key four-set victory at Murray State, Tuesday.
In the win at Murray State, the Lady Govs showed off a nice offensive balance with senior Nikki Doyle leading the team with 17 kills while sophomores Jada Stotts and Liz Landon also breached the double-digit kills mark. That balance will be critical as the team enters the heart of the conference slate and opponents begin to focus on Stotts, the team’s leading hitter (3.78 kills per set) through five weeks.
“Having balance offensively is something we have talked about as team,” said Lady Govs head coach Taylor Mott. “Teams are going to focus on both of our outsides and if our middles can’t be productive we’re going to struggle. Against Murray State our middles were able to perform and do their job and that’s something we need to do consistently.”
Eastern Kentucky (3-10, 0-3 OVC East) is wrapping up a four-match homestand and seeking its first OVC win. The Colonels put up a fight against Belmont one week ago, losing a three-set match by seven total points. Eastern Kentucky then stole a set from East Division leading Morehead State, Tuesday, before falling in four sets.
Ashley Edmond (2.69 kills per set) leads Eastern Kentucky’s offense, but has been supported by Alexis Plagens (2.44 kps) and Kelsey Kuehner(2.24 kps) . The Colonels offense has struggled as a whole, ranking 12th among OVC teams in attack percentage (.108) and 11th in kills per set (10.86) through three conference matches.
CHARLESTON, Ill. – After the past 25 years with legendary Bob Spoo leading the program, a new face is in charge of the Eastern Illinois program that will face Austin Peay at 1:30 p.m. today. Not only is Dino Babers the new coach but he also has brought along a different offensive style.
Historically, Eastern Illinois has had superb quarterbacks, like former Walter Payton Award recipient and current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. But Babers brought an offense with him from Baylor that is reminiscent of the one run by 2011 Heisman Trophy recipient Robert Griffin III.
In other words, the offense has been put in the hands of junior quarterback Jimmy Garrapolo, who has completed 123 of 202 passes (60.9 percent) for 1374 yards and 13 TDs. He is ranked third in the nation in total offense and has thrown five single-game TD passes twice this season.
What has resulted is Eastern Illinois being the early surprise of the OVC season. The Panthers are a misleading 2-2 this season, with one of the losses coming to FBS Western Michigan and the other to No. 15 FCS-ranked Illinois State in overtime. Last week, the Panthers stunned Murray State, 50-49, in overtime.
In three games against FCS clubs, the Panthers have scored 49 points or better. In two home games this season the Panthers have amassed 99 points. They rank fourth nationally in passing offense, seventh in scoring offense and eighth in total offense.
Redshirt junior Erik Lora is leading the nation in pass receptions with 48 catches, 21 in last week’s game against Murray State to break APSU legend Red Roberts’ record (20) for receptions. His 269 yards also set the school record for single-game receiving yards. He earned National Player of the Week honors.
As good as Lora is, it is fellow receiver Chris Wright (23 catches) who was preseason All-OVC
And as much focus centers on the passing game, Jake Walker had 102 yards rushing against the Racers last week.
That’s the daunting road task facing the Govs this week. Austin Peay enters the weekend having 37 total points in its four games, including just six in the Govs 31-6 loss against UT Martin last week.
The Govs will need not only greater offensive balance against Eastern Illinois, it will need more consistency as well. APSU has relied greatly on the rush, with senior tailback Wesley Kitts ranking 20th nationally at 105.7 yards per game.
But the Governors are ranked 111 out of 121 teams in passing. In addition, penalties have sidetracked APSU’s offense in the past two weeks. The Govs have been slapped with nearly 250 yards and 25 penalties in their two OVC losses.
Those penalties also have hampered a Govs defense that has permitted more than 30 points in each league game.
Senior kicker Stephen Stansell will look to continue building on his APSU record for field goals. He broke Tom McMillan’s mark of 34, set in 1986-89.