NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee tight end Jared Cook has a torn right rotator cuff and coach Mike Munchak says Cook will be placed on injured reserve for the final three games.
Cook caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to Indianapolis. But he hurt his shoulder catching a screen pass late in the third quarter.
The tight end ranks second with 44 catches and has 523 yards receiving. He will become the 15th player on injured reserve, and Munchak called it unfortunate.
Cook says the season-ending injury is a tough blow. He was honored Monday as the Titans’ community man of the year for raising money for breast cancer research and exams in honor of his mother, Yulinda, a breast cancer survivor.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – And still the best …
Six players repeated as first-team selections on The Sports Network FCS All- America Team, including Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein for the third straight year.
The other players returning to the first team for the second consecutive year were Elon wide receiver Aaron Mellette, Georgia Southern nose tackle Brent Russell, New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, Sam Houston State safety Darnell Taylor and North Dakota State cornerback Marcus Williams.
Breitenstein did some horseback riding over his Thanksgiving break, but he’s been sitting tall in the saddle each of the past three seasons. He completed his Wofford career in the FCS playoffs this past Saturday with the most rushing yards (5,730) and touchdowns (65) among active FCS players, including 2,035 yards – a school single-season record – and 19 touchdowns on 230 carries in Wofford’s triple option this year.
Breitenstein, a 5-foot-11, 230-pound junior, was named the Southern Conference’s offensive player of the year. Wofford finished with a share of the conference title and a 9-4 record.
“Being named an All-American is a great honor,” Breitenstein said. “It has always been one of my goals, but wouldn’t be possible without my team. They really make it all possible. The offensive line is excellent, maybe the best unit in the country and individually four of the five were named all- conference. I have truly been blessed to be a part of a program that has had a great deal of success.”
Mellette and Russell also dominated play in the SoCon. Mellette, a difficult matchup for defenses at 6-4, 220 pounds, caught 97 passes for 1,398 yards as well as an FCS-high 18 touchdown receptions in 11 games. The senior finished his career with 304 receptions for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns with 23 100- yard receiving games – each mark ranking second to Terrell Hudgins in Elon and SoCon history.
Russell, 6-2, 300, is a SoCon legend. A senior, he has faced double teams throughout Georgia Southern’s season, but has still managed 39 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 12 games. The Eagles are 10-3 and have reached the FCS semifinals for the third straight season.
Evans, the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient as a junior, enjoyed a big senior season as well while New Hampshire qualified for the FCS playoffs for the ninth straight season – the longest active streak in the nation. In 12 games, the 6-foot, 226-pounder collected 126 tackles, including 87 solos, 9.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
Taylor, 6-0, 195, was named the Southland Conference’s defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season. The senior has totaled 94 tackles, including 64 solos, two sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in Sam Houston State’s 13 games. The Bearkats have reached the national semifinals for the second consecutive season.
Williams, a 5-11, 194-pound junior, is the most electrifying player on a North Dakota State squad that has returned to the national semifinals and is seeking its second straight FCS national championship. Teams shy away from passing toward the shutdown cornerback, but he has five interceptions for 125 return yards, four pass breakups and 27 tackles. He also has two touchdowns and 558 total return yards, including on special teams.
Also named to the first team for the first time was Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who threw for an FCS single-season record 5,076 passing yards as well as 44 touchdown passes with 5,546 total yards – national- leading numbers in all three statistical categories. He also rushed for 11 touchdowns while the Monarchs posted an 11-2 record.
All the skill position players racked up impressive offensive statistics, including Stony Brook senior running back Miguel Maysonet (1,964 rushing yards, 23 touchdowns), South Dakota State sophomore running back Zach Zenner (2,044 rushing yards), Eastern Illinois junior wide receiver Erik Lora (an FCS-record 136 receptions for 1,664 yards) and Tennessee State sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard (51 receptions for 733 yards).
Murray State junior Walter Powell was the first-team all-purpose selection. The wide receiver and return specialist ranks second nationally with an average of 193 all-purpose yards per game, including 1,213 yards on 94 receptions with 12 overall touchdowns.
The offensive linemen were James Madison senior Earl Watford and juniors Michael Bamiro of Stony Brook, Mike Sellers of The Citadel, Billy Turner of North Dakota State and Bryan Witzmann of South Dakota State.
The other defensive players included Georgetown senior linebacker Robert McCabe, who leads the FCS with 159 tackles. He was named the Patriot League defensive player of the year.
Joining McCabe and Evans at linebacker were Appalachian State senior Jeremy Kimbrough, the co-defensive player of the year in the Southern Conference, and Montana State senior Jody Owens, the Big Sky defensive player of the year.
Southern Utah senior Cody Larsen was the other first-team defensive tackle alongside Russell. Also up front at defensive end were Montana State senior Caleb Schreibeis, whose eight forced fumbles lead the FCS, and Illinois State junior Colton Underwood.
In the secondary, safeties Cooper Taylor of Richmond, a senior, and Jaquiski Tartt of Samford, a sophomore, joined Darnell Taylor and Williams.
The special teams featured Fordham senior place-kicker Patrick Murray, who converted 25-of-30 field goal attempts – six more than any other kicker in the FCS. Joining Murray were Furman senior kick returner Jerodis Williams, Northern Arizona junior punter Andy Wilder and Northern Colorado senior punt returner Dominic Gunn.
The Big Sky, the largest conference in the FCS, had the most All-America selections with 16, followed by the Southern Conference with 15, CAA Football with 12, the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 11, and the Ohio Valley Conference with 10. The Southland Conference garnered seven selections, the Ivy League, Patriot League and Southwestern Athletic Conference had five selections each, the Big South four, the Northeast Conference three, and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Pioneer Football League two each.
2012 The Sports Network FCS All-America Team
With position, player, school, class, height, weight:
First Team – Offense
QB – Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, So., 6-1, 195
RB – Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook, Sr., 5-10, 205; Zach Zenner, South Dakota State, So., 6-0, 215
FB – Eric Breitenstein, Wofford, Sr., 5-11, 230
WR – Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois, Jr., 5-10, 181; Aaron Mellette, Elon, Sr., 6-4, 220
TE – A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State, So., 6-4, 245
OL – Michael Bamiro, Stony Brook, Jr., 6-8, 345; Mike Sellers, The Citadel, Jr., 6-0, 295; Billy Turner, North Dakota State, Jr., 6-6, 300; Earl Watford, James Madison, Sr., 6-4, 290; Bryan Witzmann, South Dakota State, Jr., 6-7, 300
AP – Walter Powell, Murray State, Jr., 6-0, 180
PK – Patrick Murray, Fordham, Sr., 5-7, 160
KR – Jerodis Williams, Furman, Sr., 5-11, 195
First Team – Defense
DE – Caleb Schreibeis, Montana State, Sr., 6-3, 252; Colton Underwood, Illinois State, Jr., 6-4, 255
DT – Cody Larsen, Southern Utah, Sr., 6-4, 300; Brent Russell, Georgia Southern, Sr., 6-2, 300
LB – Matt Evans, New Hampshire, Sr., 6-0, 226; Jeremy Kimbrough, Appalachian State, Sr., 5-11, 240; Robert McCabe, Georgetown, Sr., 6-2, 230; Jody Owens, Montana State, Sr., 6-0, 223
DB – Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, So., 6-1, 220; Cooper Taylor, Richmond, Sr., 6-5, 235; Darnell Taylor, Sam Houston State, Sr., 6-0, 195; Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, DB, Jr., 5-11, 194
P – Andy Wilder, Northern Arizona, Jr., 6-3, 205
PR – Dominic Gunn, Northern Colorado, Sr., 5-11, 170
QB – Gavin McCarney, Colgate, Jr., 6-2, 205
RB – Shakir Bell, Indiana State, Jr., 5-8, 185; Deonte Williams, Cal Poly, Sr., 5-10, 200
FB – Kendall Gaskins, Richmond, Sr., 6-1, 238
WR – Jordan Harris, Bryant, Jr., 6-2, 215; Brandon Kaufman, Eastern Washington, Jr., 6-5, 215; Kevin Norrell, Stony Brook, Sr., 5-10, 200
TE – Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard, Sr., 6-3, 240
OL – Aaron Adams, Eastern Kentucky, Sr., 6-5, 295; Sean Davies, UC Davis, Sr., 6-4, 297; Dakota Dozier, Furman, Jr., 6-4, 291; Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State, Sr., 6-7, 320; Corey Howard, Central Arkansas, Sr., 6-1, 290
AP – Tyler Varga, Yale, So., 5-11, 220
PK – Jimmy Pavel, Eastern Washington, Sr., 5-11, 195
KR – Fabian Truss, Samford, Jr., 5-9, 190
Second Team – Defense
DE – Brandon Thurmond, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sr., 6-2, 260; Davis Tull, Chattanooga, So., 6-3, 230
DT – Montori Hughes, UT Martin, Sr., 6-4, 330; Caraun Reid, Princeton, Sr., 6-2, 305
LB – Keith Pough, Howard, Sr., 6-3, 225; Stephon Robertson, James Madison, Jr., 5-11, 220; Ian Sluss, Portland State, Sr., 6-0, 225; Jordan Tripp, Montana, Jr., 6-4, 244
DB – Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr., 5-11, 185; Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State, So., 6-1, 180; T.J. Lee III, Eastern Washington, Jr., 5-9, 170; B.W. Webb, William & Mary, Sr., 5-11, 180
P – Bobby Wenzig, Alabama State, Jr., 6-2, 185
PR – Austin Shanks, Northern Arizona, Sr., 5-8, 185
Third Team – Offense
QB – Casey Brockman, Murray State, Sr., 6-2, 220
RB – Timothy Flanders, Sam Houston State, Jr., 5-9, 210; Jordan McCord, Colgate, Sr., 5-11, 210
FB – Jake Hess, Northern Arizona, Sr., 5-10, 227
WR – Sean Price, Appalachian State, Fr., 6-5, 210; Quentin Sims, UT Martin, Sr., 6-3, 202
TE – MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois, So., 6-3, 247
OL – Garrett Frye, Georgia Southern, So., 6-4, 257; Terrance Hackney, Bethune- Cookman, So., 6-6, 310; Kaleb Hopson, Sam Houston State, Sr., 6-6, 300; Terren Jones, Alabama State, Sr., 6-7, 334; Ryan Risch, Colgate, Sr., 6-5, 303; J.C. Tretter, Cornell, Sr., 6-4, 295
AP – Greg Hardin, North Dakota, Jr., 5-11, 168
PK – Ernie Collins, San Diego, Sr., 6-2, 240
KR – Carlos Anderson, Northern Iowa, Sr., 5-8, 172; Colby Walden, Jacksonville, Sr., 5-11, 185
Third Team – Defense
DE – Frank Beltre, Towson, Sr., 6-2, 225; Mike Catapano, Princeton, Sr., 6-4, 270; Nolan Nearhoff, Robert Morris, Sr., 6-2, 250; Zach Wagenmann, Montana, So., 6-4, 240
DT – Chris Burnette, Old Dominion, Sr., 6-4, 290; Robert Simpson, Mississippi Valley State, Jr., 6-4, 255; Jared Smith, New Hampshire, Sr., 6-3, 300
LB – Seth Allison, Central Arkansas, Sr., 5-11, 195; Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina, So., 5-10, 205; Dorian Bell, Duquesne, Jr., 6-1, 234; Wes Dothard, Chattanooga, Jr., 6-1, 235; Blake Peiffer, Southeast Missouri State, Sr., 6-1, 225; Paul Worrilow, Delaware, Sr., 6-0, 230
DB – Jordan Dangerfield, Towson, Sr., 5-11, 200; Ben Ericksen, Illinois State, Sr., 6-1, 200; Demetrius McCray, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-0, 185; Kejuan Riley, Alabama State, Sr., 6-2, 208; Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State, So., 6-0, 214; Johnny Towalid, Indiana State, Sr., 5-11, 170
P – Sam Martin, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-1, 205
PR – Jesse Grandy, Central Arkansas, Sr., 5-11, 165
Tennessee got the start it wanted, but not the finish in a 27-23 loss at Indianapolis on Sunday.
The Titans (4-9) built a 20-7 halftime lead, but the Colts (9-4) rallied with an offensive and defensive touchdown in the third quarter to claim their first lead. Tennessee reclaimed a 23-21 lead in the fourth quarter with a field goal by Rob Bironas after a 16-play, 73-yard drive stalled at the Indianapolis 2-yard line.
The Colts answered on their next possession with a 53-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri, who added a 40-yarder with 3:48 remaining.
“Well I’ll just say it’s another very disappointing loss for us,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “We played a good, solid first half in a lot of ways and played to how we thought we were able to. They did a nice job to open the second half, obviously had many chances to stop them on third down but they made plays, and the turnovers are just things we cannot do.”
The Titans scored a touchdown on their first possession, efficiently moving 80 yards in nine plays and four minutes, 50 seconds. Second year quarterback Jake Locker, who made his first career start against the AFC South rival Colts, capped the drive with an 18-yard throw to tight end Jared Cook, who grabbed the ball with a twisting leap and landed on his back in the end zone.
Locker went 6-for-6 passing for 53 yards and added a career-long 32-yard run on a scramble on the opening drive. He finished 22-for-35 for 262 yards but suffered with an interception in the third quarter and fourth quarter that both occurred inside Tennessee’s 35-yard line and yielded 10 points for Indianapolis.
The Titans limited the Colts to 4-for-12 on third down conversions for the game, but Indianapolis strung together all three of its second-half conversions on the opening possession of the third quarter. Rookie QB Andrew Luck found veteran Reggie Wayne for a gain of 12 on third-and-9 and Wayne again for 20 on third-and-11. Delone Carter scored from 1 yard on third-and-goal.
The teams swapped punts, but Indianapolis was able to pin Tennessee at its own 1 after officials didn’t flag a false start by Colts players.
Locker threw toward Nate Washington on the following play, but Cassius Vaughn jumped the route, picked off the pass cleanly and returned it three yards for the touchdown that put the Colts up 21-20 with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
“It was one that I shouldn’t have thrown,” Locker said. “I should be able to handle that position. I didn’t think it was going to be a roll corner like that, and it was.”
Munchak said calling a QB sneak in that situation instead of having an option would have been a safer plan.
Locker said it was tough to take their third straight loss, but said the Titans “just have to keep working hard” for their final three games of this season and beyond.
“It’s hard to keep saying it and not have the outcome you want,” Locker said. “You just have to keep working hard and preparing and doing everything you can to be successful when you get in those situations.”
WITHERSPOON NABS PICK SIX
Titans linebacker Will Witherspoon scored his third career touchdown when he returned an interception of Luck 40 yards.
Luck felt pressure from Derrick Morgan, who recorded one sack and four quarterback hits, and tried to throw the ball away, but Witherspoon was in the right spot, snagged the ball and returned it 40 yards to give the Titans a 17-7 lead with 4:40 left in the first half.
Officials reviewed the play, and although it appeared Luck’s knee hit the ground after contact from Morgan in television replays, the ruling on the field stood.
BRITT DELIVERS SEASON BESTS
Titans receiver Kenny Britt turned in his strongest statistical game of the season, recording season highs of eight catches and 143 yards.
Britt’s day included a pair of 46-yard receptions that set up a pair of field goals by Bironas in the second quarter. Both grabs were impressive, but the encore act outdid the first effort because Britt used just his left hand and because his right arm was being held on a play that would have resulted in pass interference had the pass been incomplete.
It was Britt’s most robust outing since he made nine catches for 135 yards in Week 2 of the 2011 season (one week before he tore his ACL and MCL, costing him the rest of that year).
KLUG DOUBLES DOWN
Second year defensive tackle Karl Klug recorded two sacks within three plays on one Colts possession. Klug dropped Luck for a loss of six on a first-and-10 play from the Indianapolis 39, and for a loss of 10 on third-and-7 from the 43 to force a punt by Pat McAfee.
FIRST INT FOR AFALAVA
Titans safety Al Afalava recorded his first career interception to end the first half. Indianapolis attempted a Hail Mary from its own 47 with five seconds remaining and Afalava dropped deep, caught the ball and landed in the end zone to end the opening half.
Afalava joined the Titans this offseason after being out of football in 2011 and playing four games with the Colts in 2010.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The field events carried the day for Austin Peay State University women’s track and field team Saturday at the 2012-13 indoor track and field season opener at Middle Tennessee’s Christmas Invitational. The Lady Govs got eight total top-five performances on the day, including five in the field.
Senior transfer Jasmine Foster accounted for two of those, finishing third in the weight throw (15.28m) and runner-up in the shot put (13.31m) in her first meet wearing the red-and-white.
Austin Peay took the top three spots in the pole vault, with junior Molly Basch (3.20m) defeating senior Nicole Bressner (3.05m) and freshman Hannah Johnstono (2.13m) in the event.
The Lady Govs 4×440 yard relay team of freshman Breigh Jones, junior Taelor Slaughter, freshman Kymmalett Ross and senior Chantelle Grey finished second with a 3:57.38 run.
Grey, who won her first-ever event for the Lady Govs at last year’s Christmas Invitational, placed fourth in the mile run this year with a 5:19.82 mark.
In sprint action, sophomore Erika Adams tied for fifth place in the 55m dash with a 7.35 run.
“Overall, I was pretty pleased with our results,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “Now, with the break coming up, we’ve got to maintain focus and keep our conditioning up so we can come back and pick up right where we left off.”
This meet was the only one for Austin Peay prior to Christmas. The Lady Govs return to action Jan. 5 at Tennessee State’s Ed Temple Classic.
Vanderbilt’s Kyle Fuller, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., was named SEC?Player of the Week after scoring 25 points and dishing out five assists to go with four rebounds and three steals in a win at Xavier. The junior guard set a new career high in scoring with 25 points in a 66-64 overtime win at Xavier on December 6 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. Twelve of Fuller’s points came in the overtime period, accounting for all of the Commodores’ scoring in overtime. His three steals also set a new career high, as were his eight field goals and seven free throws made. Fuller’s 25-point effort was Vanderbilt’s third 25+-point individual game of the season.
Vanderbilt’s Kevin Bright, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound freshman guard from Mannheim, Germany, was named SEC?Freshman of the Week after registering 11 points and 10 rebounds in a win at Xavier. Bright notched his second consecutive double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in a 66-64 overtime win over Xavier on December 6. Bright is the first Commodore to tally consecutive double-doubles since Festus Ezeli (at Alabama, 1/19/2012; vs. Miss. State, 1/22/2012), and he is the first freshman to have consecutive double-doubles since A.J. Ogilvy in 2007.