Red Box Bowl/Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Bears feel an advantage playing in Bay Area; Illinois no push over have beaten two big schools

photo from sf49ers.com: Red Box Bowl at Levis Stadium will host the Illinois Illini and the Cal Bears on Mon Dec 30th

On the Red Box Bowl/Cal Bears podcast with Morris:

#1 At the Red Box Bowl presser on Friday Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and the players were in a great mood

#2 How good does it get for Cal having the Bowl game set in the Bay Area against the Illinois Illini did Wilcox or any of the players address having to play the game in the Bay Area.

#3 In talking with Cal quarterback Chase Garbers quite a year certainly wants to end his season with a win at the Red Box Bowl

#4 Last season the Bears played at the Cheez It Bowl in a game they lost to TCU 10-7 it was kind of a sleeper but being the in Bay Area and the Illini being a good team this could be a shoot out

#5 Coach Wilcox says turnovers can’t be the rule of the day as the Illini took advantage using seven turnovers to upset Wisconsin and win at Michigan State in their two marquee wins.

Morris is a Cal Bears beat writer and does the Bears weekly podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Fighting Illini comes to the Bay Area to face the Cal Golden Bears

news-gazette.com photo: Josh Imatorbhebhe of the Illinois Illini makes a 83 yard catch against the Michigan State Spartans, Imatorbhebhe and the Illini battle the Cal Bears at Levi Stadium on Mon Dec 30th for the Red Box Bowl

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-With the Redbox Bowl in basically their own backyard, the California Golden Bears will have the home field advantage, but do not tell that to their opponents, the Fighting Illini of Illinois.

During the 2019 season, the Fighting Illini went 3-2 on the road, including a 37-34 victory over the Michigan State Spartans that came after the Fighting Illini entered the fourth quarter trailing 31-10 when the final stanza began.

Josh Imatorbhebhe was on the receiving end of an 83-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Peters to cut the Spartans lead down to 31-17.

Reggie Corbin then cut the lead down in half, as he scored on a six-yard run just three minutes after the Peters to Imatorbhebhe touchdown pass.

The Fighting Illini defense got in on the act, as they tied up the game, when Sydney Brown returned an interception 76 yards to get them within one.

After Michigan State kicked a field goal to increase their lead up to four points, Peters and the Fighting Illini got the ball back for one final drive.

The Fighting Illini then converted a fourth-and-17, then got another first down when the Spartans were called for pass interference in the end zone on another fourth down possession.

Peters then gave them the lead for the first time on the afternoon, as he found Daniel Barker for a five-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining in the game to give the Fighting Illini their sixth win of the season and bowl eligible for the first time since the 2014 season.

This was the biggest comeback in school history, and the 27 points scored by them in the fourth quarter were the most by an opponent in the 96-year, 544-game history of Spartan Stadium.

In all, the Fighting Illini went 3-2 away from Memorial Stadium.

Lovie Smith, who is in his fourth year in Champaign as head coach leads the team to their first bowl game since the 2014 Zaxbys Heart of Dallas Bowl, where they lost to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 35-18.

As for coming to bowl games in Northern California, this is not the Fighting Illinis first trip to the Bay Area.

The Fighting Illini came to the area in 2011, where behind Nathan Scheelhaase went 18-for-30 for 139 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. Scheelhaase was also the leading rusher, as he gained 110 yards on 22 carries and the Fighting Illini defeated the UCLA Bruins 20-14 at AT&T Park.

Overall, this is the eighth trip to California in a bowl game for the Fighting Illini, as they are 3-2 in the Rose Bowl, 0-1 in the Holiday Bowl and 1-0 in what was then known as the Kraft Hunger Bowl, now known as the Redbox Bowl.

A graduate transfer from Big 10 rival Michigan, Peters started 10 games for the Fighting Illini and led them in passing, as he went 130-for-238 with 1,611 yards passing with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Corbin was the leading ground gainer, as he carried the ball 129 times for 691 yards and six touchdowns.

Imatorbhebhe led the team in receptions with 33, yards with 634 and nine touchdowns.

Huskies, Petersen beat Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl 38-7

Petersen-Lake-Gettyt-620x370

Photo credit: Getty Images

By Shawn McCullough

LAS VEGAS–The Washington Huskies sent their head coach out on a good note.

Washington (8-5) beat up the Mountain West champion Boise State Mustangs 38-7 in the Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Huskies head coach Chris Petersen surprisingly announced his retirement from Washington on December 2nd, but agreed to coach the Huskies for his final game in the Las Vegas Bowl.

“It’s never about one person,” said Petersen about his last game.  “It’s about the team playing really, really well.”

Petersen formerly was the head coach at Boise State and went 92-12 from 2006 to 2013.  He led the Broncos to two undefeated season in 2006 and 2009.

“For us to finish on this note, I just feel really good for the guys that are leaving this program and the guys that are coming back,” said Petersen.

Redshirt junior quarterback Jacob Eason led the Huskies throwing for 210 yards and one touchdown.

“It was awesome just the way this whole team played,” said Eason.  “I play well and this team plays well.  Overall we just played well and efficient and got the result that we wanted.”

The Huskies started the scoring in the first quarter with Eason hitting Andre Baccellia on a slant for a 17 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

Washington later scored in the second quarter on a pitch sweep to running back Salvon Ahmed, who beat the outside contain and sprinted into the right corner of the end zone to go up 14-0.  The Huskies added a field goal late in the second to go into halftime up 17-0.

“Our guys played hard and they were ready to go out there and play, but as coaches, we didn’t do a good enough job to make the adjustments that we needed to do,” said Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin.  “I am proud of our guys”.

Boise State freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier struggled in the first half throwing for just 87 yards and two interceptions sparking a quarterback change to redshirt senior Jaylon Henderson.

Henderson led an eleven play, 77 yard drive in the third quarter for the Mustang’s only points of the game on a 10 yard touchdown pass to running back George Holani.

The Mustang loss dropped Boise State to 12-2 on the season, snapping a six game winning streak.

Game Notes:

  • Washington defensive back Elijah Molden was named the game’s MVP with nine tackles and one interception
  • This was the 28th straight and final Las Vegas Bowl played at Sam Boyd Stadium
  • Sam Boyd Stadium seats 36,800
  • The Las Vegas Bowl will move to the currently under construction Allegiant Stadium in 2020, home of the Oakland Raiders and the UNLV Running Rebels

16 prospects sign NLIs with San Jose State football program

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

The San Jose State football team ended the 2019 season with a bang, a come-from-behind 17-16 win over rival Fresno State to reclaim the Valley Trophy on November 30th. But the Spartans are now gearing up for the 2020 season as 16 new prospects signed NLIs on Wednesday.

Here are the players who signed NLIs.

Lamar Barrett
OL | 6-4 | 325 | JR | Bartow, Fla./Independence College
A 2019 second-team All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference honoree, Lamar joins the Spartans this summer as an offensive line prospect. Barrett played for Independence College (Coach Kiyoshi Harris), the 2019 KJCCC champion and ranked eighth in the December 9 National Junior College Athletic Association poll. The Bartow (Fla.) High graduate competed in football (Coaches Ray Tiller and Brian McRae), weightlifting, and track and field. Barrett was a two-time All-Polk County honoree and a 2016 Class 7-A honorable mention all-state pick for Bartow High. In weightlifting his senior season, he was the 2018 Class 2A, District 12 unlimited champion, fourth at the Class 2A Region 6 meet, and finished tied for seventh at the 2018 Florida state championships. In track and field, he threw the shot put. Lamar is considering business administration as his major. He’s intrigued about the job opportunities in Silicon Valley. Three of his favorite hip-hop artists are Kodak Black, NBA Young Boy and Chief Keef. Besides weightlifting, he enjoys distance running. Barrett is a native of Bartow, Fla.

Malik Welch
CB | 6-1 | 195 | JR | Torrance, Calif./Long Beach City College
A 2019 second-team All-Northern League pick for Long Beach City College (Coach Brett Peabody), Malik is a cornerback hopeful enrolling at SJSU this spring. Welch was second on the team in tackles with 51, was in on 4.0 tackles for loss, intercepted two passes and was credited with six pass break ups. The El Segundo (Calif.) High graduate was a cornerback on the football team (Coach Steve Shevlin) and a sprinter in track and field. He began his high school career at North High in Torrance, Calif. (Coach Todd Croce) and participated in the same two sports.

Sam Olson
TE | 6-4 | 225 | FR | Visalia, Calif./Redwood HS
A two-time first-team All-West Yosemite League honoree for Redwood High in Visalia, Calif. (Coaches Kevin Scharton and Shaun Ball), Sam begins his SJSU football career as a tight end. Named the best tight end in Tulare County in 2019 by the Visalia Times Delta, Olson caught 33 passes for 586 yards and a team-best 11 touchdowns. His 66 points was good to share team-high scoring honors. The versatile player also served as a punter and a long snapper. He also played a season on the Rangers boys’ basketball team. He’s interested in majoring in environmental science and becoming a firefighter. During his junior year, he was named to the school’s Spanish National Honor Society. He lists Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X as his heroes. The San Francisco 49ers are his favorite NFL team. All-Pro 49ers tight end George Kittle and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry are his favorite athletes. Olson is a native of Visalia, Calif.

Elijah Lawson
LB | 6-2 | 205 | FR | Hayward, Calif./Stellar Prep HS
After playing six different positions in high school for Stellar Prep in Hayward, Calif. (Coach Desmond Gumbs), Lawson will begin his SJSU career as a linebacker prospect. Lawson saw action as a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and safety for the Thunder football program. In his junior season, he intercepted five passes. He’s undecided on an academic major. Lawson would like to pursue a sports broadcasting career. For the last three years, he has served as a youth counselor for children ages 3-to-13 at the Life City Church in Stockton, Calif. He’s the third male in a family of nine children to play college football. His oldest brother, Rodney Lawson, played at the University of Nevada in 2015 and Western New Mexico University in 2017. His older brother Michael Lawson was named a 2019 first-team All-Southland Conference safety and punt return specialist as a junior for Lamar University. Lawson is a native of Stockton, Calif.

Jalen Apalit-Williams
S | 6-2 | 185 | FR | Martinez, Calif./Las Lomas HS
A 2018 honorable mention All-Bay Area News group selection, Apalit-Williams is a safety prospect joining the SJSU football program. He divided his high school football career between Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, Calif., (Coach Doug Longero) and Alhambra High in Martinez, Calif., (Coach Alan Hern). As a junior, he was a first-team All-Diablo-Foothill League pick and his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player. A three-sport athlete, he was a sprinter at Las Lomas High and played on the Alhambra High boys’ basketball team. He’s targeting communication studies as his major. Kim Apalit, his mom, played volleyball at the University of Cincinnati in the 1990’s. He enjoys Meek Mill’s music. Two of his favorite movies are “Creed” and “Remember the Titans.” His favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys and his favorite athlete is four-time NBA scoring champion Allen Iverson. Apalit-Williams is a native of San Francisco.

Dion Leonard
LB | 6-3 | 215 | JR | Milpitas, Calif./Foothill College
A first-team All-Pac 7 League choice for Foothill College (Coach Kelly Edwards), Leonard is a linebacker prospect joining the Spartans this spring. He was credited with 44 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, was in on a quarterback sack, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles and broke up four passes his sophomore season. As a freshman, he was a defensive back for San Jose City College (Coach Connor Carlton). The Milpitas (Calif.) High graduate lettered in football (Coach Kelly King), basketball and was a sprinter on the track and field team. He was a first-team All-Santa Clara Valley Athletic League wide receiver who caught 32 passes for 648 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons.

Chance Johnson
S | 6-0 | 185 | FR | Spring Valley, Calif./Steele Canyon HS
A football (Coach Scott Longerbone) and track and field letterwinner at Steele Canyon High in Spring Valley, Calif., Johnson is a safety candidate enrolling at SJSU this summer. During his career, he played safety, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback and was a return specialist. In his sophomore season, the Cougars captured the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation (C.I.F.) Division 3-A state championship. The two-time, first-team All-Grossmont Hills honoree was credited with 126 tackles and three pass interceptions in his junior and senior seasons combined. As a senior, he returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. He concluded his high school career playing in the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic and the Makasi Bowl all-star football games in San Diego. He also was a sprinter and hurdler in track and field. He plans to major in psychology and is interested in becoming either a high school counselor or a police detective. He participates in the school’s Mito Action Club, which raises funds to fight against mitochondria diseases; volunteering at Hope City Church in El Cajon, Calif., where his dad is a pastor; and participating in an award-winning dance group, Candyman, using the stage name of “Snickers.” Johnson is a native of SD.

Shamar Garrett
RB | 5-9 | 179 | FR | Livermore, Calif./De La Salle HS
One of the top all-purpose high school players in California, Garett is a running back prospect enrolling at SJSU this summer. He was a running back, defensive back and return specialist at De La Salle High in Concord, Calif. (Coach Jason Alumbaugh). A scoring threat from anywhere on the field, he rushed for 27 touchdowns, returned three interceptions and one punt return for six points, and passed for seven scores in three seasons. In the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state championship game, he rushed for three touchdowns including a 60-yard score and played cornerback. He was a CalHiSports.com first-team all-state selection as a multi-purpose back, and a first-team San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro and Bay Area News Group pick his junior season. His choices for an academic major are business administration and psychology. He has been a member of De La Salle’s Black Student Union organization since his freshman year. He enjoys sketching cartoon characters. Two of his cousins are Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Carter and running back C.J. Anderson, a seven-year National Football League veteran. Garrett is a native of Berkeley, Calif.

Grady Manley
DL | 6-4 | 265 | FR | Lincoln, Calif./Lincoln HS
A two-time first-team All-Foothill Valley selection, Manley is a defensive line candidate joining the Spartans this summer. He was a prolific tackler during his three seasons at Lincoln (Calif.) High (Coach Chris Bean). He played middle linebacker his sophomore and junior seasons and was a defensive lineman as a senior. At Lincoln High, he was credited with 322 tackles, 29.0 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, and two safeties. As a junior, he led the Fighting Zebras with 142 tackles and was a 2018 Sacramento Bee honorable mention All-Metro honoree. He was tops on the team with 18.0 tackles for loss and contributed 73 tackles as a senior. The three-sport athlete also played on the basketball team and was an outfielder for a season of baseball. One of his favorite activities is skeet shooting. Manley is a native of Citrus Heights, Calif.

Mikale Greer
CB | 6-2 | 185 | FR | Compton, Calif./Lawndale HS
A cornerback prospect, Greer comes to SJSU from Lawndale (Calif.) High. (Coach Travis Clark). Greer played both defensive back and wide receiver for the Cardinals. He was credited with three interceptions his senior season. He began his high school football career at Paramount (Calif.) High, where he was used primarily as a wide receiver. He’s planning on majoring in sport management or kinesiology. One of his cousins is Calgary Stampeders defensive backfield coach Josh Bell, who played safety for San Diego, Denver and Green Bay during the 2008 through 2010 seasons. He enjoys listening to the music of Young Boy and Rod Wave. Greer is a native of Bellflower, Calif.

Jalen Bainer
CB | 5-11 | 180 | FR | San Marcos, Calif./San Marcos HS
A two-time All-Avocado League award winner, Bainer is a versatile player joining the Spartans. He was a wide receiver, cornerback, kicker and return specialist at San Marcos (Calif.) High (Coaches Derek Stank, Jason Texler). As a senior, he was a team captain and a second-team all-league wide receiver after leading his team with 36 receptions 615 yards and seven touchdowns. He scored two more touchdowns rushing and a third on an interception return. He was a first-team all-league defensive back as a junior after intercepting four passes and making 29 tackles. The two-sport athlete was a sprinter, long jumper and triple jumper in track and field. He was the 2019 Avocado League champion in the long jump with a school-record setting mark of 22-feet-10.5. Jalen would like to major in business administration. Named twice to the Avocado League all-academic team, he’d like to own and operate an athletic performance facility. His dad, Chris Bainer, was a member of the 1993 University of San Diego football team. Bainer is a native of San Diego.

Zavion Reese
CB | 6-0 | 175 | FR | San Marcos, Calif./San Marcos HS
A two-time All-Avocado League defensive back, Reese is a cornerback hopeful to join the Spartans this summer. He was a first-team selection as a junior and second-team choice as a senior at San Marcos (Calif.) High (Coaches Derek Shank and Jason Texler). In his three seasons, he played cornerback, wide receiver and was used as a return specialist. As a senior, he was a team captain and was named his team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player at the end of the season. He concluded his high school football career playing in the Alex Spanos All-Star Game in San Diego. The two-sport athlete is a sprinter and a long jumper on the track and field team. He’s interested in majoring in either mechanical engineering or business administration. One of his goals is achieving and maintaining financial stability. At San Marcos High, he’s a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Black Student Union. One of his brothers, Nacion Reese, was a linebacker at Minot State University. Zavion is a native of Oceanside, Calif.

Elijah Wood
LB | 6-3 | 205 | FR | Elk Grove, Calif./St. Mary’s HS
A two-time All-Tri-City Athletic League honoree, Wood is a linebacker candidate enrolling at San Jose State this summer. At St. Mary’s High in Stockton, Calif. (Coach Tony Frank), he played outside linebacker, cornerback, strong safety, wide receiver, tight end and was used as a return specialist. As a senior, he was a second-team all-league choice who was in on 53 tackles, intercepted three passes and was credited with eight pass break-ups. In his junior season, he was a first-team all-league wide receiver. He began his high school football career at Cosumnes Oaks High (Coach Derrick Milgrim) in Elk Grove, Calif. He was invited to conclude his high school football career at the January 18, 2020 Bay Area Cali Classic Senior Showcase matching the Bay Area All-Stars vs. the Valley All-Stars in San Leandro, Calif. He plans to major in business marketing. His business interests include earning a real estate license, become a realtor, and owning and operating a shoe store. He enjoys traveling and Hawaii and Florida are his top destinations. His favorite sports teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. Wood is a native of Modesto, Calif.

Noah Wright
DL | 6-5 | 315 | JR | Lemoore, Calif./College of the Sequoias
The 2019 Valley League Defensive Player of the Year, Wright is joining the Spartans this spring as a defensive line candidate. He played two seasons for the College of the Sequoias (Coach Joe D’Agostino). As a sophomore, the first-team All-Valley League honoree led the conference with 21.0 tackles for loss and added 4.0 quarterback sacks, one fumble recovery. The Lemoore (Calif.) High graduate lettered in football (Coaches Mitch Crossley and Shannon Pulliam) and wrestling and was a catcher on the baseball team. He was the 2016 West Yosemite League Defensive Player of the Year in football and placed fourth in the heavyweight division at the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet. He began his high school career at Wilcox High in Santa Clara, Calif., and was on the football (Coach Dan Brown), wrestling and baseball teams. He’s undecided on an academic major, but he’s interested in social work and would like to work with children. He likes to listen to reggae music. Wright is a native of Mountain View, Calif.

Kenyon Reed
CB | 6-0 | 170 | FR | Concord, Calif./Long Beach Poly HS/Kansas State
A transfer from Kansas State University, Reed is a cornerback prospect joining the Spartans this spring. He lettered in football (Coach Stephen Barbee) and track and field at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High. He played cornerback, wide receiver and was a return specialist as a senior. As a wide receiver, he caught 17 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns and earned second-team All-Moore League honors. He excelled in track and field his senior season at Long Beach Poly. At the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation state championship meet, he finished ninth in the 100 meters, eight in the 200 meters and helped the Jackrabbits 4×100 meter relay team take third place. He has personal bests of 10.63 in the 100 and 21.09 in the 200 meters. He was named the 2019 Long Beach Press Telegram’s Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year. He began his high school career at Cosumnes Oaks High in Elk Grove, Calif. (Coach Derek Milgrim) and was a teammate of fellow Spartan signee Elijah Wood.

Jay Kakiva
DL | 6-5 | 325 | JR | Las Vegas, Nev./Fresno City College
A two-time first-team All-Valley Conference award winner, Kakiva plans on joining the Spartans this summer as a defensive line candidate. In his two seasons at Fresno City College (Coach Tony Caviglia), he was in on 50 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, and 4.5 quarterback sacks. A three-time first team all-league football selection, he earned the honor at three different schools. As a senior, he played at Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev. (Coach Brian Castro). As a junior, he played for Liberty High (Coach Rich Muraco) — also in Henderson. He played his freshman and sophomore seasons at McLane High in Fresno, Calif. (Coach Pete Joseph). He’s deciding on an academic major. He’d like to pursue a sports broadcasting career. His favorite movies are “The Lion King,” “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. Winter Olympics men’s ice hockey team, and “Pursuit of Happiness.” He’s a youth group leader at a church near his Nevada home. Kakiva was born In Honolulu, Hawaii.

Cal Bears podcast with Morris Phillips: Bears put on a show of resilience, but Gaels just too much on Saturday; Cal set for kickoff at Redbox Bowl

calbears.com photo: Cal’s Andre Kelly (22) had a hot hand against St. Mary’s forward Malik Fitts (24)  Kelly scored a career-high 26 points on Saturday night at Haas Pavilion.

On the Cal Bears podcast with Morris:

#1 On Saturday night at Haas Pavilion, the Cal Bears put on a exhibition of resilience when they attempted to come back and rally on the visiting St. Mary’s Gaels.

#2 Like you said in your article, the Gaels brought aggressiveness, experience and nerve to the table in their 11-point win over Cal Saturday.

#3 It was the first loss at home for this season for Cal. They have won five of six games at home and are 6-5 and winning at home against a complete St. Marys team was going to be a task.

#4 The Gaels are in the top 25 in the nation at 10-2. Needless to say, Mark Fox–head coach of Cal–called St. Marys a very good offensive school.

#5 Next up for Cal? The Golden Bears will be at the Chase Center in San Francisco this Saturday, Dec. 21st when Cal tips off against Boston College for a 2:30 pm matchup.

#6 Football: Cal kicks off against the Illinois Illini Monday, Dec. 30th at Levi’s Stadium for the Red Box Bowl. Talk about Cal quarterback Chase Garbers throwing against that Illini defense.

Join Morris every Monday for the Cal Bears podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose State football signs Brennan to 3-year contract extension

Photo credit: @MWCConnection

By Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State and its football head coach Brent Brennan agreed to a three-year contract extension for Brennan to coach the Spartans through the 2024 season. Marie Tuite, the Spartans’ AD, made the announcement.

With Brennan in his third season as head coach, the 2019 Spartans were one of 13 NCAA Division I FBS teams to win four more games during the regular season compared to 2018 for a 5-7 overall record.

SJSU was named the Reveal Suits FWAA National Team of the Week for its 31-24 non-conference victory over Arkansas, the school’s first football triumph over a SEC member.

The Spartans added a 34-29 non-conference victory at Army West Point placing SJSU as just the 20th college football program all time at any level with football victories over the U.S. military service academies Air Force, Army and Navy.

SJSU concluded its 2019 season with a thrilling 17-16 comeback win over geographic and Mountain West rival Fresno State for the Valley Trophy.

“This extension comes at an important time as we continue to build a championship football program. Coach Brennan has done an exemplary job in moving the needle competitively, achieving numerous academic performances and leading a praiseworthy ‘Beyond Football’ program,” said Tuite.

“What is particularly important to me is this extension will provide consistent leadership for our football program and our student-athletes. The University is making a commitment to Coach Brennan. Equally important is Coach Brennan is making a commitment to San Jose State. It’s a ‘gold, white and blue ribbon day’ for our Spartan football program.”

“Coach Brennan is exactly the kind of coach we want here at San Jose State,” said University President Mary A. Papazian. “He is a true teacher, mentor, and role model for his student-athletes. We are delighted to have him here for years to come, leading these student-athletes and helping them develop as both players and as people.”

In his first two seasons as a head coach, SJSU football players earned 57 Mountain West academic awards, the most in any two-year period since joining the conference six years ago. SJSU players have participated collectively in more than 5,000 hours each year in its Beyond Football program that focuses on community service, campus engagement and personal professional development.

“I am so excited about this extension. I’m thankful for the hard work of Marie Tuite and President Papazian and their support and belief in what we are doing. This (extension) gives us the long term to continue building a championship program at San Jose State.”

“I believe we’ve made great strides over the first three years, especially this season. To be in a position knowing the leadership is going to be here, we know there is going to be consistency in our process and our message.”

“When I look around the country, the teams that are really successful have consistency in their coaching staff and leadership on campus. For our program and our players, it will be knowing what the expectations are day in and day out and continuing on a path of improvement and development.”

The 46-year old Brennan returned to SJSU on December 8, 2016, for his first head coaching opportunity after 16 seasons as a major college assistant coach at Cal Poly (2001-04), SJSU (2005-10) and Oregon State (2011-16). He began his college coaching career at Hawaii in 1998 as a graduate assistant and served in the same capacity at Washington in 1999 and Arizona in 2000.

Brennan is a second-generation Spartan. Steve Brennan, his father, was an end that lettered in football at SJSU in the 1967 season. Beth Brennan, his mother, was a Spartan song girl at SJSU.

ICYMI: 8 Stanford football players earned All-Conference recognition on Tuesday

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

Paulson Adebo shined in a list of eight Stanford Cardinal football student-athletes who earned All-Pac-12 honors on Tuesday. Adebo was a first-team selection, while Drew Dalman, Colby Parkinson and Casey Toohill received second-team recognition.

Thomas Booker, Curtis Robinson, Foster Sarell and Connor Wedington earned honorable mention.

Adebo started the first nine games of the season before missing the final three due to injury. He totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups. His 14 passes defended placed him inside the top 30 nationally, while his 1.6 passes defended per game were third-best nationally. He’s one of just three players nationally with four or more interceptions in each of the last two seasons.

Adebo made his first interception of the season against the Northwestern Wildcats in the season opener and added five tackles and two pass breakups. In the Cardinal win over No. 15 Washington Huskies, he had five tackles and matched his career-high with four pass breakups to earn Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week. Against Arizona, he registered his second career two-interception game and earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and Jim Thorpe Award National Player of the Week honors.

Dalman was a rock on the offensive line, starting all 12 Cardinal games at center. The only offensive lineman to start every game this season, he led an offensive line that featured three true freshmen in the starting lineup for each of the final six games and at least two true freshmen in nine of 12 games.

Parkinson, a captain and semifinalist for the John Mackey Award, made 48 catches for 589 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 12.3 yards per reception and started every Cardinal game at tight end and threw for a touchdown. He was targeted 88 times this season, third-most among tight ends nationally, and did not have a drop.

Toohill, a Cardinal captain, finished the season with 60 tackles while leading the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, his eight sacks were tied for fourth nationally among outside linebackers in a 3-4 system, while his 10 quarterback hits were eighth and his 19 quarterback hurries were 18th.

Booker, who’s just a sophomore, finished with 50 tackles, which was good for fourth-most on the team. He had 8.5 tackles for loss, third-most on the team, and four sacks, tied for second-most on the team. He also had three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Robinson, in his first season at inside linebacker, finished second on the team with 64 tackles. He added three tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.

Sarell, like Dalman, was an integral part in the offensive line leadership this season. He started 11 of 12 games at right tackle, playing alongside three true freshmen for the final six games of the season.

Wedington averaged 28.1 yards per kick return this season, totaling 590 yards on 21 returns. He also added 51 receptions for 506 yards and a touchdown this season.

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Titans simply wore out Carr Sunday in Raider loss; Tough act to follow as 49ers get by Saints in the last minute; plus more

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

On Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 The Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr must be seeing double after running all day and avoiding getting sacked by the Tennessee Titans pass rush.

#2 The Raiders just couldn’t get anything going, and as a result, suffered their third straight loss 42-21.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers added more to their exciting season with a last minute drive that got them good field position for a Robbie Gould field goal for the 48-46 win.

#4 How important is it for Cal to stay in the Bay Area for their next game the RedBox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium against the Illinois Illini on Monday, Dec. 30th?

#5 The St. Mary’s Gales had an eight-game winning streak going into Sunday’s game, but it was too much. #19 Dayton sunk the Gales chances with a ten-point win 78-68.

Join Barbara for Headline Sports podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

ICYMI: Stanford football announced its 2019 team honors at annual banquet on Sunday

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By Ana Kieu

Fifth-year running back Cameron Scarlett received the Irving S. Zeimer Award as the team’s most valuable player while fifth-year outside linebacker Casey Toohill earned the Al Masters Award for leadership and respect from his teammates at Stanford football’s annual banquet at Traitel Hall at the Hoover Institution on Sunday.

Here’s the complete list of awardees.

Irving S. Zeimer Award — Cameron Scarlett
Awarded to the 2019 team MVP.
A team-captain, Scarlett finished the season with 840 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, finishing his career tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns (24) and 18th in career rushing yards.

Al Masters Award — Casey Toohill
Awarded to the player displaying the highest degree of leadership and respect of his teammates.

Tommy Vardell Award — Casey Toohill
Awarded to the junior or senior player who best epitomizes excellence in both academics and athletics.
A team captain, Campbell Trophy finalist and CoSIDA Academic All-District recipient, Toohill finished with 60 tackles, including a team-high 11.5 for loss and eight sacks. He also added 10 quarterback hurries, one pass breakup, forced fumble and blocked kick.

Jack Huston Award — Curtis Robinson
Awarded to the player exemplifying aggressiveness, exceptional performance, and unheralded efforts.
Robinson finished second on the team with 64 tackles, adding two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, three tackles for loss and two sacks.

Jim Reynolds Award — Malik Antoine
Awarded to the senior player whose courage on the field and devotion to the game are an inspiration to all.
Despite missing the final three games of the season, Antoine–a team captain–continued to lead from the sideline. He finished the season with 31 tackles, four pass breakups and 0.5 tackles for loss.

Gundelach Award — Davis Mills
Awarded to the most outstanding junior player.
Mills started six games at quarterback and passed for 1,960 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a school-record 504 at Washington State. He completed 158-of-241 (65.6%) of passes on the year.

Deswarte-Eller Award — Simi Fehoko
Awarded to the most outstanding sophomore player.
Fehoko led the team with six touchdown receptions, catching 24 passes for 586 yards. He averaged a school-record 23.6 yards per reception and is tops among Power 5 receivers in that category.

Outstanding Freshman Award — Jonathan McGill
Awarded to the most outstanding freshman player.
McGill started six games at nickelback in 2019 as a true freshman, playing in all 12. He totaled 35 tackles with three for loss. He also added three pass breakups, an interception and a fumble recovery that he returned 28 yards for a touchdown.

Phil Moffatt Awards — Ryan Sanborn and Connor Wedington
Awarded to the top two most outstanding special teams performers.
Sanborn was the only true freshman this season to handle primary punting duties for his team while also kicking off at least 20 times (28) and making seven field goals. Following Jet Toner’s season-ending injury against UCLA, Sanborn handled all three phases in the kicking game.

Wedington was a dynamic receiver and return man in 2019. In addition to his 506 receiving yards, he added 590 kick return yards on 21 attempts, averaging 28.1 yards per return.

Team Technician Award — Drew Dalman
Awarded to the player demonstrating a positive attitude and a consistent commitment to strength and conditioning.
Dalman’s dedication paid off in a big way in 2019, as he started all 12 games at center. A member of the Cardinal leadership council, he mentored three true freshman offensive lineman who started the last six games alongside him and junior Foster Sarell (right tackle).

The Billy Anderson Commitment to Community Outreach Award (Offense) — Connor Wedington
Awarded to the offensive player who demonstrates a special commitment to community outreach.
Wedington is a member of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in 2019 for his commitment to starting Hope Given By, a nonprofit organization that builds relationships with the homeless community of San Francisco through passing out items of necessity.

The Chris Draft Commitment to Community Outreach Award (Defense) — Treyjohn Butler
Awarded to the defensive player who demonstrates a special commitment to community outreach.
Butler has been active in his hometown community as well as also in the greater Bay Area with visits to the Children’s Hospital, reading programs in East Palo Alto and many other community service events. He has also served as the house Academic Theme Associate at Ujamaa.

Frank Rehm Awards — Mike Wilson (offense) and Jovan Swann (defense)
Awarded to the most outstanding players in the Big Game

Greg Piers Awards — Dylan Plautz (offense), Jake Lynch (defense) and Levani Damuni (special teams)
Awarded to the most outstanding special teams as well as offensive and defensive scout team players.

NCAAF podcast with Michelle Richardson: Sooners defeat Bears in OT; Appalachian State gets win over Louisiana Lafayette; plus more

photo from usatoday.com: Oklahoma Sooner quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a touchdown for the overtime win over the Baylor Bears on Saturday afternoon.

On NCAAF podcast with Michelle:

#1 The Oklahoma Sooners (12-1) beat the Baylor Bears (11-2) by a touchdown 30-23 in overtime. The Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts threw 17-24 for 287 yards, one touchdown and one interceptions.

#2 Appalachian State University (12-1) defeated Louisiana Lafayette (10-3) 45-38, Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas threw for 9-17 for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

#3 Ohio State (9-0) basketball: The Buckeyes defeated Penn State (7-2) 106-74. The Nittany Lions Kaleb Wesson led all scorers with 28 points.

Michelle’s Final Thoughts

Michelle does the NCAA podcast each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com