The late Rick Rasnick had a genuine love for college football

Photo credit: bchd.org

By: Ana Kieu

It’s obvious that not all of you are going to recall the late Rick Rasnick (1959-2019), but he was more than just a former San Jose State Spartan football starter, team captain and assistant coach. Unlike most other newcomers, Rasnick spent two years at El Camino College as the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and then weighed offers from San Jose State and Fresno State to continue his college football career. He chose SJSU because he wanted to be on the biggest possible college football stage.

Rasnick placed his stamps of focus, determination, skill, athleticism and knowledge of the game on a stage that resulted in 12 football seasons, most of which were successful, at SJSU, followed by four seasons at the University of Utah (1991-94) and five seasons as the Eastern Michigan University football head coach (1995-99).

Rasnick used all of those traits along with a trove of sports-related experiences in a five-plus year battle against Alzheimer’s disease. The tough battle ended on February 13, 2019 when Rasnick succumbed peacefully at age 59 surrounded by loved ones. It happened a little over a week ago, but it’s still hard to believe that he’s already gone.

Rasnick was born in Las Vegas and raised in Southern California. Rasnick ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds, which was a very fast time for an offensive lineman in his era. There was some question about his size, especially his listed playing weight, and whether he could deal with the constant contact of defensive players 20-50 pounds heavier than him, but that eventually subsided.

“‘Ras’ was one-of-a-kind, 215-pounds soaking wet,” recalled offensive tackle Max Hooper, Mr. Rasnick’s Spartan teammate in 1979 and 1980 and a team captain in 1981.

Rasnick was listed at 225 pounds on the Spartans roster for his two seasons. Hooper also recounted one story involving weigh-ins when he tried to help Rasnick weigh more than he actually did. The scheme didn’t quite work, but a lot of things did as a starting center in the offensive line, team captain in 1980, undergraduate assistant, graduate assistant, offensive line coach, offensive coordinator and interim head coach during the 1990 spring prior to the appointment of Terry Shea as a head coach.

Rasnick played for San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame coach Jack Elway and coached with SJSU Sports Hall of Famer Claude Gilbert and Shea. His first game as a SJSU player was a 48-48 tie with Utah State in Spartan Stadium, then the highest scoring tie in NCAA Division I-A history. The Spartans had winning seasons in 1979 and 1980 and knocked off No. 10 Baylor, 30-22, in Waco, Texas on November 1, 1980, after trailing 15-0 in the second quarter.

“He told me Mike Singletary (Baylor’s middle linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Fame member) was the best player he’s ever seen on a football field and about the joy they going to Baylor (as a 28-point underdog) and beating them… I think he was joking around, ‘He was so good, I never really touched him during the game because he was so fast and so good.’ He would look up and see Mike Singletary six feet in front of him — the best player he’s ever faced and trying to chase him down the whole game was kind of comical. That was one of his biggest thrills — beating Baylor,” said younger brother Ryan Rasnick, a starting free safety for the Spartans from 1986-89.

Rasnick defeated both Cal and Stanford in the same season twice in 1981 and 1987. The “mythical Bay Area championship” eluded the Spartans until then.

During his SJSU days, Rasnick experienced beating Stanford 6-of-12 times; Cal on four occasions; going 2-2 with Oregon and 2-0 at Washington State. The Spartans lost a pair of seven-point games at Arizona State and lost two nail-biters at Washington by three (20-17 in 1990) and four (35-31) in 1988.

Rasnick won four conference championships and playing in four bowl games between 1981 and 1990.

Rasnick got promoted to the offensive coordinator position in 1987. At age 27, he was the youngest offensive coordinator in NCAA Division I-A football. In four seasons, the Spartans averaged 31 points a game, were never shutout, led the nation in passing offense in 1987, was in the top-15 in passing offense each year and averaged at least 400 yards of total offense a game each season.

“Coach Rasnick always made sure that we were 100% prepared to be successful. He made sure we knew what was likely coming at us, and what to do about it.  As a player, that builds great confidence and that’s the only thing you can ask from your coach, really,” said 1987 First-Team All-Conference offensive guard Jim Carter, who originally came to the SJSU football program as a tight end prospect.

“Putting your players in the best position to be successful, and then let them play. That’s what he did.  He was the best tactical coach I ever had.”

“He enjoyed the game, enjoyed watching game film, enjoyed being prepared and preparing his players. …Our guards were 235 (pounds). You play Stanford. Those guys were 275, 280, 290 years ago. Back in the day, he would take middle linebackers and if you weren’t starting, ‘You want to come over and play guard for me.’  We had pulling guards at 235 pounds that could run. That was an advantage we did have,” said the younger Rasnick about his older brother’s approach to coaching.

Rasnick was appointed SJSU’s interim head football coach in the spring of 1990 during a time of considerable consternation surrounding the program. His steadying hand was instrumental in laying the groundwork for a 9-2-1 record, conference championship, California Raisin Bowl victory and a final national ranking of 20th in the United Press International coaches poll. The Sporting News, the nationally-known weekly publication based out of St. Louis, named him the Big West Conference’s top offensive assistant coach for the 1990 season.

Rasnick shifted his priorities to the University of Utah in 1991 as the Utes assistant head coach for offense, working alongside Spartan alum Ron McBride.

“Rick’s talent as a coach extends far beyond his years. I’ve watched him coach and recruit. He is an excellent teacher of the game of football. He understands our offense, inside and out,” said McBride at the time he hired Mr. Rasnick.

The Utes would go on to play in three bowl games in his four seasons and be voted eighth in the final 1994 USA Today/CNN coaches poll and 10th the final Associated Press writers poll.

Rasnick’s coaching success led to his appointment as the head coach at Eastern Michigan University in 1995, just months before his 35th birthday. In his first season, EMU posted a 6-5 win-loss record, the school’s only winning season between 1989 and 2016. Though his head coaching record at the Mid-American Conference school was 20-34 over five seasons, he remained as EMU’s sixth winningest head football coach among the 41 to serve the school in that position.

Rasnick’s final years were spent often at the Beach Cities Health District Center for Health & Fitness in Redondo Beach, Calif., following the unfortunate diagnosis. In 2018, Rasnick was honored with the organization’s “Spirit of Wellness” Award” for the year.

Mr. Rasnick is survived by his parents, Jim and Donna Rasnick; brother, Ryan Rasnick; sister, Kendahl Rasnick; sons, Blair and Pierce Rasnick; and companion, Annette Adams.

A celebration of life has been set for Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 2-5 p.m., at the Rice Mortuary, 5310 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, Calif., 90503.

Utes outlast Cardinal 70-66 in crucial Pac-12 matchup

Photo credit: @StanfordMBB

By: Eric Epstein

PALO ALTO, Calif. — The Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team hosted the Utah Utes on Thursday night in a crucial Pac-12 matchup. The Cardinal ended up falling to the Utes in Palo Alto for the first time since 1971, with a final score of 70-66.

Utah gained some separation in the crowded Pac-12 with their win as they move up to join the Arizona State Sun Devils for third in the conference. Stanford slides to 2-5 in conference play, where they now occupy the ninth spot in the conference standings.

The first half was played at a blistering pace, with a total of two free throws attempted in the half and with each team attempting close to 30 field goals. Stanford missed their first 5 three-point attempts and finished the half 1-6 from deep. On the other end, Utah closed out the first half with a three-point barrage en route to an incredibly efficient 5-7 clip from downtown. Utah went 7-9 for their last 9 field goal attempts of the half, and freshman forward Timmy Allen’s last-second layup stretched the Utes’ lead to 5 at the half.

Sophomore forward KZ Okpala opened the half off right for the Cardinal, slamming down a thunderous dunk on Stanford’s first second-half possession.

Despite Utah’s hot first-half shooting, they did not attempt a three-point shot until halfway through the second half.

After sophomore guard Daejon Davis hit a mid-range floater with 16:08 left in the game to give Stanford a 1-point lead, the Cardinal held the lead until senior Utah guard Sedrick Barefield got an extremely fortunate bounce on his 3-point attempt to give the Utes the lead with 2:12 remaining. The next possession, Okpala responded with a three-point basket of his own to even the score.

Senior Utah guard Parker Van Dyke finished a tough layup around senior center Josh Sharma to give Utah a 2-point lead with less than a minute left. After that basket, the Cardinal had to play the foul game in attempt to catch up with the Utes. However, Barefield cooly hit all 4 of his free throws down the stretch and Stanford could not make up the deficit.

Okpala led the game in scoring with 22 points on 7-15 shooting, but with a shaky 7-11 free throw performance. Davis, who started the game 0-6 on field goals, turned his night around in the second half and finished with 17 points on 7-16 shooting along with 4 assists and only 2 turnovers.

Sharma, who is very susceptible to getting in foul trouble, did not get into serious foul trouble until the final minute of the game. He ended up seeing the court for 34 minutes and finished with 12 rebounds and 9 points on 3-6 shooting.

Sophomore forward Oscar da Silva, who started the game, did not record a single point on 3 field goal attempts, despite seeing 28 minutes of playing time. Freshman forward Jaden Delaire picked up the offensive slack dropped by da Silva by scoring 7 points on 3-4 shooting.

Utah had three double-digit scorers in Barefield (18), Van Dyke (10), and sophomore forward Donnie Tillman (11). The Utes finished with a very impressive 64.3% of their 3-point shots falling and a respectable 47% general field goal percentage.

Stanford finished with more offensive and defensive rebounds, assists, fast break points, and points in the paint. The Cardinal also blocked Utah 10 times, where Utah did not record a single blocked shot all night. However, Utah’s more efficient scoring made the difference and helped hand the Cardinal their fifth Pac-12 loss of the season.

The Stanford will shift their focus to their eighth Pac-12 game where they will host the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 5:00 PM PST.

Without Cousins, Kings drop fourth straight

by Michael Martinez

picture credit Rocky Widner/Getty Images

SACRAMENTO- For most teams in the NBA, playing without your only All Star is a difficult task. Tonight, the Kings were without their All Star center DeMarcus Cousins who was suspended by the team for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

This season, Sacramento is 2-7 without Boogie and 13-40 since Cousins first joined the team back in 2010. But, the team did put themselves in a position to win.

At the half the Kings were only down by one, 50-49.

Rajon Rondo came out of the half and had a great third quarter. Rondo hit a three pointer at 6:38 to give the Kings their first lead of the game, 64-61. The Kings struggled to shoot the ball efficiently and Orlando took the lead right back in the quarter. Rondo’s 10 points and four assists in the third alone kept the Kings alive. The Magic led, 80-75, through three quarters.

The Kings fell off defensively in the fourth quarter. While the Kings defense was pretty solid through three quarters, they allowed Orlando to shoot 52.6% in the fourth. The Magic were able to go up by 14 a little less than half through the final quarter, there Kings were never able to get back into after.

The Kings cut the lead to six but with only 18 seconds in the game and no hope of a victory.

The Kings dropped their fourth straight game, 107-100, as their offense struggled, turnovers were in bunches and the team was out rebounded.

Without DeMarcus Cousins the Kings struggled to find offense.

Orlando’s fast start to the game put the Kings at an early disadvantage. The Magic came out with confidence going on a 12-0 run to start the game. The Magic out hustled the Kings throughout. 

The Kings had little ball movement, dribbled way too much and had little presence inside when they struggled. This was true for most of the game with the Kings turning the ball over 17 times leading to 24 points for Orlando.

Aaron Gordon made his return to Northern California with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Victor Oladipo totaled 18 points while Evan Fournier and Jason Smith both added 16.

Marco Belinelli had a solid game as he’s been shooting much better, 4-7 from behind the arc, scoring 17 points. Kosta Koufous also played well in Boogie’s absence with 19 points. Rondo had a good game as well with 16 points, 7-14 from the field, and 14 assists.

Minus Cousins, the Kings were dominated inside. Out rebounded 51-37 and letting the Magic score 50 points in the paint. Unfortunately, the Kings missed shots that typically fall for this team. Sacramento shot at a poor 39.8% from the field.

Right now, the Kings will look to try and finish the season off strong, but some might hope to pile up a few more losses for a better pick.

The Kings will take on Utah on Sunday at 3 p.m. at home. We’ll see how the team fares with their big man back on the court.

 

 

DMC and Gay lead Kings to victory, 103-101, over Jazz

by Michael Martinez

Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Image

SACRAMENTO- Heading into Thursday night’s game the Sacramento Kings were 2 games back behind their opponent, the Utah Jazz. Sacramento, 5-12 on the road, looked to come back from a bad loss the night before against the Pelicans. The Kings found a way to hold their opponent to a low shooting percentage, at least for three quarters, with tough perimeter defense while getting the ball inside to DeMarcus Cousins who had a tremendous game. The Kings shot the ball well and were able to just hold on to pick up the win against the Jazz, 103-101, at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

As the game got underway the Kings looked like the better team all the way. The team’s defense was tremendous and Utah could not make any shots. Willie Cauley-Stein got off to a great start putting up six quick points while playing tremendous defense. Cauley-Stein’s quickness as a big man has benefitted the Kings and his hustle does not go unnoticed.

Cousins did not do a ton of scoring in the first quarter, six points, but did a good job of moving the ball around for his teammates while picking up eight early rebounds. The Kings shot the ball well, while holding the Jazz to a 16.7% shooting percentage. The Kings did a great job of continuing their run as Utah went about eight minutes without a field goal. Gordon Hayward bricked a lot of shots and found a couple buckets at the charity stripe. Sacramento held the Jazz to 12 points, the lowest of any Kings’ opponent this season, giving them a 1st quarter lead 26-12.

The Jazz looked to have a better second quarter, but the Kings held them in check again. In full, Utah went nine minutes and 19 seconds without a field goal before Trevor Booker got a put back dunk for a field goal. After struggling all season with perimeter defense, the Kings were much improved in the first half, although there were a lot of fouls, 17 in the first two quarters for the Kings. The quarter consisted of a lot of free throws, 12-18 for Sacramento, and 9-13 for the Jazz.

Boogie came out stronger in the second quarter, totaling 18 points and 13 rebounds in the half, his sixth consecutive double-double. With DMC’s scoring ability the Kings were able to hang on to the lead although the Jazz outscored them 33-30 after shooting the ball much better. Trey Lyles and Raul Neto totaled 10 points for a team high as the Kings held the lead 56-45 heading into the locker room on 54.3% shooting. Utah shot 1/16 from 3 point range, much improved for Sacramento’s perimeter defense. The Kings scored a field goal with 1.6 seconds on the clock as Rajon Rondo passed the ball all the way up court to Darren Collison who missed the lay-up but Boogie cleaned it up with a dunk as the red lights lit up the backboard.

After the half time break, Hayward finally made a field goal after going 0-9. Cousins answered right back with his tremendous scoring ability. Rondo kept showing off his vision and passing ability with a pass on a very tight window to Rudy Gay for an alley-oop. Cousins continued his scoring ability with his first three pointer in the ball game in the third quarter. And Rondo once again got Gay the ball for another alley-oop later in the quarter. Both teams shot well and both Gay and Cousins showed off their scoring abilities. Gay scored eight in the quarter while Cousins scored 10, both shooting 3-5 from the field. The Kings got to the line 10 times and converted eight free throws. Hayward had a much better quarter, scoring nine points on 3-6 shooting.

Cousins produced the game high in three quarters with 28 points and Gay had 16 for the second highest point total. The Kings shot the ball well once again with a 54% percentage through three quarters, which is something they have done well all season. Through three quarters the Kings totaled 42 points in the paint and got the ball inside to Boogie a lot. Boogie has scored 15.7 points in the paint per game in the month of January as the Kings continue to dominate their opponents close to the rim. Their dominance allowed them to hang on to the lead although Hayward hit a buzzer beater heading into the fourth. Sacramento led the Jazz 82-71 with 12 minutes remaining.

To open up the final quarter, Omri Casspi knocked down a three pointer, something he has done well all season. Down 85-71 the Jazz found a rhythm and went on a 9-0 run in a minute and 50 seconds. The run consisted of a Casspi foul and technical, which gave Utah three easy points as Trey Burke connected on the free throw. Cauley-Stein stopped the bleeding with a put back dunk, but Utah kept hanging around. Gay struggled from three but Cousins was able to hit a big 3 pointer of his own to put the Kings back up by 10. Utah maintained a way to stick around with the Kings who could not find a way to put the Jazz out.

With two minutes and 55 seconds left the Kings held a six point lead over the Jazz and Cauley-Stein helped maintain that lead with a big rejection, showing off his athletic ability. But Gay fouled Rodney Hood behind the arc, which led to three shots from the charity stripe. Hood connected on all three cutting the lead to five. The Kings started to struggle and went three minutes and 16 seconds without a make but Cousins then proceeded to score. Rondo fouled Burke, which set up a three point play as the Jazz kept scrapping.

As time wound down, Hood hit a second chance three pointer to cut the lead to five one again. With 33 seconds left, Gay got to the foul line and made one of the two free throws. In just under four seconds, Hayward took the ball down the court, got fouled and made a circus shot to get the and one. Hayward made the bucket and forced the Kings to called a timeout, up 101-98 with 29.2 seconds remaining.

Out of the time out, Rondo took the shot and missed it, as the Jazz gained possession with 8.5 seconds remaining. Utah’s Joe Ingles took the three point shot and made it to tie the game at 101. Sacramento took a 20 second time out with 4.8 seconds remaining and drew up a play for Gay who scored well all night. Gay got the ball and hit a mid-range jumped that was good with 0.6 seconds left. Utah heaved up a miracle shot that had no chance and the Kings picked up a rare victory on back to back games especially on the road. The final score, 103-101, as the Kings just barely pulled out a W.

Amongst rumors of a proposed trade for Pelican’s forward, Ryan Anderson, Gay played an awesome game. Number eight finished the night with 24 points, 9-17 from the field, adding nine rebounds and three steals while knocking down the game winner.

DMC was once again unstoppable, finished with 36 points, 10-21 shooting, and adding 14 free throws on 21 attempts. Boogie also added 17 boards. Cousins has led the NBA in points in the month of January with 32.3 points per game. Cousins showed off his scoring ability once again with his inside dominance as Utah had no big man to cover him with Derrick Favors out. And Rondo continued to dish the ball out adding 13 assists, while adding 6 points and 6 rebounds.

Overall, Sacramento got careless with the ball, 16 turnovers but still shot well. Their defense looked good for three quarters but really let up towards the end although they were much improved. The team also dominated the rebounding category, 54-38. Cauley-Stein was a great spark for the Kings who looked better tonight as they continued to chase the Jazz for the eight seed.

On Saturday, the Kings will take on the Clippers in Los Angeles and will need Cousins to continue his hot start in the new year. The whole Kings crew is going to have to come together as the team is finally healthy and looks to beat a team in their conference and division. The Kings have struggled against really good teams so Saturday night will be a big test.

Stanford Snaps Losing Skid in Dramatic Fashion Over Utah, Ends Pac-12 Play on High Note

DSC_0004By Matthew Harrington

STANFORD, Calif. – With the overflowing talent on display on a nightly basis in the Pac-12, it’s only fitting that it took Stanford literally until the last tenths of a second of conference play to better understand its Pac-12 tournament placement. While the conference tourney picture got a little clearer, it’s still about as blurry as a Monet masterpiece from ten feet out. As for the Cardinal odds for making its first NCAA tournament appearance under coach Johnny Dawkins in six seasons, those are as crystal clear as the scrambled channels on the higher ends of your TV guide.

With a 61-60 win over visiting Utah (20-10, 9-9 Pac-12) Saturday afternoon at Maples Pavilion, the Stanford Cardinal broke a tie in the standings with their guests in a game with must-win implications. Also entering play with an identical 9-8 conference record were Oregon and Cal, a four-way tie for fifth in the Pac-12 standings. With Arizona State and Colorado boasting 10-7 entering Saturday, the Cardinal (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) could secure a first-round bye in Las Vegas if Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State come away with wins in their regular-season finales. They could finish as high as tied for third, or as low as fifth depending on the rest of the weekend’s action.

“I know it’s important to finish at over .500 in conference,” said Dawkins after the game. “We’re in one of the best conferences in America. To finish over .500 should give you an opportunity to see what happens. That’s out of our hands. We just need to keep winning games.”

Stanford opened the morning with a heartfelt pregame ceremony honoring the senior stalwarts, players like all-time Cardinal blocks leader Josh Huestis and Dwight Powell, but after 40 minutes of basketball it was a junior, Chasson Randle, being lauded for his play while weathering the maelstrom of emotion.

“It’s a little emotional because of what the game meant and also because it’s Senior Day,” said Dawkins. “There’s a lot of family here. Senior Day is always interesting because of all the emotion. Our guys remained focus, stepped up and helped, the Chasson Randles, the Marcus Allens. I thought those guys really stepped up and helped the seniors.”

After an eye-popping 24-point night Wednesday in a loss to Colorado, Randle dropped 22 points over 39 minutes of play against the Utes, snapping Stanford’s season-high three-game losing streak to wrap up the last home game of the regular season.

“Chasson’s played terrific for us,” said Dawkins. “He’s doing everything for us. He scores. He makes guys better on our team based on how he goes out there and approaches it. I love coaching him. I’m proud of him because of the bounce back he had from last year. It says a lot about him, about his character, about who he is.

NBA draft hopeful Dwight Powell found himself in foul trouble for the second-straight game in a row, playing only 26 minutes Saturday after the forward saw action in only 24 Wednesday. He managed seven points on 3-of-8 shooting to accompany five rebounds. Stefan Nastic owned the paint in his absence, going 6-for-6 from the field to finish with 14 points. Guard Brandon Taylor led the Runnin’ Utes charge with 14 points, while fellow guard Delon Wright and center Dallin Bachynski notched 12 and 10 respectively.

Despite hitting over 55.6 percent of shots in the first half, Utah found itself trailing the Cardinal 33-25. Stanford made 14 shots on 31 attempts, only four fewer makes than Utah’s 18 attempts in the first. The Cardinal never trailed over the first 20 minutes of play, scoring on a Powell jumper 34 seconds in to take the 2-0 lead. Stanford outscored the Utes 27-16 over the first 14-plus minutes of play for the largest lead of the afternoon, but Utah finished the half with a 9-6 run to head into intermission trailing 33-25.

The Utes opened the second half with back-to-back field goals, including a Jordan Loveridge three, to cut the Cardinal lead to 33-30 just 1:05 in. It would be over ten minutes before either side made consecutive attempts from the floor after going nearly shot-for-shot when Nastic and Randle finally dropped consecutive jumpers to bolster Stanford’s edge 52-43. Nastic then took a Randle feed to the rim for a 11-point gap with 7:51 left in regulation.

“It was frustrating,” said Nastic. “We knew we had to come out with a higher energy level but for whatever reason, there were plays were weren’t making that the other team was making. It was very frustrating but we’ve been through a lot this season sticking together. We really tried to seize the opportunity at hand.”

Persistent Utah refused to yield with Wright and Taylor hitting shots from beyond the arc then Jeremy Olsen laid one up to cut the deficit to three points for the second time in the half. Randle made a pair from the stripe after Bachynski fouled the guard, but Olsen hit a jumper with 4:34 left in the half to make it 56-53. Nastic would hit one of two shots after Olsen fouled him on the floor with Stanford in the Bonus but Taylor ’s shot from downtown at the other end put Utah within one, the closest Utah disadvantage up to that point. Bachynski then hammered home the Utes first lead of the day, 58-56, with a heavy dunk after an offensive board 2:40 from a win.

Huestis responded at the other end with a three to put the Cardinal up by two with 180 seconds remaining before Bachynski hit a pair of free throws to knot the game at 60 just 55 seconds from the final buzzer. Powell drew a foul with 36 seconds remaining and hit one of two freebies, the eventual game-winner, for a 61-60 edge. In total, Stanford hit only four of ten free throws over the closing five minutes.

“Utah is a very good basketball team,” said Dawkins. “They’ve been on the road, they’ve won six out of their last eight games. We knew it was going to be a tough game, we knew it was going to come down to the wire. Defensively, we got the stops that we needed. It offset some of the free throws we missed. Our guys didn’t hang their heads.”

With the shot and game clock down to one second, Brandon Taylor turned the ball over on a traveling call, seemingly icing the game for Stanford. Powell couldn’t find a way to inbound the ball, turning it over with .8 seconds of play, breathing new life into the Utes comeback bid. They would fail to get the ball back in play for a desperation heave, firing the inbound pass into two Stanford players’ grasp as time expired.

Dawkins predicted this game would be close, but even he had no clue how slim the margin of victory would be when he gathered his team at center court Friday to address some of his players for the last time on Stanford’s home floor.

“We stood at center court yesterday with the seniors,” said Dawkins. “I said ‘You know what, the game is about finding a way, finding a way to win, whatever it takes. All through your lives, you guys have worked hard. You worked hard to get into Stanford academically. You worked hard to play at this level in the Pac-12. It feels good because you were able to do something hard. The things you appreciate most as a player, as a coach, as a human being are the things where you had to fight and to struggle to make something work.’ It’s only fitting to win that way tonight.”

For now, Stanford will be scoreboard-watching as it waits to see who will try their luck against in the Cardinal in Las Vegas this Wednesday, or potentially Thursday if the cards fall just right for a first-round Stanford bye. With eyes on an uncertain bid for March Madness, Dawkins’ squad will look to leave the desert the big winners in the bracketology jackpot. Count Coach among the rare few not looking at the big board with bated breath.

Quipped Dawkins, “I may be the only person in the world, but I promise you, I’m not paying attention to it”.

Bulls rally falls short, lose to Utah 5-2

Photo Credit: Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies

By Kahlil Najar

West Valley City, Utah – The Utah Grizzlies (6-8-1-1) scored two goals in the second and three in the third and gave them a convincing 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Bulls (6-12-1-1). Tyler Gron, Jordan Morrison and Brett Findlay extended their four-game point streaks and J.P. Anderson stopped 35 of 39 shots on the night. The Utah defense was able to slow down the usually high shooting Bulls to only 25 shots on the night.

 

After a scoreless first, Kyle Bodie got the Bulls on the board when he beat Utah goalkeeper Igor Bobkov with a power play goal 4:21 into the second. Utah responded with a goal by Vinny Scarsella and a power play goal by Mathieu Aubin in the closing seconds of the second to make it 2-1 in favor of Utah.

In the third, Utah struck first when Aubin scored his second goal of the game with just 7:17 left in the third to give the Grizzlies a 2 point lead. The Bulls Brett Findlay scored a mere 26 seconds later to make it a one-goal deficit but then Utah scored two unanswered goals and made it a final of 5-2. The Bulls were out-shot by Utah 40-25.

The Bulls head to Ontario for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.

Notes: Tyler Gron, Jordan Morrison and Brett Findlay have combined for 17 points over their four-game points-streak.The Bulls went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Utah was 1-for-4. J.P. Anderson’s 35 saves are a professional career high.

 

Bulls kill seven penalties and beat the Grizzlies 2-1

Photo Courtesy SF Bulls
Photo Courtesy SF Bulls

By Kahlil Najar

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – The San Francisco Bulls (6-11-1-1) penalty kill was hitting on all cylinders as they killed off seven power plays and defeated the Utah Grizzlies (5-8-1-1), 2-1. J.P. Anderson notched his first ever pro win and the Tyler Gron and Chris Bowman scored goals for the Bulls.

Utah took a 1-0 lead 8:28 in the first period as Danick Paquette led a rush up ice and Norm Ezekiel put the puck in after a Kris Hogg shot. The Bulls were able to answer back near the end of the first when red hot Gron beat Utah’s Meisner and tied the game up at one a piece.

In the second, the Bulls were given a golden opportunity. On a 4-on-3 power play which was the result of Dean Ouellet getting kneed by the Grizzlies Danick Paquette and a cross-checking penalty on Michael Pelech, Collin Bowman as able to convert the go ahead goal for the Bulls. Bowman swept home a backhand from the slot on assists from Jordan Morrison and Tarasuk.

In appeared as though the Bulls were trying to give the game away in the third as they garnered three penalties and gave Utah some quality chances, but the Bulls were able to survive the storm and get the 2-1 victory.

The Bulls stay in Utah to take on the Grizzlies tomorrow night at 6:05 pm PT.

 

Bulls continue slump, lose 3-0

45

By Kahlil Najar

San Francisco – The Utah Grizzlies (5-7-1-1) beat the San Francisco Bulls (4-10-1-1) 3-0 Saturday night at the Cow Palace. The Bulls took 20 shots against Grizzlies goaltender Ben Meisner who stopped them all and got his first professional shutout.

The Grizzlies Danick Paquette gave Utah the early 1-0 lead when he picked up a puck at the redline and fired a shotpast Bulls goaltender J.P. Anderson.  Utah made it 2-0 when Michael Pelech won a face-off  and passed it to Teigan Zahn who buried his first goal of the year. In the third, Utah secured their win with their third goal of the contest when Kris Hogg  received a pass from Brent Gwidt who had gained the puck off a Paquette face off win.

The Bulls were able to launch only 20 shots on goal tonight as opposed to yesterdays game when they had their season high of 19 shots on goal in the first period. Both teams traded power play for power play but were unable to come up with any points on each chance. The Bulls chances were rare all night however in the second Steven Tarasuk had a breakaway opportunity that didn’t land a goal but he was able to draw a penalty and Jordan Morrison had a nice shorthanded opportunity in the third that came about with some great fore-checking.

The Bulls will try to turn it around when they head to Bakersfield on Tuesday to take on the Condors. Game start 7:00 pm.

San Francisco Bulls beat the Grizzlies in a shootout

By Phillip Torres

WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH- The San Francisco Bulls (2-1-1-0) defeated the Utah Grizzlies (1-1-2-0) 3-2 on Friday night at the Maverik Center. The victory came through the lone shootout goal that was made Ryan McDonough.

Utah scored first in the contest after David Vallorani scored on a power-play goal with less than six minutes remaining in the opening period. The Grizzlies led 1-0 going into the first intermission.

The second period was a crazy one as the offense picked up. The Bulls tied up the game with a goal from Mark Lee at 7:46. The score made the score 1-1. Josh Kidd and Kyle Bigos earned the assist on the Lee goal.

Utah regained the lead after another power-play goal was score. This one was made by Kris Hog with less than four minutes remaining in the period. Jordan Morrison scored the equalizer and made it 2-2 scoring his goal in the wining seconds of the middle period. Damon Kip and Dale Mitchell earned the assists on the play.

The third and final period, as well as the overtime went scoreless and the game was sentenced to a shootout in Utah. The goal was scored in the third round by McDonough.

Michelle Richardson on the NCAA

by Michelle Richardson

Texas 36 Oklahoma 20: These kids from Texas are literally playing for Texas head coach Mack Brown’s job and I still don’t see him being there after this year but right now that’s what their playing for, these kids are playing for Brown. There’s grumblings within the university of Longhorn nation that he is overstaying his welcome and he’s one among the senior college coaches in the nation.

He’s been with U.T. about 16 years so there’s rumblings within from alumni like Earl Campbell that maybe it’s time to have a new leader at the helm. The Red River rivalry is alive and well and the University of Texas took on the Gold Hat. They proved to be the better team Saturday and both teams had interceptions Oklahoma had two interceptions.

In those total yards the efficiency that Texas was just way more efficient with first and third downs the Longhorns converted 13-23 downs when Oklahoma converted only two of 13. You got to convert third downs into first downs. It’s kind of important to keep the ball a little bit. On passing yards there were 109 yards for Texas, rushing yards 255 yards, so Texas was doing it on the ground and in the air.

Missouri 41 Georgia 26: Missouri played like a team possessed and they really didn’t believe the hype from U.G. and they were not thrown by playing them and they were not intimidated and they went in there and they smacked Georgia around. They just smacked those guys around for Georgia they had two fumbles, two interceptions.

That is so unlike Georgia and you have the Georgia quarterback and he’s playing without a lot of weapons and half of his players are injured, running back Todd Gurley is injured and head coach Mark Richt is playing with a lack of weapons. When you start losing key players in your offense it does take control and on Saturday it showed.

It’s not because of all these Georgia players injured is the reason why Missouri won, Missouri went in there and played, Missouri went in there and just controlled that game from the Bulldogs. Missouri played really well on both sides of the ball. Total first downs yards went to Missouri quarterback James Franklin for passing yards at 170 yards and had 12 rushing yards and for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray he threw for 25-45 for 290 yards, and three touchdowns but lost the game.

Utah 27 Stanford 21: People think just because Utah came out from the Mountain West conference they were a less team. Utah has been showing people that Utah is for real and Utah has had a lot of players who chose not to play in the Pac 12 conference that were recruited by a Pac 12 team. You have a lot of players who played with or on the side a lot of the talent that’s in the Pac 12.

Utah is in it to win it, and as far as expansion it happened to the two teams that were absorbed into the Pac 12 Colorado and Utah. Utah was definitely in the top ten and that’s what they really wanted. The Utes went in there and they were at home and they beat a undefeated Cardinal team. The Utes had 21 first downs in the game, they converted third downs, although they had only one interception Stanford had two but it was a pretty even game.

It was a game of who wanted it more and the Utes wanted it more and the good thing it wasn’t a blow out that’s the thing I love about this game that it wasn’t a blow out it was a hard fought game with Utah quarterback Travis Wilson going 23-24 for 234 yards, and two touchdowns and for Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan 15-27 for 246 yards and one touchdown.

Michelle Richardson does commentary on the NCAA each week for Sportstalk Radio