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NCAA ends Penn State’s postseason ban

09.08.14 at 3:19 pm ET
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While the sports world was focused on Ray Rice‘s release, the NCAA announced on Monday that it has restored Penn State’s postseason eligibility, effective immediately. It also announced that Penn State football will be able to return to a full complement of scholarships for the 2015 season.

In July 2012, the NCAA banned Penn State from the postseason for four years and took away 40 scholarships total in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the school’s enabling of his actions.

The NCAA cited Penn State’s “significant progress toward ensuring its athletics department functions with integrity” in its decision to end the ban and return the scholarships. It also said the action is an endorsement of the most recent recommendations made by George Mitchell, the university’s athletics integrity monitor.

“Penn State’s commitment to the integrity of its athletics department and its progress toward meeting the requirements of the Consent Decree are clear,” said Rita Hartung Cheng, who chaired Monday’s executive committee meeting. “We thank Senator Mitchell for his meticulous and exhaustive work over the past two years. Mitchell’s efforts and the dedication of Penn State officials made today’s decisions possible.”

Steve Addazio watches as his Eagles get steamrolled by James Conner: ‘Their running back couldn’t be tackled’

09.06.14 at 10:01 am ET
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CHESTNUT HILL — For most of 2013, it was Andre Williams dishing out the punishment against Boston College opponents.

On Friday night, the tables were turned in a big way as James Conner came to town with the Pittsburgh Panthers and, with the help of a powerful offensive line, ran roughshod over and through the Eagles defense for 213 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers knew what they had in Conner and knew BC had no answers. The Panthers gave it to Conner early and often, to the tune of 35 carries in a 30-20 win over the Eagles at Alumni Stadium.

Afterward, BC head coach Steve Addazio didn’t have to get too deep into football Xs and Os to assess what happened.

“œIt’€™s a real simple equation here,” Addazio began. “In my opinion we couldn’€™t stop the run on defense. We couldn’€™t establish the run on offense. We didn’€™t tackle well on defense. We didn’€™t complete throwing opportunities, and we had numerous ones, on offense.”

With no Andre Williams available to counter, Conner outgained the entire BC rushing collection of five carriers, 213-142. As a matter of fact, the most effective ball carrier for the Eagles was Tyler Murphy, their read option quarterback. He broke away for a 51-yard run in the first quarter, leading to a touchdown. But throw out that run and BC totaled just 91 yards on 33 carries.

Too much Conner and not enough answers from BC, either on defense or on offense.

“€œI knew he would be good,” Addazio said. “None of us had any delusions. He was going to run inside. He’€™s a strong runner. He’€™s a heck of a back. We had to tackle him. We had plenty of opportunities. Schematically, not all of the time, but a lot of the time, we were in position to make those plays and we didn’€™t make those tackles. Missed tackle, missed tackle, missed tackle. You’€™ve got to tackle that guy. You’€™ve got to wrap and drive him.

“We couldn’€™t stop the run. We couldn’€™t establish the run. We couldn’€™t complete the necessary passes which we had great opportunities to do. €œI thought Pitt played a great game. I thought their running back is a heck of a player. I thought their quarterback was pretty competitive. Their running back couldn’€™t be tackled. That’€™s on us. We’€™ve got to do a much better job. He’€™s a heck of a player but we’€™ve also got to do a much, much better job tackling. So we’€™ve got to get back to work and get on the fundamentals here. When we get back into full pads we have to start tackling again. We got away from that because it was a short week. We’€™ve got to go back and tackle, do all the things necessary to develop this football team.”

The compete level and tackling better pick up and pick up quickly as the Eagles host No. 14 USC next Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. Where the Panthers pounded the Eagles, the Trojans traditionally have speed to the outside and deep passing threats to exploit the BC defense that couldn’t tackle Friday night.

“€œI like the way we competed at the end,” Addazio said of Murphy’s touchdown run late that made it 30-20. BC missed a two-point conversion that would’ve made it a one-possession game with 43 seconds left. BC even recovered an onside kick after the final touchdown.

“We kept scratching and fighting. If we had converted the two-point conversion at the end and recover the onside kick it’€™s a one score game. That’€™s great and all that but the body of the game, in my opinion, €œwe knew going into this game that we had to stop the run. We didn’€™t do it. It didn’€™t happen.”

Read More: Boston College, James Conner, Pittsburgh, Steve Addazio

James Conner, Tyler Boyd too much for Boston College as Pitt spoils home opener

09.05.14 at 10:30 pm ET
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Tyler Murphy drops back to pass before connecting on a 48-yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. (Mike Petraglia/

Tyler Murphy drops back to pass before connecting on a 48-yard TD pass to Shakim Phillips. (Mike Petraglia/

CHESTNUT HILL — Boston College couldn’t quite handle the step up in competition Friday night in their home opener.

Pittsburgh star tailback James Conner rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries while quarterback Chad Voytik connected on touchdown passes of 15 and five yards to Tyler Boyd to power the Panthers to a 30-20 win over the Eagles at Alumni Stadium in the ACC opener for both teams.

Conner outgained the combined efforts of five Boston College carriers. Murphy

Pittsburgh (2-0, 1-0) took the opening kickoff and marched down to the Boston College 31, where Chris Blewitt connected from 49 yards to stake the Panthers to a 3-0 lead with 11:32 left in the first quarter.

BC quarterback Tyler Murphy, the star of the Week 1 win over UMass, responded with a scoring drive that gave the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) their only lead of the night. The march down the field featured a spectacular read-option run by Murphy of 51 yards down to the Pitt 1. The play was initially ruled a touchdown but as the fireworks went off at Alumni Stadium, the run was reviewed and Murphy was ruled out of bounds one yard shy of the end zone.

Tyler Rouse punched it in on the next play to give the Eagles a 7-3 lead with 9:55 left in the opening quarter.

But the Panthers started giving it to their workhorse, sophomore running James Conner. The plan started to play dividends as Conner and the big Panthers offensive line wore down Boston College. Conner finished the first half with 130 yards on 15 carries, 36 yards more than the combined effort of five Eagles’ carriers.

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Read More: Boston College, James Conner, NCAA, Pitt Panthers

UNH goalie Casey DeSmith suspended indefinitely following arrest

09.03.14 at 4:40 pm ET
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New Hampshire goalie Casey DeSmith has been suspended indefinitely from the team after getting arrested over the weekend. According to reports, DeSmith was arrested early Sunday morning following a domestic dispute and was charged with simple assault and resisting arrest.

According to a verbal statement obtained from police by The New Hampshire, the female victim was “thrown to the ground, jumped on top of and was repeatedly punched and spat upon.” DeSmith appeared to be intoxicated and resisted arrest when confronted by police, according to the report.

“The University of New Hampshire is aware of Casey DeSmith’s arrest,” the school said in a statement. “The university takes the allegations very seriously and will always act to ensure the health and safety of our community. The university will treat this report with the seriousness that it deserves and in a manner consistent with our handling of similar cases involving any UNH student. Consistent with our policies regarding student athletes charged with this type of behavior, Mr. DeSmith has been suspended from the men’s hockey team pending further investigation into the matter.”

DeSmith, a senior, had been the Wildcats’ starting goalie ever since winning the job as a freshman midway through the 2011-12 season. He posted a 20-16-0 record and .920 save percentage last season and was expected to be the team’s full-time starter again this year. With DeSmith’s future with the team now up in the air, the Wildcats are left with junior Jamie Regan (who has played just seven minutes the last two years) and freshman Adam Clark in net.

Tyler Murphy in his first game with Eagles shows he’s already a leader

08.30.14 at 7:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Quarterback Tyler Murphy made a triumphant debut for Boston College Saturday, completing 17-of-24 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while rushing 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown to lead Boston College to a 30-7 win over the University of Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium.

“I wanted to come out and take care of the football,” Murphy said afterward. “I realized it wasn’t going to be one of those days. I take what they give us. So I started to take a little shorter routes.”

With UMass dropping eight men back in coverage and taking away the long ball, Murphy began to use his speed to gain the corners and break big runs. Once he started to soften the Minutemen defense at the line and they came closer to the line of scrimmage, Murphy eventually took advantage, firing a 43-yard touchdown to Josh Bordner down the right sideline in the fourth quarter to break the game open.

“I thought I played all right,” Murphy said. “There’s still a lot of room to approve and ways to get better.”

His head coach was a little more exuberant.

“I was extremely proud and excited about Tyler today,” Steve Addazio said. “He managed the game like a veteran big time player.”

The most striking aspect of his debut Saturday is that he came in as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, where he played in nine games last season, starting six and completing 60.5 percent of his passes before injury ended it. The Florida Gators struggled to a disastrous 4-8 season but between the on-field struggles and his injury, he learned how to persevere. Now, those qualities are helping him lead a brand new football team.

“You have to find a way to motivate guys, push guys and get them to buy into the program,” Murphy said. “Letting them feel my presence, letting them know I’m there.”

Read More: Boston College, Tyler Murphy,

BC overpowers UMass in season opener at Gillette Stadium

08.30.14 at 5:58 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Tyler Murphy and Boston College were just too much for UMass.

The Battle for the Bay State turned into a ground war and the Minutemen were no match for the Eagles as BC outgained UMass, 338-55 on the ground, and 511-202 overall, as Boston College eased its way to a 30-7 win Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.

“Thought our team played a strong, hard, pretty clean game with a couple early penalties cost us in the red zone,” coach Steve Addazio said. “All and all, pleased with opening day, now put that with what it is- it’s opening day, we got a lot of work to do.

“I thought UMass, I thought [new head coach] Mark Whipple and his staff did a great job. You can see the improvement of their football team and that was evident to me. I think they have good things to come.”

In its first game without All-American running back and 2013 Heisman finalist Andre Williams, the Eagles and coach Steve Addazio seemed intent on proving they could still run the ball at will, led by their athletic option quarterback Tyler Murphy, a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida.

Murphy finished with 118 yards rushing on 13 carries, including a 1-yard bootleg keeper for a touchdown in the third quarter. Murphy finished 17-of-24 passing for 173 yards in his first game with the Eagles. He had a touchdown and an interception.

Sophomore tailback Tyler Rouse chipped in with 87 yards on 19 carries as the Eagles won 25th meeting between the two schools but the first since UMass moved up to Football Bowl Subdivision. BC has now won 20 of the 25 encounters between the two in-state rivals.

“We are trying to get better,” Addazio said. “Each week improve. The biggest growth in the football team is in the first few weeks. We took a positive step but we have to continue to grow.

“We are a real strong, physical, kind of move the ball down the field team, but I would like to see if we can create big-yardage explosives.”

Early on, it was a defensive struggle, with Boston College settling for a 44-yard field goal from Alex Howell just 39 seconds into the second quarter. Joey Launceford added a 28-yard field goal with 5:29 left before the half to put Boston College up, 6-0.

UMass had a golden opportunity to take the lead late in the second quarter when Murphy, making his first start as a graduate student transfer from the University of Florida, was intercepted by Randall Jette. The UMass defensive back returned the ball 20 yards to the Boston College 19.

But UMass self-destructed and went backwards from there. Quarterback Blake Frohnapfel took an intentional grounding on first down and threw an incomplete pass on second down. After a four-yard gain on third down, UMass was forced to settle for a 47-yard field goal from Blake Lucas that was wide right.

Murphy marched BC down the field just before half time and gave the Eagles a chance at more points but a 44-yard field goal attempt by Alex Howell was wide right and BC settled for a 6-0 halftime lead despite outgaining UMass, 276-84, including 211-22 on the ground. BC ran 45 plays in the first half to just 24 for UMass.

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Read More: Boston College, Tyler Murphy, UMass,

BC center Andy Gallik named to All-ACC preseason team

07.23.14 at 1:07 pm ET
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Boston College center Andy Gallik was named to the All-ACC preseason team for 2014. He was the only Eagle to make the list.

Gallik joins an elite group of players that includes Hesiman-Trophy winner Jameis Winston, Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller and 17 seniors.

The redshirt senior has started all of BC’s games for each of the last two seasons. He earned All-ACC third-team honors in 2013 and was named to this year’s Rimington Award Watch List.

The Eagles begin the 2014 season Aug. 30 at Gillette Stadium against UMass.

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Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after 2-year battle with cancer

07.23.14 at 1:07 pm ET
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Sam Koch, longtime coach of the University of Massachusetts men’s soccer team, died Sunday after a two-year battle with sinus cancer. He was 59.

“We have lost a great coach and friend with Sam’s passing,” athletic director John McCutcheon said in a statement. “His wonderful spirit and caring way will be missed by all of us and we are grateful to have had Sam in our lives.”

Koch had a 222-182-45 record in 23 seasons at UMass, making him the winningest coach in program history. He led the program to four Atlantic 10 regular-season championships, two A-10 tournament titles and three NCAA tournament appearances, including an improbable run to the College Cup with an unranked squad in 2007.

The Concord native graduated from Colby College as a four-year player in 1979. He was an assistant coach at Brown and Boston College and head coach at Stanford from 1984-89, going 58-53-16.

Koch took over at UMass in 1991 for what was expected to be the program’s final season due to funding and Title IX issues. Instead, he led the once-dying program to 13 winning seasons and five straight from 1999-2003.

On Aug. 7, 2012, Koch informed his team that he had been diagnosed with sinus cancer. He coached for the next two seasons after a brief absence despite constant travel from Amherst to Boston to receive regular treatment.

Koch’s death comes less than a year after Elaine Sortino, the school’s longtime softball coach, died following her own lengthy battle with cancer.

“[Koch] was definitely the type of guy I could walk in his office and tell him I had 30 minutes to talk and we’€™d be in there for an hour,” rising senior captain Matt Keys told The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, the school’s student-run newspaper, on Monday. “He was just the type of guy you could have enormous conversations with and he could tell stories. He was definitely more than just a coach, he was more of a friend and a father.”

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ACC football media predict BC to finish 6th in Atlantic Division

07.21.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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Steve Addazio took a big first step in leading the Boston College football team back to respectability last season, but apparently those who cover the ACC are not convinced the Eagles have turned the corner.

In a poll of media members at the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C., BC was predicted to finish sixth of seven teams in the ACC Atlantic Division.

BC went 7-6 in Addazio’s first season at BC in 2013 — rebounding from a 2-10 finish the year before — but the Eagles lost Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams, who led the nation with 2,177 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, and will break in a new quarterback as well.

Defending national champion Florida State, which returns 15 starters, was the runaway winner to capture another league title, grabbing 109 of 112 first-place votes to win the Atlantic and 104 votes to win the ACC championship game. Only Clemson and Virginia Tech, with two each, received votes to finish as ACC champion.

In the Atlantic, following Florida State (780 points) is Clemson, which had three first-place votes and 660 points. Then there’s league-newcomer Louisville (564 points), Syracuse (368), N.C. State (326), BC (301) and Wake Forest (136).

Voting was split in the Coastal Division. Miami leads the way with 26 first-place votes and 614 points, followed by Duke (33 first-place votes; 597 points), Virginia Tech (23 and 571), North Carolina (27 and 570), Georgia Tech (1 and 322), Pittsburgh (2 and 319) and Virginia (142).

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is expected to repeat as ACC Player of the Year, as the Florida State quarterback garnered 99 points. He’s followed by Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley (6 points), Miami running back Duke Johnson (1), Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder (1) and Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley (1).

Boston College freshmen Sonny Milano, Alex Tuch selected in first round of NHL Draft

06.27.14 at 10:13 pm ET
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Boston College saw two of its incoming freshmen selected in the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday night. Left wing Sonny Milano of Massapequa, New York, became the second American selected when he went 16th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Two picks later, right wing Alex Tuch (Baldwinsville, New York) went to the Minnesota Wild.

Milano and Tuch played on the same line last season for the U.S. Under-18 Team. Milano tied for the team lead in points with 29 goals and 58 assists in 58 games, while Tuch finished with 29 goals and 34 assists. The center on their line was Chelmsford’s Jack Eichel, the potential first overall pick in next year’s draft who is heading to archrival Boston University this fall.

Milano (6 feet, 183 pounds) is touted as an offensive player with great hands and high-end puck skills. His 87 points last season were tied for the fourth-most in U.S. Under-18 Team history, behind only Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel and Andy Hilbert (hey, two out of three isn’t bad). Tuch, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-4, 213-pound power forward type noted for his puck protection and ability to get to the front of the net.

Milano and Tuch will be important parts of a BC forward group that will try to overcome the losses of Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold — three of the best players in college hockey last season.

Milano, by the way, has also become something of a YouTube sensation for his off-ice stick tricks. Check out the video below:

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