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Posts Tagged ‘Reliant Stadium.’

Bengals lose to Baltimore; make AFC playoffs as sixth seed with Clements as key figure

 

Nate Clements Bengals in 2011 (photo by Jeffrey Beall via wikipedia commons)

Eventhough the Cincinnati Bengals lost their final game to the Baltimore Ravens, the team still will be amongst the top 6 in the AFC Playoffs next weekend as the sixth seed.

The Bengals received help on Sunday when the Jets, Raiders and Broncos all lost but they earned the wildcard spot in a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Tennessee Titans, the only other AFC team with that same record of 9-7. The Bengals beat the Titans at Tennessee in November, 24-17. That’s why every game in the NFL is important.

They’ll be traveling to Houston to play the 10-6 Texans who they lost two three weeks ago in the final seconds.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton, who is from the Houston area, is 3-0 in Reliant Stadium home of the Texans. He played there during his college career at TCU.

Cincinnati defied all the odds playing with a rookie QB and won 9 games even after trading away veteran signal-caller Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders.

One of the reasons the Bengals made the playoffs was the play of former Ohio State defensive back Nate Clements, who they signed in the off-season to release Johnathan Joseph who bolted for Houston after the team had a losing season in 2010.

The 32-year-old native of the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, had never made the playoffs as his career has taken him to Buffalo and San Francisco after being drafted in the first round at #21 by the Bills in 2001.

Clements felt the Bengals, even being a young team had a chance at the playoffs and he was right.

The 2011 free agent signee who has been a standout player in the Cincinnati secondary this season, missed only one game with a hamstring injury he suffered in practice on December 1.

After sitting out the December 4 Pittsburgh game, he has been back at the Left cornerback spot the past three games against Houston, St. Louis and Arizona.

Clements was not fully healed for the December 11 game vs. the Texans, and he had just one tackle in very limited action. But returned to his big-play capabilities on December 18 at St. Louis, and also on December 24 vs. Arizona.

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Clements has made big plays all season:

* On October 16 against Indianapolis, he blocked a 52-yard FG attempt by Adam Vinatieri with 5;43 to play. Also in the opening quarter of the game, he forced a fumble by Colts TE Dallas Clark.

* On October 30 at Seattle, Clements stopped a two-point try by stripping the ball from WR Ben Obomanu in the end zone.

* On November 6 at Tennessee with under four minutes to play, and the Bengals up 21-17, Clements separated TE Jared Cook from the ball and recovered it at the Titans 20. From there, the Bengals scored a field goal for the final margin of 24-17.

* On November 27 vs. Cleveland, with the score 20-20, Clements ripped the ball away from WR Greg Little for an incompletion which would’ve given the Browns a first down. It forced the Browns to kick a 55-yard field goal which missed and the Bengals started their game-winning drive on their 45-yard line.

* On December 18 at St. Louis, Clements was responsible for making four, huge third down plays that caused the Rams to punt on three of them and kick a field goal on another.

* On December 24, against Arizona, his second-quarter interception against John Skelton set up the Bengals TD drive for a 17-0 lead.

With Right cornerback Leon Hall going down with an injury a few games ago, the free agent signing of Clements has been huge for Cincinnati’s defense.

 

 

Texas Bowl has first sponsor in its history

 

Reliant Stadium in Houston (photo by WhisperToMe via wikipedia commons)

The Texas Bowl in Houston finally has a title sponsor in Meineke Car Care.

The title sponsorship is the first for the Texas Bowl which is 5-years-old.

Meineke previously was the sponsor of a bowl game in Charlotte, North Carolina, where its corporate headquarters is located. Sam Meineke of Houston founded the company over 39 years ago.

Meineke, one of the top auto service companies in the nation, has a three-year deal with ESPN Regional TV. The Texas Bowl matches a Big 12 team against a member of the Big Ten in December at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

 

compiled from Meineke news, Texas Bowl & Radio & TV news

UConn beats Butler in NCAA Final with defensive effort, 53-41

 

(courtesy of UConn athletics)(courtesy of NCAA via wikipedia commons)

Neither UConn or Butler lit up the scoreboard, shot the ball well or played a perfect game, but the team that played the best defense, won the game.

The Huskies won 53-41 in Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, one of the worst national championship game’s of all-time.

Kemba Walker finished with 16 points for the Huskies (32-9), who won their 11th straight game since closing the regular season with a 9-9 Big East record that no one thought they’d even get past the first round of the tournament.

UConn head coach Jim Calhoun at 68-years-old, became the oldest coach to win the national championship and joined the likes of John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight as only the fifth coach to win three NCAA titles.

(courtesy of NCAA via wikipedia commons)

Connecticut using their height and shot-blocking ability, intimidated Butler into missing several inside shots. They outscored the Bulldogs (28-10) 26-2 in the paint. Butler, from the mid-major conference, The Horizon League, were playing in their second straight title game, went a whopping 13 minutes, 26 seconds in the second half making just one field goal. Kind of mind-boggling for a good shooting, perimeter team.

Before their shooting went by the wayside, Butler was leading 25-19 and it became an insurmountable deficit of 41-28.

NCAA TOURNAMENT: South Regional, Elite 8 Sunday Results

compiled from staff and news reports

With the Duke Blue Devils not reaching the Final Four since 2004, the loyal fan base were getting restless but coach Mike Krzyzewski says all the fuss didn’t bother him.

But don’t look now, Coach K has his team on the cusp of one win away from the national championship game.

Duke received a career-high 29 points from Nolan Smith in a 78-71 win over the Baylor Bears in Houston, Texas  that put Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils back into college basketball’s biggest stage, the Final Four.

Jon Scheyer (Duke photography)

Jon Scheyer added five 3-point baskets and scored 20 points for Duke, ending  local favorite Baylor’s dream run in the South Regional final.  The Blue Devils became this year’s only number 1 seed to advance to Indianapolis and earned their 11th Final Four berth under Coach K.

LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and Epke Udoh scored 18 for the third-seeded Bears who end the season at 28-8. The Baylor program was in shambles and   under scrutiny when head coach Scott Drew took over in the wake of  scandal and murder almost seven years ago.

Drew took the Bears from the outhouse to the brink of their first Final Four appearance in 60 years.  After three consecutive 20-win seasons and an unexpected postseason run which now has the public recognizing it is a solid program and tragedy of the summer of 2003 can be put to rest for good.

Scott Drew was 32 years old when he was hired and had only been a head coach for just one season,winning 20 games at Valparaiso while his Dad, Homer Drew was on a sabbatical. Scott prior to that spent nine years as his Dad’s assistant. He had to rebuild his program in the always tough Big 12 Conference with a reduction in scholarships and a roster torn-apart by the transfers of the top three scorers after that tragic summer in 2003 when Patrick Dennehy was shot to death by a teammate.

Nolan Smith (Duke photography)

Baylor made it to the NCAA tournament two years ago, when it lost in the first round to Purdue, and to the NIT championship game last April.

The Bears, from Waco, Texas, were picked 10th in the preseason poll by the Big 12 coaches at the beginning of this season after losing three 1,000-point scorers to graduation.  But they were the last Big 12 team still playing.

By beating Baylor, the Blue Devils will play East Regional champion West Virginia in the national semifinals Saturday night.  They have won 11 of their last 12 regional finals under Coach K, but haven’t won a national title since 2001.

Mike Krzyzewski made his first Final four with the Blue Devils in 1986 and hadn’t had a gap this long between trips to the biggest stage in college basketball.

Duke ended the Final Four drought at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans, only 3 1/2 hours from Baylor University’s campus in Waco.  Most of the crowd of 47,492 were dressed in green and gold colors of the Bears and had an impact on keeping Baylor in the game through the end.

NCAA TOURNAMENT: South Regional, Sweet 16 Friday Results

compiled from staff and wire reports

BAYLOR 72  ST. MARY’S 49

At Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas

The Baylor Bears make the Elite 8 field seven years after the program was almost dropped due to scandal. The world’s largest Baptist university will play Duke on Sunday. The Bears are 28-7.

LaceDarius Dunn leads Baylor (BU)

St. Mary’s, the tiny school from Moraga, California, only shot 35 percent from the floor.

DUKE 70   PURDUE 57

At Reliant Stadium Houston, Texas

Duke is in the Elite 8 as their record moves to 32-5. The Blue Devils will play Baylor on Sunday.

Purdue not having Robbie Hummel in this game. JaJuan Johnson scored 23 points and 5 rebounds.