College Football Scoreboard
FCS National Championship
N. Dakota State 35
NCAA Division II National Championship
(Friday, Dec. 20)
NW Missouri St. 43
NCAA Division III National Championship
Mount Union 14
Arkansas State (7-5) vs.
Ball State (10-2), ESPN
Here are five things to watch at Sunday's GoDaddy Bowl:
MORE CHANGE AT ASU: Arkansas State is in the midst of yet another coaching change — the program's fourth in four offseasons. The Red Wolves have handled the transition well each time and interim coach John Thompson also coached the team last year in Mobile when it beat Kent State. Thompson expects a similar effort Sunday.
COLD IN MOBILE: Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium might be close to the Gulf of Mexico, but there's not going to be a tropical vibe Sunday. The weather is expected to be chilly, possibly even falling into the 20s by Sunday's late game time. The cold weather could be especially tough on Ball State's productive passing offense.
ARKANSAS STATE'S BIG MEN: Arkansas State's defensive line will be trying to get pressure on Ball State QB Keith Wenning, who has thrown for nearly 3,933 yards and 34 touchdowns this season. Red Wolves DT Ryan Carrethers has 87 tackles, which ranks third in the country among interior defensive linemen.
BALL STATE'S WR TRIO: Wenning has three very productive targets this season in WRs Willie Snead, Jordan Williams and Jamill Smith. Snead has caught 97 passes for 1,429 yards and 14 touchdowns, Williams has 68 catches for 1,016 yards and 10 touchdowns and Smith has 63 catches for 855 yards and eight touchdowns.
TAKEAWAYS BIG FOR CARDINALS: Ball State has recovered 18 fumbles and grabbed 12 interceptions. The 18 fumble recoveries are tied for tops in the country.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — James Franklin wanted to savor Vanderbilt's bowl win.
Any public comment about his interest in another job would have to wait.
Patton Robinette threw two 50-yard touchdown passes to Jordan Matthews, and Vanderbilt recovered after blowing a 24-point lead to beat Houston 41-24 on Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Robinette, starting after senior Austyn Carta-Samuels had season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, also had an 8-yard scoring run as Vanderbilt built a 24-0 lead in the first half.
After Houston (8-4) pulled even by scoring 24 points in the third quarter, Vanderbilt reclaimed the lead on Brian Kimbrow's 21-yard touchdown run. It was the start of 17 fourth-quarter points for the Commodores.
"The thing that's probably the most exciting to me is there is a culture of winning at Vanderbilt," Franklin said. "These guys know how to win. A lot of different ways they do it, ugly, pretty, people can describe it however they want."
Vanderbilt (9-4) closed the season with five straight wins, adding to Franklin's status as a possible candidate for coaching vacancies, including at Penn State and with the NFL Browns and Redskins. The Commodores played in three straight bowl games under Franklin — a first for the program — and completed their first back-to-back nine-win seasons.
Franklin talked after the game about Vanderbilt's returning players. He left the interview room without replying when asked if he would be back.
Vandy players doused Franklin with a water bucket in the final seconds.
Houston gained only 22 yards and had one first down in the first half but rallied with 24 points in the third quarter to pull even. Kenneth Farrow had a 6-yard scoring run and Deontay Greenberry and John O'Korn threw scoring passes to Markeith Ambles.
Franklin joked the Houston comeback was arranged to protect the TV ratings.
"Statistically, it was crazy," Franklin said. "Our defense gave up 22 yards in the first half, 300 yards in the third quarter. We were told by the ESPN people that the ratings had gone down so we wanted to spike them back up by making it exciting in the third quarter."
Sun Belt's Arkansas State faces Ball State
MOBILE, Ala. — Arkansas State keeps winning football games no matter who is on the sideline.
The Red Wolves (7-5) have become a regular at the GoDaddy Bowl, returning to Mobile for a third straight season. They will face Ball State (10-2) on Sunday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Arkansas State has enjoyed its run of success despite constant change on the coaching staff. The Red Wolves have had four head coaches over the past four seasons and a fifth — former North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson — is set to take over after Sunday's game. Previous coach Bryan Harsin left the program for Boise State in December.
Fifth-year senior Ryan Carrethers has seen all of the coaches come and go. He concedes the turnover isn't ideal, but it's also taught the Red Wolves resiliency.
"We've learned over the past few years that we can always count on each other," Carrethers said. "That's a big reason we've been able to get so many victories."
Compared to the Red Wolves, Ball State is a model of consistency. Third-year coach Pete Lembo, who came to Ball State from Elon, has led the Cardinals to just their third 10-win season in program history.
Ball State is especially potent in the passing game. Arkansas State will counter with a strong defensive line, including the 6-foot-2, 330-pound Carrethers, who has four sacks this season.
Ball State hopes its defense can provide a few big plays, too. The Cardinals rank seventh in the country with 30 takeaways.
"That's one of the big statistical factors going into this game," Lembo said. "Arkansas State does a great job taking care of the ball and we've been good at causing turnovers. Something's got to give on Sunday."