Saturday, January 13, 2018

FFXIV: The Good, The Bad, And The Kahori

#FFXIV #Stormblood #Naadam #KahoriHarukawa #saimoe

Monday, January 08, 2018

Alabama: NCAA 2017 Division I FBS National Champions



ATLANTA -- Tua Tagovailoa threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith to give No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia to win the College Football Playoff national championship Monday night.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes, including the game-ender to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation, Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, streaking down the sideline and hit him in stride for the national championship.

This game will be remembered for Saban's decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

What was he thinking as the winning pass soared?

"I could not believe it," Saban said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This one was nothing like the others.

The all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and went with the five-star recruit from Hawaii to start the second half.

The Tide trailed 13-0 at halftime and 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama.

It was not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble -- second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

North Dakota State: 2017 NCAA Division I FCS National Champions



FRISCO, Texas (STATS) -- They saved the best for last in the FCS this season.

Add in the unmatched intensity and physicality and the 40th FCS championship game showed why it was one of the most anticipated in history.

North Dakota State returned to its familiar throne atop the subdivision with a 17-13 victory over defending champion James Madison before 19,090 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, but not before the Bison gave a nod of respect across the line of scrimmage to a Dukes program that had stopped their run of five straight national titles last season.

While ending top-seeded James Madison's 26-game winning streak, North Dakota State (14-1) made it six championships in seven years, tying Georgia Southern for the most in FCS history. The Dukes dropped to 14-1 with the loss.

"A lot of institutions can have a great team here or there, but those are two great programs," fourth-year Bison coach Chris Klieman said.

"One thing we talk about all the time is leaving a legacy. How are you going to be remembered? The 2017 Bison are going to be remembered as a group of guys that had great resolve, smacks adversity right in the face when adversity hit us and, lo and behold, we became national champions for the sixth time in seven years."

The game was nothing short of epic.

The Bison, the Missouri Valley Conference champs and No. 2 playoff seed, built a 17-6 halftime lead, scoring twice off turnovers, and then desperately held on in the final 30 minutes after Marcus Marshall's 1-yard touchdown run early in the third. Fittingly, James Madison had a late drive with a chance to take the lead, but after punter Harry O'Kelly's 24-yard run on a fake kept it alive, the Dukes didn't make it past the Bison 18.

Under heavy pressure on fourth down, Dukes quarterback Bryan Schor heaved a high-arching pass to the North Dakota State goal line, but the ball was knocked to the ground. The Bison then ran out the final 58 seconds.

The Bison employed two new starting cornerbacks because of injury, so Schor attacked the secondary, but he was continually scrambling against the NDSU pass rush. Sacked four times, including twice by defensive end Derrek Tuszka, Schor was 14 of 32 for 148 yards with a pair of interceptions and no touchdowns.

"We found a way to play red zone defense, which is a staple for us," Klieman said. "I say this all the time, field goals aren't going to beat you."

Said James Madison coach Mike Houston: "They made the plays. We made too many mistakes."

Bison junior quarterback Easton Stick was named the game's most outstanding player, totaling 165 yards of offense, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd in the second quarter.

In the bruising matchup of the two best defenses in the FCS, the Stick-to-Shepherd score was the biggest offensive play of the game. On 3rd-and-17 from midfield, Shepherd slipped behind the James Madison secondary and Stick lofted a pass to him at the 10, which Shepherd turned into his first touchdown of the season and a 14-3 Bison lead with 4:14 left in the half. It marked the first time all season the Dukes trailed by double digits.

"Great time to get a first," Klieman said.

"We got the coverage that we wanted and really it was all on Darrius running away from that backside safety," Stick said. "Offensive line protected really well, (running back) Lance (Dunn) sold the fake well and Darrius was able to run underneath it and get us in the end zone. That was a huge play for us."

James Madison scored on its first possession of the third quarter to close within 17-13. D'Angelo Amos' 33-yard punt return to the Bison 33 set up the drive and Marshall capped it with a 1-yard run.

As the two powers combined for only 505 yards of total offense, North Dakota State never trailed in holding a nearly 15 1/2-minute possession advantage. Bruce Anderson carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards with a 3-yard touchdown, while Dunn returned from a midseason injury to gain 50 yards on 13 carries.


The Bison got some redemption for their 27-17 semifinal-round loss to James Madison that spurred the CAA Football champ to last year's FCS title.

Senior linebacker Nick DeLuca missed that game because of injury, so he'd been waiting for over a year to get another shot at the Dukes.

"It's an expectation to get back to this game and to get back to the national championship," he said. "We take that on as a responsibility and it's something that we set as a goal every year. We're really excited that we were able to get it done this year."

The FCS dynasty continues.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Your 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Matchup.



SCHEDULED: @AlabamaFTBL 0-0 @FootballUGA #CFBPlayoff #NationalChampionship #saimoe #sao #kon #asunayuuki #yuihirasawa

Alabama: 2018 Sugar Bowl Champions



NEW ORLEANS -- Nick Saban is back in his comfort zone.

Let others run up the points. He'll take a defensive slugfest every time.

Especially when it gives Alabama another shot at a national title.

In a game where every yard was a struggle, the Crimson Tide defenders took matters into their own hands. They accounted for a pair of touchdowns just 13 seconds apart in the third quarter to turn an offensive slog into a 24-6 rout of defending national champion Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game Monday night.

"This game was about our identity as a team," Saban said. "I don't think anybody would doubt our relentless attitude out there. We had a warrior-like mentality."

He was clearly pleased.

Sure, it was quite a contrast to the first two meetings in the Alabama-Clemson trilogy, both high-scoring classics with the national title on the line , not to mention the Rose Bowl semifinal that preceded it. Georgia knocked off Oklahoma 54-48 in a double-overtime thriller that wasn't decided until the Alabama was on its second possession in the Big Easy.

There would be no drama in the nightcap. With Deshaun Watson off to the NFL, top-ranked Clemson (12-2) simply had no answer for the Tide's latest group of defensive standouts, setting up an all-Southeastern Conference showdown for the national title -- with Saban matched against his former defensive coordinator, Georgia coach Kirby Smart.

"I'm proud of the job he's done," Saban said. "I'm sure it will be a great football game."

Leading only 10-6 after a turnover to start the second half handed Clemson a field goal, the fourth-ranked Tide (12-1) quickly snuffed out any thoughts of a repeat title for the Tigers.

It began with 308-pound defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne picking off a wobbly pass after besieged Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was hit as he threw. Payne rumbled 21 yards on the return, shedding one would-be tackler with a deft open-field move and drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty when he was finally dragged down with a horse collar tackle.

After Alabama drove to a first down at the Clemson 1, Payne re-entered the game -- presumably to add another big body for blocking purposes. Instead, he slipped open near the right pylon on a play fake and hauled in a touchdown pass, even managing to get both feet down before the celebration commenced beyond the sideline.

"I've got gold hands," quipped Payne, who was picked as the game's defensive MVP.

A bit shell-shocked by that turn of events, Clemson was thoroughly demoralized after its next offensive play. Bryant's pass deflected off the hands of Deon Cain and was intercepted by linebacker Mack Wilson, who returned it 18 yards for another TD.

They could've called it right then.

"Just incredibly disappointed in our performance," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "But congratulations to Alabama. They were the better team today. No doubt about it."

The Tide, which began the season in Atlanta beating Florida State , will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Monday night to face No. 3 Georgia and give Saban a shot at his sixth title, which would match Bear Bryant.

Saban has four championships in the last eight years at Alabama, along with a BCS title at LSU during the 2003 season.

This is eerily reminiscent of Alabama's run to the 2011 championship, another season when the Tide didn't even win its own division or play for the SEC title. That year, Saban's team lost at home to LSU during the regular season but got a second chance against the top-ranked Tigers with the biggest prize on the line -- in the Sugar Bowl, no less.

On that night in the Big Easy, Alabama defense didn't allow LSU to cross midfield until the closing minutes of a suffocating 21-0 victory. This defensive performance was nearly as impressive.

Clemson was held to 188 yards -- 260 yards below its season average -- and never reached the end zone. Bryant was sacked five times and the Tigers were held to 64 yards on the ground.

Alabama played it tough right to the end, denying Clemson on a fourth-down pass into the end zone with just over a minute remaining.

Clearly, the Tide was still ticked off about the way last season ended, giving up a TD pass with 1 second remaining to hand Clemson the national title.

"This," Saban said, "was a little bit personal for us."

SILENT RENFROW

Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow was known as the Tide Killer.

Not this time.

After hauling in four TD passes in the last two national championship games -- including, of course, the title winner a year ago -- Renfrow was held to just 31 yards on five receptions. All of his catches came in fourth quarter with Alabama comfortably ahead.

"From the opening kickoff, they hit us in the mouth," Renfrow said.

THE TAKEAWAY


Alabama: The Tide's defense against Georgia's offense will be an especially intriguing matchup given the way the semifinal games played out. One thing to keep an eye on: Anfernee Jennings was helped off with a sprained knee late in the game after recording a sack and three tackles for losses, another potential blow to the Tide's already beleaguered linebacker corps.

Clemson: The Tigers looked at this game as a chance to show they had surpassed Alabama as college football's most dominant program. Sorry, the Tide is still king.

"We'll be back," Swinney vowed.

UP NEXT

Alabama: A national championship game to end the season for the third year in a row and sixth time in the last nine seasons.

Clemson: Opens the 2018 season Sept. 1 by hosting FCS school Furman.

Georgia: 2018 Rose Bowl Champions



PASADENA, Calif. -- After ending the first overtime Rose Bowl, one of the greatest Granddaddies of Them All, Sony Michel was swarmed by Georgia teammates as he broke down in tears.

The senior tailback had gone from possible goat to all-time hero for Georgia, sending the Bulldogs to the national championship game with one last burst in a game full of them.

Michel raced 27 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory against No. 2 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal Monday night.

Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one.

"I made plays. I gave up plays. My team just had faith in me," said Michel, who did all that damage on just 11 carries and got a hug from former Bulldogs great tailback Garrison Hearst after scoring the winning TD. "That's what this team is all about. They showed true character today."

In the final game of his great career, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half.

But the Heisman Trophy winner could not get the Sooners (12-2) into the end zone in the first overtime when a touchdown would have ended the game.

"It's tough to describe right now," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said of the loss. "It's a hell of a college football game. You know, an epic Rose Bowl game."

The Bulldogs will play Alabama on Jan. 8 fin an all-Southeastern Conference national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, about 70 miles from their campus. After Georgia made its first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1943 a heart-stopping success, the Bulldogs will play for their first national title since 1980.

"We got to get back to work. It's not done," Michel said. "Now we got to finish. Let's just finish this season off right."

The 104th Rose Bowl was also the highest-scoring, surpassing last year's 52-49 USC victory against Penn State. There was a lot more on the line in this one, the first CFP game to go to overtime as well.

After an offside penalty on Georgia gave Oklahoma a first down on third-and-five in the second OT possession, the Sooners stalled again and Austin Seibert came out for a 27-yard field goal. Leaping through the line, Lorenzo Carter got his outstretched hand on the kick and the ball fluttered down short of the uprights.

Any score would have ended it for the Bulldogs, and on the second play Michel slipped one tackle and was home free. The Bulldogs sprinted off the sideline and toward the corner of the end zone to mob Michel. Confetti rained down. Meanwhile, Mayfield stood motionless on the sideline for several seconds, bent over with his hands on his knees and head down. Mayfield battled flu-like symptoms the week leading into the game, but he played just fine.

"I can't believe it's over. It's been a wild ride," said Mayfield with a hoarse voice before he started to cry.

Michel and his roommate and running mate Nick Chubb were awesome for Georgia. Chubb ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yarder on a direct snap with 55 seconds left in regulation to tie it. The Sooners had taken a 45-38 lead when Steven Parker returned Michel's fumble for a TD with 6:52 left in the fourth.

"I told him that he had to keep running and trying to hit the corner," Chubb said. "We had a long game and after the fumble, we went down and he made up for it with that run to win the game."

Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime. First, Georgia's Rodrigo Blankenship hit from 38 to make it 48-45.

Then it was Mayfield's turn. A touchdown would have sent the Sooners to Atlanta, but on a third-and-2 from the 17 Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith nailed Jordan Smallwood a yard short of the first down.

Seibert kicked a 33-yarder and the Bulldogs and Sooners played on, but not for much longer.

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia: The Bulldogs came in with the sixth-best defense in the country, but Mayfield and the Sooners sliced it up in the first half, including a nifty reverse pass to the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback that made it 31-14 with 6 seconds left in the second quarter. Oklahoma had 360 yards in the first half, the second-most the Bulldogs had allowed in a game this season.

Coach Kirby Smart said the defense "stunk it up" in the first half, but there were no dramatic changes in the second. Smith and company just played better. Oklahoma managed only 171 yards and one touchdown in the second half and OT.


Oklahoma: The Sooners' defense has been an issue all season, but it did look for a while like it might make the decisive play. Linebacker Caleb Kelly lowered a shoulder into Michel trying to turn the corner on a sweep and the ball popped loose. Parker picked it up on the bounce, tight-roped the sideline and sprinted 46 yards for the score.

But with a chance to close out the game with 3:22 left in the fourth, Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm led a game-tying drive. Fromm finished 20-for-29 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

UP NEXT:

Georgia: It's back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Bulldogs, where they beat Auburn to win the SEC championship and get in the playoff a month ago.

Oklahoma: The Sooners start the post-Mayfield era next fall at home against coach Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic team.