Dec 27, 2014; Shreveport, LA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) scores a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Miami Hurricanes in the 2014 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. South Carolina defeated Miami 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY SportsSHREVEPORT, La. – South Carolina did something that has been difficult for it throughout the 2014 football season.It won a football game in which it had to fight to maintain a second-half lead.Quarterback Dylan Thompson, scored on a two-yard run to allow the Gamecocks to claim a 24-21 victory over Miami in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.The win allowed the team to end the season with a 7-6 record. USC coach Steve Spurrier has never had a losing season since taking over the Gamecocks’ program 10 years ago and only one his college coaching career.His demeanor following the contest suggested this victory was as important as any he has had as South Carolina’s coach.“This one felt as good as the last three bowl games,” said an elated Spurrier. “It has sort of been amazing. We have been the home team in all of them. We got to wear our garnet on garnet and something good keeps happening for us it seems like late in the games there.”The game was big for both Spurrier and his program as there has been a lot of negativity floating around in recent weeks.Following a Spurrier announcement that he planned to only coach the team for two to three years, six recruits decommitted with at least one admitting the fact that The Head Ball Coach might not be around for his entire stint at the school as a reason.Spurrier has since amended that statement to say he plans to remain in charge for four to five years.The has also been a groundswell of support among fans for the removal of several assistant coaches in an attempt to get the program back to the level of the three previous seasons when it posted a 33-6 mark with consecutive 11-2 records that landed the squad in the nation’s top 10 at the end of each.There was some thought Spurrier would make a play for former Florida coach Will Muschamp, considered one of the nation’s top defensive coordinators prior to taking over the Gators program.Spurrier opted to stand pat with his staff, and, while there could be changes coming in the future, he doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to do so.Right before the team traveled to Shreveport on Dec. 23 to prepare for the game it learned that former South Carolina Mr. Football Shaq Roland had quit the team.While statistically the defense did not have a great day against the Hurricanes, it managed to play well enough to make up for an up and down offense that played winning football for just a little more than a quarter.The Gamecocks forced two Miami turnovers with the second, a Gerald Dixon recovery of a Duke Johnson fumble, leading to the game-winning touchdown.Spurrier in no hurry to make coaching changesThe Gamecocks picked up two sacks, which doesn’t seem like a great number. But for one of the worst teams nationally in that department, it was a step forward as it managed only 12 during the regular season.The team managed that despite not having the services of senior defensive tackle J. T. Surratt, who was hospitalized Thursday with stomach problems, and end David Johnson who missed the game with an injury.“If felt great,” said USC linebacker Skai Moore, who was named defensive player of the game after leading the team in tackles with 11 and being credited with a half of a tackle for loss. “We won the game and showed the country that we are a good defense.”The Gamecocks allowed 422 yards of total offense, including 132 yards rushing by junior tailback Johnson.It held the explosive Hurricanes’ offense to two touchdowns, however, which allowed the USC offense to do just enough to win the game.“I think we showed we could stop them,” said embattled USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “When we played assignment football we were pretty good.”Despite an up-and-down game, Boiling Springs native Dylan Thompson went out with a solid performance at quarterback.He not only completed 22 of 34 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns, but scored the winning touchdown from two yards out with his feet.His biggest target through the air was wide receiver Pharoh Cooper. The sophomore caught nine passes for 170 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown reception.That was good enough to earn Cooper offensive most valuable player honors.Thompson leaves USC with the most single season passing yards and is second in touchdown passes in a season with 26.“We really wanted to go out with a big win against an elite program,” said Thompson. “Miami gets a lot of recognition. They are a good team. For our guys to play together and get this win was pretty special.”The victory was USC’s fourth straight in bowl games. Spurrier pointed out that each came against programs that have rich histories – Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Miami.The 69-year old coach still hopes to accomplish things in Columbia that will lead to the Gamecocks becoming a program that sustains year-in and year-out.There will probably be more twists and turns for the program in the coming weeks. But for at least one night Spurrier will sleep well as a difficult season ended on a positive note.USC’s Pharoh Cooper caps impressive season with MVP performance
The night from Sunday to Monday will offer another three matches in the continuing series of the semifinals of both conferences. Dallas, Islanders and Vegas will try to fight for third points and move on. Can their opponents mobilize and equalize their series in key matches? 00:00 Dallas Stars – Colorado AvalancheSeries status: 2-1Dallas and Colorado enjoyed a relatively long holiday. The last time the two teams met on the night from Wednesday to Thursday, the Avalanche managed to stop the socks that had won the first two matches of the series. In the latter, however, in a fierce shootout, Colorado managed to win 6: 4 and reduce to 1: 2.After a long holiday, he tries to follow up on this performance and not let Dallas go to imaginary gossip. “We know how important the start of the match will be. It is definitely good that we have reduced. I hope that we will keep the form and we will be able to continue to win, “said Pavel Francouz, on whose shoulders, when Grubauer was injured, lies the fate of the team. Even for a Czech goalkeeper, it would be more pleasant if his teammates were able to shoot Dallas again and help him a little in defense.It’s Colorado’s defense in this series. Dallas, although not one of the most productive teams in the league, scored 14 goals in three matches and this is not a flattering balance for Lavina at all.Stars will continue to miss the number one goalkeeper Ben Bishop, on the other side next to Grubauer are the figures of Matt Calvert, Erik Johnson and Joonas Donskoi, who are believed to be ready for Sunday’s force measurement.02:00 New York Islanders – Philadelphia FlyersSeries status: 2-1The Islanders, who lack the experienced quarterback Johnny Boychuk, showed precise work in defense on Saturday and managed to play Philadelphia 3: 1. The opponents returned an unpleasant defeat from the second match, in which they managed to equalize from 0: 3 to 3: 3, but then collected shortly after the start of overtime.The Islanders will enter the fourth race in greater mental and game well-being. The flyers are facing annoying pressure, because they know that if they lost at night, they would have to spin the series from 1: 3, and this is not something that would happen every day. At the same time, it cannot be said that they played badly in the last match, they even managed to eliminate unnecessary exclusions and the opponents offered only two power-ups (they collected once). But the Islanders headed for the penalty bench only once and did their best in defense.Flyers will go to the match in full fire, not counting the long-term injured.04:30 Vancouver Canucks – Vegas Golden KnightsSeries status: 1-2The program closes the duel between Vancouver and Vegas. The Golden Knights managed to knock out defeat in the second game, as did goalkeeper Robin Lehner, who, after scoring four goals, managed to cover all 31 shots on Sunday night and catch his second zero in this year’s playoffs.Both teams were quite eliminated in Saturday’s race. Vancouver had three power-ups in the first 11 minutes of the game, and played against just three Vegas players for more than a minute. But he didn’t get anything out of it and on the contrary, in the fifth and sixth minute (when it was played in full), he collected twice. It was the first half of the opening third that broke the Canucks’ psyche in a way, from which they could no longer escape.But it must necessarily mobilize. In the fourth match, they need to succeed, because losing 1: 3 to a team like Vegas means an extreme problem, from which there is almost no way, or equal to a miracle. On the other hand, it was Vancouver who managed to deal with Stanley Cup advocates in the previous round and underestimating their qualities does not pay off.There should be no change in the marauders of both teams before Sunday’s match. Vegas is still missing Tomáš Nosek, Vancouver then Micheal Ferland and Tyler Myers. Get an entry bonus of CZK 5,500 on Sazkabet and get into the game! Share on Facebook Share on Google+ Share on Twitter
Saturday’s Greek Cup final between league champions Olympiakos Piraeus and AEK Athens has been postponed at the request of the police.The match was due to be held behind closed doors due to crowd violence that has blighted this season’s competition.However, a nationwide 48-hour strike by various trade unions that began on Friday meant the police did not have the resources to oversee the game.“By a decision from the Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport Mr Stavros Kontonis, the Greek Cup final has been postponed following a request from the police and the recommendation of the anti-violence committee,” said a government statement.No new date for the match has been announced.The postponement is the latest twist in what has become a farcical Greek Cup saga.Kontonis cancelled the competition after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos on March 2 was abandoned due to a pitch invasion.Fans also hurled flares and missiles before being dispersed by riot police.Kontonis reversed his decision last month after world governing body FIFA and European counterpart UEFA warned the country would be suspended from international football if the Greek Cup did not resume.The competition restarted with the remaining games played behind closed doors for security reasons.PAOK then failed to show up for the second leg of their semi-final and were punished with a heavy fine and a three-point points deduction that will take effect from the start of the 2016-17 league season.