Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Avery Williamson Giving Back in a Big Way

February 23, 2016

Current Tennessee Titan and Former Kentucky Wildcat Avery Williamson is back in the bluegrass and giving back to someone who has given her time to help so many. Williamson will be doing a FREE Public Signing at AllSports (Fayette Mall) this Friday from 6-7pm. Williamson is encouraging those who come out to donate towards Sarah Warner Lister's battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. For the past 10 years Sarah has been the Executive Director of Lexington's Ronald McDonald House, providing comfort and hope to thousands of families from around the world while their children are hospitalized. Sarah's beautiful smile and always positive personality is contagious to anyone who meets her. Many of Sarah's supporters have started wearing Orange Ribbons to help raise Leukemia Awareness as well as promoting the hashtag #TeamSarah.

Williamson who played under Coach Stoops at Kentucky was an All-SEC Selection and was chosen by the Tennessee Titans in the 2014 NFL Draft. "I love Kentucky and anytime I'm back I love meeting members of the BBN. After hearing about Sarah's battle and how much she has done for so many others I thought it would be a great idea to rally the BBN for a great cause." Williamson recorded 102 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception for the Titans this season. See below for more information about Sarah's fight and how you can help donate.

In addition to signing for donations, Avery is giving away two free tickets to a 2016 Tennessee Titans home football game. For a chance to win please bring a donation of any amount to the free public signing.

If you can’t make it out, here is how you can participate from home:

1. Visit Sarah Warner's donation page: Team Sarah donation page
2. Select a donation amount of your choice
3. Input your name
4. Input #TeamAvery in the “Comments, In Memory, Tribute” section
5. The winner will be contacted on March 2, 2016

Top Play No. 1: Ginn Touchdown vs. Cardinals

February 24, 2016
By Max Henson

Wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr.’s 22-yard touchdown run in the NFC Championship is the top play of 2015.

It was the biggest home game in franchise history; the first time the Panthers had hosted the conference title game.

And Ginn provided the spark that led to a dominant win over the Cardinals, his former team.

"I tried to go out and play ball, just trying to give them that energy," Ginn said, "and my team fed off me."

Ginn’s 32-yard punt return allowed Carolina to start a drive inside Arizona territory midway through the first quarter. Moments later, on second-and-3 from the 22-yard line, the Panthers dialed up a play they had used with success during the regular season.

Quarterback Cam Newton took a shotgun snap and faked a handoff to fullback Mike Tolbert. Newton drew the defense by moving forward like he was preparing to run before flipping the ball to Ginn, who raced into the backfield after being lined up wide to the right.

The play could have been stopped for a minimal gain, but Ginn slipped through safety Rashad Johnson’s tackle attempt as he neared the left sideline. It proved to be a catastrophic miss.

Ginn ran down the sideline for 10 yards, then looked up and saw six Cardinals closing in. At this point, all 11 defenders are in hot pursuit. So Ginn improvised, juking away from linebacker Kevin Minter at the 10-yard line and sprinting back across the field.

With Ginn’s elite speed, there was no catching him. It wasn’t supposed to be easy against the swarming Cardinals defense, but Ginn made this look easy.

Wide receiver Philly Brown sealed off cornerback Jerraud Powers at the 4-yard line and Newton arrived to escort Ginn across the goal line for a 10-0 lead.

Bank of America Stadium erupted and so did the Panthers, who overwhelmed Arizona with a series of explosive plays to build a 34-7 lead.

It all started with Ginn, who had a point to prove after the Cardinals cut him following the Wild Card loss at Carolina a year prior. In addition to his mesmerizing 22-yard score, Ginn received high praise for a 75-yard sprint to chase down Patrick Peterson and prevent an interception return for a touchdown.

"I felt like deep down inside that (Arizona) felt like I couldn't do it," Ginn said.

Ginn was given the game ball by head coach Ron Rivera, and now he’s taking home Top Play of the Year.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Arkansas Football Leads SEC in Academics


FEBRUARY 12, 2016

Earlier this week, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced that the Arkansas football team had 40 players that achieved a 3.0 or higher on the team. Not only is that a record for the University, but it’s good enough to lead the SEC. Take that, Vanderbilt!

When Jeff Long hired Bret Bielema to take over the Arkansas football program, one of the big things that was emphasized was a changing of culture. The Razorbacks may have been coming off successful seasons on the field, but off the field an in the classroom, the players were struggling.

As Pete Thamel talked about before this season started, the culture in the locker room at Arkansas was less than ideal. It was a culture of scraping by on grades and praying that all your players were eligible each week. That has officially changed under the regime of Bret Bielema.

This week, it was announced that the Arkansas Razorbacks had the highest number of players (40) at or above a 3.0 on their team. The Razorbacks not only lead the SEC in the number of football players on the Academic Honor Roll, but the University of Arkansas leads the conference in total number of on honor roll athletes with 90.

A quick flashback to the Petrino years reveals that the most players that BP had on the academic honor roll were…17. It was also as low as seven in 2008. That is not a very good number, no matter how you spin it.

There’s no denying that Bret Bielema has brought a new culture into the University of Arkansas. He’s recruiting nationally, his players (mostly) stay out of trouble, and the team is improving year over year. So it’s no surprise to find out that this team is doing all the right things in the classroom as well.

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