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first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoORLANDO, Fla. — John Stocco didn’t look like a winning quarterback after four quarters of dealing with Auburn’s harassing defensive front. Sizable grass stains adorned his right shoulder and each of his hips. His left bicep was marked with a raspberry. What gave away Stocco’s role in No. 22 Wisconsin’s 24-10 upset win over No. 7 Auburn in the Capital One Bowl, though, was the broad smile on his face.The junior passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns while completing 15-of-27 attempts to lead the Badgers — along with running back Brian Calhoun and wide receiver Brandon Williams — to a victory over the Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in head coach Barry Alvarez’s final game on the sidelines.”This feels unbelievable,” Stocco said on the field after the win. “I’m so proud of coach (Alvarez).”Calhoun rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown to earn game Most Valuable Player honors and Williams caught six passes for 173 yards and a touchdown to go along with 35 yards on the ground. But it was Stocco who led Wisconsin in building a 17-0 halftime lead, throwing for both of his touchdowns and directing another scoring drive that ended with a 19-yard field goal from Taylor Mehlhaff in the opening stanza.”He played very well,” said wide receiver Jonathan Orr, who was on the receiving end of four passes from Stocco for 74 yards. “Words can’t even express how well he played. Ever since the last game, ever since Hawaii, just his focus and his will to get a victory in this game was showing, and it rubbed off on the rest of us in practice. He played exceptionally well.”Stocco and the Badgers started fast, jumping out to a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter courtesy of a 30-yard catch-and-run from Stocco to Williams. Auburn, by contrast, looked like a team that hadn’t played since Nov. 19. Quarterback Brandon Cox had his first pass of the game intercepted by Levonne Rowan on the contest’s second snap, and standout running back Kenny Irons fumbled to halt the Tigers’ next possession. Irons finished with 88 yards on 22 carries, the first time he failed to reach the 100-yard barrier since Auburn’s matchup with South Carolina on Oct. 1.”What you try to do on defense is try to take away the other team’s strength, which is our running game,” Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said. “And they pretty much did that.”On the other side of the ball, the Tigers struggled mightily to contain Calhoun, who broke runs of 27, 60 and 33 yards against a defense that entered the matchup having allowed an average of just 104.4 yards per game on the ground.His 33-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter pushed the Wisconsin advantage back to 14 points after Cox had connected with Courtney Taylor to cut the lead to 17-10.But it was Stocco who came up with the clincher. With the Badgers facing a third-and-seven from their own four-yard line, Stocco hit Williams for a 36-yard completion despite throwing from the end zone with defenders at his feet.”I guess it was by far his best game,” Williams said. “He didn’t throw any picks, he had that one little fumble, he didn’t make too many mistakes, his balls were on target most of the game. He was doing a great job of managing the game, and I just give big props to him. He’s just really grown this year as a player, and I’m looking for big things out of him next year.”The completion extended what would prove to be the final drive of the game, ending any hopes of an Auburn comeback. And for a player who has taken his fair share of criticism from the public, the smile Stocco was flashing following the win provided perhaps the biggest answer to those skeptics.”He happens to play the toughest position in sports,” Alvarez said. “Everybody always wants the backup to play, and if you don’t complete a pass, there’s something wrong with you. John Stocco’s tough, he is a competitor … the stage, the magnitude of the game, the quality of the opposition and how well he performed today should squelch any further criticism. I thought he was fantastic.”last_img read more

first_img Published on November 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm One-hundred minutes of play and a regular round of five penalty strokes wasn’t enough to decide a winner. Then Syracuse midfielder Alyssa Manley fired and scored on a sudden-death penalty stroke to send the Orange to the NCAA championship game.No. 4 Syracuse (18-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) beat North Carolina (19-4, 4-2 ACC) in a penalty shootout after the teams played to a 2-2 tie in regulation and two overtime periods on Friday. SU will now play for its first-ever NCAA national championship against  No. 3 Connecticut (19-2, 5-0 Big East) at 1 p.m. on Sunday. It was also be an opportunity for the SU field hockey team to capture the first-ever women’s national championship in school history. The Orange held UNC to no shots for nearly 16 minutes to start the match. The Tar Heels however got on the board with their first shot as forward Emma Bozek tipped the ball off her stick past SU goalie Jess Jecko on a penalty-corner shot.Syracuse was two minutes away from getting a shutout in the first half until Emma Russell scored her second goal of the NCAA tournament, and 22nd on the season, on a rebound shot past North Carolina’s Shannon Johnson.The match remained deadlocked in a 1-1 tie until Manley fed a pass to freshman Lieke Visser, who delivered her second goal of the tournament in the 47th minute of the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNorth Carolina pulled their goalie with 10 minutes remaining to give them a one-man advantage on the attack.SU couldn’t convert on an empty net and a brief defensive lapse allowed midfielder Emily Wold to flick a shot from the top of the circle past the reach of Jecko.The 2-2 tie would remain so through the end of the second half of regulation, and both 15-minute overtime periods that followed. The national semifinal was to be decided in a five-round penalty stroke-off.SU held a 3-2 advantage in strokes, with Russell looking to seal the victory with a goal. She couldn’t convert, allowing North Carolina to tie the stroke-off on their last shot.The sudden-death victory round of strokes then took effect, with Jecko making a save on the Tar Heels’ first shot to set the stage for Manley, who sent a shot past Johnson and hysteric celebration ensued. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more