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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_imgMIAMI, FL-February 1, 2020 –– AFRICA UMOJA The Spirit of Togetherness, a story of the African continent and its unbreakable spirit, is set to arrive in South Florida for its one and only American appearance Tuesday, February 25th through Sunday, March 1st 2020 at the Miramar Cultural Center in celebration of Black History Month. Sponsored by Cox Media Group and Aetna, the production is presented by and benefits The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc.“All children should have access to opportunities that will help them thrive academically and socially. The Embrace Girls Foundation fills this need in underserved and low-income communities, ensuring that the students they serve are exposed to important and meaningful academic, wellness and enrichment programs,” said Richard Weiss, Aetna’s market president in Florida.“Aetna is proud to support this organization while building on our longstanding commitment to celebrating Black history.”Aetna is not alone in its support. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; The Links, Inc., Miami-Dade Chapter; Black Professionals Network (BPN); WMBM-Gospel AM 1490; and Jesus People Full of Faith Ministries all have committed to hosting shows encouraging their members to support. WPLGTV Local 10 and Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner, Barbar J. Jordan are sponsoring students to attend Educational Day Shows and Commissioner Jordan is also sponsoring a pre-retirement evening show for her Miami Gardens constituents.“We are extremely humbled to have the support these individuals and companies,” says Velma R. Lawrence, CEO/Founder of The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc., a South Florida based charity that provides after and during school academic, social, cultural and life skills training for girls who reside in underserved communities, at-risk homes or, attend low performing schools adding “many of the families and students attending these shows may not have had the opportunity to share in this amazing cultural experience that embraces family, unity and most of all a cultural experience unmatched.”Conceived by Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni and produced by Joe Theron, Africa Umoja was developed to educate a new generation of South Africans about their rich heritage and the power of unity (Umoja is the Swahili word for unity) by showcasing the glory days of South African music and dance, that persisted even during the country’s hardships. However, the show has become much more than either of its founders could ever have imagined, dazzling audiences and receiving standing ovations and breathtaking reviews in more than 50 countries across the globe over the last two decades.Fueled by history, the cast of 33 young adults are arguably South Africa’s most versatile and dynamic singers, dancers and drummers, drawn from the myriad of cultures that compose their rural worlds. The production will feature traditional love songs, lullabies, and internationally acclaimed choreography that narrates in passionate song and dance the moving tale of love and community that helped Black South Africans triumph during some of their country’s stormiest passages.Audiences will experience life in townships through authentic tribal dancing, joyous gospel singing, explosive drumming and heartfelt performances in an exciting tribute to South Africa and the Zulu heritage. Africa Umoja also celebrates South Africa’s freedom and democracy through a tribute to Nelson Mandela. The production includes the song “Long Road to Freedom,” which was written in Mandela’s honor and performed to visuals of Mandela in jail on Robin Island and his release from Poslmor Prison in 1990. In addition, there is a jaw-dropping tribute to America’s civil rights legend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Africa Umoja carries the audience on a musical journey right up to “Kwaito,” the equivalent of American hip-hop in culture, fashion and expression that is the dynamic club climate of South Africa today. The authentic pride spilling off the stage is utterly irresistible and a refreshing change to the norm of manufactured performances. Africa Umoja is a pulsating celebration of Black History from then until now, telling a story that every family anywhere can embrace.The Miramar Cultural Arts Center is located at 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, Florida 33025.Multiple performances are scheduled as follows: Evening performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7 P.M.; Matinee performances are Saturday and Sunday at 2 P.M.; Group Performances Booked at www.embracegirlpower.org include; Educational Student performances @ 10:30 A.M. designated days; Weekends from 11A.M. – 4 P.M., the Miramar Cultural Center will be transformed into the Africa Umoja Family Fun Village featuring the Island Boys Seafood Trucks Festival and a host of free family-friendly vendors and activities.All seats are reserved. Tickets are VIP Opening Night Gala: $100, $75 and $50; Weekday Nights: $60, $50, $25; Weekend Nights: $75, $65, $40; Educational Student Days: $15.last_img read more