Jacoby Jones emerges as unlikely hero

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Jacoby Jones emerges as unlikely hero

From Comcast SportsNetNEW ORLEANS (AP) -- What a sensational way to close out the season for Jacoby Jones.The Baltimore Ravens' All-Pro return man was at his best in the Super Bowl on Sunday, first hauling in a 56-yard touchdown pass and then amazing the Superdome crowd with a record 108-yard kickoff return for a score -- matching the longest play in NFL history in any game, regular or postseason.The scores put the Ravens way ahead before the 49ers rallied, but Baltimore held them off for a 34-31 win.And Jones did it in his hometown, where his mother cooked meals for the team during their stay in New Orleans."It's a great feeling man. It's what you work for through the offseason," said Jones. "Through the camp, many camps, through grind and sweat, the cold tub and the hot tubs -- all of that has paid off right here."The 6-foot-2, 212-pound speedster, who went to Lane College in Tennessee, set four Super Bowl records and equaled two others. He now has the marks for most combined yards (290), longest play, longest kickoff return and longest kickoff return for a touchdown.He had five kickoff returns for 206 yards, two punt returns for 28 yards and caught one pass for 56 yards.In the AFC title game two weeks earlier against Denver, Jones was on the receiving end of Joe Flacco's 70-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds that forced overtime and led to a Ravens double overtime victory.On his TD catch, Jones got behind Chris Culliver late in the first half and hauled in a pass from Joe Flacco before falling down. He quickly got back up and worked his way into the end zone for the score. He then opened the second half with his return to put the Ravens ahead 28-6.His favorite?"The passes," he said. "It was just all the plays we ran through in practice. The line did a great job of blocking and Joe put up a decent throw for me to catch."What about that return?"All year we've been running along the sideline on the return" said Jones. "They did not expect us to run it down the middle. ... That's my favorite return."During the season, he averaged 30.7 yards on 38 kickoff returns, tops in NFL, and had two scores, one covering 108 yards.Jones was 5-7, 160 pounds -- "with bricks in my pockets," he said -- when he graduated high school, walked on at Lane and said he just "took off.""I've been an underdog all my life," he said.Now he'll get a Super Bowl ring.------CLOSE BUT NO LOMBARDI: The biggest comeback in Super Bowl history was 10 points. The San Francisco 49ers were on the verge of rallying from a 22-point deficit but fell short in a 34-31 loss to the Ravens.That allowed Baltimore to become the 21st Super Bowl winner to never trail in the game. Joe Flacco's 13-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead early on, and the 49ers got as close as 31-29.The last wire-to-wire winner was Green Bay in its 31-25 win over Pittsburgh in the 2011 Super Bowl.------SOCIAL STATISTICS:Twitter kept its own Super Bowl stats, and following the game said there were about 22.1 million total tweets about the game and halftime show, including 5.5 million during Beyonce's halftime performance.The players most mentioned on the site, in order, where Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Colin Kaepernick and Jacoby Jones.The subject that generated the most intense activity, generated in tweets per minute, was Beyonce's halftime show, with the frequency of tweets rising as high as 268,000 per minute at the conclusion of the show.The power outage in the Superdome, which caused a 34-minute delay early in the third quarter, generated as many as 231,500 per minute, the most at any point other than halftime during the game.Jacoby Jones' 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown generated 185,000 tweets per minute, even more than when the clock struck zero and the Ravens had won, which rose as high as 183,000 per minute.------SACK HAPPY: Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger found a unique way to celebrate the first of his two sacks Sunday night.After collaring 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Kruger waved his fingers and arms as if he was conducting an orchestra."I'd like to be a maestro after I (retire)," he said with a grin. "That's just what came to mind, I don't know."Kruger, who becomes a free agent during the offseason, finished with 4 sacks in the playoffs after getting nine during the regular season.His first one Sunday night forced the 49ers to settle for a field-goal try on their second possession."I just got a good jump on it," he said. "I've been working on getting off the ball fast, and I came around, was able to get around the guy and get the sack."------CULLIVER'S DAY: 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver got beat by Anquan Boldin all night."I don't care if they was targeting me or not," Culliver said. "They wasn't getting open except for the deep plays."Except for the fact the Ravens' talented wideouts -- along with MVP Joe Flacco -- made the biggest difference in Baltimore's 34-31 Super Bowl win. Boldin had six catches for 104 yards, including a 30-yarder in which he blew past Culliver late in the third quarter. That set up Justin Tucker's 19-yard field goal early in the fourth."Cully's been a competitor," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "He had a tough one, but I'm still behind him."Culliver's week began with anti-gay remarks at media day, then a Thursday news conference to apologize. He also signed up for sensitivity training through an organization for homosexual youth."He said what he said. He apologized. He moved on and the team moved on," cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "I just told him, Hey, keep your head up. Keep fighting.' If you play that position, you're going to give up lays. That's just part of it."------SUPERDOME DIFFICULTIES:The Superdome has been a tough place to play for San Francisco offensive lineman Alex Boon and Niners linebacker Larry Grant.The pair have now played in both a college national championship game and for a Super Bowl title in New Orleans, losing both times.Boone and Grant also were on the 2007-08 Ohio State squad that lost to LSU, 38-24, in the BCS title game.So pardon the pair if they don't relate to the common New Orleans refrain, "Laissez les bon temps rouler," which is Cajun French for, "Let the good times roll.""It sucks to lose, especially in the last game of the year," Boone said. "You always want to win the last one."------TWO IN A ROW: Courtney Upshaw has this title thing down.The Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker added a Super Bowl title to the BCS championship he won last year with Alabama. And, not to be greedy, but he's already dreaming of a three-peat."It's the NFL," he said. "We want to get back to it next year."

Patrick Towles throws for 2 TDs, Boston College beats Buffalo, 35-3

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Patrick Towles throws for 2 TDs, Boston College beats Buffalo, 35-3

BOSTON - Patrick Towles threw for two touchdowns, Davon Jones and Jon Hilliman each ran for one and Boston College coasted past Buffalo, 35-3 on Saturday afternoon.

It was the second straight win for the Eagles (3-2) after they beat FCS-school Wagner last week.

The Eagles, who entered with the nation's sixth ranked defense, dominated on the defensive side.

"I think it was a pretty clean performance," Eagles defensive end Harold Landry said. "It was expected. We were supposed to do that. We don't expect nothing less."

Towles, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, completed 14 of 25 passes for 234 yards with no interceptions. He also ran eight times for 18 yards, but fumbled it away twice.

Hilliman had 54 yards rushing and Jones 53 for the Eagles.

"Totally dominating performance," BC coach Steve Addazio said. "It's great to get a win and go out and do what we needed to do."

Buffalo (1-3) was held to just 67 total yards. Quarterback Tyree Jackson completed 9 of 21 for only 42 yards, and the Bulls had just 26 yards on the ground.

"Never had any semblance of any type of sustained drive or movement, so that's disappointing," Buffalo coach Lance Leipold said.

With a steady mist blowing most of the game on a cool day, the Eagles came out throwing the ball more than usual and opened a 21-3 lead at halftime.

BC redshirt freshman receiver Chris Garrison made an outstanding catch to set up the first TD, but was taken off the field on a stretcher after the play in the first quarter with a fractured left tibia.

Garrison made a leaping grab on 44-yard pass from Towles at the Bulls' 11-yard line, but he came down awkwardly on his leg. Trainers called for a stretcher and an air cast was put on before he was taken off.

Five plays later, Jones had a 1-yard scoring run to push the Eagles ahead 7-0.

Midway into the second quarter, Towles topped an 11-play, 54-yard drive with a 7-yard TD toss to Charlie Callinan.

After a 28-yard field goal by Buffalo's Adam Mitcheson, Towles connected on an 11-yard TD pass to receiver Michael Walker along the back line of the end zone - just over the outstretched hands of linebacker Jarrett Franklin - to make it 21-3 with 21 seconds left in the half.

Heinen coming up big with Bruins' roster openings on the wing

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Heinen coming up big with Bruins' roster openings on the wing

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Danton Heinen has to know he’s got a fair shot to win an NHL job out of B’s training camp if he plays with confidence and assertiveness. 

So far, that little Black and Gold carrot has served him well in the preseason. The 21-year-old winger has scored a goal in each of his first two preseason appearances for the Bruins. He will be pushed back into the lineup again vs. the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.

The difference this time around is Claude Julien will be behind the bench once again for the Bruins after his time with the World Cup of Hockey and the B’s lineup will start to take on more of a real NHL feel with David Pastrnak and David Backes entering the mix.

Julien has liked what he’s seen thus far out of the University of Denver product, and clearly he’ll keep getting looks as long as the production and good work ethic are there.

“I think he’s been a real good player. He’s a smart player that seems to be heady and sees the play well. He seems to be in the right place and understands the game,” said Julien. “The hockey sense is something that you either have or you don’t, and I think he has great hockey sense. It certainly makes a great hockey player. I’ve liked him so far and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.”

One other thing is certain: wing positions are open on the roster with Frankie Vatrano out for three months and Jimmy Vesey sharpening his skates at Madison Square Garden as a New York Ranger.

“We have to keep an open mind.  Frank Vatrano is hurt, and we kind of felt that he was going to have a really good start to this year. His confidence seemed to be at its highest, and the World Championships were good for him,” said Julien. “We have to look at what we have for a replacement. We went after Jimmy Vesey and we didn’t get him. So there are some spots that are open, and there’s no doubt about it.

“I’m going to be looking at compete level and I’ll be watching for the next three games to see who can fit in those spots. There are open spots, so it’s not cut-and-dried like a lot of years when it has been.”

Clearly, the high-end offensive skill is there after posting 36 goals and 93 points in his first two years at the University of Denver prior to going pro, and Heinen has a dollop of pro experience after getting into three AHL games with Providence at the end of last season. 

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder showed off the playmaking ability setting up his teammates for chances in Friday night’s win over the Red Wings, and then finally scoring at crunch time in the third period when the coaching staff moved Zach Senyshyn to his opposite wing.

Both of his goals in this preseason have been tying scores in the third that factored prominently in the game’s outcome. That’s been impressive for a young prospect in his very first NHL camp.

But Heinen claims there is still more to come in his game, and that’s encouraging. He’s just starting to get comfortable as a player that uses his vision, hockey IQ and passing to generate loads of scoring chances when he’s on the ice.

“I feel pretty good. I’ve felt better as things have gone on, and I felt better [on Friday against Detroit] than I did in the first game,” said Heinen, who finished just behind a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin for the NCAA scoring title as a freshman a couple of years ago. “I just need to keep getting better. I think I have a lot more to give. I’m just trying to put my best foot forward, and we’ll see what happens.

“I think I’ve rushed a few plays where I feel like I could hang onto [the puck] and make a smarter play. So it’s little things like that. As I play a little more then I get more comfortable hanging onto it, so I hope to do a little more than that.”

It will also be interesting to see how Heinen responds to again being in the B’s lineup on Saturday for back-to-back, physical preseason games when the NCAA schedule can be a bit more spaced with weekend games. 

There are other candidates like Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn that have enjoyed solid training camps to date for the Bruins, but it feels like Heinen is starting to push ahead for one of those winger roster spots Julien has in mind as he watches these final four exhibition games leading into the regular season.