Kaepernick's triumph didn't go as planned


Kaepernick's triumph didn't go as planned

FOXBORO -- It ended up being the difference in the game: A 38-yard touchdown strike from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. It snapped a Patriots streak of 28 consecutive points and put the 49ers ahead, 38-31, in a game they eventually won, 41-34.
And to think, that wasn't even how the play was drawn up.
"It was a nice job by Colin," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh afterwards. "That was not where he was supposed to go with the ball. It wasn't the intent of the play. But he saw what he saw and kicked it out to Michael, and Michael made a huge play."
After the Patriots battled back from a 31-3 deficit to tie the game at 31-31, LaMichael James returned a kickoff 62 yards down to the Patriots' 38-yard line.
That set up Kaepernick's lone play on the next drive. It was a short comeback route for Crabtree on the left side that caught Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington off-guard. Kaepernick found Crabtree, who then turned and took the ball 38 yards down the left sideline into the end zone untouched.
And everybody admitted the play wasn't meant to go to Crabtree.
"That was just another option in the play," said Kaepernick. "I saw Crabtree one-on-one with the matchup. I liked it, he's a great player and makes a lot of great plays. And he did on that play."
Kaepernick finished the game 14-of-25 for 216 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. It was just the fifth start of his NFL career. So going into Tom Brady's building was kind of a big deal.
"It is a little bit crazy, a little bit surreal," said Kaepernick after the win. "But I'm just trying to keep my head down and try to keep it going as long as I can."
Kaepernick did that, and he did it in tough conditions.
Not only did he do it in an improbable place like New England. But he also helped put up 41 points in a brutally wet and rainy Gillette Stadium.
"It was a real tough environment," said Harbaugh. "It was raining the entire game. But he did a nice job powering the ball through the elements, and through the defense at times. He didn't make every play, but that's a good football team we played."
Because of the weather, Kaepernick fumbled four snaps from center. But he recovered all of them.
"Just a wet ball, mishandling it," said Kapernick. "One hundred percent my fault."
"Yeah, we were having some difficulties there," said Harbaugh. "We just kept working at it, talking about it. The ball was hitting and squirting off Kaepernick's hand. He moved his guide hand, his left hand a little further to the right, and his top hand a little further to the right, and that helped."
Kaepernick didn't let the weather affect his mindset. He also didn't let his lone interception affect him much. After getting picked off by Devin McCourty when he tried to force one down the middle of the field early in the third quarter, Kaepernick showed his confidence driving the team down field to score a touchdown. Then he went right back to the same throw two possessions later, hitting Crabtree over the middle in between two defenders for a 27-yard strike and a touchdown that put San Francisco up 31-3.
"I was very impressed," said Harbaugh. "After you throw an interception -- I haven't done a study on this, but I just feel this in my bones -- that after you throw an interception, it's very hard to lead a touchdown drive the next possession, and basically step back in there, throw a ball right down the middle, which he had done the previous possession and had it intercepted. That takes some gravel in the guts, and talent of course, because he had to power that ball through the elements and the defense. I think it says a lot."
Kaepernick didn't have much to say after the game. He gave short answers and was straight to the point, especially when it came time to answer questions about his game-winning touchdown pass to Crabtree, which answered and one-upped Brady in his own building.
"This is my 17th year of football," he said. "I've been playing since I was 8 years old. So, to me, when I go out there, I'm going to throw it to the guy who's open. You try to keep football simple so your mind can be clear when you're on the field."
Kaepernick didn't have to say much after the game. He did all his talking on the field.

South Carolina holds off UMass, 34-28


South Carolina holds off UMass, 34-28

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Freshman Jake Bentley threw for two touchdowns and 201 yards in his first college game and South Carolina matched its victory total from last year with a 34-28 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was expecting to redshirt Bentley this season before the team's mounting offensive problems - they entered dead last in points per game in the Football Bowl Subdivision - left the first-year coach open to any solution.

Bentley proved the right answer against the Minutemen (1-7). He led the Gamecocks (3-4) to touchdowns on their first two series, and then threw a pair of pretty fade passes for TD, the first from 16 yards out to K.C. Crosby and later a 24-yarder to Bryan Edwards to lead 27-7.

When UMass cut things to 34-28 with less than 5 minutes left, Bentley accounted for 30 yards to help the Gamecocks run out the clock.

It was the first time South Carolina had scored more than 20 points in a game this season.

UMass did its share to help with three turnovers in the opening half, two which led to two South Carolina scores.

Tight end Adam Breneman had two TD catches for UMass, which fell to 0-3 against Southeastern Conference teams this fall.


UMASS: The Minutemen have been outscored 131-77 in its four games this season against teams from the Power 5 conferences.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Its future - and offensive recovery - may have started with Bentley behind center. The freshman, who'll turn 19 next month, is sure to have some bumps ahead, maybe as soon as next week's home game against No. 18 Tennessee. But there was little benefit keeping the strong-armed Bentley on the bench if he could spark up the offense this season.


UMASS: The Minutemen return home to play Football Championship Subdivision opponent Wagner. The game ends the UMass home season as it finishes with games at Troy, BYU and Hawaii.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks go back to the Southeastern Conference grinder against No. 18 Tennessee. The Gamecocks have only won two SEC games the past two seasons and will face a difficult challenge against the Vols, who are in the thick of the Eastern Division chase.

© 2016 by STATS & The Associated Press


UConn falls to Central Florida, 24-16


UConn falls to Central Florida, 24-16

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -McKenzie Milton threw for a season-high 317 yards and three touchdowns to lead Central Florida to a 24-16 win over UConn.

The freshman completed 29 of 45 passes and the Knights (4-3, 2-1 American) moved over the .500 mark by scoring 17 unanswered points and holding the Huskies (3-5, 1-4) scoreless in the second half.

Arkeel Newsome ran 21 times for 101 yards and Noel Thomas had his fifth straight 100-yard receiving game for UConn, catching nine passes for 165 yards.

But Thomas dropped a pass in the end zone on a third down with just over 3 minutes remaining, and quarterback Bryant Shirreffs came up short on a fourth-down scramble.

The Huskies got the ball back near midfield with just over 2 minutes left and drove to the 21, but failed to convert a fourth-down pass.

The Knights took the lead on the first drive of the second half, when Milton hit running back Adrian Killins over the middle for a 39-yard touchdown. It was the third consecutive drive of more than 70 yards for UCF.

A career-long 50-yard field goal by Matthew Wright early in the fourth quarter pushed the lead to eight points.

UConn scored the game's first 13 points, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run from Newsome.

The Huskies final points came on a 35-yard Puyol field goal, one of three he kicked in the first half.

The lead was the first at halftime this season for the Huskies.


UCF: The Knights have apparently found their quarterback in the freshman Milton, who started again over senior Justin Holman. It was Milton's fourth start this season. His 317 yards passing were the most since Holman threw for 336 yards against Temple in 2014.

UConn: The Huskies have two offensive weapons in Newsome and Thomas and need to find a third. Shirreffs was again the team's second leading rusher with 49 yards. Alec Bloom was the team's second-leading receiver. He had two catches for 20 yards.


UCF: The Knights visit No. 11 Houston next Saturday

UConn: The Huskies travel south to face East Carolina.

© 2016 by STATS & The Associated Press