Charlie Weis is accustomed to coaching in Super Bowls — not Fiesta Bowls — so he turned to some coaching friends for advice...

Share story

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Charlie Weis is accustomed to coaching in Super Bowls — not Fiesta Bowls — so he turned to some coaching friends for advice.

“They told me how they screwed it up first and then fixed it,” said Weis, whose Notre Dame team plays Ohio State on Jan. 2. “I’m hoping I’m bypassing the screw-it-up phase and getting to the second phase of getting it right off the bat.”

The coaches — whom he would not identify — said the most common mistakes were to have their teams do too much physically too early or to give players the game plan too early.

“By the time the game came around they were either too bored or too beat up to even play the game,” he said.

That’s why Weis doesn’t want Notre Dame (9-2) focusing on Ohio State (9-2) — at least not yet. He’s adopted a training-camp mentality toward the bowl. The team practiced Saturday and will take off all this week for final exams. It will then practice daily Dec. 19-23 before taking a few days off and heading to Phoenix on Dec. 27.

Notre Dame is on a seven-game bowl losing streak. The last bowl victory for the Irish was a 24-21 decision over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl after the 1993 season.

Small-college playoffs

Grand Valley St. 21, Northwest Missouri St. 17

In Florence, Ala., Brandon Langston caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cullen Finnerty in the final minutes as Grand Valley State won the Division II championship.

Grand Valley (13-0) also won titles in 2002 and 2003. Northwest Missouri (11-4) was the first team to win four straight road playoff games, but lost for the first time in three title-game appearances.

Appalachian St. 29, Furman 23

In Boone, N.C., backup quarterback Trey Elder scored on a 1-yard run with two minutes left to give Appalachian State a victory in the Division I-AA semifinals.

Elder replaced injured starter Richie Williams in the first quarter and finished 12 for 17 for 165 yards. He threw for another touchdown to help the Mountaineers (11-3) reach the championship game for the first time. They play Northern Iowa on Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Mount Union 19, Rowan 7

In Alliance, Ohio, Nate Kmic had 48 carries for 160 yards as Mount Union advanced to the Division III championship game.

The Purple Raiders (13-1) held the Profs to minus-1 yard rushing, advancing to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the eighth time in the past 10 years. In the title game, Mount Union will face Wisconsin-Whitewater (14-0), which beat Wesley 58-6.

Grambling State 45, Alabama A&M 6

In Birmingham, Ala., Bruce Eugene completed six touchdown passes and threw for 473 yards as Grambling State (11-1) won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game at Legion Field.

Eugene broke the Division I record for career TD passes with 140.


• Penn State’s Paul Posluszny, who helped the Nittany Lions earn a share of the Big Ten championship, won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.