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Gophers call off bowl boycott

MINNEAPOLIS— The Minnesota football team's boycott started with a bold demand for apologies and a threat to skip a bowl game if 10 teammates suspended after a sexual-assault investigation weren't reinstated.

It ended less than 36 hours later, the university leadership never blinking and the players backing down amid pressure from many who read details of the allegations.

The Golden Gophers players announced Saturday morning that they planned to play in the Holiday Bowl, rescinding their boycott after two exhausting days of meetings with attorneys, school president Eric Kaler and athletic director Mark Coyle.

"As a team we understand that what has occurred these last few days and playing football for the University of Minnesota is larger than just us," receiver Drew Wolitarsky said.

The school declined the players' request to reinstate the suspended players. The team will go ahead with its Dec. 27 game against Washington State in San Diego after getting assurances that those accused will get a fair hearing next month.

Wolitarsky, reading from a statement, said after many hours of team discussion and speaking with Kaler, "it became clear that our original request of having the 10 suspensions overturned was not going to happen."

And many of the players who made the initial stand Thursday had not read the university's 82-page report detailing the woman's specific allegations. The university kept the details private under federal law, but players saw it after a local TV station published it Friday. The details fractured the group's resolve, the Associated Press reported.

Ark. State topples UCF

ORLANDO — Justice Hansen passed for three touchdowns to Kendall Sanders to help Arkansas State beat UCF 31-13 in the Cure Bowl.

Hansen and Sanders hooked up for touchdown strikes of 12, 75 and 17 yards, but the biggest plays of the night came from the Red Wolves' special teams. They scored on a blocked punt and produced two turnovers against the Knights (6-7) that were turned into touchdowns.

The Red Wolves (8-5) sealed it when they went up 31-13 on Sanders' 17-yard scoring reception early in the fourth quarter.

LAS VEGAS BOWL: Donnel Pumphrey broke the NCAA career rushing record in his college finale, running for 115 yards and a touchdown in San Diego State's 34-10 victory over Houston.

Pumphrey passed former Wisconsin star Ron Dayne's mark of 6,397 yards on a 15-yard run early in the fourth quarter, with teammates swarming him on the sideline, and wrapping up his sensational career in his Nevada hometown with 6,405 yards.

Pumphrey's senior total of 2,133 yards rushing for the Aztecs (11-3) ranks in the top 10 for a Division I-A player.

NEW MEXICO BOWL: Coach Bob Davie earned his first career bowl victory when New Mexico, boosted by a pair of short touchdown runs from Richard McQuarley, beat Texas-San Antonio 23-20 in Albuquerque. Davie had been 0-4 in bowls — three when he coached at Notre Dame then last year with the Lobos (9-4) in this event.

CAMELLIA BOWL: Marcus Cox rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown and Michael Rubino kicked the go-ahead 39-yard field goal to lift Appalachian State (10-3) to a 31-28 victory over Toledo in Montgomery, Ala.

CELEBRATION BOWL: Grambling State blocked an extra point that was set back 15 yards by Quentin Atkinson's excessive celebration penalty with just more than two minutes left, and the Tigers (11-1) held off North Carolina Central 10-9 in Atlanta in the bowl that decides bragging rights for historically black colleges and universities.

DIVISION II: Kyle Zimmerman passed for 100 yards and Northwest Missouri State (15-0) plowed over North Alabama 29-3 in snow-globe conditions in Kansas City, Kan., to win its second straight title.

Gophers call off bowl boycott 12/17/16 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2016 10:16pm]
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