Stanford defensive lineman Terrence Stephens has been declared ineligible for the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin because of a secondary violation of NCAA rules related to his rental of off-campus housing.
The school didn’t release any further details about the decision Friday. The senior nose tackle missed victories in the regular-season finale and the Pacific-12 Conference championship game against UCLA for what Cardinal coach David Shaw had called a “personal problem.”
Asked after Friday’s practice how the issue surfaced, Shaw said it’s “not important.” He also said any assumption Stephens was getting a discount on rent is “not necessarily” accurate. When pressed about specifics, Shaw declined to elaborate.
“It’s been an ongoing process. There was a lot of information gathering going on. Once all the dust settled, that’s what came out,” Shaw said after Stanford’s final on-campus practice before breaking for the holidays and heading to the Los Angeles area next week. “We tried to make sure we did the best service we could for Terrence, make sure that we found out all the information we could. The Pac-12 and the NCAA as well. And this is the final result.”
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Stephens has been one of Stanford’s most vocal leaders. He anchors the defensive line’s run package, often clogging the middle to free up teammates to fill the gaps.
Stephens has 10 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble this season. He also forced the win-clinching fumble by Curtis McNeal in Stanford’s 56-48 victory in triple overtime at Southern California last year.
“I love my team and the work we’ve all put in to get to this point,” Stephens wrote on Twitter. “My situation is irrelevant. Go to the Rose Bowl and cheer on a great team.”
David Parry will make his third consecutive start in place of Stephens when the eighth-ranked Cardinal (11-2) face the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-5) in Pasadena on Jan. 1.
Stephens has been a big reason why the Cardinal defense leads the nation in tackles for loss (9.23 per game, 120 total) and sacks (4.31 per game, 56 total). The unit also is the third-best rushing defense, allowing only 87.69 yards a game.
“The party in the backfield doesn’t end people,” Stephens tweeted.
KNIGHTS STOP FALCONS
Blake Bortles threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Central Florida to a 38-17 victory over Ball State in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl on Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Bortles threw first-half TD passes of 7 and 5 yards to Latavius Murray, who also scored on a 2-yard run to help the Knights (10-4) build a 21-point halftime lead in their final game as a member of Conference USA. They move to the Big East next season.
Bortles had a 6-yard TD run and threw for 272 yards to become UCF’s first 3,000-yard passer since 2002. He also led the Knights in rushing with a career-best 80 yards on nine carries.
Ball State (9-4) was hoping to finish with at least 10 wins for the third time in school history. But its high-powered offense sputtered while being held to a season-low point total. Keith Wenning threw a 7-yard TD pass to Willie Snead early in the second quarter, but the Cardinals didn’t get into end zone again until Snead scored on a 16-yard reception with five minutes remaining.
Bortles was 22-for-33 passing without an interception, and his three TD passes were a career-best and tied the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl record.
WOLFPACK ADDS COACH
Mike Uremovich is following Dave Doeren from Northern Illinois to North Carolina State, where Uremovich will be the Wolfpack’s offensive line coach.
today’s college football bowl game
new orleans bowl
East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), 9 a.m. (ESPN)
What’s at stake: East Carolina seeks its ninth win of the year, which would be the program’s second-highest single-season victory total. Louisiana-Lafayette seeks a second consecutive postseason win under second-year coach Mark Hudspeth. With a victory, the Ragin’ Cajuns also would give the Sun Belt Conference a fourth consecutive winning representative in the New Orleans Bowl.
Key matchup: Louisiana-Lafayette’s deep and dynamic running game, which averages 187.3 yards a game, against ECU run defense, which has been yielding 145.7 yards a game rushing. The Ragin’ Cajuns are also proficient with the pass, making it difficult for opposing defensive backs to help against the run.
Players to watch: For East Carolina – RB Vintavious Cooper, a former junior college QB, has rushed for 1,030 yards and has averaged 114.4 yards rushing in his past five games, including a career-high 172 yards against Alabama-Birmingham. For Louisiana-Lafayette – QB Terrance Broadway has accounted for 266.4 yards a game – 55.5 on the ground, 210.9 through the air.
The pick: Louisiana-Lafayette, 28-24The Associated Press