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  • Running backs stand out at Senior Bowl

    Published On: Jan 25 2015 12:29:15 AM CST
    Updated On: Jan 25 2015 01:32:21 AM CST
    North wins Senior Bowl 34-13

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    MOBILE, Ala. -

    The Senior Bowl is like any other all-star game. It caters more to the fans than scouts, with coaches more concerned with divvying up playing time than actually winning the game.

    That doesn't mean that scouts weren't watching the North's 34-13 victory, however. They want to see if the players who stood out all week during the practices can carry it over to the game itself.

    For players who struggled during the week's scrimmages, the game provides an opportunity to prove that they respond when the lights shine brightest -- something, of course, that every scout is looking for in a player.

    A couple of the themes from the week of practice carried through to the game. First, the general inaccuracy from the quarterbacks -- providing further evidence why there might not be a senior quarterback selected among the first 100 picks this year.

    On a more positive note, there was brilliant running from the backs Saturday, showing off the depth of this year's remarkable crop at that position. A number of small-school prospects at various positions proved they belonged with standout performances.

    Below is a list of the 10 players listed alphabetically who stood out (for better or worse) on Saturday.

    --Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: Leading the victorious North squad in both running (73 yards) and receiving (four catches for 40 yards) for a game-high 113 all-purpose yards, Abdullah was correctly named the 2015 Senior Bowl MVP. Abdullah's terrific agility, balance and acceleration helped him stand out all week and he rose to the occasion one last time for the Cornhuskers.

    --Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn: Though David Johnson and Abdullah had flashier runs later, Artis-Payne started the game in fine fashion for the South, showing balance, lateral agility and determination to run through would-be tacklers.

    --Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke: After a very impressive week of practice, Crowder had a tough game, twice bobbling kick returns. He was saved from a fumble on the first one by an obscure NFL rule that states that returners have the opportunity to re-secure a ball bobbled into the air if they waved for a fair catch. Crowder generally possesses very reliable hands. He has terrific quickness and first-step acceleration to make big plays after the catch or as a returner.

    --Rannell Hall, WR, Central Florida: Hall showed terrific body control to adjust over Nelson to haul in a 32-yard pass from Southeastern Louisiana's Bryan Bennett in the third quarter that put the South in position tie the score at 10. This wasn't the case of one splashy play getting Hall attention, though. He made some terrific catches throughout the week of practice, showing excellent timing, positioning and concentration to make contested grabs.

    --David Johnson, RB, Northern Iowa: While Abdullah might have been the flashiest back, the most impressive overall was Johnson, whose combination of size, sharp-cutting and terrific hands out of the backfield made him a mismatch in the running and receiving game, as well. The vision, balance and determination Johnson demonstrated in the 19-yard touchdown to start the scoring ranks among the most impressive individual plays of the game.

    --Ali Marpet, G, Hobart College: Marpet was arguably the most pleasant surprise of the 2015 Senior Bowl. All week long, the former Statesman left tackle demonstrated impressive strength, balance and toughness despite making the jump from Division III and switching inside to guard.

    --Steven Nelson, CB, Oregon State: Nelson stood out in coverage all day long, showing quick feet, a fluid turning motion and the closing burst. He broke up an official four passes on the day, consistently undercutting potential receivers to bat away passes. Nelson has the blend of size and tenacity scouts are looking for in a nickel corner. He does, however, have a tendency to get grabby and drew a penalty in this game for holding.

    --Quentin Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio): The most impressive corner throughout the week of practice, Rollins carried it over into the game. His interception with 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter might have been the most impressive catch of the game, as he tracked the ball directly over his head and leapt to haul it in. Scouts are excited about Rollins' upside. He earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, the only season he spent on the football field, after playing his first four seasons on the basketball court for the RedHawks.

    --Martrell Spaight, OLB, Arkansas: With projected second-round pick Denzel Perryman limited with an abdominal strain, scouts were anxious to see if any of the "other" linebackers in this contest would step up. Spaight flashed with his agility and terrific closing speed, making several eye-popping hits.

    --Tyler Varga, RB/FB, Yale: Varga ran for 31 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries and delivered a couple of crushing blows when asked to line up as a fullback. Varga's toughness, physicality and versatility stood out all week, but it was his surprising agility and balance despite his rocked-up frame that scouts might find most intriguing.

    Rob Rang (@robrang) is a senior analyst for, owned by The Sports Xchange and distributed in partnership with

  • NC man put in morgue while alive, gets $425,000

    Published On: Jan 21 2015 03:47:07 PM CST

    North Carolina officials have agreed to pay $425,000 to a man who was mistakenly declared dead and shipped to a morgue in 2005.
    The Charlotte Observer reports the payment settles a lawsuit that alleges the mix-up by a medical examiner left Larry Green paralyzed and with severe brain damage.
    A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services says the settlement avoids a long trial. The spokesman did not answer questions about the settlement.
    Green was hit by a car in Franklin County. Emergency workers found no vital signs as he lay face down with a head wound.
    The medical examiner arrived and ordered that Green be shipped to a morgue where he was discovered to be alive after he was removed from a refrigerator there.

  • Hundreds of marines, sailors deploy to Africa and Europe

    Published On: Jan 24 2015 09:25:49 PM CST
    Updated On: Jan 24 2015 09:37:25 PM CST


    Nine-hundred Marines and sailors deployed Saturday, January 24th, to support operations in the U.S. African and U.S. European Command areas of responsibility.

    Of the 900 service members from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment who departed, more than 500 headed to Eastern Europe to support security in the region.

    The other 400 will head to Africa to assist with crisis and contingency response, embassy reinforcements, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and training with partner nations.

    Based in Romania, the 500 troops make up the Black Sea Rotational Force which enables the U.S. European Command to provide a quicker response capability.

    "Black Sea Rotational Force is a departure from the typical deployments for Marines and sailors in an infantry battalion," said Lt. Col. Jeffery R. Stevenson, on-coming commanding officer of BSRF. "It allows us the opportunity to train with and learn from our partner-nations and allies in order to continue improving our interoperability with one another and maintain a presence in the region."

    2nd Battalion, 8th Marines is replacing 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment from the six-month deployment. Both units are stationed out of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

  • Coastal low flurries in the forecast

    Published On: Jan 24 2015 10:30:53 PM CST
    Updated On: Jan 25 2015 07:59:45 AM CST

    Our latest coastal storm tracked up the coast Friday night. While the worst of the storm in terms of severe weather did remain off of the coast, heavy showers tracked inland in addition to gusty winds. Rainfall amounts totaled to 1-2 inches, with isolated amounts of 3+ inches.  Here is a look at rainfall and wind gusts across Eastern Carolina.

    New Bern: 1.61 inches – 28 mph
    Cape Hatteras: 1.90 inches – 48 mph
    Morehead City: 2.09 inches – 36 mph
    Jacksonville: 3.48 inches – 23 mph
    Greenville: 2.07 inches – 26 mph
    Washington: 0.97 inches – 21 mph

    Rain has long ended as of Saturday evening. Flood Warnings will continue for the Contentnea Creek near Hookerton, and the Neuse River in Kinston.

    You can expect improving conditions as we head into Sunday with sunshine and seasonable temperatures. A trough will dig into the Ohio Valley Sunday night into Monday which could bring what many people have been waiting for. The white frozen stuff.

    Before anyone gets too excited, let’s break down the facts and science.

    Models have been hinting at this for some time now. It depends how far this trough digs south and how much moisture it brings with it. Temperatures will have to be cold enough as well. You can have all of the moisture in the world, but without the cold there will not be snow. Conversely, it may be cold enough, but without moisture you will not see anything falling from the sky.

    Going with what models are showing, an area of low pressure will develop to our north. Wrap around moisture from this low brings a possibility of a rain/snow mix Monday night into Tuesday morning. Models are showing counties surrounding the Albemarle Sound are in the running for anything wintry. Northern Beaufort and Hyde County may see flurries as well. Models also show that surface temperatures will have a hard time falling below freezing.  In addition, it’s been some time since we have had a solid stretch of freezing temperatures in Eastern Carolina which means the ground is warm. While we may have frozen precipitation fall from the sky, accumulations will amount to zero, and wet roadways are the best bet out of this system.

    Any changes in models will be brought to your attention, so check back with News Channel 12 often for the latest.

  • Residents displaced by morning house fire

    Published On: Jan 25 2015 08:57:15 AM CST
    Updated On: Jan 25 2015 01:59:32 PM CST
    HUBERT -

    Residents living in a Hubert home had to evacuate the building Sunday morning after it caught fire.

    According to the Onslow County communications, the call came in at 3:23 a.m. for a fire at 250 Riggs Road. One person was in the home, but got out safely.

    It's unclear to what extent the home was damaged or where the fire started.

    Fire fighters cleared the home by 6:30 a.m.

    The cause is under investigation. No one was hurt.

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  • Family reunited with missing dog

    A family moving from Wisconsin to California was involved in a car crash in December, and their dog Koda ran away from the scene. One month later, Koda has been reunited with his family.

  • Owner reunited with dogs rescued from boat

    Two pit bulls rescued from boat found drifting off the La Jolla coast were reunited with their owner.

  • Indianapolis T-shirt maker profits from Deflategate

    An Indianapolis T-shirt maker's sales are inflating rapidly ahead of the Super Bowl because of the NFL's Deflategate scandal.