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Published: Wednesday, 12/6/2000

Maryland hires Blackney; Motor City Bowl considers changes


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Former Bowling Green State University coach Gary Blackney has been hired as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland.

Blackney will become the Terrapins secondary coach under new Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen.

Blackney served as head coach at Bowling Green for 10 seasons, compiling a 60-50-2 record and leading the Falcons to two bowl wins in 1991 and 1992.

PONTIAC, Mich. - There's grumbling over the Mid-American Conference's entry in the Motor City Bowl - Marshall - and the teams that didn't make it - Western Michigan and Toledo.

Marshall (7-5) won the MAC slot with a 19-14 victory over Western Michigan (9-3) in Saturday's conference championship game.

The Thundering Herd plays Conference USA runner-up Cincinnati (7-4) on Dec. 27 at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Neither WMU nor No. 25 Toledo (10-1) will play in a bowl.

Soon after the MAC title game, conference commissioner Rick Chryst met with Motor City Bowl executives George Perles and Ken Hoffman. They tentatively agreed to change the selection rules for future games.

Under the new rules, the MAC's Motor City Bowl participant would have to have a minimum of eight victories. Also, the MAC champion would not be selected if another team has two more wins or two fewer defeats.

Chryst said nothing is fixed regarding a change to the MAC's Motor City Bowl tie-in.

“That's speculation,” he said. “I know the substance of our conversations, and that's what they are right now ... conversations.

“It was a meeting. Certainly any action of formalized change of the contract goes through our council of (league) presidents.

“It may have been reported as a preliminary agreement, but that's not the case. But I thought we had a good discussion about our selection process and mutual areas of concern.”

Marshall is making its fourth straight appearance in the game, going 2-1 in its first three contests.

Western Michigan and Toledo, both within a couple of hours of the Silverdome, would have been expected to generate more ticket sales than the Thundering Herd, whose fans face an eight-hour drive from Huntington, W.Va.

“Our players want to come back to the Motor City Bowl, and the Herd will bring people with them,” Marshall coach Bobby Pruett said after Saturday's title game. “We're excited because it's a great bowl.

One answer to the bowl dilemma would be to find a second bowl tie-in for the MAC.

COLUMBUS - One of the top high school running backs on the West Coast has spurned a scholarship offer from top-ranked Oklahoma in favor of attending and playing football for Ohio State.

JaJa Riley, a 6-2, 190-pounder from San Diego Mission Bay High School, has committed to sign a national letter of intent.

“Oklahoma is a nice program, but I think Ohio State's (offense) better suits my style,” Riley said. “I thought Ohio State was the best place to go to school and the best place to play football.”

Riley leads his team with 1,400 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. He has grown up near the hometown of Michael Wiley, who started for two seasons as tailback for Ohio State before moving on to the Dallas Cowboys.

Riley also was pursued by most of the West Coast schools, including Southern Cal and UCLA.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, whose job was reportedly in jeopardy when the season began, signed a new five-year contract.

Davie's contract was scheduled to run out after the 2003 season. He is 30-18 in four seasons.

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