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Posted: January 3, 2013 8:14 p.m.

Area stars have big New Year’s games

Louisville, ranked No. 22, rung in 2013 with the biggest football upset of the year in a 33-23 win over No. 4 Florida Tuesday.

The Cardinals finished the season 11-2 in what was a big year for former Eastside High standout Sheldon Rankins.

"This year has been good to teaching me things along the way and not a better way to end it with my first career sack in the Sugar Bowl as a freshman," Rankins posted on his Facebook page.

Rankins finished his freshman season playing in 10 games, tallying seven tackles - two solo and five assisted.

He also had one quarterback hurry and a sack which occurred against the Gators.

On third-and-10 for the Gators from the Florida 38-yard line, Rankins tackled quarterback Jeff Driskel for a loss of 11 yards for his biggest play of his first season.

"It was impressive," said Rick Hurst, Rankins' coach at Eastside. "I thought he did well. I saw him get a couple pressures besides the sack and he had a couple of tackles.

"He really made a couple of guys on the Florida offensive line look bad. I thought he played well, he came off the ball really well and used his hands to get extension like he did here."

Rankins was a two-time second team All-State selection at Eastside with 50 tackles, including 17 for loss and nine sacks in eight games as a senior in 2011.
"He's a special player," Hurst said. "I knew he was going to excel and last night was a reward for a lot of hard work."

Hunt runs, Purdue falls
Hunt, a sophomore running back out of Newton, played a key part in Purdue's 6-7 season, in which it reached the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day.

The Boilermakers fell 58-14 to Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl with Hunt returning three kickoffs for 72 yards.

Hunt led the 2012 Boilermakers with 1,406 all-purpose yards, tallying 108.2 per game. He was fifth on the team in scoring with 30 points on five touchdowns. Two came on receptions, in which he had 13 for 204 yards.

He also had 42 carries for 335 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yard run.

His biggest play of the year came on a 100-yard kickoff return score against Notre Dame. Hunt finished the season with 39 kick returns for 22.2 yards a return.

 

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