If Oregon and its underpublicized quarterback, Bill Musgrave, can beat Washington in Seattle on Oct. 13, the Ducks, who are 3-1, could be in line for their first Rose Bowl trip since 1958. Sure, they are 0-1 in the Pac-10 after a tough 22-17 loss to Arizona on Sept. 22, but they don't have to play Southern Cal, the preseason favorite to win the conference, and last week's 32-16 upset of Brigham Young, which went into the game ranked fourth in the nation, had to give them confidence. "We have a good team," said Oregon coach Rich Brooks afterward. "We can play with anybody in the country, and our players know that."
When the BYU players arrived in Eugene they found the Ducks in a foul mood. Following the Cougars' 62-34 win over San Diego State the week before, BYU tight end Chris Smith had said that the Cougars expected "to get more next week—definitely." That naturally didn't sit well with the Oregon defensive players, some of whom taped Smith's statement to their lockers. Yet no one expected the Ducks to go quackers the way they did. They threw BYU's running game into reverse, holding the Cougars to minus-47 yards on the ground. More important, while Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, who had all but been awarded this year's Heisman Trophy, did throw for 442 yards and two touchdowns, Oregon intercepted five of his passes and sacked him five times. Cornerback Daryle Smith got three of the interceptions and broke up four other pass plays. "We mixed zone and man-to-man, and we brought pressure from the outside that he didn't expect," said Brooks.
After the Ducks led only 12-7 at intermission, Musgrave took charge in the second half, engineering three consecutive touchdown drives to open a 32-10 margin. Musgrave wound up completing 23 of 37 passes for 286 yards and three TDs. "You saw the supposed front-runner for the Heisman Trophy out there today," said Brooks. "Maybe Bill Musgrave should be the front-runner."
Better still, maybe everybody should just can the Heisman hype until at least Nov. 1.
ANOTHER CLOSE SHAVE
Colorado heads into Big Eight Conference play against Missouri this weekend with a 3-1-1 record, but every one of the Buffaloes' games has gone down to the wire. Coach Bill McCartney hopes that last Saturday's nerve-racking 20-14 win over Washington will be a victory on which his team can build. "Our kids are reaching deep," McCartney said after beating the Huskies. "It would have been very difficult for us to come back if we hadn't won this game."
Washington came into the game with the nation's best defense against the run, but it yielded 183 yards on the ground to Colorado, with tailback Eric Bieniemy blasting his way to 143 yards on 29 carries. From McCartney's standpoint, however, the most heartening aspect of the win was the fact that the Buffaloes didn't let down in the final quarter. In both a 31-31 tie with Tennessee and a 23-22 loss to Illinois, Colorado had allowed victory to slip away by giving up late touchdowns. It looked as if the Buffaloes were going to do the same again last week, when Washington recovered a Bieniemy fumble on its own 23-yard line and drove to a first-and-goal at the Colorado seven with 1:37 to play. After failing on three pass attempts, Huskie quarterback Mark Brunell tried to find split end Mario Bailey in the end zone. However, cornerback Deon Figures outleaped Bailey to get his second interception of the game and seal the win.
"Nine times out of 10 a receiver can't outjump Deon for the ball," said Buffalo strong safety Tim James, who also made an interception. "When I saw the ball floating to Deon's side, I wasn't worried. Deon's got big-time hops."
A NEW TROJAN HORSE
A week after being held to only 28 yards rushing in a 31-0 loss to Washington, Southern Cal tailback Ricky Ervins exploded against Ohio State, trampling the Buckeyes for 199 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-26 victory that was called with 2:36 remaining because of thunderstorms and lightning. Going into the game at Ohio State, the 5'8", 190-pound Ervins had gained only 181 yards on 60 carries, hardly the sort of numbers to evoke comparisons with such outstanding Trojan tailbacks of the past as Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen, all of whom won the Heisman Trophy. Ervins, in fact, often calls a former Heisman winner for advice—but not one from USC. Ervins phones the Detroit Lions' Barry Sanders, who played for Oklahoma State when he won the award in 1988. The two were introduced by a Southern Cal cheerleader before last season and quickly found that they have more in common than diminutiveness (Sanders is also 5'8").
"He is religious like me, and we talk some about the Lord," says Ervins. "But we talk mostly about running the football. Barry gives me tremendous encouragement. He also gives me some pointers. Barry bounces off tacklers and cuts back quickly, and those are things I'd like to think I do well."
Ervins, the 1989 Pac-10 rushing leader, had 164 yards by halftime against Ohio State, and he didn't even play in the last quarter because of a sprained ankle. "I just started hitting the holes," said Ervins afterward. "And there were a lot of them. Before I was taking too much time picking my holes and always trying to break the big one."
"Our game plan was to mix it up," said Trojan coach Larry Smith, "but the more successful the run was, the more we went with it." Buckeye quarterback Greg Frey outpassed Southern Cal's Todd Marinovich, throwing for 262 yards and two touchdowns to Marinovich's 119 yards and no TDs, but Ohio State picked up only 79 yards on the ground to USC's 331.
PIECE OF CAKE
By beating Miami this Saturday in the Orange Bowl, Florida State can make Bobby Bowden only the 11th Division I-A coach with 200 wins. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, they seem to be backing toward this landmark triumph. Victory No. 199 was a shaky 39-28 win over 25-point underdog Virginia Tech in Tallahassee, Fla. Although Florida State needed a couple of big defensive plays to pull out the game—corner-back Terrell Buckley's 53-yard touchdown on an interception and corner-back Errol McCorvey's 77-yard scoring jaunt with a recovered fumble—Bowden still put on a happy face afterward. "I can't see anything but good coming from this game," he said.
O.K., Bobby, but what do you see coming from the trip to Miami? The Hurricanes have been eagerly awaiting this meeting with Florida State, the only team to beat them on their way to last season's national championship. Having lost their opener to Brigham Young, the Miami players know they can't afford another defeat if they hope to successfully defend their title. They also need a win against a top-notch opponent to attract the attention of the bowl scouts.
In their tune-up for the Seminoles, the Hurricanes routed Iowa 48-21. Miami coach Dennis Erickson's uneasiness about his defense was more than offset by his pleasure with the offense, which racked up 542 yards. "A good sign," said Erickson, "with Florida State coming to town."
Another good sign was that the Hurricanes, heeding Erickson's warnings about excessive hotdogging, were downright gentlemanly against the Hawkeyes. Why, heck, they'll probably have a cake ready for Bowden, just in case he gets No. 200 on Saturday.
Not since Barry Goldwater got waxed by Lyndon Johnson in the White House Bowl of 1964 has Arizona had a day quite as dark as last Saturday. Going into the day's action, both Arizona and Arizona State were unbeaten and ranked in the AP's Top 25. But the Wildcats lost 30-25 to Cal, and the Sun Devils were shocked by Missouri 30-9. Arizona State's defeat was especially galling for its fans, because quarterback Kent Kiefer and wide receiver Damon Mays, both Arizona natives, hooked up on two Mizzou touchdown passes....
Unbeaten Hofstra (5-0) dedicated last week's 44-0 victory over Buffalo to Joe Healy, 25, a graduate assistant coach who was shot to death early Saturday morning outside a fast-food restaurant near the school's Hempstead, N.Y., campus....
LSU split end Todd Kinchen, who sparked the Tigers' 17-8 upset of Texas A&M with two spectacular fourth-quarter plays—a 79-yard touchdown reception and a 60-yard punt return—is the son of Gus Kinchen, an end on LSU's 1958 national championship team....
With a 27-6 win over South Carolina, Georgia Tech went 3-0 and established itself as Virginia's only serious rival in the ACC. Tech has yet to give up a touchdown this season. "We're on the verge of being the kind of team that can go 11-0," says Georgia Tech quarterback Shawn Jones, who will get a chance to prove that claim when Tech meets the Cavaliers at their place on Nov. 3....
In a 31-17 win over Kansas, Oklahoma turned four Jay-hawk turnovers into 24 points. All told, in four games this season the Sooner defense has forced 19 turnovers, which have led to 92 of Oklahoma's 169 points....
Following Florida's 34-21 victory over Mississippi State, Gator freshman running back Errict Rhett gave this explanation for calling time and leaving the field after being tackled in the third quarter: "I was seeing two of everything, two offensive lines. I took myself out because we had a pitchout called and I was afraid I would catch the wrong ball."
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Ralph Martini, a senior quarterback for San Jose State, completed 23 of 32 passes for 361 yards in a 29-23 win over Stanford. He threw for four touchdowns, including one for 72 yards, and no interceptions.
Daryle Smith, a junior cornerback at Oregon, intercepted three of Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer's passes, including two in the end zone, as the Ducks upset the fourth-ranked Cougars 32-16.
In a 44-7 win over Kenyon, senior Jon Warga of Wittenberg carried 22 times for 288 yards. Warga, who had TD runs of 62, 32, 50 and three yards, has rushed for more than 200 yards in three straight games.