Who Needs the Rose Bowl?
The crowd of 74,500 that showed up at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium last Saturday for the battle of Pac-10 unbeatens, California and Washington, was larger by some 25,000 fans than Cal averaged in the 1980s, when the Golden Bears had only one winning season. And the announced attendance didn't include the hundreds of freeloaders watching from Tightwad I Hill, the slope that overlooks the stadium. The fans didn't come just to take in a little sun, either. The enormous noise made by the faithful caught the Huskies by surprise and played an important role in a close game that Washington won 24-17.
"They had us on edge a lot," said the Huskies' junior tailback, Beno Bryant. "The crowd was screaming so loud we couldn't hear our checks. We had backs going the wrong way. It was all we could do to keep our poise and pull it out."
That Washington did pull it out was due in no small measure to Bryant, who was so sick with a virus earlier in the week that he passed out during Thursday's practice. Then, just before the game, his nose began bleeding after he blew it too vigorously. But he was A-O.K. when the Huskies needed him most, right after Cal had pulled into a 17-17 tie with one second left in the third quarter. On Washington's next possession, Bryant used a block by fullback Matt Jones to shake loose up the right sideline for the 65-yard TD run that won the game. Husky coach Don James called it "the most important touchdown of the season."
October 28, 1991
Even so, Washington couldn't relax until the very end. Cal's fine senior quarterback, Mike Pawlawski, drove the Bears to the Husky 22 and then, on the game's final play, watched as his pass to Brian Treggs was batted away by Walter Bailey at the goal line. "Guys," James said to his players after the game, "I'm getting too old for this."
James's defense intimidates opponents with a fearsome rush that often has as many as eight players on the line. The Huskies sacked Pawlawski five times and forced him to throw two interceptions, while holding Cal's star running back, Russell White, to 55 yards on 15 carries. However, the Bears also took advantage of Washington's aggressiveness on a couple of big plays. The first came in the first quarter when Pawlawski, spotting a safety blitz, connected with wide receiver Sean Dawkins for a 59-yard TD. Then, on the final play of the third quarter, the Huskies blitzed both safeties and got burned as tailback Lindsey Chapman turned a quick hitter up the middle into a 68-yard touchdown gallop.
Although the win improved the Huskies' record to 6-0 and virtually assured them of a second straight appearance in the Rose Bowl, James reacted in typical fashion for a coach, saying, "We made enough mistakes to lose, no question. We've gotta go back to work." Huskies quarterback Billy Joe Hobert was a little less circumspect, however. "If it were up to me," Hobert said, "I'd dog the Rose Bowl, go find Florida State or Miami and play for Number One. I wouldn't care if they'd put us on probation for 100 years."
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
The Whoo Pig Sooie Farewell Victory Tour continued to make its merry way through the Southwest Conference last Saturday, when Arkansas upset Texas 14-13 in Little Rock to push its league record to 4-0 and move a step closer to a Cotton Bowl berth. The game was also the last meeting of the two schools—for now anyway—in the 73-game series, which began in 1894. Next fall the Razor-backs will move to the SEC, which will begin playing an eight-game league schedule. As Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles figures it, that doesn't leave any room for Texas. "Our plate is full," Broyles said. "If we played seven conference games, we probably would have played Texas or Texas A&M."
But Longhorn athletic director DeLoss Dodds claims that his school's future menus will be just line, thank you, without all that pork. "I have never heard [Texas fans] say they wanted to play Arkansas," says Dodds. "There may be millions of them out there, but I have never heard them. I am not real sentimental about it."
The Pigs had the last laugh, or squeal, as the case may be, although the outcome wasn't certain until 30 seconds remained, when three Arkansas defenders hauled down Texas tight end Curtis Thrift on the Razorback 38, three yards short of a first down. Arkansas had taken a 14-0 lead in the first half, but Texas fought back, only to be done in by its pair of kicking Jasons. After the Longhorns made it 14-13 with 10:25 remaining, Jason Ziegler missed the extra-point conversion. Then, with 3:45 remaining, Texas coach David McWilliams called on Jason Post to win the game with a 39-yard field goal, but his attempt was wide left. "We were lucky," said Arkansas coach Jack Crowe. "Amen."
Credit Where It's Due
Please don't get the idea that Nebraska's narrow 38-31 escape against Kansas State was a matter of the Cornhuskers' playing beneath their potential or of coach Tom Osborne and his staff's doing a poor job of preparing their team. No, sir. Take it from Osborne, such erroneous conclusions by Husker fans are the fault of those darned Las Vegas oddsmakers. How dumb could they have been, making Nebraska a 32-point favorite in its homecoming game against a team that the Huskers have beaten for 23 consecutive years?
"I know a lot of our people will be conditioned by the gamblers," said Osborne after the game. "No matter what we see on film and what I say, once that stuff [the gambling line] comes out, that's the official word. Kansas State has a much better team than that."
Perhaps. But Nebraska fans also have reason to be concerned about their team, especially about how it will fare against Colorado on Nov. 2 in Boulder. The Buffaloes, who were upset by Baylor and Stanford in September, seem to have gotten their act together, judging by their 34-17 whipping of Oklahoma in Norman last weekend. The Nebraska defense, which allowed K-State to score more points than it ever had against the Huskers, faces a far stiffer challenge from Colorado and quarterback Darian Hagan.
Against Oklahoma, Hagan put up some impressive numbers. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 151 yards and three TDs, he ran for 60 yards on 17 attempts, and he even caught a 28-yard pass from wideout Michael Westbrook. "Big-time players show up in big games," said Hagan, "and I showed up today."
Last season Rice running back Trevor Cobb gained 1,325 yards for a 5-6 team, stats that would have prompted sports information directors at other schools to hype a player for this season's You Know What Trophy. Rice SID Bill Cousins thought about it but finally backed off, deferring to Ted Nance, his counterpart at crosstown Houston, who was already waging an all-out campaign for quarterback David Klingler.
However, now that Klingler's chances have been ruined by Houston's woeful offensive line, Cousins is considering some kind of push for Cobb, who leads the nation in rushing, with an average of 168 yards per game, despite being held—held, mind you—to 121 yards last Saturday in the Owls' 39-28 loss to TCU.
Bill, save yourself the time and the money. Only one player has won the Whatchamacallit while playing for a losing team—Paul Hornung for 2-8 Notre Dame in 1956—and the 3-3 Owls aren't what you would call a mortal lock to put together their first winning record since 1963. Nevertheless, Cobb certainly deserves some kind of recognition, because it's much tougher to run up his kind of numbers on a so-so team.
The only team to contain Cobb this year is Texas, which held him to 68 yards in 28 carries in a 28-7 victory. But, said Longhorn defensive tackle Tommy Jeter, "he's an incredible back—he just didn't have any holes to run through." Otherwise, heading into the TCU game, Cobb had ripped Northwestern for 193 yards, Tulane for 216, Iowa State for 240 and Baylor for 171. With 2,879 career rushing yards midway through his junior season, Cobb is on course to finish at least fourth, and perhaps as high as first, among the Southwest Conference's career rushing leaders: Texas A&M's Darren Lewis (5,012), SMU's Eric Dickerson (4,450) and Texas's Earl Campbell (4,443).
Not especially large (5'9" and 185 pounds) or fast (4.6 in the 40), Cobb compensates with durability and determination, much in the manner of Archie Griffin, who twice won the Doohickey while at Ohio State. "I studied a lot of film of Archie," says Rice coach Fred Goldsmith. "Trevor may be most like him. Archie wasn't extremely fast, and he was small, but on Saturday they didn't catch him."
Quarterback Tim Lynch of Hofstra passed for what could have been a Division III record of 585 yards in a 50-30 win over Fordham last Saturday. But because the Flying Dutchmen are in the midst of the two-year process of moving to I-AA, their stats don't count in the Division III compilations....
Running back Anthony Dodson ran for 329 yards and tied an all-time collegiate record with eight touchdowns in Greenville's 77-0 win over Blackburn in an NAIA game....
The only Syracuse players to score four rushing TDs in a game are Floyd Little, Jim Brown and now David Walker, who did it in last weekend's 31-27 win over Pitt.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Michigan State junior tailback Tico Duckett rushed 30 times for 241 yards, including touchdowns of eight and 88 yards, as the Spartans won their first game of the season, a 20-12 victory over Minnesota.
Richard Palmer, a sophomore cornerback at Eastern Michigan, had four interceptions, returning one for a 76-yard touchdown, and deflected two other passes in a 42-24 defeat of Western Michigan.
Steve Schott, a senior receiver-safety at Division III Denison, had five catches for 101 yards and two TDs, intercepted two passes, averaged 42 yards on five punts and kicked three PATs in a 33-7 win over Kenyon.