RISING FROM THE SWAMP
As if there weren't already enough bad blood between Florida and Georgia, several Gators made things worse by taunting Bulldog tailback Garrison Hearst after Florida's 26-24 victory in Jacksonville. The Gators had held Hearst to 41 yards on 14 carries, damaging his Heisman Trophy chances, and as Hearst walked off the field a few Florida players struck Heisman poses. "That shows they have no class," Hearst said.
What Florida does have is Hearst's number. Since Steve Spurrier took over as coach of his alma mater in 1990, the Gators have held Hearst to a total of 111 yards in three games, all of them Florida victories. With last week's win the Gators kicked Georgia out of the driver's seat in the SEC Hast and reclaimed it for themselves. Florida, the defending league champ, got off to a 1-2 start in the conference, losing to Tennessee and Mississippi State, and seemed to be out of the hunt. Now the Gators are 4-2 in the conference and need only to defeat Vanderbilt and South Carolina to lock up a spot in the inaugural SEC title game on Dec. 5 in Birmingham. The West champion almost certainly will be Alabama, which was idle last week.
As Florida left the field on Saturday, Gator fans in the crowd of 82,429 began chanting "S-E-C" in honor of their team's renewed hopes of successfully defending its title. However, after the game, Spurrier cautioned the press against punching the Gators' ticket to Birmingham. "Please don't write we're the [East] champions," he said. "My guys tend to believe everything they read."
Read it and weep: Florida will meet 'Bama in Birmingham.
THE DEACONS' PREY
Is it any wonder that police and security guards stood back and watched as the Wake Forest faithful tore down the goalposts following the Deacons' 18-15 upset of traditional ACC kingpin Clemson? After all, that ritual has rarely been called for at Wake Forest's Groves Stadium. The win ended Wake's 15-game losing streak to Clemson, and it came at the last home game for 58-year-old Deacon coach Bill Dooley, who's retiring at the end of this season. When asked if this was the biggest victory of his 26-year coaching career, Dooley, who coached at North Carolina and Virginia Tech before taking over in Winston-Salem, said, "There may have been a bigger one, but I can't remember it."
Clemson coach Ken Hatfield is sure to remember this one. With 3:40 to go and the Tigers leading 15-10, Deacon quarterback Keith West completed a 31-yard pass to Todd Dixon for the winning score. West grew up a Clemson fan in Sumter, S.C., and was hoping to play for the Tigers. However, when Clemson chose to recruit an option quarterback instead of West, who's a drop-back passer, he decided to enroll at Wake Forest. West has guided the Deacons, who are now 5-3, to four straight wins.
Dooley's next ACC victory will be his 96th, tying him with former Tiger coaches Frank Howard and Danny Ford for the league record. Unlike his older brother, Vince, who remained Georgia's athletic director after ending his 25-year reign as Bulldog coach in 1988, Bill Dooley has announced no plans to stay in athletics. The coaches Dooley are thought to be the winningest brother combination in NCAA history: Vince retired with a 201-77-10 record, and Bill is 159-125-5.
BIG RED REDEMPTION
Winston-Salem wasn't the only place goalposts were tumbling last weekend. Nebraska fans did some demolition of their own after the Cornhuskers routed Colorado 52-7. The two Big Eight teams came into the game tied for No. 8 in the AP poll, and Nebraska had lost its last eight games against Top 10 teams. Some people were even beginning to wonder if the Huskers, with their traditional I-back attack, could compete with speedy teams like Colorado.
In stopping the Buffaloes' Big Eight winning streak at 25 games and handing them their worst loss in eight years, Nebraska rolled up 373 yards on the ground to only eight for Colorado. While the Husker defense was hounding Buffalo freshman Koy Detmer into three interceptions and a fumble, Tommie Frazier, the first freshman to start at quarterback for Nebraska in coach Tom Osborne's 20 years in Lincoln, threw two touchdown passes. The Cornhuskers also got a lift from I-back Calvin Jones, who bolted through gaping holes for three touchdowns and 101 yards.
While most Huskers agreed with cornerback Kenny Wilhite, who said the victory "takes a lot of the burden off our shoulders after hearing that we can't win the big one," Osborne, ever the stoic, refused to acknowledge any such relief. "All that stuff about we can't win the big one, I don't pay attention to," he said. "I don't know of any game you can lose here, whether it's Bottom 10 or Top 10, and not get nailed to the cross on Monday."
Memphis State and South Carolina are unbeaten since players at both schools protested the coaching of Chuck Stobart and Sparky Woods, respectively. The Tigers, who are now 5-3, routed Tulane 62-20 for their fifth straight win, and the 3-5 Gamecocks upset Tennessee 24-23 for their third in a row....
After a loss to Southern Cal two weeks ago ruined Washington State's unbeaten season, Cougar quarterback Drew Bledsoe said, "We've got Oregon at home, and, I'm telling you, they better look out." Bledsoe is the one who should have been looking out. He was sacked six times in the Ducks' 34-17 victory....
Syracuse's 41-10 rout of Pitt was the Orangemen's 1,000th game. The only other schools to have played that many games are Rutgers, Navy and Michigan....
Southern Cal junior Curtis Conway has achieved a grand slam of sorts, scoring at least one touchdown four ways this season—on a run, a reception, a kickoff return and a punt return....
When North Carolina's Natrone Means rushed for 249 yards in his team's 31-24 win over Maryland, he became the 21st Tar Heel to gain at least 1,000 yards in a season. No other school has had that many 1,000-yard rushers....
The only entertaining part of Notre Dame's 38-7 romp over Navy was Irish coach Lou Holtz's pregame statement that the Middies, who had been outscored 204-51 in losing all six of their games this fall, were "the most dangerous Navy team we've played since I've been at Notre Dame."
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS
CENTER OF ATTENTION
If he were a quarterback or a wide receiver, Michigan's Steve Everitt would already have appeared on countless magazine covers and TV halftime shows. Alas, Everitt plays center—football's most anonymous position. Last Saturday he had his typically superb game as the undefeated Wolverines beat Purdue 24-17.
At least at Michigan a guy in Everitt's spot has a chance to attain some acclaim. The Wolverines have had 11 All-Americas at center, not to mention Gerald Ford ('35), who went on to a fairly successful career in government. But the only way the 6'5", 290-pound Everitt, a fifth-year senior, will make his living in Washington is if the Redskins draft him.
Everitt is the top center prospect in the country and was named to many of the preseason All-America teams. When his NFL career is over, Everitt hopes to work as an artist, like his father, Mike, a sculptor. "I've done painting, drawing, sculpture, computer-generated graphics and industrial art," says Steve, who will graduate in May with a degree in fine arts. "But drawing is what I've always loved."
Since coming to Ann Arbor from Miami's Southridge High, where he was named Dade County Offensive Player of the Year in 1987, Everitt has gotten four Big Ten championship rings. "I gave my dad the first one," he says. "The other three were back in our living room, and when I asked about them after Hurricane Andrew, my parents said they were O.K." The rings were among the few objects in the Everitt home that survived the storm. The house was demolished.
The Everitts are resilient folk. Steve, who is righthanded, has been snapping the ball with his left hand since dislocating his right thumb two weeks ago against Minnesota. In the second game last season, against Notre Dame, Everitt broke his jaw. Surgeons inserted a plate and four screws to hold the jaw in place, but last month, during dinner with his parents, one of the screws came out. Recalls Everitt, "I was chewing and thought it was something in the food. I spit it out and couldn't believe it."
Says Everitt, "Now my father's telling everyone I have a screw loose."
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Eddie Thompson, a Western Kentucky junior, gained 309 yards to break the Division I rushing record for quarterbacks in a 41-39 victory over Southern Illinois.
Safety Kwamie Lassiter, a junior at Kansas, intercepted two passes, broke up two others, forced a fumble and had nine tackles as the Jayhawks beat Oklahoma State 26-18.
Western Washington running back Jon Brunaugh, a freshman, ran for 279 yards on 37 carries to lead the Vikings to a 24-14 defeat of British Columbia in an NAIA game.