The lesson in No. 15 Washington's 34-29 upset of fourth-ranked
Miami last Saturday is simple: When a senior quarterback who's a
Heisman Trophy candidate goes up against a teenage passer making
his first start on the road, before one of the loudest crowds in
college football, you don't have to be Bill Walsh to correctly
predict the outcome.
Despite throwing two second-half interceptions that kept the
Hurricanes in the game, Huskies quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo
looked like the picture of poise, especially when compared with
Hurricanes sophomore Ken Dorsey. Tuiasosopo passed for 223 yards
and a touchdown and rushed for 45 yards and another score, while
Dorsey completed 15 of 34 passes for 215 yards, lost two fumbles
and twice tripped over his linemen's feet. "Their blitzing forced
me to make bad decisions," Dorsey said after the loss.
Still, the 6'5", 195-pound Dorsey is a football prodigy with a
voracious appetite to learn. Shortly after dawn one morning this
summer, teammate Joaquin Gonzalez went to pick up Dorsey for a
round of golf and found him watching game tapes. Miami coach
Butch Davis fell in love with Dorsey when he saw him play point
guard in a basketball scrimmage at Miramonte High in Orinda,
Calif. "I was blown away at how mature he was," Davis says. "He
looked like Larry Bird. I thought, God, if he can do the same
thing on a football field...."
In his brief Miami career--three starts as a freshman against
Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple plus this year's opener against
McNeese State, all home games--Dorsey had thrown 13 touchdown
passes and only two interceptions. "If we can put pressure on
him, push the pocket, we've got a chance to rattle him,"
Washington inside linebackers coach Tom Williams said last
Friday. "When McNeese put some pressure on him, he threw some
September 17, 2000
Dorsey spent most of the first half trying to change plays at the
line of scrimmage, a futile exercise before a crowd of 74,157 at
Husky Stadium, where the overhanging roof on each side of the
field traps the noise. Washington junior defensive tackle Larry
Tripplett, who sacked Dorsey twice and recovered one of his
fumbles, said that he couldn't hear his linebackers making calls,
and therefore Dorsey had no chance of communicating. For
instance, on the first play of the second quarter, despite having
had a TV timeout to get the correct call, Dorsey was flagged for
delay of game. "I was trying to make some checks that I make at
home," he said. "I've got to realize when you're on the road you
can't do things like that."
In the second half Dorsey settled down and ran the plays he
called in the huddle, and Miami crept back from a 21-3 deficit to
make a game of it. "When he gets experience," says Tripplett,
"it's going to be a thing to watch."
Washington gave him a big dose of experience.
South Carolina's Flying Start
Lou Holtz's Team Is No Joke
After Georgia's 21-10 loss to South Carolina last Saturday,
Bulldogs senior defensive tackle Richard Seymour sounded as if he
didn't understand what had just happened. "It's still early in
the season," said Seymour, "even though you don't want to lose to
an inferior team."
If there was an inferior team on the field, it wasn't the
Gamecocks. While Georgia junior quarterback Quincy Carter was
throwing five interceptions, South Carolina sophomore tailback
Derek Watson was rushing for 93 yards and three touchdowns. "I'm
not going to sit here and say we were lucky to win the game,"
said South Carolina coach Lou Holtz on Sunday. "I'm also glad
this wasn't two out of three."
Since he left William and Mary in 1971, Holtz has never needed
more than two years to turn around the programs at North Carolina
State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame or, Gamecocks fans hope,
South Carolina. After going 0-11 in 1999, Holtz's first year, the
Gamecocks entered the season with the nation's longest losing
streak--21 games. Now they're 2-0, having outscored New Mexico
State and Georgia 52-10, and Holtz's reputation as a savior has
been burnished anew.
But success has come at a price to South Carolina: For the second
consecutive week, the school had to order a new set of goalposts,
at a cost of $4,200, to replace those that were torn down during
a victory celebration, as well as replace 75 wax-leaf shrubs that
made up the hedge behind the north end zone. As if that weren't
enough, at least one travel agency in South Carolina began
advertising bowl packages on Sunday.
New Coach Bobby Williams
High Anxiety at Michigan State
In the wee hours of last Saturday morning--nine months after
having replaced LSU-bound Nick Saban and guided Michigan State to
a last-second win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl--Bobby Williams
anxiously awaited his second game as the Spartans' coach. He lay
in bed, staring at the ceiling of his East Lansing hotel room;
repeatedly clicked the television on and off; and finally began
pacing. He gazed out the window at Spartan Stadium in the glow of
dawn. Williams never did get to sleep, then he couldn't eat
breakfast, and he even took a wrong turn during the quarter-mile
walk to the stadium, all the while visualizing a hundred
scenarios that might occur in Michigan State's matchup with
Later, after the Spartans' 34-24 victory had ended the Thundering
Herd's 18-game winning streak, Williams acknowledged that none of
the situations he had played over in his mind had come close to
becoming reality. Perhaps that was because even the most
pessimistic coach could not have imagined his team losing its
best linebacker--in Michigan State's case, senior T.J. Turner--to a
shoulder injury, having two punts blocked and being flagged for
three personal fouls, all in the game's opening 20 minutes. Then
at the end of the first quarter, with the game tied 7-7, the
Spartans lost junior starting quarterback Ryan Van Dyke to a
sprained right thumb on his throwing hand. Williams, who had
never been a head coach or even a coordinator in his 18-year
career before taking over in East Lansing, relied on his
trademark equanimity when he summoned freshman quarterback Jeff
Smoker. "Coach has this way of looking you in the eye that says
he believes you will succeed," said Smoker, after completing 16
of his 24 passes for 138 yards. "His confidence is contagious."
Williams acknowledges that his confidence stemmed partly from a
critical personnel move he had suggested last season while
working as Michigan State's running backs coach. He had lobbied
to mold prize recruit T.J. Duckett into a tailback, even though
Duckett had arrived on campus as a consensus high school
All-America quarterback-linebacker and had never played tailback.
The 6'1", 251-pound Duckett had nimble feet that reminded
Williams of Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne's, and Duckett
blossomed with 606 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns as a freshman.
Nicknamed Diesel, Duckett is strong enough to have set a Michigan
high school record in the shot put (64'7") and fast enough to
have run a 4.45 in the 40, and he carries the ball with a
linebacker's mentality. "My goal is to punish the opponent," says
Duckett. "I'm going to try to knock your head off, just keep
drilling you, until I make you wither."
Against Marshall, Duckett's first 13 carries netted only 40
yards, but his last 13 rushes produced 179, for a career-high
total of 219 yards. "T.J.'s a great weapon because he gets
stronger when everybody else is getting way weaker," says
Williams. "He provided some stability for us in a very stressful
Late Saturday evening, an exhausted Williams returned to his
home in Okemos, Mich., and crashed on a lawn chair on the patio.
He lit one of his favorite victory cigars, savored the fact the
he was still an undefeated coach and wondered if it will get any
easier. --Tim Crothers
Stanford Foiled Again
San Jose Has Cardinal Number
Leave it to a Stanford guy to see San Jose State's recent
dominance of the Cardinal in economic terms. "I know their coach
plays it up like we have everything and they have nothing,"
senior receiver DeRonnie Pitts said before Stanford dropped its
third straight game to the Spartans, 40-27, last Saturday. "They
think it's a battle of social class when it's really not. I don't
think any of our guys could afford to go here if they didn't play
Whatever the source of San Jose State's motivation, the Spartans
dominated this year behind senior tailback Deonce Whitaker, who
rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns. "We can't seem to get
the right mind-set when we play these guys," said Stanford
senior linebacker Riall Johnson. "We need to find something to
piss us off, to give us a sense of urgency. They were much more
emotional than us."
For complete scores, schedules and stats, plus more news from
Ivan Maisel and B.J. Schecter, go to cnnsi.com/football/college.
Florida (2-0) at Tennessee (1-0)
The Vols have redshirt freshman A.J. Suggs playing quarterback.
The Gators have true freshman Travis Harris at middle linebacker.
In other words these aren't the glory days of this rivalry.
Harris notwithstanding, the Florida defense has too much speed
and experience for Tennessee's youthful offense to overcome.
Michigan (2-0) at UCLA (2-0)
Wolverines freshman quarterback John Navarre has filled in nicely
for the injured Drew Henson, but can he survive his first big
game on the road? Yep, because Michigan, led by senior tailback
Anthony Thomas, is rushing for 289 yards per game. Bruins
quarterback Ryan McCann, who came off the bench to lead UCLA past
Alabama on Sept. 2, struggled against Fresno State. Two upsets in
three weeks by the Bruins is too much to ask.
Washington (2-0) at Colorado (0-2)
When he replaced Rick Neuheisel in the winter of 1999, Colorado
coach Gary Barnett coined the slogan Return to dominance, but
there has been no revival so far. The crowd will be fired up for
Neuheisel's first trip back to Boulder, but that won't be enough.
Purdue (2-0) at Notre Dame (1-1)
The Cornhuskers beat the Irish, and they beat them up. Starting
senior defensive end Grant Irons (separated shoulder) and
quarterback Arnaz Battle (broken wrist) won't play. Notre Dame
won't score enough points to keep up with Drew Brees and Co.
Ya Gotta Love This Guy
Fifth-year seniors have been as common at Vanderbilt as bowl
invitations. The Commodores haven't had a winning record since
1982, and who wants to come back for yet another losing season?
But tight end Elliott Carson believed this season could be
different. Last year, when Vandy went 5-6, the 6'6", 250-pound
Carson caught 25 passes and was named second-team All-SEC. A
human and organizational development major, he could have
graduated on time in May but is one of five redshirt-senior
starters who cling to the dream of leading the Commodores to
their first bowl game in 18 years. Carson, who expects to
graduate in December, caught 10 passes for 128 yards in
Vanderbilt's first two games, losses to Miami (Ohio) and Alabama.
The dream of a bowl game is growing dim, but Carson and his
classmates have set an example. Behind them are 14 juniors who
are eligible to be fifth-year guys next fall.
For eight months Texas coach Mack Brown equivocated about whether
sophomore Chris Simms would replace junior Major Applewhite at
quarterback. Simms started the Longhorns' opener last Saturday
but was benched after his fourth pass--an ill-advised attempt that
Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Terrence Hunter returned 43 yards
for a touchdown. Applewhite entered the game and led Texas to six
touchdowns and a field goal as the Longhorns won 52-10. Bottom
line: Applewhite, who still wasn't guaranteed the starting spot
this Saturday against Stanford, has proved himself, and Simms
still has a lot to learn....
Cincinnati coach Rick Minter calls kicker Jason Mammarelli "our
John Daly," perhaps because the senior boots the ball a long
way, but Minter is never sure where it's going. In the last
three years Mammarelli, primarily the Bearcats' kickoff man, had
attempted only four field goals, all from 39 yards or more: Two
were blocked, two went wide right. With five seconds remaining
and Cincinnati trailing Syracuse 10-9, Minter sent in Mammarelli
to attempt a game-winning field goal. Mammarelli booted a
47-yarder that would have been good from 60 yards, and the
Bearcats are 2-0 for the first time since 1986....
Small Feat: After Ohio whipped Minnesota 23-17 and Western
Michigan beat Iowa 27-21, the Mid-American Conference was 3-6
against the Big Ten this season. Big Feat: Sophomore Eddie
Tillitz became the first Miami (Ohio) player in 26 years to run
back a punt for a touchdown when he returned the ball 53 yards
in the first quarter against Eastern Michigan. In the third
quarter Tillitz did it again--this time going 82 yards--as the
RedHawks prevailed 34-17. Tillitz set a conference record with
162 punt return yards.