In a rare out-of-town nonconference test, Kansas State started a
run at a BCS berth
This is an article from the Sept. 17, 2001 issue
At the press conference after Kansas State had beaten Southern
Cal 10-6 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Wildcats coach Bill Snyder
sounded like a tourist who'd had it up to here with being on the
road. "I didn't like traveling," he said. "I didn't like being
four hours late on Friday. It seems as if we have been here for
Forgive Snyder his dyspepsia. For only the second time in 13
seasons Kansas State didn't open its season at home against a
lightweight. In fact, of the Wildcats' 28 nonconference opponents
over the last eight regular seasons, only two went on to have
winning records for the season in which they played Kansas State.
Snyder recently explained his willingness to accept the
home-and-home agreement with the Trojans, signed last year, by
saying, "They got me in a weak moment, I guess."
In fact, the Wildcats made the deal after the BCS bowls snubbed
them in 1998 and '99, even though they had finished 10-1 in each
of those regular seasons. Even the K-State faithful, 20,000 of
whom made the trip to L.A. for the game, believed that Snyder had
to do something to counteract the negative effects of Kansas
State's playing tomato cans every year. It was a change that
Wildcats upperclassmen relished. "We get to show everybody that
we can play these bigger schools," senior linebacker Ben Leber
said last week.
Snyder did his best to embrace the change, although last Friday
you could hear his teeth grinding across the Great Plains. The
Wildcats' charter, making a longer flight than usual and thus
weighted down with additional fuel, was deemed too heavy to take
off from the short runway in Manhattan, Kans. The traveling party
deplaned, took a one-hour bus ride and met the plane at a former
Air Force base in Salina, which had a longer runway. That
accounted for the four-hour delay in arrival at LAX.
Once in Los Angeles, Snyder breached his road-trip protocol and
held a practice at the home team's stadium. He had agreed to this
two days before, when defensive coordinator Phil Bennett
suggested that the players break a sweat at the Coliseum to quell
their nerves before playing in such a historic venue.
Although Kansas State had only 10 starters back from last year's
11-2 team, the Wildcats took a 10-0 halftime lead and defeated
the Trojans by physically dominating them. New USC coach Pete
Carroll had made his defense faster by moving safeties Frank
Strong and Matt Grootegood to linebacker and turning 250-pound
senior Lonnie Ford into a hybrid of a defensive end and a
linebacker. While the Trojans put as many as nine defenders in
the box, K-State still ran the ball 57 times for 340 yards and
held it for 35:27. Senior tailback Josh Scobey rushed for 165
yards, and sophomore quarterback Ell Roberson rushed for 119 in
his first start.
Snyder hasn't decided whether he'll schedule more teams of USC's
caliber after the Trojans' visit to Manhattan next season. "It's
a matter of saying, 'O.K., we'll go down this road one time and
see what it brings, see if it's beneficial for us,'" he said
before the game. Besides, he has to get Kansas State ready for
home dates with Louisiana Tech (3-9 last year) and New Mexico
State (3-8) the next two Saturdays.
Eli Manning's SEC Debut
Archie's Son Gets A Wake-up Call
Making his first start in front of the home fans at Ole Miss on
Sept. 1 was nerve-racking enough for sophomore Eli Manning, who
carries the added weight of being the only one of Archie
Manning's three sons to follow in Archie's footsteps as a Rebels
quarterback. However, as Eli found out last Saturday, going on
the road in the SEC can be infinitely more stressful. Well aware
that Manning had established school records the week before
against Murray State with 18 consecutive completions and five
touchdown passes, the vaunted Auburn defense was lying in wait
for him. Although the Tigers sacked the 6'5", 212-pound Manning
only once in raucous Jordan-Hare Stadium, they hurried him into
one interception and 11 throwaways in a 27-21 Auburn victory.
"The crowd noise made it hard to communicate with my receivers
at first, and the Auburn defense was sitting on all of our
curls," said Manning, who completed 6 of 10 passes for 39 yards
during a first half in which Ole Miss failed to advance beyond
its 42-yard line. In the second half--after "calming down and
getting used to the speed of the game," he said--Manning
completed 18 of 29 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown.
Certainly on his 50-yard touchdown strike to Omar Rayford, and
on his 35-yard pass to Rayford in the end zone that was
mistakenly ruled out-of-bounds (the replay showed Rayford's toe
had caught the sideline), Manning showed that there was more to
like about him than the family name.
"Eli throws a very catchable ball," said older brother Peyton,
the Colts' Pro Bowl quarterback, on a cell phone last week.
"Still, experience is the best teacher."
Archie, who attended the game at Auburn, concurred. "Eli got a
little banged up today," he said. "Last week was rosy, this week
wasn't. You learn from both." --Kelley King
Randle El's False Start
The conversion of Indiana senior Antwaan Randle El, the best
all-purpose quarterback in the Big Ten for the last three
seasons, to a flanker-quarterback-punt returner got off to a
spectacularly bad start in the Hoosiers' 35-14 season-opening
loss last Thursday at North Carolina State. Randle El played 48
snaps at receiver, catching four passes for 30 yards. He took 15
snaps at quarterback, completing 1 of 2 passes for seven yards
and rushing seven times for 37 yards. He returned three punts for
That left a whole lot of plays on which Randle El didn't touch
the ball, which came as a tonic to Wolfpack coach Chuck Amato. He
and his staff remained skeptical until game time that junior
Tommy Jones, Indiana's purported starting quarterback, would play
at all. "I bet it doesn't last past the first series," North
Carolina State assistant Doc Holliday said on the field before
The 6'2", 236-pound Jones had shown a strong arm in practice, and
though he completed 18 of 31 passes for 163 yards with no
interceptions against the Wolfpack, he was unable to get the
Hoosiers into the end zone until the final six minutes. Moreover,
Randle El lost a fumble while running the option and committed a
motion penalty at flanker that killed a drive. The effect on
Indiana's offense was obvious. Whereas the Hoosiers scored 38
points in a losing effort against N.C. State a year ago, they
trailed 35-0 in the fourth quarter last Thursday.
It would be easy to blame Indiana coach Cam Cameron for making
the quarterback switch, but he had little choice. When the 5'10",
194-pound Randle El heard from NFL scouts that his best chance of
making it in the pros was at wideout, he threatened to leave
school early to enter the draft unless Indiana played him as a
receiver. What's to be determined is whether that threat comes
back to haunt Indiana, Randle El or both.
While Cameron and Randle El were disappointed by the Hoosiers'
performance, neither wavered from endorsing the multifaceted use
of Randle El. "It would be easy to be critical of a lot of
things," said Cameron. "I still have confidence in these guys. We
can't panic." Added Randle El, "I have no doubts we were well
prepared. We just didn't execute. It was very frustrating."
Before the game, Indiana offensive coordinator Hal Hunter
compared the Hoosiers' unconventional offense to driving 100 mph.
"If we wreck, it could be fatal," Hunter said, "or we could pull
away from the pack."
TCU's Two-way Kicker
The Energizer Horned Frog
Texas Christian hasn't cloned Nick Browne, it only appears that
way. On each of the last two weekends Browne, a junior, played
midfield in a soccer game on the road on Friday night, flew back
to Texas to placekick in a football game on Saturday night and
then rejoined the soccer team for another game on Sunday.
The schedule hasn't affected Browne's play in either sport. He
made all five field goals and six extra points he attempted in
19-5 and 38-10 wins over North Texas and SMU, respectively. He
took 13 shots in the four soccer matches and assisted on TCU's
goal in a 1-1 double-OT tie with the College of Charleston last
"I played 117 of 120 minutes on Friday night," said Browne, who
is not on scholarship for either sport, on Sunday afternoon. "The
field was wet and soggy, which made it worse on my legs. They
were really sore on Saturday. The soccer game didn't end until
10:30 p.m., and I got four hours of sleep before I had to get up
at 5 a.m. for my flight to Dallas. After the SMU game, I went to
bed at about midnight and woke up at 6:30. That flight to
Charleston was the best sleep I've had traveling in the last two
weeks." Browne played 70 minutes in a 3-0 loss to South Carolina.
Browne took on the placekicking duty after special teams coach
Dan Sharp invited him to try out last spring, and he then beat
out a freshman in preseason practice. The coaches of the two
teams work together to accommodate his schedule. Football coach
Gary Patterson even moved Browne's special teams work from the
end of practice to the beginning, so Browne can finish early and
join soccer workouts.
Although there are no more weekends like the last two for Browne,
on Sept. 29, TCU's football team plays at Houston while the
soccer team plays at St. Louis. Soccer coach Dave Rubinson has
told Browne to kick footballs that day. "He kind of figures that
football pays the [athletic department] bills," Browne says.
For complete scores, schedules and stats, plus Ivan Maisel's
exclusive weekly Heisman Watch, go to cnnsi.com/football/college.
YA GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY
Having played backup linebacker as a freshman walk-on for NAIA
champion Northwestern Oklahoma State in 1999, Chris Toney wrote
Oklahoma assistant Brent Venables in May 2000 to ask if he could
walk on with the Sooners. Venables assented, and Toney spent last
season--his second with a national champion--on the scout team. By
the start of practice in August, the 6'1", 230-pound Toney had
worked his way up to fourth-string fullback. After one guy in
front of him moved to the offensive line and another suffered a
neck injury, Toney got his break. Though he has yet to start, he
has played in all three games. He has no carries and three
catches for 28 yards. Most impressive, Toney is out there.
An NFL scout assesses Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney,
after the 6'1", 255-pound senior made seven tackles, two of them
sacks, in a 21-10 victory over Central Florida last Saturday:
"Do you play him at defensive end, where he'll get pushed around,
or hope he's tall enough to be a force at outside linebacker? I
guarantee someone will find a spot for him because his first step
is as quick as any player's in college."
"Everyone is talking about McKinnie, McKinnie....I play the
man, not the name. Everyone has a weakness. You just have to
A comment by Rutgers freshman defensive end Alfred Peterson
about Miami's All-America left tackle, Bryant McKinnie, who,
after seeing the quote in a Newark Star-Ledger clip on the
Hurricanes' bulletin board, took satisfaction in the fact that
Peterson had only one solo tackle and two assists in Miami's
61-0 victory last Saturday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Florida right guard Tommy Moody vs. Tennessee defensive tackle
and 2000 Outland Trophy winner John Henderson
These two didn't square off last fall because the 6'3",
321-pound Moody lined up at left guard. They didn't run into
each other two years ago because Moody then played defensive
tackle. In fact, part of his success as a blocker stems from
understanding how defensive linemen think and attack. Knowing
what the 6'7", 290-pound Henderson is trying to do is one thing;
stopping him is another. But he sprained his right ankle in the
Volunteers' season opener and sat out last week's 13-3 win at
Arkansas because a downpour made the field slippery. When
Tennessee visits Florida on Saturday, Henderson will be looking
to extend his streak of games with a tackle behind the line of
scrimmage to 13. If the sprain limits Henderson's quickness,
Moody will be much more likely to make this an unlucky 13 for
Good First Impressions
Although it's still early, several freshmen--true and
redshirt--have given more to their teams than anyone had reason
to expect. Here are our top five.
James King, LB, CENTRAL MICHIGAN--The redshirt tied the NCAA
record for blocked punts in a game with four against Michigan
State last Saturday, two of which the Chippewas returned for
touchdowns in a 35-21 loss. He also blocked a punt in Central
Michigan's first game, a 42-28 defeat of Eastern Kentucky, which
leaves him three shy of the NCAA single-season record.
Gino Guidugli, QB, CINCINNATI--After starting quarterback Adam
Hoover tore his right ACL in first quarter at Army last
Saturday, Guidugli came in and completed 31 of 41 passes for 311
yards and three touchdowns. The Black Knights took a 21-17 lead
with 1:16 to go, but Guidugli led the Bearcats 70 yards in 1:09
for a 24-21 victory.
Xavier Beitia, PK, FLORIDA STATE--In two games Beitia, whose
name is pronounced zah-vee-AY bay-TEE-uh or "the new kicker," as
coach Bobby Bowden likes to say, has made all five of his field
goal attempts and 9 of 10 extra points. A year ago three
Seminoles kickers converted 14 of 24 three-point tries.
Reggie Williams, WR, WASHINGTON--The 6'4", 215-pounder (above)
generated buzz in preseason practices and then caught four
passes for 134 yards in the Huskies' 23-18 comeback victory over
Michigan last week. Williams showed extraordinary body control
against the Wolverines' smaller cornerbacks.
Keith Joseph, TB, TEXAS A&M--The redshirt didn't start in
Aggies' 28-20 win at Wyoming, but he sure did finish, carrying
15 times for 70 yards in second half, and had 21 carries for 105
yards overall as A&M avoided upset by holding ball for 38:09.