The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 12, 1991 · Page 39
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October 12, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 39

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Saturday, October 12, 1991
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TC Saturday, October 12, 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER College f00tballD-7 College football rTTTiT m T'-"nrr' Illiei to test OSU's secondary ' - ,,,,, BY D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER The Cincinnati Enquirer COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State's young secondary expects to grow up fast today. Two teams with national title hopes could have them ruined today. No. 2 Miami hosts No. 9 Penn State, and No. 4 Tennessee is at No. 10 Florida. A Hurricanes victory by any margin would make it likely that Florida State and Miami will still be ranked 1-2 when they meet at Tallahassee Nov. 16. Tennessee can take a big step toward a third consecutive Southeastern Conference championship with a victory over Florida tonight. 1 The Buckeyes, 4-0 and ranked 11th nationally, face No. 20 Illinois (3-1) and its fine quarterback, Jason Verduzco, at 3:30 p.m. (Channel 12) in Champaign, 111. "I've got as much re ''Pi -f us," said Cook, OSU's second leading tackier with 28. "They are putting athletes on athletes and seeing what happens." The Buckeyes plan to make Verduzco, who throws from a 10- to a 12-yard drop, pass early. "Whenever we go man-to-man, we're blitzing, so he's going to have to throw the ball quicker," said Cook. "He's going to have to rush what he's going to do." The attacking Buckeyes have had some trouble with screen passes and slow-developing plays. Illinois employs both. "That's been a big problem with our defense," said nose tackle Greg Smith. "We are so aggressive in running to the ball that we over-run, and that makes us susceptible. We have to hustle and see them quicker." Ohio State has lost three in a row to Illinois and is a 3'2-point underdog. "I think everybody realizes that Illinois is a team that we owe something to," said Kent Graham, OSU's quarterback. "It's probably our biggest challenge of the year, so far." "It's exciting, because you know the ball is going to be in the air," said Roger Harper, who has 26 tackles. "That's what the defensive secondary is for, to defend the pass, get some interceptions and make some big hits." OSU's secondary consists of Harper (6-4, 224, sophomore, strong safety), Bryan Cook 6-3, 190, junior, left cornerback), Foster Paulk (5-11, 190, junior, right cornerback) and Chico Nelson (6-1, 190, sophomore, free safety). The group has delivered some big hits, while yielding 232.5 yards passing a game. "They are probably going to try to attack us, but you know we've got something for them," said Harper. Verduzco passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns against OSU's secondary last season. The Buckeyes played mostly zone defenses. The present group is quicker than last year's bunch, and that allows them to play more man-to-man defense. "The coaches have a lot more confidence in spect for Jason Verduzco as any quarterback that we have faced in a long time," said OSU coach John Coo Jason Verduzco per. Kickoff: 1 p.m. at Dix Stadium (30,520), Kent, Ohio. Records: Cincinnati 1 -4, Kent 0-5. Coaches: UC Tim Murphy (3rd year, 3-23-1 ; 5th year overall, 1 8-31 -1 ); Kent Pete Cordelli (1 st year, 0-5; same overall). Favorite: No line. Series: UC leads, 2-0. TV: None. Radio: WCKY-AM (1530). Tickets available: At gate. What to look for: UC's collective noggin. If the Bearcats match last week's fiery effort in upsetting Louisville, 30-7, they'll blow Kent away. If not, UC will have a battle akin to last year's 27-24 Bearcat victory at Kent. Kent runs the basic l-formation, led by tailback Brad Smith. Senior quarterback Joe Dalpra nearly beat UC with 220 yards passing in 1990, but he's questionable with a knee injury. Kevin Shuman, a redshirt freshman, is Kent's scheduled QB starter. Kent averages 254 yards offense (137 rushing) and allows 388 defensively (237 rushing). Player to watch: Brad Smith, Kent senior tailback. He scored three touchdowns and had 197 all-purpose yards in a 21-20 loss to Eastern Michigan last week. Verduzco, a 5-foot-9 junior, has completed 88 of 146 passes for 1,297 yards and seven touchdowns. The Fighting lllini are averaging 512 yards in total offense a game. The young Buck DBs are relishing the opportunity. Miami readies for tough test Kickoff: 1 p.m. at KellyShorts Stadium (20,086), Mount Pleasant, Mich. Records: MU 4-1 overall (2-0 Mid-American Conference); CMU 3-1-2 (0-1-2 MAC). Coaches: MU Randy Walker (2nd year, 9-6-1); Herb Deromedi (14th season, 97-43-8). Series: CMU leads, 7-6. Favorite: No line. TV: None. Radio: WOXY-FM (97.7). What to look for: Central Michigan leads the MAC in total offense (348.3 avg.), while Miami tops the league in total defense (249.2). MU and CMU are 1-2, respectively, in rushing offense (202.8 to 1 77.8), rushing defense (96.8 to 1 25.7) and scoring offense (22.6 to 20.2). CMU quarterback Jeff Bender, the league's MVP in 1990, has completed 52 of his passes (94 of 180) for 1,021 yards. Flanker Ken Ealy, who led the league in receiving yardage and yards per catch last year, is a favorite receiver (21 receptions). CMU's Billy Smith tops the MAC in rushing (137.8 avg., seventh nationally) and all-purpose yards (148.2 avg.) Player to watch: MU middle linebacker Curt McMillan leads the conference in tackles (91 , or 1 8.2 per game) and, according to independent research by sports information director Brian Teter, is second unofficially in the nation, behind Northern Illinois' Steve Henriksen (94). 2. . -,, : ' ((ft :'f: ff S ' VW, . v f w i IS f ft -- : . .... u ... ... Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium (69,200), Champaign, III. Records: Ohio State 4-0 overall, 1-0 in Big Ten; Illinois 3-1, 1-0. Coaches: OSU John Cooper (4th year, 23-1 4-2; 1 4th year overall, 1 05-54-4); ILL John Mackovic (4th year, 27-1 2-1 ; 7th overall, 41-32-1). Favorite: Illinois by 3V2. Series: OSU leads, 52-24-4. TV: Channel 12. Radio: WMOH-AM (1450). Tickets available: Sold out. What to look for: Ohio State, ranked No. 1 1 , will match its strong defense and running game with the passing attack of No. 20 Illinois. The lllini have beaten Ohio State each of the last three years, and five of the last eight times. The Buckeyes, led by tailback Butler By'not'e, are averaging 259 yards a game on the ground with another 147 yards passing. OSU coach John Cooper has said that Kent Graham will start at quarterback, but Illinois says it is prepared to face backup Kirk Herbstreit, the 6-foot-2, 213-pound junior who adds a little more zip to OSU's attack. Player to watch: Illinois' Jason Verduzco is averaging 31 8.3 yards per game in total offense. He has completed 88 of 146 passes for 1 ,297 yards and 10 touchdowns. CMU offers benchmark for 'Skins BY JACK MURRAY The Cincinnati Enquirer MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. A year ago, after getting drubbed by Central Michigan, the Miami Redskins were 1-4 and minus-16 in turnover ratio. This season, the Redskins take a 4-1 record, 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference, and plus-17 turnover margin into today's 1 p.m. game with the Chippewas (3-1-2, 0-1-2), the defending MAC co-champions and preseason pick. "The turnover ratio is the most important statistic in football," Miami coach Randy Walker said. "A thirty-three differential from last year has something to do with our offense respecting the football." Last year, Central Michigan intercepted six Miami passes returning two for second-quarter touchdowns and a 17-7 half time lead en route to a 31-7 rout of the Redskins. Jim Clement, then a redshirt freshman, was yanked after throwing three interceptions. "We put Jimmy in a situation where we had little or no chance for success," Walker said. "We came out throwing the football, and put a lot of pressure on a very young quarterback." Clement and senior backup Joe Napoli combined for ll-of-35 passing here last year. "We were doing all the wrong things for Clement and with him," Walker said, blaming himself for the debacle. "I'm not real smart, but I think I can admit mistakes and errors in judgment. Not that Jimmy won't be able to do it some day (win a game with his arm)." Miami regrouped after the loss at CMU. Starting with a victory over Ball State the following week, when Clement threw only four passes, Miami made a concerted effort to rush the football. "We became more of a complete attack," Walker said. "We were faint of heart and lacked Michael Snyder for the Cincinnati Enquirer Miami quarterback Jim Clement had a horrible game last year against Central Michigan. CAMPBELLSVILLE (5-0) vs. MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (2-2), 1:30 p.m. at Oak Hills: The Lions face a ranked opponent for the third time in five games. Campbellsville comes in ranked ninth in NAIA Division II. Campbellsville runs out of the wishbone formation. The Tigers' strength is their offensive line, which averages 280 pounds. Sophomore tailback Jason Jackson of the Mount will be going for his fourth 100-yard game of the season. Jackson is second in the NAIA in rushing, averaging 145.7 yards a game. THOMAS MORE (3-0) at EARLHAM (0-3), 1:30 p.m.: The Blue Rebels had a week to rest, while Earlham was getting blasted, 75-0, by defending NCAA Division III champion Allegheny last Saturday. Thomas More's strong defense, which recorded seven sacks in its last game, should lead the way. CMU program headed by coach Herb Deromedi for its continuity. "They're consistent and have done it over a long term," Walker said. "This is a big game for us. It's check time." The Chippewas, behind the heroics of quarterback Jeff Bender, have had a knack for the dramatic this season, coming from behind late to win twice in the final 10 seconds against Southwestern Louisiana and Akron and saving ties twice in the final 10 seconds against Ohio U. and Toledo. Their lone defeat came last Saturday at Bowling Green. But they stunned everyone with a 20-3 victory over Michigan State. Added Walker: "They are the most veteran team we will play this year." INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Jeremy Patterson (CAPE), Miami's leading scorer, is doubtful with a severely bruised sternum. Wideout Gordon Benning (Princeton) is questionable with an inflamed elbow. Linebackers Mike McCreanor (Milford) and Chris Allen (New Miami) are out with a bruised shoulder and a broken thumb, respectively. ' FOR THE DEFENSE: In the latest NCAA statistics, Miami is among the nation's top 11 in four categories: second (behind No. 3-ranked Washington) in turnover margin (3.40 avg.); fifth in total defense (249.2 yards per game); sixth in scoring defense (11.2 per game) and 11th in rushing defense (96.8). ; confidence in our ability to run the ball in the first five games last year. "Against Ball State (in 1990), I didn't care if they stuffed us, we were going to run it. We no longer were going to put our quarterback in a position of throwing it 35 times a game." Starting with that 1990 Ball State game, Miami has gone 8-2-1 and is 6-1-1 in MAC games. "Most impressive thing about where we've come is the ability of our kids to hang in there together in spite of tremendous adversity and negative things," Walker said. "Our kids have bought into our philosophy. My plan is no better than anyone else's. It's just our kids have made it work." Walker greatly admires the 1 BEST BET: Ohio State at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. This is where the Buckeyes find out if they are for real. The No. 1 1 Buckeyes are off to their first 4-0 start since 1984 and on the cusp of cracking the top 10 in the AP national poll. But standing in the way Saturday is another ranked team, 3-1 Illinois, which is No. 20. OTHER GAMES: Penn State at Miami, Channels 12,2,12 p.m. Michigan at Michigan State, ESPN, 12:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, Channels 5, 22, 1:30 p.m. Virginia State at Hampton, BET-Cable, 2 p.m. Bowling Green at Ohio, SportsChannel Cincinnati, 2 p.m. Tennessee at Florida, ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Sacca spurs Lions' attack Penn State QB eyes Hurricanes, not records By DAMIAN CRISTODERO Gannett News Service MIAMI Tony Sacca apparently couldn't help chuckling during a press conference this lenge its yardage records since Blackledge almost a decade ago, mainly because of the presence of running backs Curt Warner (1979-82), D.J. Dozier (1983-86)and Blair Thomas (1985-87, '89). week. The Penn State University quarterback was responding to a quote from Miami defensive tackle Anthony Hamlet, predicting a 21-point Hurricane victory when the teams meet at noon today at the Orange Bowl. But Sacca's good humor didn't mock Hamlet, it punctuated his support for the senior's honesty. Remember, he has spent three "Tony's a big strong kid with a very, very fine arm," Paterno said. "He's a good leader and tough in the clutch." But setting records doesn't hold much romance for Sacca. "I haven't given a whole lot of thought to breaking records," said the quarterback, who has completed 85 of 146 passes this season for 1,322 yards with 12 touchdowns and Vols-Gators take big step toward crown THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GAINESVILLE, Fla. Each week the assignment has gotten a little tougher for fourth-ranked Tennessee, which can take a big step toward a third consecutive Southeastern Conference championship with a victory over No. 10 Florida tonight. 1 The winner will be in control for the crown Florida was unable to wear a year ago because of NCAA probation. Florida (4-1, 3-0 in the SEC) posted the league's best record in 1990, but is still smarting from a 45-3 loss to Tennessee as well as the disappointment of being ineligible to represent the conference in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators are slight favorites this time, primarily because they're 8-0 at home under Steve Spurrier, who despite the impact on the standings doesn't buy the theory that the winner will be in a position to cruise to the title. "Obviously this is the biggest game of the season, so far, for both teams," Spurrier said. "But we play a seven-game conference schedule. By no means will the loser be out of the picture. "As it turned out, we got a lot better after losing to Tennessee last year. One game doesn't make a season." Tennessee (4-0, 2-0) has an eight-game winning streak and had an extra week to prepare for Florida after beating Auburn two weeks ago. The Volunteers have shown steady improvement against a difficult schedule. seasons speaking out against the con- OAVt.ntli.n rtltllfA rf Darin Qtotfl Pniirh ' 3 interceptions. The No. 2 Hurricanes (4-0) are out to break EAST The Citadel (2-2) at Army (2-2), 1 Louisville (2-3) at Boston Col. (0-4), noon Delaware (4-1) at Boston University (1-4), 1 Princeton (3-0) at Brown (0-3), 1 Yale (2-1) at Colgate (1-4), 1 Pennsylvania (0-3) at Columbia (0-3), 1:30 Holy Cross (4-0) at Dartmouth (2-1), 1:30 Harvard (1-2) at Fordham (1-3), 1 Bucknell (1-4) at Lafayette (2-2), 2 Northeastern (3-1) at Lehigh (4-0), 1 Rhode Island (2-2) at Mass. (2-3), 1:30 Air Force (5-1) at Navy (0-4), 1:30 Richmond (1-3) at New Hamp. (4-1), 12:30 Maine (1-4) at Rutgers (4-1), 1 East Carolina (4-1) at Syracuse (4-1), 1 Temple (1-4) at West Virginia (3-2), 1 SOUTH Tulane (0-6) at Alabama (4-1), 3:30 M. Tenn. St. (3-1) at Austin Peay (3-1), 4:30 Howard (2-3) at Beth.-Cookman (2-2), 1:30 Samford (5-0) at Central Florida (4-2), 8 Virginia (3-2) at Clemson (3-1), 3:30 Liberty (1-3) at Delaware St. (3-1), 1:30 Appalachian St. (4-2) at E.Tenn. St. (0-4), 2 Western Ky. (2-2) at Eastern Ky. (4-1), 7 Tennessee (4-0) at Florida (4-1), 7:30 Va. Tech (2-3) vs. Fla. St. (5-0) at Orlando, noon Marshall (3-1) at Furman (5-0), 1:30 W. Carolina (1-4) at Ga. Southern (2-3), 1 Maryland (1-3) at Georgia Tech (2-3), 12:10 Towson St. (0-4) at J. Madison (4-1), 1:30 Arkansas St. (0-6) at Louisiana St. (1-3), 8 So. Miss. (3-2) at Memphis St. (2-3), 8:30 Penn St. (5-1) at Miami (4-0), noon Georgia (4-1) at Mississippi (5-1), 1:05 Kentucky (2-2) at Mississippi St. (3-2), 2:30 S. Car. St. (4-0) at Morgan St. (0-5), 1:30 Tenn.-Martln (3-1) at Murray St. (1-4), 3:30 Wake Forest (1-3) at No. Car. (3-1), 1:30 Fla. A&M (2-2) at N. Car. A&T (4-1), 1:30 McNeese St. (2-2) at NE Louisiana (4-1), 8 No. Texas (1-2-1) at NW Louisiana (2-2), 8 Tulsa (3-2) at SW Louisiana (0-6), 8 La. Tech (4-1) at S. Carolina (2-2-1), 1:30 Southern Illinois (5-1) at Troy (Ala.) St. (2-3) William & Mary (2-3) at VMI (3-2), 2 Auburn (3-2) at Vanderbilt (1-4), 8 MIDWEST Youngstown St. (4-1) at Akron (1-4), 1 Miami (4-1) at Central Michigan (3-1-2), 1 Ball St. (3-3) at Eastern Michigan (1-5), 6 Ohio St. (4-0) at Illinois (3-1), 3:30 Northern Iowa (4-1) at Illinois St. (4-1). 2:30 Northwestern (1-3) at Indiana (2-1-1), 2 Eastern III. (2-3) at Indiana St. (2-3), 7:30 Kansas (3-1) at Kansas St. (3-1), 2:10 Cincinnati (1-4) at Kent (0-5), 1 Michigan (3-1) at Michigan St. (0-4). 12:30 Purdue (2-2) at Minnesota (1-3), 2:30 Western Mich. (4-2) at N. Illinois (1-4), 2:05 Pittsburgh (5-0) at Notre Dame (4-1), 1:20 Bowling Green (4-1) at Ohio (1-3-1), 1 Tenn. Tech (0-5) at SE Missouri St. (0-6), 3 SW Mo. St. (3-1-1) at W. Illinois (3-1-1), 2:30 Iowa (3-1) at Wisconsin (3-1), 2:05 SOUTHWEST Houston (1-3) at Arkansas (3-2), 3 Rice (2-2) at Baylor (5-0), 1 Nebraska (3-1) at Oklahoma St. (0-4), 2:30 Cameron (1-3) at Prairie View (0-5), 2:30 Nicholls St. (2-3) at Sam Houston (3-0-1), 8 Texas Tech (1-4) at SMU (1-3), 3 SW Texas St. (2-2) at S F. Austin (1-3). 8 Okla. (4-0) vs. Texas (1-2) at Dallas, 3:30 Alcorn St. (4-1) at Texas Southern (3-2-1), 5 WEST Texas-El Paso (3-2-1) at BYU (2-3), 2 UNLV (2-3) at Cal St.-Fullerton (1-4), 4 Oregon (3-2) at California (4-0), 3:30 Missouri (2-1-1) at Colorado (2-2), 2:10 Portland St. (3-2) at E. Wash. (2-3), 4 Long Beach St. (1-4) at Fresno St. (4-0), 10 Boise St. (4-0) at Montana (2-3). 3:30 Montana St. (1-5) at N. Arizona (2-3), 9:05 Idaho St. (2-2) at Nevada (5-0), 4:05 San Jose St. (2-2) at New Mex. St. (0-4), 9 Arizona St. (3-1) at Oregon St. (0-4), 4 Cal Poly-SLO (2-2) at Pacific (1-4), 5 New Mex. (1-5) at San Diego St. (3-2), 9:05 Cornell (1-2) at Stanford (1-3), 3:30 Arizona (2-3) at UCLA (2-2). 10 Toledo (2-1-1) at Washington (4-0). 3:30 Southern Cal (2-2) at Wash. St. (2-3), 6 30 Idaho (3-2) at Weber St. (4-1), 8 Utah (3-2) at Wyoming (2-3-1), 3 Joe Paterno's offense. "Apparently, he's got a lot of confidence in his squad and he should have a lot of confidence, they have a very good team," Sacca said. "That doesn't bother me a whole, lot. It doesn't make my game any different. I still have to go out there and execute and play hard." Nobody can accuse him of doing anything less. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior has led the No. 9 Nittany Linns to a 5-1 record, its only loss coming to Southern California. And the Delran, NJ native is closing in on school records for season and career passing yardage (Chuck Fusina, 1975-78), season total offense (John Hufnagel, 1972), career total offense (Fusina), and season and career touchdown passes (Todd Blackledge, 1980-82). Penn State hasn't had a quarterback chal Sacca's record-setting pace. "We've got to get pressure on him, no question about that," Miami coach Dennis Erickson said. "If you let him stand there, he can rip you apart. He's got a good arm and some great receivers." Indeed, seniors O.J. McDuffie and Terry Smith both run 4.4-second 40s. But even the fastest receivers are useless when their quarterback is buried under an avalanche of defensive linemen. USC proved that, sacking him five times during a 21-10 victory, using a blitz package that brought practically everybody through the line of scrimmage. Sacca, reeling from the pressure, connected on just 15 of 40 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. "I don't think that was him at all," Erickson said. "It's hard to produce when there are people in your face." I

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