The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on September 6, 1992 · Page 168
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 168

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Sunday, September 6, 1992
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3 SEASON BEGINS - , Previewing 1 today's games Page 12C Baseball 4C Scoreboard 1 3C Outdoors 14C SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1992 G SPORTS Vol s answer several questions in row By DAVID CLIHER Sports Writer. KNOXVILLE It was a new verse, but the same old song. And despite all the new voices in Tennessee's chorus, Rocfey Top was still in tune. Putting early jitters behind them, the young Vols routed Southwestern Louisiana 38-3 last night as Phil Fulmer made a successful debut as interim head coach. "Obviously, I'm very pleased with the win. That goes without saying," said Fulmer, who is directing the Vols during Johnny Majors' recovery from open-heart surgery. "I didn't know what to expect with this team. We asked them to go out there and play hard and that's what they did." The win by the 22nd-ranked Vols, roundly cheered by a Neyland Stadium crowd of 95,110, came with Majors convalescing at home and watching on television. Majors might not have liked his surroundings as he missed his first game in 25 years as UT 38, SW LA. 3 SEC,on7C. I College scores, on 11C. a head coach, but he almost certainly enjoyed the show. Most prominent on the highlight film: Heath Shuler and Jerry Colquitt performed admirably as UT's musical quarterbacks. After a slow start, the two directed four straight scoring drives in the second period, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 24-3 halftime lead. Tennesee's restructured defense showed the same aggressiveness and speed of last year's unit, dismantling Southwestern Louisi ana's spread-'em-out offense with Inside muscle and quickness on the perimeter, allowing just 166 total yards. Several redshirt freshmen and true freshmen exhibited skill and poise beyond their years at a variety of position. The entire package offense, defense and kicking game showed exemplary cohesiveness and organization, with Fulmer running the show from the sidelines. Certainly, the quality of opposition made it difficult to fully analyze Tennessee's performance. The Ragin' Cajuns came to town after a 2-8-1 season in 1991 and left Neyland Stadium 0-for-37 againstSoutheastern Conference competition. Next Saturday's SEC opener at Georgia should provide a better indication of exactly how well Tennessee's team has been rebuilt after rampant personnel losses from the 9-3 team of '91. "It's going to get a lot tougher from now on," said tailback Aaron Hayden, whose 40-yard touchdown gallop with a Colquitt pass finished off the first-half flurry. "We're going to have to play some football from here on." Still, there was no ignoring the effectiveness with which UT went about its business last night. The Vols overcame a couple of first-period turnovers an interception of a Shuler pass and Colquitt's fumbled handoff to dominate the game. Shuler appeared to get the best of the quarterback duel, completing eight of nine passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. His 51-yard strike to a streaking Craig Faulkner was the single most impressive play of the game. Shuler also scored on a six-yard option keeper in the third quarter. Colquitt hit four of 11 throws for 61 yards, including the short pass which Hayden turned into a 40-yard touchdown. v . ""J-J1 4 f .Jf'l ;" - fnanrdb Make seven turnovers as Crimson Tide rolls By LARRY WOODY Sports Writer TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Vander-bilt poked its neck right into a Crimson noose here yesterday, committing a suicidal seven turnovers to aid a 25-8 Alabama victory. "You can't beat any team in the country turning the ball over that many times," said defensive back Robert Davis, "much less a team that's as good as Alabama." The season-opener, played before ' a Bryant-Denny Stadium packed house of 70,123 and a national cable audience, set the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide off on what some predict could be a national championship march. It was the Tide's eighth consecutive win and 31st in 33 games over Vandy. The Commodores try to rebound against Duke on Saturday in the considerably more friendly confines of Vanderbilt Stadium. Despite handing the ball to Alabama on turnovers on its first five possessions, Vanderbilt trailed just 16-0 at halftime thanks to Bama settling for three field goals that preceeded a Derrick Lassie four-yard touchdown run following the fifth turnover. The Commodores opened the second half by driving in for a five-yard TD run by freshman Royce Love, and Eric Lewis's two-point conversion made it a game again. "At the half I told our guys they couldn't go out and get routed," said Vandy Coach Gerry DiNardo, whose team was blasted by Bama 48-17 last year. "Those days are over. I'd have called time out and ALABAMA 25, VU8 I Stats, game report, on 6C. had a team meeting if we'd laid down in the third quarter." He made it clear that simply fighting back was not good enough. "Our players hurt, and that's the way it should be," he said. "They're going to hurt until they win one." Alabama freshman Michael Procter kicked his fourth field goal midway in the fourth quarter to give the Tide some breathing room, then Michael Rogers picked off a Marcus Wilson pass and returned it 36 yards for a TD with less than two minutes remaining. Wilson had a long day steering the I-bone into teeth of a quick, swarming Alabama defense. He rushed 24 times for 32 yards and hit just three of 14 passes for 31 yards. "They've got a great defense," said Wilson. "They're always trying to strip the ball. All the turnovers created momentum for them." Vandy's longest play came on a 41-yard pass from punter David Lawrence to Davis on a fake punt that kept the Commodores' opening drive alive. But no sooner did Lawrence's toss give Vanderbilt a first down on the Tide 17 than Bama got the ball right back on a Carlos Thomas fumble. "When they got within eight points and we had to play a little tougher, I thought we did," said Alabama Coach Gene Stallings. "I thought we responded to it pretty well." JtkM o I, W TIT t)t v'JX '" " 1 mify- ,--vi Ricky Rogers Staff Alabama's Eric Curry drags down Marcus Wilson during what turned out to be a long day for the Vanderbilt quarterback. He completed only three passes and rushed for 32 yards. MTSU rallies for 35-31 triumph Bayless scores game-winner in closing seconds By TOM WOOD Sports Writer The Labor Day Classic I turned out to be a classic game, with Middle Tennessee State rallying for a 35-31 victory over archrival Tennessee State last V v J night a vauuciuiii oiauiuin crowd of 23,748 was on its feet as Blue Raider running back Kippy Bayless scored the win ning touchdown on a one-yard dive with 41 seconds left. It thwarted a magnificent effort by TSU, which outgained the Blue Raiders 394-293 in total offensive yards. The Raider rally also gave MTSU its sixth straight win over the Tigers and put Middle ahead 7-6 in the series. "They deserved to win," said MTSU Coach Boots Donnelly. "We haven't made that many dumb, bone-headed plays in the last eight years." MTSU is now 1-0 headed into next week's game at nationally-ranked Nebraska and 1-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee State (0-1, 0-1) now heads to Memphis to play Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic on Saturday njght The Tigers effectively mixed the run with the pass to keep the Raiders off-balance most of the game. TSU led 31-21 with 10 minutes left when the Raiders began their rally. "We didn't play all the way through," TSU safety Brent Alexander said. "Everybody knows who the best team on the field was tonight, but you've gotta play all the way through." Said TSU senior quarterback James Wade, now 0-4 against MTSU: "Offensively, we played well enough to win. I'm not pointing any fingers at anybody. They had the momentum at the end and we couldn't pull it out" TSU jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a one-yard dive by freshman Darryl Williams of Augusta, Ga., and a 21-yard field goal by junior Adi Sarieh of Jordan. MTSU rallied for a 1 4-1 0 advantage on two big plays a 30-yard fumble recovery by senior cornerback Adrian Owens and senior tailback Walter Dunson's 17-yard burst around the left side. 5- 1 in fm til I Freeman Ramsey Staff Tennessee State's Patrick Robinson sprints away from MTSLTs Jamie Burum during the first half. Gray, JFK take two-year-old title SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. Billy Gray took unbeaten JFK another step last night, riding the blue roan stallion to the Two-Year-Old World Championship. Gray's victory was a pleasing performance for the more than 25,000 spectators at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. JFK's win preceded the World Grand Championship, which was still in progress at presstime. Another challenge trophy, the Joe Tillet Memorial Trophy, was retired by Amanda Brown in the Owner-Amateur Lady Riders on Walking Mares or Geldings. Brown rode Mister Delight H to the title for Jim and Sally Brown of Bowling Green, Ky. Mora coverage, 14C. Still a few things to smile about TUSCALOOSA, Ala. If seeing is believing, then anyone who saw Alabama thunder past Vanderbilt 59-28 here two years ago has to believe the current Commodore rebuilding plan is on sound footing. The last time the teams tangled at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama shook its defensive sabers and Vanderbilt collapsed. In that one, Bama took advantage of four quick fumbles and blocked kick to bury Vanderbilt in a 35-0 hole after a quarter's action. Yesterday Alabama whipped out the 1990 script for the first act and it's super-touted defenders went at it again. But, three fumbles, a pass interception and a mishandled punt later, Vandy was still very much alive. The Commodores were so much alive that far into the final period the score was 16-8 and Alabama Coach Gene Stallings watched with considerable concern to see how the Tide would react. - Happily for Stallings and his side, Bama responded with the poise and polish college fans have come to expect from Crimson Tide teams. Bama played hard, accepted the challenge, and brought a sigh of relief from Stallings as well as a 25-8 opening-game victory to protect its national ranking. So, as most everyone believed, this Alabama team is built from ground up on a stern defensive squad. But it's what the believing Bama fans didn't see that is genu inely significant. They didn't see jersey No.2 in action. That's the shirt David Palmer wears, and if there's one thing the Tide seemed to miss yesterday, it was the swift, shifty outside running of Palmer. He's the Bama speed man. Stallings kept Palmer on the sidelines as a disciplinary measure. Coach Gerry DiNardo, who wasn't aboard at Vanderbilt when Bama swamped the Commodores two years ago, crossed up the Tide attackers yesterday. Instead of their usual defensive front, they went to a 4-3 alignment Stallings said Vandy "gave us the pass" and tempted the Tide to run the ball. It seemed to be sound coaching, for Bama quarterback Jay Barker wasn't exactly the sharpest passer in Tide history yesterday. The wad of Vanderbilt fans in the crowd of 70,123 also got an eyeful of optimistic belief. What they saw was a Commodore team that was whacking away, nose-to-nose, against a team recognized as one of the best in the nation. They saw a QB in Marcus Wilson who handled the I-bone offense with nimble effectiveness. Wilson's reputation centers about his running abiliy and his worksheet yesterday 32 yards on 24 carries was respectable against the talented Bama defense. Wilson's 3-for-14 passing effort wasn't anything special, particularly when the figures show Bama defenders caught as many of his passes as did his Commodore mates. But, there's another side to all this. Wilson isn't likely to face a more punishing pass rush unless someday he winds up in the National Football League. And, should Wilson make it to the NFL, it is entirely possible that a couple of people he'll see are two of his more fierce tormentors yesterday defensive ends John Cope-land and Eric Curry, potential first-round NFL draft choices. John Bibb is sports editor. TRACK AND FIELD Dan O'Brien, the failed to make the U.S. Olympic team, broke the world record in the decathlon yesterday. His 8,891 points bettered Daley Thompson's 8.847 points set in 1984. "The world's greatest athlete has come back to Ameri- 1 American who 31 'he said. On 2C. O'BRIEN U.S. OPEN John McEnroe roiled to a 6,3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Richard Fromberg yesterday and moves on to face top seed Jim Courier, also a winner yesterday, In the fourth round. "It's a test for me," said McEnroe. "I'll let it hang out and see what happens." Steffi Graf also won yesterday. Jimmy Connors was ousted on Friday night, but not without a final salute from the fans at National Tennis Center who have grown to love his style of play. U.S. Open report, 2C. WHAT'S UP TODAY Sterling Marlin of Columbia, Tenn., is on the pole for the Southern 500 (noon, ESPN), the last of NASCAR's four "major" races this season. Franklin's Darell Waltrip starts sixth and Nashville's Bobby Hamilton starts 24th. Preview, 3C. RESULTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL American League Cleveland 5 Seattle 4 Texas 7, Minnesota 3 Milwaukee 10, Detroit 2 Toronto 7, Minnesota 3 Boston 7, Oakland 3 Baltimore at California Chicago at Kansas City national League S.D. 5, Chicago 3 Atlanta 6, Philadelphia 5 Houston 5, Montreal 2 Cincinnati 6, New York 5 Pittsburgh 6, LA 1 StLouis4,S.F0 Brian Hunter crushed a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to lead Atlanta past Philadelphia 6-5 last night. lis BEST ON TV NFL Jets-Falcons, noon, Channel 4; - I oamis-tagies, noon, g Channel 5; 49ers-Gi- I ants, 3 p.m., Channel 5; Raiders-Broncos, 7 p.m., TNT. Baseball: Padres-Cubs, 1 p.m., WGN; Phillies-Braves, 1:05 p.m., TBS; Red Sox-Athletics, 7 p.m., ESPN. Colleges: Johnny Majors Show, 12:30 p.m., Channel Z, Gerry DiNardo Show, 10:30 p.m., Channel 17. Listings, 13C A a.aAA ffc Tfc IrfTtii

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