The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on November 25, 1996 · Page 17
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 17

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Wilmington, Delaware
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Monday, November 25, 1996
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Page 17
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MONDAY, NOV. 25. 1996 THE NEWS JOURNAL B7 Blue Hens happy to draw anybody, even Marshall By TOM TOMASHEK Stuff rsporter - NFWARK Half of the NCAA Division I-AA tournament field wiitt announced Sunday be-fore the University of Delaware was introduced as ono of the Hi playoff teams. The mention received a lusty approval from the coaches, players und faun in the Carpenter Center, hut one had to wonder why the news generated ho much excite, merit. Though the lilue Hens (8-3) are in the tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons, they are paired against 1 0 MarHhall, a perennial power preparing to move into the Division I-A Mid American Conference next season. Hut the Delaware players didn't seem to mind. They were glad the; wait waH over and they were in the playoffs. Last night I waH pretty confident, hut the more I thought ahout it I began to wonder if there miht he a way we might not get in," senior linehacker Geof Gardner said. "By the time I walked in here 1 had butterflies in my Htomarh." Delaware hegan it wailing game on the afternoon of Nov. Hi, when the Hen completed their HeaHon wilh a 43-27 victory over Rhode Maud. They were 8-3, hut William & Mary owned the Yankee Conference' automatic berth, 8-3 Division l-AA tournament Home towns in bold. All limes Easlorn Standard Time. Flrtt round Saturday 1 Montana 16 Niclmlls Stale I East Tsnnatsea State I I Villjuova 4 Troy State 13FlondaARM 5 Murray State 12 Western Illinois 3 Northern 14 fastnrn Illinois Quarterfinals Dec. 2 8 William Mar; 9 JacksonState 7 Northern Arizona 10 fiiiinan 2 Marshall 15 Dnlaware Notre Dame fans cheer hiring of Davie Asuucmtm) Pratt SOUTH HFNI), Ind. -- Hob Davie was surrounded by cheering fans as he made his way into the room to be introduced as Notre Dame's new football conch. They were still there when he left an hour later, waiting to shake his hand ami get his autograph. The Hob Davie era imH officially begun at Notre Dame. "Obviously, it's a great day for me personally and it's a great I ..-"" , v "V r my mi my nun 111- l. !V: '. id 1 ily, Davie sau Sunday promise to the Notre Dame family that I'm going to do everything in my power so that hopefully one day, people will look back on Bob Davie this and say it was a great day for Notre Dame football." Davie, Notre Dame's defensive coordinator the past three years, succeeds lxu Iloltz in the glamour job of college football. Iloltz announced Tuesday he was stepping down after 11 seasons as the Irish coach. Davie signed a five-year contract. It's the first head coaching job for Davie, 42, who haH spent the past 20 years as a defensive assistant. He becomes the 2(ilh coach at Notre Dame, and the first assistant to be hired as Irish coach since Terry Hrennan succeeded Frank Ixahy in 1954. ALABAMA: A day after announcing his resignaon, coach Gene Villanova had m 27-0 victory over Delaware and 8-2 New Hampshire was preparing for a game against Northeastern, a team that hadn't defeated the Wildcats in 23 years. Sleepless in Newark? Definitely for senior defensive end Josh Mas-trangelo. "I didn't get much sleep all week," he said. "It's been an up and down thing where one day you knew you were going to get in and the next day it was like, 'No, way.' " Hut Northeastern came through, defeating New Hampshire ;) -28 to drop the Wildcats to H-.'l. As it turned out, it was probably the game that put Delaware in the playoffs and New Hampshire out. "Yesterday really helped. If Northeastern doesn't win that game, I think we are not in," Mas-trangelo said. Receiver Fddie Conti is glad the Hens will receive a final chance to live up to their lofty preseason expectations. "It would have been embarrassing for us not to get into the playoffs after being ranked as high a second in the country before the season began," Conti said. "We're really lucky to be in this, ! guess, but they keep talking about what's going to happen when our offense comes together. "Well, it's late, and we haven't come together yet, but ..." yicAA Semifinals Doc. 9 Championship Doc. 16 Marshall University Huntington, W Va Semifinals Dec. 9 Stallings suggested Alabama look at his stalf for a replacement . Athletic director Hob Kockrath refused to discuss the selection process. "There are some well qualified people on our si a If and I hope and pray that they will be given some consideration," Stallings said after No. 15 Alabama clinched the SFC West title with a thrilling 21 2.1 win over Auburn. Defensive coordinator Mike Du-hose, in his 1 1th tritit r Ml l i ti t lin Lj ..... , w.. . ,lv Tide, would be the most likely candidateou the staff to replace Stallings. Olfen-sive coordinator Woody M vey is a not considerat I as is secondary r i til rh fllrlfiv llallman, the Gene Stallings former coach at LSU and Southern Mississippi. Others mentioned are Colorado's Rick Neuheisel, Miami's Hutch Davis and former UCLA coach Terry Donahue. PENN STATE: Could the Nittany Lions be playing on New Year's DavV In a major bowl? 1'enn State (10-2. 6-2 Hig Ten) ended the season third in the conference, which could mean a trip to the Outback Howl in Tampa, Fla. Hut with its lofty ranking, 10 wins and devoted alumni, the Lions are an attractive alliance choice. "I will either be eating chips or oranges," said ('tu t is Knis, referring to the Fiesta Howl, sponsored by Tostitos, in Temne, Ariz., or the OrangiHowl in Miami. "I don't l.er I ,.-1 f A 1 Delaware receiver Eddie Conti said the After stumbling at Villanova in their second game, the Hens gained resolve and composure and lost only two more games, a 10-7 overtime loss at league champion William & Mary and a .'10-14 loss at Division l-AA Navy. Delaware trailed by only six points entering the final quarter against the 8-2 Midshipmen. Delaware is 0-2 against Marshall in Huntington, but the Hens know the background of the 28-7 loss in l!f!!2 and a .'il-.'ll setback in l!f!i:i. "In the hack of my mind, quar Herd has By KEVIN TRESOLINI Slutt reporter Marshall University isn't in Division I-A yi't. Hut the Thundering Herd has treated its Division l-AA opposition as if it's already playing at a higher level this season The University of Delaware's first-round foe Saturday in the I-AA playoffs is 11-0. Hut Uinta not as impressive as the average score by which Marshall has won those 1 1 games, which happens to be 42-14. Next year Marshall joins the Division I-A Mid-American Conference, anil its roster already reflects the step up. (Quarterback Eric Kresser, a transfer from Florida, has completed 61,6 percent of his passes for 24 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Wide receiver Randy Moss, a transfer from Florida State, has 1,073 receiving yards anil 19 touchdowns. Running hacks Fric Thomas (848 yards) and Doug Chapman (838) add to Marshall's offensive balance. The Thundering Herd's average of 464.1 yards per game is evenly spit between mailing (212.9) and passing (2.r1.2). Its closest games were 29-13 against (leorgia Southern and 24- First place voles In parentheses, rocords through Nov ?3, tolal points based on 25 points tor a first place vote through one point lor a ?5lli place vole, and last week s ranking: Hitcord Pts Pv 1. Florida (59) 10 0 1,667 1 2 Honda SI (5) 10 0 1.601 3 3 AnonflSt (3) 110 1.554 4 4 Nebraska 9-1 1,45 5 5. Colorado 9 1 1.3H2 6 6 Ohio SI. 10-1 1.3?6 2 7 Bnyhatn Young 12-1 1.P07 8 a.PunnSt. 10 2 1.206 7 9 Tennessee 8 2 1.042 9 10 Notre Dams 8 2 1.020 10 11 Northwestern 9 2 950 11 12 Washington 9-2 870 12 13 North Carolina 9-2 851 13 14. Kansas St. 9 2 793 14 15. Alabama 9 2 768 15 1fi Syracuse 8 2 700 16 17 Virginia loch 9 1 677 17 18 Michigan 8-3 6?5 21 19 LSU 8 2 50 18 20. Virginia 7 3 416 19 21 Wyoming 10-1 360 20 22. Iowa 8-3 2.17 24 23 Miami 7-3 203 25 24 Army 9-1 73 -25. Wnst Virginia 8-3 51 23 Olhers receiving votos: Southern Miss 31, Auburn 30, Fast Carolina 29, Navy 22. Toxns 13, Clemson 8, loxns Tech 8, Houston 7, Ball SI 2. Stanford 2, Michigan St 1, Rice 1, Utah 1. think it really matters to us." The bowls do not have to make a decision until Dec. 8, when all the key games have been played. If Notre Dame beats USC on Saturday, there is a good chance they will go to the Fiesta, which has the third and fifth bid selections after the Sugar Howl lakes the top two picks. If Notre Dame goes to Tempi!, the Orange would likely take the Lions. BAYLOR: Coach Chuck Reedy was fired Sunday, one day after a 37-17 loss to Oklahoma State that left the Hears (4-7) with their worst record since 1978 and a last place finish in their inaugural season in the Hig 12 South. Reedy was in the fourth year of a five-year contract. FLORIDA STATE: Starting (JH SIS) ) Division l-AA playoffs give the Hens a terback Hill) Vergantino was sick and it was still a game in the fourth quarter," Mastrangelosaid. "In the second game, we recover that fumble and who knows what happens? It's not like we can't hang with l hem. It's not like we haven't." In 1992, Delaware trailed only 14-7 entering the fourth quarter despite playing the entire second half without Vergantino, the YO offensive player of the year. The 199,'t Hens were tied with a minute remaining, but were beaten by a 3H-yard field goal after almost recovering a Marshall fumble. thundered HEMS i GARDNER SAYS: The two places I wanted to go, Montana and Marshall. The trip to Montana is great. It's a beautiful place. And Marshall is a quality football place. It has atmosphere, the facility is great and the fans really get into it." Senior linebacker Geo! Gardner on the Blue Hens' NCAA tournament draw. BACK TO PRACTICE: Delaware, which has only practiced one day since defeating Rhode Island on Nov. 16, will resume practice this afternoon. "We'll have an extended practice on Monday. We'll go far beyond the normal time limits," Raymond said. "Tuesday, we'll be polishing off, Wednesday we'll start cutting the practice time down." The Blue Hens will practice Thursday morning, then have a Thanksgiving meal on campus. The team will fly to Huntington on Friday morning. INJURIES: Delaware HB John 10 against Appalachian State. In its last two games, Marshall easily handled teams that are also in tlie I-AA tournament and seedeil higher than Delaware, whipping Fast Tennessee State 34- First-place voles in parentheses, records through Nov. 24, total points based on 25 points tor a first place vole through one point lor a 25th place vote, and last week's ranking Uncord Pts Pvs 1. Florida (52) 10 0 1,539 1 2 Florida Stale (7) 10 0 1,480 3 3 Arizona Stale (3) 11-0 1.429 4 4. Nebraska 9-1 1,375 5 5. Colorado 9-1 1,277 6 6 Ohio Slate 10-1 1,182 2 7 Brigham Young 12-1 1,131 7 8 Perm State 10-2 1,064 8 9. Virginia Tech 91 971 9 10. Tonnessoe 8-2 943 10 11. Northwestern 9-2 857 11 12 Alabama 9-2 822 12 13 Noire Dame 8 2 809 13 14 North Carolina 9 2 754 14 15. Washington 9-2 751 15 16 Kansas St 9 2 663 16 17 Syracuse 8 2 608 17 18 Louisiana Stale 8-2 482 18 19 Michigan 8-3 441 22 20. Wyoming 10-1 394 19 21. Virginia 7-3 363 19 22 Iowa 8-3 235 23 23 Miami 7-3 195 25 24 Army 9-1 113 25. Wnst Virginia 8-3 80 24 Olhers receiving votes: Navy 48, Auburn 39, Clemson 25, Texas Toch 18, E. Caro 15, So. Miss. 15, Houston 12, Texas 10, S Carolina 3, Utah 3, Stanford 2, Wisconsin 2, S. Diego St. 1, UCLA 1. Thad Husby may miss Saturday's showdown against No. 1 Florida with a knee injury. Freshman Dan Kendra, who replaced Husby last Saturday after he was injured, will start if Husby can't play. Kendra passed for 151 yards and a touchdown to lead the second-ranked Seminoles to 31 points in just over a half in a 48-10 victory over Maryland. SOUTHERN CAL: (JH Hrad Otton, who left USC's loss to UCLA on Saturday because of bruised ribs, is questionable for Saturday's game against No. 10 Notre Dame. ALOHA BOWL: California (6-5) ao ccpted an invitation to play in Honolulu on Christmas Day. The Golden Hears are expected to face Texas A&M. The Newt Journal tfettOBERT CRAW chance to live up to early expectations. Delaware also has some major upsets in lUt playoff history: a 17-0 semifinal victory over No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech in 1982, a 41-18 quarterfinal victory over No. 1 Northeast Ixmisiana in 1992 and a 49-48 opening-rountl victory over No. 1 Montana in 1993. "We've beaten some pretty good teams, but most of those were in later rounds," Raymond said. "This is by far the toughest opening game we've had. Hut though I know Marshall is going I-A next season, so was Northeast Ixiuisiana in 1992." all season UPDATE Key (shoulder) and DB Dale Kociel-ski (leg) are questionable. Marshall reports no injuries. TICKET INFO: All tickets are $15 in Marshall Stadium, where the Thundering Herd has averaged 21,970 fans per game. Tickets may be ordered by calling (800) THE-HERD. ON HOLD: Charges against Marshall WR Randy Moss for domestic violence have been placed in abeyance and the Florida State transfer will be available to play Saturday. TomTomashek .10 and Furman 42-17. "We'd have to face them sooner or later anyway," said Geoff Gardner, senior linehacker on a Delaware team happy to be going anywhere in the postseason. Collick, young Hornets say best is yet to come 3-8 Delaware State ready to look ahead By GENE BRYSON Stall rnportnr WASHINGTON A day for looking back became a time to look ahead. After Delaware State's season-ending 48-23 loss to Howard on Saturday, many Hornets reflected on a disappointing 3-8 season and on the career of Hill Collick, who may step down as coach this week. Hut the Hornets were just as quick to look forward at what they hope will be a promising future. "There's no question we were disappointed in this season, but I believe very strongly you'll hear from this group," said Collick, who will announce Tuesday whether he'll remain as coach or step aside to concentrate on his duties as athletic director. The team's youth, which played a largo part in dooming the Hornets to their first losing season since 1982, is also the reason for such high hopes for the future. Delaware State loses only seven seniors, just four of them starters. And because of injuries taking a heavy toll, as many as 17 first-year starters lined up in some games this season. "We've got just about everybody coming back,' said freshman quarterback Ruhsaan Matthews. "We think we're going to be a pretty good team in the next couple of years." Some of the Hornets believe they'll be more than "pretty good." "We think we're a team of the future," said freshman safety Del. stars help 'Nova make field By JOHN N. MITCHELL Statl reporter RADNOR, Pa. The waiting and wondering about whether the Villanova Wildcats would be in the NCAA Division I-AA football playoffs ended almost as soon as the players and coaches sat down to watch the selection show on Sunday. A loud cheer went up less than five minutes into the broadcast when the Wildcat found out they would travel to Johnson City, Tenn., to face Fast Tennessee State on Saturday. "We've been practicing on somewhat of a high the last week, because we we were planning on making the playoffs," said senior free safety Deon Jackson, a former Sussex Central High School star. "I think that will carry over into this week and we'll be ready for Fast Tennessee State." Jackson has been perhaps the best player on the Villanova defense this season, leading the team with 96 tackles. He also has four interceptions, including one in a 27-0 victory over Delaware early this season. Another Delaware product . sophomore strong safety Shannon Riley of Glasgow isn't far behind with 93 tackles and four interceptions. He recovered two fumbles and blocked a field goal against the Hlue Hens. "They've both played extremely well for us in the secondary this season," Villanova coach Andy Tal-ley Raid. "Those two guys have been forces in the secondary for us. Deon is very inspirational. He keeps our guys sky high in there. We're really delighted with their play." The Wildcats were 3-8 last year, but improved to 8-3 this season. Villanova will be making its first playoff appearance since 1992,' when the Wildcats lost to Youngstown State 23-20 in the first ' round. It will be the Wildcats' fourth appearance in the tournament. Fast Tennessee State is much like Villanova, having improved from 4-7 last year to 9-2 this season. The Hues will be making their first playoff appearance. "J don't know anything about,, them, but they have to be a good team," Talley said. "They're in the same conference as Marshall and Furman and some very good football teams. In that respect I know we're going to play a very good football team." FTSU is led by quarterback Greg Ryan, who threw for 2,045 yards and completed 63.7 percent of his passes this season. Freshman running back Hrandon Walker rushed for 1,116 yards second-best in school history and scored 12 touchdowns. Villanova will be without its best offensive weapon, receiver Hrian Finneran, who had surgery to repair torn knee ligaments on Friday. Finneran caught 81 passes for 1,207 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Joshaun Smith. "We've got, a great chance to win some championships in the next few years at Delaware State." Whether Collick is the coach or not, he likes what he sees when ho looks ahead. "We got a lot of the pieces to the puzzle put in place," he said. "We've got two quarterbacks who we think can play, both the offensive and defensive lines are coming on and they're all back. You're going to hear from them." The ret urn of veterans such bb Lamar Hanks, Hryan Jenkins, Huron Spinner and Jason Williams, who were lost for the season with injuries, should make the Hornets even stronger. "With thosi! guys coming back and with our young kids having a year of experience, it's going to give us a good group," said Collick. Delaware State's younger players were disappointed with the losing season, but viewed it as a valuable learning experience. "We improved a lot from the beginning of the year, but it just wasn't quite enough," said Matthews. "Hut we're going to keep getting better and we're going to start winning some games." Some Delaware State veterans are sorry they won't be around for tho better days they believe lie ahead, "These guys started out so young, but they developed some chemistry as they played together and they started to get a lot better," said senior halfback Dennis ' Hill. "They're going to continue to get better and they're going to be a good football team. I wish I could ittill be here with rhem."

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