The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on December 31, 1985 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Tuesday, December 31, 1985
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Page 13
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Bowl agenda The Salina Journal Tuesday, December 31,1985 Page 13 Texas hopes to ground Air Force HOUSTON (AP) - The lOth-ranked Air Force Falcons, with a high- scoring offense powered by a double-threat quarterback, and the comeback-minded Texas Longhorns, collide today in the 27th Bluebonnet Bowl. Air Force, 11-1, has won three bowl appearances in a row and Texas, 8-3, has lost its last three. The Falcons are led by senior quarterback Bart Weiss, who this season became the third Bluebonnet Bowl player in NCAA history to rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards. Air Force, which runs the wishbone offense to perfection, is scoring 37,2j)oints per game, third-best in the nation, and the Falcons' 421.8 yarns per game is the 12th-best. The Longhorns, picked as a second-division team in the Southwest Conference this season, fought back to an 8-3 record but ended on a disappointing note with a 42-10 loss to SWC champion Texas A&M. Texas is making its ninth consecutive bowl appearance under Coach Fred Akers. But the Longhorns have lost six of them, including last year's 55-14 demolition by Iowa in the Freedom Bowl. "This year, we've stuck together more as a team," Texas center Gene Chilton said. "I think everyone sees this game as a chance to move back up in the rankings." Chilton thinks the Longhorns, despite their tradition of winning, have lost some of their glitter because of their postseason fizzles. "We feel some people didn't give us the credit we deserve because of last year," he said. "When you go out the way we did last year, you lose some of your recognition." Weiss has been the guiding force in the Falcon offense this season, rushing for 1,032 yards and passing for 1,449 this season. But he says he doesn't feel pressure to be a one-man team. "We take what the defense gives us," Weiss said. "If they want to stop the pitch, I'll run. If they want to play me, we've got others who can run, too." Air Force's Mark Simon is the nation's leading punter with a 47.3 average and safety Scott Thomas is only the fourth player in NCAA history to return an interception, kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same season. Air Force leads the nation with a 27-yard average on punt returns. Texas punter John Teltschik ranks sixth nationally with a 45.3 average. Air Force has intercepted 28 opponents' passes and recovered 12 fumbles to rank fourth in the nation in turnover ratio. "They are a team that will take advantage of your mistakes," Akers said. "We've got to eliminate our mistakes if we want to win the game. We've either been very good at it this season or very bad. I'd like to see a game where we are very good." The Longhorns can count on scoring punch from kicker Jeff Ward, who booted 19 field goals this season, equaling the SWC record for a single season. He broke the school record of 17 set by John GoodSon in 1979. Sophomore quarterback Bret Stafford will lead the Longhorns. He's hit 56 percent of his passes this season. Charles Hunter is the team's leading rusher with 717 yards on 154 carries. Illini, Cadets have different styles ATLANTA (AP) — Illinois and Army took different paths to today's meeting in the Peach Bowl. The Ulini did it primarily on the throwing of quarterback Jack Trudeau, the Cadets with a ground attack ranked second in the nation. Illinois, 6-4-1, is a touchdown favorite over 8-3 Army in the 2 p.m. nationally-televised game at . Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Since teams' attacks differed so drastically, it made it difficult to simulate their opponent during defensive practice, both coaches said Monday. "It's a great offense," Illinois coach Mike White said of Army's wishbone, which averaged 336.4 yards per game and was led by fullback Doug Black with 950 yards. "We played against it in the Liberty Bowl several years ago against . Bear Bryant but we have not seen it since," White said. Illinois lost that game 21-15 in 1982 in Bryant's final game. "I asked Jim (Army coach Jim Young) before we began practicing that I'd lend him my third team quarterback if he'd lend me his third teamer for practices," White said with a smile. "But Jim declined. Do you think that gives him an advantage ?'' Young just smiled back at White and admitted he also had problems simulating Illinois' in practice since Army only threw 79 passes all season, completing 41 for 680 yards and five touchdowns. Illinois, on the other hand, ranked eighth in the nation in passing, averaging 272 yards a game. Trudeau averaged more than 44 passes a game and finished with 284 completions in 446 attempts for 2,938 yards and 15 touchdowns. His favorite receiver was All-American wide receiver David Williams who had 85 catches for 1,047 yards and 8 TDs. "The contrasting styles is what makes it a great matchup," said White, who has guided Illinois to three bowl games in the last four years and a 40-26-2 record since joining the school six seasons ago. "We just hope we can slow them down," said Young. "We know they're going to throw a lot of short passes and they have the ability to make the big play after the catch. They're a very dangerous football team." Young also said he would start Rob Healy at quarterback. Healy, who started seven games during the season, suffered a separated left shoulder in the final game of the regular schedule, a 17-7 loss to Navy. "He's a little better passer and has more experience," Young said of the senior, who gets the nod over sophomore Tory Crawford. Healy completed 27 of 47 passes for 421 yards and four touchdowns while Crawford hit on 13 of 29 for 254 yards and one TD. Crawford, however, was the team's second leading rusher with 657 yards. Healy was fifth with 537. Georgia Tech QB on the spot BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A nervous sophomore, suddenly on the spot, will quarterback Georgia Tech's football team in the All American Bowl tonight, but that won't change Michigan State's plans. ' 'Of course I'm nervous," said Todd Rampley, who threw only two passes during Georgia Tech's 8-2-1 season. Rampley is making his first start because Coach Bill Curry benched senior John Dewberry and three other players, in- Peach Bowl All American Bowl eluding two starters, for missing last Friday night's 1 a.m. curfew. "If I didn't get nervous before a game, I wouldn't be playing," Rampley said. "Tuesday night I will relax and do just what I've been taught to do in the last two years here.'' Dewberry's suspension, Michigan State linebacker Shane Bullough said, "doesn't change our game plan. We know that if it happened to us, the players coming in would pick up the slack. I expect the same things will happen with Georgia Tech." Bullough said the Spartans are not "going to try to do anything different to spook him. We'll just try to get after him and see how he reacts." In addition to Dewberry, Curry suspended receivers Gary Lee and Toby Pearson, both starters, and reserve fullback Charles Mack. "We're crushed because they are not going to play," Curry said, "but we've played without starters all season. One of the marks of this team is that people who are backups have stepped in and done good jobs for us. "That's what will be required again, that we pull together, suck it up and play real well." Michigan State coach George Perles said the suspensions "will have no bearing on us. We have our own team to take care of. We didn't change a thing in the game plan." Rampley said, "A lot of the pressure is self-induced. I want this team to be 9-2-1 as much as anybody. It's a big chance for me." Michigan State, 7-4, will counter with junior Dave Yarema, who led the Spartans to five straight victories after returning from an injury. "We have tremendous respect for Michigan State," Curry said. "They are the hottest and best team in their conference (Big Ten) right now." Bears, Giants ready for ' By DAVE GOLDBERG APFootbaU Writer The Chicago Bears, the National Football League's dominant team this season, profess no surprise that their first playoff opponents will be the New York Giants, who have a similar bruising style. And they figure that if they can't beat the Giants, their crowd will. "I had a feeling six weeks ago that we'd play the Giants somewhere along the line," says defensive end Dan Hampton of 15-1 Chicago, the prohibitive favorite in the Super Bowl derby that was reduced from 10 teams to eight by the weekend doubleheader at Giants Stadium. Next Sunday's game in Chicago was set up when the Giants manhandled the San Francisco 49ers 173 Sunday and guaranteed that the NFL would be without a repeat champion for the sixth consecutive season. It's one of four on what is traditionally the year's biggest weekend for the nation's couch potatoes and the longest for many of their wives. It begins with the Cleveland Browns, the 8-8 qualifiers from the AFC Central at the Miami Dolphins at 12:30 EST Saturday and NBC. It follows with the Dallas Cowboys at the Los Angeles Rams at 4 p.m. EST on CBS. The Giants-Bears on CBS opens the Sunday program followed by the New England Patriots at the Los Angeles Raiders on NBC. The Patriots qualified for that game by beating the New York Jets 26-14 Saturday. The Sunday games may be the highlights, particularly the Giants-Bears, the first meeting of those two teams since the final game of the 1977 season, when Chicago beat New York 12-9 in overtime in a Giants Stadium ice storm. Just seven players remain from the rosters of those two teams — Harry Carson, George Martin and Brad Benson of the Giants; Walter Payton, Mike Hartenstine and Gary Fencik of the Bears, and Emery Moorehead, the Chicago tight end who was a rookie wide receiver with New York back then. "I think the Giants are an excellent football team," Chicago coach Mike Ditka said. "They'll be very hard to beat. They have great offensive balance and they play defense the way it was supposed to be played. They come after you and take no prisoners. It ought to be a war." But Ditka's center, Jay Hilgenberg, thinks the key factor may be the site of the game — Soldier Field. "It's going to be a big edge for us," Hilgenberg said. "It was really loud when we played at Washington and San Francisco in the playoffs last year. This year the fans will be on our side." There also figure to be few prisoners when the Patriots play the Raiders. "It's a higher level of intensity in the playoffs because if you lose, you're done," says defensive New York linebacker Lawrence Taylor raised his fists in triumph after the Giants eliminated the San Francisco 49ers Sunday. end Garin Veris of the Patriots, who had three sacks in New England's win over the Jets. Dismissed before the season as a talented team that lacked killer instinct, New England has quietly become a defensive powerhouse that has allowed more than two touchdowns in just two of its last 11 games. The Pats surrendered five TDs in a 35-20 loss to the Raiders in Foxboro on Sept. 29 but two of those scores came on pass interceptions and a third on Lyle Alzado's recovery of a Craig James fumble in the end zone. "It's one of the things we've been looking forward to, getting the Raiders again," says New England linebacker Andre Tippett, who was the dominant force in the Patriots' win over the Jets Saturday and scored a TD against Los Angeles on a fumble return in the first game. "I don't think there's any question we can play with them." The meeting between the Rams and Cowboys is their eighth playoff game since 1973. Dallas has won four of them. This year's version matches two of the NFL's enigmas. The Rams started 7-0, although many of their wins were unimpressive, then stumbled home 11-5 although they won the game they had to — 27-20 in San Francisco that gave them the NFC West title. They won despite an off-season by Eric Dickerson, who fell from a record 2,105 yards rushing in 1984 to 1,234 after a month-long holdout. Dallas finished at 10-6, the same mark as the Giants, but won the NFC East title by beating the Giants twice in games they could easily have lost. The second win came a week after Dallas had been destroyed 50-24 by Cincinnati. The Cowboys also lost 44-0 to the Bears at home. Cleveland goes into Miami with an 8-8 record good enough to be the best in the AFC Central but bad enough to be the worst ever to make it to the playoffs. The game is a homecoming for the Browns' rookie quarterback, Bernie Kosar, who led the University of Miami to the national collegiate championship in 1983. Richardson expected to meet with agent 11.99% EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Micheal Ray Richardson, the New Jersey Nets' All-Star guard who dropped out of sight three days ago, told his agent Monday that he had personal problems and planned to meet with him today. "He called this afternoon and said he was OK," Charles Grantham said. "He said he was having personal problems. I don't know the extent of the situation and I really Richardson don't want to say anything until I know definitely what's wrong." Grantham said he did not know what prompted Richardson to disappear or where the player was staying. He said he did have a telephone number to contact him. The agent did not say where he would meet with Richardson, but said he probably would issue a statement after meeting with the player. A source close to the Nets said Richardson still has not contacted team officials, but they know "he is around." "He is not nowhere to be found," the source said. "He has talked with a couple of people, but not the team.'' Richardson was last seen at a team Christmas party in Moonachie on Friday night. Since then, he has missed a Nets shoot-around and game on Saturday, a practice Sunday, and a team shoot-around on Monday. Lewis Schaffel, the Nets executive vice president, said the Nets needed more information before they decided their next step with Richardson. "The whole thing is a nuisance," said Schaffel. "It interferes with a team that's on a roll." Schaffel said he does not know why Richardson dropped out of sight, but there has been concern because of the player's past problems with drugs. "There is no indication that the problem has anything to do with drugs, but also there is no indication it wasn't," Schaff el said. Richardson has had two battles with drug dependency, the latest coining in October, 1983 which led to his being waived by the Nets. He eventually underwent drug rehabilitation and was reinstated by the team in December, 1983. If Richardson's current problem is drug-related, it would be considered only his second offense by the NBA because the first came before the league established its drug program, NBA spokesman Alex Sachare said. "I have spoken with the league's attorneys," said Sachare. "If Richardson came forward voluntarily for a drug problem, we would treat it as a second offense under our drug program. He would be suspended without pay and undergo treatment at the club's expense." Under the league's drug policy, a player would be banned from playing for two years for a third drug-related offense. Richardson had played in 151 consecutive games for the Nets until he missed Saturday's contest. That was the longest current streak of any Nets player. The eight-year veteran had paced the Nets to a 19-13 record by averaging a team-high 17.3 points. The Nets were in second place in the Atlantic Division prior to Monday night's game against the New York Knicks. Richardson also leads New Jersey with an average 7.8 assists and 2.97 steals per game and is the club's third-leading rebounder with 5.7. Teammate Darryl Dawkins said he was concerned about Richardson. "I love him personally as a friend," said Dawkins. "I'm concerned about him. He's been through a lot and I hope he's all right." NBA honors Wilkins NEW YORK (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins, who averaged 35.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in two games, was named Monday the National Basketball Association Player of the Week. Wilkins scored 35 points in a 111-109 loss to Washington Friday night and hit 36 points and a career-high 17 rebounds in a 100-80 win over Atlanta on Sunday. Others under consideration were Adrian Dantley of Utah, Artis Gilmore of San Antonio, Purvis Short of Golden State, Moses Malone of Philadelphia, Larry Nance of Phoenix and Patrick Ewing of New York. 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