The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on September 28, 1996 · Page 23
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 23

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Saturday, September 28, 1996
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THE SALINA JOURNAI COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURD, GAMEDAY T KANSAS CONFERENCE Bethany (0-1, 0-0) at Ottawa (0-2, 0-1) Count Bethany coach Ted Kessinger among those trying to figure out what's wrong with the Ottawa Braves. "We heard they had 20 of 22 starters back and we know Dave •Dallas is a good coach," Kessinger ;said. "They lost (their opener) to a -good William Jewell team and Bethel is much more impressive •that they have been in recent years. "But to be honest, we don't know what's wrong. Their statistics are not very strong. I guess 'they have some young people at 'certain positions." Bethany plays Ottawa at 1:30 today in Ottawa in a Kansas Conference game. The Braves, picked to finish second in two KCAC preseason polls, are 0-2 and have scored a total of seven points in their two games. They lost their opener at William Jewell 30-0 and were stunned 16-7 last week at Bethel. "Bethel could have scored a couple more times," Kessinger said. "(Quarterback Brock) Nessa didn't have much time to .throw." ; Ottawa managed just 112 yards •total offense against Bethel, including 38 yards rushing on 33 at;tempts. Nessa was 7 of 25 passing for 79 yards. Defensively, Bethel shredded the Braves' defense for 293 yards, 174 rushing including 117 by tailback Robert Alvarez. ', Like Ottawa, Bethany also will be seeking its first victory of the season after a 28-17 road loss last Saturday to No. 19-ranked Hastings, Neb. Bethany, ranked llth in NAIA Division II last week, fell to No. 21 in this week's poll. Today's schedule • Bethany at Ottawa, 1:30 p.m. (KBBE, 96.7-FM). • Kansas Wesleyan at Southwestern, 7 p.m. (KSKG, 99.9-FM). Wesleyan goes after first victory But Kessinger saw several positives in the setback. "We played against a team we're probably equal to, but they played better than we did," he said. "We weren't technique- sound on offense or defense. They had good offensive and defensive schemes against us. They were better prepared and played better that day. "It was a great barometer. They give you a test and a half. It was an eye opener. Our players felt Hastings would be good, but not as good as they turned out to be. The game was Bethany's season opener while Hastings was playing its third game, the first two against NCAA Division II opponents. Bethany quarterback Jorge Munoz was 24 of 39 passing for 212 yards. But Hastings was able to keep the ball away from him and the Swedes' offense with a ground- oriented attack that chewed up 344 yards and considerable time. Bethany had just 60 yards rushing. Bethany tailback Mike Godwin suffered an ankle injury in the first half and didn't return. Kessinger said he is "about 90 percent" and will start the game along with Munoz, fullback David Hales and wide receivers Van Mortensen and Bobby Lugo. — By Bob Davidson BIG 12 FOOTBALL: AY S GAMES DALLAS — Here are capsule pre•views for the seven games of the Big -12 Conference today: Colorado State (2-2) at Nebraska (1-1) ' • Where — Memorial Stadium. ; • When — 11:30 a.m., Fox Sports Net syndicated telecast. • The teams — Colorado State always must be outscored with its multiple schemes. Recent CSU squads have added bend-not-break defenses to their repertoire. Nebraska owns a nation-longest, home winning streak of 31 games. The Huskers were shocked 19-0 by Arizona State last week on the road, dropping from No. 1 to No. 8 nationally. • Key individuals — Wideout Paul Turner of the Rams continues to be a factor after making 41 catches for 678 yards and nine TDs in 1995. Linebacker Willie Taylor (67 stops last year) is a defensive mainstay. Nebraska linebacker Grant Wistrom is a sometimes-unsung stopper alongside 1995 All-America linebacker Jared Tomich. Kicker Kris Brown (109 points in his last 13 regular-season contests) is a valuable weapon in the Nebraska offensive arsenal. Missouri (1-1) at Iowa State (1-2) • Where — Cyclone Stadium. • When — 1 p.m • The teams — The Tigers used the ground game to chew up large 'chunks of yardage in a 45-31 win at iColumbia last season. Missouri .showed signs of regaining that ball control in last week's 38-23 victory over Clemson. Iowa State has _proven to be competitive against 'even the stingiest of defenses (Iowa) and has added a high-percentage passing game to its 1996 repertoire. • Key individuals — Alternating quarterbacks Corby Jones and Kent .Skornia (combined 38-of-72 passing for 357 yards, four TDs) give the •Tigers a production boost on offense while DeMontie Cross (nine tackles last week in spite of a hamstring pull) makes a difference defensively. Troy Davis, who rushed for 241 yards on 53 carries against Northern Iowa, has 2,936 career yards rushing. Defenders cornerback Dawan Anderson and free safety Mike Lincavage own almost 300 stops between them in a total of five seasons. Tulsa (1-2) at Oklahoma (0-2) • Where — Memorial Stadium. • When —1:30 p.m. • The teams —Tulsa put together all phases of its young attack in the 'win over Iowa (ranked 19th nation- 'ally by Associated Press at the time). Oklahoma jump-started its offense ,late in the fourth quarter against •TCU and zipped to 31 points with 505 .yards of total offense and a 9.2 yards per play average in its loss at San Diego State last week. • Key individuals — Quarterback John Fitzgerald (22-of-37 pass- 'ing for 361 yards, one TD) against Iowa may miss this weeks clash with a shoulder separation. Running back Reggie Williams rushed for 106 yards on 24 tries in the triumph. Sooners' running back DeMond Parker leads all Big 12 rushers with 25 or more carries by averaging 11 yards per rush (26 for 287 yards, 244 coming on 18 carries with three TDs against SD- SU). Tight end Stephen Alexander (four catches, 137 yards last week) is showing flashes of his 1995 All-Big Eight Conference brilliance. Defensive tackle Barren Tanner lends key experience. Colorado (2-1) at Texas A&M (1-2) • Where — Kyle Field. BIG ;NCE Coyotes looking toward continued progress, win against Southwestern By BOB DAVIDSON Tlie Salina Journal • When — 2:30 p.m, ABC regional telecast. • The teams — Colorado's crew is particularly tough on road opponents. The Buffaloes are 7-0 away from Boulder under coach Rick Neuheisel. Slocum's charges present the irresistible object with a 40-2-1 record (since 1989) at newly-natural- ly-turfed Kyle Field. The Aggies gained confidence with a 55-0 blanking of North Texas as they produced exactly 312 rushing and 312 passing yards for 624 total offense steps. • Key individuals — Buffaloes' quarterback Koy Detmer, a native of Mission, Texas, is 17th nationally with a passing efficiency of 147.2 (74- of-114 for 905 yards and six TDs). Buffaloes' wide receiver Rae Carruth (16 catches, 219 yards) is a great companion for senior wideout James Kidd (11 grabs, 158 yards). A&M defensive back Rich Coady (three interceptions) hopes to offset the expected deep-passing onslaught by Colorado. Running back Sirr Parker (53 carries, 284 yards) has been a dependable member of the Aggies' offense while defensive end Brandon Mitchell anchors an improving pass rush. Utah State (2-2) at Texas Tech (1-2) • Where — Jones Stadium. • When — 6:30 p.m. • The teams — The Aggies are a constant, big-play threat to the Red Raiders after USU passed for 390 yards last week at Oklahoma State. Texas Tech's defense has been impressive, but Dykes looks for more consistency in the aerial attack when Utah State comes calling Saturday. Tech's foes average just 72 yards per game rushing. • Key Individuals — Running back Abu Wilson of USU was held in check (16 yards) by Oklahoma State last week but is a capable carrier. Aggies' running back DeMario Brown is heir apparent to Wilson, the all-time Big West rushing leader. Raiders' wide receiver Field Scovell hopes to get back to the level of his first two seasons when he averaged 17.3 yards on 33 receptions. Corner back Corey Turner helped Texas Tech hold Georgia to 15 points in Athens last week. Fullback Sammy Morris is an integral part of the team's run- and pass-blocking sets. Texas (2-1) at Virginia (3-0) • Where — Scott Stadium, ESPN. • When — 6:30 p.m. (CDT). • The teams — The Longhorns (10 in the Big 12) hope to gain momentum in their final non-conference game of the 1996 regular slate before switching back to Big 12 play next week against Oklahoma State. Virginia is knotted with North Carolina atop the ACC at 2-0. • Key individuals — Texas quarterback James Brown nears the school record for career touchdown passes (37 by Pete Gardere from 1989-92) with 35 all-time TD tosses. Brown has 278 career completions and 3,810 yards in 23 contests. Free safety Chris Carter (12 career interceptions) joins noseguard Chris Akins (145 tackles in his first two seasons) as diligent defensemen. Cavs' running back Tiki Barber is a steadying influence on the young offense. — By The Associated Press First-year Kansas Wesleyan football coach Ron DuPree saw some improvement in the Coyotes' 21-14 loss last Saturday at Friends. Step No. 1 in the building process. The natural progression for the Coyotes, ac- DuPREE cording to DuPree's scale, would be a victory tonight in Winfield against Southwestern. "The first step in the building T BIG 12 process is to play well," DuPree said. "Step number two is knocking off somebody you shouldn't. Step number three is beating people you should beat. That's the hardest step." Wesleyan will seek its first victory of the season in tonight's 7 o'clock start. Southwestern is 1-1 having lost to NCAA Division II- member Central Missouri State 63-14 before rebounding with a 320 victory at Tabor last week. Southwestern downed Wesleyan 35-13 last season at Martin Stadium, rolling up 438 yards total offense — the majority of it on the ground. "They're trying to use more of a balanced attack," DuPree said. "Last year they lined up and ran right through us. I think they'll try to do more of the same this year." Southwestern had 344 yards to- tal offense against Tabor, led by running back Sherman Duncan's 162 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Duncan, a transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, scored on runs of 5 and 4 yards. Quarterback Ryan Wallis, a transfer from William Jewell, was 8 of 13 passing for 108 yards. He also ran 1 yard for Southwestern's first touchdown. Wesleyan's defense turned in a solid effort against Friends, limiting the Falcons' option offense to 120 yards on 40 attempts. "Our defense played well," DuPree said, "Especially the line. (Neil) MacGinnis, (Dennis) Gent and (Jerry) Snider did well. So did linebackers, (Javier) Avetrani and (Justin) Cagle." Free safety Trevis Ickler, Wesleyan's starting quarterback two weeks ago against Doane, Neb., moved back to defense last week Johner getting it done for KU Steadfast junior has established himself as Jayhawks' No. 1 QB By BLAIR KERKHOFF Kansas City Star L AWRENCE — Even those who know Kansas quarterback Matt Johner best clash when describing him. He's an athlete, insists Coach John Leibengood of Estancia High in Costa Mesa, Calif. "He was a great runner for us, a guy who could take a negative and turn it into a positive," Leibengood said. Matt Johner? KU's Matt Johner? "He doesn't have great mobility," Kansas Coach Glen Mason said. "He's not single-handedly going to get out of tight situations." There's a reason both coaches are right about the player who now owns the keys to the JOHNER Kansas offense. In his first two starts, Johner, a left-handed junior, has proved not to be overmatched. He has completed 27 of 45 passes (60 percent) and thrown for two touchdowns and no interceptions in blowout victories over Ball State and Texas Christian. Johner has played well enough to become firmly established as the No. 1 quarterback. Before the season, while Kansas waited for the injured knee ligament of Ben Rutz to heal) Johner took over the starting role. There has been some speculation that Rutz will get the job back when he's 100 percent. But that's not the case. The competition between Johner and Rutz "is not as close now as when it started," Mason said. "Johner's No. 1." He is for the first time since his high school senior season of 1992, when Johner was by far the best T TOP 25 "He's done things from the first day that impressed you." Glen Mason KU coach on quarterback Matt Johner player on a 5-5 team. His high school coach remembers him as a good athlete because Johner constantly scrambled for his life behind a suspect offensive line. Estancia wide receivers weren't the best, which helps explain Johner's underwhelming 1,010 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes. As the Jayhawks' starter, Johner follows a succession of quarterbacks in this decade who could run as well as they threw and sometimes better. Starting with Chip Hilleary, who rushed for more touchdowns than all but two players in school history, and followed by Asheiki Preston and Mark Williams, mobility hasn't been an issue with KU quarterbacks. Compared with them, Johner has slow feet, but it really wasn't his elusiveness that attracted Kansas coaches to him. Johner is cut more out of the classic quarterback mold. He looks taller than the listed 6 feet 1, and there's no doubting his arm strength or accuracy. "He's done things from the first day that impressed you," Mason said. "He's always been a good touch passer." Mostly, what has impressed Mason and the Kansas coaches is that Johner stayed in the program when it appeared he wouldn't become a starter until his senior year, or even his fifth year. "I'm a firm believer that good things happen to people who hang in there long enough," Mason said. Good things have happened to Johner and the Kansas offense this season. Game 'plans have been uncomplicated, with empha- sis put on the short pass — Johner has averaged 10 yards a completion. Also, he's surrounded by talented veterans. It has been a textbook case of easing into the offense, although the task gets more difficult with tonight's game at Utah. "I look in the huddle, and all I see are seniors or veterans," Johner said. When the time conies to make a play himself, Johner is sure he'll make the right decision, just as he did when it came to picking a college. Beyond his unspectacular statistics, Johner also had geography working against him. Kansas has successfully recruited California kids in Mason's eight years, but it had never signed a player from Orange County. But with Johner there was a KU connection with former quarterback Frank Seurer, Kansas' career passing leader who played at nearby Edison High. Frank's brother, Troy, was an assistant at Edison when Johner played at Estancia and tipped off Kansas assistant Vic Adamle, who recruits the state. "We were aware of Matt," Adamle said. "I remember his toughness was the best thing we liked about him." Johner's two solid offers were KU and San Diego State. It didn't matter to him that he was joining a program that had a tailback-first reputation. "I saw it as an opportunity to go to a school on a scholarship and really wasn't worried about the offense," Johner said. It has helped that the Kansas offense has opened up the last two years. Last season, the team's 303 passing attempts were the most in the Mason era, and the 493 rushing attempts were the fewest in a decade. Such numbers favor Johner, and so do these. He has won two games and lost none as a starter. Besides Williams, nobody has opened his career as successfully in more than two decades. Ohio St., Notre Dame collide today High-powered Buckeyes visit traditionally strong Irish in key showdown By The Associated Press SOUTH BEND, Ind. — After Texas visited Notre Dame Stadium last season for the first time in 40 years and lost, the Longhorns admitted being overwhelmed by the Irish tradition. This year, Ohio State makes a return trip after a 60-year absence. "You never know, that little mystique might come out and do a little bit of intimidation for Ohio State," said Irish defensive end Melvin Dansby. It's going to take a lot more than that today. The Buckeyes come to Notre Dame undefeated, ranked fourth and averaging 71 points and T BOWL PACKAGE 600-plus total offensive yards. The fifth-ranked Irish are undefeated, too, but they struggled against Vanderbilt and needed a last-second field goal to beat Texas last week. "They've been tested and we haven't been tested," said Ohio State coach John Cooper. "Maybe that gives them an edge, I don't know. I'm anxious to find out how we'll respond when we are tested." The game is big for both Ohio State and Notre Dame, and it could help determine who's going to be doing what at the holidays. No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Florida State must play each other, and No. 3 Penn State — a Big Ten member — has to face the Buckeyes. If Notre Dame gets by Ohio State, it has No. 15 Southern Cal and No. 21 Washington. But it also has Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Navy. "It's been frustrating not being in contention for the national championship this year," said Irish linebacker Bert Berry. "We've gotten off to a pretty good start, and hopefully we can build on it." The key for both teams is the running game. Despite losing Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, Ohio State has showed no signs of slowing down. Speedy Pepe Pearson has replaced George at tailback, and he's already rushed for six touchdowns. Much of the Buckeyes' success at running the ball comes from Orlando Pace, their huge offensive tackle who won the Lombardi Award as a sophomore. "Is he a great football player? Yes. Is he a dominating tackle? Yes. Can he take that team and put them on his back? Yes," said Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz. Bowl alliance nears finalizing TV deal Financial details on seven-year agreement being ironed out with ABC By The Associated Press PARK RIDGE, 111. — A new bowl alliance beginning in 1998 hopes to finalize financial details with ABC next week and then move ahead with lining up bowls and conferences. The alliance will bring the six major conferences — Big 12, Big East, ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Pac-10 — and Notre Dame together in a bowl package for the first time. ABC and the bowl al- liance reached a seven- year agreement in July that brought the Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-10 into the alliance's postseason package. The new plan, structured to make it even more likely No. 1 plays No. 2 in a national title game, goes into effect after the 1998 season. The Rose Bowl will be allowed to have the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions as long as the teams are not ranked No. 1 or No. 2. The Rose will host the national title game in January 2002. The others, the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta, will have the option of taking a conference champion as its "anchor team." The Big 12 anchor will be the Fiesta, the SEC will be the Sugar and the ACC and Big East will rotate with the Orange. Delany said those three bowls have the first right of negotiation with conferences, and the process should be completed within 90 days. and was credited with 15 tackles., "He played it the way it's supposed to be played," DuPree said. Wesleyan's Stack-I offense got untracked against Friends with sophomore quarterback Levi Kramer at the controls. Wesleyan rolled up 325 yards rushing, led by tailback Michael White's 133 yards on 18 carries. Fullback Bill Jones had 108 yards on 22 carries. Kramer added for 66 yards on 11 carries. "Two turnovers in their territory really hurt," DuPree said. "And we're not catching the ball well. But 325 yards rushing isn't bad. You usually win when you have that. "Kramer did a credible job considering it was his first game at quarterback. He's not big, not fast and doesn't throw it all that well. But he combines them all and does a credible job," he said. Husker stresses attitude Nebraska looks to get back on track today against Rams By The Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. — Running back Damon Benning said the folks blasting Nebraska for a weak start this season are missing the point. "Everyone seems to think it's about personnel, but it's not," Benning said of the Cornhuskers' sluggish start, and 1-1 record. "It's about attitude. It's the mental frame ¥ of mind you have at game << time." Nebraska had its frame of mind adjusted smartly while losing to Arizona State 19-0 last week. The loss knocked the Huskers from No. 1 to No. 8 in The Associated Press poll, ended a 26-game winning streak and dimmed hopes for a third consecutive national title. Negative reaction from fans has been loud and sustained in a state where undefeated seasons are thought of like bountiful harvests of grain — they are supposed to be the rule, not the exception. Nebraska hopes to get back on track, bound for a bowl game if not a national title, when the Colorado State Rams visit today. A victory would give Nebraska its 700th win before its traditionally red-clad sea of some 76,000 fans. Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick said the wounds Nebraska sustained last week are likely to make things tougher for his team when it brings a 2-2 record to Lincoln. "I understand them being upset about Arizona State," Lubick said of the Huskers. "But we didn't do anything to them. We think they're good guys. "Losing one game doesn't change the fact that they are a great football team. It's probably the premiere football program in the nation." The loss still has Huskers fans storming radio talk shows to complain about the offense and, most especially, quarterback Scott Frost. Benning, along with other players and coach Tom Osborne, said Frost has shouldered too much of the criticism. Osborne said the problem has been with the entire offense — a usually fine-tuned scoring machine that sputtered and stalled in the desert at Tempe, Ariz. "We're just not knocking enough people down," Benning said. "We haven't come off the ball the way Nebraska comes off the ball." Benning said that being toppled from its lofty perch atop college football was not pleasant for Nebraska. "We feel like something has been taken from us and it's up to us to get it back," Benning said.

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