The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 2, 1996 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Wednesday, October 2, 1996
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Page 21
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WEDNESDAY octttegft^idge THE SAUNX JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD/ D2 NFL / D3 MONEY / D4 D V THE BOTTOM LINE T COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOB DAVIDSON The Sallna Journal Here's why K-State will beat Huskers Kansas State will beat Nebraska Saturday afternoon at KSU Stadium. Do not adjust your bifocals. Your coffee is nbt spiked. I did not over imbibe last night. Kansas State will beat Nebraska Saturday afternoon at KSU Stadium. Forget the oddsmakers and the 13-point spread. Hang tradition, including the fact Nebraska is 31-2-1 in Manhattan. After 27 consecutive losses to the Cornhuskers the Wildcats will exact some measure of revenge. It won't be easy. Certainly not as easy as Arizona State's 19-0 victory over Big Red 10 days ago in the desert. But margin matters not. Only winning and losing. This year, for perhaps the first time in three decades, the two teams appear evenly matched on the field. Hence, the edge goes to the Wildcats'off the field, or rather around it, where some 40,000 of their closest, purple-clad friends will be watching. There also are tangible reasons to like K-State's chances. They begin and end with defense. Nebraska's power option offense struggled against Arizona State's quicker attacking defense. The Huskers' bulldozer line was unable flatten the swarming Sun Devils, resulting in 130 yards rushing on 44 attempts (2.9 yards a carry). Nebraska will find the going equally difficult Saturday. The reason — K-State's talented secondary. Again, do not adjust your bifocals. The 'Cats boast the Big 12's top- rated defensej primarily beicause oT their ability*t6 stop the pas^TThelr^ opponents are averaging 64 yards passing, tops in the Big 12. The Wildcats have done so despite the absence of All-Big Eight senior cornerback Joe Gordon, who is expected to see his first action of the season Saturday after suffering a broken leg during preseason drills. Couple that with Nebraska's conference-worst passing offense (120.7 yards a game) led by quarterback Scott Frost, who has completed fewer than half of his passes (24 of 50), and it's no secret what NU must do to move the ball: run, run, run. Yes, the Huskers' ground game is again solid, as evidenced by their 263 yards-per-game average. But without an effective passing attack, K-State's improving front seven will read run first and last and will be able to count on considerable and capable support from the secondary. Offensively, the spotlight is on K- State quarterback Brian Kavanagh. Kavanagh is the second-rated passer in the Big 12, although he hasn't come close to duplicating his Holiday Bowl-MVP performance. Nebraska is giving up just 113 yards passing a game, but the number is deceiving. Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer shredded the Huskers for 292 yards while connecting on 20 of 26 passes. Kavanagh and Co., are capable of posting similar numbers if the offensive line continues to give him time to do his job. Running the ball against Nebraska will be difficult, especially with the return of linebacker Terrell Farley from suspension. But the Wildcats' running game is capable of keeping the Huskers honest. There's also a psychological angle. Was the Huskers' loss a fluke? A blip in time? They seemingly returned to form last weekend in a 65-9 thrashing of Colorado State, but the rout did little to erase the doubts. For many, the setback stripped the Huskers of their mantle of invincibility. They went into the Arizona State game as heavy favorites and were lucky to lose by only 19. K-State enters the game thinking it can win, and that's half the battle. A similar mindset has seldom, if ever, existed. On the flip side, Husker faithful view the Wildcats' confidence as fool's gold mined after consecutive conquests of three lackeys— Indiana State, Cincinnati and Rice. But the Wildcats did what they were supposed to in each game — win convincingly. Something NU couldn't do against Arizona State. Kansas State will beat Nebraska Saturday afternoon at KSU Stadium. Trust me. Counting down to Nebraska Gordon returns as Wildcats eye key clash with Huskers on Saturday By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal MANHATTAN — Kansas State's football team begins the most crucial part of its season Saturday with one of its most important players back on the field. Senior defensive back Joe Gordon, who hasn't played in a K-State game since the 1995 Holiday Bowl, will be available Saturday with the 16th- ranked Wildcats meet No. 7 Nebraska in KSU Stadium. And no one is happier about it than GORDON 1 Gordon, Who earned All-Big Eight honors last season as a cor- nerback. "Right now, I'm really excited about the opportunity to finally play again," Gordon said Tuesday at K-State's weekly press conference." It goes without saying that K-State coach Bill Snyder is also pleased. "He's practiced hard the last three days. He's ready to go," said Snyder, who won't decide until later in the week whether Gordon will start against Nebraska. Gordon broke his leg in early August during a seven-on-seven passing drill and missed 28 days of preseason drills and the first four games of the season. "I'll tell you one thing, I'm pretty fresh," Gordon said with a smile. "I haven't been beat on for the last four weeks. Right now, I'm just glad to be back, regardless of who we're playing. "It was very difficult for me because I'd been one of those guys who'd never missed a game," Gordon said. "I just want to go out and finish my senior season with a bang and finish healthy." Despite Gordon's absence, the talented Wildcat secondary hasn't missed a beat. Redshirt freshman Lamar Chapman has received invaluable experience and has performed well. "I believe that's going to do nothing but help us during the rest of the season," Snyder said. "Our young guys got a lot of playing time." See K-STATE, Page D3 V BASEBALL PLAYOFFS Cards, O's, Rangers win openers San Diego BMEKThrifcy Gaetti's three-run homer in first inning enough for St. Louis By R.B. FALLSTROM The Associated Press ST. LOUIS — Gary Gaetti never forgot what he did to St. Louis fans nine years ago. Now he's making it up to them. Gaetti, who helped Minnesota beat St. Louis in the 1987 World Series, hit a three-run home run in the first inning Tuesday as the Cardinals opened the NL playoffs with a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres. The teams are off today before resuming the best-of-5 series Thursday. Gaetti, who grew up in nearby Centralia, m., dreaming of playing for the Cardinals, signed with St. Louis as a free agent in the off- season hoping to get back to the playoffs. And like in 1987, when he home- red in his first two playoff at- bats for the Twins, Gaetti made the most of his first NL playoff plate appear-. ance. "I couldn't have written a better script for the end of my career," Gaetti said. "It's ultra special for me to be able to do this and have my family here to see it. "Maybe we can win a championship and rectify the damage we did in 1987 and everybody can be happy." After Joey Hamilton hit Ron Gant with two outs, Brian Jordan singled. Gaetti, who hit 23 homers in the regular season, followed by hitting a 1-1 fastball over the center-field wall, sending a charge into the Busch Stadium crowd of 54,193 and shocking Hamilton. "Most of the time I can tell when it's going to leave the park," Hamilton said. "But I was wrong this time. It just kind of snowballed from there." Gaetti had 23 home runs and 80 RBI in the regular season and all but 13 of the RBI came after June 1. Against San Diego he had five home runs, 12 RBI, a .303 average and a game-winning ninth-inning home run in August. "It seems like they're pitching me tough, it just seems like I'm able to get the hit," Gaetti said. Stottlemyre, who entered the game 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in the •postseason, allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked two. He hasn't been in the playoffs since 1993, and at 31 he said he's older and wiser. "A lot of the games I got too intense, too excited," Stottlemyre said. "The end result, I didn't pitch as well as I had been." Cleveland Baltimore . ,10 GAMEKTofey The Associated Press Cardinals' Ron Gant (left) and Gary Gaetti celebrate Gaetti's first-Inning three-run home run against San Diego on Tuesday In a National League divisional series. Texas sparkles in first playoff game By The Associated Press NEW YORK — Juan Gonzalez, Dean Palmer and the Texas Rangers quickly made up for lost time. Gonzalez hit a three-run homer and Palmer hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning against David Cone as Texas, playing the first postseason game in its 25-year history, beat the New York Yankees 62 Tuesday night in an AL playoff opener., John Burkett, traded from Florida to Texas two months ago, overcame a shaky start and scattered 10 hits to win. He escaped his biggest jam in the sixth, getting likely AL rookie of the year Derek Jeter on a popup with the bases loaded to end the in- GMC2:TM*rt ning and preserve a four-run lead. The AL West champion Rangers will try to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series against the AL East champions tonight. Ken Hill will start for Texas and Andy Pettitte, who led the league with 21 wins, will pitch for New York. "The first game is big," Burkett said. "Now we can try to go out and win tomorrow. And if not, we have a split and we can go home to our fans." The Rangers, whose postseason drought extended back to 1961 when the franchise was born as the expansion Washington Senators, actually had to wait even a little longer before making their playoff debut. The Yankees played in their 215th postseason game in team history, covering appearances in 36 different years. Of the 10 starters in the Yankees' Imeup, including designated hitter Darryl Strawberry, who played in place of Cecil Fielder, all but one had been in the postseason. Will Clark and Kevin Elster were the only Rangers who had been there before. Burkett struck out seven and walked one. He gave up a leadoff single to Tim Raines and a double to Wade Boggs, but a diving stop by third baseman Dean Palmer on a grounder by Paul O'Neill prevented more damage. Bonilla's grand slam highlights Baltimore's four home-run effort By DAVID GINSBURG The Associated Press BALTIMORE — The regular umpires finally showed up, and so did the most prolific home-run hitting team in major league history. The Baltimore Orioles celebrated their first playoff appearance in 13 years by hitting four home runs, including a grand slam by Bobby Bonilla, and beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4 Tuesday in the opener of their first-round AL playoff series. Game 2 of the best-of-5 series will be played this afternoon in Baltimore. Umpires from both leagues threatened to boycott the playoffs unless Baltimore second baseman Roberto Alomar was immediately suspended for spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck on Friday night. The Orioles wasted little time in showing how they set a major-league record by hitting 257 home runs, shattering the old mark by 17. Brady Anderson, who hit 50, started the onslaught with a leadoff homer off Charles Nagy (0-1). It was typical Anderson, who set a major-league mark by leading off the game with 12 during the season. The home run also turned the fans' attention back to the game, instead of the controversy surrounding Roberto Alomar. "The thing with Robbie took away from the game at the beginning," Baltimore first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "But that homer by Brady was huge. It really turned the game, because before that all the focus was on Robbie." B.J. Surhoff hit two solo shots for the Orioles, who built a 4-1 lead in the opening three innings against the defending AL champions. After Cleveland got within a run, Bonilla capped a five-run sixth with his first playoff homer in 14 games, a shot off Paul Shuey. "Anytime you come into this ballpark, you've got to make good pitches," Shuey said. "They're not always home runs. But today, here, they were." Alomar was cheered by the majority of the 47,644 fans at Camden Yards, but there was also a smattering of boos. He singled in his first at-bat and finished 1 for 4 with a sacrifice fly. Manny Ramirez homered for the Indians, who defeated Baltimore seven out of 12 games this season. Umps take field but demand action against Alomar Umpires want O's Alomar punished this season or they won't work rest of postseason By DAVID GINSBURG The Associated Press BALTIMORE — Baseball umpires took the field for Tuesday's playoff opener at Camden Yards even though Baltimore second baseman Roberto Alomar was there, too. Less than an hour before the scheduled start of the postseason, umpires temporarily backed off their threatened boycott over last week's incident in which Alomar spat on umpire John Hirschbeck. Alomar was given a five-game suspension but was allowed to play pending an appeal. Angered that he wouldn't be penalized until next season, the umpires threatened to disrupt baseball's postseason for the second time in 11 years. The day began with baseball going to federal court yet again, trying to force umpires to work. Replacement umpires stood by ready to take the field, and the matter wasn't resolved until minutes before the scheduled start of the Orioles' game with Cleveland at Camden Yards. The game was delayed 17 minutes. After two hours of talks in a federal ALOMAR judge's chambers, umpires agreed to work only through Thursday, the day that American League president Gene Budig agreed to hear Alomar's appeal of a five-game suspension. Umpires agreed to work the remainder of the postseason only if Budig, who can't enforce a suspension until after a hearing, decides the matter on Thursday. "From the way they talked, I assume they'll work the first two games (of each series) without interruption ... maybe they won't work. I don't know," said Marty Springstead, executive director of umpiring for the American League. The last of Tuesday's three games — Texas at New York — was also delayed when umpires' union head Richie Phillips kept the umpires in their locker room until a site was set for Thursday's hearing. Phillips said the official notification of the meeting didn't come until 8:08 p.m. EDT, one minute after the scheduled start of the Rangers-Yankees game and six hours after he expected it. The game finally began after a 10- minute delay. The appeal hearing will be Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT at the AL offices in New York. Drew Coble, the home plate umpire for the Indians-Orioles game, said the umpires simply wanted the Alomar matter resolved this season. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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