The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 6, 1996 · Page 31
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 31

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 6, 1996
Page 31
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< SUNDAY THE SAUNA 1 JOURNAL T SPORTS JOURNAL HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal Punting game wrecks KSU's chances early .MANHATTAN — By the time Jarttes Garcia got off a 64-yard punt with 1:49 remaining in the first half; the damage had been done. And if you're a Kansas State football fan and a connoisseur of special team's play, it had to be painful to watch. Qoaches say football is one-third offense, one-third defense and one- third special teams. Saturday afternoon in sun- splashed KSU Stadium, the 16th- ranked Wildcats played at 33 percent efficiency. Forget the final score of 39-3. Without K-State's worn-down defense playing effectively for much of the game, this one would have reajly gotten out of hand. ij could have been much, much worse. ; And this debacle on regional television started with some of the worst special team's play you'd ever (Not!) want to see. .James Garcia, one of the top-rated punters in the country, got things off on the wrong foot (no pun intended) with shanks of 33 and 29 yards. And what did the K-State coaching; staff do to preserve Garcia's fragile state of mind? They pulled him, of course. In came Chad Romano and the furfXfor Nebraska) began. Romano first ran the play clock down to two seconds, missed a crucial blocking signal and stood, like a deer staring into a pair of headlights, as Terrell Farley came in to sacik him for an 11-yard loss. i Farley was just looking to contain on the play, but with Romano taking more than five seconds to get.the punt off, the Nebraska senior figured he might as well make the tackle. ll wasn't pretty. '-We just had a bad day," Romano said afterward. ,:•'•";.'. • . -^ - v ! YOU know it's been a bad day vyhen both punters are put on the post-game interview list. • The bad day got worse. Romano followed the sack with a 32-yard punt, Garcia had a punt blocked late in the second quarter and, in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats were called for delay-of- game and false-start penalties while punting and needed to call tjme out before returning a punt. [ 'I'm human... I had a bad game. I'm very disappointed in myself," Garcia said. ' And that fact took on even more significance because of Nebraska's excellent special teams play. The Cornhuskers had four field goals, a 45-yard punting average and al- Ipwed just three kickoffs to be returned for a 20-yard average. Kqyanagh sacked ! But the punting unit wasn't the only one to have trouble Saturday. The K-State offense, and most notably quarterback Brian Kavanagh, vfas overwhelmed by Nebraska's big and quick defense. With the Wildcats unable to run at all — 25 yards on 24 carries — Nebraska knew Kavanagh would be throwing the ball. And the Corn- hugkers were ready. Kavanagh managed to complete just 5 of 19 passes for .34 yards. Two o£ his throws were intercepted, and sgveral others were nowhere near theiJr intended receivers. •"Kavanagh was eventually pulled iti favor of freshman Jonathan B,easley late in the third quarter af- tetvreceiving his share of unde- seryed boos from the sell-out crowd. "They have a great defense," Kavanagh said. "Yeah, we did a lot of things wrong, but you certainly don't want to take anything away frohi them." The K-State quarterback also de- ferided his team's policy of using auflibjes on nearly every play, wlrjch drives KSU fans batty and th^ play clock dpwn to a few pre- cio'us seconds. Kavanagh, who entered the game with the Big 12 Conference's second mc&$ Affective quarterback rating, wa$ impressed with every aspect of Nebraska's defense. It was a defense that didn't allow th&(in)famous "Good for a Wildcat firSt down" chant until early in the thflrd quarter, After the ugliness had mercifully engeid at 5:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon, one thing was apparently clear. ; Arizona State must be darn good. Sports •H ML ^BHP^ ^B^BB COLLEGE FOOTBALL / D3 NFL / XX LIFESPORTS / D8 D Much-anticipated showdown turns into nightmare for KSU By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal MANHATTAN — The fans booed the starting quarterback, cheered his replacement and left the game early. It wasn't exactly what the doctor ordered for Kansas State's football team. In fact, it was one ugly afternoon for the Wildcats. The Nebraska Cornhuskers came to town Saturday and proved they're still the baddest dudes on the block when it comes to college football. The seventh-ranked Cornhuskers might not win their third straight national championship, but they showed the BE IE sold-out crowd in KSU Nebraska 39 Stadium there's still a Kansas State 3 wide gap between them and the K-State program trying to catch them. Nebraska used four field goals from Kris Brown, two touchdowns from Wichita freshman DeAngelo Evans and a suffocating defense to pound K-State, 393, in front of 43,915 fans and a regional television audience. Cornhusker head coach Tom Osborne, usually as reserved as they come, was ecstatic with his team's play, especially the defense which allowed K-State just 86 total yards. "Obviously, our defense played one of the best games it's ever played," Osborne said as he stood on a chair outside his team's lockerroom. "I'm very proud of everything they did." The offense did its part as well in the second half, wearing down K-State's competitive, yet outmanned, defense. "I don't think we got a lot out of this game and the two weeks preparing for it." Bill Snyder Kansas State football coach The Huskers finished with 432 yards of total offense, handing K-State its worst loss in 45 games. "I don't think we got a lot out of this game and the two weeks preparing for it," K-State coach Bill Snyder said. "We have no excuses. We didn't get many positives out of the game." The Wildcats, now 1-1 in the Big 12 and 4-1 overall, didn't help themselves, either, with shoddy special team's play and an offense that was no factor. K-State had one punt blocked, the punter sacked on another attempt, several penalties and nine punts attempts for a 34-yard average. Everything that could go wrong with the punting game, did, and the Wildcats paid for it. Meanwhile, Nebraska's Jesse Kosch averaged 45 yards a punt and place-kicker Kris Brown booted four field goals and sent several kickoffs through the uprights as well. "The punting game dramatically hurt us on three occasions," Snyder said. "I think we made a bad choice not to take the wind in the first quarter." Despite all the headaches with the See KSU, Page D2 Photos by DAVIS TURNER/The Salina Journal It was a headache-type day for K-State quarterback Brian Kavanagh (12) on Saturday Nebraska's Michael Booker (20) puts a fake on K-State tight end Justin Swift while returning an Interception In the third quarter Saturday. T COLLEGE FOOTBALL Big Pi propel Kansas past Oklahoma Sooners pile up yards, but mistakes costly in seventh straight loss By OWEN CANFIELD The Associated Press NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma's football team has slipped to the point that even with more than than 500 yards of offense, the Sooners didn't have a chance against Kansas. The Jayhawks used a 100-yard kickoff return by Eric Vann and a school-record 94-yard punt return by Isaac Byrd to bury the mistake- riddled Sooners 52-24 Saturday in the Big 12 opener for each team. The Jayhawks (3-1 overall) feasted on Oklahoma's numerous breakdowns in the kicking game, and made the Sooners (0-4) pay for their 16 penalties. Kansas was penalized 10 times ' itself and star ,-' tailback June Kansas 52 Henley, who Oklahoma 24 fame in averag- -...* , , ,, .-).-... i ng 201 yards per game, gained just 62 on 27 carries. But still it didn't matter, as the Jayhawks scored the most points ever against the Sooners in Norman. "You just watched the Oklahoma Sooners beat the Oklahoma Sooners," said quarterback Justin Fuente, who completed 19 of 35 for 286 yards and two touchdowns. "You've got to give Kansas some credit, but we really hurt ourselves today. Kansas is a. great football team and they did some good things, but it's tough playing against yourself." Oklahoma is in the midst of a school-record seven-game losing streak, and is off to its worst start since going 0-5 in 1961. The Soon- ers have now lost consecutive games to Kansas for the first time since 1929-30. Kansas' 52 points eclipsed the 47 scored by Oklahoma State in a shutout of the Sooners in 1945. It's the second-highest point total ever against Oklahoma — Kansas State beat the Sooners 59-21 in 1969. "The fans are knowledgeable and they had fun with me when we were getting our ears pinned back (years ago)," said Kansas coach Glen Mason. "Now that we have won two in a row, they were telling me I had no class for running up the score. Wait a minute — I remember some big scores the other way." Although Henley struggled, Matt Johner played solidly at quarterback. The junior left-han- der completed a career-high 17 of 24 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown, and wasn't intercept- ed. Vann's kickoff return came 13 seconds after Oklahoma had taken a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 16-yard pass from Fuente to Chris Blocker. It was the Sooners' first lead since their last victory, 13-9 over Missouri on Oct. 28,1995. Byrd's return came late in the third quarter and widened the lead to 38-10. It topped a 90-yard return that Bob Marshall made against Oklahoma State in 1956, and was the longest ever against Oklahoma. The Sooners' hopes for a victory disappeared quickly after Vann's big return. T BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: MORE COVERAGE PAGE D5 Alomar, O's oust Indians By The Associated Press CLEVELAND ~ Roberto Alomar gave Cleveland another reason to hate him and Baltimore. Alomar, in a slump and under fire for spitting at an umpire, hqmered in the 12th inning Saturday as the Baltimore Orioles advanced to the ALCS with a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The Orioles; in the postseason for the first time since 1983, eliminated Cleveland 3-1 despite striking out a playoff record 23 times. Baltimore, the AL's wild-card entrant, will face the New York Yankees in the ALCS beginning Tuesday night, Yankees take out Rangers By The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas — With big Cecil Fielder and Bernie Williams on their side and Texas' bullpen again helping them out, the New York Yankees pushed the Rangers right out of the playoffs." Despite giving up another home, run to Juan Gonzalez, the Yankees rallied for the third straight game to win 6-4 Satuday, taking the AL series 3-1 and reversing their history of failure in Texas. Williams homered from each side of the plate and Fielder, acquired in midseason to deliver big hits, had an RBI single in the seventh inning that broke a 4-4 tie. Braves finish off Dodgers By The Associated Press ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves' Big Three sent the Los Angeles Dodgers home in three straight. Tom Glavine completed a virtuoso performance by Atlanta's pitching and the Braves knocked out Hideo Nomo in the fourth inning, advancing to their fifth straight NL championship series with a 52 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Glavine followed in the footsteps of fellow Cy Young winner Greg Maddux and soon-to-be winner John Smoltz, shutting down a Dodger team that had only 14 hits in the series. Cards complete sweep of Padres By The Associated Press SAN DIEGO — The spirit of 1984 was hardly enough for the San Diego Padres to overcome the St. Louis Cardinals of 1996. Brian Jordan hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a 7-5 Saturday night to sweep the NL divisional series in three games. Jordan made a diving catch of Jody Reed's slicing liner to right field with a runner on second, ending the eighth and keeping the score tied at 5. Ken Caminiti hit two home runs for the Padres, including a solo shot that tied the game in the eighth. ^SUGGESTIONS? QAM. BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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