The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 7, 1996 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Monday, October 7, 1996
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MONDAY octis§i«f•; 1 THE SALlNA JOURNAL Sports PRO FOOTBALL / B3 BASEBALL / B4 CLASSIFIEDS / B6 B T COMMENT V PRO FOOTBALL TOM FRIEND New York Times Similar Chiefs, Steelers meet La Russa deftly directs Cards into NLCS SAN DIEGO — To Tony La Russa, the National and American Leagues taste exactly the same — like Champagne. La Russa is proving the designated-hitter rule does not make the man, or the manager. His St. Louis Cardinals are his Oakland A's reincarnated — right on down to a geriatric bullpen — and, for his next trick, he will try to usurp the Atlanta Braves. "Quite a job to put this together so quick," said reliever Dennis Eckersley, La Russa's personal closer. La Russa's A's were built on bash brothers (Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire), on base stealers (Rickey Henderson) and on basic pitching (Eckersley), and this year's Cardinals were molded on that premise. Ron Gant and Brian Jordan . crushed a pair of clutch home rims to sweep the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, and that's not to mention a pair of clutch strikeouts by Donovan Osborne and a swan dive of a catch by Jordan. La Russa's fingerprints are all over this club, and his thumbs have been massaging Jordan's sore neck. Right fielder Jordan — the former Atlanta Falcons defensive back who still misses football — strained a cervical muscle on his game-saving, eighth-inning stab of a Jody Reed line drive. But Jordan was still able to plaster the game-winning home run of Saturday's 7-5 victory, and he gave credit to the stringy-haired manager in the dugout. It was La Russa who accomplished what Joe Torre could not: waking Jordan up. It was La Russa who pulled a Jerry Glanville — and acted like a stubborn football coach — to get Jordan to tune in. "Jordan is a team kind of guy — probably gets that from football," Eckersley said. "He's reserved, and when he says something, it's like, 'Whoa.' But Tony wants you to be intense, and Brian began to follow the plan real quick. That diving catch? He's done that a lot. He's a great athlete. I mean, he's just learning how to hit." 'La Russa has also played a flawless game of chess with his bullpen. If it is not the archaic Rick Honeycutt setting up the ancient Eckersley — both are 42 and irito Grecian Formula — it is Mark Petkovsek or T.J. Mathews doing the honors. Eckersley, meanwhile, saved all three Cardinal playoff victories, and has no problem being labeled as the teacher's — or manager's — pet. ; "I mean, the only place I cbuld've done it was here with Tony," Eckersley said. "Because he does it right. You can't overuse me at my age, or I'll get my lunch handed to me. "Listen, there's a time when a player's ready to go to the next level, and Tony knows it. It's timing, and that's where we are as a team. It's like Jordan, who's just nbw going to the next level. But most of all, it's that our club is built on starting pitching, just like Atlanta's." The rotation for the NL championship series, which opens on Wednesday, will be Todd Stottlemyre, Andy Benes and Osborne in that order. Actually, the Cardinals are more concerned about their third baseman. Gary Gaetti, who won Game 1 of the Padre series with a three-run homer, sprained his ankle trying to beat a ground ball on Saturday and currently needs ice around the clock. It is a concern, because the Cardinals, to eliminate the Braves, need all of their parts. The Padres had a most valuable player candidate to carry them — Ken Caminiti — but St. Louis had only one starter who hit over .300 for the season (Jordan) and needs to claw its way to big innings. As for Caminiti, he gets a one- day vacation before checking into a hospital today for surgery. Not only will his left rotator cuff be repaired, but there is also a protruding bone in the same shoulder that needs to be reduced. So, he may or may not be healthy for spring training and will not be able to partake in his favorite pastime: weight lifting. Tonight's game matches conference title hopefuls with much in common By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. —No other head coach in the NFL knows Marty Schottenheimer's personality, team and outlook on life better than his former protege Bill Cowher. Instant friends almost from the day they met, the coaches of the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers always make time during their hectic season to visit by phone, sharing the sort of thoughts and experiences only close pals share. In addition, as Schotten- heimer's defensive coordinator for three years, Cowher helped develop Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas and many of Kansas City's other top players. That's a lot of insight into one opponent. Might there be a way for Cowher to twist all this information into at least a tiny edge for his Steelers tonight? Perhaps. But probably not. Since 1992, when Cowher graduated from Schottenheimer's staff to replace Chuck Noll at Pittsburgh, the Chiefs have made significant changes in systems and men. "The things we're doing are not what we did," said Schotten- heimer, who 11 years ago gave a 28-year-old Cowher his first pro coaching job. "He knows how we operate, knows our practice rou- tine. But he doesn't know precisely what we're doing." On the other side, Pittsburgh fans might worry about Cowher's letting something slip to the sharp-eared Schottenheimer. "I probably know his team as well as he knows ours, because we talk every week," said Cowher. "It's just general thoughts about how our teams have played each week, and life in general. We try to maintain our sanity week in and week out." Nevertheless, when the Steelers (3-1) and Chiefs (4-1) meet in a possible prelude to the AFC championship game, coaches and teams that mirror each other in many key ways will collide. Look for tough, turn-up-the-heat defense. Expect few turnovers. Do expect both teams to probe each other's run defense in search of any weakness that might be exploited. That's the Schottenheimer philosophy, and since Cowher arrived in 1992, it has been the bedrock of the Pittsburgh approach as well. "The line of scrimmage is going to tell the tale," said running back Jerome Bettis of the defending AFC champion Steelers. Sticking to Schottenheimer's unshakable philosophy, the Chiefs during his seven years have ranked among the NFL's top 10 rushing teams four times', including last year, when they were No. 1. In Cowher's four full seasons at Pittsburgh, the Steelers have been in the top 10 in rushing three times. The Associated Press Members of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Saturday's 7-5 NL divisional series-clinching win against the San Diego Padres. And then there were four Braves, Cardinals, Orioles, Yankees remain in pursuit of World Series By BEN WALKER The Associated Press Roberto Alomar and the Baltimore Orioles know what to expect in the next few days: An unruly crowd at Yankee Stadium, and a couple of games of home run derby against New York. In many ways, classic American League baseball. "I didn't worry about them booing me — I just went out there and played the way I know how to play the game," Alomar said after his 12th-inning homer completed the Orioles' surprising playoff win in Cleveland. Tom Glavine and the World Series champion Atlanta Braves figure to see something different when the St. Louis Cardinals show up this week: Tight, well- pitched games that keep fans tense. In another words, classic National League baseball. "The thing I'm amazed about is that we play much better, much crisper baseball this time of year than we do in the regular season," Glavine said after Atlanta finished off a first-round sweep of Los Angeles. The second round of the playoffs could well be a study in contrasts, showcasing the best that both leagues have to offer. In the AL, that means power. The Orioles hit a major league record 257 home runs this season, breaking the mark of 240 set by the 1961 Yankees. They connected for nine more in four games in knocking out the AL champion Indians, the last one coming when Alomar capped the most controversial week in his career with a home run. See PLAYOFFS, Page B4 V COLLEGE FOOTBALL The Top Twenty Five teams In The Associated Press college football poll, with first- place votes In parentheses, records through Oct. 5, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th- place vote, and last week's ranking: Record Pts Pv I.Florida (38) 5-0 1,643 1 2. Ohio State (24) 4-0 1,609 3 3. Florida State (4) 4-0 1,557 2 4. Arizona State (1) 5-0 1,471 5 5. Nebraska 3-1 1,374 7 6. Miami 4-0 1,312 8 7. Tennessee 3-1 1,243 9 8. Alabama 5-0 1,052 13 9. Colorado 3-1 1,019 10 10. Penn State 5-1 995 4 11. Notre Dame 3-1 988 11 12. Louisiana State 4-0 977 14 13. North Carolina 4-1 910 15 14. Michigan 4-1 863 6 15. Northwestern 4-1 743 22 16. Washington 3-1 680 18 17. West Virginia 6-0 618 19 18. Auburn 4-1 483 20 19. Brigham Young 5-1 348 21 20. Virginia 4-1 339 12 21. California 5-0 322 — 22. Kansas State 4-1 281 16 23. Georgia Tech 4-1 206 — 24. Wyoming 6-0 185 25 25. Texas 3-2 162 23 Others receiving votes — Utah 125, Kansas 70, East Carolina 42, Southern Mississippi 40, Virginia Tech 35, Southern Cal 33, Iowa 12, Wisconsin 12, Syracuse 10, Washington State 8, Georgia 6, Texas A&M 1, Texas Tech 1. Huskers have K-State's number Nebraska makes it 28 straight over Wildcats behind defense, Evans By The Associated Press MANHATTAN — Kansas -State thought this might be its best shot at Nebraska since 1968, the last time the Wildcats beat the Corn- huskers. What the No. 22 Wildcats got instead was this: a 39-3 loss Saturday in which Nebraska played one of its finest defensive games in Tom Osborne's 23 years as coach. It was the fourth straight year Kansas State came into the Nebraska game unbeaten. Kansas State poach Bill Snyder, who has won a school-record 49 games while turning the program around, is 0-8 against Osborne. "We won't change our offense," Snyder said. "We will just do better, and do the things we can do. What they did, they did very well. What we did, we did very poorly." At halftime, No. 5 Nebraska (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) led 18-3, allowing Kansas State zero total yards. At the end of Nebraska's 28th consecutive victory over Kansas State (41, 1-1), the Huskers had 432 total • Coaches' poll / Page B2 yards and Kansas State had 86. While Nebraska was taking care of the North Division's only unbeaten, Texas Tech was doing the same in the South, beating Baylor 45-24. In a North-South matchup Saturday, Kansas deepened Oklahoma's misery with a 52-24 trouncing that represented several new lows for the once-mighty Sooners. Missouri ventured to Dallas and beat SMU 27-26. In other games in the South, No. 25 Texas demolished Oklahoma State 71-14, and Texas A&M beat Louisiana Tech 63-13. Terrell Farley, returning after a brief suspension, sacked Kansas State quarterback Brian Kavanagh on the second play of the game. Only a 51-yard field goal by Jaime Rheem kept the Wildcats from being shut out. The strongest showing by Kansas State may have come from the purple-clad fans booing DeAngelo Evans. But if they were trying to shame him into quitting Nebraska and transferring to Kansas State, they too failed. A high school sensation from Wichita (Collegiate), Evans was The Associated Press Nebraska's Terrell Farley closes In on K-State punter Chad Romano during the first quarter of Saturday's game. Farley's tackle set up a Nebraska field goal. booed every time he carried the ball. The freshman wound up with 168 yards, two touchdowns and a keen appreciation for how repugnant he looks to Kansas State fans in his Nebraska uniform. PITTSBURGH AT KANSAS CITY WHEN: 8, TONIGHT WHERE: ARROWHEAD STADIUM, KANSAS CITY, Mo TELEVISION: ABC (SAUNA CABLE CHANNELS 9,10) RADIO: KINA (910-AM); KSKG (99.9-FM);KSAL(1150-AM). RECORDS: PITTSBURGH 3-1; KANSAS CITY 4-1 LAST WEEK: PITTSBURGH DEFEATED HOUSTON 30-16; KANSAS CITY LOST TO SAN DIEGO 22-19. MORE COVERAGE: B3 ELWAY T PRO FOOTBALL Broncos rally past Chargers Denver comes from 17 points down to deal San Diego 28-17 loss By The Associated Press DENVER — While John Elway is still the master of the fourth- quarter comeback, his timing could use some fine-tuning. Elway led another dramatic rally Sunday, but did it so early he took much of the suspense out of it. Trailing 17-0 late in the first half and without an effective running game, Elway threw four touchdown passes, three to Shannon Sharpe, as the Denver Broncos rolled to a 28-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers. "San Diego used an eight-man front and they were really stuffing our running game," Elway said. "We knew we were going to have to throw the ball. No question, today was my best game of the year." "I'm really proud of the way our team fought back under adversity," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "We did not panic at halftime. We started throwing the ball a lot more in the second quarter than we planned to, and we picked it up in the second half." San Diego coach Bobby Ross said his team "got beat off the line of scrimmage since the very first play of the game. Our pass protection was almost embarrassing. We got a good butt-kicking in the second half, and Denver definitely deserved to win that game." After San Diego's Stan Humphries threw his second TD pass, a 6-yarder to a diving Tony Martin, with 2:51 left in the first half, Elway took charge. He immediately took Denver (51) on an 80-yard, five-play drive, completing four straight passes, including a 24-yarder to Sharpe and a 31-yarder to Ed McCaffrey, before hitting Sharpe with a 20- yard TD throw. "That drive was big," Shanahan said. "We didn't have much going for us at the time. We needed a spark to get momentum back in our favor." On Denver's second possession of the second half, Elway hit Sharpe again with a 20-yard TD throw. Todd Kinchen's subsequent 26- yard punt return gave Denver possession near midfield and, after a 22-yard pass to Sharpe, Elway hit a wide-open Sharpe on a 3-yarder in the rear of the end zone for a 2117 lead with 3:03 left in the third quarter. "We just blew the coverage," Ross said. "Our safety wasn't there." Early in the final period, San Diego (4-2) was stopped on fourth down at the Denver 38 when safety Steve Atwater separated receiver Charlie Jones from the ball. Denver then went 62 yards in 12 plays for another score, Elway's 9-yard pass to McCaffrey, with 8:22 left. "Two of our players missed tackles on McCaffrey," Ross said. "Otherwise, Denver would have had to go for three, and we still would have been in it." * Buffalo knocks Indianapolis from unbeaten ranks / Page 93 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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