The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 13, 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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Sunday, October 13, 1996
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Page 21
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SUNDAY 13, 1996 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports COLLEGE FOOTBALL / D2, D3 SCOREBOARD / D6 NFL, LIFESPORTS / D8 D SPORTS JOURNAL T COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAROLD BECHARD The Salina loumal 'Hawks having trouble with running game LAWRENCE — One aspect of the Kansas Jayhawk football program has remained constant during Glen Mason's nine seasons as the head coach. The Jayhawks have always been able to run the football. Silt a puzzling and disturbing pattern is developing in this, one of the'more unusual football seasons in KU history. The Jayhawks are having trouble running the football. They rushed for 179 yards last week against Oklahoma, but 63 by Mark Sanders came on one play. Saturday against Texas Tech, the KU'was stopped cold on the ground, managing just 61 yards total. Yes, the team that had entered the^ame averaging 252 yards rushing^per outing, looked inept against Texas Tech's undersized, but lightning-quick defense. June Henley, ballyhooed for the Heisman Trophy two weeks ago, will have trouble making the Big 12's all-conference second-team if theoffensive line can't do any better than it has the last two weeks. - Henley's numbers against Oklahoma and Texas Tech are a humbling 106 yards on 49 carries. Tliat, folks, is just a tad more than 2 yards per carry. Mason, to his credit, didn't duck the^issue afterward. In fact, he went so far as to say that changes can-be expected in the Kansas running game. Tliat can mean one of two things. No. 1, the Jayhawks will shuffle some offensive linemen, and two, the-fullback will be used more for blocking purposes and keeping Henley company in the backfield Several tunes Saturday, Henley would no more touch the ball before a Tech defensive player would be in his face. But there was more to KU's woes Saturday than a poor running game. Turnovers killed them in the second half and some unusual play calling haunted them twice when the, Jayhawks were inside the Tech 10-yard line. Turnovers had been something the Jayhawks hadn't thought much about heading into the fourth quar- terlof Saturday's game. Although Texas Tech had scored a touchdown in the third quarter, the Jayhawks still led 17-14 and had a 15- mile per hour wind to their back. , But two poorly thrown balls by Kansas quarterback Matt Johner — thejfirst turnovers by KU in 15 quarters — turned the game around. The first interception and 18- yai^d return by Tony Darden gave the Red Raiders the ball at the KU 14 with 8:22 remaining in the game. Two plays later, Tech grabbed a 21-17 lead on a 2-yard sneak by quarterback Zebbie Lethridge. Thirteen seconds after that, a second Johner interception gave theited Raiders the ball at the KU 23.:^ Ifour plays later, another Lethridge TD made it a 28-17 game. .Although the interceptions were killers, the Jayhawks didn't help themselves with some strange play selections deep in Tech territory in the jsecond and third quarters. ; In the second quarter, with the game tied 7-7, the Jayhawks had driven to the Tech 3 on second • down. Instead of getting the ball to Henley; pn three straight plays, the Jay- tiavyks misfired on a flea-flicker pas? from wide receiver Eric Vann to Johner on second down and a pa$B over the middle into traffic on third down. The Jayhawks did get a 19-yard field goal, but should have gotten more. In the third quarter, the Jay- hawks led 17-14 and drove 77 yards to the Tech 3 before running out of downs. On third and 3, an alley-oop pass to Isaac Byrd sailed well out of ih,e end zone, forcing the Jay- hawks to attempt a 20-yard field Johner then mishandled the sn$p frqm center and failed to scramble into the end zone. fit was all Texas Tech after that. Six games remain this season for the; Jayhawks, but the schedule makers haven't done them favors. fexas! Tech was arguably the easiest opponent left on KU's home slab (Colorado, Texas and Kansas State remain), and none of the road games (Nebraska, Iowa State and Missouri) are pieces of cake, either. Tech knocks out KU ' 8612 Texas Tech Kansas 30 17 Return to home turf turns ugly for 'Hawks in second half of Big 12 contest By HAROLD BECHARD Tlie Salina Journal LAWRENCE — So much for the Kansas Jayhawks second "season opener." Forty-four days after dispatching Ball State — remember, Aug. 29, Thursday night, warm breeze, 83 degrees — the Jayhawks came home to Memorial Stadium. For 30 minutes, it was a happy homecoming. The Jayhawks had controlled the first two quarters, and although they had let one scoring opportunity slip away, led by 10 points at halftime. But oh that dastardly second half. Just when it looked like Kansas had everything under control, it all fell apart, and the Red Raiders were there to pick up the pieces. Texas Tech scored 23 unanswered points in the second half and picked off two KU passes to stun the Jay- hawks, 30-17, in front of 46,500 fans at Memorial Stadium. "It was a big win for us, no doubt about it," Tech coach Spike Dykes said outside the happy Red Raider locker room. "Any time you have a second-half comeback, it's a great win." On the Kansas side, the feelings were just the opposite. The Jayhawks had blown an opportunity to go to 4-1 overall and into bowl contention. Now, it's Colorado next week, followed by Nebraska; "The season is far from over. We have to regroup," said KU head coach Glen Mason, whose team dropped to 1-1 in the Big 12's North Division and 3-2 overall. "You know the old saying, you either get better or get worse, and we have to get better." Mason said the Jayhawks need to get better in two areas — running the football and scoring once they're in the red zone (inside the opponent's 20-yard line). The Jayhawks didn't do well in either category Saturday. Kansas rushed for a measly 61 yards, including just 43 by June Henley, who entered the game as the nation's No. 3 rusher. "Normally, when you run the ball See KU, Page D2 DYKES The Associated Press Kansas receiver Isaac Byrd catches a pass despite coverage from Tech's Coery Turner. T BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: MORE COVERAGE ON PAGE D5 Cards nip Braves By The Associated Press ST. LOUIS — Ron Gant says he gets no special pleasure out of beating the Atlanta Braves. Yeah, right. Gant hit two long home runs against the team that abruptly • dumped him two Atlanta 2 years ago be- s , L , ^ causeofabroken B r"^ w » ,..*,. leg, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Braves 3-2 Saturday for a surprising 2-1 lead in the NL championship series, Gant launched a two-run homer into the Cardinals bullpen in the first inning, then hit a solo shot off former teammate Tom Glavine into the shrubs in center field in sixth. V PRO FOOTBALL Helped by the homers, outstanding pitching from winner Donovan Osborne and the bullpen and the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the state of Missouri, the Cardinals were able to beat Atlanta at Busch Stadium for the first time in seven games this year. The Cardinals also won their team-record eighth straight postseason game at home, a string that began in 1987. The loss left the Braves in an unfamiliar position — trailing in October. The defending World Series champions waltzed through their previous five postseason series, but fell victim to another strong pitching performance by St. Louis. Game 4 is tonight on Fox TV. Yankees whip O's By The Associated Press BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees have the perfect Camden Yards formula: pull out the power and turn it over to the bullpen. Now, after another win in .• their favorite New York 8 road ballpark, Balt | more ^ they're one vie- - - - tory away from their first American League pennant in 15 years. Darryl Strawberry homered twice and Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill each hit a two-run homer Saturday night, leading the Yankees to an 8-4 win over Baltimore and a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series. New York will try to wrap up its record 34th AL pennant today (3:07 p.m., NBC-TV) when Andy Pettitte pitches against Scott Erickson in a rematch of Game 1 starters. Even if the Yankees win, they may want to stay in Baltimore for the World Series: they're 8-0 in Camden Yards this year, including 2-0 in the playoffs. Strawberry hit a solo homer in the second inning off Baltimore rookie Rocky Coppinger and a two-run drive in the eighth off Armando Benitez, his first postseason homers since he was with the New York Mets in 1988. Baltimore, the first wild-card team to advance past the first round of the playoffs, had closed to 5-4 before the Yankees added three runs in the eighth inning. K-State topples Mizzou This week, special teams propel Wildcats to decisive triumph By KAREN TESTA The Associated Press COLUMBIA, Mo. — They say hit 'em where it hurts, and Kansas State put a special kind of hurt on the Missouri Tigers. Missouri scored on the opening drive, but Kansas State's special teams quickly dictated the momentum of the game in the Wildcats' 3510 Big 12 victory Saturday. Chris Canty returned Missouri's first kickoff 44 yards to give Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) great field position en route to its first touchdown, a game-tying 7-yard run by Mike Lawrence. Less than five minutes later, Canty returned a punt 58 yards for another touchdown to make it 14-7. "The kickoff return was a big boost," said Kansas State quarterback Brian Kavanagh. "Canty gave us the short field, then he gave us the punt return. That's 14 points that might be due to just special teams." Kavanagh rebounded from a dismal 34-yard passing performance last week in a 39-3 loss to Nebraska, finish- Kansas State 35 Missouri 10 CANTY ing nine of 15 for 144 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Missouri was especially vulnerable to the run, with defensive leaders DeMontie Cross and Joe Love playing with injuries and linebacker Darryl Chatman sidelined with a sprained knee. Lawrence, who finished with 168 yards on 25 carries, had a 27-yard scoring run, and Mario Smith scored on a 100-yard interception in the second half. "They have struggled on defense because they don't have the personnel there that they want," said Wildcats coach Bill Snyder. "Our linebacking corps is really beat all to heck," said Missouri Coach Larry Smith. "The injuries are hitting us at the wrong positions." Missouri (2-4, 0-3) caught the Wildcats off guard on the opening drive of the game, marching 80 yards to score on Kent Skornia's 3- yard. pass to Jay Murchison. Tailback Brock Olivo, who regained his starting position, sparked the drive with a 16-yard reception and 26- yard run. Skornia completed 12 of 29 for 142 yards with three interceptions. Two of those pickoffs stole Missouri's thunder as the Tigers were poised to score. Missouri had driven 67 yards to a fourth-and-5 from the Kansas State 8 when Smith picked off a Skornia pass at the goal line and returned it for a touchdown with 7:13 left in the third quarter to make it 35-10. That interception return was the longest by a Kansas State player since an 85-yarder in 1944. Another interception came in the second quarter, when Lamar Chapman picked off a pass and returned it 30 yards to the Kansas State 35. • Statistics / Page D2 Chiefs take week off after two straight losses Bono again taking heat after Kansas City's two-game slide entering this week's bye By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Replace Steve Bono? Why, the very idea! By the shocked look on his face, you'd think people were asking Marty Schotten- heimer to abandon his family, not bench an ineffective quarterback. "It never entered my mind," the Chiefs coach said. "It comes as a surprise that it was a question that was even posed." The surprise to fans contemplating a melancholy bye week is that Bono's job remains secure. After a franchise-record 4-0 start stirred Super Bowl dreams, a two- game losing skid sent the Chiefs into their bye with a disturbing 4-2 mark, conjuring BONO memories of last year's early exit in the playoffs, and again raining criticism on the quarterback. The defense, with one notable exception, has generally been the same tough, unyielding unit it was last year. Most of the problems center on an ineffectual offense and persistently troublesome special teams play. In losses to San Diego and Pittsburgh, Bono threw one touchdown pass and four interceptions. The Chargers beat the Chiefs even though the defense did not allow the San Diego offense to get into the end zone. But the Steelers found another way, piling up 436 yards in a 17-7 Monday night victory not nearly as close as the final score. Yet Schottenheimer and his coaches never thought about putting backup quarter- back Rich Gannon into the game. "We're all part of the problem, because we're not getting enough points scored," said Schottenheimer, who defends Bono by citing his 13-3 record last year in his first season as a starter. "A quarterback's primary objective is to win. I've maintained that all along. We haven't won the last two, so he has to accept part of that responsibility. But in no fashion is he a greater part of the problem than some of the other things we're failing to do." Without question, Bono has been hampered by an inefficient running game and a wide receiver corps that was suspect to begin with and now is missing a couple of key parts. Lake Dawson is gone for the year with a knee injury. And second-year man Tamar- ick Vanover, slated to be the other starting wide receiver, has been hampered by a painful rib injury. In addition, tight ends Derrick Walker and Keith Cash missed much of the first six games with injury. The running game that led the NFL last year is averaging just 104 yards, a decline traced more to poor execution than to injuries. Marcus Allen thrills the crowd every time he moves another notch up the all- time scoring or yardage list in his relentless march to the Hall of Fame. But Allen, because of the ineffectiveness of former first-round draft pick Greg Hill, is being asked to carry the bulk of the rushing load. That's asking a lot of any 36-year-old, even as finely conditioned an athlete as Allen. "We need to create more offense," agreed Bono, who was outpassed by Pittsburgh's Mike Tomczak 338 yards to 170. "But one of the keys to this offense is to just play within the offense and keep going at it. Sooner or later — sooner, hopefully — something will pop." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (913) 323*363 OR V

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