The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on September 18, 1988 · Page 37
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 37

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Orlando, Florida
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Sunday, September 18, 1988
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Page 37
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The Orlando Sentinel ... -H Red Sox yank noose tighter around AL East lead, D-5 Sunday, September 18, 1988 OR urn i r t - i""l fi I J II in n in hi i.i ii iiiimiii i.iuii.iii miinm i ii ! . ft jim i l' i in niniiiw.il. i i. ii. in n ij i iiiniii - - . - . - I" ' Brian Schmitz THE SPOfiTS COLUMN Knights make noise pollsters should hear Orlando, you have a No. 1 college football team in the nation this morning. They're the UCF Knights. That little ol' team that took its lumps and almost folded a few years ago will be recognized as the top NCAA II team this week. The polls won't be out until Monday, but the balloting is a formality. The Knights are No. 1. The Knights don't need to read it or hear it after beating No. 1 Troy State on the most glorious Saturday night in their rocky nine years of existence. Even if something unfair happens in the poll and voters elect No. 2 North Dakota State, the No. 3 Knights won't care. They knocked off the defending NCAA II champion Trojans, the team that ruined Christmas for them last year with a 31-10 whipping in the semifinals held right here. The Knights more than won a football game and earned a No. 1 ranking to be named later. They captured a future at least in the sparkling eyes of Coach Gene McDowell, who has those eyes focused on playing with the big boys. "This was the most important game UCF has ever played, since we won," McDowell said. "We won respect, fans and friends. It wasn't big because we had a chance to be No. 1 . . . it was big because now we'll see whether people decide to jump on or stay off the bandwagon." Time to get on it, Orlando, and save gas driving to Gainesville, Tallahassee and Miami. How big was this night? So big that the record gate receipts got the beleaguered UCF athletic department out of debt. When McDowell took over four seasons ago, the deficit was $1 million. If he could he would like to thank personally the record UCF crowd of 31,789 for making the Knights at least $250,000 enough to pay off the final tab. McDowell talked just as enthusiastically of the emotional support the leather-lunged crowd provided. "The crowd was a major factor they intimidated Troy State," he said. Troy State Coach Robert Maddox even complained after the game that "the crowd got out of hand." A UCF crowd? Never had any Knights team heard this kind of clamor except as spectators at an FSU, Miami or Florida game. The atmosphere was NCAA I. Fans made so much noise Troy State couldn't hear the signals. Officials stopped the action seven times. A first. Fans went through an unprecedented 100 kegs of beer. A thirst. Fans chanted "We're No. 1" as the faithful at the big schools do. And why not? When fullback Mark Gia-cone bolted over for a touchdown with 7:13 remaining to stretch a 19-18 lead to 26-18, the score climaxed the most historic comeback in UCF history. The Knights trailed, 18-6, in the second half but pulled together behind gutty Shane Willis and a defense that simply followed graduate coach Bob Shackelford's pregame chant of "LETS GO TO WAR" to weather all the punches Troy's vaunted Wishbone delivered. Just when it looked as if the Knights were about to be fitted with toe tags, they thanked all the locals for their support at the box-office. The Knights trailed, 18-12, when Willis silenced Trojans defenders who "were saying some derogatory things about me and my mother" by leading UCF to a go-ahead touchdown even though he didn't throw it. Receiver Sean Beckton threw the pass to Arnell Spencer for a 19-18 lead. Then reserve linebacker Jose Trujillo busted through to block a punt near Troy State's goal line, rocking Florida Citrus Bowl-Orlando. "We didn't score, but that was intimidating," McDowell said. "It made them fake a punt later." Trujillo, a 5-foot-10 walk-on, intimidating? That's what the Knights are all about. Guts and guile. "Heart," McDowell said. "We try to recruit heart." Few have bigger tickers than Willis, ignored by major colleges because he was too short at 5-10. But McDowell said he wanted Willis after formally introducing himself in a first meeting as "Gene McDowell, coach and athletic director." Willis, the Joe Namath of Lakeland, stuck out a hand and said: "Hey, buddy." Clinging to a one-point lead with 7:13 to play, the Trojans faked a punt no doubt intimidated by Jose and failed on fourth down at their 27. Willis hit John "Ozzy" Os-bourne for 18 yards, then turned to Gia-cone in the huddle. "You fumble this, I'll kill you," Willis snarled. Giacone held on, as thousands of index fingers pointed into the rarified air the Knights now breathe. - V ' ti . f ... t " i V v ' 1 f ' 4th-quarter spree spurs Miami By George White OF THE SENTINEL STAFF ASSOCIATED PRESS Its' good! Kirk Sandifer (12) celebrates Carlos Huerta's winning field goal. ANN ARBOR, Mich. Like some flickering old episode of The Twilight Zone, this one really didn't happen. Nobody really comes from 16 points behind, with only seven minutes left in the game, with 105,000 voices screaming for your execution with every step you take. No, this really didn't happen. Did it? Yes, it did. The University of Miami, its No. 1 ranking dangling by a splinter, 33-game regular-season winning streak seemingly as extinct as the carrier pigeon, scored 17 points in the final six minutes Saturday to blindside Michigan, 31-30. The Twilight Zone! That's what time it was at Michigan Stadium, twilight indeed, when freshman kicker Carlos Huerta toed the winning field goal with 43 seconds left, preserving the Hurri canes' No. 1 status and regular-season winning streak. "There's only one way to say it it was a fantasy," said Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh, who completed 10 of 17 passes in the final desperation seven minutes, twice connecting on touchdowns, along with a critical two-point co-version pass. "It was just a case of a bunch of guys getting together and refusing to get beat. On the sideline in the fourth quarter, the offense came together. Coach Jimmy Johnson told us to be patient. We talked it over and decided we just had to do it. "I just knew we could move the ball on them. I knew they weren't that much better than us. We had been stopping ourselves all day. We just had to overcome ourselves, and when we did that, we pulled it out." Please see 'CANES, D-9 Double wow: UCF3 FSU thrill JOE BURBANKSENTINEL Victorious UCF coach Gene McDowell celebrates with Bob Spitulski (45), Parnell McCall (83), Kevin Gatlin (30), Darryl Ivory and 31,789 fans. Knights shed the past, stake a claim for No. 1 By Creig Ewing OF THE SENTINEL STAFF The University of Central Florida shed its troubled past at halftime and stepped into the big time and a possible No. 1 ranking in NCAA II with a victory over Troy (Ala.) State Saturday night, 26-18. The Knights (3-0) came back from an 18-6 deficit in the third quarter by scoring two quick touchdowns in the fourth. Third-ranked UCF could claim the top spot in NCAA II. Troy State (2-1) currently is ranked No. 1. Only No. 2-ranked North Dakota State, which beat South Dakota State, 55-26, Saturday, stands between UCF and the No. 1 ranking, which will be announced Tuesday. The game was played before a school-record crowd of 31,789 at the Florida Citrus Bowl-Orlando. Coach Gene McDowell crossed his fingers that the Knights would break the former record of 23,760, but no one expected to break it by 8,000. ' "This was the biggest win since we've been here. Not because of the ranking, but because we won so many friends this time. It was a big step in so many ways," McDowell said. "I think we won the support of Orlando." The crowd seemed to pull the Knights back into the game with sheer will. Give the defense a lot of credit as well. Please see UCF, D-10 r The old Puntrooski' leads 'Noles past Tigers JOE BURBANKSENTINEL Troy State's Robert Carter breaks through the line for healthy yardage. By Melissa Isaacson OF THE SENTINEL STAFF CLEMSON, S.C. - Coach Bobby Bowden and his Florida State Seminoles borrowed a trick play from the archives and pulled off one of the all-time stunners of a victory against third-ranked Clemson Saturday afternoon, proving that there may be just one thing in this world that was, is and always will be predictable about the 58-year-old coach. The man just will not settle for a tie. The lOth-ranked Seminoles rode into the throes of the famed and treacherous Death Valley and, before a crowd of approximately 82,500, walked out with a 24-21 victory over the Clemson Tigers when FSUs Richie Andrews converted a 19-yard field goal his first of the season with 32 seconds left. But by that time, believe it or not, the kick was anticlimactic. FSU put itself in a position to win with a fake punt dubbed the "Puntrooski." Bowden was so psyched with the play he first saw executed more than 20 years ago by a Jerry Claiborne-coached team that he acted it out afterward. Using chairs to depict the central characters, Bowden diagrammed the play that began as a perceived punt by Tim Corlew on a fourth-and-4 from Florida State's 21-yard line with Please see FSU, D-8 Notre Dame 20 Michigan State 3 Page D-6 Colorado 24 Iowa 21 Page D-6 Penn State 23 Boston College 20 Page D-8 Pitt 42 Ohio State 10 Page D-6 West Virginia 55 Page D-6 LSU 34 2-j Tennessee 9 Page D-7 Georgia 42 Mississippi St 35 Page D-7 Howard 41 Bethune-Cookman 26 Page D-10 Gators pull QB out of the whitewash By Tim Povtak OF THE SENTINEL STAFF GAINESVILLE The opponent may have been a weakling, the circumstances less than inspiring a 58-0 whitewash of Indiana State but freshman Kyle Morris picked Saturday to reassure 70,147 fans at Florida Field: Their quarterback worries are over. Morris, whose play in the previous two weeks was consistently inconsistent, took charge from the start, completing 15 of 21 passes for 299 yards apd two touchdowns, looking like ' Florida's quarterback of the present as well as the future. As the Gators (3-0) romped easily for the second time in three weeks, Morris mixed his passing skills with some newfound leadership ability to settle the quarterback battle with sophomore Herbert Perry. "This was a very important game for Kyle," offensive coordinator Lynn Amedee said. "He had to show us, and show his teammates, that he was ready to play the teams we have coming up. He came up with the right stuff today. He answered a lot of questions." With Morris in control, the game stayed relatively crisp, despite the lopsided score. He hit long passes and short, scrambled when he needed to, directing the offense effectively. Morris came through when: Faced with a third-and-15 situation in the first quarter, he lofted a 77-yard touchdown pass to fleet-footed Stacy Simmons, the same play that produced a 93-yard touchdown pass two weeks before. In the third period, freshman tailback Willie McClendon lined up incorrectly and started in motion the wrong way, Morris calmly corrected him, then adjusted to complete an 18-yard pass to Ernie Mills, f Please see GATORS, D-7

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