The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on September 15, 1991 · 25
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 25

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Sunday, September 15, 1991
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25
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THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Sunday, September 15, 1991 Gators praiiMiel Tide 35(D) The Morning After Tom McEwen Across nation, Gators just as impressive APPLETON, Wis. The dateline on the piece is there because it is from room 2311 of the Paper Valley Hotel, in downtown Ap-pleton, that I watched ESPN's presentation of the Alabama-Florida football war Saturday night from the Gator Coliseum. Coliseum with the pent-up thousands in the stands looking down on the gladiators beneath them in such furious combat. Watched it from here instead of being there live because you can't get from Tampa or Gainesville to Green Bay, where the Bucs just may win their first game today, in time for the Packers-Buckos kickoff. So this is written during and after the Gainesville struggle, after watching the muscle match along with Bucs coach Richard Williamson, former Alabama player and assistant coach, and Tribune colleagues Nick Pug-liese and Cliff McBride. Williamson came and went long before it was over, with Florida leading 6-0, to tend to responsibilities far more important to him and probably most of you the Bucs. But, asked for an opinion on what he saw, he summed it up well: "Looks to me like they are knocking the hell out of each other." First-half war turned to rout They did that all right, the combat making a casualty of Danny Woodson, Alabama's starting quarterback. He was no Heisman Trophy candidate, but he was a quality performer and when he left the game, Florida led by the margin of 6-0 on two field goals (44 and 48 yards). Alabama coach Gene Stallings was forced to go with largely untested Jay Barker, who was no match for the Gators, nor the conditions. The war of the first half turned out to be a rout as Florida coaches solved Alabama's offense and defense, sent its ground troops into effective maneuvers and added the aerial attack all expected and wondered why didn't happen sooner. Before the balanced, overwhelming Florida attack, Alabama committed mistake after mistake, virtually all of which Florida jumped on, sending the Tide on the run with the Gators in full pursuit. At one point, Gators quarterback Shane Matthews left the game, telling Coach Steve Spurrier that Alabama's six-defensive back scheme and speed was confusing him. That was solved. By game's end, Matthews had thrown four touchdown passes. Early on, an unbalanced Alabama offensive line was confusing Florida as gifted running back Siran Stacy ran and ran and ran for yards. The Gators solved that. Coaching adjustments key In time, to their great, great credit, the Gator staff solved the Alabama schemes presented in the first half, after which the Gators led only 6-0. In the end, Florida scored 29 points in the second half and probably could have scored more. In the end, both the Florida passing and running games worked and Errict Rhett just had a marvelous game at running back. In the end, the Florida defense reminded you of the Alabama defenses of the great Bear Bryant years quick, slashing, effective. In the end, heroes of last year's vital 17-13 win by Florida at Tuscaloosa, such as Matthews, receiver Tre Everett, place-kicker Arden Czyzewskl and safety Will White, who had a key interception Saturday night and three last year, were heroes again this time, along with newcomers such as receiver Willie Jackson, who caught two touchdown passes, and defensive lineman Tony McCoy, banished last year. In the end. Matthews, after a shaky start and acknowledged confusion, was effective and heroic and unflappable. In the end, Florida and Spurrier had won 35-0, and that can provide the coaches and the gladiators with special smiles, for two bonus reasons reasons beyond the Importance to Southeastern Conference and national prestige and the reward given the biggest crowd ever to see a football game in the state. Give an assist in this monumental win to the new Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the havoc It can wreck on a visiting team with so many peop.e there and making the noise they make, and '.he marvelous picture television carried m tlonwlde, even here in Ap-pleton, Wis. Florida State has proven It Is worthy of its high national ranking. Miami awed the football world with the Thursday rout of Houston. Florida Is for real, too. Florida 35, Alabama 0. Whew! When It was done, Williamson had a postscript to his halftime comment. "That's a blg-tlme team Spurrier has, and he did what all coaches want to do, he adjuster) and It worked." 1 . ' i M - I I J). 'J- i I 1 ? v... ..... , a 1 1 1 M m r jf Mr m M ..Iff N . L r, Jf' :- iii' - m it v Tribune photograph by STEVE DOWELL Florida's Mike Brandon puts pressure on Alabama quarterback Danny Woodson during the first half. FSU slaughters Western Michigan 58-0 v I 1 T Zmik ? V .'5, An ' ' i) ! ',V Hi i Tribune photograph by COLIN HACKLEY Sterling Palmer strips the ball from Western Michigan's Brad Tayles, setting up FSU's first score. By JIM HENRY Tribune Staff Writer TALLAHASSEE Reality returns today after 60-minutes of fiction Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium. Top-ranked Florida State and Western Michigan can focus on more appropriate opponents the Seminoles vs. No. 3 Michigan and the Broncos vs. Toledo. Different leagues and different goals. As expected, FSU overmatched Western Michigan 58-0 before a sellout crowd of 60,913. It was the Seminoles' first shutout and most lopsided win since a 59-0 verdict at South Carolina in 1988. The Broncos (2-1) of the MidAmerican Conference actually had the game's first scoring chance. However, Jay Barresi missed a 32-yard field goal after FSU fumbled during punt coverage. Six minutes later, the game read like a bad mystery. Or comic strip. Seven different players scored on seven consecutive possessions at one point as the Seminoles (3-0) positioned themselves for their Sept. 28 showdown in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines (2-0) upended Notre Dame 28-14 on Saturday. "I don't know if we're ready for Michigan yet, but I hope to be in two weeks," FSU coach Bobby Bow-den said. "We knew going into this game that we had every advantage in the world. "I don't think you can count tonight Western Michigan wasn't a Top 20 team. You can't arrive at See SEMINOLES, Page 11 Record crowd sees Alabama suffer first loss in Gainesville. By CHRIS HARRY Tribune Staff Writer GAINESVILLE Steve Spurrier's alleged prediction, the one he claims to have never made, became an ugly prognostication for the University of Alabama on Saturday night as the Florida Gators punished the Crimson Tide 35-0 in a manner rarely experienced in 'Ba-ma's storied Southeastern Conference history. A state-record crowd of 85,069 at Florida Field witnessed the sixth-ranked Gators go to 2-0 against the nation's 16th-ranked team. In losing for the first time in seven tries at Gainesville, the Tide (1-1) suffered their worst SEC shutout since a 40-0 loss to Auburn in 1957. "I did not predict a big margin of victory," said Spurrier, addressing a controversial column in The Birmingham News this week that claimed the Florida coach boasted the Gators would beat 'Bama by 30. "I did tell a group of Golden Gators, a group of guys who have been around since the '20s and '30s, that if we did finally beat Alabama at home, I'd dedicate the game to those guys. So this one's for them." After a slow start, it was business as usual for junior quarterback Shane Matthews, who got a jump-start at halftime and turned in a three-touchdown, 251-yard performance. The Gators defense, somewhat humbled in surrendering nearly 500 yards to San Jose State last week, rediscovered its pride, forcing five turnovers and holding 'Bama's one-dimensional offense to 257 yards. And there was the die-hard running of Errict Rhett, who rushed 23 times mostly up 'Bama's gut for a career-high 173 yards, and set the tone for UF's monster 28-point second half. "The first half was basically terrible," said Matthews, who was intercepted twice before intermission but atoned by rallying the Gators to a pair of second-quarter field goals by Arden Czyzewski and 6-0 half-time lead. "I made some terrible throws and we didn't produce. The See GATORS, Page 10 MICHIGAN DOWNS NOTRE DAME 8 COLORADO'S WIN STREAK ENDS 12 B SCORES; TOP 25 FARED 12 Braves outlast Dodgers 3-2, regain lead By JOE HENDERSON Tribune Staff Writer ATLANTA September makes for strange heroes in the game of baseball and the Atlanta Braves had their quota Saturday. Do the names Jerry Willard, Keith Mitchell and iJim Clancy strike fear in the hearts of contending teams? Just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers. Don't take offense if their answer isn't very polite. The aforementioned trio teamed with a more familiar name Saturday to give the Braves a 3-2 victory that moved them a half-game back in front in the National League West. It took 11 Innings, covering 4 hours and 10 minutes on the field and 1:19 off it for a rain delay. No one among the 44,773 fans at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium seemed to mind how long it took, however. They were too busy celebrating the winning rally. It went down like this: With two outs, Roger McDowell, the Dodgers' seventh pitcher, walked Williard. Major mistake. Williard had just nine at-bats this season and even got a hit on one of them. Mitchell was called off the bench to run for him and eventually scored the winning run when Ron Gant he's the one most people have heard of singled off the left-field wall with the bases loaded. It made a winner out of Clancy, acquired last month from the Houston Astros in one of those veteran moves contending clubs like to make. Clancy, the fourth Braves pitcher, threw two Innings of shutout ball. "This was the kind of game where you get to see what the other See BRAVES, Page 5 KIG BO ' L, , . . "t-.- flr000vrrt some ot the current NFL coaches were doing when Don . 'vl J " 'ft Vc. yr Shula started his coaching career In 1963: j Richard Williamson (Bucs): WRs coach at Alabama. -y t' V :;i i NFL coaching legend Don Shula finds another milestone within reach. By CHUCK MULLING Tribune Staff Writer MIAMI Tribune file photograph Bruce Coslet (Jets): High school sophomore. Jack Pardee (Oilers): Linebacker with L.A. Rama. Bill Belichlck (Browns): Sixth-grader in Andover, Md. Rich Kotlte (Eagles): University ot Miami treshman. Marv Levy (Bills): Head coach at California, Dick MacPherson (Patriots): Bengals assistant coach-Dan Reeves (Broncos): Junior OB at South Carolina. . Chuck Knox (Seahawks): Jets assistant coach. omeday, if he wants to feel satisfied, Don Shula might sit back and take' inventory of his accomplishments in" all those years of coaching. But that won't happen anytime soon. Not even today, if the Miami Dolphins defeat the Detroit Lions at the Silver-dome. Shula, the NFL's marathon coach, Is one win shy of career No. 300, but that isn't important. All that matters is getting the Dolphins off to a 2-1 start after a troublesome preseason of Injuries and holdouts. Shula was the league's leading man this week. Everybody wanted a piece of his time. Why all the fuss, he wondered. "Why is 300 more Important, than 299 or 298 or any of the others?" Shula said. "It's just a nice, See SHULA, Page 13 Going home to play Pack is all relative to Gruber By NICK PUGLIESE Tribune Staff Writer GREEN BAY, Wis. Paul Gruber will have a reunion with about 60 relatives and friends today at Lambeau Field. However, Instead of downing bratwurst and beer, Gruber will spend the afternoon at left tackle for the Bucs making sure Packers right defensive end Robert Brown does not devour quarterback Vlnny Testaverde. Not that Gruber would complain. It's a fact of life In the NFL that even when you play an away game in a city that is a few hours drive from your hometown of Prairie Du Sac, Wis., visiting Is the last thing on your mind. For sure, today's game between the Bucs and Packers pits . couple of 0-2 teams desperate for a victory. "I enjoy going back home to play," said Gruber, who has never missed a snap since Tampa Bay selected him out of the University of Wisconsin with the fourth overall pick of the 1988 draft. "It's probably the only opportunity I get to play In front of a lot of people I know. We don't get a lot of exposure up there." Exposure has been one of Gruber's problems. Put him on San Francisco's or Chicago's offensive lines and you could make his Pro Bowl reservations for the next decade. Tom McIIale, who lines up next to Gruber at left guard, thinks it's only a matter of time See GRUBER, Page 17 Who: Bucs at Green Bay Packers. When: Today at 1 p.m. TV: Channel 13. Radio: WQYK (99.5 FM. 1010 AM). SCOUTING REPORT 17 Inside Golf Tampa's Nancy Scranton has record 64 f to tighten du Maurier Classic 3 Outdoors With new federal boating permit, it's pay now or pay more later 14 Prep football A complete wrapup of the weekend's games Regional sports pages

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