Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on December 29, 1989 · Page 19
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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 19

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Santa Cruz, California
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Friday, December 29, 1989
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Page 19
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Spurrier a winner in last Duke game Report says coach bound for Florida today The Associated Press BIRMINGHAM. Ala. James Gray, major college football's fifth-leading rusher this season, ran for a record 280 yards and scored four touchdowns Thursday night, leading Texas Tech to a 49-21 victory over Duke in the All American Bowl. The decision gave Tech a 9-3 record, while Duke fell to 8-4 in what could be Coach Steve Spurrier's final game with the Blue Devils. According to The Charlotte Observer, Spurrier has already resigned as as coach in order to take the head job at Florida. Sources close to the Duke athletic department said in today's editions that Spurrier informed athletic director Tom Butters of his plans Thursday morning. Sources told the Observer Spurrier is scheduled to meet with Florida athletic director Bill Arnsparger Friday at Spurrier's condominium in Crescent Beach, Fla. Spurrier is expected to accept a five-year deal worthapproximately $100,000 per season. Gray, who gained 1,509 yards Tor the 24th-ranked Red Raiders, scored from two, 54, 18 and 16 yards. His 280 yards, on 33 carries, was a personal high. Gray's first three touchdowns and a 36-yard pass from Jamie Gill Bowl roundup to Travis Price gave Tech a 28-0 lead before Dave Brown threw two scoring passes for No. 20 Duke. Brown passed 30 yards to Bud Zuberer and 25 yards to Dave Co-lonna to make it 28-14 at halftime. Mississippi 42, Air Force 29 MEMPHIS, Tenn Randy Baldwin rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns and John Darnell gave Air Force a lesson in aerial assualt as Mississippi dumped the Falcons in the Liberty Bowl. Darnell, who completed 19 of 33 passes for 261 yards and one touchdown, led the Rebels (8-4) on drives of 70 and 67 yards on their first two possessions as Mississippi built a 14-3 lead over the Falcons (8-4-1). Darnell peppered the slower Falcons defensive backfield with passes to Willie Green and Reid Hines, opening up the line of scrimmage for Baldwin's slashing runs. With Darnell and Baldwin drawing the bulk of the Falcons' attention, flanker Pat Coleman turned in a pair of sparkling scoring runs that sealed the victory. Coleman scored on a 58-yard punt return in the second quarter and added an 11 yard touchdown on a reverse that catapulted Mississippi into a 35-15 lead. ; C VrT Friday, Dec.' 29, 1989 Santa Cruz Sentinel B-3 Wright Cornerback lost a step, starting role The Associated Press Running back James Gray of Texas Tech bowls over Duke's Erwin Sampson during Tech's Ail-American Bowl victory. Sanders, Thomas honored as top rookies The Associated Press NEW YORK It's hard to imagine anyone having a better rookie season than Barry Sanders. Sanders led the National Football Conference with 1,470 yards, just 10 behind league-leader Christian Okoye of Kansas City. Sanders also helped make the Detroit Lions a competitive team again. Sanders, going from record-setting collegian to sensational NFL rookie, was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by The Associated Press on Thursday. In balloting by 70 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, Sanders was a near-unanimous choice with 69 votes. Wide receiver Andre Rison of Indianapolis received the other vote. Sanders, who rushed for 2,628 yards and 39 touchdowns both NCAA records in winning the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma State in 1988, was the third selection in last April's NFL draft. He NFL notebook held out through training camp, but it didn't slow him at all. "I didn't feel at a disadvantage by missing training camp," Sanders said. "I missed a little hitting. That didn't pose many disadvantages at all as far as the offense. I was able to learn as I went along, week to week." So, apparently, did the Lions, who won their final five games to escape last place in the NFC Central. Their run 'n shoot attack got going in the second half of the season, thanks greatly to Sanders. "That's the best way to go," he said. "Of course, we want to progress each year and that is something we will be shooting for. I know the team would like to improve the record and make it a winning ball club. "I would have liked for our record to be better. We certainly proved that we are a good team in the second half of the season. Sanders proved he could carry a rushing attack by himself. He averaged 5.3 yards a carry and scored 14 touchdowns. Sanders broke the Lions' rookie rushing record, set by Billy Sims, who also followed his Heisman Trophy season by winning NFL rookie of the year honors. KANSAS CITY, Mo. Linebacker Derrick Thomas, the pass-rusher from Alabama who played a major role in the resurgence of the Kansas City Chiefs, was named Thursday as The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. Thomas, the first defensive player chosen in the draft, led the revitalized Chiefs' defense with 10 sacks and 75 tackles and provided them with the outside pass rush they lacked for more than 10 years. Thomas was an easy winner over Denver safety Steve Atwater for the award, collecting 43 1-2 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and sportscasters who cover the NFL. Atwater received 22.5 votes. Relentless in his sideline-to-sideline pursuit, Thomas helped turn around a a mediocre defense into the AFC's No. 1 defense this year. "I have no regrets about this season at all, except that we failed to get into the playoffs," Thomas said. "I don't even regret the incident against San Diego when I got thrown out of the game (for kicking). I think you have to be in a position, at least once, to find out how you act in situations like that. I'm sorry it happened, and I paid the price." Carl Peterson, the Chiefs' first-year general manager, was one of those responsible for the selection of Thomas. "You always hope your No. 1 pick is going to tur n out to be a Pro Bowl player and a top rookie," said Peterson. Continued from Page Bl Some examples: Inactive for Games 2 and 3 this season, Wright made a game-saving play in the end zone two weeks later against New Orleans. Coach George Seifert said the play was one of the highlights of the 49ers' season. Wright skipped Week 6, but in the next game prevented a touchdown with an end-zone deflection against New England. Two weeks later, Wright knocked down two passes and had an interception in a rematch with New Orleans, and had a critical fourth-quarter interception against the New York Giants three weeks after that. When the 49ers clinched the NFC West title and the home-field advantage in the playoffs against the Rams with two games left on the schedule, Seifert saw another opportunity to rest Wright. Now Wright says he's ready to go, more than ever. To questions about his legs and whether he'll be able to stand up to the physical demands of postseason, Wright said, "I have to be ready to go. They'd have to shoot me to keep me out." There is additional motivation for Wright. Until he gave it some thought Thursday, Wright hadn't realized that he hadn't played in a postseason game since the 1984 Super Bowl season. Last season Wright was inactive for the divisional playoff with Minnesota, didn't play in the NFC title game at Chicago and had a cameo appearance but no statistics in the Super Bowl XXIII win over Cincinnati. "I'm a little embarrassed to say that," Wright said upon reflection. "It is amazing to think it's been that far back (since he participated)." Seifert, who has watched Wright's development since the former Missouri star was a rookie, said he values his experience on the field or sidelines. "It's because he's been with this club for so long and grown up with us," Seifert said. "He's had some great years and overcome injury to still play for us. Eric has the respect of his teammates, and they certainly have respect for his play. "When he's on the field, it's all out. It can help people who may not be quite as strong as he is." Turner, who also has played through several injuries, said Wright is an example to him. "Eric is my best friend on the team, but he inspires me, too. He's the kind of guy who's usually hurt and never 'If they don't protect me, I'm sure someone will want an experienced nickel back.' Eric Wright says anything. As valuable as he's been, it's hard to think of him not being protected." Wright said he's prepared for whatever happens on Feb. 1. "If I play well and we win the Super Bowl, then I'll see how things fall," he said. "If they don't protect me, I'm sure someone will want an experienced nickel back. "I don't want to leave, especially for a team where they may have a different setup and try to rush me into doing things." Nevertheless, Wright admits he would be tempted if a team offered him a significant increase over his current $450,000 salary. "I'm at the point in my career where I'm not in a position to make a lot of money like in baseball or basketball," he said. "But $100,000 or $150,000 more, I'd have to take a look. I can't be crazy and say I've got five years left down the road." There's a suspicion that Wright, given his injuries, might choose to end his career of his own volition should the 49ers win a fourth NFL title. To settle for nothing less than the first prize symbolizes Wright's style of play. It's also a message he's tried to convey to some of the younger players. "Our goal was not to get into the playoffs; our goal was to win the Super Bowl again," Wright said. "If we lose, that's all people will remember, not that we were 14-2 and the team with the top record." NOTEBOOK Strong safety Chet Brooks (sore knee) was held out of practice and might not work out until Saturday. st Ave. Alteereons Canter WEIGHT LOSS a varied line of natural and effective weight loss products. Reasonably priced. 462-4697 Another Record-Setting Deal. $75 OCash Back From Mazda Ma:da is racing to an all-time sales record! And America's most trouble-free compact truck" is a big reason why! We want the record, so you can count on record-setting deals on every '89 Ma:da truck. Get 750 cash hack from Mazda on any '89 4x2, 4x4, even Cab Plus. All backed by the best basic warranty in the truck business If there's ever been a great time to race to your Ma:da Dealer, it's now . . . during the Race to the Record. 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