At Northwestern, which has won or shared the last two Big Ten championships in no small part because of its special teams play, coach Gary Barnett says he has appealed to his players' self-interest. "One of the things that helped is we had a guy drafted [Darnell Autry, fourth round in 1997] because he had shown up so well on special teams," he says. "That sort of thing trickles down. I've got fifth-year guys coming to me and asking to be on special teams. That's good when that starts happening."
Third Time Is the Charm
Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder sounded proud after his 24th-ranked Sun Devils beat No. 13 Miami at the Orange Bowl, whipping the Hurricanes more soundly than the 23-12 final score indicated. "This is a big win, and that's with a capital B," Snyder said. "I've brought some teams into the Orange Bowl before, and this is the first time I'm walking out of here with a higher score than the other team."
Snyder visited Miami before the Hurricanes became a national powerhouse (his Utah State team lost to Lou Saban's Miami team 17-16 in 1978) and during the Hurricanes' heyday (in '89 his California team was victim number 27 in Miami's 58-game Orange Bowl winning streak). Last Saturday he finally came calling with the right team at the right time.
The Sun Devils, overlooked in the preseason polls after winning the Pac-10 last year, rushed for 232 yards and passed for 239. They held the ball for 36:29, so long that desert-based Arizona State wore down humidity's darlings. In other words, the Sun Devils dominated the fourth quarter, which Miami (1-1) used to own. Hurricanes coach Butch Davis played 15 freshmen and sounded ready to give his team over to them. "We're going to play the guys who produce," he said.
An upset? Not really.
East Carolina overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat Wake Forest 25-24. In their last 28 games the Pirates are 5-2 in games decided by a field goal or less....
As of late Monday morning, Longhorns coach John Mackovic hadn't decided how much tape of Texas's 66-3 loss to UCLA he would allow his players to see. His instinct to chuck the tape into the waste bin was offset by the fact that the Longhorns are idle until Sept. 27, when they play at Rice. The coaches have two weeks to correct the multitude of mistakes. "My wife [Arlene] reminded me that her very first game as a bride of a young assistant at Army, we lost to Nebraska 77-7," Mackovic said, recalling the 1972 season. "The very next week we went to College Station and beat Texas A&M 24-14. I've been on both sides."...
Omari Walker of Boston College isn't the only candidate in the Wally Pipp pageant (Winners & Losers, left). Oft-injured tailback Robert Edwards of Georgia watched his backup, junior Olandis Gary, rush for 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and catch three passes for 73 yards and another score as the Bulldogs beat South Carolina 31-15.