The Sun Devils had blown a golden chance to win the game in regulation. With Arizona State leading 49-42 and 1:22 to play, Sun Devils safety Willie Daniel stopped Ducks tight end Justin Peelle a yard short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal. However, Arizona State freshman tailback Mike Williams fumbled three plays later, and Oregon had new life at the Sun Devils' 17 with 33 seconds left. On the next play Ducks quarterback Joey Harrington, who would throw for 434 yards and six touchdowns, hit Peelle in stride with a 17-yard scoring pass, sending the game into overtime.
Neither team produced any points on its first extra possession, but Oregon scored on a one-yard run by tailback Allan Amundson to start the second overtime. Arizona State freshman quarterback Jeff Krohn then fired his fifth scoring pass of the game, a 21-yarder to wideout Richard Williams that set the stage for the fake kick.
Krohn, who took the snap instead of the usual holder, backup quarterback Griffin Goodman, arose from his squat, rolled right and lofted a pass to Heap, who was covered closely by Oregon free safety Rasuli Webster. Heap couldn't reel it in. Snyder still has no doubt that his young team will pull out games like this one soon enough. "We've lost three games to three magnificent teams by a total of 14 points," he says. "Things will start to go our way."
Florida's Leon Hires
Putting a Leash On a Big Bulldog
College football is full of players like Florida senior right guard Leon Hires, who realize soon enough that they'll never play in the NFL. They go to class, practice hard and wait for their turn to play, sometimes even cracking the starting lineup. Then they're finished with the game. If they're lucky, they have a day such as the one Hires had last Saturday against Georgia's 6'6", 300-pound defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, who's expected to be among the first defensive tackles taken in the 2001 NFL draft.
In the Gators' 34-23 victory, Hires didn't completely shut down Stroud, who had four quarterback pressures and batted down one pass, but Stroud didn't make a tackle. Hires was satisfied that he had held his own against a guy he'll be watching in the pros next year. " Stroud is the biggest person I've ever seen in pads," said Hires after the game. "I did the best I could against him. I just tried to stay in front of him. He's strong and real powerful."
Stroud and fellow tackle Richard Seymour, a 6'6", 300-pound senior who is a probable first-round draft pick, are such a presence that Florida all but abandoned its inside running game. "It's amazing to see a guy that big move that way," Hires said of Stroud, a Georgia native who nearly signed with the Gators in 1996. Stroud believed he had played well and refused to acknowledge that Hires had neutralized him. "I was in their backfield all day," he said. "I hit the quarterbacks a whole lot of times. They just get rid of the ball so quick." Hues and the rest of the Florida blockers limited Georgia to two sacks, both by blitzing outside linebackers.
Hires's college career has been a long, sometimes harrowing trip. After being named first-team all-state as a senior at Manatee High in Bradenton, Fla., he signed with Notre Dame in 1996. In February of his freshman year, his father, also named Leon, who suffered from clinical depression, committed suicide. Seven months later Hires was fighting depression himself and left South Bend. He transferred to Florida in January 1998 and as a junior last season played only 84 snaps. This season Hires leads the Gators' offense with 535 snaps.
When he left the locker room on Saturday, he left with a game ball.
Homeless Texas Southern
Tigers Turned Road Warriors