?YA GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY
Washington State senior tailback Dave Minnich is 27, married, the father of two and the second-leading rusher in the Pac-10 (98.5 yards per game). Unlike most older college football stars, the 6-foot, 220-pound Minnich didn't detour through minor league baseball. In 1992, after excelling at running back for Stonington ( Conn.) High, Minnich wasn't recruited by any Division I schools, so he worked as a cook and a parking valet before enlisting in the Marines in '94. He spent four years in the Corps, including a one-month stint in Kuwait.
After being discharged in 1998, Minnich enrolled at Mount San Jacinto Junior College in San Jacinto, Calif., and showed little rust, rushing for 2,679 yards and 35 touchdowns in two seasons. A year ago, despite starting only four games, Minnich led the Cougars with 754 rushing yards. Last Saturday he ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns in Washington State's 48-21 victory at Arizona. Minnich is a big reason why the 4-0 Cougars already have won one more game than they did all of last season.
An NFL scout assesses North Carolina's 6'6", 285-pound junior defensive end Julius Peppers, who has had II tackles for a loss, including four sacks, and two interceptions for the 2-2 Tar Heels.
"Wow! I think he's better than Courtney Brown [the No. I choice in the 2000 draft]. He's put on 20 pounds in the off-season and is an unusually gifted athlete. He'll get nothing but better [now that he's quit basketball to concentrate on football]. He's big, gifted, fluid and explosive. He'll go in the first three picks."
?WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Illinois trailed Michigan 14-10 and had the ball at its 33 early in the second quarter at the Big House last Saturday when Illini coach Ron Turner gave quarterback Kurt Kittner the option of going for it on fourth-and-one. Kittner was stuffed for no gain. On the next play Michigan quarterback John Navarre threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Bellamy, and the Wolverines went on to win 45-20.
"Our guys came in ready to play, and they played their tails off," Turner said. "They were fighting and competing to win this game, and I took it away from them.... I tell our guys all the time, 'Just do your job. Don't try to do everything.' And I didn't do that."
?HEAD TO HEAD