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Maybe it will all be over by this Saturday, when TCU returns home to play North Texas State—the annual central Texas cricket plague, that is, which is worse than usual. In spite of attempts to eradicate the bugs by spraying, swarms of the pesky critters have descended upon TCU's Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, where they are more than just a nuisance. After Arkansas committed three illegal procedure penalties in the first half of a 20-10 win over the Horned Frogs on Oct. 3, Razorback offensive guard Mike Benson complained that the distraction of the crickets was causing him and his linemates to jump. Afterward the Hogs' coach, Ken Hatfield, cracked that he wanted to "round those things up to sell to fishermen."
The crickets had been thicker when TCU hosted Brigham Young two weeks earlier in its only previous home game of the season. "Tens of thousands" was the estimate put forth by the TCU sports information department. "It really wasn't funny," says department secretary Dawn Hummer. The players agree. BYU wide receiver Rick Zayas complained that a cricket flew into his helmet and prowled around for a few seconds before departing through his ear hole. "When I lined up, I looked down the line and the crickets were crawling up on the football," Zayas recalls. "I wondered how that center could keep from flinching." Players on both teams were slipping and sliding as cricket carcasses coated the artificial turf.
Of course, BYU players up on their Mormon history already knew about the damage crickets can do. In the 1840s, just after Brigham Young and his followers arrived in Utah from Illinois, an entire wheat crop was threatened by crickets. Miraculously, a flock of sea gulls appeared from the Great Salt Lake, devouring the insects and saving the crop. Today the Seagull Monument stands in Salt Lake City as a memorial to this remarkable occurrence. Alas, no sea gulls showed up in Fort Worth, and the Frogs beat the Cougars 33-12.
Washington coach Don James spent last week imploring Husky fans to come to Saturday's game against Arizona State and scream their heads off. "I would hope our fans would get behind us and make a lot of noise," he told reporters. The loyalists answered the call—and loudly. A record crowd of 73,883 packed Husky Stadium and made an unholy racket as Washington beat the Sun Devils 27-14. "The receivers couldn't hear anything out there," said Arizona State flanker Chris Garrett. "The snap counts were wrong, and we couldn't hear the checks at the line because it was too noisy." At one point a police officer, concerned that the fans' behavior had gotten out of hand, requested that Washington athletic director Mike Lude make an announcement asking for calm. Lude's response: "I told him to go to hell."
... Florida's freshman sensation Emmitt Smith leads the nation in rushing with 836 yards after gaining 130 in a 65-0 thrashing of Cal State-Fullerton. His five straight 100-yard games are a school record. If Smith gains 164 against Temple this week, he will become the first freshman in all NCAA history to reach 1,000 yards in only seven games. Pitt's Tony Dorsett and Georgia's Herschel Walker did it in eight....
Though it's a terrific rivalry, Michigan-Michigan State isn't always a terrific game. The Spartans' six-point win Saturday was only the second spread of less than nine points in the teams" last 22 meetings.
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