BAD BREAK FOR
between Miami's being simply a strong team with a weak schedule and a team with
an excellent chance of winning the national championship may be the length of a
finger. Late in the first quarter of the Hurricanes' 26-20 escape against
Michigan State in East Lansing, quarterback Craig Erickson broke the index
finger on his throwing hand, and will be out for at least a month. With
Erickson, Miami had the nation's No. 3 passing offense. Without him, it will
have to make do with Gino Torretta, a redshirt freshman.
Torretta completed 15 of 29 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. But he also
threw two interceptions, the second with 10:48 to go, which cornerback Harlon
Barnett returned 35 yards for a TD, tying the game at 20-20. While Miami's
superb defense held the Spartans at bay, the Hurricanes' offense was so
ineffective that it needed a couple of long Carlos Huerta field goals, from 45
and 52 yards, to win the game.
have any trouble with its next two opponents, Cincinnati and San Jose State,
but the Oct. 28 meeting with Florida State in Tallahassee will be another
story, especially if Erickson is still sidelined. The Seminoles, who have two
defeats, would love to salvage their season against the Hurricanes, who handed
Florida State its only setbacks in 1987 and '88.
played Miami a week after dropping a tough 21-13 decision to top-ranked Notre
Dame, so, naturally, Spartan coach George Perles was asked to compare the two
teams, who will meet on Nov. 25. Proceeding cautiously—State will face the
Irish again next fall—Perles allowed that " Miami's defensive line is
excellent. In the skill positions, both teams are about the same." Aw,
c'mon George, the writers persisted. Well, said Perles, "you have Notre
Dame ranked right."
49-28 loss to Virginia on Sept. 23, Blue Devil coach Steve Spurrier was so
disgusted with his generous defense that he said, "We've got a
million-to-one chance of beating Clemson." Spurrier later shortened the
odds to 100 to 1, but his players got the message. "I took that
personally," says defensive back Erwin Sampson.
should blow off steam more often. With the defense preventing the big play,
Duke upset Clemson 21-17 for its first win over a Top 10 foe since 1971. The
Tigers were simply be-Deviled. With Clemson holding a 14-0 lead in the third
quarter, cornerback Dexter Davis made one of the Tigers' five interceptions.
But, amazingly, on the return, with not a soul near him, he dropped the ball,
and Duke's Darryl Clements recovered on the Tiger 23. The line of scrimmage had
been the Duke 26, and the play was a 51-yard gain for the Blue Devils. What
were the chances of that happening? "About a million to one," said Duke
defensive end John McDonald.
Since a 14-13
season-opening loss to Illinois, Southern Cal and its redshirt freshman
quarterback, Todd Marinovich, have grown up in a hurry, A shy kid, Marinovich
became the starter when Pat O'Hara, a particular favorite with his teammates,
suffered a season-ending knee injury one week before the Illinois debacle. But
Saturday's gritty 18-17 win over previously unbeaten Washington State in
Pullman should have given Marinovich a great deal of confidence.