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COLLEGE REPORT
William F. Reed
October 09, 1989
BAD BREAK FOR MIAMI
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October 09, 1989

College Report

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TOP 20
The Huskers and the Razorbacks keep winning big, but have yet to be tested.

THIS WEEK

LAST WEEK

1

NOTRE DAME (4-0)

1

2

MICHIGAN (2-1)

2

3

NEBRASKA (4-0)

3

4

MIAMI (4-0)

4

5

COLORADO (4-0)

6

6

ARKANSAS (3-0)

8

7

TENNESSEE (4-0)

12

8

N.C. STATE (5-0)

9

9

PITTSBURGH (3-0-1)

13

10

W. VIRGINIA (4-0-1)

10

11

USC (3-1)

11

12

AUBURN (2-1)

5

13

HOUSTON (3-0)

15

14

OKLAHOMA (3-1)

16

15

ALABAMA (3-0)

14

16

CLEMSON (4-1)

7

17

SYRACUSE (2-1)

17

18

AIR FORCE (5-0)

19

TEXAS A & M (3-1)

20

WASH. STATE (4-1)

19

BAD BREAK FOR MIAMI

The difference 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.

On Saturday, 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.

Miami shouldn't 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.

Michigan State 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."

HOLD THOSE TIGERS

After Duke's 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.

Maybe Spurrier 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.

RAPID GROWTH

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.

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