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THE WEEK
Hank Hersch
September 30, 1985
SOUTHWEST
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September 30, 1985

The Week

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MIDWEST

When Jeff Johnson was six years old, the front half of his right foot was sheared off by an oil-field pump jack in Chanute, Kans. As Jeff lay in a hospital bed a few weeks later, his father flipped on the Lions-Saints game. "Dad turned on the TV just as the teams were lining up for a field-goal try," recalls Johnson. "And suddenly the camera zoomed in on the kicker's foot. I was amazed. I remember thinking to myself, 'His foot is just like mine.' " The kicker, Tom Dempsey, booted an NFL-record 63-yarder that won the game for New Orleans. Last Saturday, in unbeaten Kansas's 37-10 win over Indiana State, walk-on Johnson's right foot launched field goals of 34, 52 and 53 yards, the last of which tied the school record for distance.

Iowa State's passing game had gone to seed. Last year's top wideouts, Tracy Henderson and Robbie Minor, were suspended during the winter after a series of run-ins that culminated with Minor mouthing off to a grad assistant during a 6:30 a.m. workout. Henderson then skipped his senior year, tried out for the Giants and was cut. Minor was reinstated, but he missed a few team functions (he said he wasn't told about them) and was caught drinking after curfew in a local pub. The Cyclones booted him. Against Vanderbilt last week, the Henderson/Minor replacements dropped seven passes, and quarterback Alex Espinoza was 1 for 16 at one point in the game. "Aw, it was partly my fault," said Espinoza, who pleaded guilty to charges of serious and simple assault stemming from two brawls. But on the Cyclones' final drive, Espinoza threw a 40-yard completion to set up Rick Frank's 34-yard field goal with three seconds remaining. That gave Iowa State a 20-17 victory.

While roadies set up for the Farm Aid extravaganza in Champaign, Ill., Nebraska's farm boys had the Illini seeking succor. "Right now, our program is looking real bad," Illinois coach Mike White said after being drubbed 52-25. "They kicked the tar out of us." Doug DuBose led the Huskers with 191 yards on 26 carries. Split end Robb Schnitzler (a nine-yard TD catch) and kicker Craig Schnitzler (one field goal, seven extra points) became the first brothers to score points in the same game for Nebraska.

WEST

Vanquished in Athens a week earlier by Georgia, Baylor conquered Troy 20-13 in an epic embarrassment for USC. The Bears beat the second-ranked Trojans with their horses—tackles and guards who brutalized both of USC's mighty lines. Baylor picked up 203 yards on the ground while holding Southern Cal to 153. "Our ability to run surprised, even shocked me," said Bears coach Grant Teaff. Added Trojan coach Ted Tollner, "It came down to what we think is our strength: Play physical, stop the run, and run the ball when you have to. They won that war, so they won the football game."

With 3:16 to play, USC had the ball on the Baylor six-yard line. Sean Salisbury, who began the game as the nation's No. 1 passer, ran once and handed off thrice for a grand total of two yards. Helen may not have been at stake, but Baylor did spruce up its own image by playing two-turnover, two-penalty football in its first trip to the West Coast in 21 years. The setback was the second in as many weeks for USC, which had earlier revealed recruiting violations that forced assistant coach Russ Purnell to resign.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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