- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Miami upset No. 1 Oklahoma even before the kickoff. The Hurricanes held a pregame players-only psych-up session, stormed to midfield, greeted the incoming Sooners with pointed fingers and then jostled some Oklahoma boosters. Said Sooner defensive back Sonny Brown, who took on the offending visitors, "I just told them, 'Hey, this ain't your stadium.' " Maybe not, but Miami appeared right at home in a 27-14 romp. The ' Canes' Vinny Testaverde connected on 17 of 28 passes for 270 yards, including TD tosses of 56 and 35 yards. Altogether, Miami ran nine plays that covered 10 yards or more. In defensing 150 plays in their first three games, the Sooners had allowed just 15 to go for more than 10 yards.
But Miami's key blow wasn't delivered by the offense. Defensive tackle Jerome Brown sacked Oklahoma quarterback Troy Aikman with 9:18 remaining in the first half and the Hurricanes leading 14-7. Aikman, who had completed six of seven throws for 131 yards, left the game with a broken left leg, becoming the fourth Sooner starter this season to be put out of a game with an injury before halftime. Afterward, as the Miami players taunted "OU Who?" the Sooners left them high and dry—no water in the locker room. "Typical OU hospitality," said Hurricane coach Jimmy Johnson, who was 0-5 against the Sooners when he coached Oklahoma State.
With a 23-18 victory over Central Michigan, Bowling Green improved its record to 7-0. ( Iowa, Penn State and Air Force are the only other unbeaten, untied Division I-A schools.) Brian McClure's 26 completions in 40 attempts for the Falcons gave him 825 career completions and broke the NCAA record Ben Bennett had set at Duke from 1980 to '83. Bowling Green's defensive backs, who had shaved their heads before the season in a show of solidarity, picked off four Chippewa passes.
Notre Dame held Army's wishbone to 196 yards on the ground, almost 200 yards below its average, in a 24-10 win. Allen Pinkett broke the Notre Dame career rushing record with 133 yards; his total stands at 3,556, 84 more than Vagas Ferguson gained from 1976 to '79. Irish coach Gerry Faust, 2-3 so far this year, continued to be nagged about his future. Said Faust on Thursday, "If we're 5-6, I don't think I'll be around." Said Faust on Friday, "If I'm 5-6, I don't know if I want to be around."
Alabama had cut Tennessee's lead to 16-14, and with 7:43 to play, the Tide had first-and-10 on the Volunteer 37. For 68 years the schools had been squaring off on the third Saturday in October. "We all remember the big plays in the Alabama game," says Tennessee coach Johnny Majors. He now has another one to remember. As Tide QB Mike Shula faded back, looking for a screen to Bobby Humphrey, linebacker Dale Jones charged into the play's flow. "I jumped up to bat the ball away, and it just stuck in my hands," Jones said. After the 16-14 win, a less sticky-fingered Jones presented the game ball to Tennessee's new defensive coordinator. Ken Donahue, who, after 21 years at Alabama, resigned at the end of last season when coach Ray Perkins offered him a desk job.
Tulsa had 79 plays to Florida State's 52. Tulsa held the ball for 37:16, Florida State for 22:44. But Florida State won 76-14. The Seminoles scored on their first 10 possessions, tailback Tony Smith gained 147 yards in the first half and FSU quarterbacks threw five TD passes. Said Tulsa coach Don Morton, "It's like fighting the Russians with limited bullets."
After Oregon State upset Washington 21-20, the Beavers faced the media. "Hey, are you a Seattle reporter?" asked offensive tackle Tom Emmons. "Man, how stupid do you feel?" Earlier in the week, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist had suggested that Oregon State, which was a 37-point underdog, played football the way Barney Fife played deputy. A Seattle TV station pretended the leather-helmeted goofups in an archaic Knute Rockne film clip were actually the Beavers. Said Oregon State cornerback Lavance Northington, "They were attacking our manhood." Northing-ton picked up the football as well as the gauntlet by recovering a blocked punt in the end zone with 1:46 to play for the winning TD. The Huskies, who had the inside track on the Pac-10 title, lost their leading rusher and top receiver to injuries before halftime. "I can't believe," said humbled Washington quarterback Hugh Millen to the equally humbled press afterward, "that I'm sitting here talking about losing this game."