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"There's no defense anymore," said Maryland secondary coach Greg Williams after the Terrapins' 45-34 shootout victory over Virginia for the ACC title. The teams combined for 1,102 total yards in the game—575 for Maryland and 527 for the Cavaliers—and seven of the Terps' last nine possessions ended with scores, five of them touchdowns. "We have a power machine," said Maryland linebacker Eric Wilson, referring both to his team, which has averaged 41.5 points in its last six games, and to 5'9", 223-pound fullback Rick Badanjek, who had 217 yards on 17 carries against Virginia.
For the fourth time this year, South Carolina came from behind to win, this one over intrastate rival Clemson. The climactic drive began with four minutes remaining and the Gamecocks trailing 21-15 and on their own 16-yard line. In seven plays, quarterback Mike Hold moved South Carolina 83 yards and then he ran the final yard himself to tie the score at 21-21 with 54 seconds left. Gamecock kicker Scott Hagler missed the extra point but got another chance because Clemson had been offside. His second attempt was good, and South Carolina won 22-21. "There's no need to say that it was a great, great win," said coach Joe Morrison. "We just kept chipping away [from a second-quarter deficit of 21-3]. I told our young men, this is what college football is all about. It was."
The same can't be said of the final moments of LSU's 33-15 victory over Tulane at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers had the game won with a 26-15 lead and possession of the ball with 27 seconds to play when LSU quarterback Jeff Wickersham threw a six-yard touchdown pass to split end Eric Martin. After the extra point, a Tulane player reportedly charged out from under the pileup and started kicking an opponent. Both benches emptied and a donnybrook ensued over a quarter of the field until the officials ended the game then and there. Said Tulane coach Wally English, "The thing I'll remember most is them throwing the touchdown with less than a minute to go."
Somehow Gerry Faust has dodged the bullet. Back when Notre Dame was 3-4 after losing three straight home games, Faust's resignation seemed imminent. Since that time the Irish have won four in a row, including last week's 19-7 victory over Southern Cal, and earned themselves a trip to the Aloha Bowl. The game with USC was played in a pouring rain that turned the L.A. Coliseum field into a quagmire. "It was over our shoe tops," said Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein. "You couldn't see your feet under the water." The difference was slippery fingers: The Irish fumbled twice and lost neither; the Trojans fumbled eight times and lost six.
BYU fans were sore at NBC-TV's Today Show host Bryant Gumbel for giving a thumbs down and a raspberry on the air and saying, "How can they make BYU No. 1 when it plays Bo Diddley Tech?" Hurt feelings and all, the Cougars completed their perfect regular season with a not-so-perfect 38-13 win over 1-10 Utah State. Though Robbie Bosco rolled up 338 yards passing, he was intercepted twice, and the Cougars had five fumbles and were penalized 20 times for 166 yards. Still, BYU's winning streak, now at 23 games, is the longest in football and will likely increase by one against Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. It will be the first time that a No. 1 team has ever faced a non-Top 20 team in a bowl game.
Baylor's first two scores in its 24-10 upset of Texas were set up by its defense—an interception by linebacker Ray Berry and a fumble recovery by end Derek Turner. After that, the difference was the Longhorn's Todd Dodge. Knocked dizzy in the first half, Dodge had three passes picked off in the second half, the last of which Bear safety Thomas Everett returned 46 yards for a TD.
Texas A & M's 35-21 upset of TCU got rolling on the Horned Frogs' first possession, when Aggie cornerback James Flowers intercepted an Anthony Gulley pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. From there the Aggies got 107 yards rushing from Thomas Sanders, touchdown runs of one, three and four yards from tailback Anthony Toney and some inspired defense from senior tackle Ray Childress, playing in his last game at A & M. "He was the difference," said TCU coach Jim Wacker. "He played like a man possessed." Said Childress, "This is a special place. If you haven't been here you can't understand. But it's very special to me and it always will be."
With Texas and TCU upset, Houston found itself in the Southwest Conference driver's seat, needing only a win over Rice this week to play Boston College in the Cotton Bowl. The Cougars first heard the Texas and TCU scores during the third quarter of their game with Texas Tech—around the time that the Raiders had gone ahead 17-13 on a 100-yard kickoff return by freshman Keith Henderson. Inspired by the news, Houston got a field goal and then marched for the winning touchdown—a nine-yard pass from Gerald Landry to Raymond Tate.
Three days after Pitt's administration gave a vote of confidence to coach Foge Fazio, the Panthers went out and stuffed Penn State 31-11 behind John Congemi's 16-of-22 passing for 204 yards, including touchdowns of 29, 30 and 23 yards. "Everything was so easy," said Congemi. "I was shocked. We caught them a lot with our draw plays, and we tried to beat their cornerbacks when they came up close."
"Credit Pitt with a good game," said Nittany Lion coach Joe Paterno, "but we stunk. We had a bunch of little babies out there. We didn't have any men." Pitt finished 3-7-1, Penn State 6-5. After averaging 60.9 points per game during the regular season, Mississippi Valley State got some of its own medicine in the first round of the Division I-AA playoffs, losing 66-19 to Louisiana Tech. While Tech amassed 703 yards behind quarterback Kyle Gandy, Mississippi Valley's Willie Totten—44 of 75 passes for 485 yards—was intercepted six times.