- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
If Oregon and its underpublicized quarterback, Bill Musgrave, can beat Washington in Seattle on Oct. 13, the Ducks, who are 3-1, could be in line for their first Rose Bowl trip since 1958. Sure, they are 0-1 in the Pac-10 after a tough 22-17 loss to Arizona on Sept. 22, but they don't have to play Southern Cal, the preseason favorite to win the conference, and last week's 32-16 upset of Brigham Young, which went into the game ranked fourth in the nation, had to give them confidence. "We have a good team," said Oregon coach Rich Brooks afterward. "We can play with anybody in the country, and our players know that."
When the BYU players arrived in Eugene they found the Ducks in a foul mood. Following the Cougars' 62-34 win over San Diego State the week before, BYU tight end Chris Smith had said that the Cougars expected "to get more next week—definitely." That naturally didn't sit well with the Oregon defensive players, some of whom taped Smith's statement to their lockers. Yet no one expected the Ducks to go quackers the way they did. They threw BYU's running game into reverse, holding the Cougars to minus-47 yards on the ground. More important, while Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, who had all but been awarded this year's Heisman Trophy, did throw for 442 yards and two touchdowns, Oregon intercepted five of his passes and sacked him five times. Cornerback Daryle Smith got three of the interceptions and broke up four other pass plays. "We mixed zone and man-to-man, and we brought pressure from the outside that he didn't expect," said Brooks.
After the Ducks led only 12-7 at intermission, Musgrave took charge in the second half, engineering three consecutive touchdown drives to open a 32-10 margin. Musgrave wound up completing 23 of 37 passes for 286 yards and three TDs. "You saw the supposed front-runner for the Heisman Trophy out there today," said Brooks. "Maybe Bill Musgrave should be the front-runner."
Better still, maybe everybody should just can the Heisman hype until at least Nov. 1.
ANOTHER CLOSE SHAVE
Colorado heads into Big Eight Conference play against Missouri this weekend with a 3-1-1 record, but every one of the Buffaloes' games has gone down to the wire. Coach Bill McCartney hopes that last Saturday's nerve-racking 20-14 win over Washington will be a victory on which his team can build. "Our kids are reaching deep," McCartney said after beating the Huskies. "It would have been very difficult for us to come back if we hadn't won this game."
Washington came into the game with the nation's best defense against the run, but it yielded 183 yards on the ground to Colorado, with tailback Eric Bieniemy blasting his way to 143 yards on 29 carries. From McCartney's standpoint, however, the most heartening aspect of the win was the fact that the Buffaloes didn't let down in the final quarter. In both a 31-31 tie with Tennessee and a 23-22 loss to Illinois, Colorado had allowed victory to slip away by giving up late touchdowns. It looked as if the Buffaloes were going to do the same again last week, when Washington recovered a Bieniemy fumble on its own 23-yard line and drove to a first-and-goal at the Colorado seven with 1:37 to play. After failing on three pass attempts, Huskie quarterback Mark Brunell tried to find split end Mario Bailey in the end zone. However, cornerback Deon Figures outleaped Bailey to get his second interception of the game and seal the win.
"Nine times out of 10 a receiver can't outjump Deon for the ball," said Buffalo strong safety Tim James, who also made an interception. "When I saw the ball floating to Deon's side, I wasn't worried. Deon's got big-time hops."
A NEW TROJAN HORSE