"You would have to be foolish
to not pick Michigan (8-0 Big
Ten last season, 8-04projected)
as a favorite," Wisconsin coach
Barry Alvarez said ofthe Big Ten
race this season. Unless you are
Gary Moeller, who hears that
from everyone he meets, thank
Barry for his insight and con-
tinue sorting through the myriad
of Big Ten mediocrity.
The gushing continues over
Penn State's admittance to the
Big Ten. Saturday, the Nittany
Lions ( -, 6-2) added another
variable to the conference race.
Without playing any extra games
another team just adds to the
confusion. Ohio State (5-2-1.6-
2), Iowa (4-4, 6-2) and Wiscon-
sin (3-5,6-2) are all primed for a
bowl bid. However, with onlyfour
bowls aligned with the Big Ten
-Rose, Citrus, Holiday and Hall
of Fame-one of them will be left
at home in the cold without a
strong non-Big Ten record.
The four teams have little in
common - other than a pending
battle with Michigan. Look for
the team that salvages a tie
against the Wolverines, or dur-
ing the partial round robin, to
head to the Citrus Bowl. Wiscon-
sin will be aided by a schedule
that does not include Penn State
or Iowa. It also have an open
week to prepare for Northwest-
ern, Illinois and Michigan State,
none of whom have the previous r
week off, and two of whom are
coming off a game against PSU.
Michigan State (5-3, 3-5) is
going to a bowl - the Coca-Cola
Bowl, Dec. 4 against Wisconsin.
That will be the only one. Con-
secutive games against Ohio
State, at Iowa and at Michigan
will sink Illinois (4-3-1, 3-5).
Northwestern (3-5, 3-5) im-
proves on the field, not in record.
Indiana (3-5, 2-6) made few
improvements and lost Trent M
Green. Minnesota (2-6, 1-7)
beats the Boilermakers. Purdue
(3-5, 0-8) beats no one.
- Andy De Korte
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Bobby Engram is Penn State coach Joe Paterno's main weapon at receiver.
Engram caught four touchdown passes last Saturday against Minnesota.
Penn State faces
Four years of waiting. Four
years of watching his peers take
their teams to Big Ten venues.
Finally, for Joe Paterno and his
football team, the waiting stopped
last Saturday after much antici-
pation and schedule juggling. In
Penn State's first conference
football game - 106 years after
the team's debut in 1887 - the
ons beat Min-
State leads the Big Ten. And it
will for two weeks, as no other
Big Ten games will be played
until Sept. 18.
A dominating Nittany Lion
defense and strong returning of-
fense made a weak kicking game
Paterno's chief concern coming
into the season.
"After the Miami game last
year we got some people hurt.
Our kicking game became a li-
ability and as a result we were
hurt defensively," Paterno said.
"If our kicking game is solid then
we will be a good defensive foot-
ball team. We'll be a very com-
Placekicker Craig Fayak
kicked six games last season be-
fore being forced into"retirement"
by a stress fracture in his back.
Tentatively slated to return for
the first game, he is not tentative
anymore. Fayak kicked five ex-
tra points and 'a 32-yard field
goal to become Penn State's top
scoring placekicker ever.
The Nittany Lion defensive
line is the envy of defensive coor-
dinators everywhere. Lou
Benfatti, Vin Stewart and Tyoka
Jackson, all returning seniors,
have a combined seven varsity
letters and piles of sacks and
tackles for losses. Benfatti and
Jackson will both garner All-
American consideration. Despite
losing three linebackers, as a.
whole Paterno is satisfied with
The secondary will be another
defensive strength for Penn
State. The returning safeties and
cornerbacks grabbed 11 intercep-
tions last season.
On the offensive side, another
Lion is recovering from injury.
"Offensively, our luck will de-
pend on whether our fullback
Brian O'Neal can recover from
back surgery he had last year,"
Paterno said. "He probably was
our most productive runner last
O'Neal rumbled to 458 yards
on 81 carries before his injury.
The tailback position is a three-
man race between Mike Archie,
Stephen Pitts and Ki-Jana
After besting Wally
Richardson for the starting job,
quarterback John Sacca picked
up right where he left off last
season. After leading the team
with 1,118 yards passing, he
struck for touchdowns four times
against Minnesota to wide re-
ceiver Bobby Engram.
-Andy De Korte
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