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December 09, 1996 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-09

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - December 9, 1996 - 5B

4YU conquers the
~WAC, Wyoming
Cougars heroics, 13 wins not good
enough for Bowl Alliance bid, however
' LAS VEGAS (AP) - Ethan endary coach, tradition and fan support.
Pochman's foot and Joe Tiller's decision BYU delivers all those "
helped BYU make its bid for a major BYU was one tick of the clock -no
bowl berth. But the sixth-ranked ticks, according to Tiller - from not
Cougars could only wait and see what even being in the running for a major
came. bowl, calling time out just before the
Pochman kicked a field goal to tie game clock expired after Mark Atuaia
the WAC championship game as time bobbled a pass and fell at the three-
expired in regulation and then a 32- yard-line.
yarder in overtime Saturday as BYU "The game was over," Tiller said,
escaped with a 28-25 win over arguing that timeout wasn't called in
Wyoming to keep its hopes for a possi- time. "It's really a shame."
ble Fiesta or Sugar Bowl invitation Pochman then stepped up and kicked
alive. a 20-yard field goal through the
"We should be going somewhere," uprights to send the game into over-
BYU coach LaVell Edwards said. time, where he won it on BYU's first
"Certainly we deserve to be one of possession.
those teams." It was an improbable situation for the
But BYU did not receive a Bowl first-year kicker, a former soccer player
Alliance bid yesterday. The school will who was a walk-on this season.
play in the Cotton Bowl against Kansas "I was less nervous than I've been all
State on New Year's Day. season," Pochman said. "It's every kick-
With representatives from all three er's dream to win a game with a field
-alliance bowls on hand to watch, BYU goal."
(13-1) sputtered early and then had to If not for a decision by Tiller, likely
"come from behind in a game that was- coaching his last game at Wyoming, to
n't as pretty as its typical Western take a voluntary safety with Wyoming
Athletic Conference ending suggested. leading 25-20 late in the game and
Whether it was enough to get BYU punting out of its own end zone, the
,an invitation to one of the big bowls Cougars would have had to score a
wasn't known until Sunday, but WAC touchdown in regulation to win the
commissioner Karl Benson wasted no game.
Aime in arguing the case for the But Tiller defended his call, saying
;ougars. he thought it would give punter Aaron
"It's not based on who deserves it, Langley a chance to get the ball beyond
the system calls for who's attractive (to midfield, where he thought Wyoming
the television networks)," Benson said. could stop BYU.
"I'm confident with what we displayed "It's one of those strange calls but I
today the WAC champion meets all really think it was a no-brainer," Tiller
their criteria: a premier player, a leg- said. "It was a good strategic decision."

Texas players
rejoice after
upsetting the
mighty Nebraska;
Cornhuskers in
the first-ever Big
12 championshipp
game In St. 3
Louis. The
Longhorns will
play Penn State
in the Fiesta
Bowl on New
Year's Day.t
Longhorns take risks, frtBig 12 championship

ST.LOUIS (AP)--Texas' stunning
37-27 upset over Nebraska in the first
Big 12 championship game was not
coach Tom Osborne's first loss, nor
the most painful, nor the most one-
But it was the most ironic.
Exactly what Osborne warned
could happen did, and to his own
team, no less.
The Big 12 is certainly richer now
after selling out the Trans World
Dome and collecting on a high-dollar
television deal. But the conference
also has no chance of winning a
national championship.
When Big 12 organizers first raised
the possibility of staging a money-
making conference championship
game between North and South divi-
sion winners, Osborne's opposition
was firm. He talked about added
stress and demands on players, whose
season in many cases already stretch-
es from August's heat to January's
He also predicted a conference
title game could cost the league the
national championship because a
contender for national honors could
get knocked out by a lesser-ranked
Fate picked Osborne's Nebraska to

prove his own point. Now, the
Huskers won't face No. I Florida
State in the Sugar Bowl with a shot at
a third straight national champi-
Nevertheless, in a somber
postgame news conference while
jubilant Texas players waited out in
the hall for their turn at the micro-
phones, Osborne passed up the
opportunity to say "I told you so." He
addressed the subject only when
"I think at some point we have to
ask a little bit about what's fair for the
players," he said. "But in view of the
fact that we lost the game and Texas
won, I don't think it would be very
appropriate for us to complain.
"They outplayed us and deserved to
win. And I'm sure (the game) is here
to stay."
So are the memories of one of the
most exciting afternoons any confer-
ence ever experienced. Underdogs by
about three touchdowns, the
Longhorns rolled up more than 503
yards of offense against Nebraska's
proud defense, hitting one big play
after another and stopping Nebraska
every time they had to.
Texas quarterback James Brown,
ridiculed for predicting a three-touch-

down victory for the Longhorns, hit
19 of 28 passes for 353 yards in the
game of his life.
There could be no more drama than
the fourth-and-inches gamble Texas
made from its own 28 with 2:38 left.
Nebraska coaches didn't think the
Longhorns - who were protecting a
three-point lead - would even snap
the ball. A Longhorn failure would
give the Huskers the ball well within
field goal range.
Not only did the Longhorns snap
the ball, they had Brown roll out to
his left and heave a pass to a wide-
open Derek Lewis, who went 61 yards
to the 11, setting up the game-clinch-
ing touchdown on the very next play.
Texas coach John Mackovic said he
and his assistants, while studying
film, had noticed that Nebraska tend-
ed to have everybody rush in to plug
gaps in extreme short-yardage plays.
"I told the quarterbacks all week
that if we went for it on third or fourth
we'd make that call and to not be sur-
prised if (the play) came in,"
Mackovic said.
But what if it hadn't worked, he was
"There were no consequences," he
said. "So we don't have to talk about

dn 't work,
but Santas
Y ou have to hand it to thos
Bowl Alliance folks, Not
only did their cute little sys-
tem not work this season, but they
were able to pass the blame on to
Santa Claus.
According to the community
access-like music video at the
beginning of yesterday's BOWL
Santa was making the selections.
I don't buy it.
If Santa had chosen who was
going to what bowl, Nebraska never
would have got-
ten a bid. I have
a feeling that
jolly ol' St.
Nick would
have known that
Nebraska was
naughty instead
of nice on more
than a few occa- RYAN
sions. fE
For that same WHITE
reason, Brigham White on
Young would Target
have gotten a
bid. The
Cougars have, by virtue of the three
trillion rules which govern the
Mormon school, been very good
this past year.
They finished the season 13-1
and ranked No. 5 in the country,
higher than both Penn State and the
Cornhuskers, the two teams which
received at large Alliance bids.,
So why didn't the Cougars ge the
call over Nebraska or Penn State?
Well, and I'll try to put this tact.
fully in case there are any Cougars
fans out there, THEY HAVEN'T'
There was speculation Saturday
night that if Alabama had beaten
Florida, the Cougars would have
played Florida State in the Sugar
And you thought last year's
national championship game was a
blowout. That game would have
been over the Monday before it
But at least there was a national
championship game last year.
This year it's the No. 1 Seminoles
against the No. 3 Gators. The sec-
ond-ranked team, Arizona State, is
playing in the Rose Bowl,
The Alliance knew it wasn't
going to get No.I against No. 2
before the weekend began, but
when Nebraska lost to Texas on
Saturday night, no one knew what
to expect when the pairings were
announced yesterday.
One can only guess how the
Orange and Fiesta actually went
about making their picks:
Guy in ugly light yellow jacket
with Tostitos logo: Toss me another
Guy in equally ugly orange jacket
with Fed Ex logo: Hurry up, you're
three beers behind me.
Tostitos: I'll take the team with
the old coach who wears those
funny glasses.

Fed Ex: Ohhhh, I wanted Penn
Tostitos: Ha, ha.
Fed Ex: Well I guess I'll take the
team with all the criminals.
Tostitos: Clemson isn't eligible.
Fed Ex: I mean Nebraska, and'
toss me another beer.
Tostitos: What about that
Mormon team with all the wins?
Fed Ex: They don't drink.
However the choices were made,
it worked out well for Michigan.
The Wolverines are headed to the
Outback Bowl. They are back play-
ing on New Year's Day, and they
have a quality opponent in
Plus, Tampa, Fla., is by the beach.
And when you think of all the
really good bowls, they're by the
The Rose Bowl has a beach. The
Orange Bowl has a beach. The
Fiesta Bowl is completely surround-
ed by a beach that just doesn't have
any water. t
In fact, of the major bowls, only
the Sugar isn't by shore, but it has
Bourbon Street, and that more than
makes up the difference.
The Bowl Alliance did have one
success, however.
It wanted to slow down the bid
It wanted to make the other bowls

Bowl guide

Florida needs one more title to tie the SEC record for consecutive conference
championships, held by Alabama, the school the Gators defeated Saturday.
,Gators bite '
win4th straight titlet

Dec. 19
Dec. 25
Dec. 27
Dec. 27
Dec. 27
Dec. 28
Dec. 29
Dec. 30
Dec. 31
Dec. 31
Dec. 31
Dec. 31
Jan,. 1
Jan. 1
Jan. 1
Jan. I
Jan. 1
Jan. 2

9 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
3 p.m.
7:30 p.m.
9 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m..
1 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
7 p.m.,
11 a.m..
12:30 p.m.
12:30 p.m.
1 p.m.,
4:30 p.m.
8 p.m.
8 p.m.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas
Honolu u
Memphs, Tenn,
Tucson, Ariz.
San Antonio
$an Diego
E? Paso, Texas
Shreveport, La.
Tampa, Fla,
Jacksonville, Fla,
Orlando, Fla.
Pasadena, Calif.
Tempe, Ariz.
New Orleans



ATLANTA (AP) - A week ago,
Florida was wallowing in a bitter defeat
to Florida State. How quickly things
have changed.
The Gators awoke yesterday with a
fourth straight Southeastern
*onference championship, a rematch
with the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl
and an unlikely opportunity to finally
claim the national championship that
-has seemed their destiny ever since
coach Steve Spurrier arrived in
"It's almost like it was meant to be,"
kicker Matt Teague said. "We're very
fortunate to get the chance to play
Florida State again."
The Sugar Bowl appeared out of the
question when Saturday began.
Nebraska, ranked No. 3, was a 20-point
- ffavorite to beat Texas in the Big 12 title
game and earn a trip to the Sugar Bowl
to meet top-ranked Florida State.
Florida, a 24-21 loser to the
Seminoles in the regular-season finale,
7 was apparently going to have to be con-
tent with another conference champi-
onship. But before the Gators trotted on
he field at the Georgia Dome to meet
Alabama, they watched on television
while Texas shocked the two-time
defending national champion
Cornhuskers, 37-27.
"I was rooting for (Texas) a little,"
receiver Ike Hilliard said. Then he was
overcome by honesty, saying, "Well,
maybe a lot."
Duly inspired, Florida (11-1) went
rout and beat Alabama 45-30 - a per-
' lormance that not only secured the
Sugar Bowl bid but may have locked up
the Heisman Trophy for Danny
Throwing against a team that had the
top-ranked pass defense in the country,
Wuerffel passed for a staggering 401

Florida State and pummeled to the turf
on just about every attempted pass.
With only a week to recover, he stood
up bravely to an Alaba-ma team that
came with the same blitzing strategy
used by the Seminoles. Sacked four
times, he still managed to burn the
Tide's secondary time after time.
"I've got to give all the credit to
Danny for taking all the punishment he
does and still getting the ball off," said
Reidel Anthony, who had the best game
of his career with 11 catches for 171
yards and three touchdowns. "He gives
me and Ike (Hilliard) and Jacquez the
opportunity to make a play on the ball"
Wuerffel remained humble when the
Heisman was mentioned.
"You're completely dependent on the
players around you," he said. "Any
award I win, I'll want to share it with
my teammates;"
Florida's fourth consecutive SEC
title is one short of the record held by
Bear Bryant and Alabama and sends
the Gators into the bowl season for the
second straight year with a chance for a
national title.
Last season, Florida was routed by
Nebraska in a Fiesta Bowl matchup of
the two top-ranked teams. This time,
the Gators' fate isn't entirely in their
hands, since they need to beat Florida
State in the Sugar Bowl and hope No. 2
Arizona State loses to Ohio State in the
Rose Bowl,
"I'm not up to date on that alliance
stuff, to tell you the truth," Spurrier
said. "Right now, realistically, Arizona
State is in very good position, but any-
thing can happen. We'll be prepared to
play the best we can in whatever bowl
they send us to"
Alabama (9-3) will have to be con-
tent with the Outback Bowl for Gene
Stallings' final game. The Tide hoped

Nevada (8-3) vs. Ball State (8-3) ESPN
California (6-5) vs. Navy (8-3) ABC<
Houston (7-4) vs. Syracuse (8-3) ESPN
Miami (8-3) vs. Virginia (7-4) TBS
Utah (8-3) vs. Wisconsin (7-5) ESPN
Clemson (7-4) vs. LSU (9-2) ESPN
Iowa (8-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-4) ESPN
Colorado (9-2) vs. Washington (9-2) ESPN
Howard (9-2) vs. Southern (7-4) ESPN
Stanford (6-5) vs. Michigan State (6-5) CBS<
Auburn (7-4) vs. Army (10-1) CBS
Nebraska (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech (10-1). CBS
Michigan (".) vs. Alabama (9-3) ESPN
N. Carolina (9-2) vs. W. Virginia (8-3) NBC
SYU (13-1) vs. Kansas State (9-2) CBS
Northwestern (9-2) vs. Tennessee (9-2) ABC
Ohio State (10-1) vs. Arizona State (11-0) ABC
Penn State (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4) CBS
Florida State (11-0) vs. Florida (11-1) ABC

Army Sliks Navy in big battle

McAda and his Army mates had labored
long and hard in a driving rain storm.
Now that the primary mission was
accomplished, it was time for fun.
"I'm going out with my family and
my friends and my teammates and I'm
going to hit the town because I haven't
done it yet after an Army-Navy game,"
the senior quarterback said. "Watch out
In a party that probably spilled over
from Saturday night into Sunday, the
Cadets celebrated the latest of five
straight victories over the Midshipmen,
a 28-24 win that propelled No. 24 Army
into the Independence Bowl with its
first 10-win season.
It was only fitting that McAda lead
the Army charge into the rainy
Philadelphia night. As he had the previ-
ous two years, he had led them on the
field over their arch rivals, putting him-

self into the record book of this series'
long and illustrious history in the
McAda ran for 134 yards on 15 car-
ries in his role as point man for Army's
wishbone offense. He chipped in 116
passing yards, which gave him 533 total
yards in three games against Navy, beat-
ing the old Army record of 359 yards set
by Glenn Davis from 1945-46.
McAda will also be known as the
quarterback who led the Cadets on the
biggest comeback ever in the 97 games
between Army, which trailed 21-3 in the
second quarter, and Navy.
"We're very fortunate to have a guy
like Ronnie to run our offense," Army
coach Bob Sutton said. "Ronnie's an
experienced guy, he's got great compo-
sure and is a great competitor."
The only time the composure was
tested was when McAda - and his
offense - was on the sideline at the end

of the game, when Army's defense twice
made stands that preserved the victory.
"I didn't want to watch," McAda said.
"I was praying the whole time, but I
knew they were going to pull it out."
The Cadets (10-1) got some luck.
LeBron Butts dropped a low, wet ball
that would have been the go-ahead
touchdown for Navy (8-3). And a
would-be receiver fell on the Middies'
final play, which turned into an Army
But the bigger factor was hard work.
Army's defense outplayed Navy's for
most of the game, limiting the Navy
offense, which had averaged 37 points
over its last eight games, to 297 yards.
"We didn't do what we should have
done on the offensive side of the ball,"
Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said.
"We were up 21-13 at the half, and you
come back out and score three points in
the second half."

Continued from Page 11B
really special."
In all, seven Big Ten teams were
invited to bowls. Other than Ohio State
(Rose), 1Penn State, Northwestern,

Michigan's defense. Carr said he will
not serve . as coordinator, but that
"there are some guys who have done
an excellent job coaching the defense
this season."
Irons -and center
Rod Payne said

we've been playing."
Payne said: "It's definitely not
something you want to hear. It's not
conducive to what we're trying to do.
"Some of the young guys don't
understand it, the business side of col-
lege athletics, the concept of career

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