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September 16, 1998 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-16

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16 -The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Paterno focuses on Pittsburgh,

Penn State coach Joe Paterno stood on
the footbal field aiter winning his
300th game Saurday. Fans chanted
"Jbc-Pa! Joe-Pa' and the school presi-
dent presented a watercolor portrait of
the coach.
Uncharacteristically choked-up,
Paterno thanked eceryone. Then he said
something that might have seemed out
of place were this not a man always fret-
ting about the next game.
"Now we gotta beat Pitt!" he
screamed above the crowd's roar.
Pitt? Yup. Penn State's intrastate rival
has managed only one winning season
this decade, but no matter.
This one is important because of a
105-year historv that includes close
ganes played by guys named Dan
Marino and Tony Dorsett and Mike
"1 really do feel that this is a big
game, a meaningful game," Paterno
said yesterday about No. 9 Penn State's
first road test. "It's one that brings back
a lot oflrnemories.'
Memories may be all that Penn State
has to look back on soon. The schools,
located 2 112 hours apart, first met in
r9h but their last scheduled game is in

2000. And with both teams locked into
conference schedules, restarting the all-
Pennsylvania game could be difficult.
"I think it's a shame that we're not
playing Pitt on a year-in, year-out
basis," Paterno said.
The problem: Penn State plays eight
Big 10 teams each year, leaving only
three non-conference dates. And more
and more, Paterno said, the school's far-
flung alumni groups want to see their
Lions visit Nebraska, Miami and
"Those schools are back on, so it
makes it difficult to plug Pitt in - as
competitive as Pitt is." Paterno said.
"It's going to be tough."
University of Pittsburgh athletic
director Steve Pederson said Monday
he'd willingly sign a 30-year extension
to continue playing Penn State - a far
cry from the days when Pitt would only
meet in Pittsburgh. Now, Penn State is
having the success and, in reality, the
Nittany Lions hope this game will be
one more warm-up for the big one that
follows: Oct. 3 at No. I Ohio State.
Penn State is a four-touchdown
favorite against Pittsburgh, but this
game has been a hotly contested one in
all but eight times since 1900, and
memories of tough Pittsburgh games of

the past make Paterno and his
staff more intense in practice
before -- no matter howI
Panthers are.
"All the coaches get up fo
safety Shawn Lee. "Som
younger players, especially
from out of state, don't know,
rivalry and how it was renewe
FN: Among the crowd of we
who squeezed into Joel
postgame news conferenceN
State President Dr. Graham Sp
The more Patcrno's voice c
he discussed becoming th
major-college coach to reach3
ries, the more Spanier thou
JoePa's career at Penn State.
"I checked the records rec
he has the longest tenure of an
State's 25,000 employees." Sp
of Paterno's 48-year run a
Valley - 33 as coach.
"You can't measure how imp
is to the university. I feel very
to be the president of PennS
time when we have someon
such a leader nationally, bri
integrity to the program, win
and contributes virtually ever

not milestone
coaching makes financially back to the university.
the week How can you ask for anything more?"
good the You can't, especially after Paterno
and his wife, Sue, recently gave the
r it,' said school S3.5 million to endow faculty
e of the positions and scholarships.
the ones Spanier, a former Penn State faculty
about the member who was chancellor at
:d." Nebraska from 1991-95 before return-
ing to State College, also was surprised
PAFERNo to see the 71-year-old Paterno become
llIshers so emotional.
Paterno's "In the last couple of weeks he'd been
was Penn saying it was just another game,"
panier. Spanier said, "but I think it would be
racked as hard for anyone not to get caught up in
ie fourth the emotion of the day and having near-
300 victo- ly 100,000 people staying after the
ght about game to express their thanks."
Paterno is heavily involved in
ently. and fundraising and, Spanier says, often sits
iy of Penn in on strategy sessions with the school's
anier said top brass. Spanier, in fact, said that's
at Happy one of the reasons Paterno is still coach-
portant he "One of the main reasons he contin-
fortunate ues to coach into his 70s is not so much
State at a because of football," said Spanier, who
te that is was on the Penn State faculty from
ngs such 1973-82,,"but because of the opportun-
ns games, ties football gives him to help the rest of
ything he the university."

Penn State coach Joe Patemo celebrated his 300th last week, but the 71year-old 0
knows the storied history between his Nittany Lons and Pittsburgh, who meet Saturday.
Vols try to end streak
against rival Florida

There'll be no drastic measures taken
by coach Phillip Fulmer to end
Tennessee's five-game losing streak
against Florida.
"I'm not going to stand on my head
and eat bugs and shave my hair or
anything like that," Fulmer said as
the sixth-ranked Volunteers (1-0)
prepared for their annual
Southeastern Conference showdown
against the second-ranked Gators (2-
Any of those might be tempting
options for a coach who is 54-6
against the rest of the world but just
1-5 against Steve Spurrier's Gators,
but Fulmer believes in treating all
games alike.
"You recruit well, you coach em
hard, you play as hard as you can
play, and hopefully you win," he
said. "That's been an awfully good
formula for us in the rest of our
It worked against Alabama, the
Vols' nemesis before the emergence
of Florida, but so far it hasn't been
too helpful against the Gators.
"I think it's really important for us
to get over this hurdle of Florida,"
Fulmer admitted. "We're in the same
division, and all the consequences
puts a special emphasis on this game.
"Certainly there's a passion to win
this game, but there's a passion to
win every game. If you look at our
consistency over a period of time
we've gotten that done except for
Florida. Obviously that turns the
knob up a little bit more."
Tennessee last year and Florida in
1992 proved it is possible for the
loser of this game to win the SEC
Eastern Division title.
But that requires at least two sub-
sequent losses by the game winner
and an undefeated run through the
rest of the league by the loser, and
nobody wants to count on that hap-

"I know it's been somewhat of a
frustration the last five years, and *
know our team is looking forward to
working diligently to change that,"
Fulmer said. "I like the way our kids
have gone about preparing."
As was the case during Alabama's
nine-year non-losing streak against
the Vols (there was one tie), Fulmer
gets asked every year if the Gators
simply have Tennessee's number, if
the Vols are too psyched out to pla*
"I don't think we've been uptight,"
Fulmer said. "You've got to give
Florida credit."
There are three significant differ-
ences in the Tennessee team that will
play Saturday in Knoxville and the
one that lost 33-20 a year ago in
One, tailback Jamal Lewis was
still so green last year that he carried
the ball only five times for I11 yard*
He has since gained 1,442 yards. He
may not add anything to that total
against the Gators, but it's a safe bet
he'll get more than five chances to
"Our ability to run the football
certainly gives the head coach a lot
more confidence," Fulmer said.
Two, the offensive line is more set-
tled and experienced than a year ago
when the Gators held the Vols to 4
yards on the ground.
And third, Peyton Manning is gone
at quarterback. As successful as
Manning was in his career at
Tennessee, he never led the Vols to
victory over Florida. Now it's Tee
Martin's turn to try.
"Tee gives us a dimension we
haven't had here. It's not a bad
thought for Tee to pull it down and
try to make something happen,"
Fulmer said. "We don't want to gec
him hurt, either, so we'll limit the
number of times he carries it, but he
has added a dimension to our offense
we haven't had the last three years."


114k WNWRAXI 1;1; EAsAmil 2

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