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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 4 PRIMER : Game of the Week

Huskies Will Try to Keep Clicking

September 19, 1997|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Leave it to television to pit this great game opposite Tennessee-Florida. There will be a lot of aching thumbs Sunday morning from punching the remote.

Washington is one team that hasn't feared Nebraska in the past decade. The Huskies hold a 3-1-1 record lead in the series, have won the last two meetings and are the last team defeat the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, in 1991.

Nebraska has won 38 consecutive home games since.

Washington is the more balanced team at this point. Quarterback Brock Huard has completed nearly 70% of his passes while throwing for 598 yards and seven touchdowns in two games, and tailback Rashaan Sheehee is averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

Of course, those numbers were amassed against Brigham Young and San Diego State.

"This is the first chance for you to look and say, 'OK, how do you compare?' " Washington Coach Jim Lambright said. "We're happy where we are. We hope we can stay there. This is going to truly prove it."

Nebraska wiped out Akron in its opener but struggled last week at home against Central Florida. The Cornhuskers trailed at the half, 17-14, before winning, 38-24.

Nebraska has been dominating on the ground, gaining 836 yards in two games, but the quarterback position remains suspect with senior Scott Frost, who was booed by his own fans last week.

The game is also important for the Big 12 Conference's image, which took a beating last week.

"I've got enough burdens just keeping the people at Nebraska happy," Coach Tom Osborne said.

* The Line: Washington by 3.

Game of the Week Part II

Tennessee (2-0) at Florida (2-0) 12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Call it what you want--"Peyton's Last Stand" or the "War of the Words"--but this Southeastern Conference showdown in Gainesville might actually live up to the hype.

Tennessee senior quarterback Peyton Manning gets one last crack at Florida in this all-or-nothing shootout at "the Swamp."

Florida has won the last four games, the last two in bizarre fashion.

Two years ago, the Gators rallied from a 30-14 deficit to score 48 unanswered points in a 62-37 victory. Last year, in Knoxville, it was Florida that jumped ahead, 35-0, and then held on for a 35-29 victory.

The last two years the quarterback position was a wash, with Manning and Florida's Danny Wuerffel.

This year, it's not. Tennessee is banking that Manning's poise and experience will be enough to counter Florida's Doug Johnson, who had thrown only 27 passes before the season.

"Time will tell if his experience is a key factor and our player doesn't know what to do or makes a mistake," Florida Coach Steve Spurrier said. "Inexperience is only bad if it comes out."

Manning threw for a school-record 492 yards in last year's loss, but his four first-half interceptions cost his team the game.

"It's not good enough to get it done against the Florida Gators," Manning said of his performances. "If you want to win that game, you've got to go out and play four full quarters."

* The Line: Florida by 4.

The Rest

North Carolina (-23) at Maryland, 9 a.m.

Ga. Tech (-7 1/2) at Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m.

Boston Col. (-14 1/2) at Rutgers, 9 a.m.

San Diego St. (+9) at Wisconsin, 11 a.m.

NE Louisiana (+29 1/2) at Georgia, 10 a.m.

Rice (+7) at Northwestern, 11 a.m.

Kentucky (+2 1/2) at Indiana, 11 a.m.

Arkansas (+17 1/2) at Alabama, 9:30 a.m.

Florida St. (-20) at Clemson, 12:30 p.m.

Arizona (+17 1/2) at Ohio State, 12:30 p.m.

Iowa (-26 1/2) at Iowa St., 12:30 p.m.

Fresno St. (+17) at Oregon, 2 p.m.

Stanford (-11 1/2) at Oregon St., 1 p.m.

San Jose St. (+29) at Wyoming, 1 p.m.

Missouri (-5 1/2) at Tulsa, 2 p.m.

Virginia Tech (-23) at Temple, 3 p.m.

Kansas (+3 1/2) at Cincinnati, 4 p.m.

Army (-6 1/2) at Duke, 4 p.m.

Minnesota (+1 1/2) at Memphis, 4 p.m.

Navy (Pick) at SMU, 5 p.m.

TCU (+7) at Vanderbilt, 5 p.m.

UTEP (+27) at Utah, 6 p.m.

Hawaii (+3) at UNLV, 7 p.m.

Ball St. (+15) at Purdue, 11 a.m.

SW Louis. (+38) at Texas A&M, 2 p.m.

Nevada (+14 1/2) at Southern Miss., 3 p.m.

N. Illinois (+35 1/2) at N.C. St., 4 p.m.

N. Texas (+32) at Texas Tech, 4:30 p.m.

New Mexico (-1 1/2) at Utah St., 6 p.m.

On TV

* Penn State (2-0) at Louisville (1-2), Channel 2, 9 a.m.: The Nittany Lions won the in-state title with wins over Pittsburgh and Temple. Penn State owns the nation's longest current I-A winning streak, seven.

The Line: Penn State by 21.

* Baylor (1-1) at Michigan (1-0), ESPN, 9:30 a.m.: The Wolverines lost to Houston in 1993, Minnesota in '94, Memphis in '95 and Purdue last year. Sandwiched between Colorado and Notre Dame, Baylor is the kind of game Michigan has choked in in recent years.

The Line: Michigan by 26.

* Washington State (2-0) at Illinois (0-2), ESPN2, 9:30 a.m.: After wiping out the L.A. teams, the Cougars take aim at the Big Ten. Washington State could be unbeaten entering a season-ending showdown vs. Washington.

The Line: Washington State by 10.

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