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College Football / Week 4 | In The Spotlight

Prairie View A&M Ends 80-Game Streak

September 27, 1998

It took almost nine years, but Prairie View A&M finally tasted victory.

The Panthers ended their NCAA-record 80-game losing streak Saturday night, stopping a two-point conversion in the final minute for a 14-12 victory over Langston at Oklahoma City.

The victory was the Panthers' first since Oct. 28, 1989, when they defeated Mississippi Valley, 21-12. The streak started the following week with a 19-18 loss at Langston.

"It was well overdue," said Prairie View Coach Greg Johnson, who left Langston two years ago to rebuild the Panther program. "There wasn't any doubt in my mind what we could do.

"We just had to believe and come through in the stretch."

Langston cut Prairie View's lead to 14-12 on Archie Craft's 51-yard touchdown pass to Ted Roberts with 34 seconds left. Langston then went for the tying two-pointer, but Craft was stopped just short of the goal line on a quarterback sneak.

It took the referees about 15 seconds to untangle the pile of players near the goal line and signal that the conversion failed. When the signal finally came, Prairie View players began celebrating with hugs and shouts of joy.

Langston tried an onside kick after its last score, but Prairie View recovered and ran out the clock.

Prairie View, an NCAA Division I-AA school that offers only 15 football scholarships, suffered 19 shutouts--including a 92-0 loss against Alabama State in 1991--and went through four coaches during its streak.

But the victory over Langston erased those memories.

"Tonight the score on the scoreboard validated something we always knew--this was a team of winners," said Larry Raab, Prairie View's vice president. "Even at the very end we had a chance to fold. This group of young men chose not to do that."

HURRICANE OF ACTIVITY

UCLA and Miami called off their game at Miami because of fears about Hurricane Georges.

With temperatures in the mid-80s in the Miami area of the Sunshine State on Saturday, and various sports events going off without a hitch, players and coaches at the two schools couldn't be blamed for wondering aloud, "What kind of deal is this?"

That's what horse racing fans were doing at Miami's Calder race track, where longshot Whatkindadealisthis led at the eighth pole of the $75,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes race before losing to One Last Trick.

The Philadelphia Phillies might have been thinking the same thing after scoring only three runs in 23 innings while getting swept in a doubleheader by the Florida Marlins.

BONUS BABY

Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder isn't filling up the win column with regularity so far this season, but he is, apparently, helping to fill Sun Devil Stadium.

So, despite the underachieving Sun Devils' 1-2 record entering Saturday night's game against Oregon State, Snyder--the highest-paid state employee in Arizona--is getting a raise.

The Board of Regents, which oversees Arizona's three state universities, approved a bonus that will give Snyder an additional $45,000 a year, pushing his salary to $595,000. With incentives he could earn $675,000, not counting money he can earn in side contracts with shoe and apparel companies.

Snyder's bonus comes in the form of $5 for each season ticket sold after the first 40,000. Arizona State sold 49,000 this season.

NEEDS A SLIPCOVER

Tim Couch became Kentucky's career leader in passing yardage and had his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing day. He played what his coach described as his best game.

Couch, however, left Florida still lacking one important thing: a victory over the Florida Gators.

Since making his first start two years ago against Florida, Couch has faced the Gators three times: a 65-0 blowout in 1996 at the Swamp in Gainesville; a 55-28 beating last year at Lexington; and Saturday's 51-35 loss.

HE'S NO DUMBBELL

Denver Johnson, coach of Division I-AA Murray State, had no illusions about what was going to happen Saturday against Brigham Young.

"They get a win, we get a weight room," Johnson said before the game.

Johnson was alluding to the paycheck--reportedly in the neighborhood of $500,000--that Murray State was set to receive for making an appearance in Provo.

"This is a revenue game for us, and they need a victory at this point in their schedule," Johnson said. "We understand that, and we're unapologetic about what it is."

Murray State played its role to perfection, losing 43-9.

HEISMAN HANDICAP

1. Tim Couch, Kentucky: Completed 40 of 61 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns, but had two passes picked off in fourth quarter in loss at Florida.

2. Ricky Williams, Texas: Gained a career-high 318 yards and scored six touchdowns in victory over Rice.

3. Daunte Culpepper, Central Florida: Passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for another in win over Bowling Green.

4. Cade McNown, UCLA: Game against Miami canceled because of real Hurricane scare.

5. Donovan McNabb, Syracuse: Orangemen had an open date.

6. Ron Dayne, Wisconsin: Gained 168 yards in 22 carries and scored on a 46-yard run in win over Northwestern.

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