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Biakabutuka Runs Into Right Team

PRO FOOTBALL / WEEK3 | CAROLINA 27, CINCINNATI 3

September 27, 1999|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — George Seifert's second job as an NFL coach has turned into a second chance for Tshimanga Biakabutuka.

Bothered by injuries and inconsistency since Carolina made him a first-round draft choice in 1996, Biakabutuka broke the Panther record Sunday for the longest run from scrimmage. Less than two hours later, he broke it again.

Biakabutuka bolted for a 62-yard touchdown on Carolina's first play from scrimmage, then added a 67-yard touchdown run to lead the Panthers to a 27-3 victory over woeful Cincinnati.

"I'm pretty excited. This is the best I've felt since I've been here," said Biakabutuka, who finished with 132 yards in eight carries.

Carolina (1-2) won for the first time under Seifert, the former San Francisco coach who last season was a CBS studio analyst.

Seifert has been starting Biakabutuka, and the result has been 224 yards in 22 carries--Biakabutuka's best start yet.

Steve Beuerlein threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, and he added a crucial block on Biakabutuka's second touchdown.

"Tshimanga's runs were huge for everybody," Beuerlein said, "but the second was probably more important for him because he made something out of nothing. It does wonders for his confidence."

So does running against Cincinnati, which is 0-3 for the third time in seven years. "I know we have a lot of guys trying hard, but other than that, it's a little dim in there right now," Coach Bruce Coslet said. "It's something different every week."

Jeff Blake, nursing a shoulder injury, started at quarterback for the Bengals and was sacked three times, knocked down numerous other times, intercepted once and appeared to have trouble on long throws.

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