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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT / WEEK 14

TCU, Tomlinson Run It Up

November 26, 2000

Texas Christian Coach Dennis Franchione milked his team's final regular-season game for all it was worth.

But can you blame him much?

Only three years ago, TCU had to defeat Southern Methodist in its finale to avoid a winless season. And how times have changed.

This season's 62-7 blowout of SMU on the road in Dallas on Friday night is one that is sure to live on for quite some time. The 10-1 Horned Frogs bounce into the postseason on a high unseen in Fort Worth since 1938--the last time the school won as many games.

Amid the hoopla, Franchione didn't seem to mind running up the score on the once-mighty Mustangs, although there were no pollsters to impress. TCU already was locked into the Mobile Alabama Bowl.

There was, however, the small detail of a Heisman Trophy campaign for LaDainian Tomlinson.

With his team leading 31-0 at halftime and 55-0 at the start of the fourth quarter, Franchione saw fit to keep his star running back on the field to pad numbers that could wind up making the difference in what has become a wide-open Heisman race.

Tomlinson finished the game with 178 yards, the season with 2,158, and reached 5,263 for his career, sixth-best all time. Franchione even called for a fourth-quarter timeout so Tomlinson could walk off the field alone.

And the view from the other side?

"This was the most embarrassing thing in my life," SMU running back Kris Briggs said. "I am crushed."

Franchione was too pleased for his own team to notice. But maybe he can be forgiven this once.

IT'S TIME TO CALL BOB VILA FOR HELP

For the second time in as many years, the Florida Citrus Bowl has lost one of its title sponsors weeks before the game.

http://OurHouse.com, a Web site devoted to home improvement, has told Florida Citrus Sports, the state-funded organization running the New Year's Day game, and ABC, the television network broadcasting the event, that it is pulling out of the title sponsorship.

The result could be a possible loss of $2.5 million.

Last season, Florida and Michigan State both received a $3.8-million payout from the bowl. This year's payout is estimated at $4 million per team. Michigan is set for the game against an undetermined opponent.

"It's not going to affect our payouts," to the teams slated to play in the game, said Chuck Rohe, executive director of Florida Citrus Sports.

And fans needn't worry. At the moment, the galleryfurniture.com Bowl doesn't appear to be in any immediate danger.

HE RANKS NO. 1 IN THIS AP POLL

The best running back you've never heard of?

Georgia Southern's Adrian Peterson just might be the man.

After missing his team's last two games because of a hyperextended elbow, Peterson rushed for a season-high 203 yards Saturday as Georgia Southern defeated McNeese State, 42-17, in the first round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs at Statesboro, Ga.

For Peterson, a 5-foot-10, 212-pound junior, it was his 40th consecutive 100-yard game and the 12th time he has rushed for more than 200 yards. The 40 games span his entire college career to this point.

After Peterson helped lead the Eagles to the Division I-AA championship last season, he returned more determined to do it again in 2000.

At least that's what he says on his Web site, http://apforheisman.com. As much as one might think of this as the ultimate self-promotion tool, most of the site is devoted to Peterson as a person.

Sure, there are the gratuitous listings of accomplishments in terms of sheer numbers, but featured more prominently is the regard Peterson carries for his father, Porter, and his family, in general, for making him what he is today.

It's a refreshing change from the it's-all-about-me mentality that pervades sports these days.

EXACTLY THE WAY THEY DREW IT UP

It was thought that Cal-Stanford had the market cornered on bizarre endings, but now the Bay Area schools will have to make some room for Central College (Iowa) and Linfield (Ore.) to share that spotlight.

In an NCAA Division III second-round game Saturday at McMinnville, Ore., Central got the best of Linfield when fullback Joe Ritzert ran 21 yards after his team had its tying field-goal attempt blocked in overtime to give the Dutch a stunning 20-17 victory.

The winning touchdown was scored while the Linfield players, and some of the 2,500 fans, were running onto the field to celebrate what they thought was a victory by the Wildcats--although no trombone players were spotted.

On Central's possession, kicker Tim O'Neil lined up for a 38-yard attempt to tie it, but he slipped. He made contact with the ball, driving it into one of his linemen. Center Reid Evans picked the ball up and, after some confusion, handed it off to Ritzert, who ran untouched to the end zone. The Linfield players had run from the sidelines onto the field, and no one noticed Ritzert.

Because the kicked ball did not cross the line of scrimmage, it was live. Several Linfield players said they heard a whistle blow, but no official called the play dead.

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