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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT / WEEK 6

Emotional Time for Penn St.

October 01, 2000

Last week, Andre Taliaferro said his son would walk again one day.

Saturday, Adam Taliaferro's Penn State teammates did all they could to fuel the inspiration for the freshman cornerback, who seriously injured his spinal cord last week against Ohio State.

Penn State, off to its worst start in 36 years, dug deep to defeat No. 22 Purdue, 22-20, at State College, Pa. dedicating the game to its fallen teammate.

"When you play with heart and emotion, this is what happens," senior Justin Kurpeikis said. "Adam had a hand in it somehow. We can't help him back. But we can make his road easier."

Taliaferro remains in a Philadelphia hospital after successful spinal fusion surgery Monday in Ohio. The Nittany Lions wore No. 43 on the backs of their helmets to honor him.

"As a coach, it was my toughest week," said Joe Paterno, who moved within five victories of breaking Bear Bryant's Division I-A record of 323 wins. "It was a struggle not knowing how to handle the squad."

It also has been a struggle for Taliaferro's father, who was watching the game on television when his son was injured.

Although he knows his son will never play football again, he remains optimistic about more important things.

"My son is strong, that's why I'm telling you my boy is going to come back," he said.

BEACH BUDDIES

Football fans in Long Beach had their eyes on Saturday's Arizona-Stanford game, which turned out to be a matchup of two of the city's favorite sons.

This time the veteran gave the younger upstart a lesson.

Senior Ortege Jenkins, a Long Beach Jordan graduate, completed 12 of 22 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown to led Arizona to a 27-3 rout of Stanford, which had upset Texas two weeks earlier.

Guiding the Cardinal that night was redshirt freshman Chris Lewis, a Long Beach Poly grad, who replaced injured starter Randy Fasani in a 27-24 victory.

With Fasani sidelined because of knee surgery, Lewis started his first game Saturday, but the outcome was a disaster. He completed 14 of 32 passes for 177 yards and had Two passes intercepted.

"I obviously didn't play up to my capabilities," Lewis said. "I have to come through for us. I'm young, and I know they're going to bring a lot at me."

Jenkins, meanwhile, had his best start since taking over as Arizona's full-time starter after three years sharing time with Keith Smith.

"It feels good that we can come out here and make things happen like that," Jenkins said.

THE NEW RUDY

Rudy Caamano certainly didn't take the conventional route to becoming a Division I quarterback, but the 6-foot-1, 190-pound sophomore finally seems to have found his niche.

Although in only his second year of college eligibility, Caamano, the quarterback at New Mexico, graduated from Santa Fe High in Santa Fe Springs in 1997. He didn't play his first year out of high school, eventually enrolling at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut for the 1998 season.

Caamano transferred to Iowa State in 1999, but changed his mind and returned to Mt. SAC after a few weeks before enrolling at New Mexico in January 2000.

Since becoming the starter three games into the season, the Lobos are 3-1 under Caamano, who completed 11 of 16 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns for New Mexico's option offense in a 45-10 rout of Wyoming.

Caamano said he heard the Albuquerque crowd yelling "Rudy, Rudy, Rudy," but said it's too early to proclaim himself the city's newest sports hero.

"We'd have to win a couple of championships before that happens," he said.

DAZZLING DANTZLER

That Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler is the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading rusher can either be interpreted as an indictment of the conference's real running backs or a testament to his wondrous talent.

Dantzler, who seems to have played himself into the Heisman race after a 52-22 victory over Duke, continued his torrid pattern of production.

He rushed for 134 yards and passed for 174 more to mark the third consecutive game in which he has gone over 300 yards in total offense--a school record.

"Yeah, not one of his better games," Clemson Coach Tommy Bowden said in a serious tone. "It's probably the worst he's thrown the deep ball and a few other mistakes he made. A good performance, but I think he's got more in him."

Dantzler, for one, realizes what he can do and isn't afraid to tell people.

"I won't say I'm unstoppable. I will say in the open field--it's not being arrogant--but I don't feel I can be tackled one-on-one," Dantzler said.

SHOT(GUN) IN THE DARK

In No. 3 Florida's 47-35 loss at Mississippi State, Florida Coach Steve Spurrier's shotgun offense lost its bullets for a time.

Florida trailed, 31-23, and was driving with 10 minutes left when the formation misfired. Center David Jorgensen sailed consecutive snaps over quarterback Rex Grossman's head in plays that resulted in a 46-yard loss.

Spurrier elected to take a safety.

"Two points didn't seem to matter at that point," he said.

At least not until Dontae Walker broke a 61-yard run to set up a touchdown and 40-23 lead with 8:16 left.

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Compiled by JIM BARRERO

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