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SPOTLIGHT

He took the long way to his record

September 21, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Purdue fifth-year senior Kory Sheets figured that if he got a chance to break Mike Alstott's school record for total touchdowns, the opportunity would come in a short-yardage situation near the end zone.

Nothing fancy or too complicated. Just a simple rushing play capped by Sheets diving over the middle of the line for the score.

On Saturday, Sheets broke Alstott's record in Purdue's 32-25 victory over Central Michigan. However, it did not happen as Sheets thought it would.

After Purdue fell behind, 25-24, with 1:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, Sheets made the play of the day with a 46-yard touchdown run to give the Boilermakers the victory.

On his record-breaking run, Sheets exploded through the middle of the line and then made a "Barry Sanders-type" hesitation cut around Central Michigan's Bobby Seay to break free for the winning score.

"This was one for the books," said Sheets, who finished with 91 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He now has 43 touchdowns in his career.

Understating it

Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer will never be known as a person who exaggerates facts.

Just check out Fulmer's comments about Florida's Brandon James, a 5-foot-7 junior running back who had an electrifying 78-yard punt return for a touchdown and 144 total yards in three combined returns in the Gators' 30-6 victory at Tennessee.

"James is a real good player, but we missed a lot of tackles," Fulmer said.

A lot of tackles? Some Volunteers are probably still trying to catch up with James, who seemed to shake free from every Tennessee defender on the field on his fourth punt return for a touchdown in his career, which tied Jacquez Green's school record.

"It felt like I was doing too much juking and jiving," said James, who also had a 52-yard kickoff return to open the game.

"But it worked out in the end and I took it in."

Overstating it

In the days leading up to Clemson's showdown against South Carolina State, the Tigers' coaching staff got a little carried away warning their players about the Bulldogs' offensive firepower.

"I think [Clemson defensive coordinator] Coach [Vic] Koenning did" over-hype the Bulldogs, said senior safety Michael Hamlin after the Tigers' 54-0 victory over South Carolina State.

"That's any coach's job, to blow them up bigger than they really are. He told us how good they were and really opened everybody's eyes up."

In registering its first shutout in two years, Clemson improved to 22-0 against Championship Subdivision opponents.

NFL hot list

A rundown of how several highly rated players performed Saturday:

Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith: The Crimson Tide rolled over Arkansas, 49-14, and dominated the line of scrimmage behind Smith, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound junior who helped lead Alabama to 328 yards rushing.

East Carolina tight end Davon Drew: At 6 feet 4, 258 pounds, this former quarterback displayed his all-around athletic skills with two catches for 61 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown, in an overtime loss at North Carolina State.

NFL cold list

Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman: After being hyped as a potential first-round draft pick, Boeckman was demoted to second team and played only two snaps in the Buckeyes' win over Troy.

Oregon defensive backs Jairus Byrd, Walter Thurmond III and Patrick Chung: The Ducks' secondary had a difficult time defending against Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, who passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-32 victory.

Record-breakers

Jordan Scott became the Patriot League's all-time rushing leader when he gained 239 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Colgate to a 34-20 win over Dartmouth. Scott has 5,015 rushing yards in his career.

Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson became the school's all-time leader in touchdown passes when he completed the 42nd of his career in the Tide's victory over Arkansas. Wilson hit freshman Julio Jones for a 25-yard score to break Brodie Croyle's record.

--

lonnie.white@latimes.com

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