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SPOTLIGHT / SATURDAY’S GAMES AT A GLANCE : HOW TO END A LOSING STREAK

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Compiled by Thomas Bonk

For a football coach, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Air Force’s Fisher DeBerry was so frustrated by losing six games in a row that he took the most drastic measure he could think of before playing The Citadel.

Yes, he invited his mother-in-law to the game.

Before you could say ‘Get up off the couch,’ Air Force won, 35-0. Was it a coincidence? Probably not. Dot Coppedge of Cheraw, S.C., has proved to be a good-luck charm for DeBerry, who married Coppedge’s daughter, LuAnn.

Said DeBerry: “She never has seen us lose a game,” DeBerry said. “I called her early in the week and (told her) she needed to get out here. It cost me a lot of money to get her out here, and she’s going to stay for three weeks now.

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“You’re going to great extremes when you ask your mama-in-law to come stay three weeks with you. You knew I’d had it.”

. . . OR SAMSON WITHOUT HIS HAIR

Worst lede, college football division, by the Associated Press writer in West Lafayette, Ind., covering Purdue’s 45-24 loss to Ohio State:

“Purdue was like David without a slingshot . . . “

SO, WHO YOU GONNA CALL

Redshirt freshman Leeland McElroy of Texas A&M; returned Rice’s first two kickoffs 93 yards and 88 yards for touchdowns in a 38-10 victory at Rice Stadium in Houston.

Afterward, McElroy explained what transpired: “We had a middle wedge and they didn’t have a wedge-buster.”

CRASH LANDING

Washington running back Napoleon Kaufman knows how to run and he knows how to score touchdowns. Now if he can just learn how to fall down.

Kaufman rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the Huskies’ 21-6 victory over Oregon, but it was his one-yard vault into the end zone in the second half that is probably destined for perpetual loop in some highlight film.

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It was, well, spectacular. He leaped high into the air, was hit at the goal line and landed on his back in the end zone.

He got up s-l-o-w-l-y.

What happened? Was it the wrong flight plan? Well, sort of, Kaufman said.

“When I jumped, I thought there was going to be a big pile or something to land on,” Kaufman said. “It turned out there was nobody there. I landed right on my tailbone. I think it was the hardest hit I’ve taken all year.”

HISTORY LESSON

For what it’s worth, 7-0 Ohio State is off to its best start since 1979 when the Buckeyes went undefeated--until they lost, 17-16, to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl.

The Buckeyes were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll in Earle Bruce’s first year as successor to Woody Hayes in Columbus. But Charles White gained 71 yards in USC’s 83-yard scoring drive for the deciding touchdown to conclude an 11-0-1 season for the Trojans, marred only by a tie against Stanford.

Alabama finished ranked No. 1 and USC was No. 2 in the AP poll. UPI ranked USC No. 1. It was USC’s last unbeaten season. John Robinson was the coach.

SLOW DECADE IN BOZEMAN

Montana State stunned Division I-AA No. 1-ranked and previously undefeated Idaho, 40-35. According to the Associated Press report of the game: “It was the biggest victory in Bozeman in a decade.”

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SEEN ANY ZEBRAS LATELY?

How does it go? Be careful what you wish for because it might come true?

Football officials are rascals, to be sure, but they’re sort of a necessity for a game. It’s like, can’t play with ‘em, can’t play without ‘em.

The 1,500 fans who showed up for homecoming at Central Methodist University in Fayette, Mo., left without seeing a football game against William Jewell, which was called off because the officials never arrived.

Maybe no one in Fayette was more surprised than Larry Anderson, the athletic director at Central Methodist.

“I’ve been coaching for 26 years and this has never happened,” said Anderson. “We had 1,500 people come to a party that never took place.”

A half an hour before kickoff, officials had not arrived. Anderson tried to get alternates, but he couldn’t find any, so he had to cancel the game.

Scheduling of officials is done by the conference commissioner and the supervisor of officials. A telephone call to Charlie Burri, commissioner of the Heart of America conference, was not returned.

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Not only were the 12 Central Methodist seniors knocked out of their last homecoming, but the William Jewell players got short-changed, too. They rented two buses, made a five-hour round trip and got nothing out of it except a meal.

LOWDOWN ON SHOWDOWN

Notre Dame’s victory over USC virtually assured a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown Nov. 13, when top-ranked Florida State plays the Irish in South Bend.

The Seminoles should have an easy time against Wake Forest and Maryland the next two weeks. Notre Dame plays Navy next, then has a week off before meeting Florida State.

Navy hasn’t beaten Notre Dame since 1963, but linebacker Pete Bercich said the Irish can’t afford to overlook Navy.

“If you have a warm-up fight before the championship fight and lose the warm-up fight, there ain’t going to be a championship fight,” he said.

QUOTEWORTHY

USC’s Willie McGinest, on Notre Dame’s offensive line: “They must get those monsters out of the woods.”

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Well, so nice of you to say so. This is from Colorado Coach Bill McCartney after a 16-16 tie between Kansas State (5-1-1) and Colorado (4-2-1): “A tie will mean a lot to their program.”

Cornhuskers in the end zone, all is right with the world. Nebraska struggled last week against Kansas State, leading only 31-28 before pulling away, so Coach Tom Osborne felt the earth began rotating more correctly on its axis after the Cornhuskers blasted Missouri, 49-7: “Now, that’s a little more like it.”

YES, VIRGINIA, IT’S A HURTIN’ GAME

How to stop the run? Why, ask Virginia defensive tackle Ryan Kuehl, who helped the Cavaliers limit the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading rushing offense to 101 yards in a 17-10 victory over North Carolina.

The Tar Heels, whose rushing average was more like a really good bowling score coming in (287) didn’t do a thing against the upset-minded Cavaliers.

Kuehl’s explanation is that it was simply a matter of confidence.

Here is his complete analysis:

“We’ve always had the confidence we can stop the run,” he said. “This proves to a lot of people that if you want to play smash-mouth, knockdown, drag-out football, hey, let’s do it.”

Hey, get out the Band-Aids.

CAN’T KICK

Middle Tennessee’s Garth Petrilli, who had kicked 100 consecutive conversions, missed No. 101 against Southeast Missouri.

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BUY A VOWEL

Purdue unleashed redshirt freshman quarterback Rick Trefzger in its loss to Ohio State. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 245 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

NOTEWORTHY

After Morgan State took a 7-0 lead, Delaware State scored 62 consecutive points and won, 65-42.

Alabama is 23-0-1 when Jay Barker is the starting quarterback. Barker was injured in Saturday’s game against Mississippi, but the Tide still won, 19-14, to extend the nation’s longest unbeaten streak to 30 games.

In the first college game at the Alamodome in San Antonio, 42,787 saw Texas beat Southern Methodist, 37-10.

Michigan’s Tyrone Wheatley rushed for only 56 yards in 15 carries against Illinois before he left with a bruised right shoulder in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 Wolverine defeat.

One week after being knocked out cold on the field and getting a concussion, Oklahoma quarterback Cale Gundy threw three touchdown passes, completed 19 of 26 passes for 324 yards and ran for a fourth touchdown.

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The good news: Stanford quarterback Steve Stenstrom posted his sixth consecutive 300-yard passing game. The bad news: Stanford lost, 38-30, to Arizona State.

C.W. Post quarterback Perry Klein completed 21 of 34 passes for 360 yards and touchdowns of 68, 25, 35 and 20 yards during a 72-18 Division I-AA victory over Central. Klein left with 6:21 left in the third quarter.

There wasn’t a lot of defense in Livingston’s 60-55 Gulf South Conference victory over Delta State. Livingston’s Marty Washington passed for 502 yards and seven touchdowns while Delta State piled up 660 yards of total offense, led by Greg Walker, who rushed 316 yards in 42 carries.

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