It took almost nine years, but Prairie View A&M; finally tasted victory.
The Panthers ended their NCAA-record 80-game losing streak Saturday night, stopping a two-point conversion in the final minute for a 14-12 victory over Langston at Oklahoma City.
The victory was the Panthers' first since Oct. 28, 1989, when they defeated Mississippi Valley, 21-12. The streak started the following week with a 19-18 loss at Langston.
"It was well overdue," said Prairie View Coach Greg Johnson, who left Langston two years ago to rebuild the Panther program. "There wasn't any doubt in my mind what we could do.
"We just had to believe and come through in the stretch."
Langston cut Prairie View's lead to 14-12 on Archie Craft's 51-yard touchdown pass to Ted Roberts with 34 seconds left. Langston then went for the tying two-pointer, but Craft was stopped just short of the goal line on a quarterback sneak.
It took the referees about 15 seconds to untangle the pile of players near the goal line and signal that the conversion failed. When the signal finally came, Prairie View players began celebrating with hugs and shouts of joy.
Langston tried an onside kick after its last score, but Prairie View recovered and ran out the clock.
Prairie View, an NCAA Division I-AA school that offers only 15 football scholarships, suffered 19 shutouts--including a 92-0 loss against Alabama State in 1991--and went through four coaches during its streak.
But the victory over Langston erased those memories.
"Tonight the score on the scoreboard validated something we always knew--this was a team of winners," said Larry Raab, Prairie View's vice president. "Even at the very end we had a chance to fold. This group of young men chose not to do that."
HURRICANE OF ACTIVITY
UCLA and Miami called off their game at Miami because of fears about Hurricane Georges.
With temperatures in the mid-80s in the Miami area of the Sunshine State on Saturday, and various sports events going off without a hitch, players and coaches at the two schools couldn't be blamed for wondering aloud, "What kind of deal is this?"
That's what horse racing fans were doing at Miami's Calder race track, where longshot Whatkindadealisthis led at the eighth pole of the $75,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes race before losing to One Last Trick.
The Philadelphia Phillies might have been thinking the same thing after scoring only three runs in 23 innings while getting swept in a doubleheader by the Florida Marlins.
Arizona State Coach Bruce Snyder isn't filling up the win column with regularity so far this season, but he is, apparently, helping to fill Sun Devil Stadium.
So, despite the underachieving Sun Devils' 1-2 record entering Saturday night's game against Oregon State, Snyder--the highest-paid state employee in Arizona--is getting a raise.
The Board of Regents, which oversees Arizona's three state universities, approved a bonus that will give Snyder an additional $45,000 a year, pushing his salary to $595,000. With incentives he could earn $675,000, not counting money he can earn in side contracts with shoe and apparel companies.
Snyder's bonus comes in the form of $5 for each season ticket sold after the first 40,000. Arizona State sold 49,000 this season.
NEEDS A SLIPCOVER
Tim Couch became Kentucky's career leader in passing yardage and had his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing day. He played what his coach described as his best game.
Couch, however, left Florida still lacking one important thing: a victory over the Florida Gators.
Since making his first start two years ago against Florida, Couch has faced the Gators three times: a 65-0 blowout in 1996 at the Swamp in Gainesville; a 55-28 beating last year at Lexington; and Saturday's 51-35 loss.
HE'S NO DUMBBELL
Denver Johnson, coach of Division I-AA Murray State, had no illusions about what was going to happen Saturday against Brigham Young.
"They get a win, we get a weight room," Johnson said before the game.
Johnson was alluding to the paycheck--reportedly in the neighborhood of $500,000--that Murray State was set to receive for making an appearance in Provo.
"This is a revenue game for us, and they need a victory at this point in their schedule," Johnson said. "We understand that, and we're unapologetic about what it is."
Murray State played its role to perfection, losing 43-9.
1. Tim Couch, Kentucky: Completed 40 of 61 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns, but had two passes picked off in fourth quarter in loss at Florida.
2. Ricky Williams, Texas: Gained a career-high 318 yards and scored six touchdowns in victory over Rice.
3. Daunte Culpepper, Central Florida: Passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for another in win over Bowling Green.
4. Cade McNown, UCLA: Game against Miami canceled because of real Hurricane scare.
6. Ron Dayne, Wisconsin: Gained 168 yards in 22 carries and scored on a 46-yard run in win over Northwestern.
7. Michael Bishop, Kansas State: Passed for 441 yards and four touchdowns in rout of Northeast Louisiana.
8. Brock Huard, Washington: Had two passes intercepted, fumbled twice and left in third quarter of rout by Nebraska.
9. Chris Weinke, Florida State: Passed for 228 yards and two touchdowns in victory over USC.
10. Prairie View A&M; defense: Stopped two-point conversion by Langston as Panthers ended 80-game losing streak.
Justin Brown, who had to give up football at the University of Arkansas last year because of an enlarged and weakened heart, died early Saturday in Houston while awaiting a transplant. He was 21. . . Iowa's Tim Douglas kicked three field goals of more than 50 yards as the Hawkeyes beat Illinois, 37-14.
Texas running back Ricky Williams scored six touchdowns against Rice and moved into second place on the NCAA all-time rushing touchdowns list at 60, behind Indiana's Anthony Thompson with 64. . . Bethune-Cookman defeated Virginia State, 63-57, in eight overtimes, the longest game in NCAA Division I-AA history. The previous overtime record was six overtimes, set by Florida A&M; vs. Hampton in a 1996 game won by Florida A&M;, 59-58.
Brian Shay tied an NCAA record with his 11th career 200-yard rushing game for Emporia State.
--Compiled by Gary Klein
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Player, Team Att Cmp Yds TD MICHAEL BISHOP, Kansas St. 40 23 441 4 TIM COUCH, Kentucky 61 40 406 3 TIM LESTER, W. Michigan 44 23 376 2 CHRIS REDMAN, Louisville 47 31 362 5 AKILI SMITH, Oregon 29 18 357 4 TIM RATTAY, La. Tech 51 31 352 2 LEE ROBERTS. So. Miss. 28 19 340 5 D. CULPEPPER, C. Florida 32 23 320 4 B. STREETER, Clemson 32 18 316 1 JAY STONER, Wyoming 29 21 303 3 C. PENNINGTON, Marshall 44 26 279 2 DOUG JOHNSON, Florida 23 13 270 5
Player, Team No Yds TD RICKY WILLIAMS, Texas 30 318 6 TRAVIS PRENTICE, Miami, Ohio 37 227 3 REUBEN DROUGHNS, Oregon 22 214 3 AMOS ZEREOUE, W. Virginia 23 192 3 KEVIN FAULK, LSU 13 178 3
Player, Team No Yds TD SIAHA BURLEY, C. Florida 11 146 1 DeRONNIE PITTS, Stanford 10 159 2 DAMIEN GROCE, Iowa St. 10 116 3 SHERROD GIDEON, So. Miss. 7 126 3