MORE, LIONS, MORE
At first, Yale coach Carmen Cozza wasn't certain what to make of the news that Columbia, the Elis' opponent this Saturday, had defeated Princeton 16-13 to end Division I's longest losing streak at 44 games. One thing it means, of course, is that the Lions will come to New Haven thinking about a winning streak, for heaven's sake. "We've tasted victory, and it's time for a bigger bite," said Columbia tailback Greg Abbruzzese, who rushed for 182 yards.
Still, Cozza would rather face the Lions coming off their historic victory than with them still carrying the burdens of a winless streak extending all the way back to Oct. 15, 1983—and a 21-18 win over Yale.
"The pressure is off them a little bit now," said Cozza. "And our team, struggling as we are [0-3-1], doesn't need any added pressure. We need a win, too."
Columbia's victory came at the expense of Princeton and its fraternal stars, quarterback Jason and halfback Judd Garrett, who only three years ago were Lions. Their father, Jim, resigned as Columbia's coach after going 0-10 in 1985—although he had presaged his own departure by calling the Lions "drug-addicted losers" after their season-opening loss to Harvard. Thereafter, the younger Garretts transferred to Princeton.
The Tigers had a 13-9 lead midway in the final quarter before a homecoming crowd of 5,420 at Columbia's Wien Stadium. But then an amazing thing happened. The Lions drove down the field and, for a change, didn't fumble (it was the first time Columbia played without a turnover since 1972). Sophomore running back Solomon Johnson scored from the two-yard line to give the Lions a 16-13 lead with 5:13 to go.
But on their last two possessions, the Tigers drove deep into Columbia territory. The first drive was stopped when Lions defensive end Mark Zielinski sacked Jason Garrett on fourth down at the Columbia 27. The final Princeton effort ended when Chris Lutz's 48-yard field goal attempt fell short with two seconds on the clock.
At his postgame press conference. Lion coach Larry McElreavy clutched a game ball on which was imprinted PROPERTY OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. "We'll let them celebrate until midnight," McElreavy said, "but then they'll have to concentrate on next week." He paused. "Well, maybe we'll let the celebration slide over until 12:05."
The two main contenders in the rapidly shrinking Heisman Trophy field were both on display in the Los Angeles area last Saturday as UCLA and USC played at home, the only time that will happen this season until their Nov. 19 meeting at the Rose Bowl (technically, the Bruins' turf). Each of the unbeaten teams beat up on somebody from Oregon, with UCLA whipping Oregon State 38-21 and Southern Cal thumping Oregon 42-14. but the real battle was the duel for the title of hometown hero between quarterbacks Troy Aikman of the Bruins and Rodney Peete of the Trojans.
It was homecoming at Tailback U, so Peete marked the occasion with a celebration of the forward pass. Against the Ducks, he completed 17 of 33 passes for 270 yards and two TDs, including a 59-yarder to John Jackson.
Across town, Aikman was having a rougher time with the Beavers. On a day when he became only the fifth quarterback in Bruin history to throw for four TDs in a game (while completing 24 of 36 passes for 288 yards), Aikman also was intercepted twice and coughed up two fumbles. Said Oregon State coach Dave Kragthorpe, "I don't think they [UCLA] felt comfortable until the last touchdown."
That last score, courtesy of a one-yard Aikman TD pass, came with less than 20 seconds to go and the Bruins sitting on a 10-point lead. Afterward, UCLA coach Terry Donahue acted surprised when someone suggested that the Bruins might be guilty of running up the score: "Frankly, I thought it was a compliment to them. We had to go the full 60 minutes to knock them out."
So who won the hometown Heisman duel? Call it a toss-up, but in the p.r. race, Peete and the Trojans were headlined above Aikman and the Bruins in the sports section of The Los Angeles Times.
DOWN IN DIXIE
The big news in the proud Southeastern Conference wasn't Ole Miss, which held Alabama to zero yards passing in a 22-12 upset of the Tide in Tuscaloosa, but Ole Myth. In other words, the SEC may not be as tough as its devotees would have us believe. After Florida's shocking 17-11 loss to independent Memphis State (which did the same sort of thing to Alabama a year ago), the SEC is only 12-9 this season against nonconference opposition.
Even in league play, no team has shown the true grits—ah, grit—necessary to win the champion's automatic berth in the Sugar Bowl. The preseason favorite, Auburn, visited LSU—which had lost to Florida 19-6 the week before—and left Baton Rouge with a 7-6 loss. Only Georgia, a 41-22 winner over Vanderbilt behind Tim Worley's 161 yards rushing and three TDs, is still unbeaten in the conference. But the Dawgs face Florida and Auburn back-to-back on the road in November.
And how do you figure Tennessee?
Regarded as one of the SEC's best teams before the season, the Volunteers will take an 0-5 record, their worst start ever, against Alabama on Saturday in Knoxville. At least the Vols defense won't have to stop Tide tailback Bobby Humphrey, whose broken foot may sideline him for the rest of the season.
Going into the season, the SEC's best runners figured to be Humphrey and Florida sophomore Emmitt Smith. Against the Tigers, Smith had to leave the game in the third quarter with a sprained left knee. He'll be out for at least four weeks. "Emmitt left here depressed, like it's the end of the world," said Florida trainer Chris Patrick. "It's not that, I assure you."
All in all, it was a streaky week. From Columbia we head north to Colby, a Division III school in Waterville, Maine, that had lost 15 times in a row and had dropped 22 straight in the New England Small College Athletic Conference until Saturday's 34-33 win over Tufts. All the players and fans walked to the Roberts Union to ring the 150-year-old Revere bell that's always sounded after a victory....
The ramblin' wreck that's Georgia Tech extended its losing streak against Division I-A teams to 15 with a 13-8 loss at Maryland....
Clemson extended its record against Virginia to 28-0 with a shaky 10-7 win....
Wyoming won its 15th straight regular-season game by thumping San Diego State 55-27 behind tailback Dabby Dawson's 225 yards on only 16 carries....
Augustana (Ill.) College, which hadn't lost a regular-season game since October 18, 1980, saw its victory streak end at 70 when halfback Bill Nolan's one-yard dive gave Carroll College of Waukesha, Wis., a 24-21 victory....
Before Oklahoma's 28-13 win over Texas—the Sooners' fourth straight in the annual shootout in the Cotton Bowl—Dallas police arrested pregame revelers for the umpteenth year, although Saturday's 53 collars was down from the record 800 set in the early '70s.
AL SCHNOOR/NEW YORK NEWSDAY
The Lions hadn't celebrated a victory in five years, long before McElreavy (inset) arrived.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Junior running back Anthony Thompson (left) scored four touchdowns—all in the first half—and rushed for 190 yards to set Indiana game (24 points), season (86) and career (186) scoring records as the Hoosiers routed Ohio State 41-7.
Nick Penna, a 230-pound senior inside linebacker for Maine, had a hand in 15 tackles—10 of them unassisted—a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery as the Black Bears defeated Boston University 30-10 in a Yankee Conference game.
Mike Gillette scored 11 points in Michigan 's 17-3 win over Michigan State, running a fake punt 40 yards for a TD, kicking a 30-yard field goal and adding two PATs to become the Wolverines' career scoring leader, with 247 points.