NEW YEAR'S DAY REPORT

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

GATOR BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Jacksonville, Fla., 11:30 a.m. EST, ESPN.

* TEAMS: Michigan (8-3) vs. Mississippi (9-2).

* RANK: Michigan: 12 (AP), 12 (UPI); Mississippi: 15 (AP), 14 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Nine more points and Michigan would have been 11-0. After Stanford upset Notre Dame, the Wolverines were No. 1 for a week until a 28-27 loss to Michigan State.

Mississippi played with inspiration for its paralyzed defensive back Chucky Mullins and surprisingly challenged Tennessee for the Southeastern Conference title.

But Tennessee ended the seven-victory Ole Miss streak, 22-13.

* MATCHUPS: To Mississippi, Michigan's monster line looks like Tennessee's.

It has blocked for the 11th-best rushing offense in the nation, 253.1 yards a game, led by the 11th-best back, Jon Vaughn, 6.1 yards a carry and 112.36 yards a game.

Mississippi's Randy Baldwin had 970 yards rushing.

HALL OF FAME BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Tampa, Fla., 1 p.m. EST, Channel 2.

* TEAMS: Illinois (8-3) vs. Clemson (9-2).

* RANK: Clemson: 14 (AP), 11 (UPI); Illinois: 16 (AP), 17 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Adjusting slowly to new coach Ken Hatfield, Clemson recovered from losses to Virginia (20-7) and Georgia Tech (21-19) to lead the nation in total defense, allowing only 3.5 yards a play and 216.9 yards a game.

The Tigers were second in scoring defense, 9.9 points a game and second in rushing defense, 71.7 yards a game.

Illinois beat Colorado, 23-22, to begin a six-game winning streak but collapsed against Iowa, 54-28, and Michigan, 22-17.

* MATCHUPS: The biggest surprise for Illinois was the sophomore quarterback Jason Verduzco, who made the offense more effective than Jeff George. Verduzco completed 64.5 percent of his passes, second-best in the nation, for 2,446 yards and 16 touchdowns.

FLORIDA CITRUS BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Orlando, Fla., 1:30 p.m., EST, Channel 13.

* TEAMS: Georgia Tech (10-0-1) vs. Nebraska (9-2).

* RANK: Georgia Tech: 2 (AP), 2 (UPI); Nebraska: 19 (AP), 13

(UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Georgia Tech, the season's biggest surprise, can't find respect even though it dislodged Virginia from No. 1 and beat Clemson.

The Yellow Jackets are underdogs although they were the only undefeated Division I-A team. Their 17-1-1 surge includes 15 straight unbeaten games.

Nebraska was 8-0 and and No. 3 before falling to Colorado by 27-12 and to Oklahoma by an embarrassing 45-10.

* MATCHUPS: Georgia Tech's Shawn Jones, a sophomore who chose coach Bobby Ross because he coached Boomer Esiason, was the second-best quarterback in the Atlantic Coast Conference, completing 57.9 percent of his passes for 2,008 yards.

All-America safety Ken Swilling leads a defense that allowed only 110.9 rushing yards a game.

Nebraska is without its quarterback, Mickey Joseph, whose cal

injury against Oklahoma required 125 stitches.

COTTON BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Dallas, 1:30 p.m., EST, Channel 11.

* TEAMS: Texas (10-1) vs. Miami (9-2).

* RANK: Texas: 3 (AP), 3 (UPI); Miami: 4 (AP), 4 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Texas won nine consecutive games since && being overtaken by Colorado, 29-22, on Sept. 22.

The Longhorns came from behind for seven victories.

Miami, the preseason No. 1, lost at BYU, 28-21, and at Notre Dame, 29-20, and escaped at San Diego State, 30-28, signs of a shaky road team.

* MATCHUPS: Miami averaged 483 yards, fifth-best nationally, and 36.5 points a game, eighth-best.

The rushing defense is led by the Outland Trophy winner Russell Maryland and it allowed only 79.7 yards, third-best.

The Texas defense scrambled the heralded Houston quarterback David Klinger and will pressure Craig Erickson, who was fifth-best in total offense with 338 yards a game.

FIESTA BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Tempe, Ariz., 4:30 p.m. EST, Channel 2.

* TEAMS: Alabama (7-4) vs. Louisville (9-1-1).

* RANK: Louisville: 18 (AP), 16 (UPI); Alabama: 25 (AP), 22 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Louisville won its last six games and accepted its first bowl bid in 13 years when many colleges turned down the Fiesta Bowl after Arizona voters rejected a paid holiday for state workers to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Louisville has not played since Nov. 10, but coach Howard Schnellenberger said he prepared the Cardinals the way he did Miami for its 1983 national title victory.

"I feel we can compete with anybody in the United States," he said.

Alabama began 0-3 and won seven of its last eight games, including the 6-3 upset that knocked Tennessee out of No. 1 contention.

* MATCHUPS: About Alabama's defense, Schnellenberger said: "We're going to have to play with reckless abandon. We're going to attack them from sideline to sideline."

Alabama was No. 1 against the pass and No. 6 against the rush (91.5 yards) and No. 3 against both (229.4 yards).

ROSE BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Pasadena, Calif., 5 p.m. EST, Channel 13.

* TEAMS: Washington (9-2) vs. Iowa (8-3).

* RANK: Washington: 8 (AP), 7 (UPI); Iowa: 17 (AP), 15 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Washington exceeded expectations and is in the Rose Bowl for the first time in nine years.

Iowa won the Big Ten berth by beating Michigan, 24-23, Illinois, 54-28, and Michigan State, 12-7, after being embarrassed at Miami, 48-21.

But the Hawkeyes have lost two of their last three games.

* MATCHUPS: Washington is led by senior tailback Greg Lewis, who was fourth in the nation in rushing with 127.9 yards a game and seventh in all-purpose running with 162.4 yards a game, better than Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail. Iowa will counter with Nick Bell, a 225-pounder whom coach John Mackovic called a "tailback in a fullback's body."

ORANGE BOWL

* KICKOFF: At Miami, 8 p.m., Channel 2.

* TEAMS: Notre Dame (9-2) vs. Colorado (10-1-1).

* RANK: Colorado: 1 (AP), 1 (UPI); Notre Dame: 5 (AP), 6 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Notre Dame twice was No. 1 for a total of six weeks, longer than any other team.

The Buffaloes were tied by Tennessee, then escaped Stanford and lost to Illinois, 23-22. Then they dealt Texas its lone loss, 29-22, and beat Washington, 20-14.

A controversial victory came at Missouri when they scored on a fifth-down plunge after the officials had lost count for the 33-31 victory on Oct. 6. The 27-12 rout of Nebraska put them ahead of Notre Dame.

* MATCHUPS: In the last Orange Bowl, Notre Dame won, 21-6. But Colorado is more mature and productive, and Notre Dame, defensively, is poorer, allowing 440 yards and 23 points a game.

The game features three Heisman finalists: Notre Dame flanker Raghib Ismail, second, Colorado tailback Eric Bieniemy, third, and Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan, fifth last year.

Bieniemy was second in the nation in rushing with 1,628 yards (148 a game and 5.7 a carry), and he had 17 touchdowns. He was fourth as an all-purpose runner with 2,038 yards (165.27 a game) and Ismail was ninth with 1,726 yards (156.91).

SUGAR BOWL

* KICKOFF: At New Orleans, 8:30 p.m., EST, Channel 13.

* TEAMS: Tennessee (8-2-2) vs. Virginia (8-3).

* RANK: Tennessee: 10 (AP), 10 (UPI); Virginia: 27 (AP), 23 (UPI).

* SEASON REVIEW: Tennessee tied Colorado, 31-31, and lost its tailback, Chuck Webb, in the second game of the season.

The Vols were tied by Auburn, 26-26, after trailing 26-9. Then they were upset by Alabama, 9-6, before losing to Notre Dame, 34-29. Virginia was 7-0 and had been No. 1 for three weeks before being upset by Georgia Tech, 41-38.

* MATCHUPS: How well Virginia does will depend on quarterback Shawn Moore, who suffered a dislocated thumb on his passing hand in the loss to Maryland on Nov. 10.

Virginia's Herman Moore was the third-best receiver in the nation, averaging 108.18 yards a game with 13 touchdowns, and Tennessee's Carl Pickens was 17th at 83.36 with 16 touchdowns.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
39°