College Football '91

THE BALTIMORE EVENING SUN

MARYLAND OPPONENTS

VIRGINIA

* Byrd Stadium, tomorrow, noon.

* Coach: George Welsh (58-44-2 in 9 years; 113-90-3 in 18 years overall).

* 1990 record: 8-4.

* Starters returning: offense 4, defense 5.

* Outlook: The receiving corps is decimated: Ace Herman Moore gone and there is no wide receiver or tight end returning who had 10 or more catches last year. Gone, too, is quarterback Shawn Moore, leaving the job to basketballer Matt Blundin, who passed for 553 yards in two career starts. The Cavs are strong at tailback with All-Atlantic Coast Conference pick Terry Kirby (1,020 yards) and Nikki Fisher (averaged 7 yards a carry).

SYRACUSE

* Byrd Stadium, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.

* Coach: Paul Pasqualoni (first year at Syracuse; 34-17 in 5 years overall).

* 1990 record: 7-4-2.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 8.

* Outlook: In The Sporting News' Big East preseason rankings, Syracuse is second behind Miami. Dick MacPherson, now with the New England Patriots, didn't leave the cupboard bare for Pasqualoni. The secondary and pass rush should carry the Orange defense a long way. Quarterback Marvin Graves last year was the first freshman to start regularly since the

reinstatement of freshman eligibility in 1972.

WEST VIRGINIA

* Byrd Stadium, Sept. 21, 4 p.m.

* Coach: Don Nehlen (81-46-2 in 11 years; 134-81-6 in 20 years overall).

* 1990 record: 4-7.

* Starters returning: offense 8, defense 8.

* Outlook: Most of the players are back, not necessarily good news for a team that went 4-7. The Mountaineers are loaded at running back: Ex-Terp Mike Beasley, the rushing leader last year, has been moved to wide receiver part time. The offensive line averages 6 feet 5, 279 pounds, led by John Ray (6-10, 320). The quarterback situation is muddled; there were 12 candidates last spring.

PITTSBURGH

* Pitt Stadium, Oct. 5, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Paul Hackett (3-7-1 in 1 year).

* 1990 record: 3-7-1.

* Starters returning: offense 11, defense 5.

* Outlook: Quarterback Alex Van Pelt will continue his assault on Dan Marino's school records behind an offensive line that returns intact. Van Pelt was sacked only six times last year. The Panthers need a tailback after Curvin Richards defected early to the NFL. The secondary was leaky at times. Pitt needs impact players at nose guard and inside linebacker.

GEORGIA TECH

* Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Oct. 12, 1 p.m.

* Coach: Bobby Ross (23-21-1 in 4 years; 86-71-2 in 14 years overall).

* 1990 record: 11-0-1.

* Starters returning: offense 8, defense 8.

* Outlook: After sharing the national title and winning Tech's first ACC title, the question is: What next? First, Ross must rebuild the offensive line and find a fullback and an inside linebacker. He will depend on one of the nation's best quarterbacks in junior Shawn Jones, who had a rough night in Tech's 34-22 loss to Penn State last week. Redshirt freshman Jimy Lincoln is the leader at tailback to replace William Bell, who is suspended for the season.

WAKE FOREST

* Groves Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., Oct. 19, 1 p.m.

* Coach: Bill Dooley (18-24-2 in 4 years; 151-114-5 in 24 years overall).

* 1990 Record: 3-8.

* Starters returning: offense 7, defense 10.

* Outlook: The Deacons have lost 12 straight ACC games, the last five by an average of 30 points, and have won only five games in two years. Dooley might retire if there isn't improvement. Anthony Williams led the ACC in all-purpose yards and John Henry Mills had 46 catches. Opponents completed an ACC-high 58.4 percent of their passes last fall.

DUKE

* Byrd Stadium, Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Barry Wilson (4-7 in 1 year).

* 1990 record: 4-7.

* Starters returning: offense 8, defense 10.

* Outlook: In a program best known for offense, Duke may feature defense this time. Ten defensive starters return, including Preston Anderson, Erwin Sampson, Darrell Spells and Scott Youmans. Yet the pieces are in place for a potent offense with tailback Randy Cuthbert, receivers Walter Jones and Marc Mays and quarterback Dave Brown.

NORTH CAROLINA

L * Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C., Nov. 2, noon.

* Coach: Mack Brown (8-24-1 in 3 years, 25-52-1 in 7 years overall).

* 1990 record: 6-4-1.

* Starters returning: offense 11, defense 10.

* Outlook: The Tar Heels have 21 returning starters after posting their first winning season in four years. They may have enough talent to play New Year's Day. Rugged Natrone Means and fleet Randy Jordan complement each other at tailback. Inside linebackers Dwight Hollier and Tommy Thigpen are as good as any in the ACC.

PENN STATE

* Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Nov. 9, noon.

* Coach: Joe Paterno (229-60-3 in 25 years, all at Penn State).

* 1990 record: 9-3.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 8.

* Outlook: The Nittany Lions' 34-22 romp past defending national champion Georgia Tech suggests what's in store for remaining opponents. The offense is balanced and the defense is strong as usual. Tony Sacca has a big-league arm and enormous potential, but had better stop complaining about Paterno's conservative offense. State needs four replacements on the offensive line and a good tailback.

CLEMSON

* Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., Nov. 16, noon.

* Coach: Ken Hatfield (10-2 in 1 year; 92-50-2 in 12 years overall).

* 1990 record: 10-2.

* Starters returning: offense 7, defense 5.

* Outlook: Prospects are bright after the Tigers finished Hatfield's rookie year with a five-game winning streak, a Top 10 ranking and the largest margin of victory in Clemson bowl history, a 30-0 annihilation of Big Ten co-champion Illinois in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Ronald Williams was voted ACC Rookie of the Year after rushing for 914 yards, and Terry Smith set a Clemson record for receptions and yardage by a freshman.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

* Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 23, 1 p.m.

* Coach: Dick Sheridan (34-23-2 in 5 years; 103-46-4 in 13 years overall).

* 1990 record: 7-5.

* Starters returning: offense 9, defense 5.

* Outlook: The Wolfpack's most urgent need is in the secondary, where three-fourths of last year's starting unit is gone. Terry Jordan didn't win the starting quarterback job until midseason, but completed 56.4 percent of his passes. State must find a dependable tailback and get more protection from the line.

@

NAVY OPPONENTS

BALL STATE

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, tomorrow, 7 p.m.

L * Coach: Paul Schudel (36-29-2, 6 years, all at Ball State).

* 1990 record: 7-4.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 9.

* Outlook: The Cardinals closed out 1990 with four straight wins and have won more games (22) the last three seasons than anyone in the Mid-American Conference. If the defense is as good as expected and the offense can put some points on the board, the winning could continue. Sophomore WB Mike Neu is bound to throw a lot; 10 of the Cardinals' 12 receivers are back. Ball State opened its season with a 15-7 loss at Miami (Ohio) University. The Cardinals gained 186 yards passing, but were restricted to minus eight yards rushing.

VIRGINIA

* Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.

* Coach: George Welsh (58-44-2 in 9 years, 113-90-3 in 18 overall).

* 1990 record: 8-4.

* Starters returning: offense 4, defense 5.

* Outlook: The Cavaliers aren't likely to contend for the Atlantic Coast Conference title -- partly because they play Clemson and Georgia Tech on the road -- but they have seven home games and probably will compile their fifth straight winning season. Last in the ACC in pass defense last year, Virginia again figures to have that weakness. Welsh scrapped his 5-2 defense and broiught in Rick Lantz to coordinate the new 4-3 alignment. If it fails, the Cavs might, too.

WILLIAM & MARY

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Sept. 21, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Jimmye Laycock (68-56-2 in 11 years, all at W&M;).

* 1990 record: 10-3.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 7.

* Outlook: In one preseason listing, the Tribe is ranked just behind Georgia Southern among Division I-AA powers. Quarterback Chris Hakel was No. 7 in total offense in I-AA last year and tailback Robert Green was No. 8 among rushers. The main weakness is that the two top receivers are gone.

BOWLING GREEN

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Sept. 28, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Gary Blackney (first season as a head coach).

* 1990 record: 3-5-2.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 8.

* Outlook: The team's best player last year was punter Cris Shade, and now even he's gone. The offensive line is inexperienced, but there are returnees at each skill position. The top eight defensive backs are back, but Blackney must find five replacements at linebacker.

AIR FORCE

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Fisher DeBerry (55-30-11 in 7 years, all at Air Force).

* 1990 record: 7-5.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 5.

* Outlook: The Falcons have been to seven bowls in nine years. They won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy (in competition against Army and Navy) for the second straight year and defeated No. 17 Ohio State in the Liberty Bowl. The offense is explosive with Rob Perez at quarterback, and the special teams rank among the nation's finest. Perez rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 106 and another score in last week's opening, 48-31 win over Weber State. Air Force is seeking its 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference rushing title. The Falcons have had a grip on the crown since 1982 by averaging 320.65 yards a game. During this period, they have ranked among the nation's top five in rushing six times. The defense could be the Falcons' best since 1985, when the team went 12-1.

TEMPLE

* Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Oct. 19, noon.

* Coach: Jerry Berndt (8-14 in 2 years; 52-68-3 in 12 years overall).

* 1990 record: 7-4.

* Outlook: Last year's 7-4 record generated hope for a program that had fallen on hard times. The schedule is testy, especially for a young team. The running game is a strength: Tailbacks Scott McNair and Leon Brown combined for 1,251 yards rushing last year.

DELAWARE

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Oct. 26, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Tubby Raymond (202-83-2 in 25 years).

* 1990 record: 6-5.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 9.

* Outlook: Bill Vergantino is the ideal option quarterback to run the wing-T offense, but he needs help in the backfield. The

defense will be strong, especially in the line and secondary, but the linebacking unit is thin. The kicking may be the best in the Yankee Conference.

NOTRE DAME

* Notre Dame Stadium, Nov. 2, 4 p.m.

* Coach: Lou Holtz (46-14 in 5 years; 162-79-5 in 21 overall).

* 1990 record: 9-3.

* Starters returning: offense 7, defense 5.

* Outlook: This year's team appears as talented as the last three, all of which had shots at national championships entering bowl games. Quarterback Rick Mirer has more arm strength after working with weights in the offseason; he completed 55 percent of his passes, but threw only eight TDs. The Irish need a game-breaker, and will miss their most recent ones, Tim Brown and Rocket Ismail. The schedule is nasty, bristling with Michigan, Michigan State, Southern California, Tennessee and Penn State. There is no room for error.

TULANE

* Louisiana Superdome, Nov. 9, 7 p.m.

* Coach: Greg Davis (13-21 in 3 years, all at Tulane).

* 1990 record: 4-7.

* Starters returning: offense 6, defense 6.

* Outlook: After records of 5-6, 4-8 and 4-7, Davis is under the gun. His quarterback is untested, the defense is suspect and tailback Terrance Strickland will miss the season following a severe knee injury in the spring.

WAKE FOREST

* Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Nov. 23, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Bill Dooley (18-24-2 in 4 years, 151-114-5 in 24 overall).

* 1990 record: 3-8.

* Starters returning: offense 7, defense 10.

* Outlook: Wake is still the Atlantic Coast Conference's weak sister. Quarterback Keith West is largely unproven, although he passed for 229 yards and three TDs in a victory over Vanderbilt in last year's finale. The Deacons were last in the ACC in total defense by an average of almost 35 yards a game. Marvin Mitchell is one of Wake's keys. If he rebounds after missing last season with a knee injury, he'll give the team something it has lacked -- an impact player on the defensive line.

ARMY

* Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m.

* Coach: Bob Sutton (first year as a head coach).

* 1990 record: 6-5.

* Starters returning: offense 5, defense 2.

* Outlook: Sutton has replaced Jim Young, who led the Cadets to the only three bowls in their history. Sutton is rebuilding a defense that lost nine starters. He also has to replace Mike Mayweather, Army's all-time rushing leader. Willie McMillian (900 yards rushing, 455 passing) is the prototype wishbone

quarterback.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
77°