Friday, October 19, 2001

MAC still has many contenders


Division schedules leave most alive in championship race

The Associated Press

        Halfway through the Mid-American Conference season, almost everyone remains a contender.

        Take Ohio University, for example. The Bobcats are just 1-4 but find themselves just one game behind in the loss column of the MAC's East Division heading into Saturday's game against the Miami RedHawks at Athens (3 p.m.).

        “We certainly are,” said Bobcats coach Brian Knorr when asked if his team was still in the hunt. “The enthusiasm and the attitude certainly aren't that of a 1-4 team.”

        In the East, four-time defending conference champion Marshall (4-1, 2-0 division) shares the lead with Miami (4-2, 2-0). Bowling Green (4-2, 2-1) and Akron (2-4, 2-1) are right behind — with Akron separated from the outright lead only by Miami's miraculous 70-yard touchdown pass on the game's final play last week. Ohio (0-1 division) isn't out of the race.

        Toledo (5-0, 2-0 West) holds a slim margin over Western Michigan (4-2, 1-0) and Ball State (1-4, 1-0) heading into its showdown with the Cardinals on Saturday in Muncie, Ind. Central Michigan (2-3, 0-1) and Northern Illinois (2-4, 0-1) have yet to be eliminated.

        Along with the Miami at Ohio and Toledo at Ball State games, Western is at Northern, Bowling Green travels to Akron and Buffalo (1-5, 0-3) is at Kent State (2-4, 0-2) in other divisional games. Marshall plays host to Central Michigan in a cross-division matchup.

        Under the format adopted by the MAC before the 2000 season, MAC champions are determined first based on their record within their division, so a team can win its division despite losing all of its non-conference and non-division games.

        MICHIGAN:

Cornerback Markus Curry will be tried next month on charges he shoved his girlfriend in her dorm room and prevented her from using the telephone to call for help.

        Curry pleaded not guilty last week to domestic assault and tampering with the telephone. A trial is scheduled for Dec.20.

        Curry could face about six months in jail. The freshman has been suspended from the team indefinitely.

        BUTKUS NOMINEES:

All-American Rocky Calmus and teammates Ryan Nece and Robert Thomas of No.2 Oklahoma were among 12 players nominated for the Butkus Award. The award, presented to the best college linebacker, will be presented Dec.7.

        Also nominated: Andra Davis (Florida), Kalimba Edwards (South Carolina), Trev Faulk (LSU), LaVar Fisher (North Carolina State), Larry Foote (Michigan), E.J. Henderson (Maryland), D.D. Lewis (Texas), Ben Taylor (Virginia Tech) and Josh Thornhill (Michigan State).

        FLORIDA STATE:

Defensive end Alonzo Jackson will not play for the No.21 Seminoles Saturday against Virginia because of a sprained knee ligament. Coach Bobby Bowden also said wide receiver Talman Gardner, who leads the team with four touchdowns, sprained his left ankle in Tuesday's practice and is questionable for the game.

        NOTRE DAME:

        Tailbacks Tony Fisher, who has knee and hamstring soreness, and Julius Jones, who has a Achilles' injury, are doubtful for Saturday's game against Southern California. Neither has practiced this week.

        “We're a little beat up. We're concerned about it,” Davie said.

        Fisher has rushed for 342 yards on 63 carries this season and Jones has run for 280 yards on 76 carries for the Irish (2-3). Davie said Terrance Howard and freshman Ryan Grant probably will play in place of Fisher and Jones.

       



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