National Passing Leader Faces Young Cavalier Secondary
Sept. 24, 1999
PROVO, Utah (AP) – BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik leads the nation inpassing, and Virginia starts two freshmen and a sophomore in the defensivebackfield.
The young Cavaliers expect to be tested on Saturday night.
“You know they’re going to come right at you,” said cornerback TimSpruill, the old man of the Virginia secondary as a junior. “They’ll run it alittle but you know they want to throw.”
After a few seasons with a run-oriented offense, the No. 17 Cougars(2-0)look like the old pass-happy BYU. On some plays they send up to fivereceivers,usually on short and medium routes.
“They don’t throw deep a lot,” said Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis. “It’skind of a ball-control passing offense.”
Feterik has five touchdowns with one interception in BYU’s shotgunoffense,which was partially inspired by the Tulane staff that went to Clemson with newcoach Tommy Bowden.
The Cavaliers (2-1) lost 33-14 to Clemson two weeks ago. And this week,Virginia is missing defensive backs Antwan Harris, doubtful with an injuredhamstring, and Dwayne Stukes, out with a pulled quadricep.
Instead, the Cavaliers have safeties Chris Williams and ShernardNewby, bothfreshmen, and sophomore cornerback Jermaine Lauzon. Spruill said coach GeorgeWelch told them all to do their best.
“He just told us to stay positive,” Spruill said. “We have to playthrough this. Everybody’s going to have injuries.”
Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter threw for a school-record 343 yardsagainst then-No. 22 Virginia, which fell from the rankings after the loss. IfFeterik is excited this week, he’s not showing it.
“Virginia has so many good athletes you can’t even look at the film andbase it on anything,” Feterik said. “They’ve had a few mistakes, but that’sgoing to happen early in the season.”
Feterik leads the nation, averaging 405.5 passing yards per game.
“No, I’m not licking my chops going into this game,” he insisted.
It was a rosy week at BYU. Coach LaVell Edwards got a five-year contractextension, Feterik was listed atop the national statistics and the Cougarsclimbed eight rankings to No. 17.
But Virginia, traveling west of the Mississippi River for the 11thtime inthe school’s 111-year football history, is determined not to waste the trip.
“The more teams you beat in the Top 25, the more respect you get,”runningback Thomas Jones said. “We feel we belong in the Top 25. We had a letdownagainst Clemson or we’d probably be around No. 15.”
BYU hasn’t faced a standout running back because Colorado State’s KevinMcDougal was injured last week. Edwards said Jones, who is averaging 136.7yards per game, presents a challenge.
“He’s certainly the best looking running back we’ve seen in a while,”Edwards said. “He has great vision. He’s very explosive.”
BYU linebacker Rob Morris, a Butkus Award candidate, has an abdominalstrainand cornerback Brian Gray has a strained groin. Both were expected to play butEdwards said a decision wasn’t planned until kickoff.
By TIM KORTE
AP Sports Writer