Raymond Priester’s power got Clemson to change his position. Kevin Faulk’s speed got LSU to change its offense. And neither star would change the course that has brought them to the Peach Bowl.
“The way I see it, you take care of the things you’re supposed to take care of, and everything else will take care of itself,” said Priester, a fourth-stringer out of high school who became one of the best runners in Clemson history the last three years.
Faulk, a sophomore, revived a running tradition set down by LSU stars Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard and Harvey Williams.
“We passed the ball a lot before he got here,” LSU tackle Ben Bordelon said. “It’s exciting because he can make one guy miss and break it for 80 yards.”
No. 17 LSU (9-2) faces Clemson (7-4) at the Georgia Dome tonight.
For all the similarities between Priester and Faulk, they have achieved in different ways.
Priester, considered the fourth of four runners recruited by coach Tommy West in 1994, won the tailback job after a freshman year of shuttling between there and fullback. Priester eventually led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 1,322 yards, the best ever at Clemson.
Two Northwestern players injured
Two Northwestern starting defensive players were injured in practice Friday at Orlando, Fla., as the Wildcats prepared for their Citrus Bowl game with Tennessee.
Defensive tackle Bobby Russ sprained his left ankle, and linebacker Casey Dailey broke a bone in his left hand, coach Gary Barnett said.
Russ was listed as doubtful for the Jan. 1 game against the Vols. Joe Reiff, who started some games this season, would play in his place.
Dailey was expected to play, Barnett said.
Earlier this week, Northwestern lost the services of cornerback and kick returner Hudhaifa Ismaeli, who was suspended for a year after twice testing positive for marijuana.
Nebraska fans not sold
In Nebraska, a bowl game without national championship implications is tough to sell.
Fans from Virginia Tech will outnumber Nebraskans 2 to 1 when the teams meet on New Year’s Eve in the Orange Bowl. The Cornhuskers have sold fewer than 8,000 tickets.
“I would have expected 18,000 to 20,000 if it had been a national championship game,” coach Tom Osborne said. “We feel bad about it, but we certainly can’t fault our fans.”
No. 6 Nebraska (10-2) had planned on a trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl against top-ranked Florida State, but a 37-27 upset loss to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game at St. Louis eliminated the Huskers from title contention. They settled for an Orange Bowl berth at Miami against No. 10 Virginia Tech (10-1).
Kansas search comes to an end
Northern Iowa coach Terry Allen has accepted the football coaching job at Kansas, sources said.
Kansas scheduled a news conference for today to name a successor to Glen Mason, who resigned to take the coaching job at Minnesota.
Kansas scheduled the news conference Friday night, about 90 minutes after New Mexico’s Dennis Franchione, the reported front-runner, withdrew his name from consideration.
Allen was one of five candidates to replace Mason, who left following a 4-7 record in his ninth year with the Jayhawks.
Allen was offered the job over Mason’s top assistants, Golden Pat Ruel and Mike Hankwitz. Ruel is a former Washington State assistant coach.
Also interviewed for the job was North Texas coach Matt Simon.