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FCS foes could pose problems for Mizzou, Illini

FCS foes could pose problems for Mizzou, Illini

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As Mizzou and Illinois move on from their Arch Rivalry tussle last week to play FCS (Division I-AA) foes Saturday, each program likely is well-served by last week's cautionary tale in the form of FCS upsets of Kansas and Mississippi.

"Without a doubt, it's the worst loss of my career," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said after the Rebels' 49-48 double-overtime loss to Jacksonville State.

In Lawrence, Kansas coach Turner Gill took the opposite stance after his much-anticipated debut became a misery when North Dakota State of the Missouri Valley Conference upended the Jayhawks 6-3.

It's only "one game," he told his team afterward, and he stayed on message during Monday's Big 12 Conference media teleconference.

"You've got to keep everything in perspective," he said, "and you've got to keep everything going in the right direction."

Assuming, of course, it's moving in the right direction in the first place for KU, which suffered its eighth straight loss as it begins the transition from the chaotic end of the Mark Mangino regime.

"It takes time," Gill said, "and it's obviously going to take us a little bit more."

Especially with No. 15 Georgia Tech and its confounding triple option coming to town to challenge a KU defense that surrendered only 168 yards last week.

Meanwhile, Mizzou takes on McNeese State (1-0), ranked 10th in the FCS coaches' poll, and Illinois plays Southern Illinois (1-0), ranked second.

Each of these programs has demonstrated an ability to play up, with the Salukis 2-4 against FBS teams in the last six years, including a win over Indiana, and McNeese 3-11 overall against the FBS and having given North Carolina trouble in Chapel Hill two years ago before falling 35-27.

"It would not be wise to not prepare properly for this game," MU coach Gary Pinkel said Monday.

Losing to an FCS team needn't define a season, but it can:

Michigan's 34-32 loss to Appalachian State in the 2007 season opener proved to be the beginning of the end for coach Lloyd Carr.

And Arkansas fired Jack Crowe in 1992 after the Razorbacks lost to The Citadel.

That would be the same Crowe who coached Jacksonville State to the win last week over Nutt, who was one of his assistant coaches in 1992.

"If you stay in this long enough, it goes both ways," Crowe told reporters after the game, though adding, "I'm not sure this feels as good as that felt bad."

The Gamecocks trailed 31-10 at halftime, scored in the final seconds to send it to overtime and won in the second extra session after scoring a touchdown on fourth and 15 and ad libbing the two-point conversion on an off-balance pass through a thicket of defenders.

"I don't believe you could repeat the circumstances in 100 years," Crowe said afterward.

Then again ...

"I thought the same thing after The Citadel," he said.

Wyoming mourns

Wyoming will take the field at No. 5 Texas on Saturday with decals on its helmets bearing the initials of Ruben Narcisse, a 19-year-old freshman linebacker who was killed early Monday in a car accident involving three teammates.

A moment of silence is planned before the game, and teammates will alternate wearing Narcisse's No. 12 jersey the rest of the season.

"I like to coach football, but it's never been the most important thing in my world," Wyoming coach Dave Christensen, formerly the Mizzou offensive coordinator, said in Laramie. "My family and these kids are. The game itself is probably not that big a deal."

The accident took place when one of the players, Trey Fox, fell asleep at the wheel at 5:30 a.m., according to news reports. Initial news reports said the Colorado highway patrol does not believe alcohol or drugs were involved. There are conflicting and developing reports on the health of the other three.

Former MVC head dies

Mickey Holmes, commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1972-1979, former assistant commissioner of the Big Eight and longtime executive director of the Sugar Bowl until 1993, died Wednesday (Sept. 8, 2010) at Christian Hospital in North County. He was 72.

"He was very gracious and very highly regarded," current MVC commissioner Doug Elgin said Thursday. "And he had a very big impact on college athletics."

Mr. Holmes was part of the movement that created the Bowl Coalition, which ultimately became the Bowl Championship Series.

Mr. Holmes had been ill with heart, diabetes and kidney diseases, said his wife, Judy Holmes. He grew up in Maynard, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa. He recently sold his antique carpenter tool company in Pennsylvania.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Sara Holmes of Ferguson and Dr. Ellen Pearson of Marshall, N.C.; a son, Eric Holmes of New Orleans; and a twin sister, Eleanor Lowery of Kershaw, S.C.

His body was cremated.

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