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Case of the vanishing record; basketball rough stuff; quarterback options

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When is a record not a record? One answer, Freeman McNeil of the New York Jets learned disappointingly, is when game statistics are in error. On Sunday, McNeil had one of those afternoons running backs dream about. He darted and dodged, slivered and slashed, and generally left Cincinnati players in his wake. As the yardage piled up, so did the score, in New York's favor.

With the Jets en route to a 44-17 victory, Coach Walt Michaels was going to rest this season's NFL rushing champ. What Michaels didn't know was that McNeil had 206 yards, an effort that tied a playoff record set by San Diego's Keith Lincoln in 1963.

When team publicists informed Michaels of the situation, he put Freeman back in for one play, which netted five yards. That gave him 211 and a place in history - for a day.

By Monday, however, an error was discovered in the game summary. At the end of the first half, a nine-yard gain by the Jets' Bruce Harper had been mistakenly credited to McNeil (Harper wears jersey No. 42, McNeil No. 24). Making the correction, of course, nullified the record. Crash-bang basketball

Ralph Smapson and Pat Ewing, the nation's premier big men, quite literally had it rough last weekend. Sampson, Virginia's 7 ft. 4 in. center, complained of being roughed up by Maryland and was assessed two techinical fouls for his outbursts to officials. Meanwhile, Georgetown's Ewing got into two fights with St. John's guard Kevin Williams.

After Georgetown's defeat, Hoya Coach John Thompson said he would encourage his sophomore center to turn pro if college officials permitted defenders to push, hold, and "maul the man in the middle." There may be something to the double standard argument. But any player who plants himself in the pivot, especially one with a considerable height advantage, can expect to face strong counterclaims on his territory. When play turns nasty. the game's Goliaths shouldn't forget that in-your-face dunks perpetrated earlier in the game may have helped to ignite the emotional powderkeg. Option quarterbacks


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