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Kentucky loves putting the ball in the air. Florida can't stop leaving it on the ground.

The eighth-ranked Gators (2-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) hope to improve on their minus-10 turnover ratio when they face Tim Couch and the Wildcats (3-0, 0-0) at the Swamp today (3:30, Ch. 4).

"Anybody who fumbles as many times as we do gives them a chance," Florida coach Steve Spurrier said. "They've got confidence. They're not just coming down here to pitch it around. They're coming down to beat us, so it's a big challenge."

Couch and Kentucky's offense have put up some eye-popping numbers in opening wins over Louisville, Eastern Kentucky and Indiana. The junior quarterback is first in the nation with 13 touchdown passes and second in passing yardage with 1,171.

The Wildcats have scored 151 points in their first three games, good for their best start since 1984 when they opened 3-0.

Florida has put up some startling statistics as well, but not on the positive side. With 14 giveaways and only four takeaways, the Gators are dead last among the 112 Division I-A teams in turnover ratio.

The Gators turned it over four times in last week's 20-17 loss to Tennessee, their first loss to the Vols in six years. But Spurrier said the problem goes deeper than fumbles and interceptions.

"Our linemen made lots of mistakes, our tight end and running backs missed assignments," he said. "There were mental errors all over the place and it all contributes."

Despite the disparity in the numbers, Florida still appears the more talented team, by far. The Gators are 22-point favorites and would seem to have an edge at every position except quarterback.

In other televised games today, Siena is at Canisius (noon, Empire); Michigan State at Michigan (noon, Ch. 7); Northwestern at No. 14 Wisconsin (noon, ESPN); Pittsburgh at No. 21 Virginia Tech (noon, ESPN2); Purdue at co-No. 23 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m., Ch. 2); No. 18 USC at No. 10 Florida State (3:30 p.m., Ch. 7); Navy at Tulane (3:30 p.m., Empire); No. 22 Alabama at Arkansas (6 p.m., ESPN2); Rice at Texas (7 p.m., Empire); Georgia Tech at North Carolina (7:30 p.m., ESPN).

Top 25

Since Nebraska watched its 1993 national title hopes sail wide left in the Orange Bowl, the Cornhuskers have been a different team.

Now, not only is Nebraska invincible against unranked teams, the Huskers are just as formidable against the Top 10.

"They epitomize college football in a lot of ways," Washington quarterback Brock Huard said.

Huard will lead the No. 9 Huskies (2-0) against No. 2 Nebraska (3-0) today.

Since the 1994 Orange Bowl, when Florida State prevailed 18-16 after Byron Bennett missed a 45-yard field goal attempt on the game's final play, the Huskers have turned around a trend of losing the big ones.

In fact, they've won nearly every game, including a 10-0 mark against Top 10 teams. Beginning with the 1994 season, Nebraska has a remarkable 52-2 record, with both losses coming in 1996. Arizona State won 19-0 at Tempe, Ariz., and Texas beat the Huskers, 37-27, in the Big 12 title game in St. Louis. Other than that, Nebraska has been perfect.

As in three perfect seasons in the last four years, two outright national titles and a co-national title last season.

Now, the biggest question is whether the Huskies can come into Memorial Stadium and end the Huskers' 44-game winning streak in Lincoln. After all, Washington was the last team to beat Nebraska at home -- back in 1991.

From club football to powerhouse

In a stadium like a high school field, in front of spectators rarely averaging 2,000, in a program without scholarships, the state University at Albany has claimed the nation's longest current win streak in Division II.

The 14-game streak is the latest step for the program that began as a club in 1970 and is headed to Division I-AA next year. The string dates to last year's Eastern Football Conference championship season and breaks the school's 1973-75 mark, also directed by head coach Bob Ford.

In part, the road to the streak began about five years ago. Athletic Director Milton E. Richards asked Ford a question the coach never heard before from a boss: "What will it take to win?"

Ford told him. Richards responded with a full-time strength coach, a full-time academic adviser, two buses for away games, and a vision. That vision is what helped bring the New York Giants' preseason practices to the state campus beginning in 1996, prompting an upgrade to facilities and an invaluable workshop for the Great Dane staff.

Albany (3-0, 1-0) has turned heads of skeptics at the school known more for political banter than championship banners. But the Great Danes also have turned heads of opposing defensive backs. They've scored 30 points or more in 12 of the 14 games (racking up 22 and 27 in the others).

Albany tests the streak today at 6 p.m. in Albany against C.W. Post (1-1, 1-0).

Rocky top damage

Fans did an estimated $25,000 damage to Neyland Stadium after Tennessee's 20-17 overtime win against Florida.

Both goal posts were torn down and about 50 yards of fence at the bottom of the stadium was destroyed when fans rushed the field. Two sections of seats near the bottom of the stadium were bent and damaged.

More than 100 divots were dug up on the field for fans to take home as souvenirs.

"The win was worth far more than any cost involved," Vols Athletic Director Doug Dickey said.

Extra points

Virginia Tech quarterback Al Clark has a sprained right foot and won't play in today's game against Pittsburgh. Dave Meyer, a redshirt sophomore, steps in for Clark, who threw the winning TD pass in Tech's 27-20 overtime against Miami.

Texas Tech sophomore Ricky Williams is leading the nation in rushing at 221.6 yards a game for the Red Raiders, who are 3-0. With a soft schedule, Texas Tech could roll to a 6-0 record before playing at Colorado on Oct. 17. By that time Williams might have replaced Texas' Ricky Williams as the real Heisman candidate. The Longhorns have looked awful in going 1-2.

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