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AUTOPSY INCONCLUSIVE

An autopsy did not reveal the cause of death of Bowling Green's Aaron Richardson, who died after practice Wednesday. The coroners office is waiting for more test results but said there is no evidence of a heart attack.

Richardson, a walk-on, ran half-speed sprints for 10 minutes and complained of calf cramps. He left the field with an assistant. Later, he became unresponsive and died.

Richardson, 18, passed a physical Aug. 23, and the school requires new athletes to complete health history and health insurance forms before the physical.

INJURED RECEIVER HONORED

Tennessee Tech players wore 7s on the back of their pregame warmup shirts in honor of senior receiver Drew Hixon, who was seriously injured against USF last week. The front of the shirts read "In our prayers."

Hixon has been unconscious since a hit by defensive backs Javan Camon and Mike Jenkins during the second quarter. Tennessee Tech won at VMI 16-10.

PLAYERS OF THE DAY

MIKE NUGENT, OHIO ST.: A week after making a 55-yarder on the final play to beat Marshall, the senior made five field goals (50, 30, 33, 46 and 47 yards) in a 22-14 win over North Carolina State. That tied Bob Atha's school record set in 1981 against Indiana.

ETHAN FLATT, OLE MISS: Down 23-10, the sophomore led the Rebels to scores on three consecutive second-half series in a 26-23 OT win over Vanderbilt. Flatt was 8-of-10 in the fourth and finished 21-of-32 for 187 yards.

SONNY CUMBIE, TEXAS TECH: Meet the latest Red Raider to thrive in coach Mike Leach's pass-happy offense. The senior was 30-of-50 for 441 yards and four touchdowns. He has averaged 453 yards in his first three starts.

WALI LUNDY, VIRGINIA: The junior ran for three touchdowns for the third consecutive game in a 51-0 win over Akron. He finished with 142 yards on 22 carries.

CONFERENCES OF THE DAY

BIG EAST: West Virginia in the national title game? Don't laugh. With their 19-16 overtime win over No. 21 Maryland, the No. 7 Mountaineers set themselves up for an 11-0 season. Their conference schedule includes a patsy in Temple and mediocre teams in Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College and Pitt, which Saturday lost at home to Nebraska. Next week, West Virginia faces I-AA James Madison. Its final test could be Oct. 2 at Virginia Tech.

BIG TEN: What does it mean when Michigan (coming off a loss to Notre Dame, which beat Michigan State on Saturday) squeaks by San Diego State at home, Ohio State kicks five field goals to beat North Carolina State and Indiana, coming off an upset at Oregon, loses 51-32 to Kentucky, which lost 28-0 to Louisville in its opener, and Wisconsin wins only 9-7 over an Arizona team that went 2-10 last season? Good question.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"We do expect the competition to get stiffer." _ quarterback Bryan Randall on Virginia Tech's first ACC game, a 41-17 win over perennial conference doormat Duke

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