Players joust verbally at bowl dinner

Updated: December 29, 2003, 11:28 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO -- The Nebraska and Michigan State players apparently have some pent-up aggression to get out of their systems before the Alamo Bowl.

They exchanged heated words during a dinner party Friday. There were no blows during the confrontation.

Spartan quarterback Jeff Smoker says the Spartans started the talking to show they wouldn't be intimidated.

Nebraska cornerback Lornell McPherson said the Spartans called the Huskers weak. He says the Spartans "didn't respect us at all." He added "There's a lot of anger, and this team is ready to play."

The trash talk started Thursday when Nebraska defensive tackle Le Kevin Smith told the Omaha World-Herald that the Huskers would beat the Spartans handily. The newspaper quoted Smith as saying "Blowout, that's it. I don't know the numbers, but blowout."

Nebraska interim coach Bo Pelini and Michigan State coach John L. Smith downplayed the verbal skirmishes.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press