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Players joust verbally at bowl dinner

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.