Saturday, November 1, 2003

Isolation booth: Hardy vs. Shipp



By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Future NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was the plum of Arizona's offseason, free agent bounty, but he is out indefinitely with a broken shoulder blade.

Arizona again has turned to Marcel Shipp, who had 35 carries for 165 yards in the Cardinals' upset last week of San Francisco.

He now has rushed for 249 yards on 55 carries in the past two games, and the Bengals will have a much easier time with the Cardinals if they can dock Shipp.

Shipp ran for 834 yards in 2002, making the acquisition of Smith a questionable one.

Arizona is ranked 24th in rush offense at 92.6 yards, just ahead of the Bengals. But the Cardinals are last in points at 14 a game.

The key to stopping Shipp, who likes to run between the tackles, is Bengals middle linebacker Kevin Hardy. There's a sense in Arizona that Shipp could have more trouble against a smart, experienced linebacker such as Hardy.

After a poor start, the Bengals' rush defense has shown some improvement. It allowed 120 and 121 yards in the past two weeks to Baltimore's Jamal Lewis and Seattle's Shaun Alexander, two of the league's top backs. But the Bengals won by forcing eight turnovers.

The rush defense was even better in the previous two games, limiting Buffalo and Cleveland to 80 and 69 yards.

Hardy and the rest of the Bengals linebackers continue to benefit from solid play from the defensive line. The line is not losing the battle for the neutral zone and is keeping offensive linemen off Bengals linebackers more often than not.




COLLEGE FOOTBALL
USF 24, UC 17 (2 OT)
Ross soldiering on as OSU's rushing threat
Kentucky, Arkansas desperate for a win
'Noles, Irish reverse roles
Michigan rivalry could have winner smelling roses
Today's Top 25 games

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
UC to announce move to Big East
For UC, exhibition is welcome competition
West an afterthought in XU's new identity

BENGALS / NFL
Blake steadying influence for Cardinals
Isolation booth: Hardy vs. Shipp
Keys to victory
Notes: Dillon, Bennett upgraded
Tough guy Favre just gets it done
Criticism of officials costs Billick $15,000

PREP SPORTS
Edgewood 35, Vandalia Butler 32
Kings 17, Wilmington 10
Dayton Carroll 14, McNicholas 0
Morral Ridgedale 43, Jacobs 6
Roundup of other Ohio playoff games
Ryle 20, Scott 14
Lloyd 55, Newport 26
Roundup of other Kentucky games
Anderson's goal: 1st playoff win since '92
Lancers hope history helps them tonight
Crosby's return to Mariemont a successful one
Comets want to show they belong
Today's schedule

ON THE AIR
Sports on TV, radio

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