GAMBLE'S RECORD RAMBLE
Midway through the first quarter of Colgate's homecoming game against William and Mary last Saturday, the Red Raiders' 6 foot, 195-pound senior tailback, Kenny Gamble, took a handoff and plowed into the left side of the line. The play gained one yard and contributed little to Colgate's 19-7 upset victory. But it wasn't just any yard: It was the 5,925th all-purpose (rushing, receiving and runbacks) yard of Gamble's career. It tied the Division I-AA record, held by Pete Mandley, who played at Northern Arizona between 1979 and '83. And nobody, not the old alums or the young undergrads in the stands, seemed to take any notice. Which was just fine with Gamble.
When he broke the record on a six-yard sweep during Colgate's next series, the public address announcer informed the crowd of this feat, and a few people clapped. No one stood up, and no one gave Gamble the ball. That, too, suited Gamble. Indeed, after the play, when Gamble's teammates dared to congratulate him in the huddle, he told them to "shut up."
It was, in fact, a bit of a subpar day for Gamble, whose career average is 178.5 yards per game. Against William and Mary, he gained 143 yards from scrimmage on 31 carries, caught a pass for 14 more and had extended his record to 6,069 yards by game's end. Gamble would never make excuses, but bruised ribs suffered the week before against Bucknell forced coach Fred Dunlap to keep him off both the punt and kickoff receiving teams. In his first two games this season, Gamble had gained 167 yards on returns.
Although he's just 22 and still eight months from becoming a new alum, Gamble went to a pizza parlor after the game and told stories about former classmates who had returned to Colgate for the day. "See that guy over there? He's in law school," Gamble said. "And that guy, he's making a fortune in real estate." That's the way Gamble wants to be talked about when, years from now, they tell stories about him. Not as a guy who gained a few yards but as one who made a lot of bucks.
For someone who doesn't want people to think of him as just a jock, Gamble has done an awful lot to focus attention on his football abilities. He already holds 24 Colgate records. He broke rushing records formerly held by Marv Hubbard, Mark van Eeghen and Rich Erenberg, all of whom went on to the pros. "Records don't mean anything," says Gamble. "These plays aren't designed to go one yard. If they go longer, it's because the plays are working."
While Gamble now minimizes his own athletic achievements, he idolized athletes while he was growing up in a low-income housing development in Holyoke, Mass. "A lot of guys around there were athletes," he says. "Most of them never made it to college sports." After being honored as Western Massachusetts player of the year as a high school senior and doing a year of college prep at a private school to improve his grades, Gamble chose Colgate over Boston University and U Mass. This good fortune gave Dunlap pause. Dunlap says, "I asked my recruiter, 'Do we really have a shot at him? What's wrong with him? Did we lie or cheat?' After I met him, I realized he was just a discerning kid."
Gamble had discerned a school that had produced only one notable black football player, Eugene Robinson, a safety with the Seattle Seahawks. In fact, Colgate hasn't had many black students, period. "I was used to diversity from my high school," says Gamble. "I went to Colgate for the education."
His major is international relations. He has served two financial internships, one of them with Smith Barney on Wall Street, and while he has no doubt he can succeed as a businessman, he would first like to give the NFL a try. Why's that, if he's trying to play down his football prowess? "I don't know another way to earn that much money so soon after school," he says.
To Gamble, it doesn't matter whether he gains riches on a football field or in an office building. Either way—or both—he's bound to be a topic of conversation at many future Colgate homecomings.
Florida running back Emmitt Smith. In his first start, Smith, a freshman, gained 224 yards—surpassing Red Bethea's school record of 218 against Chicago in 1930—and scored two TDs to propel the Gators to a surprising 23-14 win over Alabama. It was Florida's first victory over the Tide since 1963.
North Carolina quarterback Mark Maye. The Tar Heels were trailing Georgia Tech 20-3, and the Yellow Jackets were on the Carolina one-yard line with 4:33 left in the third quarter. But Tech fumbled, and Maye took over. By the time the scoreboard stopped blinking like an old-fashioned pinball machine, he had passed for a school single-game-record 406 yards and four touchdowns, in a 30-23 victory. One of Maye's TD throws was a 93-yarder to junior wide receiver Randy Marriott, who set a school one-game mark with 247 yards on nine receptions.
Richmond tailback Erwin Matthews. In the Spiders' 52-51 overtime victory against Massachusetts (Yankee Conference rules say games must not end in a tie), Matthews, a 5'8" junior, scored six touchdowns, four on short runs, one on a 65-yard pass reception and another on a 92-yard kickoff return. Said his coach, Dal Shealy, "He had almost a perfect day." Almost?
The Texas A & M defense. Washington quarterback Chris Chandler, who normally completes about half of his passes, could complete only 11 of 31 for 120 yards and no touchdowns as the Aggies upset the Huskies 29-12. Middle guard Sammy O'Brient led an A & M defense that sacked Chandler four times and forced two fumbles, and held the Huskies to 31 yards passing and minus 11 rushing in the second half.
...AND SATURDAY'S GOATS
The San Diego State offense. Quarterback Todd Santos never got his celebrated passing attack coordinated in a 49-7 loss to previously unimpressive Air Force. Although Santos completed 20 of 40 passes, he was constantly under heavy pressure and the score was 28-0 before he managed his only touchdown pass.
The West Virginia offense. In three games the 1-2 Mountaineers have committed 17 turnovers, including 6 in their 25-20 loss to Maryland on Saturday.
WHY DO THIS?
There's no good reason for playing a college football game at 12:30 p.m. in September in the Arizona desert. At least, none we can think of. It's simply too hot. This time of year the average afternoon temperature in Tempe is 93°, and the record for Sept. 26 is 106°. The mercury can soar even higher inside aptly named Sun Devil Stadium, where seats have been baked to 160°. Nevertheless, Arizona State and Nebraska will take the field Saturday at half-past high noon.
If you are planning to attend the game, be advised that the Arizona State University Laboratory of Climatology says that the Temperature-Humidity Index causes widespread discomfort in the 70-80 range, and almost everyone is miserable when the THI passes 80. The average THI on Sept. 26? Eighty-five.
Doctors say it's possible that some fans will suffer headaches, spasms and faintness, and get cold, pale skin. Or they might stop sweating and become flushed, with hot and dry skin. There could be heat cramps, heat exhaustion and perhaps heat stroke. Imagine what could happen to players under such conditions.
Cornhusker coach Tom Osborne downplays the heat factor. Then he takes his team into Schulte Fieldhouse, where the temperature is set at 95°, and has the players run wind sprints.
Never before has Arizona State played an afternoon home game so early in the season. But ABC asked the Sun Devils and Huskers to show some consideration for Eastern viewers who are eager to see Nebraska, the second-best team in the country, play Arizona State, the defending Rose Bowl champion, and still be able to spend Saturday night out on the town. So the teams agreed to begin the game seven hours earlier than originally planned.
Well, we don't get it. We're under the impression that college sport is supposed to be for the athlete and the fan—neither of whom will be shown much consideration Saturday in Tempe.
NEVER AGAIN, PROBABLY
It was just by a fluke that LSU, which is hoping for a national championship, and Rice, which is hoping to survive the season, played Saturday night in Baton Rouge. That the Tigers won 49-16 meant nothing, because Owl coach Jerry Berndt had said his only goal was to keep the score closer than that of the record 222-0 defeat Georgia Tech laid on Cumberland in 1916.
Rice has developed a tradition of futility over the last two decades, and LSU stopped scheduling the Owls after a 24-10 victory in 1983. That decision terminated a 53-game series dating to 1915 in which LSU had a 35-13-5 advantage.
Needing another opponent for this fall, the Tigers booked Wichita State. Then the Shockers decided to drop football. So LSU scheduled SMU. Then the Mustangs had football dropped for them. The Tigers went searching again and found Rice. Thankfully, there are no plans for the two to play again, but, then, we've heard that before.
SWEET, SWEET ATONEMENT
On Dec. 1, 1984, Auburn's Robert McGinty missed a 42-yard field goal with nine seconds left against Alabama to seal the Tigers' 17-15 loss to the Crimson Tide. Auburn coach Pat Dye was so dismayed by McGinty's performance that he suggested the kicker give up football and become one of the Tigers' managers.
Instead, McGinty transferred to Florida, where his 51-yard field goal last season helped the Gators to an 18-17 win over—wouldn't you know it—Auburn. Then last weekend, in another delicious twist, McGinty kicked field goals of 26, 21 and 37 yards in Florida's 23-14 upset of Alabama. McGinty performed his heroics at Birmingham's Legion Field, the site of his 1984 debacle.
A SLIM CHANCE
Tulsa's only hope of beating No. 1 Oklahoma Saturday—and it is infinitesimal—may be the Sooners' historic vulnerability when coming off an open date. In coach Barry Switzer's 14 seasons, Oklahoma's record in games played the week after an open date is a mediocre 4-4-2. And since 1950, the Sooners are 9-13-2 after open dates—a very poor showing for a team with a 318-84-9 record during that span.
For inspiration, Tulsa should look to 1970, when Oklahoma used its wishbone offense for the first time and lost to Texas 41-9 after having a week off. And in 1980, Stanford's John Elway passed for three touchdowns in a 31-14 upset of the Sooners, who were rested and ranked No. 4. Tulsa's best hope may simply be catching Switzer on a day when he's feeling charitable toward his neighbors.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Nebraska defensive tackle Neil Smith, when asked after the Huskers' 42-33 defeat of UCLA if fatigue had been a factor in the outcome: "Who?"
Are we talking dynasty in Oregon? A state long known as a back alley of college football already has produced two upsets this season. Two weeks ago Oregon stunned Colorado 10-7, and last week Oregon State won 36-34 over San Jose State, whose 11-game winning streak had equaled the longest in the nation....
Arkansas State coach Larry Lacewell is amazed at the size and power of the University of Arkansas linemen: "They look like they should be drinking diesel fuel." ...Auburn and Tennessee, both undefeated and both idle last week, play Saturday in Knoxville. Never has the loser of that game bounced back to win the SEC....
Nebraska has twice nominated defensive tackle Tim Rother as Big Eight defensive player of the week because of his 17 tackles (he leads the team), tackles for losses (8 for 62 yards) and sacks (6 for 52). Cornhusker defensive coordinator Charlie McBride says, "You can easily say that Tim Rother could be all-Big Eight tackle." Rother's only problem is that he plays second string behind Lee Jones, who's even better....
After Utah kicker Scott Lieber booted a 39-yard field goal as time ran out to give his team a 31-28 upset of Wisconsin, coach Jim Fassel promptly announced he was giving the junior class walk-on an athletic scholarship....
Louisville tied Purdue 22-22 even though the Boilermakers held the Cardinals to minus 31 yards rushing. Fifteen penalties for 135 yards did in Purdue....
Hot Rumor Department: Alabama quarterback Billy Ray, recruited by everyone two years ago, has been banging around on the third and fourth teams and plans to transfer.
JOHN D. HANLON
Gamble is Division I-AA's top all-purpose runner of all time.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Temple running back Todd McNair, a junior, paced the Owls to a 24-21 upset of Pitt by gaining 213 yards in 41 carries against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense, which had allowed only 32 yards in its two season-opening victories.
DEFENSE: Ole Miss linebacker Jeff Herrod had 23 tackles in a 47-10 triumph over Arkansas State, the Rebels' first in a season that had figured to get off to a much better start. It was his 18th straight game with 10 or more, and he forced a fumble.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Notre Dame's Mr. Do Everything, Tim Brown, returned punts for touchdowns of 71 and 66 yards two minutes apart in the first quarter and sprinted 57 yards with two kickoffs in the Irish's surprisingly easy 31-8 win over Michigan State.