Oklahoma State tailback Thurman Thomas. Thomas, a senior, ran for 293 yards, a Cowboy single-game record, on 30 carries in a 48-27 romp over Iowa State. Thomas scored four touchdowns and established an Oklahoma State career mark with 4,847 rushing yards.
The Penn State defense. The Nittany Lions held Notre Dame's Tim Brown, who began the day averaging 182.2 yards per game in total offense, to 80 yards receiving, 16 yards on a kickoff return, nine yards rushing and seven yards returning punts. Then, with outside containment from linebacker Keith Karpinski and a tackle by defensive lineman Pete Curkendall, Penn State stopped a two-point conversion try by the Irish to preserve a 21-20 upset.
Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Gaines. Gaines, a senior, made 20 tackles against Maryland, including a fourth-down goal-line stop in the first quarter as the Commodores won 34-24.
Idaho quarterback John Friesz. Friesz, a sophomore, steered the Vandals to the Big Sky title by throwing for 423 yards and four TDs in a 40-34 come-from-behind victory over Boise State. His season total of 3,677 yards passing set a conference mark.
Indiana safety Brian Dewitz. Dewitz, a senior, intercepted two passes, recovered a fumble, broke up three passes and made seven tackles—including one that prevented a touchdown—to help beat Purdue 35-14. As the Hoosiers' quarterback against the Boilermakers last year, Dewitz completed three of 10 passes for 26 yards in a 17-15 defeat.
...AND SATURDAY'S GOAT
Referee Charley Cloe. Cloe signaled that Columbia had recovered a fumble deep in its own territory with about a minute remaining, which almost certainly would have ensured the Lions of a 16-12 victory over Brown. But after consulting with other officials, Cloe reversed his call and crushed jubilant Columbia. The Bruins scored a touchdown on their next play, thus handing the Lions their 41st straight loss, 19-16.
A LAST HURRAH
On the sidelines before the game, Ohio State players donned headbands inscribed EARLE that had been ordered from a Columbus sporting goods store at the request of sophomore offensive lineman Joe Staysniak. Then, after the Buckeyes stunned Michigan 23-20 in Ann Arbor on Saturday, they triumphantly hoisted Earle Bruce on their shoulders. As he was carried along, the 56-year-old Bruce patted helmets and pumped his fists, rejoicing in a victory that was surely more bitter than sweet. Ohio State president Dr. Edward H. Jennings had fired Bruce five days earlier, though the Big Ten's most successful coach over the last nine seasons had a year remaining on his contract, and the season's biggest game was yet to be played. Jennings's action, which he declined to explain, resulted in a storm of controversy (see POINT AFTER, page 110).
One dispassionate observer, Wolverine coach Bo Schembechler, remarked after the game, "The cold, stone facts of the situation are that [Bruce] will drift off somewhere else....
People will forget what the hell he did. That's just the nature of the beast."
So let us recall Bruce's last shining moment. Trailing 13-0 in the second quarter, the Buckeyes fought back to score three straight touchdowns, and at the end of the third, the score was 20-20. Quarterback Tom Tupa drove Ohio State 77 yards on 15 plays to set up the decisive play, a 26-yard field goal by Matt Frantz with 5:18 left. It was Frantz whose miss from 45 yards out against Michigan a year ago cost the Buckeyes a 26-24 loss. Last week Frantz carried a message from Jennings to the Ohio State defense: "Just tell them that I'll be across the line of scrimmage on Saturday," the president said to the kicker. "That should fire them up." It apparently did.
Meet Charlie Richard the Lionhearted. Richard, 46, the coach at Baker University in Baldwin, Kans., suffered a heart attack on Nov. 7 during the Wildcats' next-to-last regular season game, a 26-14 win over Graceland College of Lamoni, Iowa. Approximately 48 hours later he was undergoing quadruple bypass surgery at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City. Richard was released on Nov. 17 and made his first public appearance at a press conference two days later. He was determined to be involved in Baker's NAIA Division II playoff opener against Dana College of Blair, Neb.
So on Saturday Richard took a seat in the press box at Kansas University's Memorial Stadium. He called every offensive play via phone; when the Baker defense was on the field, he paced and tried to relax. After every other series, a school nurse checked his vital signs. In the event that Richard's pulse rate reached 120, four sidelined Wildcat players and Richard's two brothers were standing by to carry him to an ambulance parked downstairs, which would then have whisked him to Lawrence to catch a helicopter to Kansas City.
In the middle of the second quarter, with Baker trailing 14-7, Richard called a wrong formation, and the Wildcats had to settle for a 42-yard field goal into the wind. The coach slammed the table, and his pulse rate shot up to 104. But when the Wildcats finally sealed their 37-35 win, Richard's pulse settled. He expects to be in the press box again this week for Baker's game against Tarleton State of Stephenville, Texas.
Oh, by the way, Richard was the unanimous choice last week for Coach of the Year in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
The overshadowed flip side of South Carolina's run-and-shoot attack engineered by quarterback Todd Ellis is its run-and-stun defense. No. 9 Clemson battled the Gamecocks for every one of its 166 yards, 75 of them rushing, in a 20-7 loss. South Carolina entered the game rated second in both scoring defense (9.3 points per game) and in total defense (218.2 yards)....
LSU's wild 41-36 win over Tulane may have taken a heavy toll. Sophomore Harvey Williams ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns, but on his 19th carry he blew out his left knee making a sharp cut. Williams, who gained 1,001 yards rushing this year (6.4 per carry), may miss all of next season....
One for the Believe It or Not department: Colorado noseguard Kyle Rappold insists that during last Saturday's 41-0 thrashing of Kansas State, a Wildcat senior told him, "Stop hitting us so hard. I want to go home."
Curkendall (73) put the clamps on Rice—and on Notre Dame's two-point conversion attempt.
The Bucks wore their hearts on their headbands.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Pitt tailback Craig Heyward ran for 259 yards on 41 carries in a 28-5 win over Kent State. Heyward, the 1987 rushing champ, became only the eighth Division I-A back to gain more than 100 yards in each of his team's regular-season games.
Wake Forest defensive back A.J. Greene, going strictly with man-to-man coverage against Georgia Tech's receivers, intercepted four passes, the last of which he ran back 37 yards for a touchdown, in a 33-6 romp over the Yellow Jackets.
McNeese State kick defenders Bradley Zaunbrecher and Randy Moss lifted the Cowboys over Lamar 44-36. With three seconds left, Zaunbrecher blocked a field goal try, and Moss ran the ball 35 yards into the end zone to halt a Cardinal rally.