SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT
Before last Saturday, the Gamecocks of South Carolina were busy proving that no one in the Carolinas could beat them. North, Western and East Carolina fell in succession before the Cocks by a combined score of 86-10. Now, with their 23-10 victory over Georgia, the Gamecocks may be looking to extend their dominance to other regions of the South. "They took us to the woodshed," was about all Georgia coach Vince Dooley could say afterward.
South Carolina's defense stopped Georgia's dazzling quartet of running backs, who were averaging between 5.5 and 7.6 yards per carry. Tailback Tim Worley, who entered the game averaging 145 yards a game, got only 45 on 12 carries.
The most impressive Gamecock was junior quarterback Todd Ellis, who completed 28 of 43 passes for 321 yards and a touchdown—a wonderful acrobatic end zone catch by freshman Robert Brooks. In four games Ellis is 78 of 124 for six touchdowns and 1,033 yards. During his first two seasons, Ellis had been plagued by interceptions—46—while trying to master coach Joe Morrison's complicated run-and-shoot offense. But operating a more conservative multiple set this season, Ellis hadn't thrown an interception until his 36th pass against Georgia.
Behind Ellis, and with the nation's third-best defense (five points per game), the Gamecocks could eventually rule the roost clear to, say, Tallahassee; Florida State invades Columbia on Nov. 5. Then the campaign gets downright provincial again, in the battle for the home-state title against Clemson in the regular-season finale.
THE TOAST OF DURHAM
Duke is also 4-0—its best start since 1971—and has a quarterback, 6'4", 215-pound Anthony Dilweg, whose statistics are as gaudy as Ellis's. On Saturday, Dilweg led the Blue Devils to a 38-34 victory over Virginia by completing 24 of 47 passes for 391 yards, with but one interception. He also threw for three TDs, giving him 11 for the season, best in the nation.
After understudying Steve Slayden for three years, Dilweg is finally enjoying center stage. He should: He's a drama and psychology major who apparently doesn't know the meaning of stage fright. "It amazes me how relaxed he is," says Blue Devil offensive guard Ted McNairy, "but sometimes he gets kind of weird." For instance? Well, against Northwestern, which Duke beat 31-21 three weeks ago, Dilweg came into the huddle and started singing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. A voice exercise, perhaps?
After getting bombed 38-6 by Auburn, Tennessee, at 0-4, is off to its worst start in 26 years. If the Volunteers continue to lose—they host 2-1 Washington State this Saturday—Nashville radio sports talk host Duncan Stewart will get plenty of exposure. Last week, Stewart, a 42-year-old bachelor, set up housekeeping on the platform of a "Go Big Orange!" billboard located above Interstate 40 and vowed to stay there until the Vols win a game.
Stewart says he is quite comfortable residing on a four-foot-wide ledge 40 feet above the ground. He is equipped with phones for his evening call-in show on WSIX, a lean-to with a mattress, a reading light and a cooler. His food is being supplied by a local McDonald's, and a fair portion of his liquids by a local beer distributor. There is a portable toilet at the base of the billboard.
Stewart has to be hoping for Indian summer in the Volunteer State, because if Tennessee loses to the Cougars they are not scheduled to play again until Alabama visits Neyland Stadium on Oct. 15. "I'm in for the long haul," said Stewart on Sunday, the sixth day of his vigil. "Of course, if we go oh and 11, I'm going to look like the biggest jerk that ever lived."
Kansas, which hasn't won a game since last October, suffered through a 52-21 pasting by California last Saturday, one week after a 56-7 shellacking by Auburn. The Cal game was more painful because it lasted longer. At Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium, Kansas was down 42-0 at the half when Jayhawk coach Glen Mason asked referee Jimmy Harper if, in the interests of mercy, the second half could be expedited. Sure, said Harper, if it was O.K. with Auburn coach Pat Dye. "Fine," said Dye.
So the clock was discreetly fast-forwarded. Harper, for example, would hesitate between five and seven seconds after an incomplete pass before signalling to stop the clock. Harper would also signal for the clock to start when the offensive team broke the huddle, not at the snap of the ball, as the rules dictate. In the end, a game that had nine touchdowns, 37 first downs and 17 incomplete passes took less than two hours and 20 minutes to play.
"It happens a lot more than people think," said Harper, an SEC official since 1963, "but we don't publicize it." The idea of speeding along the laughers seems practical—even humane—but is it legal? Apparently so. A clause in the NCAA rule book reads: "Anytime during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods may be shortened by mutual agreement of opposing head coaches and the referee." Spectators were not informed of the speed-up, though it's unlikely that Tiger fans would have felt shortchanged.
The gambit is actually listed in the Holy Cross playbook as "Kickoff Return Touchdown," and it gave the Crusaders an unbelievable 30-26 win—their first of a so far disappointing season—over Princeton. With two seconds left at Princeton's Palmer Stadium, the Tigers' Chris Lutz, who had just kicked a 35-yard field goal, apparently to give his team a 26-24 comeback victory, had his kick fielded at the 23-yard line by Holy Cross's Darin Cromwell. Cromwell started toward the left sideline, trailed by Tim Donovan. Just as Cromwell was about to be tackled at the Crusader 42 by Princeton's Brian Wietharn, he pitched back to Donovan, who used his 4.48 speed to race into the end zone past the momentarily stunned Princeton defense. That bit of razzle-dazzle marked the first time a Division I-AA game has ever been won in the final seconds by a kickoff return for a touchdown. "It's a play we work on in practice," said Holy Cross coach Mark Duffner. "We could probably do it 100 times and it would never work again."
Brooks, a freshman, snared this Ellis TD pass to help the Cocks conquer the South.
Stewart may be cheerful now, but if the Vols' woes continue he will be left out in the cold.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Wyoming quarterback Randy Welniak completed 28 of 43 passes for 359 yards and three TDs and ran 11 times for 108 yards and another score for a school-record 467 yards of total offense, as the Cowboys beat Air Force 48-45 at Falcon Stadium....
DEFENSE: In USC's 23-7 victory over Oklahoma, Trojan linebacker Scott Ross made 14 tackles—including two for losses—recovered a fumble and deflected a pass that was intercepted by fellow linebacker Michael Williams....
SPECIAL TEAMS: Colorado punter Keith English set school and Big Eight records and fell just .6 of a yard short of the NCAA single-game record by punting five times—including boomers of 70 and 64 yards—for a 59.8-yard average in the Buffaloes' 28-21 victory over Oregon State.