A LOSER IN VICTORY
Since the Big Eight Conference didn't do the right thing by awarding Missouri a 31-27 victory over Colorado, wouldn't it be wonderful to see the Colorado president, William H. Baughn, take the high road and insist on giving up his school's tainted 33-31 win? Such a move wouldn't be unprecedented. In 1940, Cornell relinquished a tarnished 7-3 victory over Dartmouth, and to this day the game stands in the record book as a 3-0 win for Dartmouth (page 110). Besides striking a blow for sportsmanship, a similar action by Colorado would give the Buffaloes, and big-time college football in general, some badly needed positive exposure.
Yeah, sure, it's not Colorado's fault that the officials lost track of the number of downs at the end of last week's game in Columbia. Amazing as it seems in retrospect, the Buffaloes, trailing 31-27, got five chances to score after getting first-and-goal at the Missouri three-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. On first down, quarterback Charles Johnson, subbing for the injured Darian Hagan, took the snap and grounded the ball, stopping the clock with 28 seconds showing. On second down, tailback Eric Bieniemy dived for two yards to the one. At this point, with 18 seconds left, Colorado took its final timeout, but, as TV replays later showed, the down wasn't changed on either the sideline marker or on the scoreboard.
After Bieniemy was stopped for no gain with eight seconds to go, the clock was briefly stopped, apparently because Colorado coach Bill McCartney had complained to the officials that Missouri was getting up too slowly from pileups. Then, on what should have been fourth down, Johnson grounded the ball again, stopping the clock at 0:02. On fifth down, Johnson sneaked in for the winning TD.
Players from both teams began leaving the field while irate fans began streaming onto it. Then, after a 15-minute delay, the officials summoned both teams back for the extra-point attempt, because the Tigers could conceivably block the kick and return it for the tying two points. But Johnson took the snap under center and fell on the ball, ending the game and beginning the chaos. A group of Missouri fans took out their frustration by tearing down a goalpost, and the seven-man officiating crew was pelted with debris as it left the field with a police escort.
After reviewing films of the game for two days, the Big Eight on Monday indefinitely suspended all seven of the officials. But the league's commissioner, Carl James, who was at the game, said the final score would remain the same. "The rules of football," he said, "do not allow for changing the outcome of the game." McCartney tried to deflect attention by criticizing the slippery footing on Missouri's six-year-old artificial turf. "We slipped and slid all day, or we would have put more points on the board, I'll tell you that," said McCartney. To which Missouri athletic director Dick Tamburo replied, "If he's complaining about slipping on the turf, I'm complaining about seven officials who can't count."
So, will anyone at Colorado be a good sport, as Cornell's president was in '40, and give up the win? Or is that just the pointy-headed Ivy League way of doing things, always letting little things like principle and integrity get in the way of the really important stuff, like winning at any cost? On Monday, Missouri formally petitioned the Big Eight to have the game's outcome reversed. That won't happen, and the Buffaloes seemed determined to keep the win, even though it's difficult to see how McCartney or his players can get any satisfaction from it.
A WINNER IN DEFEAT
Let's hear it for San Diego State coach Al Luginbill. Instead of being deliriously happy with a tie against Wyoming last Saturday, as many of his brethren would have been, he went for the win. At the end of a wild game in Laramie, Wyo., an offensive slugfest in which San Diego State and Wyoming combined for 1,263 yards of offense, the Aztecs pulled to within 52-51 on Dan McGwire's 12-yard touchdown pass to Jake Nyberg with 2:10 remaining. Luginbill then went for two points.
The attempt failed, thanks to a strong rush by Wyoming's Outland Trophy candidate Mitch Donohue, who forced McGwire into an off-balance throw. But at least Luginbill gave his team what it had earned, which was an opportunity to win. After the missed conversion, Wyoming recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock to improve its record to 6-0.
While McGwire was connecting on 27 of 42 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns, his Cowboy counterpart, junior Tom Corontzos, was completing 20 of 32 for 421 yards and three TDs. And neither McGwire nor Corontzos threw an interception. Showing that he's a bit more nimble than the 6'8" McGwire, Corontzos rushed for 18 yards on five carries, including a one-yard score on a bootleg.
The fireworks display dazzled Wyoming coach Paul Roach, who's 13-0 in conference games at home and 32-11 overall in 3½ years with the Cowboys. "I'm almost speechless," said Roach. "I never thought we would win a game like this. I'm flabbergasted."
CHOKING ON A WISHBONE
Fresno State came to Northern Illinois's campus in DeKalb, about 65 miles from Chicago, hoping to showcase a defense that had given up only 40 points in five games, and to show the Midwest that it deserved its No. 24 ranking in the AP poll. Well, the score was 73-18, just about what Fresno fans had expected, but, uh, Northern Illinois won. Yes, that's the same Northern Illinois that had lost 24-7 the previous week to Northwestern. Now we can only wonder how long it will take before another team from the Big West Conference shows up in the rankings.
This isn't to take anything away from Northern Illinois's Stacey Robinson, who carried 22 times for 308 yards, an NCAA record for a quarterback, and scored five touchdowns while running the wishbone option so effectively that Fresno coach Jim Sweeney was moved to say, "I thought I was at Norman, Oklahoma." O.K., Coach, besides the fact that Oklahoma doesn't run the wishbone exclusively anymore, how could you do such a poor job of getting your defenders ready for Robinson's quick feet and darting moves? "We terribly underestimated the speed of their attack on the perimeter," said Sweeney.
Robinson, a senior who last season set NCAA quarterback records for yards rushing (1,443) and average yards per game (131.2), repeatedly turned the corners and found daylight. His TD runs covered 39,9,41, 67, and 11 yards, all in the first half. He probably could have broken the NCAA single-game rushing record of 377 yards, set last year by Indiana tailback Anthony Thompson, but he didn't play at all in the last quarter.
"I knew they were going to come at me and make me pitch the ball," Robinson said. "When I saw they didn't, I was shocked. I was reading the seams very well and anticipating the blocks. Everything clicked."
Just as everything clunked for Fresno, which had won 23 of its last 24 games. In light of the debacle in DeKalb, it's obvious that Fres-no is Fres-not and that the Big West is still pretty small, at least until the basketballs start bouncing at UNLV.
Tired of seeing the same old teams in the polls and on TV? Take heart, dear reader, because in TCU, Mississippi and Georgia Tech we have three teams that, after years of wallowing in also-ranville, are suddenly deserving of attention. After its 54-26 bashing of Arkansas in Little Rock, TCU was 4-1 overall, 2-0 in the SWC and off to its best conference start in 32 years. These Horned Frogs don't have a Slingin' Sam Baugh (TCU '36), but they do have sophomore Leon Clay, who directed an offense that put points on the board on seven of TCU's first eight possessions against the Razorbacks. How good are the Frogs? "I hope TCU is an outstanding team," said Arkansas coach Jack Crowe. "If they are not, it's a bad situation for us."
Ole Miss, a 35-29 winner over Kentucky in Oxford, is 4-1 for the first time since Archie Manning was a senior, in 1970. In giving coach Billy Brewer his 100th career victory, the Rebels spotted the Wildcats a 7-0 lead but ripped off 35 of the game's next 42 points before surrendering a couple of meaningless touchdowns late in the game. Only three Mississippi teams have won more than six games since '71, but these Rebels could easily win eight or nine.
Georgia Tech, which lost 16 ACC games in a row from 1986 to 1989, has an eight-game winning streak and a 4-0 record this fall. The Yellow Jackets, who will face Clemson on Saturday in Atlanta in an ACC showdown, rely mainly on a defense that has not given up a touchdown yet this season. In a 31-3 win at Maryland last week, Georgia Tech had 11 sacks, including five by sophomore outside linebacker Marco Coleman.
SI's Tim Crothers reports on Houston quarterback David Klingler.
When the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Andre Ware announced in March that he intended to enter last spring's NFL draft as a junior—he went to Detroit in the first round—the Houston run-and-shoot offense seemed destined to become the run-and-misfire. So why was everybody on the team smiling?
"When Andre decided to go to the pros, the reaction of the guys was bordering on cocky," says Cougar coach John Jenkins. "It wasn't, 'Oh, dang, what are we going to do now?' It was, 'All right, David, load the cannon.' "
David is David Klingler, a 6'3", 205-pound junior, and sure enough he has come out firing. Last Saturday he threw 68 passes—five short of the NCAA record set by N.C. State's Shane Montgomery in 1989—completing 35 for 405 yards and two touchdowns, as Houston beat Baylor 31-15 in Waco. The Cougars are now 4-0, and Klingler has passed for more than 400 yards in every one of the victories.
His performance to date comes as no great surprise to the Houston coaches. Klingler was a gifted athlete at Stratford High in Houston. He long-jumped 24', high-jumped 6'9" and was offered a basketball scholarship to Pitt. He and Ware roomed next door to each other in Bates Hall during their first two years at Houston and spent hundreds of hours side by side scratching their heads over the intricacies of Jenkins's offense. Klingler was a little less developed at the outset, so he was redshirted. Like Ware, he had run the option in high school and recalls that his best passing game was a 7-for-9 performance in his senior year. "That was really airing it out," says Klingler. "Now I'll throw nine passes in one drive."
When he arrived at Houston he had an awkward sidearm delivery, and he was dubbed Slinger by Jenkins. But Slinger developed into one of the best quarterbacks nobody had ever heard of. Last season, when he got into eight games as Ware's backup, he passed for 865 yards and eight TDs. That was good enough to make him the second-rated quarterback in the SWC, behind Ware, and he would have been rated 10th-best in the nation in passing efficiency had he thrown enough times to qualify. "David was capable of starting for just about any other team in the country last year," says Jenkins. "When he came into the game, we didn't miss a lick."
Opposing coaches who saw films of Klingler might have thought that the best way to stop the run-and-shoot this season was to let the air out of the ball. That is almost what happened in the 1990 Cougar opener, against Nevada-Las Vegas. On Houston's initial possession, Klingler threw three straight incompletions with a partially deflated football. "It felt like a Nerf ball in my hands," he says. "My first start and I'm passing with a ball leaking air. That did wonders for my confidence."
Once the bad ball was discarded, Klingler completed 30 of 51 passes for 426 yards and five TDs to lead Houston to a 37-9 win. Afterward he pronounced the outing "a little disappointing." Says Jenkins, "He finishes with the best opening-game stats in the history of the school, and the first thing he says to me is, 'Boy, Coach, I'm going to hate to look at that film tomorrow.' We're talking about a real perfectionist here."
Although Klingler is thriving this season, he will tell you that Ware has been missed. "I had mixed emotions about Andre leaving, because we were good friends," says Klingler. "But I give him the credit for creating the spotlight that I'm stepping into. Now it's my turn to pull the trigger."
Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones sure goofed just before halftime of his team's 31-17 loss to Oklahoma. The Sooners were trailing 14-7 and seemed content to let time run out, but Jones called a timeout thinking that, with 11 seconds to go and Oklahoma facing fourth down, the Cowboys might get a chance to block a punt and score. Instead, time was called with only :03 left, so the Sooners ran another play. Quarterback Cale Gundy threw a 52-yard Hail Mary pass to Adrian Cooper for a touchdown. Said Jones after the game, "I honestly don't think the play was the difference in the ball game. I honestly don't. I mean, I just don't." Right, Coach....
A Hoosier Dome record crowd of 61,929 watched Grambling State defeat Alabama A&M 27-20 in the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis....
When asked if he was enjoying the $190,000 a year that he gets from Clemson for not coaching through the 1992 season, former Tiger coach Danny Ford said, "I ain't never not liked myself." Hearing that, you can understand why Ford and Clemson president Max Lennon just didn't speak the same language....
After an 0-3 start under coach George Allen (SI, Sept. 24), Long Beach State has won three games in a row for the first time since 1985. The most recent triumph was a 31-27 victory over winless New Mexico State....
Surely Maine could have stayed a lot closer to home for a 44-3 loss, which is how badly the Bears got beat in Hawaii. The 10,340-mile round trip is probably the longest ever made by a Division I-AA team. Maine athletic director Kevin White says that he expects the school to make money on the game because of a $75,000 guarantee from Hawaii.
In a 52-51 barn-burner, McGwire of San Diego State put up some big numbers, but Wyoming's Corontzos came out on top.
Robinson led Northern Illinois to a stunning rout of Fresno State and set an NCAA mark.
Klingler has kept Houston's run-and-shoot pistol hot.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Senior Stacey Robinson of Northern Illinois carried 22 times for 308 yards to establish an NCAA rushing record for Division I quarterbacks and lead the Huskies to a 73-18 romp over Fresno State.
In Iowa's 12-7 victory over Michigan State, senior linebacker Melvin Foster made 20 tackles, 12 of them unassisted, and he also intercepted a pass to help set up the Hawkeyes' only touchdown.
Jay McLucas, a senior quarterback at the University of New Haven, completed 26 of 50 passes for 422 yards and five touchdowns as the Chargers overcame a 51-24 deficit to defeat West Chester 58-57.