A lot of folks look at Ithaca tailback Jeff Wittman (above) and see shades of John Riggins. Says Wittman, who led the Bombers to a 34-20 victory over Dayton in last year's division championship game, "Going through a defensive back is like busting down a door." Neither Wittman nor his teammates will allow anything to stand in the way of a second straight crown.
Susquehanna, which fell to the Bombers in the semifinals of the playoffs, will challenge again behind a defense that surrendered only 139 points in the regular season. Linebacker Andy Watkins is the team's best player, but defensive tackle John Heim is its Renaissance man. Heim has designed and built a par-44 minigolf course in his hometown of State College, Pa. "If I'm not the most entrepreneurial football player," says Heim, "I'm certainly the most in debt." Start-up costs required Heim to sign his name to a $250,000 loan.
At Augustana, coach Bob Reade's .893 career winning percentage in 13 years at the Vikings' helm is surpassed only by the .994 (160 of 161) graduation rate of his players. In a quest for brighter lights, middle guard George Annang transferred to Division I-AA Northern Iowa last fall, but before classes even began he jumped into his car and made a beeline back to Rock Island, Ill. "I learned to appreciate what I had here," says Annang, who helped Augustana rack up five shutouts in '91.
Playoff-bound Waynesburg admits that its home field, hard by a rail line, is the worst in Division III. "If a train passes by while the quarterback is calling signals," says a school publicist, "we have to stop the game." Illinois Wesleyan wide receiver Chris Bisaillon, who already holds the division record for career touchdown catches, with 43, will keep the Titans in the playoff chase. Allegheny has the division's best player in tailback Stanley Drayton, who scored 28 touchdowns in '91. The Gators will be out to avenge their quarterfinal loss to Dayton.
The division's best quarterback is Willie Reyna of La Verne, who led the division in passing yardage (2,543) and total offense (329.1 yards per game) last year despite his never having run more than 10 plays in a game in two years at Pasadena City College. Even with Reyna calling signals, though, La Verne will not be a contender.