In person, Brigham Young senior quarterback Brandon Doman doesn't
look much like the hulking figure with the furrowed brow on the
Gladiator-esque DOMANATOR poster that BYU has been circulating in
a belated Heisman campaign. At 24, the 6'1", 205-pound Doman is
polite and aw-shucks earnest, still very much the Eagle Scout he
became in high school. "Off the field Brandon could be the poster
child for the stereotypical BYU guy--the dull, stiff Mormon," says
center Jason Scukanec, himself a Mormon from Vancouver, Wash.
"He's got the braided belt and loafers, the old man's haircut and
old man's body. He looks like my dad."
On the field, though, Doman is looking more and more like the
heroic figure the poster suggests. Since becoming the Cougars'
starter by default with two games left last season, he has thrown
for 2,583 yards and 21 touchdowns and run for 399 yards and eight
scores. More important, he hasn't lost a game. By throwing for
338 yards and four touchdowns and running for another score in
leading the Cougars to a 63-33 victory over Air Force on
Saturday, he ran BYU's record to 7-0 and his record as a starter
to 9-0, the best beginning for a Cougars' quarterback since
Robbie Bosco went 13-0 in 1984. This season he's ranked fourth in
the nation in total offense (317.7 yards per game) and is largely
responsible for BYU's nation-high 48.9 points a game.
Doman's success has been a long time coming. The 1994 Utah
Gatorade Player of the Year as an option quarterback at Salt Lake
City's Skyline High, Doman was wooed by Brigham Young, Nebraska,
Notre Dame and Texas A&M, among others. He ruled out the Irish
after watching Notre Dame lose to the Cougars during an
unofficial recruiting visit to South Bend, and ultimately decided
to follow his three older brothers into LaVell Edwards's program
in Provo. After serving a two-year church mission in Argentina,
he began his freshman season fourth on BYU's depth chart. Even
though he saw little action that year, he resisted the coaching
staff's attempt to move him to safety the next spring.
Following a sophomore year in which he played mostly receiver,
catching nine passes for 83 yards, Doman tried to switch to
defense but was told he was needed at quarterback. At the start
of last season he found himself third string, this time behind
two new quarterbacks. "I was so frustrated," says Doman. "I began
a redshirt year, but when [first-stringer Bret] Engemann
separated his shoulder in the sixth game, I had the coaches pull
it. I couldn't leave them with one quarterback."
Doman finally got his chance when the other quarterback, Charlie
Peterson, was slowed by a nagging shoulder injury while playing
against Colorado State. After passing for 349 yards and rushing
for 51 in his first start, against New Mexico, Doman gave the
retiring Edwards a memorable farewell at Utah. Facing
fourth-and-13 on his own 17 with 1:04 remaining and the Utes
leading 27-26, Doman connected on 34- and 36-yard passes. Two
plays later he rushed four yards for the winning touchdown. This
year he has performed similar last-ditch heroics, in a 35-31 win
at UNLV and a 24-20 victory over New Mexico.
Adding to Doman's heroic aura is the fact that he has played much
of the season with a separated right (throwing arm) shoulder.
"When I injured it in Game 2, it was a Grade I; later it became a
Grade III," says Doman. "It hurt like crazy, but I wasn't going
to let that take away my final season. I'm not going to let
anything take it away. I've waited much too long for this."
COLOR PHOTO: TOM SMART