Centre College's high-water mark; another Perry at Clemson
Harvard, which is celebrating its 350th anniversary, has enjoyed many glorious moments in sports, especially on the gridiron. The most memorable game of the modern era was the 1968 season finale against Yale, which Harvard claims to have ``won'' 29-29 by scoring 16 points in the last minute to complete an 8-0-1 campaign. The real heyday of Crimson football, however, may have occurred earlier in the century, before large state universities began to monopolize the national spotlight. Harvard went undefeated in 1919 and 1920, defeated Oregon 7-6 in the 1920 Rose Bowl, and was the reigning national champion as the 1921 season began. While Harvard grads reflect on this wonderful era, some may begin to wonder what school burst the Crimson bubble. Would you believe Centre College in Danville, Ky.?
Centre, now a successful team at the Division III, small-college level, beat Harvard 6-0 in 1921, a result once acclaimed ``Football's Upset of the Century'' in a New York Times headline. This week marks the 65th anniversary of that historic game, in which Bo McMillin, later a coach at Indiana and with the Detroit Lions, snaked his way through a field of would-be tacklers for the winning touchdown.
Though a decided underdog against Harvard, Centre was an attractive opponent for many teams in the post-World War I period, with the likes of Auburn, Tulane, Arizona, and Texas A&M on its schedule. The school reached its football zenith with the win over Harvard. Thereafter it shrank back to a level more suited to a small liberal arts college. A junior Fridge?
William Perry, the ``Refrigerator'' of Chicago Bears fame, has a slightly more streamlined, younger brother playing defensive end at Clemson. Still, Michael Dean Perry is no shrimp at 6 ft. 2 in. and 275 pounds. Some people have tried to come up with a nickname for him -- the ``Icebox'' being one candidate -- but nothing has really stuck.
Not surprisingly, pro scouts keep dropping by the Clemson campus to watch Perry. To some degree, they come out of curiosity. Then, too, Michael Dean looks as if he may be a legitimate prospect. Though unable to play part of last year, he is now halfway to catching his older brother in two important career categories, quarterback sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Whereas William had 27 sacks and 60 tackles for losses at Clemson, Michael Dean now has 13 and 30, respectively. Briefly speaking
Over the years certain schools gain reputations for developing a succession of outstanding players at one position. Southern Cal is known for tailbacks (O.J. Simpson, Mike Garrett, Charles White, et.al.); Penn State for linebackers (Jack Ham, Dave Robinson, Greg Buttle, etc.); and Brigham Young and, in the 1980s, Miami for quarterbacks. Auburn, meanwhile, is gaining fame as a finishing school for star running backs. The likes of Joe Cribbs, William Andrews, Lionel James, James Brooks, and Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson have played there in recent years. This year's star is Brent Fullwood, a tailback so good that the school's sports information department has called him ``the man who is making Auburn people forget about Bo Jackson.'' Through the first six games of this season he was averaging 9.4 yards a carry for the undefeated Tigers. And in last Saturday's victory over Mississippi State he improved that, with 179 yards on 16 carries, or better than 11 yards a pop.
Talk about frustration: Iowa State experienced more than its share in last week's 38-0 loss to Oklahoma. The Cyclones couldn't stir a breeze on offense and never once crossed over the 50-yard line.
Nebraska is upset by a losing team about once an eon, so how did Colorado manage to turn the trick last Saturday? A couple of gadget plays (a reverse and a halfback pass), plus a staunch defense, were the keys in the 20-10 victory, which wasn't really as shocking as it may have appeared. The Buffaloes, one of the most improved teams in the country last year, brought a very deceiving 2-4 record into the contest. In starting 0-4, they lost three games by a whisker, then knocked off Missouri and Iowa State to open their Big Eight season.
If any team still has a chance to spoil No. 1 Miami's perfect regular season, it could be intrastate rival Florida State this Saturday. Last year the Seminoles played Miami tough in a 35-27 loss.