ONE MEAN DECLEATER
Don't let Dave Cadigan's boyish freckles fool you. Or his tony Newport Beach, Calif., background. Or the unabashed hugs he gets from his father after games. This is one tough hombre we're talking about. The 6'5", 280-pound senior tackle is heir to a tradition of stellar offensive linemen at USC. Cadigan has 4.68 speed in the 40 and is the strongest Trojan ever, having bench-pressed a team-record 485 pounds this summer.
In Saturday's 31-14 victory over Cal in Berkeley's Memorial Stadium, USC, now 2-1, rolled up 461 yards of total offense, including 226 yards rushing. Those numbers will be properly credited to players such as quarterback Rodney Peete and running back Steven Webster. But Tailback U., like other schools, also quantifies the achievements of the laborers up front who clear the way for the glory guys. While studying game films, the Trojan coaches count the number of knockdowns, chop blocks, decleaters and movement blocks racked up by their offensive lineman. When you high-block your opponent off his feet, that's a knockdown. Take him down low, and you've got yourself a chop block. When you block him onto his back, that's a decleater. When you drive the poor devil five or more yards off the line of scrimmage, that's a movement block.
At USC all four categories are sometimes referred to collectively as decleaters, and two weeks ago, in a 23-17 victory over Boston College, Cadigan produced a remarkable 28 of them. "I coached the offensive line at Michigan for four years," says Southern Cal coach Larry Smith. "You're talking about guys like [Dan] Dierdorf, [Reggie] McKenzie, some great All-Pro people. I never saw them get 28 decleaters in one game, I don't care who we played."
"Cadigan was as strong as an ox," says BC's decleated defensive tackle Mark Murphy. "He got his clamps on you and it was really tough to shed him."
The USC coaches counted 11 decleaters for Cadigan against Cal, a most respectable total. And Cadigan and his linemates did not surrender a sack. In fact, Peete has been thrown for a loss only once in the Trojans' three games—on a rollout.
Cadigan has the strength of several people, most notably his mom and dad. Patrick Cadigan, a 257-pounder, was a two-time Eastern weightlifting champ at Boston College in the '50s, the first Eagle to bench-press 400 pounds. That no doubt accounts for Dave's physical prowess. But his inner strength is a gift from Barbara Cadigan. "Whatever the ultimate is in support, she was it," Cadigan says. She not only offered her son encouragement, she offered him an example. For 12 years, she fought cancer, first breast, then lung, repeatedly battling it into retreat. But then on Aug. 11, six days before Dave began practice for this season, she died.
"I think about the things we talked about," Cadigan says. "About the kind of year I'm going to have. My mom really believed I could be an All-America." He shifts to the present tense. "She really believes I can be a first-round draft pick. And I promised her that I would." If he fulfills that promise, Cadigan would become the 16th USC offensive lineman in the last 20 years to be chosen in the first round of the NFL draft.
"I feel she's still around, that she sees what I do," he says. "She has a definite presence. I think she knows I had a good game. I think she is watching."
Indiana flanker Ernie Jones. Jones caught six passes for 120 yards, including the game-winning TD with 1:21 remaining, and returned three kickoffs for 75 yards as the Hoosiers beat Missouri 20-17. Just before coach Bill Mallory led the Hoosiers in a postgame prayer, Jones, who is averaging 193.3 all-purpose yards a game, said, "Thank god for man-to-man coverage."
Air Force defensive tackle Chad Hennings. Hennings, a 260-pound All-America candidate, sacked Colorado State quarterback Scooter Molander three times in a 27-19 Falcon victory and now leads the WAC with 10 sacks.
Butler placekicker John Jenkins. A year ago Jenkins missed an extra point as the Bulldogs lost to Dayton 17-16. On Saturday he kicked five field goals—a school record—in five tries to account for all his team's points in a 15-10 win over the Flyers.
...AND SATURDAY'S GOATS
The Arkansas defense. O.K., Miami's awesome offense, which scored on eight straight possessions, had something to do with the 51-7 result. But the Hogs yielded 353 yards and 38 points by half-time. The Razorbacks, who had allowed only 25 points in their first two games, suffered their worst home loss since 1919.
The Maryland defense. The Terps allowed North Carolina State to score six touchdowns. The Wolfpack, which had averaged only 212 yards a game while being outscored 87-17 and going 0-3, gained 492 yards in the 42-14 win.
RIP RALPHIE II
There was one sad note in Colorado's 26-17 home win over Washington State Saturday. Earlier in the week Ralphie II, the real bison that led the Buffaloes onto the field for eight seasons, died at age 12. In recognition of Ralphie II's special place in the hearts of Colorado fans—"As mascots go, ours was renowned," said coach Bill McCartney—a ceremony was held on the field before the game. A plaque portraying a charging Ralphie was presented to Colorado president Gordon Gee, a moment of silence was observed, and the band played a mournful rendition of Home on the Range.
McCartney took over as the Colorado coach in 1982, and he remembers what happened before that year's home opener. The team was crowded into the tunnel when McCartney noticed that his players seemed to be unusually fired up. "At first I just thought everyone was just excited," he says. "Then I realized that Ralphie had turned on us." Fortunately, his handlers succeeded in heading him back toward the field.
Once Colorado games began Ralphie II watched the action from her (that's right, she was a female; the ie was a concession to her gender) trailer on the sideline, sometimes fixing Buffalo opponents with a menacing glare. "I was always looking over to the other side to see their reaction," says McCartney.
The half-ton Ralphie II had been feeling poorly this year. She missed Colorado's home opener against Oregon, and veterinarian Jim Cook allowed her to see only limited action the next week against Stanford. She didn't lead the charge out of the tunnel but was on the sideline, snorting effectively, as the Buffaloes won 31-17. That night she died of heart failure. "I'm told Ralphie died with a smile on her face," says McCartney. "Her last game was a victory."
Two-year-old Ralphie III, which Colorado had been grooming for next season, is slated to make her debut on Oct. 17 against Kansas (a ringer from a stock show filled in Saturday against Washington State), but McCartney fears that the rookie has not yet developed the same animalistic animus against Big Eight superpowers Nebraska and Oklahoma that her predecessor had. "We're going to have to teach her to hate red," McCartney says.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Sometimes a game is over before it's over. Actually, before it has even begun. Take Long Beach State at Michigan—please. "Let's face it, it's a game we should win," warned coach Bo Schembechler before his Wolverines destroyed the Forty-Niners 49-0. Or take Murray State at Louisville. The Cardinals beat their Division I-AA nonrivals 34-10.
We know the reasons that big schools schedule smaller ones: to fill an open date with a walkover, to fill a gap left by the demise of SMU, etc. But why do the little guys agree to get beat up? "You want to play one I-A team a year for the check," said Murray State athletic director Mike Strickland. "We'll get some major improvements for our weight room out of this game."
VERY LATE FLAG
Who says replays aren't used to check up on referees in college football? Tulsa coach George Henshaw was reviewing films of his team's 30-15 loss on Sept. 19 to Arkansas when, he says, he "just went crazy." Henshaw had seen one of his guards, Billy Vardaman, cut the legs out from under Arkansas defensive tackle Wayne Martin while Martin was being blocked high by another Tulsa lineman. The illegal chop block, which went undetected by officials, sent Martin to the sidelines with a knee injury that kept him out of Saturday's 51-7 loss to Miami. He may miss three more games.
In an unusual and gracious gesture, Henshaw called Arkansas coach Ken Hatfield to apologize—and promised to reprimand Vardaman. "I'd love to be able to sit him down for a game, suspend him," said Henshaw. "We just don't have enough players in the offensive line to do it." Which Tulsa proved in losing 65-0 to Oklahoma on Saturday.
This time a year ago, Florida running back Octavius Gould was riding high. Gould, a freshman out of Browns Mills, N.J., got his first starting assignment against Mississippi State in the fourth game of the season and ran 18 times for 72 yards. He went on to lead the Gators in rushing with 562 yards on 156 carries.
This year Florida has a new freshman sensation, Emmitt Smith. In his first start two weeks ago he gained a school-record 224 yards and scored twice as the Gators upset Alabama 23-14. On Saturday, Smith ran for 173 yards in a 38-3 win over Mississippi State.
Whither Gould on the anniversary of his sparkling debut? Withering, to say the least. After the Miami game, Gould had been splitting time at second string with junior Wayne Williams. Through three games he had carried the ball five times for a net of four yards. After playing only a mop-up role against Alabama, Gould asked for a meeting with coach Galen Hall. The two huddled behind closed doors, after which Hall said that Gould had "voluntarily removed himself from the team." Gould is now planning to transfer, possibly to Ohio State or Minnesota.
DUM QUOTE OF THE WEAK
Auburn quarterback Jeff Burger, after the Tigers had to settle for a 20-20 tie with the Volunteers: "Tennessee did what it had to do to win the game."
It was bombs away in the Big Sky Conference on Saturday, where they seem to have forgotten how to play defense. Montana's 41-29 win over Nevada-Reno was a pitchers' duel compared to Idaho's 46-37 triumph over Northern Arizona and Weber State's 55-44 defeat of Boise State....
In most weight rooms, the background sounds of choice are all rock 'n' roll. At Harvard, 2-0 after beating Northeastern 27-24, players have been getting their adrenaline going with television coverage of the Robert Bork confirmation hearings....
Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and Miami free safety Bennie Blades both know what it takes to win at football, but they have a funny way of phrasing it. After the Fighting Irish rallied to defeat Purdue 44-20, Holtz said, "We had to prove we could play smash-face football." And after Miami trounced Arkansas 51-7, Blades said the Razorbacks weren't as tough as they were cracked up to be: "Once you hit them in the mouth, they slowed down."...
Brigham Young cornerback Kirk Davis returned an interception for a touchdown, made four unassisted tackles and recovered a fumble as the Cougars beat New Mexico 45-25. Davis is suffering from Hodgkin's disease. His doctors, who say he has a better than 90% chance of recovery, have encouraged him to keep playing. "They don't want me to be a cancer worrier," Davis says.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Holy Cross quarterback Jeff Wiley completed 27 of 39 passes for 414 yards and seven TDs—both school records—in a 63-6 rout of Lehigh. Wiley, a junior, amassed 313 of those yards in the first half as the Cross broke to a 42-6 lead.
DEFENSE: Colorado strong safety Mickey Pruitt intercepted two passes, returning one 18 yards for a touchdown in the Buffaloes 26-17 victory over Washington State. Pruitt, a senior, also had a game-high 19 tackles, 13 of which were unassisted.
SPECIAL TEAMS: California's leftfooted punter Scott Tabor, who booted the ball nine times in a 31-14 loss to USC, averaged 55.6 yards per punt. Tabor, a senior, had one kick of 89 yards, a Pac-10 record, and six of his kicks were downed inside the 20.
Parity comes to the 20—and how—as one fifth of them play to ties.
FLORIDA STATE (4-0)
NOTRE DAME (3-0)
ARIZONA STATE (2-1)
OHIO STATE (2-0-1)
TEXAS A & M (2-1)
PENN STATE (3-1)