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COMING INTO FOCUS
Tim Layden
November 20, 1995
After the field was flush with candidates early on, the Heisman Trophy vote is shaping up as a photo finish between Tommie Frazier and Eddie George
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November 20, 1995

Coming Into Focus

After the field was flush with candidates early on, the Heisman Trophy vote is shaping up as a photo finish between Tommie Frazier and Eddie George

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"With Ohio State, you can't concentrate on Eddie George, or they'll kill you with the pass," says Minnesota senior linebacker Justin Conzemius, who played against both George and Autry this year. "When we played Northwestern, we keyed on Autry because we knew he was far and away the Number 1 cog in their offense." Autry still broke a 73-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter of a 27-17 win. Moreover, the Buckeyes' offensive line is full of future NFL players.

Ohio State and Northwestern have spent the fall tied for first place in the Big Ten. Take Autry from Northwestern and the Wildcats might not have beaten Notre Dame, Michigan or Penn State, much less all three, and nobody in Evanston would be celebrating the Wildcats' startling success. This is a difficult pick that goes to Autry by the slimmest of margins. George still has to play at Michigan on Nov. 25; that's why we've used a pencil. If he gets 314 yards in Ann Arbor, we'll need the eraser.

•Three's a crowd. Like Penn State a year ago, when it featured Ki-jana Carter and Kerry Collins, the Buckeyes have too many worthy Heisman candidates. In many ways George is the soul of the team. But Hoying's sudden maturity as a quarterback has made a wide-open passing game viable, and Glenn's explosiveness has infused the Buckeyes' customary Midwestern grit with West Coast glitz. He was dazzling in both the Notre Dame and Penn State games with his arresting speed and pass-catching artistry. Ohio State's opponents prepare for George and Hoying, but they fear Glenn.

"Glenn is as talented as Anthony Carter was in this league," says Minnesota defensive coordinator Mark Dove. "He can catch the ball and just run off on guys."

If you watch the Buckeyes play, you cannot take your eyes off Glenn. Ohio State has pointedly endorsed George as its Heisman candidate. That doesn't mean some voters won't cast their ballot for Glenn. Last year Carter finished second in the voting, and Collins was fourth. Votes were split and canceled each other out. Likewise this year, a vote for Glenn is a vote against George.

•So why should Frazier win the Heisman? Because he's not just the best individual player, he's the emotional center of the No. 1 team in the country. Frazier is a superb athlete who has accounted for 30 of Nebraska's 68 offensive touchdowns. "He throws the ball like a quarterback and runs it like a tailback," says Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. Moreover, he has a lot of control over the offense, guiding the Cornhuskers through a maze of sets and attacks, from I formation to option to sprint-out to dropback.

Nebraska is 31-3 in games that Frazier has started, and it could be on its way to winning its second consecutive national championship. Also, Frazier has held together a team shadowed by controversy this season, and he wouldn't spit on the sidewalk—which should satisfy Slocum's requirement banning hoodlums.

Don't listen to us, though. Listen to one of Frazier's opponents—Colorado middle linebacker Matt Russell, who played against Frazier on Oct. 28, when Frazier threw for 241 yards and ran for 40 more in a 44-21 Nebraska victory in Boulder. "I know last year Frazier got hurt and Brook Berringer stepped in, but this year is different," says Russell. "They've got a lot of young guys on the offensive line and in the backfield. I see Frazier's leadership. You can't see it in the press box, maybe, but he's in charge out there. I've got a lot of respect for him. And he's like a tailback who can pass and beat you about six different ways. "

No, the Heisman ballot doesn't come with instructions. It's vague and elusive and inscrutable. This fall our pick is Frazier.

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