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The Can't Miss Kid
Rick Reilly
September 23, 1996
That's the role Ron Powlus was supposed to play at Notre Dame. This is real life: Everyone misses sometimes
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September 23, 1996

The Can't Miss Kid

That's the role Ron Powlus was supposed to play at Notre Dame. This is real life: Everyone misses sometimes

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South Bend Tribune: HE'S AMONG IMMORTALS.

This is what ESPN's Lee Corso said he would do if he were Lou Holtz at halftime of the Irish's 14-7 season-opening win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 5: "I'd make a quarterback change."

This is what the South Bend Tribune's Dave Haugh wrote about Powlus after the Vanderbilt game, Powlus's first game back after doctors removed the metal rod they had inserted on Nov. 5 through his left shoulder to stabilize his broken arm: "Surgery didn't cure his happy feet or quick-trigger finger....

He doesn't have Tony Rice's smile, Rick Mirer's supporting cast, Peyton Manning's release or even [backup] Jarious Jackson's quickness....

When he dropped back to pass against Vanderbilt, he often looked as disheveled as a man running late for work in search of his car keys."

This was what his dad, Ron Sr., says about media criticism of his son: "Why do they do that? He's just a kid. He's doing the best job he can. He's just a kid."

This is what his mother, Susan, says through watery eyes about what has happened to her son: "The media lifted Ronnie higher than life. It's everyone's opinion, I guess, but I don't have to read it. He doesn't want to read it. Ronnie is not a machine. Nobody winds him up in the morning. But imagine picking up a newspaper and reading horrible things about your son. It hurts."

This is what Susan Powlus did for 10 years: ran the public relations department for the local newspaper.

This is the kid's horrible performance against Vanderbilt that had everybody so upset: 19 of 32, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 434 yards of total offense and a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter that included five straight completions, a first-and-27 and a third-and-14.

This is how many catches his entire wide-receiving corps—except senior Emmett Mosley—had going into this season: 1.

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