Saturday's most arresting performance was turned in by Washington junior tailback Corey Dillon. In the Huskies' 53-10 thrashing of lowly San Jose State, Dillon rushed for 222 yards and amassed 305 all-purpose yards before being pulled from the rout by coach Jim Lambright after the first quarter. With a game remaining against Washington State this Saturday, Dillon's 1,400 rushing yards and 2,030 all-purpose yards this fall have already broken Napoleon Kaufman's school records (1,851 all-purpose yards in 1993, 1,390 rushing yards in 1994).
Dillon's path to success has been long and uneven. Three years ago, after being drafted but not signed by the San Diego Padres, he began working the night shift cleaning office buildings in downtown Seattle. Last fall Dillon rushed for 1,899 yards at Dixie College in St. George, Utah, and then signed with the Huskies last summer. With junior tailback Rashaan Shehee returning to Washington after rushing for 957 yards and a school-record 15 TDs in '95, Huskies coaches talked about switching Dillon to the defensive backfield. It didn't happen, and midway through this season, with Shehee hampered by a right-heel injury, Dillon became the starting tailback. In a 33-14 win over Oregon on Oct. 26, he had his breakthrough game, a 259-yard rushing effort.
"He's the total package," says Washington quarterback Brock Huard. "He's headed for the NFL sometime. We're just hoping it's not next year."
A Force to Reckon With
Air Force senior quarterback Beau Morgan is generously listed at 5'11" and 195 pounds, has a mouthful of braces, and will Yessir and Nosir you to death. He is so polite that he has been known to congratulate an opponent after receiving an especially good wallop. "There's a part of me that has always wanted to be a linebacker," he says. "I appreciate a good lick, even if it's me taking it."
It should be noted that Morgan has dealt a lick or two himself, perhaps none more dramatic than the one he delivered to Fresno State on Saturday. Despite suffering from a strained right hamstring, Morgan rallied Air Force from a 31-3 half-time deficit to a 44-38 overtime victory. In the second half and overtime, he rushed for 163 of his 217 yards and had a hand in five of Air Force's six touchdowns, three by land, two by air. Morgan's first TD throw, a 14-yarder in the fourth quarter, lifted him past 1,000 yards passing for the season and made him the first player in NCAA history to both pass and run for 1,000 yards in consecutive years. (His 1,408 yards on the ground this season make him the nation's fourth-leading rusher; in the Falcons' season finale against San Diego State on Thanksgiving Day, he most likely will break the quarterback rushing record of 1,443 yards set in 1989 by Northern Illinois's Stacey Robinson.) "He may be as good a wishbone quarterback as I've seen," says Lou Holtz, who watched Morgan rush for 183 yards in the Falcons' 20-17 upset of the Irish on Oct. 19. "And that goes all the way back to when Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma ran the wishbone."
Morgan's devotion to the game is fanatical. During the spring of Beau's eighth-grade year, his father, Barry Morgan, accepted the football coaching job at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas, some 120 miles northwest of the family's home in Liberty City, Texas. Because Barry didn't want to uproot his family before selling the house in Liberty City, and because Beau, with an eye toward making the Trinity varsity the following season, was determined not to miss spring football practice at Trinity, father and son made the two-hour drive to Addison each Monday morning for six weeks, staying in Addison during the school week and driving back to Liberty City on Friday evening. In Addison they often slept on the floor of the film room in Trinity's athletic facility.
During Beau's freshman year at Trinity, the Morgans visited the Air Force Academy. That December, Beau watched the Falcons' spritelike quarterback, 5'9", 155-pound Dee Dowis, play in the Liberty Bowl on TV, and he realized there was still a place for a relatively diminutive wishbone quarterback. Sadly, such quarterbacks come with an early expiration date. "The NFL?" Morgan says, laughing incredulously. "I'm not counting on it."
Alabama might well be unbeaten and a contender for the national championship if only it had enjoyed better play at quarterback this season. In a stunning 17-16 loss to Mississippi State last Saturday night, the Tide's Freddie Kitchens completed 9 of 18 passes for only 93 yards and was benched for five series in the second half. His replacement, Warren Foust, completed 1 of 6 for 12 yards and was yanked after being intercepted. In Alabama's only other loss this season—to Tennessee, 20-13, on Oct. 26—Kitchens was 8 for 21 with three interceptions, and he overthrew a wide-open receiver in the end zone from 11 yards out on the game's final series.