"I looked up in the stands and wished my mom was there, but she knew what was going on," says Tomlinson, who ran for six touchdowns. "She was listening to the game on the radio and jumping around in the stands at my brother's game. People thought she was crazy. When I talked to her on the phone afterward, she knew all about the record."
The 5'11", 217-pound Tomlinson, who overcame a tender left ankle he sprained Oct. 30, is now the nation's leading rusher, averaging 172.5 yards per game.
Backup, Starter, Backup, Starter
When Alabama starting quarterback Andrew Zow sprained an ankle in a loss to Tennessee last month, his backup, Tyler Watts, filled in for him in that game and started the next two, leading the Crimson Tide to victories over Southern Mississippi and LSU. But following Alabama's 19-7 victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 13 in which Zow took every snap, a frustated Watts told reporters that he would evaluate his options after the season. In other words, he would consider transferring.
Watts should have remained patient. When Zow could do no better than lead Alabama to two field goals during the first half at Auburn on Saturday night and the Tide trailed 14-6, Watts started the second half. He completed 5 of 6 passes, three of them on third down, and led Alabama to three fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 28-17 victory. Though the Tide's offense came alive in the second half principally because of senior tailback Shaun Alexander, who rushed for 101 of his 182 yards in the fourth quarter, Watts played better than Zow had. Alabama coach Mike DuBose said he will continue to evaluate both players as the Tide prepares to face Florida on Dec. 4 in the SEC championship game.
"It's been a tough year," Watts said afterward. "It's been tough to keep a positive attitude and the desire to practice. I just hoped that my day would come."
Like Landlord, Like Tenant
For the last two summers Stanford quarterback Todd Husak has rented the guest house of an alumnus of Stanford who lives near campus. After the Cardinal's 31-13 defeat of Cal in Saturday's Big Game, Husak has shared more than an address with former Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett. They've both guided a team to the Rose Bowl.
Husak said on Sunday night that he absorbed a lot from being around Plunkett, an All-America in 1970. "We never sat down and really talked about football," Husak said. "Just being around a guy who has been through so much, seeing how his teammates still act around him, gave me some perspective on how to lead a team. Having a Heisman Trophy around wasn't so bad, either."
Husak hasn't put up numbers strong enough to earn a Heisman of his own. He completed only 11 of 26 passes for 216 yards against Cal, and over the season he threw 10 interceptions to go with his 16 touchdown passes. Still, he has done enough to impress Plunkett. "The way he carries himself, he's a very confident fellow," says Plunkett. "Physically, he's the least talented guy, but he's been able to withstand the challenges and also withstand the criticism he's taken."