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Douglas S. Looney
December 01, 1986
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December 01, 1986

College Football

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Third choice: Notre Dame junior flanker-halfback Tim Brown, a business administration major whom academic adviser Mike De Cicco calls "a very serious student." Brown is on schedule to graduate in four years. A dazzling big-play phenom, he is college football's most exciting player. He has caught 40 passes for 821 yards, rushed for 244 yards and returned 21 kickoffs for 601 yards and 2 TDs. We confess that Brown is a favorite in part because he was sports editor of his high school newspaper in Dallas. That, obviously, is clear evidence of genius.


"We are," says Sheila Evans, mother of the Air Force Academy's leading (758 yards) rusher, senior fullback Pat Evans, "people with a mission." During Pat's three seasons on the varsity, his parents, along with his girlfriend, Mary Nell Alonzo, have driven from Vicksburg, Miss., to see every Falcon home game. Throw in one spring game, two jayvee games and five trips not related to football, and that comes to 23 trips to Colorado Springs since 1983.

The Evanses and Mary Nell reckon that the 2,294-mile journey takes precisely 18 hours up, 19 hours back (an extra hour for the fatigue factor). Typically, Sheila drives the first shift, leaving Vicksburg around 6 p.m. on Thursday and reaching Dallas by about midnight, when Pat's father, Bubba, takes over. He stays at the wheel until daybreak—by then they usually are somewhere around Amarillo—when he's spelled by Mary Nell, who gets them to Colorado Springs by noon or so on Friday. After having dinner with Pat following Saturday's game, Sheila, Bubba and Mary Nell pile back into the Evanses' Ford around 10 p.m. and head back to Vicksburg.

The trio has also driven to West Point, Salt Lake City, El Paso, Albuquerque, Laramie, Wyo., Annapolis, South Bend, on and on, for Falcon away games and, of course, to the two bowls (the Independence and Bluebonnet) in which Pat has played. Heck, last weekend's trip is hardly worth mentioning—just 850 miles to Houston and back for the Rice game. They sheepishly concede that last year they flew to BYU and, perhaps because of high water, to Hawaii and that this season they flew part of the way to Utah, San Diego and West Point. "We're getting soft," concedes Bubba, who says that they will drive to Colorado Springs for Pat's final game, against BYU, on Dec. 6.

Remarkably, nothing much has ever happened over those 100,000 miles—no wrecks, no flats, just a couple of speeding tickets. They did see some mule deer once, and another time the gas station in Vernon, Texas, where they always stop, didn't have Tab.

Says Pat, who has made the brutal drive himself only twice, "I sure do appreciate their coming."

All told, Sheila, Bubba and Mary Nell have missed only one of Pat's 35 varsity games, the Utah game in Provo in 1984. "We decided that after Pat fumbled in that game and we weren't there, that we were going to be with him good times and bad," says Sheila. "This is no sacrifice. This is an experience. And we're kind of sad it's ending."


Iowa's Hayden Fry is an incessant complainer. For instance, earlier this season he blasted the Big Ten supervisor of officials. Gene Calhoun. "He's doing a terrible job," said Fry. That must have really helped Fry get better officiating.

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