WHERE THERE'S A WILLIS...
Florida State quarterback Peter Tom Willis may have surprised some people this year, but South Carolina knew all about him. Last year, while filling in for senior Chip Ferguson, who had a separated shoulder, Willis completed 17 of 20 passes for 271 yards in a 59-0 win over the Gamecocks, only to return to the bench for mop-up duty the rest of the season. Now Willis is Florida State's top gun, and against South Carolina last Saturday he threw for a career-high 362 yards and three TDs in a 35-10 victory. It was the seventh in a row for the Seminoles, who started the season 0-2.
A fifth-year senior, Willis was recruited in the same class as Ferguson and redshirted his freshman year after losing the battle for the quarterback job. Until this year he had spent most of his career riding the pine. In fact, when Florida State played LSU on Sept. 16, the pro scouts came to see Tiger quarterback Tommy Hodson. They left with Willis's name added to the short list of top quarterback prospects in Division I-A after he threw for 301 yards. Since then, Willis has become the first Seminole quarterback to have four 300-yard-plus passing games in one season.
Against South Carolina, Willis completed nine passes in the Seminoles' first 11 plays from scrimmage. "As a quarterback," he said, "I'd like to throw every down." All told, he completed 25 of 38 throws.
This week the Seminoles, whose seven victims include Miami and Auburn, will get a week off before wrapping up the season against Memphis State and Florida. "I'm beat up and sore and ready to go home for a weekend," said Willis after Saturday's game. Still, he wasn't too weary to do a little campaigning for the benefit of scouts representing eight bowls. "We just need to win our next two games and then go wherever the highest ranked team is," he said. "If we have a chance to win the national championship, that's where we want to be."
O.K., Peter Tom, but you should know that no team has ever won the national title with two losses.
THE MANE MAN
Hair hasn't been much of an issue in college football since the early 1970s, so Michigan State running back Blake Ezor had to be surprised when coach George Perles told him to have his hair trimmed before the Indiana game. Thinking quickly, Ezor turned Biblical scholar and reminded Perles of "the Samson thing," as Ezor called it.
Nice try, but Perles insisted on doing his Delilah thing. Reluctantly, Ezor had his hair cut by his brother and roommate, Bert. The result—a sort of semi-Marine-recruit look—so pleased Perles that he said, "You're going to have a big day, mark my words, because you cut your hair."
Sure enough, not only did Ezor have a big day in the Spartans' 51-20 rout of the Hoosiers in Bloomington, but he also overshadowed Indiana's Anthony Thompson, who set an NCAA record with his 60th career touchdown. While Michigan State's defense was holding Thompson to 82 yards on the ground, Ezor gained 203 yards, scored four TDs and caught three passes.