The University of
Minnesota is a huge school, with 26,000 students, and it has been in business
since 1851. Warmath is constantly amazed by the number of alumni who seem to be
occupied solely with snarling at his door. But he stood them off in 1958 when
they demanded that he resign and again last fall, when a group of Minneapolis
businessmen offered to buy up the two remaining years of his five-year contract
"Why do you
stay here and take all this?" an assistant once asked.
a good football coach," said Warmath, "and I want to prove it."
proved it in the first six games of 1960. His players carried him off the field
after the Gophers beat Illinois and again after they beat Michigan, and to a
man who has grown accustomed to walking alone down the long, dark corridors of
defeat this must have seemed like pretty fancy transportation. After Minnesota
walloped Kansas State in a warmup game last weekend, big red-white-and-blue
buttons saying "Warmath for President" began to show up in town. But if
he failed to beat Evashevski and Iowa....
"This is the
most important game," said Warmath, "that any team of mine has ever
The two football
teams that trotted onto the field before the huge, howling mob on Saturday were
as great a study in contrast as their coaches. Speed has always been an
Evashevski trademark, but the 1960 Hawkeyes are unbelievably fast; every man in
the first three backfields can outrun anyone on the entire Minnesota team.
Three halfbacks—Larry Ferguson, Jerry Mauren and Sam Harris—and Fullback Joe
Williams had each averaged better than five yards a carry. And while Wilburn
Hollis, the 200-pound quarterback out of Possum Trot, Miss, by way of
Nebraska's Boys Town, is not much of a passer, he too can run so well that many
Iowans consider him the best quarterback Evashevski has ever had. Better than
Jerry Reichow or Kenny Ploen, better even than 1958 All-America Randy
The Hawkeyes had
scored over half of their touchdowns on long runs, and when Hollis does throw
he goes for the long, sudden touchdown pass. That is the word for Iowa—sudden.
The Iowans play daring, wide-open football, running from a confusing cluster of
formations, and they pounce like terriers on any opponent's mistake. It is an
exciting team with great scoring ability.
before the game that his problem was simple enough.
"We have to
spread our defense to keep them between the ends," he said. "And we
have to play back to keep them from getting behind us. We have to pinch them
into as small an area as possible. We don't intend to give them anything, but
the question is whether in spreading out like this to contain their wide stuff
we are going to be giving up too much down the middle."
Warmath intended to play the game as he learned to play it and as he has always
played it: controlling the play, grinding out yardage, kicking on third down in
his own territory, seldom throwing a pass, forcing the other team into
mistakes. "That has been our success formula this year," he said.
"We have lost the ball on fumbles and interceptions only eight times; we
have got the football on fumbles and interceptions 22 times. We have more depth
in the line than Iowa, and we can outkick them. We can move the ball, too. If
our defense can contain their outside speed, we should win."