Every few years there emerges from the horde of college football players one star of exceptional ability who captures the national fancy. Pete Dawkins, the slender Army halfback, was such a man in 1958. This year the distinction belongs to Navy's Joe Bellino, small as backfield men go but a bruising, tricky runner with a knack for looking good in every game. Last Saturday, against Army, he showed why opposing teams feared him and why he is likely to be awarded the Heisman Trophy as the outstanding player of the year. Bellino carried the ball 20 times for 85 yards, caught two passes for 16 yards, returned a punt 42 yards and two kickoffs for another 46. He also scored the game's first touchdown, leading Navy to a 17-0 half-time lead.
Bellino runs slightly crouched over until he gets past the line. His legs kick out to the side turkey-fashion, as they churn forward. This, in part, accounts for his ability to fake and cut sharply. Once in the secondary, he straightens up and flies. He did this the third time he got the ball in the first period (left). Breaking through a tiny hole from his own one, he tore loose from one tackler, feinted another into a wild miss and went 58 yards.
But it was a defensive play with seconds to go that made Bellino the hero of the 61st Army-Navy game. A spirited Army had cut Navy's lead to 17-12 and was driving for a touchdown when Bellino intercepted a pass on his goal line and ran it back 45 yards. That killed Army's last hope.