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Dicky does a bit of everything but dicker
Myron Cope
November 11, 1968
Kentucky's dauntless all-purpose football-and-horseplayer, Dicky Lyons, was his usual ubiquitous self as the Wildcats thumped West Virginia's clean-living, churchgoing stalwarts
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November 11, 1968

Dicky Does A Bit Of Everything But Dicker

Kentucky's dauntless all-purpose football-and-horseplayer, Dicky Lyons, was his usual ubiquitous self as the Wildcats thumped West Virginia's clean-living, churchgoing stalwarts

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Anyhow, James Anthony Carlen III outlawed smoking and drinking, strongly recommended lean waistlines and church on Sunday and scheduled 5 a.m. calisthenics for any player caught cutting a class. "I tell 'em, 'football is payin' your scholarship,' " he says, " 'and if you can't learn anythin' in class, let's go on down and we'll check the teacher out.' I think teachers have a real impact. I'm not sayin' our kids have become any kind of Phi Beters," he says, "but they're takin' more interest."

In this, his third year, Carlen expected to start winning big, for he still has a relatively soft schedule. He did win, four times. But Penn State and Virginia Tech—the only class teams among the first six opponents—beat him, and then, suddenly, here was Kentucky with a 14-0 lead. Carlen's clean-cut abstinents fought back at this point, however, making it only 14-10 at halftime.

Soon after, though, Dicky Lyons went to work for his man Charlie. While Bair, the quarterback, and Makin, the fullback, handled the ball on a drive to the 13, Dicky amused himself by running out fakes and blocking Mountaineers prostrate. From the 13 in, he swept end for five yards, then butted three tacklers till they yielded three more yards. Then he swung wide to his right—straight into a swarm of West Virginians. For five yards he pushed, slithered, lunged and, just barely, laid the ball across the goal line. "He may go a long while not lookin' good," Carlen had said of Dicky earlier, "and he'll lull you to sleep. Then look out."

With his third-quarter touchdown Dicky had broken the game open, and in the fourth quarter he put it out of reach. He carried three times from the nine to nonexistent openings, skipping through two pairs of West Virginia hands on a sweep, banging over tackle into West Virginia bellies, and finally sailing the last yard like an Al Oerter discus. That done, Dicky retired for the day and watched his guilt-ridden gang cruise to a 35-16 sop for Charlie. Against a Mountaineer defense loaded up front to stop him, Dicky had made only one sizable run—a 20-yarder nullified by a penalty—but he had socked out 67 yards the hard way.

If the mourners who filed into West Virginia's dressing room viewed the Mountaineers' third defeat as the beginning of the end for Carlen's campaign to join the football elite, Sunny Jim, stripped to the waist, stood ready to revive their faith. "Our day's comin'," he said. "I'd like to have won more games, but we've had to go with a lot of inexperienced youngsters, and we've had all kinds of injuries." For the sake of impudence, a reporter pointed out to Carlen that Dicky Lyons, a Louisville boy, is said to lead the Kentucky campus in parking tickets and that he is an incurable horseplayer who often can be found biting his nails while sweating out the race results as they come over the radio. Would Carlen tolerate a Dicky among his new-image Mountaineers? Carlen smiled. "Well," he said, "if he can afford to play the horses I don't suppose I'd object in the least."

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