All of this was in the pamphlet with photographs and tables of record-breaking performances and the further reminder that Plunkett could have gone on to the pros after last season had he not forsaken riches to hang in with Ralston just for one more shot at USC, the Rose Bowl and the Whatsitsname.
Plunkett's keepers had been thoroughly frustrated during the early part of the season by the uproarious Mad Ave. campaign being waged by the backers of Mississippi's Archie Manning. Archie had a big head start, Stanford felt. Stanford, for one thing, hadn't thought of Jimmy buttons. Or Jimmy bumper stickers.
The pamphlet was what they finally came up with after Jim had succeeded in achieving one of his goals, the beating of USC. Then came what Bob Murphy decided was the perfect time to unleash it on all of the 1,300-odd Heisman voters, most of whom, it should be pointed out, would never get to see any college player even remotely in contention. The perfect time was when Archie Manning got dusted off by little ole Southern Mississippi.
"Archie Who? got beat by Southern What?" said Murphy, licking the stamps for the envelopes dispatching his Plunkett material to all the ships at sea. "How can anybody win the Heisman who gets beat by Southern Mississippi?" Murphy asked with the full approval of John Ralston and most all followers of West Coast football who were not Dennis Dummit fans.
What then made the confrontation with UCLA all the larger was the thing that happened Saturday afternoon to USC. The thing was, USC got shocked by Oregon, the biggest upstart in the conference, the team that had also upset UCLA and, in fact, had led Stanford at halftime. Suddenly Oregon was in the Rose Bowl picture and still is, despite the fact that Plunkett and his Indians survived UCLA. Oregon's only remaining conference games are against Washington and Oregon State. Stanford has three to go, against Oregon State, Washington and California. Mathematically, UCLA and USC are still in it, too, but Stanford is safely past the teams that looked the most frightening to John Ralston. And the only question is whether Plunkett and his friends can avoid a letdown, or get too preoccupied with the Heisman business.
One of the most impressive things about Plunkett is that the Stanford offense almost never fails to move with him. He gets a few first downs, enhancing his field position, on virtually every possession. Either by hitting his backs in the safety valve or blowing out a long one to Randy Vataha down the sideline, he keeps the ball. Against the Bruins this resulted in Stanford running 95 plays to UCLA's 63, and the valiant Bruin defense, which had forced a fumble to set up its go-ahead seven points and also had grabbed two interceptions, just couldn't keep staving him off.
It was a long Plunkett pass to Vataha, a 42-yarder on third down—yeah, one of those we-gotta-have-it situations—that set up the winning field goal. So in the final analysis it was Jim Plunkett who kept all those Stanford pamphlets from going the way of the Edsel and the Archie button.