SI Vault
Larry Keith
September 11, 1972
Cynics believe that national championships, even the small-college variety, can be won only by football factories. They should take a close look at the University of Delaware. Last year the Blue Hens were 10-1, and for the fourth consecutive year they plucked the twin bouquets of college-division football in the East—the Lambert Cup and the Boardwalk Bowl. Since 1968 the team has won 36 and lost only eight. This has been accomplished in defiance of the fact that, as Athletic Director Dave Nelson puts it, "the throttle has not been pushed forward all the way." If Nelson and Coach Tubby Raymond have anything to say about it—and they do—it never will be.
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September 11, 1972

Small Colleges

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With just enough quality players like Johnson to build upon, Raymond is able to make do within the context he favors. "You don't have to play Notre Dame to be big time," he points out. Nevertheless, along with its formidable won-lost record there are other earmarks of a burgeoning program—a computer that does pregame analyses of opponents, an assistant coach who informs the admissions office of "desirable" enrollees.

Delaware's concept of low-key football cannot remain unchanged, however, because it has outgrown its opposition. In the middle of this decade the school will take a halting step into the major college ranks.

"It will be interesting to see if we can do it without changing our principles," says Raymond. "We'd prefer not to give athletic scholarships, and I want to see if we can win without spending a lot of money. Even if we do well we won't put in what it would take to reach Nebraska's level."

A few years ago University President Edward Trabant asked Nelson what it would take to win the Lambert Trophy, which goes to the best major college team in the East, instead of the Lambert Cup. Nelson told him "about $300,000." That's one investment no one at Delaware is willing to make.

Unlike Delaware, Akron (8-2 last year) is one school with no reservations about stepping up in class. The Zips are eying the Mid-American Conference but for now they remain a formidable college-division threat. The attack will open up this year since Eric Schoch is taking over complete quarterbacking responsibilities. Most of the team's eight player losses were on defense, where End Bruce Walker shines. Boise State's Camellia Bowl champions (10-2) have a big vacancy at quarterback, but Eric Guthrie's successor will find a good receiver in Don Hutt and a dependable ballcarrier in Fullback Ken Johnson.

Pioneer Bowl winner Louisiana Tech (9-2) faces a similar problem. Denny Duron, formerly a reserve flanker, succeeds a long line of All-America quarterbacks. Charles (Quick Six) McDaniel was' a sensation as a freshman halfback and Roger Carr and Eric Johnson are fine pass targets. The defense is headed by Tackle Ted Dean, the school's best ever. Newcomer McNeese State (9-1-1) presents a strong challenge to Louisiana Tech in the Southland Conference. The Cowboys have not one but two starting quarterbacks, pass-minded Greg Davis and run-oriented Allan Dennis. The offensive line needs experience. Another conference with a two-way battle should be the North Central where North Dakota State (7-2) was unseated after seven straight titles by North Dakota (6-3-1). Both teams are loaded with veterans and the defenses are particularly strong. The Oct. 21 game at North Dakota should decide.

Tennessee State (9-1), Grantland Rice Bowl winner over McNeese State, lost outstanding Quarterback Joe Gilliam. Running Backs Alfred Reese and Fred Lane will open up the ground game behind the blocking of Tackle Robert Woods. Without Gilliam, but bolstered by an improved defense, the Tigers probably won't play many games like the wild 41-35 defeat of Grambling. In fact, Tennessee State might not even win the rematch. The Black Knights (9-2) are veteran-rich and may be Coach Eddie Robinson's best team in years. Defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Western Kentucky (8-2) could be supplanted by Tennessee Tech (8-2). The offensive backfield is solid with Quarterback Leo Peckenpaugh and some fine runners, but the offensive and defensive lines are green, green. Tennessee Tech needs a quarterback to balance a ground game led by Fullback Jeff Axel. The defense has All-America Linebacker Jeff Youngblood.

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