- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Trojans having regained possession on an interception, Davis started around left end and then cut back for eight yards and his sixth six-pointer. By the time Southern Cal reached the Irish three-inch line in the closing minutes its lead was so secure that another back—Sam (Bam) Cunningham—was allowed to score, despite the crowd's pleas of "We want Davis."
" Davis is the greatest I've ever seen on kickoff returns in college," said Ara Parseghian later. He neglected to mention that A.D. had also rushed for 99 yards from scrimmage, caught two passes for 51 yards and refrained from kicking off into any touchdowns.
Davis is 5'9", weighs 190 and lives alone in an off-campus apartment where he meditates before each game. Facially he resembles O.J. Simpson. The world did not care much about these bits of information at the beginning of the season, when Davis weighed but 184 and was third string. Only after injuries to junior Rod McNeill and fellow sophomore Allen Carter did Davis become a starter. And yet he ran for 1,034 yards this season, the first time a USC sophomore has reached 1,000. Asked why Davis had not been discovered earlier, USC Quarterback Mike Rae (who is one of 23 Catholics on the squad and whose uncle is the accountant for a Catholic church in Chicago) said, "In the spring he had to run against our line." No one knew how fast he was because the only time he had been timed in the 40-yard dash he had a pulled hamstring. Still, he managed a 4.6, which should have told the coaches something. The football-watching world knows how fast he is now, and if he has any more afternoons like Saturday during the next two seasons USC football history before 1972 may be referred to as B.A.D.—Before A.D.
But USC also owed a lot last week to Auburn, which has been referred to publicly as a "cow college" and whose coach, down-to-earth Shug Jordan, says, "I decided when I became head coach I wasn't going to concern myself with the people in New York or Hollywood."
Saturday in Birmingham, Shug and his boys concerned themselves with the people from Tuscaloosa, whose coach, the Bear, was the one who called Auburn a cow college. He put it rather complimentarily—"I'd rather beat the cow college once than Texas 10 times," he said recently. But Auburn's reaction was summed up by Tailback Terry Henley: "I think it's low down for him to call our school a cow college."
So a bunch of fired-up Tigers went out and made seven first downs, 50 yards rushing and 30 passing against the Tide. "We could have played all day and Auburn wouldn't have scored on our defense," said Alabama Linebacker Chuck Strickland. But Alabama had reckoned without the cow college's punt-blocking attack. "I did the same thing on both punts," said Linebacker Newton, who also made 11 individual tackles and assisted on 11 others. "Instead of coming right at the tackle I lined up outside him and looped inside. Nobody touched me either time."
Langner, who ran 20 and 25 yards with the blocked punts, said, "I didn't know what to think. It scared me to death. They just bounced right into my hands. All I had to do was run." Langner might have had a third touchdown after intercepting his second pass late in the game to stop an Alabama threat, but he went for a sure kneeling catch rather than try to run it back.
"Wasn't no use to run with it," he said. "We had the game won anyway."
"I've been teaching punt protection for a long time," said Bryant. "I'm still proud of our players. I'm just sorry I didn't teach them better."
Just as Southern California and Auburn found success by breaking down their opponents' kicking games, so did Army succeed against Navy. The Cadets took control in their 23-15 victory when Tim Pfister blocked a third-quarter field-goal attempt and Scott Beaty ran the ball 84 yards for a touchdown. Bob Hines led the Army offense with 172 yards rushing and a touchdown. Boston College junked its air attack against Holy Cross and ran off to a 41-11 victory. The Eagles rushed for 453 yards.