Brigham Young, which has won seven consecutive WAC championships, should keep its streak alive for at least one more season—until senior Quarterback Steve Young graduates. Besides being the great-great-great-grandson of the Mormon pioneer after whom BYU is named, Young is one of the finest passers in the nation. Would you expect anything less from a school that has turned out Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson and Jim McMahon, all of whom are now playing in the NFL? Last season Young, the WAC Offensive Player of the Year, completed 62.7% of his throws for 3,100 yards and 18 touchdowns. Young's favorite target will be Tight End Gordon Hudson, a consensus All-America who caught 67 passes in 1982—the same number he caught in 1981.
Defensive End Jimmie Carter, who hails from Reagan High in Austin, is only the vice-president of New Mexico's defense. Linebacker Johnny Jackson (15 sacks in 1982) is the president. The man behind this blitz-crazy bunch is first-year Coach Joe Lee Dunn, the former Lobo defensive coordinator who took over the top job just 24 hours after Joe Morrison left for South Carolina in December. New Mexico averaged 34 points per game in '82, and with quarterbacks Buddy Funck and Todd Williamson back to run the Lobos' veer attack, it should be even more explosive and wide open than in '82.
Last season was most satisfying for Air Force. The Falcons beat Notre Dame for the first time, won their first bowl game (over Vanderbilt in the Hall of Fame) and received the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy for winning the round robin among the three service academies. This fall could be just as fulfilling. Quarterback Marty Louthan, who rushed for 796 yards in '82 and completed 50% of his passes, returns, as does All-Conference Fullback John Kershner. He ran for 1,056 yards on 226 carries.
San Diego State is probably a year away from winning the WAC title, but Coach Doug Scovil's Aztecs will keep the ball in the air. Mark McKay, who hit 57% of 250 passes for 1,985 yards last fall, has two strong receivers in Jim Sandusky and Tight End Jeff Speck. Hawaii's longest suit is its schedule: eight home games and no BYU. The Rainbows' best players are Middle Linebacker Falaniko Noga, who runs a 4.6 40, bench-presses 460 pounds and has a 34-inch vertical leap, and Wide Receiver Walter Murray, who does a 4.4 40 and holds the national high school record in the 300-meter low hurdles (35.79).
Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah and Texas-El Paso will be along for the ride. Colorado State has 18 starters back—but nobody special except Middle Linebacker Jeff Harper. Wyoming couldn't find a quarterback to run its wishbone last season and is still searching. Utah lost Tailback Carl Monroe (1,507 yards in '82) to graduation and Quarterback Ken Vierra to Maryland. Texas-El Paso Coach Bill Yung had a super recruiting year, but the Miners, 14-100 over the last decade, will need several more years of the same to create a winning program.
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