Cunningham rolled up the statistics—2,847 yards of passing offense, 16 touchdowns passing, only 12 interceptions—but was plagued by a tendency to go it alone. "He felt the pressure to do everything himself," says Hyde. "Randall tried to lead, but the guys wouldn't cooperate with him," says Michael McDade, an all-PCAA wide receiver and Cunningham's roommate and closest friend.
Then Randall's father, Samuel, died after suffering a heart attack in November of 1982, and Randall was shattered. "When I lost my mother, I figured that since I didn't have her to say 'Hi, Mom' to on TV, I could say it to my dad. But then I couldn't even say it to him."
In '83 Cunningham passed for 2,545 yards and 18 touchdowns while leading UNLV to a 7-4 record and a second-place finish in the PCAA. "Last season I was confident, but I didn't understand the game as much as I do now," he says. "I had to learn that in college everybody has an assignment. Now I'm doing my assignment and only my assignment."
Cunningham made "team leader" part of his assignment. During spring practice he and McDade organized the Bomb Squad. Only backs—both offensive and defensive—and wide receivers can join. Members of the club are identified by their "wings"—elastic forearm wraps that look suspiciously like knee wraps. To earn his wings, a Bomb Squadder must display the twin virtues of "dedication and hard work," says Cunningham. "The team knows that when you earn your wings, you've done something spectacular." With that requirement, it's little wonder that Cunningham is president of the Bomb Squad.