The next step was to play as many five-minute sudden-death periods as would be needed to resolve this impasse. Presumably, the overtimes could go on all night. Thompson returned to play, but this time his presence didn't seem to daunt Duke. Ulrich, called "a maestro" by some of his backs, was directing the show from his sweeper position. The Blue Devils were controlling the ball, but the Hoosier defense was impenetrable. At one juncture, when Duke Defender Mike Jeffries fired on the Indiana goal, the only Hoosier who wasn't lined up in front of it was Goalie Peterson. But as tough as the Indiana defense was, its offense was as unyielding in quite another sense. The scene, it seemed, was being set for Soccer at Sunrise.
Or, maybe, M*A*S*H. As the fourth five-minute period began, Thompson went up for a ball with Jeffries, tumbled and limped off for a third time. Others who fell arose more and more slowly. There was a time-out, and the players looked like students in a mass outdoor yoga class, stretching their hamstrings and twisting at their waists. Play was getting sloppy, and as the sixth OT ended, it was announced that the coaches and NCAA officials had agreed to try 10-minute periods. As the first one began, 59 minutes of play had elapsed since McCoy had tied the score. Thompson returned, cramped up yet again and went out. Duke attacked. Indiana couldn't counterattack. And about the time that 10-minute period No. 1 concluded, Hoosier Assistant Coach Don Rawson turned to Yeagley, who had just said, "What a great game for college soccer," and asked, "Do you think the NCAA would consider declaring co-champions?"
"No way," Yeagley said. "I've waited 20 years. I'd rather lose it than be a co-champion."
Seventy-five seconds into the second 10-minute period, Duke Forward Tom Kain launched a kick from just inside the penalty area toward the Indiana goal, but it bounced harmlessly away after appearing to hit Hoosier Sweeper Dan King on the hands. It was the game's only controversial play. Duke players and fans screamed for a "handball," an infraction that calls for a penalty shot, kicker against goalie, one-on-one. Nine of 10 such kicks strike home. But Referee Al Kleinitis saw no handball, and the game lurched on. Minutes later, Paul DiBernardo, the 5'4" brother of Angelo, the Hoosiers' two-time All-America (1977-78), passed off to Thompson, who ran afoul of Ulrich, and the rest is very special NCAA history.
Ulrich, who has been drafted in the first round by the New York Arrows of the MISL and who's waiting confidently for word from the NASL, said afterward, "As sweeper I'm the last man before my goal, and Thompson is very quick. He was in the area where he could have scored easily. But I went for the ball, not him."
Thompson, a finance major with an A—average, was scheduled to graduate this week, and in three weeks he's to marry his high school sweetheart, Nelle Palmer. He has also been drafted in the MISL first round, by the Lazers, and an NASL offer looks like a sure thing. Further, on this interminable night in Fort Lauderdale he'd scored two goals in one game for the first time in his brilliant Indiana career. He was asked, "Do you ever regret choosing soccer over football?"
"Are you kidding?" he replied.