- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The stocky man with the mustache, and his plump, blonde wife were in the upper deck of Northwestern's Dyche Stadium, roughly a quarter mile above the rather tattered turf where Oregon State was playing the home team. The couple was wired for sound with HIS and HERS earphones tuned in to a spot some 75 miles away to the north where the Milwaukee Braves were commencing the third of their series of entertainments with the New York Yankees.
The wife fiddled with the batteries in the tiny transistor radio for most of the first quarter. Her spouse gazed down morosely as big Joe Francis, the powerful, fast-moving Oregon State tailback, lofted a long pass to Halfback Earnel Durden. The wife pulled the back off the radio, removed a battery irritably and moistened the contacts with her tongue. Her husband moistened his throat from a jug, doing this stealthily because Evanston is the national headquarters for the WCTU and dry as a losing coach's throat. Francis skittered around left end from the Northwestern 10, and the score was 12-0. The radio began to work; the Yankees had scored and a neighbor asked Mr. Earplugs what happened. "I'm just giving scores," he said. The Beavers got a field goal and the Yankees led 3-1. The band played loudly at the half and Mr. Earplugs' neighbors leaned closer to hear his bulletins. By the time Oregon State marked up the final 22-13 margin of victory, the Yankees led 7-1. Mr. Earplugs still looked morose as the game ended. He stood; then stiffened, and his neighbors braced themselves for more bad news. "It's 12-3, Yankees," he said.
'I HATE TO LOSE'
Baylor Quarterback Doyle Traylor was not making excuses: " Miami wanted this one worse than we did," he said. He had been silent since leaving the locker room but now in the car, halfway across Biscayne Bay, he began to speak. "The option play Fran Curci ran, it killed us in the first half. Oh, they were a good ball club all right, better than we were tonight anyhow. But, damn, I hate to lose; I'd rather jump off the Empire State Building."
He was talking to Clyde Letbetter, Baylor right guard. The two were trying to figure out just how Miami had upset them 13-7.
"Well," said Letbetter, "I think that option hurt more than anything, 283 yards in the first half. That little Curci fellow had it timed perfect. Just when you got hold of him and thought sure you had him nailed—wham! he pitches it out quick and the halfback's gone to market."
It was true. Fran Curci, Miami's 143-pound quarterback, worked sleight-of-hand tricks with the football Saturday night the likes of which have not been seen since vaudeville days on the old Keith Circuit.
On Miami's first touchdown, the pint-sized sophomore held the ball until the last possible split second, fooling most of the fans and Baylor. Halfback John Varone was shaken loose for a 20-yard touchdown run on the play. The same option play, run again and again, gave Miami its 13-0 half-time lead on another Varone touchdown.
"Our ends were playing in too close," Letbetter explained, "and they were getting knocked off balance with brush blocks when they crashed. We just had them play a little wider in the second half and stop that little feller every time he tried it."
Baylor's ground game was practically nonexistent. The Bears netted but 10 yards rushing in the first half: " Miami was playing an 8 plus 9 man line on us all game," Traylor explained. "We had to throw."