SI Vault
Mervin Hyman
September 24, 1962
With a lot of first-year players, most Big Ten and Big Eight teams will be stronger than in 1961—but Ohio State is still best
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September 24, 1962

The Season Of The Sophomore

With a lot of first-year players, most Big Ten and Big Eight teams will be stronger than in 1961—but Ohio State is still best

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CONCLUSION: Let's hope Elliott has enough true-Blue (and Orange) Illinoisans. Losing coaches are not always popular in Illinois.


Give a football to a kid in Indiana and he'll throw it through a hoop. Coach Phil Dickens has fine football players from Hattiesburg, Miss, and Neptune, N.J. on his first team, but none at all from the heart of Hoosierland. Halfback Marv Woodson (Hattiesburg), who led the Hoosiers and made the Big Ten second team as a sophomore by running over or around people for 435 yards and 36 points, looks better than ever. Hitting from the other side is Wingback Nate Ramsey (Neptune), who has averaged 4.3 yards per carry for two years. Guard is solid with top sophomores Mel Branch and Don Croftcheck hustling two-lettermen Mike Wasdovich, Larry Coleman and Ken Ellis. Just as gratifying are Centers Jack Holder, a candidate for football honors, and Dave Reda. But these aren't enough Hessians to hold the fort. Ends are nonexistent, tackles are game but small and the quarterbacks—well, they just can't find the basket.

CONCLUSION: In 15 Big Ten seasons, Indiana has been 16-75-3. No wonder IU leavens its schedule with outsiders.


Like Iowa corn, the Hawkeyes are hybrids. Indeed, the less the purity of the strain, the better the team. When Iowa tied for the Big Ten title in 1960, there were as many Illinoisans as natives on the roster. Last year, with twice as many Iowans, Iowa sank to 5-4. This season the formula has been partially restored and the top four players are foreigners: End Cloyd Webb (Illinois), 25 catches for 425 yards; Quarterback Matt Szykowny (Pennsylvania), who completed 120 passes for 1,078 yards; Tackle Gus Kasapis (Michigan), mean enough to play pro right now; and All-America Larry Ferguson (Illinois), who rushed 665 yards (7.3 average) for six touchdowns in 1960. The other standouts—Flanker Sam Harris, Fullback Bill Perkins and Halfback Paul Krause—are also non-Iowans. The interior line, by contrast, is native-grown and it isn't very good. Coach Jerry Burns, in fact, has had to replace a tackle with an out-of-state flanker.

CONCLUSION: The Hawkeyes will increase their yield per acre with a blitzkrieg offense, but they could use some more outsiders.

Iowa State

After futile years of impersonating embattled good guys fighting impossible odds, the Cyclones have a team. It isn't a big one, as Coach Clay Stapleton will be the first to tell you, but even he will admit that the cast of supporting characters is impressive. The star, as usual, will be Dave Hoppmann, who led the nation in total offense last year, rushing 920 of his team's yards and passing for 718 more (41 of 91). But no longer will he be the nation's best tailback. Stapleton has switched from the single wing to the wing T. Why? Because, to his considerable surprise, he found he had too many good backs. In front of potentially the best backfield in ISU history (in addition to Hoppmann, who will play halfback, there are Quarterback Larry Switzer. Wingback Mike Cox and Fullback Tom Vaughn, all sophomores) is a big, steady line which won't be hurt a bit by the emergence of such sure sophomores as Jack McGonegle and Norm Taylor.

CONCLUSION: With more and better sophomores than he had players in the "dirty '30s," Stapleton could upstage the Big Eight.

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