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When perennial loser Kansas State beat New Mexico State 52-7 (no, your eyes aren't deceiving you—that's the correct score) to go 2-0 for the first time since 1982, Wildcat fans didn't bother tearing down the goalposts. Their restraint pleased second-year head coach Bill Snyder. "I don't want our people to tear down goalposts for doing mediocre things," said Snyder. Never mind that mediocre is a giant step forward for a program that, until New Mexico State staggered in, hadn't beaten a Division I-A foe since 1986.
But for the really big news from Manhattan, Kans., listen to losing coach Jim Hess: " Kansas State is better than the two other teams we've played [ New Mexico and Texas-El Paso, both of which also defeated the Aggies]. I think he [ Snyder] has that team on the right track."
Poor Hess can look at Kansas State with a certain wistfulness. New Mexico State hasn't won since Oct. 1, 1988. The Aggies' 20-game losing streak is the longest in Division I-A and promises to get longer.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS
SI's Rich O'Brien reports on the kickoff of Army's centennial season.
Senior running back Mike Mayweather remembers his first football practice at West Point. "Coach [Jim] Young drilled us on the history of the place," says Mayweather, who has added to that history by becoming Army's alltime leading rusher. "He talked a lot about tradition."
Everybody talks about tradition at West Point, where the Long Gray Line marches past statues of MacArthur, Patton and Eisenhower, and where Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis, those other West Point heroes, carried Army to three straight national championships in 1944, '45 and '46. Tradition was all around West Point last Saturday, when 30,880 fans showed up at Michie Stadium to watch the Black Knights take on Holy Cross and to celebrate 100 years of Army football. The occasion also was a reminder of how things have changed. National championships are now a thing of the past at the Point. Thirty-two years have gone by since the Cadets finished in the Top 10. They have had only eight winning seasons in the last 20 years. Even the annual Army-Navy game, once one of college football's big showcase events, is now little more than a nationally televised...well, tradition.
"We can't compete with the big-time schools when it comes to recruiting," says Al Vanderbush, the academy's new athletic director, citing Army's rigorous academic demands and mandatory five-year postgraduate military commitment. "We have to take kids we think can develop."
The 5'8", 190-pound Mayweather, who finished 1989 with a school-record 1,177 yards—as well as a career total of 2,961, four more than Davis's longtime mark-is a perfect example. He grew up as the youngest of 10 children in a poor neighborhood in St. Louis, but attended the exclusive St. Louis Country Day School, where he was a B+ student and three-time all-state in football. Yet because of his size, Mayweather received only two scholarship offers. "I knew I had to look beyond football," he says. "So I chose West Point."