- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The play started on the Mississippi five. Arkansas quarterback Quinn Grovey rolled out left and pitched to Dickerson, who was slowed just enough by Godwin at the two-yard line to give Mitchell a chance to lay a thunderous hit on Dickerson and keep him from scoring.
Afterward, Mitchell lay on the field, unconscious, sending a chill through Ole Miss fans. Mitchell wears jersey number 38, which was previously worn by Chucky Mullins, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down while making a tackle last year. When Mitchell got up after a few seconds, everyone in attendance was relieved, even though he held his neck as he walked off the field. "It hurt bad," said Mitchell, "but when they woke me up, they said we won."
Quarterback Dan Sharley has led Dayton to a 17-0-1 record as a starter since he was promoted for the final regular-season game of 1988. A 14-10 home victory over Butler last Saturday enabled the Flyers to get even with the only team to blemish that run; the Bulldogs played Dayton to a 23-23 tie last year in Indianapolis. The win also boosted the Flyers' 1990 record to 3-0 and tied them with Williams College for the the nation's longest winning streak at 14.
Dayton is a member of Division III, whose schools cannot award athletic scholarships, and Sharley, a senior from Memphis, is like many other Division III players in that football is not his only—or even primary—interest. He has a 3.51 GPA in journalism and has made the dean's list for five consecutive semesters. He plans to attend law school. In his spare time, Sharley plays the guitar and does watercolors. His favorite subjects for the paintings are his teammates, particularly members of the offensive line. "I'm real generous to the linemen," says Sharley. "I give them big arms."
In turn, the linemen give Sharley the protection necessary to run an option offense that emphasizes the run but still has allowed him to complete more than 60% of his passes. In the Flyers' season-opening 45-28 win over John Carroll, Sharley completed 18 of 22 throws for 306 yards. Against Butler, however, he was only five of 14, so coach Mike Kelly replaced him in the third quarter with senior Jack Dybis. Dybis broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown scamper, which sparked Dayton's comeback from a 10-7 deficit.
As pleased as Dybis was with his performance, he didn't need Sharley or anyone else to paint him a picture concerning his future. "I'm sure Dan will start next week," said Dybis. "It's the coaches' decision, and it's been the right decision."
Southern Cal's 31-0 drubbing at the hands of Washington was the Trojans' worst Pac-10 defeat since a 34-0 loss to the Huskies in 1960. It was also coach Don James's 150th career win, 125 of which have come at Washington. The Huskies were led by quarterback Mark Brunell, who's still being teased about the play against Purdue two weeks ago in which he lined up for the snap behind his strong guard instead of his center. "I'm not the first guy to do that," said Brunell. " John Elway did it. All those butts look alike."...Billy Payne, the former Georgia defensive end who headed Atlanta's successful effort to land the '96 Olympics, was given a standing ovation in Athens before the Bulldogs' 17-16 victory over Alabama, which is now 0-3. Also on hand was former Clemson coach Danny Ford, who's already being mentioned as the man who could be coaching Alabama sooner rather than later if Gene Stallings doesn't stop the current Tide slide....