NO FAULTING FAULK
When Garrison Hearst announced last January that he was passing up his senior year at Georgia to enter the NFL draft, San Diego State tailback Marshall Faulk immediately became the front-runner for the 1993 Heisman Trophy. After all, Faulk, who had run for 1,429 yards as a freshman in 1991 and 1,630 yards last season, hoped to become the first player to lead the nation in rushing for three consecutive years. However, when Faulk got off to a slow start this fall, gaining 340 yards on 73 carries in his first three games, he not only dropped out of contention for the Heisman—Faulk even declared himself a noncandidate—but also made people wonder whether he had made a mistake by not following Hearst's example.
It's hard to fault Faulk's decision. He is on pace to get his degree in public administration in 1995, and last Saturday he picked up 186 yards on 36 carries in a 20-17 victory over New Mexico. That gave him 924 yards for the year and an average of 115.5 yards per game (11th nationally). And this year more than ever, opposing defenses have been designed to stop him. "People take different angles against us than they do against other teams," says Aztec coach Al Luginbill. "That's why he hasn't broken more long runs."
"As far as individual stuff, I've accomplished about all I can, except winning the Heisman Trophy, and that doesn't matter," says Faulk, who has said he will make a decision about turning pro after this season is over. "It's about time for opponents to look at San Diego State as just San Diego State, not as Marshall Faulk and San Diego State."
But did Faulk lose a lot of cash by not opting for the NFL? Not necessarily, says Larry Lacewell, director of college scouting for the Dallas Cowboys. "We don't look at the numbers; we look at the talent level," says Lacewell. "He's done it once, and he can do it again. He's not with as good a team as he has been in the past. He's still the same football player with the same moves."
HUFFING AND PUFFING
During Mississippi State's 31-17 loss at Auburn on Oct. 9, Bulldog coach Jackie Sherrill asked the officials to check the air in some of the game balls. He suspected that the balls the Tigers were using were slightly deflated, making them easier to grasp. Moreover, he thought that Auburn punter Terry Daniel, whose league-leading average of 48.3 yards per kick is more than five yards better than his average last year, might be punting with balls filled with helium.
The officials did find a couple of under-inflated balls, which they then pumped up to snuff and put back in play. And after Sherrill filed a complaint with the SEC, the league ordered that one of the balls punted by Daniel during Auburn's Oct. 16 game against Florida be brought to SEC headquarters in Birmingham for testing. Daniel's first two punts against the Gators had gone for 55 and 71 yards.
So what do we have here? Pigskingate? Nah. Although league officials refuse to discuss the matter, our suspicion is that it's just a lot of hot air.