Blackney already has gone a long way toward repaying Gregory. Bowling Green had gone 20-31-3 in the previous five seasons under Moe Ankney, but Blackney has changed the team's attitude. The Falcons gained confidence early in the year with a solid performance in a 24-17 loss to West Virginia, followed by a win over Cincinnati. "They came to realize no matter what the circumstances, they had what it takes to win," said Blackney.
Now that the Falcons have locked up the MAC's automatic berth in the Dec. 14 California Raisin Bowl, Blackney at least can relax and begin to make his travel plans. "I'm going to have to figure out how to get my daughter married on November 30 and still get to the Raisin Bowl," he said. He sounded as if it was a dilemma he didn't mind a bit.
The nation's longest winning streak reached 22 games last Saturday when Allegheny College of Meadville, Pa., defeated Ohio Wesleyan 24-7 in Delaware, Ohio. The victory also clinched Allegheny's second consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference crown and virtually guaranteed the Gators, the defending NCAA Division III national champions, a spot in this year's playoffs.
The Gators handled Ohio Wesleyan without much help from Stanley Drayton, the 5'9", 180-pound tailback known as the Bottle Rocket, who went into the game averaging 148.8 yards a game. The Rocket was bottled up by a Wesleyan defense built around 6'4", 340-pound nose-guard Keith Rucker, who recently became the first Division III player ever invited to play in the Hula Bowl. But in holding Drayton to 62 yards on 23 carries with no touchdowns (his 26 TDs this season tie a Division III record), the defense opened up other options for quarterback Ben Cammarano, who threw for one TD and ran for another.
"They tried to isolate the run," said Drayton, who attended junior high in Cleveland with Michigan's Desmond Howard and once ran against the real Rocket, Raghib Ismail, in an NCAA track meet. "That was a mistake. Teams have to worry about all 11 players on the other side of the football."
Allegheny closes its regular season this Saturday at Duquesne, a team it beat 51-0 last season. Gator coach Ken O'Keefe now has a 22-0-1 record in his first two seasons at Allegheny, the only blemish being a 30-30 tie with Juniata of Huntingdon, Pa., in last season's opener.
Hmmmmm. Certain struggling Division I teams in need of a new coach might file that away for future reference.
Central Michigan's 14-14 tie with Eastern Michigan was the Chippewas' fourth tie in a weird 5-1-4 season. That, of course, tied the NCAA record set by Temple in 1937 and, well, tied by UCLA in 1939....