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Morning Briefing

College Game Can Be a Very Humbling One

August 21, 1986

Today's first two items are from "The Football Hall of Shame," a Pocket Book publication written by Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo.

In 1940, football official Red Friesell committed one of the biggest blunders in the game's history when he gave Cornell five downs at the end of a game against Dartmouth. Dartmouth apparently had clinched a 3-0 victory, but Cornell, given a fifth down, scored on the last play of the game and won, 7-3.

Three days later, Cornell conceded that it had won illegally and gave the victory to Dartmouth, 3-0. Thus ended an 18-game winning streak by Cornell.

Friesell, meanwhile, had been subjected to considerable ridicule, and he was looking for compassion when he received a telegram from the conference commissioner, Asa Bushnell. When Friesell read it, he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

The wire said: "DON'T LET IT GET YOU DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, DOWN."

Francis Schmidt, former Ohio State football coach, was an absent-minded-professor type whose preoccupation with the game sometimes led to awkward results.

"Another time," said the authors, detailing Schmidt's misadventures, "Schmidt drove his car into a filling station in Columbus to have the oil changed. He stayed behind the wheel, drawing plays in a notebook while the car was raised on a hoist.

"Oblivious to the world around him, the coach pored over his diagrams. In a few minutes he came up with a play that looked unstoppable. With a small cry of triumph, he slapped the notebook shut, opened the door, stepped out--and fell 10 feet to the concrete below."

Trivia Time: If Napoleon McCallum plays for the Raiders this season, it will be the second precedent he has set with the Navy. What was the other one? (Answer below.)

The oldest record in college football? In 1937, the first year of official NCAA statistics, Byron (Whizzer) White of Colorado led the nation in all-purpose yardage, which includes yards gained by running, receiving and returning punts, kickoffs and interceptions. He averaged 246 yards a game, which is still a record. Last year's leader was Napoleon McCallum with an average of 212 yards a game.

Note: In 1937, White also led the nation in rushing, total offense and scoring. Only one player since has led in all four departments. He was Dick Bass of Pacific in 1958.

Dick Vermeil, former coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, on the club's drafting of Ohio State running back Keith Byars: "That was the best decision made in the draft. The only college game I've done in three years he played in his last year. Boy, I tell you, he's something special. He's a great player. To me, he'll be the best draft pick the Eagles will ever have."

Trivia Answer: In 1984, he was allowed to sit out his senior season at the Naval Academy with an injury, returning in 1985 after his class had graduated.

Quotebook

Boston Red Sox pitcher Al Nipper, on giving up back-to-back homers to Minnesota's Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, the second a monumental shot that ripped through the upper deck seats in the Metrodome: "Was anybody hurt? They ought to sound a siren when I pitch, like they do during a tornado."

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