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Griffith Gets 8 Touchdowns in Illini Win

September 23, 1990|From Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Howard Griffith out-galloped a Ghost and outshined a Showboat, but he wasn't trying to be anybody but himself.

Somebody suggested "Galloping" Griffith would be a good name for a fellow who scored an NCAA-record eight touchdowns.

"No nicknames--just call me Howie," Griffith said after No. 15 Illinois trounced Southern Illinois, 56-21.

Griffith scored every Illini touchdown, exceeding the record of seven set in 1951 by Mississippi's Arnold (Showboat) Boykin against Mississippi State. Also gone is the record of 43 points in a game, set by Jim Brown of Syracuse against Colgate in 1956.

Wiped out as well was perhaps Illinois' most revered record--five touchdowns scored by Red Grange, the "Galloping Ghost," in a 1924 game against Michigan.

Grange's five touchdowns came in the dedication game of Memorial Stadium.

Griffith, who carried 21 times for 208 yards before a crowd of 64,469, was carried off the field by his teammates after his eighth touchdown.

Griffith put the Illini (2-1) on the scoreboard first, but the Salukis (2-2) used two turnovers--one by Griffith--to take a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.

After the Illini changed quarterbacks in the second quarter, Griffith scored three touchdowns to allow his team to regain the lead. He got four more touchdowns in the third quarter as the Illinois defense shut out the Salukis, a Division I-AA team, the last 46 minutes of the game.

"Howard's performance today was a great one and those TDs weren't gimmes, either," Coach John Mackovic said. "Our line did a nice job blocking for him, but he made several of those runs work."

Griffith scored on runs of five, 51, seven, 41, five, 18, five and three yards.

"I just hope someone got a snapshot of the scoreboard when we were up 21-7," Southern Illinois Coach Bob Smith said. "We didn't get beat because we played badly; we got beat because Illinois is bigger, stronger and faster than us in a lot of areas."

When Jeff Kinney replaced Jason Verduzco at quarterback, Illinois scored on its next three drives to take control of the game.

"We were off to a slow start," Mackovic said. "Jason was OK, but we weren't doing anything and we weren't moving. "It allowed us to see (Kinney) play under pressure."

Kinney, a sophomore, engineered scoring drives on seven of eight possessions but took little credit for the success.

"Howard Griffith right, Howard Griffith left," Kinney said. "He played a great game."

Griffith turned down a scholarship at Southern Illinois to walk on at Illinois. He earned a scholarship and has started for the Illini for three years.

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