Michigan's Desmond Howard got a career's-worth of national publicity against Ohio State Nov. 23 when he smiled broadly and struck the Heisman Trophy pose in the end zone at the end of a 93-yard punt return. Howard got a chance to look at the pose again Saturday. He wasn't doing the smiling, though. When Washington cornerback Walter Bailey intercepted a long pass intended for Howard in the first quarter, Bailey bounced up from the turf and strutted his best Heisman stuff.
Not to be outdone, wide receiver Mario Bailey, after catching a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, did it again. Mario Bailey was the receiver with the Heisman-like day: he had six catches for 126 yards and a touchdown; Howard caught one pass for 35 yards.
Of course, Howard does have the trophy. Of Mario Bailey's stunt, he said: "He's invited to my house to look at the real thing."
NOW, A WORD FROM . . .
For drama, it rivaled the 1963 Rose Bowl during which Wisconsin scored 23 points in the fourth quarter in a 42-37 loss to USC. East Carolina trailed North Carolina State, 34-17, midway through the fourth quarter, then scored 20 points for a 37-34 victory in the Peach Bowl at Atlanta.
Pirate quarterback Jeff Blake's two-yard run made the score 34-24 with 7:26 to play, his 17-yard pass to Dion Johnson three minutes later at the end of an 80-yard drive cut the lead to 34-30, but a two-point conversion failed. East Carolina got the ball back with 2:37 remaining at North Carolina State's 41-yard line. Blake began a drive to complete the most dramatic comeback of this year's bowl season. His 22-yard pass to Luke Fisher, Blake's fourth touchdown pass of the game, with 1:32 left gave the Pirates their best season in school history.
Apparently not everyone seemed to have a handle on the suspense of the moment. The PIA Radio Network, broadcasting the game, sent listeners back to the studio in Chicago late during the Pirates' winning drive for . . . a trivia question and to thank listeners for their participation. Gee, guess we needed a break from the action.
GLAD THAT'S OVER
Florida State's Casey Weldon is a one-time Heisman Trophy hopeful who hoped a victory in the Cotton Bowl would salvage something of a season gone wrong. Texas A&M's Bucky Richardson is a hard-nosed quarterback who envisions himself a tight end in the NFL. Weldon had a game that won't make Heisman voters second-guess themselves; Richardson's idea of switching positions is right on the mark. Weldon completed 14 of 32 passes for 92 yards with four interceptions, and Richardson completed six of 24 for 57 yards with two interceptions. The Aggies, with eight turnovers, were 10-2 losers. "I had a bad day," Richardson said.
HERE'S TO THE BAND
Russell White, the Cal running back who became the first rusher in 38 games to gain more than 100 yards against Clemson, received one of the more unusual penalties during the Citrus Bowl.
After breaking off tackle for a 31-yard gain, he flipped the ball to the Cal band, bringing forth a 15-yard penalty. The drive then stalled, and Cal had to settle for a field goal.
So what was going through White's mind? Was it a symbolic gesture to the fans of Cal.
"No, I was just stupid," White said. "It was really stupid."
In the era of responsible drinking, one has to wonder about the Citrus Bowl. After the third quarter, the public address system was turned over to a group called the Zonies, a club of 3,000 fans who buy end zone tickets. They deposited a beer keg on top of a pedestal at one of the goal lines and then proceeded to pay homage to it.
This was followed by their traditional chant:
\o7 Zonies don't care who's in the game
The teams on the field all look the same
Zonies don't care who is here
As long as we have ice cold beer.
\f7 Yes, these were adults.
TO SERVE AND PROTECT
The Orlando Police Dept., which stood by as Georgia Tech fans tore down the goal posts last year and carried them down the street to a bar after the Yellow Jackets defeated Nebraska in the Citrus Bowl for a share of the national title, was ready this year. After Cal's victory, they stationed nine police officers around each goal post. The goal posts remained intact.
ARE THERE RAIN CHECKS?
Torrential rains are nothing new to south Florida. But the cancellation of the Orange Bowl halftime show is.
For the first time in the 58-year history of the game, officials had to do away with the halftime spectacle, which, at times, has been more interesting than the game. Daylong rains soaked the field, creating a safety dilemma for those connected with the 30-minute laser and pyrotechnics show entitled "Back From the Future."
Because the show's electrical cables were under water, officials decided not to take any chances.
"Water and electricity don't mix," said Steve Hatchell, Orange Bowl executive director.
"The show at most would be 50% of what it would have been,' he said.
Instead, the show was reduced to 20 minutes and fans had to settle for the Nebraska and Miami bands.