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Things were looking up for the ACU football team going
into the 1982 season. The team was coming off of an 8-2
record the previous season, and because the team lost only
six seniors from the 1981 team, the fans, the coaches and the
players themselves figured 1982 would be the year for the
You couldn't blame them for thinking that way. The Cats
had Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year quarterback
Loyal Proffitt back to direct the offense along with some of
his receivers and the running of fullback Anthony Thomas.
Most of the defense was returning, so ACU looked to be a
strong contender for the conference title.
However, the conference title wasn't the only race in
which the Wildcats were picked to be contenders. Sports Il-
lurmzzed and ABC picked the Cats to be a national power in
1982. The Wildcats played a tough schedule with two
NCAA I-AA schools besides the usual tough LSC slate.
So the season started with high hopes. But by the time the
season was over, most of the hopes were long since gone.
First on the Wildcats' schedule was I-AA West Texas
State. The Buffaloes had a passing attack comparable to the
Wildcats. The game lasted more than three hours and 40
minutes with the teams racking up a total of 93 passes. But
the Cats came away from Canyon with a 33-29 win as defen-
sive back Mark jackson intercepted a pass with no time left
to preserve the win.
The Wildcats had overcome a 26-7 Grst-quarter disadvan-
tage to pull within five points as the half ended. But Coach
Ted Sitton credited his defense for the win. "Gut defense
shut them down in the second half," he said. "They were
able to hold them to three points, and they came up with the
big plays when they were needed."
ACU started having the ball bounce in its direction as the
Cats recovered five WTSU fumbles and intercepted three
passes. Thomas scored on a 50-yard pass from Proffitt to
give the Cats their first lead of the game.
Proffitt started out slowly in the game, throwing eight
passes before he finally completed one. Sitton said it was
mainly because timing was off, and Proffitt and his receivers
had some jitters. "He wasn't firing the ball really well and
they weren't catching them either," he said. "He was trying
to guide the ball, almost trying to catch it for them. I hope it
was just because it was the first game."
But as the season progressed, it became apparent that the
first game told the story of the whole year.
Next came the University of Northern Colorado, a team
that had never beaten the Wildcats. A cold front had moved
across Colorado dropping the temperature and bringing rain
with it. The weather was definitely a factor in causing the
Cats some problems. But they were able to get away from
Greeley with a 15-13 come-from-behind tie.
The Cats trailed 15-O until the fourth period when Proffitt
threw touchdown passes to Willie Graham and Steve Parker
to tie the score. "At halftime I felt we would be lucky to get
out of there with a tie," said Sitton. "As it ended up I didn't
feel quite the same. All we had to do was kick an extra point
and we would have won." Proffitt threw more than 50 passes
for the second week in a row.
The Wildcats crushed the Rangers from Northwestern
Oklahoma the next week, 38-6, to raise, their record to 2-0-1.
The Wildcats found themselves in a familiar position in the
early going - behind.
ACU substituted freely throughout the game as the Cats
used six running backs and all three quarterbacks. But it was
regular linebacker jim Tuttle who intercepted a screen pass
and took it nine yards for the score.
The win impressed enough people, or at least the right
people. It was enough to put the Cats in the No. 4 spot in the
NCAA Division Il poll.
Football 1 165”