Abilene Christian College - Prickly Pear Yearbook (Abilene, TX)

 - Class of 1983

Page 169 of 424

 

Abilene Christian College - Prickly Pear Yearbook (Abilene, TX) online yearbook collection, 1983 Edition, Page 169
Page 169



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rapped passe , dropped dreams 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 Wildcats. 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. , I ...-. ,-- 'A 'X ,X 7 ..e' V -lit Football 1 165

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