South Carolina State linebacker Kevin Parker recently fantasized about a perfect game: "The offense would score 70 points, the defense would allow minus yards and score twice, and we would also return a punt for a score.
"This game is going to come, and it may come this season. This is the team we've been building toward for three years."
Parker, of course, was taking great liberties with his imagination. However, the majority of S.C. State's opponents would be horrified that the Bulldogs would even dream of doing better. Especially Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foes.
During the five seasons preceding this one -- starting when State made the conference championship its personal prize -- the Bulldogs have pitched more shutouts than Jim Palmer, blanking 17 MEAC schools. Only nine conference teams have gotten on the scoreboard in the last four years; during that period, the Bulldogs have lost only twice in the conference.
Said Howard Coach Floyd Keith, whose Bison meet State Saturday at 2 p.m.: "What can I say? I talked to other MEAC coaches and all they tell me is that I shouldn't show up for the game."
All 11 of State's scheduled opponents showed up in 1978. Newberry knocked the Bulldogs out of the unbeaten ranks and the No. 1 position in the Division I-AA rankings with a 14-0 victory in Game 8, the Bulldogs suffering four interceptions.Grambling beat State by four at Grambling and Morgan State managed a 7-7 tie during the Bulldogs' 8-2-1 campaign.
State had the top defense against scoring amoung I-AA schools in '78, allowing 6.5 points per game, and was second in yards allowed per game, 158. This season, three opponents have totaled nine points -- none in the second half. The Bulldogs (3-0) have scored 103.
"They are a very physical team and can be physical for four quarters a game throughout the season," said new Delaware State Coach Charles Henderson.
When you stand among Bulldog players, you can only be happy that they are, indeed, as well mannered as Coach Bill Davis says.
The team is built like the Hulk's stuntmen. Defensive tackle Phil Murphy is a 6-foot-6, 265 pounder. He bench-presses 450 pounds -- one of at least a dozen Bulldogs who have surpassed 400. Along with linebacker Parker (6-4, 240) and quarterback Nate Rivers, Murphy is a top pro prospect.
How does S.C. come up with the horses?
"Money, money, money," said Delaware State Coach Henderson. "They get a lot of financial support from the alumni and boosters. That is put into the athletic program. The supporters may help with buying books or invite the players over for a Sunday dinner. It's a lot like a big brother or adopted thing."
State Athletic Director Milton Hunter, citing the predominance of South Carolina athletes on the team said, "These kids grow up here. In this state, we are the only black institution playing football. Many of the kids walked across the campus a thousand times while growing up."
Offensive lineman Al Lester of Washington, D.C.'S McKinley High came here because State expressed the most interest.
"Pro scouts are here every day of practice," said Lester of the school that has produced pro players Donnie Shell of Pittsburgh and Barney Chavous of Denver.
"If you want to go to the pros, this is the place to come. But you've got to pay for it."