The latest freshman sensation is growing in Oregon, where quarterback Bill Musgrave is built along the lines of a comic strip hero. He is 6 feet 3 and 192 pounds, he is No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency and, in three terms at Oregon, he has gotten all A's except one B.
The unearthing of Musgrave, a redshirt last year out of Grand Junction, Colo., has meant everything to the Ducks, who have become the darlings of the West Coast. They are 3-1 and last week upset Washington, Musgrave completing 17 of 23 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.
Overall, Musgrave has completed 63 of 97 passes for 889 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception. He has been named the Pac-10 player of the week twice in four games.
"He's like a computer," Coach Rich Brooks said. "When you tell him something, he doesn't make the same mistake twice."
Musgrave is the heir to Chris Miller, the No. 1 draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons. In preseason, the Ducks were thought to be a team only capable of winning between two and four games with their difficult schedule. They were picked to finish from seventh to ninth in the league.
Instead, they have victories over Colorado (when Musgrave directed a touchdown drive in his first collegiate series), San Diego State and Washington. They lost to Ohio State, 24-14.
Whether they are for real will be seen in the next couple of weeks. The Ducks host USC Saturday, then go to UCLA next week.
Blakemen Able Substitute
Nebraska reserve quarterback Clete Blakeman, who will start for the Cornhuskers against Kansas this weekend, has made one previous start in his career. Against Kansas.
Blakeman replaces Steve Taylor, who bruised his left shoulder against South Carolina last week. Not that it matters. In the same circumstances last season, Blakeman started against the Jayhawks when Taylor was incapacitated and directed the Cornhuskers to a 70-0 victory.
When Taylor left in the fourth quarter against South Carolina last week, the Cornhuskers trailed by 21-13. Blakeman stepped in to direct a comeback as they won, 30-21, relying almost entirely on the run. He threw just one pass and completed it for eight yards.
The senior has completed 22 of 42 passes for 264 yards, two interceptions and four touchdowns as a career-long reserve.
"I've thought all along he'd be a very, very valuable No. 2 guy," Coach Tom Osborne said. "He'll show it again this season."
Notre Dame Thrives on Turnovers
A year ago, Notre Dame lost five games by a combined 14 points and had a 5-6 record. With substantially the same roster this season, the Fighting Irish are 3-0, with victories over Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. What has caused the turnaround clearly is turnovers.
The Fighting Irish lead the country in turnover margin, forcing opponents into 14 in three games and giving up only four. They have gathered in eight interceptions and six fumbles. The offense, led by quarterback Terry Andrysiak, has been halting at times, but efficient at scoring when it has to. Of Notre Dame's 101 points so far, 54 came after turnovers.
"I don't know if we're bigger or better or luckier," Coach Lou Holtz said. "But we've got more confidence." . . .
Dan DeArmas is going home this weekend. The first punter Maryland recruited and offered a scholarship, DeArmas will be with the Terrapins when they face Miami Saturday night in the Orange Bowl. As of now, the freshman is backing up senior punter Darryl Wright and senior place kicker Dan Plocki.
While at Miami's Columbus High, DeArmas played a couple of games at the Orange Bowl, but didn't necessarily enjoy them. "It's a bizarre place to play," he said this week. "The open end of the horseshoe sort of faces the ocean, and it causes some wild circulation patterns." . . .
The jersey of quarterback Jack Scarbath, who was Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1952, will be retired Oct. 24 when Maryland hosts Duke.