VILLANOVA, PA. -- "I felt both 'up' and 'down,' " said Gordie Lockbaum, describing his feelings as he ran onto the field for his last football game for Holy Cross. " 'Up' because we were going to be on national television {ESPN}, and we were going for 11-0, a perfect season. 'Down' because it was the last time, the end of something special being part of this team."

So it was that a Division I-AA game that would have been hardly noticed, Holy Cross-Villanova, became one of the biggest little games of the football season Thursday night. It was the curtain call for one of the most respected college football players, and certainly one of the best -- a scholar-athlete and a back of all trades, offensive back, defensive back, the first major two-way player in 20 years. By the end of the night, Lockbaum would have added three more touchdowns to finish his career with 43, caught a school-record 15 passes for 196 yards, made two unassisted tackles and worked other small miracles during a 39-6 Holy Cross victory, a fitting farewell.

"It's tough, it's really tough leaving this," he said, dressed in a purple Holy Cross sweatsuit, back out on the field at about midnight with a last few reporters and well-wishers. Then this throwback to another age, this old-fashioned hero who might have been created by Grantland Rice, smiled as he looked into the future. It seemed just as bright as his past.

Someday he'd work on Wall Street, perhaps, but first -- first another of his dreams to contemplate. "I want very much to play pro football," he said, his blue eyes bright. "If I'm not drafted, I want to try out with some team. I'll give it 110 percent. I'll give it everything I've got."

Experts say the 5-foot-11, 195-pound tailback, flanker, cornerback, safety, nickle back, punt and kickoff returner and tackler on special teams is too slow to make the National Football League. The pros have linemen who run faster than his 4.7 in the 40. "If some pro team wants an athlete, a fellow who's smart and will catch on, I think they'll take him," said Lockbaum's father, Robert, standing nearby, wearing a purple and white Holy Cross ski cap.

Lockbaum is a long shot for the Heisman Trophy, after finishing fifth in the balloting last season but with more first place votes than anyone except the winner, Vinnie Testaverde. Someone asked Lockbaum who he'd vote for this year. He smiled again and said, "I'd vote for me. The hometown kid." 'A Special Kid'

Part of the charm of this last game was that Lockbaum's much-publicized college career had come almost full circle, close to his South Jersey roots. Football's busiest player, the do-it-all in the age of specialization shared his finale with busloads of Holy Cross students and busloads of friends and relatives from his nearby hometown of Glassboro, N.J.

They wouldn't have missed this night, Lockbaum's barber and favorite pizza maker and the Glassboro woman who told Robert Lockbaum, "He may be your child, but tonight he's the child of all of us."

Lockbaum is "a special kid -- what college football should be all about," Syracuse Coach Dick MacPherson said not long ago. MacPherson had recruited Lockbaum for Syracuse, but like many, had his doubts. Finally, he told Lockbaum he couldn't go wrong by going to Holy Cross -- there, he could be a star.

But he proved a far brighter star than any recruiter could have imagined. Here's how it happened: After playing two seasons as a defensive back, Lockbaum was switched to running back in a spring scrimmage before his junior year to help a sputtering attack. He was found to be merely invaluable on offense -- but the defensive coach didn't want to let him go. Literally, the assistant coaches would tug on him to come to their side of the scrimmage line. The head coach's solution: Lockbaum would play both ways.

Last season Lockbaum rushed for 827 yards, caught 57 passes and scored 21 touchdowns, accumulating 2,178 all-purpose yards; in an upset of Army, he rushed for 40 yards, caught four passes for 73 yards, made 19 unassisted tackles and broke up a pass on Army's last drive -- he was on the field for 143 plays. Holy Cross finished its season 10-1, and he got to attend the Heisman presentation in New York where he said, after Testaverde had won, "It's just a privilege being here. Really."

This year, Lockbaum added 403 yards rushing and often served as a decoy -- a familiar sight was Lockbaum being gang-tackled as he hit the line without the ball. He amassed 1,152 yards on 78 receptions, scored 22 touchdowns and could be located almost anywhere on the field, including front and center to catch onside kickoffs. Just a hometown kid. A Sense of History

Glassboro, small center of a farming region, has been touched before by history. While Lockbaum is today's Spirit of Glassboro, his town is where Lyndon Johnson and former Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin met in 1967 and where President Reagan went in 1986 to speak at a typical American high school graduation, to Glassboro High -- Gordie Lockbaum's school. Although Lockbaum was well along in making history of his own at Holy Cross, his sister Ruth was president of the class and gave Reagan a diploma and Glassboro jacket. Even her brother hasn't met a president yet, one of the few things he hasn't done. From what everyone says, he might even be one some day.

Lockbaum epitomizes the good kid next door. He was always playing a game -- basketball, whiffleball, stickball, football, street hockey. He played football for an 85-pound midget team, and grew up to be the most valuable South Jersey high school football player of 1983. And he studied -- National Honor Society, second in his high school class of 147. Holy Cross has put part of his college transcript into its football press guide. He got an A in Russian drama; he majors in economics.

But when students hung a bedsheet banner from the Holy Cross scoreboard last Saturday, "Gordie: Thanks for the Memories," it was not for his class discussion in U.S. diplomatic relations but for being the first two-way player of note since Purdue's Leroy Keyes in the '60s and, ironically, putting Holy Cross on the football map at the very time the school is phasing out athletic scholarships. While deemphasizing, the small Worcester, Mass., college, has been carried to number one in 1-AA football by their man who does all but wear a leather helmet.

"It's kind of sad, bittersweet, to see it ending," said his father, who works for a paper company. "You wish it could go on another four years. But Holy Cross has been great for Gordie. And Coach {Mark Duffner, 34, who played for Annandale High and William and Mary} he's a darn good man. With him, it's the kids themselves who count the most, then their academics, then football."

Lockbaum has been good for Holy Cross, too. He's given hundreds of interviews, coming across as you might expect one who likes Mom's meatloaf, football and wrestling, science and math, Oreo cookies and San Francisco. Short-haired and square-jawed, he's a throwback all right, to the days of Blanchard and Davis, subway alumni and coaches who wore knickers. You half expected Holy Cross to take the train home.

You might say Lockbaum is driven if only because he doesn't have a car. During the past summer, he worked out by running to his girlfriend's house and back, and commuted by bus twice a week to a summer job at a bank on Wall Street. He lifted weights and sprinted, sweating all summer and could say shortly after he came off the field for the last time, "It was all worth it.

"I have no regrets. Not playing a bigger schedule is not something to feel bad about. It was enough to win every week -- every single week. To be part of this team, where everybody is so close, and the coaches are like brothers you can lean on. I got the most I could from this experience."

Along with Duffner, Lockbaum has helped the morale of everyone at Holy Cross following the suicide almost two years ago of respected head coach Rick Carter. Duffner, moving up from assistant, brought together a staff and team that had been emotionally devastated. "Gordie took it about like everybody else -- bad," said his father. Lockbaum himself has said of Carter, "I believe that he runs out onto the field each week within the minds and hearts of the players."

Lockbaum has played for his old coach, his family and school. Finally, he said, "I'm not a college player any more. I guess I can think about the pros. It's always been in the back of my mind."

His lack of speed, most observers believe, will keep him from being more than a fifth- or sixth-round draft choice, but some pro scouts like what they see. New England Patriots director of player development Dick Steinberg said recently, "We think he's good enough for the NFL. Both as a running back and safety. I believe he can make it in the NFL."

Against Villanova, Lockbaum wasn't perfect. He was held to 18 yards rushing, fumbled twice, losing the ball once, and dropped a pass in the end zone -- "human error, no excuses." He simply proved, at least to Villanova, his whole game is hard to stop. As a receiver, he froze defenders, then repeatedly twisted from their grasp for big gains. When he wasn't scoring touchdowns, he was setting up others -- returning a second-half kickoff 39 yards, then a few plays later catching a 30-yard pass to the Villanova 5. "You have a lot of class," Villanova Coach Andy Talley told Lockbaum at game's end, putting his arm around him. "I'm proud of being a college coach if a guy like you is playing the game."

Even if so much of what Lockbaum has done has gone unseen, Holy Cross has conducted no high-powered Heisman campaign. The former sports publicist thought of posing Lockbaum in Time Square under a marquee that would read, "Gordie Lockbaum: More Plays Than Neil Simon," but decided it was simply out of character.

Anyway, he's gotten his rave reviews. He's been in People magazine and on David Letterman. Typical days have included, besides classes and practices and a nightly call to his girlfriend, interviews on campus and by phone, picture sessions, autographs and assorted other requests. Still, he's found time for his books. Lockbaum said, "I went to college to play football, but that was always second. First, I wanted to get my degree."Saying Good-Bye

It couldn't have been any other way, the ending. It couldn't have taken place in Norman, Okla. or Columbus, Ohio or South Bend, Ind. Those football hotbeds aren't where Lockbaum played his career, and the last game was much like all the others, played out in a little stadium where the sellout crowd numbered only 11,400, where the homemade banners looked authentic, some smudged, some shaky of hand, but the message clear: "Glassboro Plus Holy Cross Equals Heisman."

The locker room was small and steamy -- you never heard such cheering. Television wanted Gordie Lockbaum, but he was under another pile of humanity. They pulled him free and took him out into the cold night air, and he stood there coughing, waiting for ESPN to come back from a commercial. Interviews he'd done, but hardly any postgame television interviews. But he could play in that league too, patiently waiting, patiently answering. And with time left over to greet an old alum who came up from behind. "Class of '50," the man said; for a Holy Cross man, Lockbaum had time to talk, plenty of time.

His brothers and sisters -- he has six in all -- stood with him, as did his mother and father, and one last radio interviewer from Glassboro who had chronicled him since the midget league. There was a Villanova man who took his picture, and two Villanova students, the first of whom said, "He's not that big," and the second, "Yeah, but he's bad," presumably as in good.

With that, Lockbaum returned to the locker room, picked up his things, said some good-byes, and with a teammate went home for two days to Glassboro. His father drove him. He wouldn't forget his people, not now.