Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne doesn't have to do any Heisman Trophy campaigning for his star tailback Mike Rozier. The rest of the coaches in the Big Eight will carry the Rozier banner for him.
In college football's year of the passer, Rozier has emerged as THE runner. The senior from Camden, N.J., leads the nation in both rushing and scoring for the unbeaten and No. 1-rated Cornhuskers. He is averaging 160.7 rushing yards per game and has scored 120 points -- 30 more than anyone else.
Rozier has strung together eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including a season-high 227-yard effort in his most recent outing Saturday at Kansas State in a 51-25 victory over the Wildcats.
'I went over and met Mike Rozier after the game,' Kansas State Coach Jim Dickey said, 'and after looking at him, I'm glad I didn't have to tackle him. He acts like he's mad every time he runs the football.'
If Rozier maintains his current pace, he will move past both Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson into 10th place (4,461 yards) on the all-time NCAA rushing list. And Rozier has played only three years at Nebraska; Campbell and Dickerson played four years at their respective Southwest Conference schools.
'Mike Rozier is playing better than anyone I've ever seen in the Big Eight Conference,' Oklahoma State Coach Jimmy Johnson said. 'He plays with a tremendous amount of effort -- regardless of the score, regardless of the opponent, regardless of the situation. I like that.'
'I've always been a fan of Mike Rozier,' Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer added. 'He plays mad every down. He's the kind of back I want to coach every year and I'm sure the type Tom (Osborne) would like to coach every year.'
Rozier used the 227 yards against Kansas State to become only the 16th player in NCAA history to reach the 4,000-yard career rushing plateau and move past former Oklahoma All-Americas Joe Washington and Steve Owens into the No. 2 spot on the all-time Big Eight rushing list at 4,078 yards. Terry Miller of Oklahoma State is the league's all-time leader with 4,582 yards...
Mike Gottfried knew he had a major reconstruction project on his hands when he took over as the head football coach at Kansas this year. The Jayhawks finished 2-7-2 under Don Fambrough in 1982 but have already improved on that under Gottfried with a 3-4-1 mark in 1983 with three games remaining.
Kansas fell under .500 last weekend, however, when it was crushed by Oklahoma 45-14.
'If Oklahoma is where one of the best is,' Gottfried said, 'we know where we stand and where we've got to go. Our program is in the crawling stages. We don't have the numbers or the caliber of players that we need and injuries have depleted much of our roster.
'Because of the NCAA scholarship limitations, it will take three years to catch up in number and be competitive in the Big Eight against the top teams. I'm confident in what we have at the University of Kansas that we'll make it...'
Iowa State Coach Jim Criner announced in August that he would award red helmets to players on his team who distinguished themselves as being 'Big Eight caliber' on the field. The CE:lones collectively wear gold helmets.
After a rocky 3-4 start, Criner finally awarded the first red helmet last Saturday to center Chuck Meyers, a 6-2, 260-pound senior from Omaha, Neb.
'Chuck is the ideal guy to have this honor bestowed upon him,' Criner said. 'He is an All-Big Eight caliber football player...'
Iowa State flanker Tracey Henderson caught 12 passes for 161 yards against Missouri Saturday to become the first Big Eight player to record 50 catches in a single season since 1972. Henderson now has 53 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns.