well, since there's a lull in recruting information and talk....


The JSW Level
here are my favorite all-time indiana state football moments....from somebody who has been associated with the program in one way or another since 1975....

1. indiana state at southern illinois, 1975 season. isu defeats the saluikis 23-21 at carbondale as freshman placekicker dave vandercook boots a 50-yard field goal as time expires. it was vanderbook's second attempt at a game-winner as he missed a 55-yarder the play before. but the salukis were called for being offsides and he got a second chance. he nailed it. there are still pictures out there of a freshman student manager carrying a large offensive lineman around in celebration in the middle of the field. i won't say who that student manager was, but i hear he's living in indy now.

2. indiana state vs. ball state, 1984 season. isu defeats the cardinals 34-6 at the then hoosier and future rca dome. A complete butt-kicking over the sycamores biggest rival. isu kept possesion of the then-coveted victory bell (anybody remember that) for four straight seasons (1981-84). during that run, the sycamores scored 31 (31-7, 1981), 17 (17-0, 1982), 35 (35-14, 1983) and 34 (34-6, 1984). play of the 1984 game? isu running back darrold clardy throwing a halfback pass for a touchdown. priceless.

3. indiana state at florida, 1983 season. the gators held on for a 17-13 win, but the sycamores certainly made them sweat a little bit before the final score was finally determined. in fact, indiana state was knocking at the door to score the game-winning touchdowns in the final moments of the fourth quarter but a potential touchdown pass was dropped in the end zone. florida fans kept lobbing oranges and grapefruit at the isu players and coaches during the game, screaming out "gator bait!!!". but by the end of the ggame, those same fans were giving isu a standing ovation for a game well-played. the final note to the story of that game was that several sec coaches (auburn, lsu) called the isu football offices and wanted to find out what exactly the sycamores coaches did in preparing the team to play against the gators.

4. indiana state at louisville, 1984 season. isu defeats the vaunted louisville cardinals 44-21 at cardinal stadium. play of the game? isu linebacker bobby boyce nailing louisville receiver ernest givens as he attempted to catch a pass over the middle. givens went on to play in the nfl with the houston oilers, but he always said that the hardest hit he ever received in a game came against indiana state.

5. The final two games of the 1987 season. isu defeats i-a schools ball state and cincinnati on back-to-back weekends in games played at the rca dome. tthe sycamores handed the bearcats at 40-16 loss and then held on for a 24-23 win over the cardinals a week later. when was the last time something like that happened?

6. nebraska-omaha at indiana state, 1976 season. isu running back vincent allen had four consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons for the sycamores. he was hurt prior to the nebraska-omaha game and then-isu head coach tom harp opted not to play him in the game. as he's standing on the sidelines in street clothes, nebraska-omaha players were yapping at him, accusing him of trying to duck them. allen pleads with harp, asking to play. harp says no. finally, at halftime, after consulting with team trainers and team doctors, harp changes his mind and tells allen to go get dressed. first play from scrimmage, isu was the ball first-and-1o at their own 10-yard line. the ball is handed off to allen, who misses one potential tackler at the line of scrimmage and proceeds to bolt 90 yards for a touchdown. isu went on to win the game 26-9 as allen ran for over 150 yards and two touchdowns in one half of football. loved it!. in all my years around isu football, vincent allen may have been the most competitive person i have seen play for the sycamores. he was most certainly the best running back in school history.

7. isu at drake, 1977 season. isu wins the game 23-20. but not before the sycamores almost blew a 23-0 lead. my claim to fame that day was screaming out "watch for the onsides kick!!" from the sidelines after the bulldogs scored their first touchdown. tom harp was the head coach then. he turned around and looked at me and said, "are you nuts? they're too far behind. they're not going to onsides kick. so shut up!!!" so i did. but guess what? drake did onsides kick, got possession of the football and proceeded to go down and score again. after the game, a few days later, harp came over and apologized to me. he even said that as he and his coaches were reviewing the game film, that i had called out the onsides kick before it happened. he said that i might have a future in this sport. who knows? lol

8. isu at kansas state. late 1990s. isu lost to the big 12 conference school 23-21 as wildcats defensive back william t. price intercepted an attempted two-point conversion pass from sycamores quarterback ray allen and ran back for the deciding points in the final minutes of the game. the sycamores were led by wide receiver charles swann, who had a huge game with a couple of touchdown catches. demetrious dowler, another wide receiver, came up with an onsides kick that allowed isu to go down and score late in the game, giving the sycamores a chance to come away with the upset win. some names from that game. martin gramatica was the kansas state placekicker in the game and future nfl coach herm edwards was in the press box as a scout for the kansas city chiefs.

in later years, i remember isu topping western kentucky at memorial stadium and then wku coach jack harbaugh coming after isu coach dennis raetz. former isu athletic director brian faison got the worst of it though as he was caught by a harbaugh swing.

i also recall former sycamore running back david wright when he became isu's all-time leading rusher in a win over southwest missouri state in springfield.

so, for those who believe that isu football has no tradition, no WINNING tradition or history of success, think again. it happened once before and can happen again.


The Captain Level
Thanks Tom. It's easy for people to forget the past. You are right, it has happened before and it will happen again.

new sycamore fan

The All-MVC Level
Great stories Tom, hopefully the current players read them. My son ran across Vincent Allen's competetiveness when those guys were back for the Homecoming game. Apparently Vincent said something like "so you're the hotshot new DB--you wouldn't be able to tackle me." He didn't know how to reply, but we had a good time laughing about some possible responses after the fact (considering that Vincent is a little older than me). Hopefully this current group of Sycamores can give you some future stories.


The JSW Level
more isu thoughts.....

new fan...i know vincent very well. his nickname in college was "slick". and he was. teams couldnt tackle him. think of somebody like a steve slaton (texans) or chris johnson (titans). smaller than they were. sort of a terry metcalf kind of player. great quickness to the hole. could accellerate and had great burst as the scouts would say. back when he played at isu, the nfl didn't like smaller, quicker running backs. and his knee injury scared away teams. he ended up playing in the canada, but the knee wouldnt allow him to play at the same level that he did at isu.