As often happens when Northern Colorado takes to the road, the eve of the Bears' Division II championship game against New Haven devolved into a lounge act starring coach Joe Glenn and a smattering of his 10 brothers and sisters. Pat, the eldest of the Glenn siblings, at 57, and 48-year-old Joe, the sixth, took turns playing the piano at a Ramada Inn outside Florence, Ala. "I'll tell you," said Joe the next day, "we had a pretty good rouser last night."
Glenn's players had a pretty good rouser themselves last Saturday afternoon. Northern Colorado mauled New Haven 51-0, even though the Chargers had finished the regular season first in Division II in points (43.3 per game) and second in points allowed (9.8). In NCAA championship games at all levels, only Dayton's 63-0 pounding of Ithaca in the 1980 Division III title game was more lopsided. Credit the gregarious Glenn, whose large-family upbringing—"My mother was a Catholic and my father careless," he says with a laugh—instilled in him an unshakable faith in two properties most coaches don't believe in: entropy and fun.
When one Bear dared disrupt the silence in the pregame locker room last Saturday by playing AC/DC's anthem TNT on a boom box, Glenn turned to the culprit and cheerfully barked, "Crank it up!"
"He's just the loosest coach you could ever play for," says senior punter and strong safety Dirk Johnson, "and that attitude rolls over to how we play."
Johnson, for example, has had a green light to tuck the ball away and run on any punt. Entering the title game, he had converted seven of nine fake punts into first downs. "You let 'em go," Glenn says of his players. "There's a lot to be said for that."
The championship game was only four plays old when Johnson made the wisdom of Glenn's approach apparent. After New Haven's defense forced a fourth-and-two at the Northern Colorado 36-yard line, Johnson took the snap and sprinted 39 yards around left end for a first down. Two plays later quarterback Corte McGuffey found wideout Dillon Micus on a 20-yard slant-in for a touchdown, and the rout was on.
By halftime the Chargers, who had pitched three shutouts and hadn't allowed more than 26 points in any game this season, trailed 35-0. Northern Colorado had already attempted a fake punt, a fake field goal (which went for a touchdown) and even, with 0:01 remaining in the half, an on-side kick.
Said 46-year-old sister Dottie, one of six siblings in attendance, "Joe likes to say he's never had a bad day in his life." Certainly not this day.
Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom won the Lombardi Award, given to the best lineman in the nation. His teammate, guard Aaron Taylor, won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman. The only other team to have two players win those awards in the same year: Pittsburgh in 1980, with defensive end Hugh Green and offensive tackle Mark May....