983 California Bowl rematch Saturday

By Dave Tuley

The NIU football team’s 20-13 California Bowl win in 1983 over California State-Fullerton seems to be ancient history.

Many things have changed at NIU since then with coach Bill Mallory leaving for Indiana, Lee Corso coming in and jumping ship after only nine games, Jerry Pettibone taking over, NIU bolting from the Mid-American Conference for the Big-Time and a search for a new athletic director. The Huskies have struggled through three straight losing seasons since winning the MAC with a 9-1 record, 10-2 overall in 1983.

The Titans of Cal State-Fullerton come to Huskie Stadium Saturday for a 1 p.m. rematch, but Cal State coach Gene Murphy said there is no revenge factor.

“That’s so long ago,” the 48-year-old coach said. “I can’t even remember anything from that game. I must be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”

Pettibone also said the past has no influence on Saturday’s game because all the players are gone, but said it is possible for the Titans to use the loss as a motivational factor.

“We have some players now that were here in ‘83, but they didn’t make the trip,” Pettibone said. “For them (the Titan players) it possibly could be something of a revenge factor since we won the game.”

Eight current Huskies were around four years ago and all were red-shirted to give them another year of eligibility. They are outside linebacker William Ballard, quarterback Pete Genatempo, split end Virgil Gerin, then-quarterback now center Dan Graham, tight end Kent Iwema, co-captain Ted Karamanos, punter Darren Monnett and tackle John Sugrue.

The 1983 team started the year with a 37-34 win over Kansas. The Huskies lost to Wisconsin the following week before winning their next six games to open conference play. After a loss at Central Michigan, NIU was victorious in its last two games at home to win the MAC and make plans for Fresno.

In California, the seniors took time off to visit the Valley Children’s Hospital, which was the official beneficiary of the game. Each was paired with a “buddy” and football had to take a back seat for a day.

“Seeing those kids really sent a chill down my spine,” quarterback Tim Tyrrell said.

When game day finally arrived, the Huskies pulled ahead for good on Darryl Richardson’s second touchdown of the game, a 4-yarder in the third quarter. The victory was preserved when cornerback Jeff Sanders chased CSFU quarterback out of bounds on a fourth-and-1 play with 35 seconds remaining.

That year ended with Bill Mallory being named MAC Coach of the Year and Tyrrell being honored as MAC Player of the Year.

Mallory is now head coach at Indiana and has the Hoosiers tied for first place in the Big Ten and ranked No. 14 in the United Press International poll with a date against Michigan Saturday.

Tyrrell is a running back and special teams player with the Los Angeles Rams, and Murphy referred to him when discussing the difficulty of preparing for the 1983 Huskies.

“They were a tough, physical, well-coached team,” Murphy said. “An example of that is Tyrrell. Here’s a college quarterback who is now playing running back in the NFL. He’s also the best special teams player the Rams have. I see him a lot because they use our facilities to practice.”