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NCAA college footbal star Nick Foles survived some brutal hits

September 27, 2011 3:00 AM by

I had a great time last Saturday night, watching the best broken field runner in college football and one of the game’s best passing prospects for the pros, knocking heads in Tucson.

They were on opposite sides, the runner being LaMichael James of Oregon and the passer Nick Foles of Arizona. James and Oregon won 56-31, but before we get to his individual performance a look at Foles.

He came to early attention when he set school passing records at Westlake high school in Austin, Texas, where he threw for 5,658 yards and 56 touchdowns. The previous holder of the school records was a guy named Drew Brees, whom you probably have watched making magic in the air for the New Orleans Saints.

While at Westlake, Foles also played basketball, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds a game in his senior year.

Foles first went to Michigan State in 2007, but after playing in only one game, where he hit 5 of 8 passes, he left Lansing for Tucson and the U of A, joining the team for fall camp in 2008. The following year he earned a 125.25 quarterback efficiency rating, completing 260 of 410 passes, and raised that to 140.86 last year, completing 286 of 426.

The guy can throw a football three quarters of a field, and did against Oregon last year. He couldn’t get the job done this year, but the scouts who undoubtedly were watching had to be impressed with his toughness. He survived some brutal hits, got back up, shook them off, and kept confounding Oregon defenses in the second half

Foles is big – 6-5 and 240 pounds – real NFL material. Look for him to be a first round QB pick in the pro draft.

Foles and the Wildcats might have scored a major upset with their second half heroics, if it were not for the amazing running of James. The nation’s leading rusher after four games with 613 yards is second only to Michigan’s Denard Robinson in yards per game. The schedule ahead has Arizona State and Stanford, but if James can continue averaging 150 a game he will break his own school record of 1,731, set last year.

Oregon, by the way, is averaging 51 points after four encounters. Their only losing effort was against powerhouse Louisiana State, when they still scored 27 points. The Ducks amassed 56 points in each of their last two games.

Watching James Saturday night, making unbelievable cuts, direction changes and breaking tackles time after time all over the field, it does not seem likely anyone will stop him. He is only 5-9 and 185 pounds, if that, and the pros might crush him. First, however, they will have to catch him.

There were other sports stars in the news last week, one of them involved in another of those controversies that seem to come from giving ordinary people inordinate power.

Although England’s Paula Radcliffe holds the women’s world record, it is only the third fastest 26.2 miles she has run. That’s because the wizards who run the world’s governing body for track and field – the International Association of Athletic Federations – have ruled that only races in which women race against women will count.

Two of her three world records came running against men, nullifying those records. So Paula has the world’s two best performances for a woman, but a world record that is two seconds slower because guys were around as pacesetters in the other two.

Finally, we stumbled across ESPN’s Sports Center Sunday night, and who showed up but The Mouth That Roars, Trent Dilfer, As usual, the former NFL wanderer (six teams) was loud and shouting, and as usual his ranting made little sense.

He was disgusted, he said, with those who have any sympathy for Michael Vick, who got dismembered with vicious hits Sunday by the New York Giants. Video shown just before The Mouth appeared seemed clear evidence of helmet hits and unnecessary roughness, and Dilfer was complaining that Vick said so on a post-game show.

So what about the NFL? They said the Philadelphia Eagles would have to file a complaint before they addressed the issue.

What a sad comedy pro sports has become.

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