Cowboy Classics: ‘I hated Air Force more than CSU’
CHEYENNE -- Mitch Donahue didn't like Colorado State.
He loved beating BYU. He talked about battles with Utah's gunslinger, Scott Mitchell. He dominated San Diego State.
But if there was one team that really got under the defensive end's skin, it was the Air Force Falcons.
"I hated them more than CSU," Donahue laughed. "They were good, fast and little. They would bite at your heels all the time."
Not only do they lunge at your knees on nearly every snap, run an infuriating style of the triple option, Donahue said, they were known to play on the "dirty" side.
"I tackled an Air Force guy in the backfield once," Donahue said of the 1988 tilt in Colorado Springs, "the guy grabs my fingers, pulls them apart and I just started whaling on him. Turns out, he bit the tip of my finger off. I was just thrashing him."
Donahue was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty. When he went up to the referee to show him his ring finger and where he was bit, it looked like he was holding up a different finger.
"It looked like I was flipping off the ref," he joked. "I was getting thrown out of the game."
That's when a calming influence stepped in. Head coach Paul Roach, Donahue said, put his arm around the ref's shoulder and calmly told him what had just transpired.
"Paul was such a smooth dude," Donahue said. "He told the ref, 'see the teeth marks on his finger?' The ref didn't kick me out, he just told me to get the blood taken care of. I wrapped it up and went right back in there."
On the next play, the Falcons ran a fake toss, naked bootleg, Donahue claimed. He had seen this play a time or two before.
"I could tell he was going to wind back," he said. "I took a step up and let the tackle run by me. The quarterback, Dee Dowis, came right to me. I swatted the ball out and caused a fumble. Sean Fleming kicked a 27-yard field goal to win the game."
Air Force 45
The Cowboys overcame a four-touchdown explosion by the Falcons in the third quarter. Air Force led 38-17 heading into the fourth. Fifth-year senior quarterback, Randy Welniak, helped save the day, throwing three touchdowns and running in for another to keep the Pokes' record unblemished at 4-0.