Wallace `makes his mark’ early on

Paul Kix

His day done, Seneca Wallace pinches his helmet in his hand and watches Cris Love quarterback the Cyclones.

Content with the 45 points amassed by Wallace and others, the crowd heads home, leaving the cardinal and gold bleachers directly behind the gazing Wallace exposed.

There are nine minutes still showing on the third quarter clock.

The time left gives Wallace a head start on receiving praise from peers and coaches.

Wallace accepts the handshake, the pat on the shoulderpad or the whisper in the ear long after the 45-0 score is final.

But standing there watching his replacement, Wallace is relieved.

“I was a little nervous before the game,” he said later.

Not that it showed.

“I didn’t see him that way at all,” said ISU head coach Dan McCarney.

UNI head coach Mark Farley didn’t either.

“That’s as good an offensive team as we’re going to face all season,” he said.

“Wallace is a great quarterback. We knew all along he was that good.”

It took Wallace three possessions to make his mark.

Facing third-and-six from Northern Iowa’s 27-yard line, Wallace rolled right, evaded pressure from a collapsing pocket, and suddenly was away – his strides eating turf while going untouched by Panthers into the end zone.

“It felt good to get that first touchdown,” Wallace said.

“That’s great coaching when you can make a play like that,” McCarney said.


“I guess so,” Wallace said.

Less than two mintues later, Wallace was in the end zone again.

From Iowa State’s 40-yard line, Wallace took the second-and-six snap and rolled left.

He found freedom along the left sideline.

His 60-yard touchdown scamper proved no Panther could catch him in the open field.

“It was an option play. Blocked well. I got down the sideline,” Wallace said.

“Seneca did a lot of things today that we see in practice every day,” McCarney said.

It was the longest touchdown run by a Cyclone quarterback since Buddy Hardeman’s 71-yard scamper on Nov. 1, 1975 against Colorado.

Wallace finished with 97 rushing yards on five carries, a 19.4 yard average.

The last time a Cyclone quarterback rushed for over 100 yards was last season when Sage Rosenfels rushed for 140 yards on 13 carries against Colorado on Nov. 11.

In one half and one third quarter possession with Wallace, the Cyclones threw up 282 yards of offense.

Wallace threw for 47 yards.

He threw deep, but passes were overthrown or broken up.

The longest of his five completions was a 14-yard slant pass Craig Campbell grabbed at full-arms length.

Northern Iowa wrestled Campbell down at the one-yard line.

It was the closest Wallace got to throwing a touchdown.

“As long as we get the win, it doesn’t matter. Hopefully my game will speak for itself,” Wallace said. “It doesn’t matter to me how many times I throw the ball.”

There were times Wallace didn’t need to.

Just before he was tackled by defensive lineman Paul Jarrett with seconds remaining in the first quarter, UNI quarterback Tom Petrie threw a pass cornerback Harold Clewis stepped in front of.

Clewis went down at UNI’s 18-yard line with the ball.

Running back Ennis Haywood ran it in from the one three plays later.

“Seneca is a great quarterback,” Clewis said.

“It feels like going against an All-American. If you can play against Seneca, you can play against anybody.”

“I’m glad that I played well, `cause if I didn’t …”

Wallace’s statement goes unfinished, still hanging in the air where the reporters huddled before him Saturday night.

He didn’t need to complete it.