Oh, who could forget the feeling we had after the 1996 Clemson game…no, no, not the nausea from watching us almost cough up a 34-17 fourth-quarter lead and the bruised knees and bloody knuckles from falling to the floor in prayer as Clemson attempted a tying field goal. The other feeling.
Yes, the feeling the Troy Hambrick was taking the torch from Duce Staley and our running game would be in more than capable hands for the next three years. Hambrick would be a beast for us, an all-SEC back for which teams would have no answer. After all, he had finished the season strong filling in for Duce after he sprained his ankle against Vandy, and he complimented Duce nicely with 135 yards against the Clembillies.
And the touchdown run in that game. The magnificent touchdown run. Hitting the hole, breaking into the open, and just as he was running out of gas that last little lean that sent the pursuer sprawling. A thing of beauty.
Alas, Hambrick’s next two years were very Mike Davis-esque – 604 yards in ’97 and 701 yards in ’98. Not quite the superstar we had hoped.
When Lou Holtz was hired many thought it would be a great new start for Hambrick. He would be the feature back for a power running team. But before he ever played a down he was kicked off the team for a ________-related offense. (You fill in the blank, I don’t remember but am pretty sure it’s one of a half dozen things.)
Hambrick went on to play a couple of years in the League, including some time with his favorite team, the Cowboys. He and his brother Darren now run a very successful frozen banana stand in Pomona Beach, CA. It’s true, I read it on the internet.