Before the 1993 Cotton Bowl, Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz was not too polite to express his anger with Texas A&M; freshman quarterback Corey Pullig for having committed to the Irish and then reneging to sign with the Aggies.
After the game, Holtz probably was not quite as disappointed. In the 28-3 loss to the Irish, Pullig hardly looked like a ready-for-prime time quarterback.
“I looked in his eyes last year and saw a scared freshman,” Notre Dame defensive end Bryant Young said this week.
One year later, as the Irish and Aggies prepare to meet each other Saturday in a Cotton Bowl rematch, doubts remain about Pullig’s ability.
“He’s still not a finished product by a longshot,” Texas A&M; Coach R.C. Slocum said Thursday. “I’m anxious to see how he performs in this ballgame. I’ve talked to him about it and put some pressure on him. When you walk out there against Notre Dame, you’re dad-gum right there’s some pressure on you.
“In order to win, we’ve got to be walking over to that interview tent afterward saying, ‘Corey played the game of his life.’ ”
Holtz said he was concerned about his quarterback situation before the season, when the projected starter, freshman Ron Powlus, went down with a broken collarbone.
The Irish alternative was senior Kevin McDougal, who had played little as Rick Mirer’s backup and was unimpressive in fall drills.
“When I told (McDougal) the job was his, he said: ‘I’m going to lead you to a national championship,’ ” Holtz said. “I thought, ‘Right, you can’t even get us a first down.’ ”
But McDougal responded, setting a Notre Dame single-season passing percentage record.
“He’s a winner,” Holtz said. “I don’t know how else to put it. What he’s done is rather phenomenal.”