Keith Jackson, folksy voice of college football, dies at 89

Keith Jackson, the folksy voice of college football who for decades weaved backwoods wit through Saturday afternoon ABC broadcasts, has died. He was 89.

Jackson died Friday night, according to ESPN and other media outlets.

In a 52-year broadcasting career, Jackson covered a wide-ranging array of sports for radio and TV, including a rowing competition in the former Soviet Union, but he was best known as ABC’s voice of NCAA football — and for the homespun phrases he used in reporting it.

To Jackson, linemen were not guards and tackles, they were “the big uglies.” Running backs didn’t drop the ball, there was a “fuumm-bull!” Of an undersized player, he might say, “He’s a little-bitty thing, a bantam rooster. But he’s young. If he keeps eatin’ his cornbread, he’ll be man-sized some day.”

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