On a weekend filled with upsets, there were strange scores and last-ditch victories. SMU, crushed 42-0 by Illinois the week before, tied and almost beat Purdue, the nation's top-ranked team. Pittsburgh rolled up 48 points but was hardly in the game, giving up an inglorious 63 to West Virginia. Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford and Texas Tech were all losers with less than two minutes to play, all winners at the end. If anything was normal it was the playing of Texas Western's Billy Stevens, whose sensational passing has become routine
It stands to reason that nothing molds a first-rate college quarterback like experience. In a matter of moments he must read defenses, call plays, fake hand-offs, keep track of four receivers breaking eight ways and then hit the free man with the football while dodging tackles quickly enough to stay alive. To learn this takes time. There are exceptions, of course. Ron Vander Kelen, a senior quarterback at Wisconsin in 1962, learned so much in 90 seconds of play as a sophomore and junior that in his final year he was able to lead his team to the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl. Similarly, John Huarte, a senior quarterback at Notre Dame last year, somehow transformed himself into a canny veteran after only nine minutes of previous game experience, and gained for Notre Dame recognition as the nation's No. 1 team and for himself the Heisman Trophy.
Now comes Billy Stevens, a tall sophomore quarterback at Texas Western, who has suddenly blossomed in the El Paso desert and become the nation's most effective and exciting passer. Stevens counts in his football scrapbook only six high school games, five of them as an undistinguished running halfback, plus three games with a ball-control Texas Western freshman team for which he threw only 45 passes. But last week—in his third consecutive varsity game—Stevens put on the kind of long-range aerial display that has kept Texas Western undefeated (they failed to win a game last year) and has packed 51,000 people into El Paso's Sun Bowl in two games as against 55,000 for five games last year. Stevens completed 18 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns as Western downed New Mexico State 21-6.
Stevens, who comes from Galveston, Texas, is physically well suited to play his role as a forward-passing phenomenon. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 190 pounds and uses the same modified side-arm motion once employed by another sweet-passing Texan, Sammy Baugh. But this kind of talent can amount to nothing without the right kind of team, and the right kind of team has been provided by Texas Western's brand new coach, Bobby Dobbs, a tall, robust, urbane man of 42 who thinks that football should be entertainment and that entertainment is a long forward pass. Dobbs, whose brother Glenn teaches a similar philosophy as head coach at Tulsa, was raised by the conservative Earl Blaik at Army, for whom he played fullback and later served as assistant coach. As head coach at Tulsa from 1955 to 1960, Bobby Dobbs was very much a ball-control man, but he changed during his four years as coach of the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian pro league. North of the border they play with 12 men on each side, have only three downs to make a first down and always keep the ball in the air.
October 10, 1965
"The Canadian League opened my eyes to how entertaining football can be," says Dobbs. "I'll never go back to ball control again. When I came down here I planned to put in a passing game. It was what I wanted and what I knew best. I was just darned well going to dig up the right personnel."
First, a quarterback. Stevens turned out to be the right one after a week of spring practice. "He had a good arm," says Dobbs, "and could throw the ball hard. He was tall enough to see over the defensive line and he had great temperament. Billy was as mature as any 19-year-old you could find anywhere."
Stevens' lack of early playing experience had been due to a series of disasters, not a lack of ability. As a high school sophomore he had been smashed down as he dropped back to pass, suffering a dislocated vertebrae in his back. The injury kept him idle through the fall of his junior year as well. Then a broken collarbone and an appendectomy kept him out of action until his last five games as a senior, which he played at halfback. He came to Texas Western only because one of his high school coaches pleaded with the college to give him an athletic scholarship.
Armed with a passer, Dobbs's next need was a line to protect him. "This was so important that I robbed seniors from the defense to give me the experience to protect against stunting defenses," says Dobbs. From tackle to tackle, Texas Western now has five rugged seniors who average 6 feet 1 inch and 220 pounds.
Finally, Dobbs had to find people to catch the passes. Texas Western has two receivers who have made Stevens' statistics look even better by a series of acrobatic catches and dazzling long runs. One is Split End Bob Wallace, a 6-foot-2 sophomore who weighs 200 pounds, but can sprint 100 yards in 9.7 seconds and catch anything within reach of his long fingers. Last year Wallace was a freshman at Phoenix Junior College, but when he heard that Dobbs was installing a pro-type passing attack at Texas Western, it was bye-bye Phoenix. Wallace has caught only 12 passes so far, but six of them have been for scores.
The other and most favored of Stevens' targets is Flanker Back Chuck Hughes, a bony junior from Abilene whose lean, hard body (5 feet 11, 165 pounds) and mean, competitive scowl call to mind the gunslingers of the old Southwest. When he leaves the huddle and trots toward his offensive post, Hughes's hands flop limply from the wrist as if about to fast-draw a Colt .45. Hughes is all zigs and zags, running his patterns and running the ball. He returns punts and kick-offs, as does Wallace, and has caught 22 passes for 666 yards (30 yards a catch) and seven touchdowns.
Despite these offensive talents, Texas Western was an underdog in each of its first two games, but the team scored lopsided victories in both. Stevens gained 500 yards passing, a national record, in a 61-15 rout of North Texas State, and threw for five scores against New Mexico. "I'm still in a state of shock," said New Mexico Coach Bill Weeks four days after the game, "but I've become a believer."
Last week New Mexico State's peppery coach, Warren Woodson, was not a believer. He was planning to furnish the surprises. "You don't think I've come down here to lose to these punks?" he growled. Woodson made the 42-mile trip from Las Cruces with the biggest defensive line that Texas Western is likely to see this year—four men weighing an average of 237 pounds. Woodson also put two men each on Wallace and Hughes and often wound up with seven men in the defensive secondary. New Mexico State scored first, taking a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. But it never threatened again. With nine minutes left in the first half and the ball on his own 36, Stevens lofted a pass downfield to Hughes, who was tightly covered by Defensive Halfback Jim Miller on the New Mexico State 25. Miller caught the ball, but as he and Hughes tumbled to the ground Hughes simply wrestled it away from him. Five plays later Wallace raced across in front of two New Mexico defenders and leaped high to catch a Stevens pass on the one-yard line. When the defenders tumbled to the ground in a tangle, Wallace jogged into the end zone for Texas Western's first score and a 7-6 lead. Three minutes later Hughes returned a punt 85 yards for another Texas Western touchdown, and late in the third quarter Wallace, standing on the goal line while fending off the New Mexico safety man, pulled in a 41-yard Stevens pass for the final score of the game and an eventual 21-6 victory.
"It was a good experience for Billy," said winning Coach Dobbs. "He got roughed up a lot. They made us work for everything we got."
It had indeed been a rough night for Billy. The breath was knocked out of him completely on one play and his knee strained during another. He emerged from the evening with large, red bruises all over his body and 81 yards lost trying, unsuccessfully, to get rid of the ball. But when he did get it off, Wallace and Hughes did the rest. Stevens now leads the nation in total offense with 977 yards, in passing with 1,106 yards gained and in touchdown passes with 10. So who needs experience to be a top quarterback? Get yourself a strong arm, a team with a pro-style passing attack, five elephants in the forward wall, a couple of receivers with baseball gloves for hands and then just throw the ball someplace. Really, there's nothing to it.
1. TEXAS (3-0)
2. ARKANSAS (3-0)
3. BAYLOR (2-1)
Texas Western and New Mexico State were expected to stage a close game, SMU and PURDUE were not, which explains why a Dallas motel sign pleaded with the Boilermakers to BE KIND TO SMU and only 17,000 appeared at the 75,000-capacity Cotton Bowl to watch Purdue's Bob Griese and company commit legal murder. Griese threw for two first-half scores, and SMU seemed destined for more of the same when Mustang Linebacker Jerry Griffin started "reading" the Purdue offense, calling quick checkoff defensive signals at the line and tackling. And he read it pretty well, making 13 tackles in all, as the Boilermakers were held scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile Quarterback Mac White all but laid Purdue to rest. He threw two touchdown passes as SMU partisans screamed, "To hell with No. 1," and led a final drive that fell short as Dennis Partee's field goal attempt with 21 seconds to go was blocked. The score: a satisfying (for SMU) 14-14 tie.
Indiana, a three-touchdown underdog, gave TEXAS fits for almost two quarters before succumbing 27-12 to what is becoming a diversified Longhorn attack. Texas scored on four long drives (the shortest was 66 yards) and rested Linebacker Tommy Nobis and his defensive wrecking crew much of the time in anticipation of next week's annual bloodbath with Oklahoma.
ARKANSAS Defensive Coach Jim Mackenzie, who supervised an instant videotape rerun setup, was asked how things went against TCU. "Not a fair test," he answered. "The team did nothing wrong." The Frogs would concur. They were beaten 28-0 as Harry Jones and Bob Burnett scored two touchdowns apiece in Arkansas' 15th straight victory.
Down to Texas A&M 10-0, TEXAS TECH Coach J. T. King studied some videotape of his own, threw out half his team's offense, then used just nine plays, one a pass-lateral, to win a tense 20-16 thriller. After the Aggies had gone ahead with 1:38 left, Tech Quarterback Tom Wilson faded back and hit Jerry Shipley on the A&M 42. Shipley, crossing paths with Donny Anderson, shoveled the ball to his All-America teammate who danced in for the winning touchdown with 67 seconds left.
Scotty Glacken's four first-half touchdown passes were all unbeaten DUKE needed to put down Rice 41-21. WEST TEXAS STATE defeated Arizona State 22-14, and slumbering LOUISVILLE awoke and scored three touchdowns in the second half for a 29-21 win over North Texas State.
1. NEBRASKA (3-0)
2. PURDUE (2-0-1)
3. MICHIGAN STATE (3-0)
Rarely had the Big Ten looked as sad. When GEORGIA beat Michigan 15-7 (page 26) and SMU tied PURDUE, the conference was left with only one undefeated and untied team—MICHIGAN STATE—and in the next three weeks it has the best of its chagrined compatriots to face. How well it fares may depend upon how successful Coach Duffy Daugherty is in luring the competition down the wrong trail. He tried, half seriously, to fool Illinois by complaining before their game, "We haven't really exploited our passing yet." What Daugherty really planned to do was to hit the Illini's sophomore ends hard and run inside and outside them. State followed his directions, but only after Fullback Jim Grabowski and Quarterback Fred Custardo had Illinois ahead 10-3. Then Halfback Clinton Jones ran 13 yards for a touchdown, Fullback Bob Apisa hammered 10 for another and the Spartans had a 15-12 lead. And just to show that State could exploit its passing, Quarterback Steve Juday threw a short one to End Gene Washington to bring the final score to 22-12.
Two other Big Ten teams went down hard. For a while, though, Northwestern must have thought it was still playing for Ara Parseghian. The Wildcats led NOTRE DAME 7-6 late in the third quarter and they began to have grand illusions. Then, in quick order, Safety Nick Rassas intercepted a pass and ran it back 92 yards for a touchdown, Ken Ivan kicked a 23-yard field goal and Rassas, on the loose again, returned a punt 72 yards. Northwestern lost 38-7. Minnesota lost, too, but it was never in the game with MISSOURI. The hardened Tigers pounded the skimpy Gopher defense for 324 yards with a devastating ground game. Quarterback Gary Lane scored twice on runs, set up a field goal with another, and Missouri won 17-6. "We didn't play too well," observed Minnesota's Murray Warmath.
Everybody expected the bombing to be fearsome when WISCONSIN'S Chuck Burt and Iowa's Gary Snook, two of the nation's best passers, got together at Madison. It was more like a spent Chinese firecracker—until Burt hit End Louie Jung with a 42-yarder in the final moments that won for underdog Wisconsin 16-13.
Matters were more stable in the Big Eight, where the best were winning and the worst were not. NEBRASKA, the team with the most of everything, showed what it was like to have two big-league quarterbacks. When Bob Churchich had trouble moving the Huskers against Iowa State, Fred Duda came in to throw two touchdown passes, scored himself on a keeper play and Nebraska overwhelmed the Cyclones 44-0. COLORADO had an easy time with Kansas State, winning 36-0 as Willie Harris slashed the Wildcats and Frank Rogers kicked three field goals. OKLAHOMA STATE brazenly dared Tulsa to run by abandoning its wide-tackle six defense for a 4-3-4 and the Hurricanes simply were not up to it. Billy Anderson's passing bothered the Cowboys, but they finally upset Tulsa 17-14 on the last of Charley Durkee's three field goals.
Oklahoma was still having a hard life; this time the culprit was NAVY, which went after the green Sooners with a wide-open game. Halfback Terry Murray ran the Oklahoma ends weary, Quarterbacks John Cartwright and Bruce Bickel fired away for 218 yards on 12 pass completions and the Middies took the game 10-0.
1. SYRACUSE (2-1)
2. ARMY (2-1)
3. NAVY (1-1-1)
Just about everybody at Boston College, including Coach Jim Miller, thought the Eagles could beat ARMY. They had heard about the Cadets' seemingly inoffensive offense, certainly not a thing to worry their big linemen. And if they respected Army's defense, they admired their own good young backs more. BC was wrong on both counts. Nick Kurilko's booming punts and a furious charge, led by End Tom Schwartz and Linebacker Townsend Clarke, who ranged fiercely from sideline to sideline, permitted BC entry into Army territory only twice and never beyond the Cadet 47. But still Army needed two breaks to score. In the second half an Eagle fumble on the 22 set up a 32-yard field goal by Barry Nickerson. Later Joe DiVito's rushed punt (it went only 18 yards) gave Army the ball on the BC 30. Quarterback Curt Cook, in for ailing Fred Barofsky, threw a 12-yard pass to End Sam Champi, and the Cadets won 10-0. "That Army defense," said Miller admiringly. "Boy, they just never let up, do they?"
It looked like Penn State was going to get Coach Rip Engle his 100th victory when sophomore Roger Grimes bulled in for a score against UCLA in the first quarter. Then the Lions began to fumble and bumble. They gave the ball away four times on fumbles and interceptions, and when UCLA sophomore Quarterback Gary Beban rolled out on options he caught the Penn State right end dropping off". He simply ran around the end for two touchdowns. When Beban caught the Lion linebackers plugging inside, he went to a quick count and Mel Farr slipped outside tackle and raced 58 yards. The Bruins led 24-7 before Penn State woke up. Quarterback Jack White passed 17 yards to End Bill Huber for a touchdown and ran four yards for another. But it was too late. UCLA won 24-22.
While most of the favorites everywhere else were acting like dying swans, life in the cloistered Ivy League was satisfyingly normal. PRINCETON clobbered Columbia 31-0 as Tailback Ron Landeck ran and passed for 283 yards and scored twice. DARTMOUTH allowed Holy Cross a 6-0 lead, but Quarterback Mickey Beard rallied the Indians and they won 27-6. CORNELL and HARVARD, the other contenders, also won. The Big Red trampled Lehigh 49-13, and Fullback Tom Choquette led Harvard past Tufts 33-0. Yale, as expected, lost to COLGATE 7-0, but not until the very last minute, while PENN, on the rise under new Coach Bob Odell, took its second game, over Brown 7-0.
Massachusetts did not think it could lose to BUFFALO, but the Redmen did, 18-6. Temple, too, was upset again, BOSTON U. Quarterback Bob Kobus threw a touchdown pass and scored one himself as the Terriers won 14-7. RUTGERS stopped Connecticut's throwing game with three interceptions, all by Lou Tepper, and used its own passes to score twice, winning 17-8 for its first victory.
1. GEORGIA (3-0)
2. KENTUCKY (2-1)
3. MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-0)
Faster than a bulldog can tree a wildcat, the settled affairs of the Southeastern Conference race were put in turmoil. LSU and Kentucky, two most likely to succeed, were upset by Florida and Auburn, leaving Georgia and Mississippi State the only unbeaten and untied teams. And, the way things are going, almost no one would bet they would not be beaten, too, before very long.
FLORIDA'S Steve Spurrier, a lanky junior quarterback, caught LSU with its usually sturdy defenses sagging and peppered the Bengals unmercifully with passes. One of them went to Halfback Dick Trapp for a touchdown and four others set up a one-yard scoring blast by John Feiber. Floundering LSU made things easier by fumbling twice inside the Gator five-yard line as Florida beat the Bengals 14-7.
What AUBURN'S Shug Jordan likes best is a rough, tough line that grinds opposing backs into the turf. Last Saturday his Tigers treated Kentucky's runners shamefully, holding them to a mere 90 yards. Rick Norton got away from the Auburn rush long enough to throw three scoring bombs—for 76, 74 and 44 yards—to Bob Windsor and Larry Seiple, but they were not enough. Quarterback Tom Bryan, running and passing beautifully, took Auburn on three long touchdown drives, Ben McDavid kicked a 40-yard field goal and the Tigers won the game 23-18.
It looked like one of those nights for ALABAMA, too, when Mississippi led the Tide 16-7 in the last quarter. But Bear Bryant's boys inched up relentlessly on Ole Miss. David Ray kicked a 37-yard field goal. Quarterback Steve Sloan ran nine yards for the tying touchdown with 1:19 to go and Ray's extra point won it 17-16.
MISSISSIPPI STATE had much easier going. The Maroons swamped Tampa 48-7. TULANE, battered by Texas and Alabama, caught Miami 24-16 on Quarterback Bobby Duhon's 71-yard pass to Lanis O'Steen. Two other Southern independents were luckier than Miami. Baylor, unhappily, lost Terry Southall, its star passer, with a broken ankle early in the game, and FLORIDA STATE finally overtook the weakened Bears 9-7 on Ed Pritchett's 49-yard pass to Flanker T. K. Weatherall. GEORGIA TECH routed previously unbeaten Clemson 38-6.
The second time SYRACUSE got the ball against Maryland, Halfback Floyd Little broke over tackle and ran 72 yards for a touchdown. That was the beginning of a bleak afternoon for the ambitious Terps. Before it ended, and despite some wanton use of muscle by Maryland, Little ran for 152 yards and two more scores as Syracuse won 24-7.
Only seeing the West Virginia-Pitt game was believing it. Thousands of horns set up a frightful din, especially when Pitt had the ball, footballs flew through the air like missiles, fists thudded against bodies and the last thing anyone bothered to do was play defense. When it was all over, the two teams had scored 16 touchdowns and gained 1,071 yards. West Virginia Quarterback Allen McCune threw five touchdown passes and Halfback Garrett Ford rushed for 192 yards and three scores. Pitt Quarterback Kenny Lucas passed for two touchdowns and Halfback Eric Crabtree scored three times on long gains. Oh yes, WEST VIRGINIA won 63-48. Said Pitt's John Michelosen sadly, "The defenses just went to pot."
1. USC (2-0-1)
2. OREGON (3-0)
3. STANFORD (2-0-1)
Woody Hayes must be getting weary of losing to nonconference foes. At least it looked that way when OHIO STATE played Washington. Hayes went back to his old smashing game and the head knocking was fierce as the Bucks hammered away with the Huskies until, with 59 seconds to play, Bob Funk kicked a 27-yard field goal to win for Ohio State 23-21. Earlier, Washington had blown a chance to put the game out of reach. In field-goal position, Coach Jim Owens could not get Kicker Ron Medved into the game because he had already sent in two substitutes. So Dave Williams kicked from the 25 and missed.
Usc's Johnny McKay may have been upset when Oregon State got off to a 12-0 lead, but he wasn't for long. Mike Garrett, the best Trojan runner of them all, took personal charge of the game, tore away from the frantically grabbing Beavers for 172 yards, scored three times and USC won 26-12. "Our game plan involved the containment of Garrett," explained Oregon State's Dee Andros later. "But the only hope is to gang tackle him and pray you hem him in a little." Garrett, as Andros could plainly see, does not hem easily.
Brigham Young never had a chance against OREGON. Coach Len Casanova alternated his junior quarterbacks, Tom Trovato and Mike Brundage, and they each completed 10 passes as the Webfoots romped for 29 first downs, 477 yards and a 27-14 victory. Plucky Air Force almost had STANFORD. The Falcons rushed to a 16-7 edge but then lost it 17-16, when Stanford Quarterback Dave Lewis led the Indians on a 92-yard touchdown drive and Terry De Sylvia kicked a 29-yard field goal with 22 seconds to play. CALIFORNIA finally won one, beating Kansas 17-0, but Washington State, a surprise team, lost for the first time, IDAHO stopped the Cougars 17-13.
The big showdown came early in the Western AC, and it was no contest. WYOMING plugged off Arizona's escape routes with a mean defense, held the ball for 81 plays and beat the Wildcats 19-0. Sophomore Jerry DePoyster's 49-yard field goal opened the Cowboy scoring in the third quarter and Quarterback Tom Wilkinson did the rest. He found the gaps in Arizona's usually reliable defense and completed 12 of 19 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
BEST OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Quarterback Allen McCune of West Virginia passed Pitt dizzy in the dizziest game in years. He completed 18 of 25 passes, including touchdown throws of 72, 14, 17, 15 and 59 yards, and ran one yard for another score.
THE LINEMAN: Army's Townsend Clarke, a 210-pound linebacker, keyed on and contained Brendan McCarthy, Boston College's superlative sophomore. He was in on 19 tackles and intercepted a pass in the Cadets' 10-0 victory.
THE 15 HARDEST PICKS
USC OVER WASHINGTON
Quick USC will run through the suddenly porous Huskies.
OREGON OVER STANFORD
The Indians make many mistakes, Oregon makes fewer.
SYRACUSE OVER UCLA
UCLA is not quite up to holding Syracuse's regrouped forces.
WYOMING OVER UTAH
The Cowboys attack ferociously and yield grudgingly.
PENN STATE OVER BOSTON COLLEGE
The Slumbering Lions show signs of awakening.
PRINCETON OVER CORNELL
Gogolak's kicking can make the difference if it is close.
FLORIDA OVER MISSISSIPPI
Spurrier gives the Gators the advantage in an even game.
KENTUCKY OVER FLORIDA STATE
Both are ambitious, but the Wildcats are talented too.
LSU OVER MIAMI (FLA).
Even if the Hurricanes are testy, LSU defends better.
DUKE OVER PITT
In a high-scoring game, a slender edge to the Blue Devils.
ARKANSAS OVER BAYLOR
The Bears have been seriously weakened by injuries.
TEXAS TECH OVER TCU
Texas stopped Donny Anderson, but TCU is not Texas.
PURDUE OVER IOWA
Griese over Snook in a battle of outstanding passers.
MICHIGAN STATE OVER MICHIGAN
No matter which team wins, it will not be an upset.
OHIO STATE OVER ILLINOIS
The Buckeyes are ready now for Big Ten opponents.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS
6 RIGHT, 9 WRONG
SEASON'S RECORD: 19-23-3