You would not have to say that West Virginia University looks for inspiration in adversity, but that ship's mast that occupies such a conspicuous place on the campus is off the battleship West Virginia, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor. The classic example of a West Virginia alumnus, General Anthony C. McAuliffe, said "nuts" to the Germans at Bastogne while looking down the gun barrels of about 20,000 German soldiers who had him surrounded. And West Virginia football fans take an almost perverse delight in the nonsuccess of their team, particularly the two 17-year periods during which the Mountaineers could not beat their most hated opponent, Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers also consider it worth mentioning that Marshall Goldberg, the best football player the state ever produced, went away to Pitt and that Paul Bryant, then at Kentucky, and General Bob Neyland of Tennessee used to steal in regularly to recruit the state's better players.
It is further pointed out with approbation that Spartan West Virginia has never had an athletic dorm, has not red-shirted a player in 10 years and has never, never made a concession on a player's classroom schedule. When the team starts practice—on a field 1½ miles away that the players get to by bus—as many as a third of the players are liable to still be in class. The players do not pretend to be glamorous. Unglamorous as can be is the star quarterback, Allen (Coon) McCune, a miner's son who apologizes in the huddle for incomplete passes, talks with his head down and not often, and rides around in a convertible only when he is with someone who owns one.
The so-called "golden eras" of West Virginia football are more or less recognized as mistakes. The team has gone undefeated one time in 72 years and has had capacity crowds exactly five times in about 350 home games. Its fans have been conditioned not to get too excited. Until now.
This year West Virginians are so excited they don't know what to do except rush to the ticket office, where tickets are getting scarce. The goody-goody student Daily Athenaeum has found it necessary to caution its readers concerning their stadium manners. Publicist Ed Barrett is considering installing a tranquilizer dispenser in the press box. Coach Gene Corum says he is fast becoming the oldest 44-year-old coach in the business. In his nightmares Corum thrashes through 0-0 ties, though logic tells him his team is not likely ever to be shut out—or to shut out anybody. The Mountaineers are not just undefeated (the 25-2 victory over The Citadel on Saturday was their fourth straight), they have averaged 44.5 points a game. They average 259.8 yards a game rushing, 222 yards passing and 200 adjectives per sportswriter's story in Barrett's press box. They are the most explosive team in college football. They are also one of the most exploded on: even William and Mary pushed them around for 345 yards. However, the defense made at least a token comeback against The Citadel, intercepting five passes, recovering two fumbles and forcing a safety.
October 17, 1965
Two weeks ago at Morgantown, before that fifth capacity crowd, West Virginia beat rival Pittsburgh 63-48. West Virginia scored more points in the first half (28) than it had in 57 previous games with Pitt. Coach Corum, with a West Virginian's eye for negativity, noted that the key play of the game was a defensive one—End Bill Sullivan slid across the line to stop the Pitt quarterback at the goal on a two-point conversion play. It was one of the few tackles made all afternoon. The score then was 49-48. Quarterback McCune knew exactly what to do to protect the one-point lead; he threw a 59-yard touchdown pass. An alumnus told Corum afterward that he was living dangerously—if he kept this up the fans would start taking football as seriously as they do basketball—and that's real trouble.
It is mostly Corum's fault, of course. He is a native son who played for the Mountaineers before and after World War II as a 178-pound guard and should know better. He was called Cocky then, because he was such a stoic sufferer. He would probably deny that he once played a game with a broken arm, but West Virginians believe it. Cocky Corum was an assistant to the late Art Lewis for 10 years and is now in his sixth year as head coach. He has accomplished a painstaking rebuilding program. The first year he did not win a game; Saturday's victory over The Citadel finally pushed him over .500 at 27 wins, 26 losses. Corum appreciates the university's low-key approach to the game, but he does not let it stop him from getting things done. During that first year he gathered his coaches together and made goodwill trips to every high school in the state—all 254 of them. The staff has been doing that ever since, in August, when other coaches are busy preparing for fall practice. The result: not many good West Virginia players pack off to Kentucky or Tennessee anymore. "He wraps the flag around you," says one. "How can you refuse?"
A deliberately positive effort was also made to bring in good Negro athletes. The first two—Fullback Dick Leftridge and Guard Roger Alford—are seniors now. They call themselves The Pioneers and Leftridge says that when their sons go to West Virginia they will be known as The Sons of the Pioneers. Leftridge is a high-humored, powerfully built 220-pounder from Hinton, W. Va., one of 10 children in a railroader's family. He once asked Corum for permission to go home for the weekend. "Be back by 10 a.m. Monday," he was told. At 10 on Monday Leftridge phoned. "It's snowing, and I don't have a way back," he said. Corum exploded. Five minutes later Leftridge walked into his office. "When I heard how mad you were, Coach," he said, "I took a jet."
Leftridge is in shape for the first time in his life. Previously he had a problem with tables—he never wanted to get up from one. When he is in shape he is a slashing runner (369 yards in 66 carries so far this fall) and an even better blocker. "I love to hit the big guys," he says.
The man Leftridge is usually hitting and blocking for is a sophomore halfback from Washington, D.C., a handsome Negro with cow eyes and a self-deprecating manner. Conservatively speaking, says one WVU official, Garrett Ford should make All-America this year and every year until he graduates. The nation's third-leading rusher, he is averaging 8.5 yards a carry, has four runs and a pass reception of 50 yards or more and has scored six touchdowns. He wears number 32, because he is a great believer in Jimmy Brown, the Cleveland star. Ford wanted to go to Syracuse, Brown's school, but never even paid it a visit, because one trip to Morgantown and he was sold—"I guess it was the southern hospitality."
Still, the man who makes this splendid attack go is Quarterback McCune, who comes from the same high school—East Bank—that sent West Virginia its finest basketball player, Jerry West. McCune passes well (for touchdowns in seven straight games) and is just quick enough on sprint-out passes to get the ball away under a rush, though he is no scrambler. He gets help from the bench on 30% of his play calls, which he says is fine, because in the huddle he sometimes draws a blank. Corum moved him from defense last year after West Virginia had gone scoreless in 13 straight quarters and the coaching staff was casting about frantically for someone to pull them out. "I wouldn't have asked for the job," McCune says, typically unpresuming, "but I am glad they made the change."
The West Virginia offense is by no means unusually conceived—it is a straight wing T, with a split end and a flip-flopping line. The secret is execution—nine of the 11 offensive starters have played together since they were freshmen, and they thrive on togetherness. They block like madmen and are especially deadly on traps and wedges. Furthermore, Bob Dunlevy, 6 feet 5 and the fastest man on the team, is a superb pass catcher (14 so far for 272 yards), and so is Wingback Dick (Radar) Rader. McCune is grateful. "Everything I throw up, they grab. It's really something."
It is not likely that West Virginia will make it through undefeated, not with Penn State, Kentucky and Syracuse still to play. But to knock the Mountaineers off it will take a heap of points and recognition that their Spartan attitude is not likely to go soft from a few happy successes. Certainly McCune is unspoiled. After one of his better performances he went to Barrett, head down, a dollar bill in hand, and said, "I'd like to buy a program, sir."
Unbeatable humility, that is what it is.
1. GEORGIA (4-0)
2. MISSISSIPPI STATE (4-0)
3. KENTUCKY (3-1)
For years Southeastern Conference teams oblingingly died for dear Ole Miss. They do so no longer and the latest of the noncooperators, FLORIDA, spent a pleasant Saturday winning 17-0 as Quarterback Steve Spurrier and Lonesome End Charley Casey belabored the Rebels with their running and throwing. Spurrier completed 18 of 29 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown and ran nine yards for another. Casey, running deceptive patterns and making spectacular grabs, caught seven passes and scored once. It was the first time that one of Coach Johnny Vaught's teams had lost three straight.
That left MISSISSIPPI STATE and Mississippi Southern, both unbeaten, to decide the state championship. And whenever these kissin' cousins tangle, it is never easy living. State Coach Paul Davis stacked his defense to keep Vic Purvis, Southern's glamour boy, from running inside, but Purvis almost ruined the Bulldogs with his passing. It took a succession of hairy goal-line stands to hold State's 17-9 lead. Then, with four minutes to go, Quarterback Ashby Cook put the game out of reach. His passes set up Jimmy Neill's 26-yard field goal and a touchdown to make the final score 27-9.
As usual, GEORGIA stumbled and struggled and then won again. Down 9-6 to Clemson, the unbeaten Bulldogs went ahead 23-9 when Guard Jimmy Cooley blocked a kick for a touchdown and Fullback Ronnie Jenkins plunged over from the three for another. Resourceful LSU turned two Miami fumbles and a blocked punt into three scores in the first half and then almost got caught by the Hurricanes when Miami sophomore Quarterback Bill Miller completed 21 passes for three touchdowns. But LSU won 34-27. "I'd like to say I was cool out there," said Miller, "but I was scared."
"I don't know when I've wanted anything more," said KENTUCKY'S Charley Bradshaw before the Florida State game. What prompted these remarks was the 48-6 drubbing the Seminoles gave his team last year. So Bradshaw dreamed up a new play for the occasion—a tackle-eligible pass for Doug Davis, a 238-pound giant—and it led to two Kentucky touchdowns. But FSU Coach Bill Peterson, plotting too, had a surprise for the Wildcats. Bill Moreman, taking a kickoff in his end zone, headed up the middle to the 13-yard line, stopped and suddenly tossed a short cross-field pass to T.K. Wetherell, behind a four-man screen. The quintet raced untouched for a score. Kentucky, as expected, finally won the battle of wits, by an unexpectedly close 26-24.
Alabama recovered from some early troubles to beat Vanderbilt 22-7 while TENNESSEE thumped South Carolina 24-3 and AUBURN ran over Chattanooga 30-7. But Tulane lost to GEORGIA TECH 13-10.
Duke's Scotty Glacken and Pitt's Kenny Lucas tossed the ball around as if it were the incriminating Exhibit A in a murder trial. They each threw a touchdown pass, but Glacken also got one running, and that was the difference as the Blue Devils won 21-13. NORTH CAROLINA edged North Carolina State 10-7; MARYLAND rallied to take Wake Forest 10-7; VIRGINIA squeaked past VMI 14-10; and VIRGINIA TECH beat George Washington 17-12.
1. NAVY (2-1-1)
2. SYRACUSE (2-2)
3. ARMY (2-2)
Nobody really believed that Army could beat NOTRE DAME. But 61,000 went to New York's Shea Stadium to watch the Cadets try. What they saw was a bruising, sometimes dull, game. Notre Dame's Ara Parseghian knew the best part of Army's game was its wonderful defensive line. So he decided to start sophomore Quarterback Ted Schoen and come out passing. The ploy paid. With the ball on the Army 20, Schoen scrambled nimbly away from a determined Cadet rush and passed to End Don Gmitter for a touchdown. Senior Bill Zloch took over in the second half, and the Irish reverted to a ball control game. Nick Eddy scored on a five-yard run, and then Fullback Larry Conjar battered the spent Army forwards for 52 yards in 10 carries to set up a 23-yard field goal by Ken Ivan. Notre Dame won 17-0.
For a while it seemed that PENN STATE and Boston College were determined to give each other the game. The two fumbled and traded interceptions like kids in a schoolyard before State settled down and took advantage of the breaks—a bad BC punt and a fumble. Halfback Don Kunit ran over from the four and Fullback Dave McNaughton bulled 10 yards for a 17-0 victory, Coach Rip Engle's 100th at Penn State.
William and Mary made the sad mistake of scoring first against NAVY. The Middies' sophomore backs reacted like wounded rhinos. Quarterback John Cartwright completed 16 of 22 passes for 199 yards. Halfback Terry Murray wriggled over for three touchdowns and Navy won 42-14.
Cornell's Tom Harp had a gimmick ready for PRINCETON'S sidekicking Charley Gogolak—two light halfbacks who stood on the shoulders of tall tackles and tried to bat down his kicks. They succeeded in giving the AP a good national picture, but Gogolak kicked over the extra posts for 54- and 44-yard field goals and four extra points. However, it took three more touchdown passes and a 13-yard run by Tailback Ron Landeck to hold off Cornell 36-27.
The rest of the Ivies were predictable. DARTMOUTH, after some anxious moments, squeaked past Penn 24-19. Halfbacks Wally Grant and Bobby Leo ran Columbia dizzy to give HARVARD a 21-6 victory. YALE caught Brown 3-0 on Dan Begel's 23-yard field goal.
1. NEBRASKA (4-0)
2. MICHIGAN STATE (4-0)
3. PURDUE (3-0-1)
It was an awful study in anguish at Ann Arbor last Saturday. While 103,219 looked on in disbelief, MICHIGAN STATE'S big, fast linemen rushed at Michigan's backs like a gang of rumbling teen-agers. With Bubba Smith, a 268-pound end, 286-pound Middle Guard Harold Lucas and 211-pound End Bob Viney leading the terrible charge, and 218-pound Rover George Webster backing it up, the Spartans wrecked Michigan's running game, holding it to minus 39 yards. And when Wolverine Quarterback Dick Vidmer dropped back to pass, he was flattened so fast and so often that he began to look like a permanent fixture in the stadium floor. Meanwhile Quarterback Steve Juday, Halfback Clinton Jones and Fullback Bob Apisa—on a last-second 39-yard run—had a delightful time storming to three touchdowns, Dick Kenney, the barefoot Hawaiian, kicked two field goals, and unbeaten Michigan State won 24-7.
Who is the best quarterback in the country? If you ask Iowa's Jerry Burns, he has to say PURDUE'S Bob Griese. All Griese did was pick apart Iowa with his superb passes (20 of 35 for 216 yards), bruise the Hawk-eyes with his nifty running (for one score) and, finally, beat them 17-14 with two extra points and a 19-yard field goal. "How can you beat him?" asked Burns plaintively.
Ohio State had a one-man gang ready for Illinois, too. Grinding it out in pure Woody Hayes fashion, the Bucks sent Fullback Tom Barrington crashing through the Illini line 32 times for 179 yards and three touchdowns and won 28-14. MINNESOTA was more circumspect. Quarterback John Hankinson threw three touchdown passes to complement Fullback Joe Holmberg's two scores up the middle as the Gophers ran over Indiana 42-18. NORTHWESTERN regained some much-needed face for the suffering Big Ten, beating Oregon State 15-7. But Wisconsin did not have a chance against NEBRASKA. Quarterback Fred Duda tormented the poor Badgers, running 59 yards for one touchdown and passing 29 to little Frankie Solich for another. The Huskers won easily 37-0. "They didn't surprise us," said Coach Milt Bruhn. "They did what they've been doing well—in fact, better."
Nebraska, though, may be in for trouble from some of its Big Eight neighbors. MISSOURI won its third straight, over Kansas State 28-6, while COLORADO routed Oklahoma State 34-11 as sophomores Dick O'Dell and William Harris ran for three touchdowns. Winless Kansas went down again, to IOWA STATE 21-7.
Strange things were happening to perennial powers in the Mid-American Conference. TOLEDO'S green youngsters, who did not figure to beat many teams, upset Ohio U. 21-7 for their third win. BOWLING GREEN, favored to win the league title, barely got by Western Michigan 21-17, while the heir presumptive, KENT STATE, took Miami of Ohio 24-13.
1. TEXAS (4-0)
2. ARKANSAS (4-0)
3. TEXAS TECH (3-1)
The preliminaries are over; the lines drawn. Season No. 2 starts Saturday in Fayetteville when Texas meets Arkansas.
Getting its habitually splendid, balanced ground game from Bobby Burnett inside and Harry Jones outside, ARKANSAS thrived on the absence of Terry Southall and ripped crippled Baylor 38-7. The Hogs intercepted more Bear passes (6) than they caught of their own (4) and used one of the former (Tommy Trantham's 69-yard touchdown) late in the first half for the early killer.
Many Oklahoma ticket holders stayed home rather than visit the Cotton Bowl for the game with TEXAS. They must have had a vision. Marv Kristynik and Tommy Nobis again took starring roles as the Steers stampeded 19-0. The one bright note for the Sooners was their own linebacker, Carl McAdams, who gave as good as he got. The Oklahoma offense, however, was pitiful (only six first downs). The visitors did salvage something. Oklahoma's band took up the entire half-time show, preventing Texas from going on. "We won the game, they won the band," said an unconcerned Texan.
Exciting TEXAS TECH won another wild one when Tom Wilson threw an 11-yard pass to Mike Leinert, with 2:20 left, to beat TCU 28-24. Minutes earlier Frank Horak had put the Frogs ahead with a 102-yard kickoff return. Disappointing Houston was again beaten, this time by Glynn Lindsey's 26-yard field goal that won 10-7 for TEXAS A&M. And two other unbeatens stayed that way: TEXAS WESTERN, using 319 passing yards by the wondrous Billy Stevens, crushed Colorado State 35-0; WEST TEXAS STATE rolled over Trinity 34-6.
1. USC (3-0-1)
2. STANFORD (3-0-1)
3. OREGON (3-1)
For USC's muscular, slippery Mike Garrett, it was a routine game—175 yards rushing in 31 carries, including a 58-yard sprint to set up one touchdown, and a crushing block to spring teammate Rod Sherman loose for another. But for Quarterback Troy Winslow, it was a wide-screen spectacular. He completed all 11 of his passes for two touchdowns and ran for one himself. By the time Coach Johnny McKay called off his brace of Trojans, Washington was dead 34-0.
It did not seem possible that STANFORD could beat Oregon. Long-pass receiver Bobby Blunt was out with an injury and Quarterback Dave Lewis was ailing with a sprained big toe, which prevented him from running options or punting. To make matters worse the Indians fumbled the ball away four times in the first half. But the Stanford defense, led by Guard Mike Hibler, did all the right things. It slanted, stunted, red-dogged and held the Webfoots down until Coach John Ralston dusted off an old play, a tackle-eligible pass. Lewis threw one to Blaine Nye to tie Oregon 7-7 in the third quarter and another to Ferg Flanagan with 1:12 to go to beat the Webfoots 17-14.
UCLA's Tommy Prothro had a couple of new plays of his own for Syracuse. The first time the Bruins got the ball, after a Syracuse fumble, Quarterback Gary Beban rolled right on the option and kept on going for 27 yards and a touchdown behind some specially devised blocking. The next time UCLA gained possession Beban rolled right again, the Syracuse defense edged up, and Beban passed over it to End Kurt Altenberg for 79 yards and another score. Unable to fathom such ruthless trickery, Syracuse bowed 24-14.
California was showing signs of improvement. The defense set up three second-quarter touchdowns with pass interceptions and fumble recoveries, and the Bears trimmed Air Force 24-7. WASHINGTON STATE, however, had to come from behind to take underdog Villanova 24-14. The difference was a scoring flurry that took only a minute. Quarterback Tom Roth threw a 78-yard pass to Halfback Bob Simpson, and Willie Gaskins ran back an interception 41 yards.
The smart money was on unbeaten Wyoming when the Cowboys came to Salt Lake City to play UTAH. Wyoming had whipped Arizona, the Utes had lost to Arizona and they always lose to the Cowboys anyway. So at half time, when Wyoming led 3-0, nobody was surprised. But then miraculous things began to happen. The mean Utah defense, led by Linebacker Pat McKissick, shook the Cowboys loose from the ball four times, swift little Ben Woodson suddenly found space and ran for three touchdowns, Quarterback Rich Groth passed for two more (one of them to Woodson), and Wyoming was shattered 42-3.
To make it a perfect Utah weekend, unbeaten UTAH STATE overcame a near disastrous first half, saved only by its rough, tough defense, and finally won over strong Idaho 30-19. Roy Shivers, a back the pros are watching carefully, was the Aggies' big weapon.
BEST OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Quarterback Billy Anderson's amazing passing show led Tulsa past Memphis State 32-28. He set an NCAA record with 39 completions (16 to End Howard Twilley) in 65 tries for 447 yards and four touchdowns.
THE LINEMAN: Michigan State roared past Michigan on the lion-size play of Rover George Webster. Key man in State's 5-3 defense, he tackled fiercely, batted passes away and recovered two fumbles to give his team an early edge.
THE 15 HARDEST PICKS
PENN STATE OVER SYRACUSE
State gets Stronger while Syracuse can't get going.
NAVY OVER PITT
A little offense and strong defense over a big offense and no defense.
HARVARD OVER CORNELL
An even game, but the Crimson has the better runners.
LSU OVER KENTUCKY
The Bengals have a way of taming Wildcats, especially at home.
ALABAMA OVER TENNESSEE
The Vols lack the offense to penetrate 'Bama.
AUBURN OVER GEORGIA TECH
Auburn's good line is too tough for Tech's young backs.
GEORGIA OVER FLORIDA STATE
The rag-tag Bulldogs capitalize on organized confusion.
NORTH CAROLINA OVER MARYLAND
The Tar Heels have forcibly impressed sterner foes.
WEST VIRGINIA OVER VIRGINIA
Scoring is their game, and West Virginia does it better.
PURDUE OVER MICHIGAN
The Wolverines are still bumbling, and Purdue has Griese.
MICHIGAN STATE OVER OHIO STATE
The Spartans are more direct. They hit and run.
TEXAS OVER ARKANSAS
But barely. These Hogs are slippery and determined.
USC OVER STANFORD
Faster and bigger, the Trojans will beat an aroused Stanford.
WASHINGTON STATE OVER ARIZONA
The tenacious Cougars can contain Arizona's speed.
WYOMING OVER TEXAS WESTERN
The Cowboys will keep a step ahead of Stevens.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS
12 RIGHT, 3 WRONG
SEASON'S RECORD: 31-26-3