It was one of those old-time games, the kind where you felt like applauding when a runner made it all the way to the line of scrimmage without having his headgear pressed into the size of a peanut. Most of Notre Dame's runners did not get that far—ever—and Michigan State, a team that still knows how to play defense in a season of high scoring and exploding offenses, turned South Bend into just another little Indiana town last week.
Everything was perfect for one of those classic games that would be remembered until the golden dome was turned into a discotheque, which is to say forever. The day was cold and breezy but clear—good football weather—and 60,000 people had paid from $3 to $100 for a ticket to get into the cream-brick stadium that Knute Rockne's success had built. The dome glistened, old Notre Dame ghosts were felt lurking about and the bands blared. But the game was no classic at all. It was, rather, 17 punts, five interceptions, five fumbles and a total of 29 rushing plays that went for either minus yardage or no gain, and Michigan State's defense won it by the unfashionable score of 12-3.
Michigan State would take it, though. The victory gave the Spartans of Coach Duffy Daugherty a perfect record of 10-0. It proved that even under Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame can still be beaten in South Bend. It evened the count for a 34-7 loss to the Irish last year. It all but insured Michigan State of the mythical national championships awarded by the two wire services (AP, sensibly, will collect its ballots after the bowl games this year). And it sent the Big Ten champions to the Rose Bowl with a spotless record. But, more than anything else, it proved again that a skilled, vicious defense is still the most reliable thing in college football.
Here was Notre Dame at home with the incentive of playing the No. 1-rated team. In itself, that is some barrier for a visitor. Also, Notre Dame had a strong club of its own—one that featured talented ballcarriers with plenty of size and agile linemen—good enough to have beaten seven teams and been rated No. 4. So all Michigan State did was hold Nick Eddy and Bill Wolski, two of the so-called "modern Four Horsemen," to minus yardage and Notre Dame's entire rushing effort to minus 12 yards for the afternoon. No one could remember when that had happened before, but everyone was certain it was pre-Gus Dorais. Meanwhile, back on the scoreboard, the Spartans came from behind for the sixth time to make it seem as if Daugherty, whose reputation as a speaker had eclipsed his stature as a coach, knew what X's and O's meant, after all.
November 29, 1965
Michigan State's defense was so quick and sound that Notre Dame, even though it benefited from three big breaks in the first half—getting the ball on State's 19- 25- and 18-yard lines—could dredge up only a 3-0 lead on Ken Ivan's 32-yard field goal. Notre Dame's defense performed admirably, too, but when the offense could not move it had to crack. Late in the third quarter it did. Michigan State took over on Notre Dame's 39 after a punt, and in six plays it had the touchdown that, for all purposes, settled the whole thing. "Clinton Jones slept soundly Friday night for the first time all season, so we really weren't worried," said Quarterback Steve Juday.
Clinton Jones, a junior halfback who is built like Cassius Clay and flies like Gemini IV, got the drive going when he ripped through guard for 21 yards. (He gained 117 yards in all Saturday.) The next four plays saw Jones and the other halfback, Dwight Lee, alternate on gouges down to the three. Now came a play called "full house right half at eight power," and Jones followed what appeared to be the entire population of East Lansing into the end zone. Later in the fourth quarter Michigan State got an insurance touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Juday to Lee, but that one wasn't really needed—it was only to improve a statistic. Through 10 games the Spartans outscored their opponents 103-7 in the final quarter. "You might say we were a second-half team," said Daugherty.
No team gets through a 10-game schedule unbeaten without wringing destiny's neck a few times. Michigan State was no exception. Early in the season the Spartans had a splendid chance to lose to Illinois. They trailed 12-9 late in the third quarter when Illinois' Jim Grabowski broke loose for what looked like a touchdown that would have put the game out of reach. But near midfield Defensive Back Jim Summers dived at him from behind, barely tripped him up, and the drive stalled. Game saved. Against Purdue it appeared again that State had lost for sure. Trailing 10-8 and with time almost gone, Juday passed incomplete on third down at the Purdue 22. But what should have been a desperate situation with fourth and eight suddenly was not. An injudicious Purdue lineman roughed Juday, and the Spartans found themselves with a first down on the 12. They promptly scored. Second game saved.
Next, State lolled around against Indiana until it was behind, 13-10, with the fourth quarter moving along nicely. Then the explosion. Juday hit End Gene Washington with a 43-yard touchdown pass, and that was that.
Last Saturday Notre Dame had two splendid chances to succeed where the others before them had failed. Like this: Tom Longo made a diving interception of a Juday pass at the Michigan State 25. You had to think Notre Dame could score on the Viet Cong from only 25 yards out. But on the first play Quarterback Bill Zloch tried a pass, and Spartan Linebacker Charles Thornhill intercepted it. A few minutes later Notre Dame recovered a Juday fumble on the State 18. Well, this time, for sure, you thought, and it's 10-0. But what happened? Zloch threw the ball into the end zone and Don Japinga took it in stride as if he were the intended receiver. "We knew we could play 'em loose," said Japinga, "because Zloch floats the ball, you can get to it even if you're beat."
Notre Dame kept trying to throw in situations like these because of Michigan State's quick, big (in places), mobile and aggressive 5-3 defense, which refused to yield any outside running room. When the Irish ran to the right they were met by Bubba Smith, who is 6 feet 7 and weighs 270. When they ran left, they met Bob Viney, who is only 6 feet and 214 but just as effective. And when the Irish turned inside they met Linebackers Ron Goovert, Buddy Owens and Thorn-hill, and a rover named George Webster, who is 6 feet 4, weighs 218 and has the pros in love with him. They met Michigan State players from South Carolina (three of them), Texas (three of them), from Virginia, Pennsylvania and, even, from Michigan. It is a defensive team that forced nearly all of its opponents to the air, whether they had a passer or not. Notre Dame was not the first to wind up with minus yardage rushing. Michigan lost 51 on the ground, and Ohio State, of all teams, was minus 22.
Last week just about everybody had an explanation for Michigan State's surprising success in 1965. Some thought it was mostly Juday's leadership. Others said Clinton Jones alone makes the Spartans good. Defensive Line Coach Hank Bullough, who deserved no little amount of credit himself, tossed it off as "a case of our men simply believing they could handle the guys across from them, week after week."
Coach Duffy Daugherty, who would not admit that this is his finest team (only his "most thrilling"), credited conditioning, receptiveness to criticism, dedication, all those things. He then added, keeping in comic character, "We seem to be off to our best start in years."
1. MICHIGAN STATE (10-0)
2. NEBRASKA (9-0)
3. PURDUE (7-2-1)
While Michigan State asserted its claim to the national championship in South Bend, Michigan, the old champion, succumbed to its sixth defeat. Second-place OHIO STATE beat the Wolverines 9-7 at Ann Arbor, and there is one thing you can say for OS LPs Woody Hayes, that old exponent of dusty football: when he decides to defect, he really defects. His quarterback, Don Unverferth, passed 29 times and even threw with his back to the end zone. But when the Bucks were losing 7-6 and on their own nine with 7:25 to play, Hayes, predictably, went back to the game he likes best. It was Fullback Will Sander up the Michigan middle until he got Ohio to the Wolverine 11. Then Bob Funk kicked a 28-yard field goal for the winning points.
Indiana, a reluctant victim as usual, had PURDUE on the run until a strange call stopped the Hoosiers dead in the last quarter. Behind 26-21, plucky Indiana thought it had a first down on the Boilermaker 11 when bruising sophomore Fullback Mike Krivoshia drove up the middle for 12 yards. Then the roof fell. Krivoshia was called for using his forearm as a swinging wedge, and this cost Indiana the gain plus a 15-yard penalty and saved the season for Purdue.
Minnesota smashed Wisconsin 42-7 to tie Purdue for third place. ILLINOIS, with Jim Grabowski punishing the Wildcats for 187 yards and Fred Custardo throwing two touchdown passes, had an easy time beating Northwestern 20-6. Iowa's Jerry Burns, fired earlier, went out with his ninth loss as NORTH CAROLINA STATE intercepted seven of Gary Snook's passes to steal the game 28-20.
"If the Russians had a football team, maybe I'd rather beat them than Missouri," said Don Fambrough, a Kansas assistant coach, "but they're the only ones." For a while, it looked like Fambrough would have his wish. A blocked punt, a deflected pass and, all of a sudden, Kansas had a 13-7 lead. But MISSOURI Halfback Johnny Roland's second touchdown got the Tigers even, and Quarterback Gary Lane's 19-yard run put them ahead 20-13. Charlie Brown ran 86 yards, Roland scored again, Lane threw a touchdown pass and Sugar Bowl-bound Missouri won 44-20. OKLAHOMA STATE stayed clear of the Big Eight cellar, bombing winless Kansas State 31-7.
Wichita State Coach George Karras came up with what he called a "Canadian defense"—a sticky 4-2-5—for free-and-easy TULSA. With five defenders scurrying to cover the Hurricane receivers and Howard Starks sticking to Howard Twilley like a conscientious remora, Tulsa had problems. But Quarterback Bill Anderson completed 25 passes for 204 yards, Twilley still caught nine and the Hurricanes won 13-3, clinching the Missouri Valley championship.
With the race over in the Mid-American, league teams concentrated on strong finishes against outsiders. MIAMI OF OHIO walloped Cincinnati 37-7, KENT STATE caught Louisville 7-6 in the last minute, and TOLEDO, the MAC's biggest surprise, took Dayton 21-7 to finish 5-5, its best record in eight years.
1. DARTMOUTH (9-0)
2. SYRACUSE (7-3)
3. PRINCETON (8-1)
There were no bowl bids at stake, but there was the Ivy League title, an unbeaten season and No. 1 ranking in the East. DARTMOUTH was supposed to provide the excitement, Princeton the hero. But before 45,725 in Princeton's Palmer Stadium the Big Green upset the production and won 28-14.
The question was why, and the answerer was Princeton's own Dick Colman, who has made a substantial career out of torturing Ivy rivals with his rare single wing and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of slick tailbacks. Said Coach Colman, "If we make mistakes, we'll lose." His Tigers made one mistake. They allowed Dartmouth Quarterback Mickey Beard, a superb passer, to cock his right arm. That arm, plus a spate of trickery concocted by Coach Bob Blackman and a determined stunting defense, wrecked Princeton's 17-game streak. Beard set up two touchdowns with his passes, then scored both on one-yard sneaks. One other toss, to End Bill Calhoun, went for 79 yards and a score. Sophomore Gene Ryzewicz, who hip-wriggles and frug-dances his way through lines, ran 12 yards for another touchdown.
When Dartmouth was not making like an un-Ivy bowl candidate, Princeton's talented Ron Landeck was making with the figures. He ran and passed for 249 yards to break Old Tiger Dick Kazmaier's one-season Princeton record (with 1,949 yards) and Gary Wood's Ivy League mark (with 1,646 yards), but all to no avail. "We were confident," said Dartmouth's Blackman later, "but awfully scared."
What had been a long, unrewarding year for PITT's John Michelosen got blacker last week when the Pitt News went after him hard. The team, said the student paper, needed a "new image," Michelosen was "out of style," and the paper called for his resignation. Reactions came swiftly. From Michelosen, who said, "This is my school, I'm staying." From Athletic Director Frank Carver, who said, "The past was great, the present unbearable, the future confusing." Saturday, against favored Penn State, Michelosen's team reacted, too. The Panthers hustled to a 27-7 lead on Kenny Lucas' fine passing (18 for 228 yards), then blew it when the unstable Lions roared back to tie the score. But, with three seconds to go, little Frank Clark kicked an 18-yard field goal and Pitt won 30-27 to end a 3-7 season.
All week long Boston College practiced kicking out-of-bounds to keep the ball away from SYRACUSE'S effervescent Floyd Little. So what happened? With BC ahead 7-0, Little ran a punt back 62 yards for a touchdown. But BC led 13-7 at half time on Ron Gentili's 25-yard run with an Orange fumble. Then Fullback Larry Csonka rammed in from the two, Little caught a 45-yard pass from Rick Cassata and Syracuse took the game 21-13. Little's touchdowns gave him 19 for the season—to break another Jimmy Brown record—and the nation's scoring lead with 114 points.
Harvard and Yale, after wallowing in a first-half slough of despond, came half alive. Unfortunately for the Elis, it was the Harvard half that lived. Cantabs Buzz Baker and Dave Poe picked off errant Yale passes, Harvard scored twice within three minutes and the Crimson won 13-0. BROWN's Bob Hall, who had broken five Ivy passing marks, hurt Columbia more with his excellent running than with his throws. He scored three times as the Bruins romped 51-7.
Boston U.'s best season in eight years (5-3-1) came to a joyful end with a 28-3 win over Rhode Island. COLGATE, too, finished on a happy note, bruising Rutgers 24-10 while HOLY CROSS beat Connecticut 22-0 and BUFFALO took Villanova 20-7.
1. ALABAMA (7-1-1)
2. TENNESSEE (5-1-2)
3. GEORGIA TECH (6-2-1)
While Alabama spent its idle Saturday accepting an Orange Bowl bid (the Tide's seventh straight bowl appearance) the rest of Dixie was not so predictable. Kentucky, a team which might have been, was beaten by TENNESSEE, a team which is (and is in a bowl, the Bluebonnet), as two fine quarterbacks, Rick Norton and Charlie Fulton, watched, injured, from the sidelines. Tied 3-3 late in the third period, the teams waited for the mistakes that always accompany inexperienced quarterbacking. The Vols' wait was shorter: a pass from Kentucky's Terry Beadles was intercepted by Doug Archibald on the Wildcat 20 and returned to the two. Dewey Warren went over for the touchdown, later scored another as Tennessee won 19-3. Kentucky's Charlie Bradshaw was left to ponder: Accept a new contract or return to an assistant's post at Alabama?
Louisiana State, surprisingly, is also going bowling—to Dallas' Cotton Bowl. Tulane hardly threatened Charlie McClendon's fourth bowl team in four years. Billy Masters, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound halfback, scored three touchdowns as the Tigers breezed 62-0.
Little respect was shown a third bowl-bound SEC member in Miami where the Hurricanes accepted two gift-wrapped touchdowns from Florida and wrapped Steve Spurrier in their own little package: Ends Rex Wilson and Ed Weisacosky and Linebacker Ken Corbin. They harried Spurrier into his worst day (8 of 22 passes) as MIAMI beat the Sugar Bowl-bound Gators 16-13 on Don Curtright's 24-yard field goal.
Shock was the word in the Atlantic Coast where SOUTH CAROLINA, which had never won a title, and DUKE, which usually does, tied for the championship. The Gamecocks let favored Clemson score in the last minute, then knocked down a two-point pass try to beat the Tigers 17-16. Duke surprised North Carolina 34-7 only to get a bigger surprise when Coach Bill Murray resigned. After 15 years at Duke, Murray got a locker-room For He's a Jolly Good Fellow serenade from his tearful players. All North Carolina got were Todd Orvald's passes to a double lonesome end formation (he completed 16 for 197 yards) and the rushes of Jay Calabrese, who scored three times. Maryland, which had a shot at a title tie also, was dealt out of it singlehandedly by Bob Davis of VIRGINIA, who passed for four scores and ran for another in a 33-27 win.
Another championship was decided when WEST VIRGINIA came from behind to score three touchdowns, holding off George Washington 37-24 for the Southern Conference crown. WILLIAM & MARY also got a taste of the good things in life. With a 21-0 win over Richmond, the Indians had their first winning season since 1953.
In some intersectional scuffling, FLORIDA STATE missed two field goals and HOUSTON one in the final 1:13, as the teams tied 16-16; WAKE FOREST dashed Memphis State's Liberty Bowl hopes 21-20.
East Carolina, though, had its bowl in hand. Dave Alexander ran for four touchdowns and passed for one as the Pirates, possibly the nation's finest small-college team, defeated Howard 35-10. They meet Maine in Orlando's Tangerine Bowl.
1. ARKANSAS (10-0)
2. TEXAS TECH (8-2)
3. TCU (5-4)
Texas football fanatics have learned at least one lesson this season: you do not yell "Phooey pig" before the end of any football game at ARKANSAS. Saturday, with "Phooey pig" ringing throughout Fayetteville, the Hogs twice climbed back from 10-point deficits to whip Texas Tech 42-24. To the victor: the Southwest Conference championship, the host team spot in the Cotton Bowl (against, alas, uninspiring LSU), a second straight perfect season and the nation's longest unbeaten streak at 22 games. Sooey pig! To the loser: a date (inspiring) with Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.
Texas Tech led 10-0 before Linebacker Joe Black started to throw Quarterback Tom Wilson, who managed to set a conference record with 26 completions, for repeated losses. The Razorbacks closed to 17-14 at the half, then, with Quarterback Jon Brittenum passing (14 of 20 for 232 yards) and running effectively, romped to four straight touchdowns and the ball game was over. Tech's Donny Anderson, despite his team's defeat, had another one of his good days. He ran for 75 yards, caught 10 passes for 143 yards and ran back three punts and kickoffs for 38 yards, giving him 256 yards for the day.
Baylor uses a pro-spread offense, and SOUTHERN METHODIST operates from a double slot—formations geared for a high-scoring game. So what kind of a game did they play? Mostly defensive. BAYLOR needed two extraordinary saves by End Donnie Laurence to win 20-10.
Quarterback Kent Nix threw four touchdown passes—all on first down—as TEXAS CHRISTIAN routed Rice 42-14. TEXAS WESTERN'S Billy Stevens also passed for four touchdowns—he now has 19—including three to Chuck Hughes, in a 57-33 win over Xavier.
1. UCLA (7-1-1)
2. USC (6-2-1)
3. WASHINGTON (5-5)
Washington State needed a victory over Washington and a tie between UCLA and USC for a chance at the Rose Bowl. It struck out everywhere. Burning State's deep defense, rated the best in the West, with long passes faked off a reverse, WASHINGTON salvaged an even-Stephen season with an easy 27-9 victory. Coach Jim Owens figured the reverse would lure State's secondary closer to scrimmage, enabling Ends Omar Parker and Dave Williams to get free deep. They did and Tod Hullin hit them with touchdown passes as Washington blitzed State for 20 points in the second quarter.
Stanford rallied behind Ray Handley and Dave Lewis to beat California for the fifth straight year, 9-7. Shortly after Cal had taken a 7-3 lead in the fourth quarter, Handley, running for 29 yards, and Lewis, passing for 28, ushered the Indians to the Cal 12. From there Handley exploded over tackle for the winning touchdown. Earlier the Indians' Terry DeSylvia had kicked a 23-yard field goal.
Bewildering Oregon with a specially designed "blast" defense that had seven men alternately rushing the quarterback or dropping back for double-pass coverage, OREGON STATE ran up a 19-0 lead, then held on for a 19-14 win. State scored after recovering fumbles on Oregon's 24-and 19-yard lines, also on Thurman Bell's eight-yard return of an intercepted pass. Bell later intercepted again at the State four-yard line to thwart Oregon's last gasp for victory. Inland, Frank Rogers, a rejected quarterback, caught a 58-yard touchdown pass and kicked field goals of 42 and 24 yards in COLORADO'S 19-6 win over Air Force. ARIZONA STATE dropped Wyoming from first place in the Western Athletic Conference, capitalizing on fumbles and interceptions to win 14-10. Now BRIGHAM YOUNG, which beat Arizona 20-3, can win the title if it beats NEW MEXICO Saturday. The Lobos beat independent Iowa State 10-9, surviving 254 yards' worth of Tim Van Galder's passes.
In 62 previous games with Utah, UTAH STATE had won only 15 times. According to legend, the Aggies lost all those games while driving through Sardine Canyon on the trail from Logan to Salt Lake City. This year State flew the 90 miles—over, not through, Sardine Canyon—and won 14-7 as its two-man gang, Roy Shivers (152 yards in 25 carries) and Craig Murray (116 yards in 21 carries), ran unhexed and wild.
New Mexico State scored 30 second-half points to beat North Texas State 43-13. FRESNO STATE, with Dave Plump stealing three San Jose passes, won 24-18.
BEST OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Dartmouth Quarterback Mickey Beard played his best game of the year as he fired 12 completions for 229 yards and one score, sneaked for two more and directed the Big Green's smorgasbord attack flawlessly.
THE LINEMAN: Baylor End Donnie Laurence was in on 15 tackles, knocked the ball out of the hands of SMU Quarterback Mike Livingston and recovered it for a touchdown, then intercepted a pass to set up a field goal.
THE 10 HARDEST PICKS
NAVY OVER ARMY
Army's skimpy offense will get nowhere against the swarming Middies.
ALABAMA OVER AUBURN
'Bama plays sterner defense and attacks more voraciously.
GEORGIA TECH OVER GEORGIA
King's passes will be too much for the tiring Bulldogs.
TENNESSEE OVER VANDERBILT
The Vols will solve Vandy's good pass defense—by running.
FLORIDA OVER FLORIDA STATE
The Seminoles have no one to match Florida's Spurrier.
MISSISSIPPI OVER MISSISSIPPI STATE
Ole Missis better at stopping people.
NOTRE DAME OVER MIAMI
After Michigan State the Hurricanes will be a relief.
TCU OVER SMU
It is not much, but the frisky Frogs want a tie for third place in the SWC.
TEXAS WESTERN OVER WEST TEXAS STATE
Stevens over Washington in a throwing match.
ARIZONA STATE OVER ARIZONA
Following a bad start, the Sun Devils finish strong.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS
9 RIGHT, 6 WRONG
SEASON'S RECORD: 88-57-5