1. PURDUE (1-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (1-0)
3. NEBRASKA (2-0)
College football's first big week of 1968 was one of its wildest offensive displays in years. Not only did major college teams roll to totals like 48-3, 55-7 and 63-7 over significant—or what was thought to have been significant—competition, but there were some stimulating ties, such as 35-35 and 20-20. It was, from coast to coast, a much better day for those who like to run with a football than for those who like to knock them down.
The most noteworthy case in point was that of Notre Dame. The 81° heat in the South Bend stadium was almost as oppressive as the clamor that greets visiting teams, but Coach Ara Parseghian was more concerned about his defense than the heat. Ever since last spring he has been proclaiming its youth and inexperience, and it seemed that maybe he was right when Oklahoma jumped into a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. Then, on the first play of the second quarter, the Sooners recovered a Notre Dame fumble on the Irish 20-yard line. "I thought we were in for it," said Parseghian later, "but when we got the ball back we took charge. That was the turning point."
September 29, 1968
What really turned the game around, however, was the fact that the Irish defense proved to be much better than Parseghian expected. For the next 30 minutes it held well-regarded Oklahoma to a single first down. Meanwhile, Notre Dame finally got around to establishing the ball-control game that Ara had planned. With 240-pound Tackle George Kunz leading the offensive charge against the smaller Oklahoma linemen, Fullback Jeff Zimmerman and Halfback Bob Gladieux took turns chewing up huge yardage. Quarterback Terry Hanratty, who completed 18 of 27 passes for 202 yards, repeatedly found his favorite target, Jim Seymour, and he passed to him for two touchdowns. Then Gladieux boomed over for his second and third scores. When it was all over, Notre Dame had piled up 35 first downs, 571 yards rushing and passing, had a 45-21 win over a good team and had alerted future foes to the Irish muscle.
But Notre Dame cannot afford the luxury of getting behind again next Saturday when Purdue comes to South Bend. The Boilermakers were not exactly overwhelming in the first half against Virginia, but a tough defense, led by Middle Guard Chuck Kyle, saved them from being acutely embarrassed. Once Quarterback Mike Phipps found the range with his passes, beating the Cavaliers 44-6 was easy, even with Leroy Keyes playing part-time because of a minor back injury. Keyes scored only once and passed for another touchdown, but he will be ready for Notre Dame. "I'd pay to see that game," he said.
The grass was up to the ankles and the rain was blowing down from the tops of the smoke stacks and grain elevators and into Minnesota's Memorial Stadium where the Gophers have in years past thwarted the likes of Red Grange and Tom Harmon. A very good place for defending national champion USC and O.J. Simpson to be opening the season, correct? And how; Simpson fumbled on his first carry, setting up a Gopher touchdown, and big, tough Minnesota took a 10-0 lead into the second quarter, as USC Coach John McKay said to himself, "Here's where we see how the heart beats." It slowly beat just fine, although it stopped one more time in the fourth quarter when Minnesota dredged up an old sandlot trick—an across-the-field lateral—for an 83-yard touchdown play to go ahead, 20-16. Between, and after, all of this, O.J. got stronger and faster, as he always does. He had his best day ever. If he had produced anything less, USC would probably not have escaped with its hard-earned 29-20 victory.
If Simpson was up to his old form, so was madcap Indiana. It seemed the Hoosiers were about to run out of luck when Baylor's Terry Cozbo kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:30 to play to put the Bears ahead 36-34. But Quarterback Harry Gonso, who had already thrown two touchdown passes to Jade Butcher and was to complete 13 of 14, took Indiana 80 yards and scored on a three-yard run with 18 seconds to go to win for the Hoosiers 40-36.
The biggest Big Ten surprise occurred in Iowa City where Iowa, showing off some able sophomores, upset Oregon State 21-20. Sophomore Tailback Dennis Green's nine-yard run and Marcos Melendez's third straight extra-point kick in the last quarter did it for the reviving Hawkeyes. The Beavers were hurt by the loss of Quarterback Steve Preece, the manipulator of OSU's beautifully timed multiple offense, when he dislocated a shoulder in the third quarter. "I'm not going to alibi," said OSU Coach Dee Andros. "No man in America makes an entire football team" (a point that O.J. Simpson could contest).
There were no surprises, though, in Champaign and Ann Arbor. Kansas, looking even stronger than its boosters thought possible, overwhelmed Illinois 47-7 while California, which has come through its racial problems of last spring with the highest possible morale, is no longer a Pacific Eight patsy. Cal, with Tailback Gary Fowler scoring three times, took the Wolverines 21-7 in a 2:40 game that seemed for Michigan fans to be as long as a Hubert Humphrey speech—the new rule that stops the clock after a first down helped add 20 minutes to normal playing time. Michigan State survived against Syracuse 14-10, but neither enhanced its reputation. With the Orange leading 10-7 in the last quarter, MSU Quarterback Bill Feraco went back to pass, slipped, recovered and decided he had better run. The Syracuse linemen, caught in a pass rush, could not get to him as he went eight yards for the winning touchdown.
What Nebraska Coach Bob Devaney likes is to have two quarterbacks of almost equal ability. Who doesn't, but Devaney apparently has them this year. Senior Ernie Sigler, who beat out tall Frank Patrick, last season's sophomore starter, got the Huskers off to a 7-0 lead against Utah and then Patrick came in to finish off the Utes 31-0. Sigler completed eight of 12 passes for 165 yards, while Patrick was nine for 18 for 122 yards in a game played before 65,424, the second largest crowd in Nebraska history. The figure does not include the Nebraska team, which would have swelled the total notably: the Huskers suited up 91 players for the game.
There also was some joy for at least one Big Eight have-not. Kansas State dedicated its new $1.6 million stadium by beating Colorado State 21-0.
1. PENN STATE (1-0)
2. ARMY (1-0)
3. SYRACUSE (0-1)
The day before the Navy game, Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was worried about his offense, with reason. "Right now, we can't run two plays in a row without busting one," complained Paterno. When State took the field against the Middies the offense, led by Halfback Charlie Pittman, who rushed for 112 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown run, was adequate enough, but it would not be looked at twice with the Penn State defense on display. While Ends Lincoln Lippincott and Frank Spaziani and Tackles Mike Reid and Steve Smear took turns leading a rush on Mike McNallen, Navy's poor rookie quarterback, the defense intercepted five passes, recovered four Middie fumbles and held Navy to seven yards rushing. It also had a hand in three of the Lions' scores: a fumble recovery set up an early field goal, Roverback Pete Johnson ran back an interception 28 yards and Halfback Paul Johnson, after playing you-catch-it-buddy with teammate Dennis Onkotz on a Navy punt, returned it 52 yards. All of this added up to a 31-6 Penn State win.
Maybe the 1968 Army-Citadel game will not go down in history as the greatest ever played, but it is right now for Billy Hunter, the Cadets' sophomore halfback. The first time Hunter touched the ball he took a punt on his own 10-yard line, head-faked once or twice and ran 90 yards for a touchdown. After that, life was all downhill for the visiting Bulldogs. Army Fullback Charlie Jarvis pounded them unmercifully, Quarterback Steve Lindell and Tight End Gary Steele teamed up on some pretty pass plays and Army won easily, 34-14.
Mid-American Conference rivals know all about Roland Moss, Toledo's 6' 3", 215-pound halfback. So do the pro scouts. And now Moss has made his impression on Villanova, too, by running for three touchdowns and passing for a fourth as the Rockets coasted to a 45-21 win. It was their 11th straight, the longest major-college winning streak in the nation.
For a while, Rutgers Coach John Bateman must have thought he was witnessing the game his school played against Princeton 99 years ago—college football's beginning—as his Scarlet Knights bumbled and fumbled all over Rutgers Stadium. But eventually Halfback Bryant Mitchell began running, Quarterback Bruce Van Ness straightened out his passes and Rutgers trounced Lafayette in up-to-date fashion 37-7. Colgate, too, started slowly, but once the Red Raiders got the knack of running on Boston University's new AstroTurf, they rolled to a 28-0 romp on the rug.
1. TEXAS (0-0-1)
2. HOUSTON (1-0-1)
3. TEXAS A&M (0-1)
Darrell Royal of Texas had reason to be optimistic on the eve of the Longhorns' opener against Houston. After all, everybody knew that he had one of the most potent backfields extant. What everybody supposedly did not know, however, was that Royal had also come up with a different offensive formation, one so new he hadn't had time to name it. The what's-its-name alignment moved Fullback Steve Worster midway between the halfbacks and much closer than usual to Quarterback Bill Bradley, thus setting up all kinds of spinning, handoff plays.
So there was Royal, happily cuddling his secret at a cocktail party the night before the game, when a Houston radio announcer sidled up to him and said, "I hear you're going to have your fullback lined up pretty close to your quarterback." But the "surprise" offense still worked well enough, springing Longhorn runners for 297 yards, 159 of them by Chris Gilbert. Alas, Not-so-Super Bill Bradley completed just one of seven passes and had three intercepted. Meanwhile, Houston was giving the Texas defense fits, especially Paul Gipson, who gained 173 yards rushing and scored three times, once on a 66-yard sprint. To salvage a 20-20 tie Texas had to stop the Cougars twice in the fourth quarter, first on the two-yard line, then one foot from the goal.
There was no secret about the offense to be used against Oklahoma State by Frank Broyles of Arkansas. He was turning over a new pro-type attack to sophomore Quarterback Bill Montgomery and sure enough the Razorbacks came out passing, with Montgomery finding his receivers with 10 of his first 25. But the Razorbacks trailed at halftime 15-3, so back into use came a no-nonsense 1965-style I-formation running game. From there on it wasn't fancy, but David Dickey, Bill Burnett and Russell Cody ran through the Cowboys, and with help from Montgomery, who made good on five of six second-half passes, Arkansas scored four times in 18 minutes for a 32-15 win.
Jim O'Brien, who earlier had kicked a 47-yard field goal, scored on a 53-yard pass from Greg Cook to give Missouri Valley underdog Cincinnati a 10-10 tie against the Southwest Conference's Texas Tech.
Three touchdowns by Paul White helped Texas-El Paso to defeat New Mexico 44-15 in its first game as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. The first two times that New Mexico State had the ball Halfback Ron James scored on runs of 25 and 43 yards against North Texas State, but then the Eagles regrouped. Steve Ramsey, who led the nation in touchdown passes last year, came through with three of them and North Texas took the game 47-20.
1. ALABAMA (1-0)
2. FLORIDA (1-0)
3. TENNESSEE (0-0-1)
Clemson Coach Frank Howard likes nothing better than a belly laugh except, perhaps, getting off a funny line so that other folks can have a belly laugh. Well, no one was laughing after Clemson's 20-20 tie with Wake Forest, least of all Howard, who, with less than three minutes to play and his team trailing 20-19, disdained going for a two-point conversion and a possible win. Afterward Howard beat his critics to that oldest of coaches' clichés: "A tie is like kissing your sister." But he spruced it up a bit by adding: "All I can say is that I had a mighty pretty sister today."
It was clear, though, that Howard was fit to be tied. His favorite line during the off season had to do with his defense, which he called "the best I have ever had in 38 years at Clemson." Fortunately for Howard, his offense was more effective, with Scat-back Buddy Gore flitting for 98 yards and Quarterback Charley Waters for 87 more. This alone might have been sufficient to produce a victory had it not been for the feats of Deacon Quarterback Freddie Summers, who hit on seven of his last 12 passes, ran for 69 yards and scored twice.
In two other ACC games, Duke and North Carolina State both scored twice in the first period, the Blue Devils hanging on for a 14-7 upset over South Carolina and the Wolfpack beating North Carolina 38-6. Sophomore Quarterback Leo Hart of the Blue Devils completed 16 of 26 passes for 214 yards and Linebacker Dick Biddle made 25 individual tackles, twice stopping the Gamecocks on fourth-and-less-than-a-yard plays inside the Duke 20. Chapel Hill, N.C. is suffering its worst drought in 14 years, and the football buffs there are no better off than the weather watchers, for the Tar Heels don't have much but spirit. This was obvious within two minutes after the opening kickoff, all the time it took the Wolfpack to score twice.
Nothing was going right for Florida—a 21-point favorite over the Air Force—in its new 46,000-seat Tampa Stadium. Coach Ray Graves did not mind that 52,626 people somehow got into the stadium, but he was upset by their noisiness, which he said confused his offensive linemen and kept his team from calling automatics. What is more, the scoreboard clock did not function, gusty winds nullified the Gator passing game and, worst of all, Curtis Martin of the Falcons ran back the opening kickoff 98 yards for a TD. Despite such frustrations, the Gators won 23-20, thanks to an Air Force fumble.
Southeastern Conference teams had mixed results against intersectional foes, with most of the triumphs being overshadowed by lackluster performances that raised the question of whether the SEC is going to be the nation's toughest conference this year. Alabama held VPI runners to minus-17 yards and surrendered just 68 on passes, but its offense was more makeshift than shifty in a 14-7 victory. The Tide's winning score came when George (Lone) Ranager caught a tipped pass and ran 65 yards. Said Alabama's Bear Bryant: "We won, but we didn't beat 'em."
Much the same could be said of Mississippi's 21-7 victory over Memphis State. The Rebels trailed 7-0 and highly touted Quarterback Archie Manning had not moved the team in the first half. Given better field position in the second half, however, Manning produced. In less than two and a half minutes of the third quarter he passed for two touchdowns, one of which he set up with a 44-yard run.
There were only three seniors on the Kentucky defensive unit that held Missouri four times inside the 20 and preserved a 12-6 win which, at least in part, was made possible by the Tigers' failure to convert field goals from the 10, 15 and 22. Auburn and Mississippi State both lost to nonconference opponents. Sophomore Chuck Hixson passed for three TDs and scored two himself as SMU dumped fumbling Auburn 37-28. Louisiana Tech, a small-college team, beat Mississippi State 20-13 as Terry Bradshaw threw a fourth-quarter 37-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Spinks.
Miami, which was supposed to have an Orange Bowlful of runners and no quarterback, found that Quarterback David Olivo was its best weapon in a 28-7 victory over Northwestern. He completed 18 of 26 attempts—seven of them to David Kalina. For Georgia Tech the passer turned out to be Larry Good, who finished off TCU 17-7 by connecting on 18 of 25.
1. USC (1-0)
2. UCLA (1-0)
3. ARIZONA STATE (1-0)
One night last week UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro was engaged in his favorite form of escapism—chess. Football, though, was far from forgotten. "How we go depends to a great extent on how whole we can keep Bill Bolden," he told a friend. Bolden, a 6'3", 207-pound junior who is reputed to be a better long passer than Gary Beban, remained whole for 17 minutes and 51 seconds against Pitt. That was long enough for him to throw a 53-yard touchdown pass and to pick up 32 yards in five carries. His last run was good for three yards and a touchdown, but it was a costly score. Bolden was bowled over, landed on his right shoulder and had to be led from the field. Enter one James Michael Nader, who is more noted for being the nephew of Janice Rule and Ben Gazzara than for being a UCLA quarterback. In the grand Hollywood tradition, he put on a show worthy of an Oscar, completing 13 of 24 passes, four of them for touchdowns, as the Bruins romped over Pitt 63-7.
"They ought to put up a statue for the timer and give him the game ball," complained Rice Coach Bo Hagan after Washington got off seven plays in 11 seconds to get a 35-35 tie on its new Astro Turf field, and Hagan may have had a point. Not only did Washington have to run off its plays in split seconds, it needed every one of them to reach the point where Ron Volbrecht could kick a 51-yard field goal at the gun.
Stanford scored the first four times it had the ball as Quarterback Jim Plunkett hit on 10 of 13 passes and led his team to a 68-20 win against San Jose State. This was to be a down year for Colorado, which has lost some of its offensive punch, but attacking by land (208 yards) and air (14 of 22 for 122 yards), the Buffaloes kept Oregon off balance and won 28-7.
Wyoming, scoring in dramatic bursts, beat Utah State 48-3. At one point the Cowboys broke loose for three touchdowns within 34 seconds and later got two within nine seconds. "They have the greatest array of running backs in America," said Wisconsin's John Coatta after a 55-7 loss to Arizona State. The backs—who gained 364 yards—included Larry Walton, who scored three times, and J. D. Hill.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: O.J. Simpson of USC gained 236 yards rushing, caught six passes for 57 yards, returned kicks for 72 yards and scored four times, twice in the fourth quarter, as the Trojans battled from behind to defeat Minnesota.
THE LINEMAN: Gene Huey, a split end on offense who doubles as a halfback on defense, was superb as both. He caught seven passes for 86 yards and two TDs and made four unassisted tackles for Wyoming against Utah State.