1. OHIO STATE (7-0)
2. MICHIGAN (7-1)
3. KANSAS (7-1)
Overhead, a chill wind blew a clutch of balloons labeled Orange Bowl Bound out of Kansas Stadium. Overland, a few seconds later, came Steve Owens of Oklahoma, barging into the end zone to deny Kansas an unbeaten season and possibly a trip to the Orange Bowl. Owens, who scored the decisive touchdown in the 27-23 victory with 4:14 left, also threw a touchdown pass. That came after Sooner Offensive Coach Barry Switzer, noting a Jayhawk halfback's tendency to move up too quickly on running plays, had suggested a halfback pass. Oklahoma Coach Chuck Fairbanks spoke of his team's buildup for the game in ethereal terms, saying, "It was like electricity forming." Judging from the result, the Sooners got a charge out of it.
Missouri thus moved into the lead in the Big Eight, but will have to contend with the aroused Sooners themselves this week. The Tigers went to the top by beating Iowa State 42-7. Two other conference powers were stunned, Nebraska by Kansas State 12-0 and Colorado by Oklahoma State 34-17.
There were also shocks in the Big Ten, alhough Ohio State had no difficulty whipping Wisconsin 43-8, even with No. 1 passer Rex Kern sidelined. Ron Maciejowski, filling in for Kern, completed 13 of 19 passes and ran for 124 yards and three scores. Asked if his team's 301 yards rushing meant he was returning to his three-yards-and-a-cloud offense, Coach Woody Hayes replied, "Might be. That's what I call my Neanderthal offense." Indiana won another close one, scoring with 52 seconds left to upset Michigan State 24-22. It was Minnesota, however, that pulled the top surprise by downing Purdue. Jim Carter scored each of the first three times the Gophers had the ball, and the Boilermakers went down 27-13. Iowa's Ed Podolak set a Big Ten record, gaining 286 yards in a 68-34 rampage against Northwestern. Michigan got its seventh straight by polishing off Illinois 36-0.
With Notre Dame's Terry Hanratty out with a torn knee ligament that required surgery, his understudies went to work on Pittsburgh. Sophomore Quarterback Joe Theismann scored twice and erstwhile Quarterback Coley O'Brien, switched to halfback, went over three times. Not even a fast second-half clock, which was kept running on incompleted passes, could save the Panthers from a 56-7 licking.
Unbeaten Ohio University trailed Bowling Green 27-14 with 4:20 to go in their MidAmerican Conference game, then scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and won it 28-27 on a 48-yard run by Cleve Bryant. Xavier also scored late to overcome Toledo 20-10, and Kent State defeated Marshall 36-12. Miami of Ohio blanked Dayton 14-0. Cincinnati beat Louisville 37-7 in a Missouri Valley game.
1. TEXAS (6-1-1)
2. KANSAS (7-1)
3. HOUSTON (4-1-2)
Anyway, there was no bombing pause in Texas. A total of 244 points was scored in four Southwest Conference games. The SWC wound up with a peck of offensive records in tatters, but with Texas, Arkansas, SMU and Texas Tech still tied for first place. Arkansas and SMU will meet head on this week and both warmed to the task with easy wins. Bill Montgomery set an Arkansas season mark for total yardage (1,622) as he hit on 15 of 23 passes for 266 yards to give the Razorbacks a 46-21 win over Rice. For SMU the record smashers were Mike Richardson and Jerry Levias. Richardson carried 39 times (an SWC alltime high) for 244 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Mustangs forsook their usual passing attack to hand Texas A&M its most decisive defeat of the year 36-23. Levias, although held to five receptions and 59 yards, established an SWC career mark for pass-catching yardage (2,095). Tech won over TCU the hard way. The Red Raiders, who had 15 players bothered by flu, trailed 14-0 at the end of one period but still came back to win 31-14, Joe Matulich got the Raiders started with a seven-yard scoring pass before having to leave the game. In came Tom Sawyer, another flu victim, who tossed a four-yarder for another touchdown and later, on an apparent third-down punt, he threw a 71-yarder to Bobby Allen. Texas was behind 13-12 to Baylor at the half, but the Longhorn runners were only delayed on their way to accumulating 557 yards and winning 47-26. Chris Gilbert, who picked up 212 yards, and Steve Worster each scored three times.
A passing duel between North Texas State's Steve Ramsey (20 of 37 for 376 yards and five touchdowns) and Texas-El Paso's Brooks Dawson (28 of 52 for 401 yards and four touchdowns) was settled by a field goal. Bernie Barbour won for North Texas 34-31 with his 22-yarder in the last 10 seconds. But the highest scoring of all came in a 53-36 win by West Texas State over Western Michigan, a game in which Mercury Morris flew for 260 yards.
1. PENN STATE (7-0)
2. ARMY (5-3)
3. YALE (7-0)
Penn State Coach Joe Paterno came out with an unbalanced line against Miami to tantalize the visitors. He also told his Lions to run away from Ted Hendricks, Miami's All-America defensive end. Not everything worked according to plan, though, and the Hurricanes took a 7-0 lead on Quarterback David Olivo's 78-yard pass to Flanker Ray Bellamy. Paterno quickly scrapped his offensive innovation, and when Tony Cline, Miami's other good defensive end, went out with a knee injury, the Lions began taking liberties with his replacements. The hustling Penn State defense, led by sophomore Linebacker Jack Ham, who blocked a kick and recovered a fumble, kept stopping Miami and held the Hurricanes to only 20 yards in the second half. On offense, while Hendricks watched helplessly, Halfbacks Charlie Pittman and Bob Campbell kept sweeping the opposite end. Pittman ran for 123 yards, scored three touchdowns and the unbeaten Lions won their seventh game, 22-7, Miami Coach Charlie Tate was impressed. "This is the best team we've faced," he said in admiration, "better than USC."
Hopeful Boston College, with sophomore Quarterback Red Harris flinging the ball all over Michie Stadium—he eventually completed 37 of 57 passes for 374 yards—was ahead of Army 13-10 in the second quarter. Then the Cadets began attacking in earnest. Fullback Charlie Jarvis ran for 253 yards, breaking Glenn Davis' 23-year-old one-game rushing record, and scored on a 46-yard run. Lynn Moore returned a kick 79 yards, Quarterback Steve Lindell passed for two touchdowns and the Cadets shot down the forlorn Eagles 58-25.
Syracuse marched for touchdowns the first two times it got the ball, and then William and Mary collapsed completely. Halfback John Godbolt ran for three scores in an easy 31-0 victory. Coach Ben Schwartzwalder was not pleased, however, that his quarterbacks were intercepted four times. "I guess the dirty truth is we're just an average ball club," he admitted.
The Yale-Harvard classic for the Ivy League title was building up as both teams remained unbeaten. The Elis, with Quarterback Brian Dowling throwing two touchdown passes and picking up 206 yards in total offense, beat Penn 30-13. Harvard, however, had trouble with Princeton. A Tiger fourth-and-one gamble that missed on their 49-yard line set up the winning touchdown for the Crimson in a 9-7 game. Cornell hammered Brown 31-0, while Columbia's one-game winning streak ended abruptly. Although Lion Quarterback Marty Domres broke the Ivy career total offense record—he has 3,777 yards—Dartmouth won handily 31-19.
Rutgers Coach John Bateman was busy thanking himself for turning over the quarterback job to Rich Policastro. The new signal caller passed for three touchdowns and that, along with Bryant Mitchell's 157 yards running, was enough to beat Connecticut 27-15. Holy Cross, catching Massachusetts in a down year, defeated the Redmen 47-20. Colgate and Bucknell did everything in a big way before the Raiders won 48-34. Colgate's Dom Fischer carried 54 times for 265 yards and three touchdowns; Bucknell's Sam Havrilak had 397 yards in total offense: both teams accounted for 954 yards.
1. GEORGIA (6-0-2)
2. AUBURN (6-2)
3. TENNESSEE (5-1-1)
In one of the more unusual moves of the year, Florida Coach Ray Graves switched heads. That is, he put head defensive coach, Gene Ellenson, in charge of the offense and head offensive coach, Ed Kensler, in command of the defense. The transplant was part of a plan to revive a Gator offense that had scored just 34 points in losing its last three games. Alas, Florida failed to score for the first time in five years, and the defense gave up more points than any Gator team in 26 seasons as Georgia won 51-0.
Kentucky, too, did not score, losing to Vanderbilt 6-0 in another Southeastern Conference game, even though Dicky Lyons set an NCAA career runback record. Lyons, who had returns of 34 and nine yards, raised his kick-runback yardage to 2,208. The Commodores got the only touchdown on a three-yard run by Dave Strong. Mississippi Quarterback Don Farrar, filling in for injured Archie Manning, ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns as the Rebels stopped Chattanooga 38-16. Bill Cappleman's three scoring passes enabled Florida State to defeat Mississippi State 27-14.
Atlantic Coast Conference quarterbacks had assorted misfortunes. Clemson defenders dropped Maryland passers for 74 yards in losses as the Tigers won 16-0 and moved into position to take their third straight ACC title. North Carolina Quarterback Rick Lanier, rolling out to pass, tripped over the referee in a 41-6 loss to Virginia in a game in which Frank Quayle and Jeff Anderson each scored twice. Leo Hart of Duke had his jersey ripped off and, even worse, twice failed to score after driving to the North Carolina State one-yard line in a 17-15 loss. And Quarterback Freddie Summers of Wake Forest had four of his throws stolen by Pat Watson (an ACC record) as South Carolina pulled off a 34-21 upset. The one quarterback who did escape trouble was South Carolina's 5'9" Tommy Suggs, who tossed four touchdown passes—three of them to Johnny Gregory.
Memphis State players could be forgiven if they thought they saw tank tracks in the turf after Houston runners hacked out 430 yards and a 27-7 win. Five interceptions and four fumble recoveries kept the Cougars in possession most of the afternoon as Paul Gipson gained 140 yards. As for Georgia Tech players, it was more a case of being outpaddled by the Navy ballcarriers in a rainy battle at Atlanta. The Middies, rated as two-touchdown underdogs on dry land, emerged as 35-15 victors with anchors aweigh. Dan Pike sloshed for 141 yards, and Mike Lettieri skimmed 79 for a touchdown with a punt return.
Two Southern Conference squads—Richmond and The Citadel—lost to two independents, the Spiders falling to Virginia Tech 31-18, the Bulldogs to West Virginia 17-0. Tulane beat Tulsa 25-15, when Wayne Francingues threw a scoring pass late in the fourth quarter.
1. USC (7-0)
2. OREGON STATE (6-2)
3. CALIFORNIA (5-2-1)
"We're not nervous," said USC Coach John McKay the day before his No. 1-ranked Trojans played California, "we're scared." But McKay, an old kidder, was only fooling. He wasn't scared, he was mad. What rankled McKay was a prediction by Stanford's John Ralston that USC would be beaten by Cal's good defense, one of the best in the nation. The Bears had given up only an average of 90.1 rushing yards and 5.6 points a game. "All we heard was what a great lineman Ed White, the middle guard, was," said O. J. Simpson later, ''so we went out to blast him." O.J. took care of that personally. He ran his first five plays directly at White for gains, and after that the Cal defense was easy for the Trojans. Led by Simpson, who scored on touchdown runs of 39 and seven yards, USC ripped through California's highly touted line. And for variety, Quarterback Steve Sogge, throwing mostly to sophomore Bob Chandler, a replacement for injured Flanker Jim Lawrence, picked apart the Bears' secondary. Sogge completed 10 passes, eight of them to Chandler, and threw for three touchdowns as USC coasted to a 35-17 victory.
Despite USC's unbeaten record, it seems there is one crisis after another for the Trojans. The next one is Oregon State, Saturday in Los Angeles, in a Pacific Eight showdown that almost certainly will put the winner in the Rose Bowl. OSU Coach Dee Andros, who knows what to expect from UCLA's Tommy Prothro, warned his team, "he'll throw some new wrinkle at us right away." Sure enough, Prothro did—a tricky spread formation that broke Halfback Mickey Cureton loose for 38 yards on the first play and set up a touchdown. The Bruins also scored on Halfback Greg Jones's 101-yard kickoff return, but they still were behind 24-21 at the half. Then OSU got its ball-control game really going. With Fullback Bill Enyart bulling inside the tackles and Wingback Billy Main getting away behind trap blocks, the Beavers kept the ball for all but three plays in the third quarter and one of those was a UCLA safety. Enyart, Main and Larry Watson scored, and Oregon State won 45-21. How does Andros feel about USC? "Well, we take nothing away from them," he said, "but we give nothing to them either."
The rumor in Palo Alto was that Stanford Coach Ralston's job was in jeopardy. After a brilliant start the Indians had lost three and tied one, and a scalp could have been in danger. But against Washington, sophomore Don Bunce—who took over when Quarterback Jim Plunkett bruised his rib cage—and Flanker Gene Washington teamed up to ease the tension. Bunce ran for one score and passed for three touchdowns, two of them to Washington, as Stanford beat the Huskies 35-20. Oregon, meanwhile, defeated Washington State 27-13.
With Wyoming, the Western AC leader, idle, Arizona State took the opportunity to stay in the race, routing Utah 59-21. Arizona, still unbeaten in the WAC, defeated Air Force 14-10, but Brigham Young was overpowered by Utah State 34-8.
San Diego State, unbeaten and No. 1 among the small colleges, took on Southern Mississippi, a major college. Dennis Shaw completed 17 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns as San Diego won in big-league fashion 68-7.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Against unbeaten Kansas, Tailback Steve Owens of Oklahoma ran 37 times for 157 yards, caught four passes for 42, threw a touchdown pass and scored twice himself. His second touchdown won the game 27-23.
THE LINEMAN: USC Defensive Tackle Al Cowlings made California's Randy Humphries his personal quarry. He caught, him three times for 22 yards in losses, deflected a pass and also got in on five other tackles.