Maybe Kansas State really does have a "super, super, super, super" quarterback, which is the way Coach Vince Gibson modestly describes Lynn Dickey, the lad who made big sport of Oklahoma last week. And maybe Colorado's exuberant Bob Anderson really is so splendid a runner that kindly old ladies baked him cakes after he bounced his pals past Missouri. In the big Big Eight anything can happen—and already has. Just when it had begun to look as if college football would get through a season without any mind-boggling upsets, here came this Dickey and this Anderson to throw their conference into such confusion that it may take weeks to unravel the knots. Let it be restated that those weren't printer's errors. Kansas State, which has been back on the farm since about 1934, giggled at the powerful Sooners 59-21, and Colorado, which has the audacity to run wind sprints after a game, stuck it on unbeaten Missouri 31-24.
What all of this accomplished was massive chaos in what is certainly one of the nation's strongest conferences. There was lots of talk about the Big Eight before last Saturday, because the league had gone 16-8 against outside teams, fattening itself largely on Big Ten schools to the tune of 6-0. The Southeastern Conference could claim a superior intersectional record (25-5), but the Dixie teams had hardly left Dixie. The Big Eight not only whomped the Big Ten, it knocked off some pretty good independents in Air Force, Houston and Syracuse. And now, as they settled down to play their conference friends, the teams that had looked like the Big Eight's best—Missouri and Oklahoma—were suddenly in trouble in what has to be the liveliest conference race in the land.
The situation is this: unexpected Kansas State, thanks to Lynn Dickey's passing arm and the wisdom of Vince Gibson, who just might be thinking himself into coach of the year, stands at 3-0. But Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska all have only one loss, and there are bunches of decisive games ahead. For instance, the Kansas State miracleworkers must go to seething Missouri this week, and Colorado must visit Nebraska. In the future there are Missouri-Oklahoma and Kansas State-Nebraska and Nebraska-Oklahoma, not to forget what might be the biggest of all on Nov. 22 when Bob Anderson takes Colorado into the forgotten nest of Manhattan, Kans., where only 35,000 seats are available for the big showdown with Lynn Dickey.
That would be a fitting place to end the race, for last week both Kansas State and Colorado got the victories they really wanted, and it was those upsets that caused all of the confusion anyhow.
A while back, the day before his team was to play high-ranked Penn State, and eight days before it would take on archrival Kansas, Vince Gibson sat at his desk by his purple and white telephone and said, "Beating Penn State would give us national prestige, and we don't have a bigger game than Kansas, but the game I want is Oklahoma." Small wonder Gibson wanted it. In 35 years Kansas State had managed only one measly lie with OU against 34 losses, most of them by thoroughly humiliating scores.
The Wildcats narrowly lost to Penn State (14-17), clipped Kansas (26-22) and went into the Oklahoma game with a 4-1 record and an astonishing lack of respect for the Sooners.
"We've got a better team than Oklahoma," Gibson told his boys. "They've got tradition, but we aren't awed by that. They make mistakes in their secondary, and we can get to them."
Lynn Dickey got to them, all right. A junior who wears white shoes because Joe Namath does, Dickey scattered passing records all over Manhattan as he hurled 28 completions for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He got the Wildcats on top quickly by 14-0. When the Sooners closed it to 14-7 on a long pass by Jack Mildren, Dickey came back throwing to make it 21-7. Another Mildren bomb made it 21-14, but Oklahoma never got closer. Before the half was over, Dickey had again driven Kansas State to a two-touchdown lead, and by the third quarter K State held a delirious 49-14 margin.
It was in the last quarter that OU's bruising Steve Owens got his 13th touchdown of the year and gained more than 100 yards for the 14th game in a row, all of which would be fairly impressive if it weren't for Kansas State's 59 points and 535 yards of total offense.
The big day for undernourished Kansas State was best summed up by one of its broadcasters, Paul DeWeese, who told OU fans, "It's no fun getting clobbered like this, and we are just the people to know how it feels."
Colorado, meanwhile, knew how it felt a year ago to get physically clobbered by Missouri in Columbia. The score didn't hurt so much. It was only 27-14. But the Tigers battered the Buffs around for a total of six concussions. Last week Bob Anderson, aided by a tough front four on defense, got revenge out in Boulder. Missouri could count about nine disabled Tigers as well as Colorado's 31 points when it was over.
There are several things to understand about Anderson. First, he was a rollout quarterback for two seasons (leading the Big Eight in total offense last year) and for the first two games of 1969. But then Coach Eddie Crowder secretly shifted him to tailback, believing Anderson might be all that Oklahoma's Steve Owens is. Perhaps Crowder is right. With the 132 yards he cranked out of Missouri, Anderson now has 704 yards for the year—71 more than Owens—and with his two touchdowns against Missouri he has just as many as the Sooner star (13), which makes them tied for the nation's scoring lead at 78 points, along with Jim Braxton of West Virginia. Anderson's two touchdowns also broke Whizzer White's career scoring total at Colorado, as if it hadn't been a tough enough year for the Supreme Court already.
Anderson is a strong ballcarrier, much on the order of Owens and almost as big at 208 and 6 feet. He bashes up and over tackles, drives by them and glances off defenders like a fish flipping out of a boat. He also dates a former pompon girl, has an older brother, Dick, who made All-America on defense for the Buffs two years ago, and is so intense a competitor that it was his idea, along with Colorado's other two captains, to lead the team in wind sprints in the end zone after every game—win or lose.
After the first few minutes there was little question about Missouri's fate at Boulder. Anderson's runs got his team off to a 10-0 lead, and when Missouri got back in the game on a 75-yard pass from erratic Terry McMillan to Mel Gray, the Buffs struck just as promptly. Paul Arendt, a substitute quarterback and another of those good sophomores who seem to be everywhere, passed 79 yards to Monte Huber to put the Buffs ahead by 17-7. When Missouri cut that margin, Colorado scored again behind Arendt. And when Missouri came back again, Colorado, with Anderson bolting over everyone, scored once more. It was such a delicious win that a little old lady greeted Anderson outside the dressing room with a homemade cake, presented it and said, "You've just done so much for me."
Apparently, one of the best decisions Crowder ever made at Colorado was to move Anderson to tailback. Anderson's throwing had never been quite satisfactory, but he was always a devastating runner. Crowder made the switch the week of the Indiana game in the most fascinating of ways. In workouts Anderson ran at tailback, but he wore another number. The quarterback, in turn, wore Anderson's number. This was just in case there were any spies peering down from the Flatirons, the mountain range that overlooks Colorado's scenic campus, a campus so noted for fun that coeds have been known to attend summer school there from the University of Hawaii, and so casual about recreation that a homecoming banner last week asked fans to PUT A TIGER IN YOUR PIPE.
It is no secret anymore that Bob Anderson is situated at running back or that Kansas State's Lynn Dickey is at least one-fourth of "super-super-super-super," so, regardless of what fans are smoking out in Boulder or Manhattan, the whole Big Eight is more than slightly on fire.