1. PENN STATE (10-0)
2. WEST VIRGINIA (9-1)
3. DARTMOUTH (8-1)
Normally Penn State's Dennis Onkotz doesn't like to watch football on TV because it's "too violent," but the Nittany Lions' linebacker nevertheless brought himself to watch a little of the Arkansas-Texas Tech game on Thanksgiving. He heard the announcers talking about how this Saturday's Texas-Arkansas game would decide who's No. 1 and, as Onkotz said, "It made me mad." So two days later Onkotz went on national television himself and worked off his anger in fine fashion, helping Penn State's powerful defense smother North Carolina State 33-8 in the finale of the Lions' second straight perfect season.
Onkotz wasn't the only one upset by the fact that Penn State has never been ranked higher than No. 2. His coach, Joe Paterno, asked: "When, if ever, did any major college team put together two back-to-back 10-0 seasons, go through 29 games without a loss and not be rated No. 1 in the nation?" Even Pennsylvania's governor, Raymond P. Shafer, took a shot at the polls. "Here's a team with a tremendous record, best in the nation," said Shafer in his best oratory tone. "It's done everything anyone could ask of it, but still can't get No. 1 recognition. It's ridiculous."
December 8, 1969
Penn State's detractors point out that the Lions could have met the issue head on by accepting the chance to play cither Texas or Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Instead, the team chose the Orange and Missouri, saying it wanted a week in the sun because, after all, isn't the game meant to be fun? Now Paterno is arguing, "Missouri is as fine a football team as any in the country. They've beaten better teams than Texas or Arkansas have."
The man on top right now, Texas' Darrell Royal, believes in the polls; but he learned long ago—as Paterno is now—that poll-watching can be mighty frustrating. "We don't play polls," said Royal. "We figure if we can do a good job the polls will take care of themselves. We worry only about the things we can do something about, such as the next game or the Southwest Conference championship. That other stuff is voted, and we have no control over that. You can play great football and still not win the national championship, but the Southwest Conference championship is decided on the football field and we can do something about that. The only time I worry about the polls is at the end of the season."
Amen, says Frank Broyles of Arkansas, whose Razorbacks will be trying to knock Texas off its perch, but Broyles also goes a step further, criticizing the polls for making "people do things they wouldn't do otherwise. I think they can lead to point-piling." Broyles himself votes in the UPI poll. "Yes, I vote for my own team," he said, "but I won't say in what position."
Nobody knows more about the fickleness of the polls than Ohio State's Woody Hayes, whose team was No. 1 all season until being upset by Michigan, when it was quickly dropped as low as No. 6.
"I must admit I'm a little apprehensive about them," said Woody, "and I became more point-conscious this season in an effort to keep our team No. 1. We didn't have the Rose Bowl incentive, or any other bowl incentive for that matter, so our big goal had to be No. 1. I try to honestly work out my [UPI] ballot every week and I think I know our area real well; but in other cases like Texas and Southern Cal I have to go with what I know, which isn't enough, and their records."
To find out about Penn State, all Woody has to do is call North Carolina State's Earle Edwards, who became a believer last Saturday afternoon in Raleigh after Onkotz and the rest of Penn State's defense held the wolfpack to 49 yards, tossed three quarterbacks for 27 yards in losses and forced three interceptions, two fumbles and 10 punts. "I don't ever remember being shut off like that," said Edwards. "They made us helpless." He was especially impressed with Onkotz, who set up one touchdown by jarring Wolfpack Quarterback Darrell Moody into a fumble, then recovered it himself. Later, Onkotz tossed Moody for 14 yards in losses on two straight plays to halt a drive and set up teammate Mike Reitz' second field goal. "We were perhaps a little more aggressive on defense," said Paterno. "We wanted very badly to win this game."
Offensively, State's Charlie Pittman scored three times for a career total of 186 points, breaking the record of 171 set by Pete Mauthe from 1909-12. One of Pittman's TDs came on Quarterback Chuck Burkhart's first scoring pass of the season. Reitz, the kicking specialist, added three extra points for a season's total of 33, breaking the record set in 1947 by Ed Czekaj, now Penn State's athletic director.
When a siege of hepatitis put Holy Cross out for the season, Syracuse Coach Ben Schwartzwalder quickly tacked on a game with Boston College, just to give the Orangemen a nice round 10. Schwartzwalder was especially pleased with his move after Syracuse lost to West Virginia in what was supposed to have been its final game. "At least now we've got another chance to close out the year a winner," he said early last week. Well, Ben wasn't so happy when the game was over because Boston College, the afterthought, thumped the Orangemen 35-10.
Syracuse jumped in front 10-0, but then couldn't do anything, including simple chores like running out the clock. Instead of protecting its lead late in the first half by going into the line, Syracuse came out throwing, unsuccessfully, and BC got the ball in time for seven points. That was just the start. Behind Halfback Fred Willis and Quarterback Frank Harris, Boston College turned it into a rout in the second half. "We've had a lot of shockers," said Schwartzwalder, "but this was the worst ever."
Willis ran 14 times for 27 yards, but caught six passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Harris completed 23 of his 38 attempts for four TDs and—against what once was one of the East's best defenses—he wasn't intercepted. Said Harris, "I made up my mind to throw squares and quickies before they could get to me, then dunk a couple over their rush to try to keep them at home." Huh?
In the third annual Metropolitan Club Bowl at Mount Vernon, N.Y., Pace College beat down Iona's defense in the last quarter for a 16-7 victory. Quarterback Dennis Carpenter scored the winning TD.
1. USC (9-0-1)
2. UCLA (8-1-1)
3. STANFORD (7-2-1)
After eight years of trying, Arizona State's Sun Devils won the Western Athletic Conference—but not before rival Arizona put up one of its best fights of the year. State was trailing in the third quarter, but then junior Lenny Randle got loose for a 57-yard punt return and a 25-24 lead that the Sun Devils never gave up. "I know it was close," said State Coach Frank Kush after the 38-24 victory, "but that's what coaches get paid for—to win the close ones."
Junior Halfback Dave Buchanan gained 146 yards for the winners, giving him a lock on the league rushing championship. Senior Fullback Art Malone closed his career by gaining 108 yards, mostly on thrusts up the middle, and Quarterback Joe Spagnola gained 113 yards passing and 50 more rushing to lead the WAC in total offense. The State defense—led by Linebacker Mike Kennedy—converted two fumbles and an interception into 17 points. Arizona State finished with a 6-1 league record, good for a half-game margin over Utah. The early leader, Wyoming, wound up at 4-3 to tie for third with Brigham Young.
The field at El Paso was muddy and slippery, but UTEP managed to slosh its way to a 17-10 win over Xavier of Ohio. The Miners turned a pass interception by Jim Fabish into the winning TD, which came on Dick Rausch's dive into the end zone in the third quarter. The visiting Musketeers had tied the game 10-10 on Ed Huber's 26-yard field goal.
In sunny old Honolulu, Oregon's Ducks trailed 16-14 in the first half, but finally hulaed their way to a 57-16 victory. Oregon racked up a school-record 678 yards, including 388 on the ground. In Fort Collins all the action took place off the field when Colorado State announced that its coach of eight seasons, Mike Lude, would not have his contract renewed (he was fired, that means). State's record this season was 4-6, its seventh losing season under Lude, and it included a 79-7 walloping by Arizona State, the worst loss in the school's history.
1. TEXAS (9-0)
2. ARKANSAS (9-0)
3. HOUSTON (8-2)
Even Spiro Agnew probably wouldn't complain about the way national television has manipulated the Texas-Arkansas game. Originally scheduled for Oct. 18, it was switched to this Saturday purely at the behest of Roone Arledge, executive director of ABC sports. Everybody knew long ago, of course, that the Southwest Conference championship and a Cotton Bowl bid would be at stake, but who this side of Woody Hayes expected the national championship to be on the line, too? Yet, happily, that's what college football's 100th season has come down to, whether Joe Paterno likes it or not. Texas Coach Darrell Royal, for one, tips his cap to TV. "It makes them look smarter than a tree full of owls," Royal said on Thanksgiving, after his Longhorns made turkey hash of Texas A&M 49-12.
As has been their custom, the Longhorns put the game away so early that the first team spent the second half sitting—make that shivering—on the bench. The temperature in College Station was near freezing, and even a Wisconsin native like Halfback Jim Bertelsen chattered, "I was freezing." Bertelsen was as responsible as anyone for the first team's early exit, injuring his left arm on the game's first play from scrimmage, but coming back two plays later to zig and zag 63 yards for Texas' first TD. For sheer razzle-dazzle, however, nothing could match the end-around play on which Split End Cotton Speyrer threw a 37-yard scoring pass to Tight End Randy Peschel—the first time Speyrer had passed since he was in high school. His form resembled a bad javelin thrower, but Cotton made his point: "Maybe it will give Arkansas something to think about." Speyrer also caught a scoring pass as the first unit built up a 39-0 lead that moved a record A&M crowd of 51,160 to begin leaving at halftime.
At Little Rock the afternoon was equally cold (a bonfire was lit near the Arkansas bench late in the game) and the game equally dull as the Razorbacks ground out a 33-0 victory over Texas Tech, the 100th for Frank Broyles as a head coach. The Porkers were their usual prosaic selves, winning the game with a defense that has allowed only 6.8 points per game, best in the country. Typical of Arkansas' style was the tackle Terry Stewart put on Tech's Danny Hardaway a split second after Hardaway had leaped to catch a pass at the Arkansas 10. He went down in a heap and the ball rolled out of bounds, giving the Razorbacks possession on downs. "That's the hardest I've ever been hit," marveled Hardaway later. "In fact, that's the first time this year I've been hit, really hit, not just tackled. If I could see him [Stewart], I would walk up and shake his hand. He put it on me."
The Razorback offense was equally effective, mixing Bill Montgomery's passes to Chuck Dicus, John Rees and Pat Morrison with grinding runs. Near the end, Arkansas fans in the east stands began to chant, "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl," but Broyles didn't want to talk about Texas right away. "I'm going to enjoy my 100 first," he said. "It's been a long, long struggle to get to be 9-0. The monkey gets heavy on your back. I'm going to enjoy this one before I think about those Longhorns."
Playing in the Astrodome, where they will meet Auburn Dec. 31 in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, the Houston Cougars beat Florida State 41-13, their eighth straight win after opening with a pair of losses. Houston's high-octane offense clicked as usual behind sophomore Quarterback Gary Mullins, but its defense is what did in Florida State. Houston intercepted two Bill Cappleman passes, recovered three fumbles and threw Seminole quarterbacks for losses 10 times, totaling 97 yards. Stick that in your Astro-Bluebonnet and try it on for size!
Poor Baylor closed out its first season under Coach Bob Beall with an 0-10 record, the first time the Bears had gone without a victory since they were 0-4 in the war-interrupted season of 1918. Baylor had entertained hopes of beating its final opponent, Rice, which came into the game with only a 2-7 record, but that possibility flickered out when the Owls' Mike Spruill came off the bench. Unable to start because of a shoulder separation, Spruill scored three touchdowns—on runs of 30, four and one yards—to lead Rice. About all that Baylor fans had to cheer was Gordon Utgard, the Bears' senior tailback. He broke the national kickoff return record by returning six against Rice. That gave him 37 for the season, three ahead of the mark set last year by Northwestern's Mike Adamle.
1. LSU (9-1)
2. TENNESSEE (9-1)
3. AUBURN (8-2)
A University of Miami sign bore the slogan, THE CUBAN COMET WILL BE HIJACKED TONIGHT, but it was the Comet, Carlos Alvarez, who ended up in the pilot's seat. The Cuban refugee, who has yet to become an American citizen, caught 15 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns as the Florida Gators sharpened up for the Gator Bowl by rocking Miami 35-16 before 70,934—including a large Alvarez cheering section—in the Orange Bowl. "I knew they were selling a lot of tickets to Cubans and I didn't want to disappoint them," said Carlos, whose performance gave him at least a tie for five Southeastern Conference records.
His sophomore batterymate, Quarterback John Reaves, also picked up a few more SEC records, including most TD passes in a season (24) and most total offense (2,892). His 30 completions (out of 40) made him the national passing leader, with 227 completions to 222 for SMU's Chuck Hixson. "I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel great to set records," said Reaves, "but I've said all year that any other quarterback could have done the same. We have great receivers and coaches—and that Carlos makes any quarterback's job easy."
For all their achievements, however, it was neither Alvarez nor Reaves who put the fix on Miami. It was sophomore Tommy Durrance, whose 62-yard run—that's right, Florida does run sometimes—turned a 22-16 game into an easy win, the Gators' eighth against a loss and a tie. Durrance scored three TDs to become the SEC's leading scorer with 110 points for the year. Said Miami Coach Charlie Tate, "It was a hell of a run and it broke our backs."
While Florida was looking good, like a bowl team should, Alabama and Georgia were bowled over. The Crimson Tide, which will meet Colorado in the Liberty Bowl, Dec. 13, was trounced by archrival Auburn 49-26, winding up a 6-4 season. 'Bama Quarterback Scott Hunter hit 30 of 55 passes for 484 yards, wiping J. W. Namath's name out of the school record book, but the Tide's defense was so bad that Auburn's punter, Connie Frederick, scored on an 84-yard run with only 42 seconds left because the Tide had rolled back to set up a return. "I wouldn't be surprised if Auburn is not one of the top teams in the Deep South," said winning Coach Shug Jordan, while Bear Bryant rumbled: "I suppose we should be embarrassed with a bowl game coming up, but I'm not. I'm thankful for it. I think our players want a chance to redeem themselves."
So, surely, do Georgia's Bulldogs, who were upset by in-and-out Georgia Tech 6-0 on Grant Field in Atlanta. The Bulldogs, who will play Nebraska in the Sun Bowl, had as much luck denting the Tech defense as they did in stopping Quarterback Jack Williams, who made up for a miserable effort against Notre Dame two weeks earlier by directing the only touchdown drive of the game. Told that he was starting only two minutes before the kickoff, Williams moved the Yellow Jackets 80 yards in 13 plays in the second quarter. He hit four passes to move Tech to the Georgia goal, then scored himself. Linebacker Bubba Hoats preserved the win with three interceptions off Georgia Quarterbacks Mike Cavan and Paul Gilbert. Georgia's final record is 5-4-1, Tech's 4-6 for the third straight year under Coach Bud Carson.
Florida's opponent in the Gator Bowl-Tennessee, cut up Vanderbilt 40-27 to win the SEC championship with a 5-1 league record to LSU's 4-1. Leading 14-7 in the second quarter, Tennessee used defense to break it open, scoring on Bill Young's 25-yard interception, followed by End James Woody's safety. "Tennessee is the best team we've played, including Michigan," said Vandy Coach Bill Pace. With 21 minutes left, Mississippi State and Ole Miss were tied 14-14, but Rebel Quarterback Archie Manning threw TD passes of 58 and 15 yards, then scored on a two-yard keeper to start the Rebels to a 48-22 win, giving them a 7-3 record to take into the Sugar Bowl.
1. OHIO STATE (8-1)
2. MISSOURI (9-1)
3. MICHIGAN (8-2)
The Heisman Trophy winner, Steve Owens, played his last game for Oklahoma like he has played all the others, plowing up and down the field; but the Sooners still found themselves in deep trouble with only 1:15 to play against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had just scored on Quarterback Bob Cutburth's pass to Split End Hermann Eben, reducing Oklahoma's lead to 28-27, and now they were lined up to go for a two-point conversion. Oops, delay of game against State, move it back to the eight. Even so, State gamely went for the win. Cutburth, finding no receivers open, was hit by Sooner End Albert Qualls and fumbled away his team's last chance.
Only nine minutes earlier Cutburth had tried a sneak from Oklahoma's six-inch line, but was stopped short of scoring. Or was he?
"I'd rather not comment on that," fumed Cowboy Coach Floyd Gass, "but when you move the length of your body and only have inches to go, well, it will show in the films."
"I thought I was in," said Cutburth, "but I guess it wasn't my decision."
"I'm 80 years older," sighed the winning coach, Oklahoma's Chuck Fairbanks.
Cutburth hit 17 of 32 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, both to Eben, besides running for two more TDs himself. He set all sorts of Oklahoma State records, but nobody tops Owens when it comes to records. This time he set two national marks by carrying 55 times in one game and 358 times for the season. His 261 yards and two TDs against the Cowboys assured him of the national rushing and scoring championships.
At Tulsa, Louisville used three long runs to beat limping Tulsa 35-29 for a 5-4-1 record in Lee Corso's first year as head coach. Tulsa scored first when John Dobbs, son of the school's athletic director, Glenn Dobbs, threw 23 yards to Josh Ashton. But Louisville's Lee Bougess and Bill Gatti scored on runs of 44 and 58 yards from scrimmage, respectively, and Cleo Walker ran back an intercepted pass 74 yards to put the Cardinals ahead for keeps.
Shrine Bowl: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M beat Arizona Western 20-6 for the National Junior College Athletic Association championship.
Sterling Bowl: Nassau Community College of Long Island, N.Y. threw a 9-0 record against Hutchinson (Kans.) Junior College, but the Kansans won 32-7 at Sterling, Kans.
Alonzo Stagg Bowl: Wittenberg's Denny Yontz intercepted a fumble at the William Jewell nine-yard line, and Gary Sherman scored two plays later to give Wittenberg a 27-21 win.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Army's Lynn Moore, who gained only five yards rushing against Navy last year, personally sunk the Midshipmen by rushing for a career-high 206 yards and going in for two touchdowns in the Cadets' 27-0 victory.
THE LINEMAN: The Cuban Comet, Florida's Carlos Alvarez, caught 15 passes for 237 yards and two scores as Florida whipped Miami 35-16. The sophomore receiver tied or broke five Southeastern Conference records.