1. TEXAS (9-0)
2. ARKANSAS (9-1)
3. TEXAS TECH (8-3)
As Darrell Royal looked over his Texas Longhorns following their 52-14 Thanksgiving Day victory over Texas A&M—their 29th straight—he must have felt like he was standing in a hospital ward. Not since the Alamo have so many wounded Texans been on the same team. Most notable on the injured list were: Quarterback Eddie Phillips (bruised knee); Defensive End Bill Atessis (pulled hamstring); Fullback Steve Worster (torn rib cartilage, hip-pointer). Even the placekicker, Happy Feller, had unhappily sprained a knee during practice. And Texas plays Arkansas on Saturday. "I've never had anything take the wind out of my sails after a nice victory like our medical report did," said Royal.
Phillips guided the Longhorns to touchdowns on their first three possessions, then gave way to Donnie Wigginton, who scored two TDs in the second half and completed three of five passes for 69 yards. Worster carried only twice for 10 yards before having to leave the game, so Texas' running attack was led by Jim Bertlesen with 66 yards on nine carries. The loss was the ninth straight for the Aggies, but their schedule was perhaps the toughest in the country. They have played five teams in the top eight (LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Arkansas and Texas), which have a combined won-lost record of 44-4.
December 7, 1970
In Coach Fred Taylor's last game Texas Christian upset Southern Methodist 26-17. "I tried to tell our kids that if the TCU team had any respect for Taylor, they were going to play their hearts out," said SMU's Hayden Fry. The Horned Frogs did just that, but they also had help from SMU Quarterback Chuck Hixson, whose overthrown passes cost SMU at least two touchdowns. "That's the story of my career," said Hixson, the Southwest's alltime top passer statistically. "Sometimes we didn't and sometimes we did. All I want to do is go high in the draft and start over."
1. OHIO STATE (9-0)
2. NEBRASKA (10-0-1)
3. NOTRE DAME (9-1)
Oklahoma Coach Chuck Fairbanks had only one complaint about his team's 66-6 rout of Oklahoma State: his cigarettes got wet when his players threw him in the shower. Otherwise, the Sooners performed flawlessly. Said Fairbanks, "I'm proud of the way we progressed from the first of the season to today, when we had our best game."
As usual the Sooners won on the ground, rushing 84 times for 519 yards. Sophomores Greg Pruitt and Joe Wylie gained 116 and 105 yards, respectively, while playing less than a half. Wylie, who did not become a starter until midseason, came within 16 yards of gaining 1,000 for the year. Sooner fans think of him as a Steve Owens with speed. "Oklahoma is the fastest team we've played all year," said State's Dick Graham. "And they don't make mistakes."
At Wichita there were lumps in throats as the Wichita State Shockers, the team which lost 14 players in a plane crash, jumped ahead of favored Louisville 17-0. They still led 24-21 in the third period after Jack Fisher's 88-yard punt return, but then Coach Lee Corso's Cardinals asserted their superior manpower. Quarterback John Madeya threw a 35-yard TD pass to Flanker Gary Barnes in the opening minute of the final period and Louisville never again trailed. The Cardinals' final 34-24 score kept alive Madeya's record of never having started in a losing game. Louisville is 8-0 behind Madeya, whose first start gave the Cardinals their only win in the first four games. His next chance will come against highly regarded Long Beach State in the Pasadena Bowl on Dec. 19.
1. DARTMOUTH (9-0)
2. PENN STATE (7-3)
3. BOSTON COLLEGE (8-2)
Not even the Pentagon could deny that Army and Navy had two of the nation's really poor football teams. Heading into their game last week in Philadelphia, Army was 1-8-1 and Navy 1-9, and wait till Ralph Nader hears that the price of a ticket was $8.50. For the first time in 25 years the game was not a sellout, a fact the military decided not to emphasize. "It would look bad,' said the Navy athletic director, Captain J. O. Coppedge, while his Army counterpart, Colonel Gus Dielens, remarked, "All I know is that we had a sellout last year."
Still the affair drew 95,151 to John F. Kennedy Stadium and the fans almost got their money's worth—thanks only in part to Army and Navy. An additional attraction was the sudden pregame appearance of a certain Miss Karen LaGota. Wearing a mini-bikini, Miss LaGota charged onto the field during the coin toss and planted kisses on the surprised faces of the team captains. Her ensuing analysis may set Army recruiting back 100 years. "The Army captain didn't like it," she reported, "but the Navy captain loved it."
For those who do not care who wins or loses but how the game is played, it was not all that bad. After Army took a 7-0 lead, the Middies' Bob Elflein broke loose for a 49-yard touchdown and Navy edged ahead 8-7 on Mike McNallen's two point conversion pass to Karl Schwelm. Roger Lanning kicked a 33-yard field goal to round out Navy's 11-7 upset victory.
Early in the game Navy hardly looked like a winner. Although Mark Schickner intercepted three passes thrown by Army's sophomore Quarterback Dick Atha in the first half, the Middies failed to capitalize. They fumbled with third and goal at the Army three; they blew a handoff at the Cadets' 25; and they failed to score after getting first and goal at Army's one with 17 seconds left in the half.
In what has come to be known around Boston as the Jesuit Bowl, Boston College thumped Holy Cross 54-0. BC Quarterback Frank Harris completed 18 of 20 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns—three of them to Flanker George Gill—and won the Eddie O'Melia Award, given annually to the game's outstanding player. His halfback, Fred Willis, contributed 96 yards on 24 carries, had five catches and scored twice.
1. TENNESSEE (9-1)
2. LSU (8-2)
3. AUBURN (8-2)
There was good news for those folks who are sick and tired of seeing the bowls loaded up with teams from the Southeastern Conference. Miami's 14-13 upset of Florida knocked the Gators out of the Liberty Bowl, while Georgia Tech's 17-7 victory over Georgia kept the Bulldogs out of the Peach. The latter promptly invited North Carolina (8-3), which is coached by Bill Dooley, younger brother of Georgia Coach Vince Dooley and a former Bulldog assistant. Said Vince, "I guess ol' Bill getting to go to a bowl is the only consolation about us losing."
Of course Georgia, with only a 5-4 record, had no business being in a bowl in the first place, and the same might be said of Alabama and Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide fought the good fight against Auburn but blew a 17-0 lead and lost 33-28, its fifth setback in 11 games and hardly the sort of record to merit a berth even in the Astro Blue-bonnet Bowl. And Ole Miss, which will meet Auburn in the Gator Bowl, was upset by Mississippi State 19-14, for a 7-2 record overall but only 0-2 within the state (Has anybody forgotten the Rebels' loss to Southern Mississippi?). It should be remembered, however, that Ole Miss has played its last two games without Archie Manning. His broken left arm has now been put in a special cast and the word is that Archie will play against Louisiana State this Saturday in Baton Rouge.
LSU, one of the SEC's three legitimate bowl teams (if the Tigers beat Ole Miss this week), came back from its narrow loss to Notre Dame to defeat Tulane 26-14. The Greenies put up surprisingly stiff resistance but were victims of their own mistakes. Tulane fumbled at each 10-yard line and LSU turned both recoveries into touchdowns. An interception and a bad snap from center on a punt led to two more LSU touchdowns. Nevertheless, there was some satisfaction for Tulane. David Abercrombie's one-foot plunge with 5:58 left in the game was the first rushing touchdown allowed by LSU in 13 straight games. And afterward the Greenies were rewarded for their 7-4 record with an invitation to the Liberty Bowl.
At Birmingham, Auburn and Alabama were tied at 17 heading into the final period. The Tide took a 28-27 lead with 5:18 left when Quarterback Scott Hunter passed 54 yards to George Ranager for a TD, then to David Bailey for a two-point conversion, but Auburn needed only four plays to regain the lead on Wallace Clark's run from the three. Then the Tigers' defense held on to preserve the win. Quarterback Pat Sullivan hit on 22 of 38 passes for 317 yards, including nine completions to Split End Terry Beasley.
The SEC's best team, Tennessee, methodically chewed up Vanderbilt 24-6. The Vols' 381 yards in total offense gave them a school record of 3,949 for the season. And Tennessee's secondary intercepted four passes—two by Bobby Majors—for a season total of 35, a conference record.
A funny thing happened in Tampa. Not Houston's 53-21 win over Florida State after trailing 21-12, although that was some laugher. When Houston's Nick Holm intercepted a pass at the Houston 25 and took off down the sideline in front of the Florida State bench, it was too much for State's Dan Whitehurst, a sophomore linebacker. He came off the bench to stick out a foot and trip Holm at the 50. The officials penalized State 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. This is something of an improvement for Whitehurst. When he did the same thing in high school, the opposition was awarded a touchdown.
1. ARIZONA STATE (9-0)
2. AIR FORCE (9-2)
3. STANFORD (8-3)
Apart from Southern Cal's upset of Notre Dame, the big news out West was that Stanford's Jim Plunkett was named the 36th winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy Award, that oversized bronze paperweight given annually to the young man who is supposed to be the best college football player in the country. When the telephone call came from President John Scott of New York's Downtown Athletic Club, sponsor of the trophy, Plunkett conveniently happened to be in midtown Manhattan in the studios of ABC, taping a segment of the Kodak All-America show. His reply will not be engraved in granite, but then he didn't break down and cry, either, the way Oklahoma's Steve Owens did last year.
"Gee," stated Plunkett. "That's great."
Exactly 1,059 newsmen cast ballots and, somewhat surprisingly, Plunkett was an easy winner with 2,229 points (510 first-place votes, 285 for second and 129 for third). The runner-up, Notre Dame's Joe Theismann, had 1,410 points, while Mississippi's Archie Manning got 849 and Texas' Steve Worster 398.
Postelection analysis revealed that the usual regional chauvinism was absent; Plunkett topped the ballot in four sections and tied Manning in the South. On the other hand, the voting reinforced the widespread belief that the Heisman is an award for the nation's best offensive back. Of the top 14 vote-getters, only one—Ohio State's Jack Tatum—is a defensive player and he finished a well-beaten seventh. No interior offensive linemen were listed, and Air Force's Ernie Jennings and Notre Dame's Tom Gatewood were the only receivers.
There are too many offensive backs partly because there are too many voters. Many of the latter see very little football; obviously their list of candidates begins and ends with the glamour positions. A few hundred selectors, or better, a few dozen—men actually on the beat—would vote more judiciously. Another thing: the ballots are cast too early. This season many were in before Plunkett's last two games, both losses. Obviously the outcome might be different if the voting took place after the season.
But for all their inadequacies and their unseemly haste, the Heisman voters have named a deserving winner. Plunkett has set many game, school and national records, the most impressive being his NCAA career mark for total offense—7.887 yards. And he made big plays in big games—against Southern Cal, Arkansas and UCLA. Now, of course, there is one more challenge for Plunkett before he joins the pros, possibly as the No. 1 draft choice. He faces Tatum and the rest of Ohio State's murderous defense in the Rose Bowl.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
THE BACK: Notre Dame Quarterback Joe Theismann had one of his finest days in the 38-28 loss to Southern Cal. Despite a steady rain, Theismann completed 33 of 58 passes for a whopping 526 yards and two touchdowns.
THE LINEMAN: Willie Hall, an end on Southern Cal's defensive line, the "Wild Bunch," did a little of everything against Notre Dame. Hall made 10 tackles, deflected two passes and also caused a touchdown-producing fumble.