Woody Hayes wanted Ohio State to take a big lead in its opening game against Minnesota so he could "sit in a chair on the sidelines and enjoy watching the reserves." Hayes had to put in a full day's work, however, as the Buckeyes looked good but not great in a 34-19 victory. "We can play a lot better," he said afterward. "I was disappointed in the defense."
There wasn't too much wrong with the offense. Archie Griffin scored a touchdown and ran for 133 yards to break the school's career-rushing record, while Quarterback Cornelius Greene scored twice and set up two more touchdowns with his passing. Greene threw 12 times, completed nine and had no interceptions. "It always feels good to win the first one on the road," said Hayes.
Michigan was something less than awesome, beating Iowa only 24-7. With Dennis Franklin sick, Mark Elzinga stepped in at quarterback to pass for one touchdown and rush for another.
September 22, 1974
Wisconsin defeated Purdue 28-14, marking its first road win in four years. The Badgers led by only 6-0 at the half but interceptions set up a pair of third-quarter touchdowns that broke the game open. Illinois handed Indiana its 10th straight Big Ten loss, 16-0, and Michigan State, which scored only nine TDs last year, had six in a 41-7 rout of Northwestern.
Oklahoma wanted some lopsided wins early in the season to bolster its No. 1 chances, but Baylor proved uncooperative. The Sooners scored on their first possession but a rash of fumbles and penalties took them into the final quarter with a bare—and unusual—7-5 lead. Then Quarterback Steve Davis, Halfback Joe Washington and Wide Receiver Tinker Owens all scored touchdowns to spark a 28-11 victory. Washington was the real difference, rushing for 156 yards in 17 carries, a personal high. "Our game plan," said Coach Barry Switzer, "was to make as many mistakes as we could in order to get them out of our system. I don't feel our performance this afternoon justifies our No. 1 ranking."
Baylor Tailback Steve Beaird said, "Oklahoma didn't impress me at all like they did last year." But there may have been good reason for it. Sooner Defensive Coordinator Larry Lacewell said of the 5'7" Beaird, "We haven't had much practice tackling guys that short."
After Nebraska destroyed Oregon 61-7, Coach Tom Osborne said he was glad the Cornhuskers didn't quit with a 33-0 halftime lead. "Last year we had a tendency to jump on people and then take it easy," he said. Oklahoma State was no less impressive in its 59-0 win over Wichita State, while Kansas State dropped Tulsa 31-14.
1. Ohio State (1-0)
2. Notre Dame (1-0)
3. Nebraska (1-0)
Those once proud Porkers from Fayetteville, who have not finished in the Top Ten since 1969, are hamming it up again. After Arkansas stunned USC 22-7, Coach Frank Broyles called it "as big a thrill as we've had in a long, long time."
For John McKay it was a bitter disappointment. Before Saturday he felt his Trojans were serious contenders for the national championship. "We threw poorly, caught poorly, tackled poorly, blocked poorly and coached poorly," McKay grumbled afterward. "Otherwise, it was a perfect day."
Defense won it for the Razorbacks, who intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles. Turnovers set up both Arkansas touchdowns and one of its field goals. The defense also forced a safety and did not allow a point, USC's score coming on a 100-yard kickoff return by Anthony Davis.
The biggest surprise was the performance (or lack of it) by Trojan Quarterback Pat Haden, who did not complete his first pass until the last play of the third quarter. Overall he was 6 for 18. "The secondary did the best job that I've seen here at Arkansas," Broyles said. "Most of Haden's passes were on target but he just couldn't find anyone who was open to throw to."
Ike Forte and Quarterback Mark Miller scored the Hog touchdowns in the first and third quarters and Steve Little kicked a pair of short-range field goals. "I thought it was possible to beat Southern Cal," Broyles concluded, "but I never thought we could look good doing it."
It was a banner day for the Southwest Conference all around. Texas Tech thumped Iowa State 24-3, Texas A&M blanked Clemson 24-0, Southern Methodist nipped North Texas State 7-6 and Texas Christian dropped Texas-Arlington 12-3.
In an SWC game not counted in league standings, Houston defeated Rice 21-0. The Cougar touchdowns came on a school-record 91-yard run by Donnie McGraw, a 24-yard jaunt by Marshall Johnson and a seven-yard pass from David Husmann to Eddie Foster. The defense allowed only four first downs.
1. Texas (1-0)
2. Arkansas (1-0)
3. Texas Tech (1-0)
Everyone felt a Pacific-8 team probably would win a non-conference game some time during the 1974 season and, sure enough, into Seattle wandered little old Cincinnati. Thus, in the second week of play, after seven losses and a tie, on a day when the league had been beaten on national television and had seen its glamour team stunned in faraway Arkansas, the mighty Washington Huskies prevailed. Barely. The score was 21-17.
For a half, Washington played pretty much to recent Pac-8 form, trailing 17-7. Then the defense got tough and Quarterbacks Chris Rowland and Dennis Fitzpatrick each engineered a touchdown drive. A winner, at last.
In another part of the state, Kansas was defeating Washington State 14-7 as Robert Miller gained 180 yards and scored the first of two second-quarter touchdowns.
In the PCAA, San Jose State parlayed a second-period outburst of its own to score four times in a 28-7 defeat of Fresno State. Craig Kimball threw two TD passes for the Spartans. Elsewhere, Hawaii edged Brigham Young 15-13, Louie Giammona gained 183 yards as Utah State upset Wyoming 17-7 and Air Force pounded Idaho 37-0.
Arizona won its opener 17-10 over San Diego State, but Coach Jim Young saw nothing good about the performance. "Nobody executed and I called a bad game from the sidelines," Young said. The decisive touchdown came following a pair of fourth-down kicking penalties. The losing Aztecs provided two of the game's biggest stars—leading ground-gainer Frank Geary (100 yards)and Linebacker Bobby Henderson (12 tackles, one pass deflection, one interception and one fumble recovery).
1. Arizona State (1-0)
2. Arizona (1-0)
3. UCLA (0-0-1)
LSU fans, accustomed to wide-open football in recent years, wondered what Charlie McClendon was up to when he installed the Veer last spring. "Just be patient," he told them, "and we'll get the big play."
To the satisfaction of 70,274 customers, McClendon was proved correct in the second period of a scoreless game with Colorado. The first time the Tigers used the wide pitch, Brian Zeringue gained 55 yards, setting up the initial touchdown in a 42-14 romp. LSU was 0 for 3 passing, but gained 437 yards on the ground for a Bengal record as Quarterback Carl Otis Trimble totaled 133 yards in only eight carries.
"LSU executed much better than it did on any films we saw from last year," said a buffaloed Coach Bill Mallory. McClendon admitted, "Everybody was a little anxious to see how we would do with our new offense. I was too."
The particular Veer that Georgia introduced against Oregon State had a passing wrinkle—good for three touchdowns in a 48-35 victory. Halfback Horace King threw the first one, a 28-yarder to Butch Box that sent the Bulldogs winging to a 20-0 lead. "Pretty, wasn't it?" asked King, who said he "always wanted to be a quarterback anyway." But his team has three quarterbacks already, all sophomores, and each had a hand in Georgia's 345 yards rushing and 119 passing. The defense, unfortunately, was just as wide open, allowing 396 yards.
Before they start playing each other, all the Southeastern Conference teams look great. Take Mississippi, picked for seventh place in the SEC standings. The Rebels were decided underdogs against nationally ranked Missouri, but they won 10-0. Quarterback Kenny Lyons scored the game's only touchdown, slipping in from the one to cap a 70-yard drive in the third quarter. Missouri's deepest penetration was to the Ole Miss 39. Superior defense and the punting of Greg Breland, who averaged 44 yards on seven tries, kept the Tigers caged all night. It was a big win for Ken Cooper, whose debut as head coach had been postponed a week when Hurricane Carmen canceled the Tulane game. That one has been rescheduled for Nov. 30.
Other Southeastern Conference teams also succeeded outside the league. Florida took California 21-17, Auburn toppled Louisville 16-3, Kentucky bombed Virginia Tech 38-7 and Vanderbilt defeated Chattanooga 28-6.
Florida State, suffering through an 11-game losing streak, figured to be easy pickings for Pittsburgh. The Seminoles lost all right, 9-6, but they displayed a defense as dazzling as the pregame show that featured four skydivers, a hot-air balloon and a rock band. Panther star Tony Dorsett was held to 81 yards in 25 carries, and in one series Seminole Cornerback Lee Nelson nailed the quarterback for losses three times.
Georgia Tech, beaten 31-7 by Notre Dame on Monday night, had only four days to prepare for a South Carolina team that Paul Dietzel called his best since the LSU national champions of 1958. Four days, it turned out, were more than enough; the Yellow Jackets set a school rushing record of 487 yards and crushed the Gamecocks 35-20. Four of the touchdowns followed drives of 80 yards or more. "Our coaches read South Carolina like a book," said Quarterback Danny Myers. "And they were soft at the end." Jubilant at the end was Tech's Pepper Rodgers, who was spied in his office afterward doing backflips.
Other victorious Southern independents were Tulane, surprisingly only 17-16 over Southwest Louisiana, and Tampa, 47-13 over Toledo.
North Carolina State waltzed past Duke 35-21 for its second straight win. The only team to succeed outside the league was North Carolina, which got 235 yards and four touchdowns from Tailbacks James (Boom Boom) Betterson and Mike Voight in beating Ohio University 42-7.
1. Alabama (1-0)
2. LSU (1-0)
3. N.C. State (2-0)
"The defense should be the outstanding part of our team," Coach Jack Christiansen declared before Stanford's game with Penn State. Er, not quite. Jack. State pulled out a 24-20 victory by methodically marching to a touchdown after Stanford had nudged ahead 20-17 with 5:10 remaining. The eight-play 80-yard drive was helped along by a pass-interference call that put the Lions on the Cardinal one. Reserve Tailback Woody Petchel scored from there on his first crack.
Part of Stanford's defensive trouble was its failure to adjust to the new look in State's offense. The Lions introduced a double wing with a man in motion and ran some series from an unbalanced line. "We changed because we wanted more diversification and because we don't have that big, powerful tailback," said Joe Paterno. Penn State did have Fullback Tom Donchez, who gained 119 yards, and Flanker Jim Eaise, who rushed, received and returned for 158. There was nothing new about Stanford's offense. Sophomore Quarterback Mike Cordova overcame early uncertainty to complete 23 passes in 51 attempts for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas' game with Boston College marked its first foray into New England since 1931, when the Longhorns lost to Harvard 35-7. A lot has happened in 43 years, and they won this time 42-19, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter after Mike Presley replaced the injured Marty Akins at quarterback. Fullback Roosevelt Leaks, who has shown rapid recovery from knee surgery, watched in uniform from the sideline as his freshman substitute, Earl Campbell, picked up 85 yards in 13 carries.
Army and Navy both won their opening games. The Middies were the more impressive, holding off Virginia 35-28 while the Cadets took Lafayette 14-7.
Navy entered the fourth quarter with a healthy 28-point lead but did not batten down the victory until Safety Gene Ford intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the game. That ended an 80-yard drive and a furious Cavalier comeback, which included three TD passes from Scott Gardner to Ken Shelton. Gardner, who completed 25 of 43 for 264 yards, also had a second-quarter scoring toss to David Sloan.
Army introduced a new coach, Homer Smith, and the Wishbone. The opposing quarterbacks provided most of the game's excitement, as the Cadets' Scott Gillogly ran 28 times for 111 yards and Lafayette's Mark Jones completed 20 of 35 passes for 248.
Kent State and Syracuse, each coming off a win last week, staged a thriller. The Golden Flashes won 20-14 as Larry Poole scored twice in the fourth quarter on a 62-yard run and a blast from the three in the final two minutes. Poole finished with 191 yards.
Richmond won its second game by upsetting West Virginia 29-25 on three touchdown passes by Harry Knight. Temple had an easy romp over Rhode Island, 38-7.
1. Penn State (1-0)
2. Pittsburgh (1-0)
3. Temple (1-0)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
DEFENSE: Dennis Winston, a linebacker who "loves to hurt people," was awarded the game ball for his performance in Arkansas' stunning upset of USC. The 218-pound sophomore, who played end last year, made 19 tackles.
OFFENSE: Junior Tailback James Betterson gained 134 yards in 22 carries, scored three touchdowns and set up another with a 70-yard return of the opening kickoff as North Carolina manhandled Ohio University 42-7.