The Southeastern Conference race got under way with Alabama, Tennessee and Florida cruising to league victories. The Tide, seeking its fifth consecutive title, scored in its first four possessions to beat Vanderbilt 40-7 and bring this lament from Commodore Coach Fred Pancoast: "Missouri didn't do the rest of us any favors by stirring them up."
Auburn, expected to be Alabama's closest challenger, remained winless by losing to the Volunteers 21-17. Larry Seivers caught six passes, two for touchdowns, and was rewarded with all three game balls. Seven Mississippi State turnovers, a 74-yard scoring jaunt by Jimmy DuBose and a 65-yard TD pass from Halfback Tony Green to Larry LeCount, helped Florida win 27-10. Even so, Bulldog Coach Bob Tyler said, "I can't recall a loss in which I felt so strongly we should have won."
In non-league games Georgia tripped South Carolina 28-20, Kentucky tied Maryland 10-10, LSU edged Rice 16-13 and Mississippi ripped Southern Mississippi 24-8. Glynn Harrison's 160 yards rushing and Kevin McLee's 131 helped the Bulldogs put together scoring drives of 80, 83, 89 and 52 yards. Gamecock Coach Jim Carlen said South Carolina was helpless to prevent its first loss. "We couldn't protect everywhere. They ran to the outside to open up the middle and then they ran up the middle."
Kentucky tied Maryland when John Pierce boomed a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds left, only his second in 11 attempts this year. Sonny Collins gained 161 yards to set a new SEC career rushing mark of 3,099 yards. Maryland's touchdown came on a 93-yard kickoff return by Rick Jennings.
LSU won its first game of the year thanks to two touchdown plunges in the first and third quarters by Terry Robiskie. A 52-yard scoring scamper by Michael Sweet, part of a 147-yard afternoon, propelled Mississippi.
Clemson lost 33-28 to Georgia Tech but found a new quarterback in freshman Willie Jordan, who completed 13 of 21 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, scored another TD rushing and kicked a 26-yard field goal and an extra point. "Our problem defensively," said Tech Coach Pepper Rodgers, "is that when they throw long, we cover short and when they throw short, we cover long." Clemson had the biggest defensive problem, however, allowing 331 yards on the ground. Fifty-three of them came on a touchdown play in which the ball went from Quarterback Danny Myers to Halfback David Sims via a fumble.
Florida State scored on the first play of the first half—a 78-yard pass—and Iowa State cashed in on the first play of the second half—a 57-yard run—but it was the Cyclones who won 10-6. Although the Seminole defense stopped three drives inside the five, FSU's Keith Singletary missed two short field-goal attempts. Syracuse remained unbeaten with a 31-13 defeat of Tulane. The Orangemen trailed 13-10 at the half, but improved pass defense and the running of Fullback Earl Vaughn gave them the win.
Kansas State deflected a two-point conversion pass in the final minutes to hold off Wake Forest 17-16. The loss dropped the Deacons behind the Wildcats as the losing-est team in college football history.
1. Alabama (2-1)
2. Tennessee (2-1)
3. Florida (2-1)
A 58-yard field goal by Dave Lawson ignited a 17-point third-quarter rally that enabled Air Force to tie UCLA 20-20. It was the second three-pointer of the game by Lawson, the 42nd of his career and it tied an NCAA record. On the series following the field goal, Falcon Ray Wild returned an intercepted pass 36 yards for a touchdown. Although the Bruins then set out on an 80-yard scoring drive of their own, Air Force marched right back on the passing or Quarterback Rob Shaw, who completed a seven-yarder to Frank Cox for the final TD. In the fourth quarter each team missed a field goal of about 45 yards.
Stanford had an even more upsetting experience, losing to unbeaten San Jose State 36-34. The Cardinals tried hard, but they never could make it back from a 30-point outburst in the second quarter that gave the Spartans a 30-7 halftime lead. State Quarterback Roger Proffitt passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another.
USC, held to three first downs and 58 yards of offense in the first half, capitalized on Danny Reece's punt returns to beat Purdue 19-6. Romps of 47 yards to the Boilermaker 12 and 68 yards to the three helped the Trojans break the game open. Ricky Bell was limited to 89 yards in 25 tries and one touchdown.
Washington and California won their first games at the expense of previously unbeaten opponents. Pass defense keyed the Huskies' 14-13 win over Navy. Interceptions by Roberto Jourdan and Al Burleson set up one touchdown and scored the second; Burleson then knocked down a two-point conversion attempt by the Middies with 1:08 remaining. Paul Jones scored twice and Chuck Muncie gained 124 yards as the Bears topped Washington State 33-21.
Western Athletic Conference favorites Arizona State and Arizona remained unbeaten with 20-0 and 14-0 victories over Brigham Young and Wyoming.
1. USC (3-0)
2. Arizona State (3-0)
3. UCLA (2-0-1)
The lesser lights of the Big Ten could not handle one of the most challenging schedules in conference history. Not surprisingly, USC, Missouri, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Penn State, five of the country's top 12 teams, rolled over Purdue 19-6, Wisconsin 27-21, Northwestern 31-7, Illinois 43-13 and Iowa 30-10.
The biggest disappointment, however, was Michigan's 14-14 tie with Baylor, the second straight week the Wolverines were deadlocked at home. What's worse, everyone agreed that the Bears, also tied for the second week in a row, should have won. "Console me," said Baylor Coach Grant Teaff. "We said if we went undefeated in our first three games we would be No. 1. Well, we did, but we aren't even in the top 20."
The good news for the Big Ten was Ohio State's 32-7 defeat of North Carolina, Michigan State's 37-15 romp over North Carolina State, Indiana's 31-7 trouncing of Utah and Minnesota's 10-7 defeat of Oregon.
Pete Johnson scored a school-record five touchdowns for Ohio State, and Archie Griffin's 157 yards in 22 carries rushing made him the Buckeyes' career total offense leader. Three of North Carolina State's seven turnovers enabled Michigan State's Levi Jackson to score three TDs in the first 6:38 of the game. Terry Jones led Indiana with three touchdown passes to Trent Smock and 291 yards overall, while Minnesota's Brian Kocourek brought about Oregon's 11th straight loss by kicking a 37-yard field goal with 32 seconds left.
Missouri beat Wisconsin despite two touchdowns by Billy Marek that made him the Big Ten's alltime TD leader with 38. Notre Dame's win over Northwestern marked the home debut of Coach Dan Devine. Joe Montana showed the way by running and passing for two touchdowns after starting Quarterback Rick Slager was injured. Penn State scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from Iowa.
Terry Luck threw three touchdown passes, one during a two-TD burst within 21 seconds of the second quarter, as Nebraska destroyed TCU 56-14. Oklahoma State pummeled North Texas State 61-7 but lost Quarterback Charlie Weatherbie, who suffered a broken collarbone. Light players scored as Colorado annihilated Wichita State 52-0 and Quarterback Nolan Cromwell's 294 yards rushing helped Kansas beat Oregon State 20-0.
1. Ohio State (3-0)
2. Oklahoma (3-0)
3. Nebraska (3-0)
Darrell Royal got his 100th Southwest Conference victory as Texas defeated Texas Tech 42-18. The offensive punch of Fullback Earl Campbell and Quarterback Marty Akins more than compensated for the Longhorns' defensive raggedness, a school-record 169 yards in penalties and three blocked extra points. Campbell scored touchdowns on runs of 20 and 30 yards and maintained his 1975 150-yards-a-game rushing average, while Akins ran and passed for 187 yards and two more TDs.
Texas A&M Linebacker Ed Simonini, who has occasionally criticized his offensive teammates, is changing his tune. Following the Aggies' 43-13 defeat of Illinois, in which the offense amassed 493 yards, Simonini said, "They did a job. They're finally putting it together and we're making a team."
A three-touchdown explosion in the third quarter broke the game open, Bubba Bean dashing 74 yards for one touchdown, David Shipman 59 yards for another and Skip Walker 28 yards for the third. Bean, who also scored from the five, finished with 158 yards in 12 carries.
Getting his chance because two other quarterbacks were injured, former Defensive End Chuck Benefield directed Southern Methodist to a 26-16 upset of Houston. Although the Cougars had 429 offensive yards to the Mustangs' 350, they committed all of the game's five turnovers. Arthur Whittington scored twice for SMU.
Arkansas overcame an early Tulsa lead, then shook off a 75-yard scoring pass play to post a 31-15 victory. Hog Running Backs Jerry Eckwood and Ike Forte again topped the 100-yard mark, Eckwood rushing for 146 and Forte 131. Rolland Fuchs scored two touchdowns.
1. Texas (3-0)
2. Texas A&M (3-0)
3. SMU (2-1)
There were a number of surprises for Ivy League teams as they began the new season with four wins in eight nonconference games. Princeton's 10-7 victory over Rutgers was unexpected, as was Penn's 34-23 loss to Lehigh, its first in a 35-game series. More predictably, Brown bombed Rhode Island 41-20, Yale blasted Connecticut 35-14 and Harvard topped Holy Cross 18-7. Other league losers were Dartmouth, 7-3 to Massachusetts, Columbia, 10-7 to Lafayette, and Cornell, 24-22 to Colgate.
Villanova brought Army back down to earth with a 10-0 victory. The Cadets, who had scored 98 points in two opening victories, gained only 198 offensive yards and failed to score from six inches away. The Wildcats tallied their points in the second half after twice intercepting Leamon Hall.
West Virginia continued to show unexpected muscle by blasting Boston College 35-18. Fullback Ron Lee plunged for three touchdowns and Quarterback Dan Kendra ran and passed for 211 yards. The Eagles, who trailed 21-0 before scoring, began the game without injured Tailback Glen Capriola and finished it without injured Fullback Keith Barnette.
Carson Long kicked a school-record four field goals, all in the first half, and Tony Dorsett rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns as Pittsburgh ripped William & Mary 47-0. The winning margin was the Panthers' biggest in 38 years.
Marshall ended a 12-game losing streak by crushing Illinois State 36-3.
1. Penn State (3-1)
2. West Virginia (3-0)
3. Pittsburgh (2-1)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Kansas Quarterback Nolan Cromwell, a former defensive back, carried 28 times for 294 yards against Oregon State, scoring on a 79-yard run and breaking Gale Sayers' single-game Jayhawk record of 283 yards set in 1962.
DEFENSE: In a near upset, Miami senior End Steadman Scavella made 13 tackles against top-ranked Oklahoma, including two sacks. He caused two Sooner fumbles, recovered a third and deflected a pass which was intercepted.