Ara Parseghian established the precedent in 1966 at Notre Dame and now Bill Mallory will be answering for it at Colorado. Mallory elected to play for a tie rather than a win against Oklahoma when his team scored a late touchdown to draw within one point of the Sooners. Disdaining a two-point conversion try that if successful would have given the Buffs an upset victory (and ended Oklahoma's unbeaten streak at 32 games), Mallory sent in Tom Mackenzie, a senior soccer-style kicker, to boot the "automatic" one-pointer with 1:19 left to play. Mackenzie, who had hit 16 in succession previously, was wide to the left and Colorado had not a tie or a win but a 21-20 defeat, its first of the year. For those who believe in playing to win, it was poetic justice. For Mallory, it was sound strategy that misfired.
"The decision was mine and mine alone," Mallory said. "Why go for a tie? Right now it's early in the season. A tie could win the Big Eight championship for us. That's what I was thinking and if I had it to do over, I'd do it again."
Mackenzie, it should be known, did not have his regular holder on the field for the fateful kick. Paul Krause, the starting wingback who handles the job, left the game with a knee injury in the first half and did not return. There were no mechanical problems, however; the kick just missed. But the loss of Krause, if not the game, left Mallory fuming, mostly over the NCAA rule limiting road teams to 48 players. "This 48-man thing is really great," he said sarcastically. "We ought to send the NCAA a thank-you note."
October 12, 1975
Whatever, no legislation has been drafted to vitiate Oklahoma's Joe Washington. Rushing for 89 yards on 16 carries, Washington scored two touchdowns, one on a 74-yard punt return, and his 19-yard run set up the final Oklahoma touchdown.
The Sooners, however, were outplayed for the second week in succession. Lost fumbles enabled Colorado to tie the game at 14—all and the Buffaloes had a 208-177 advantage in total yards.
With Colorado passing up its chance at a major upset, Michigan State stepped into the breach by knocking off Notre Dame 10-3. It was the first time in 49 games that the Irish failed to score a touchdown, and up until the last four minutes it looked as though no one would. But on a play the Spartans call "Slice Right," Tyrone Wilson got loose on a 76-yard sprint to the Notre Dame four-yard line. One play later, Levi Jackson scored on a pitchout around right end. Notre Dame lost three fumbles and had two passes picked off as a hard-hitting Michigan State defense, led by Linebacker Kim Rowekamp, killed scoring opportunities and nullified good field position.
"This was the most disappointing loss of my entire career," Dan Devine said of his first at Notre Dame. "I don't know why. Maybe it's because I thought we could always win it."
While Michigan was regaining its predicted form, the rest of the Big Ten was showing little. Illinois stopped Washington State 27-21 and Minnesota blanked Ohio University 21-0, but Miami of Ohio knocked off Purdue 14-3 and Kansas eviscerated Wisconsin 41-7.
Not much more was expected of Iowa when the Hawkeyes met USC, but John McKay knew better. "If we're the No. 3 team in the nation," McKay said of his Trojans, "then this country is in trouble."
He was almost a prophet. After the first 15 plays, Iowa led 10-0 and the Hawkeyes were still on top at the half, 10-7. USC got untracked in the second half, however, for a 27-16 victory. Ricky Bell, Troy's workhorse tailback, rushed for 163 yards on 26 carries despite a swollen knee.
McKay credited Iowa with "a helluva game. They are one of the best 0-4 teams in the country," he said, which could be considered faint praise. But he was not charitable at all about the Hawkeye fans. "You can tell everyone for me that Iowa's fans are lousy," he said. "They not only called our players foul names, but with five minutes to go they started pelting us with fruit and beer cans. And some of those fans were stupid enough not to drink the beer first."
In other intersectional matchups, fourth-ranked Nebraska rallied behind the quarterbacking of Vince Ferragamo for a 31-16 victory over Miami of Florida, and Texas A&M remained unbeaten by stopping Kansas State, 10-0.
1. Ohio State (4-0)
2. Oklahoma (4-0)
3. Nebraska (4-0)
Nursing several injuries and looking ahead to this week's game with Oklahoma, Texas should have been ripe for some bad moments at the hands of Utah State. But no, the only problem Darrell Royal experienced in the Longhorns' 61-7 victory was keeping his regulars on the field long enough to get some exercise. Most of them were on the bench after the first quarter, in which Texas took a 21-0 lead.
A master at finding a dark lining in a silver cloud, Royal said, "I thought we played good football. It was against a team we had out-personneled and we were able to get our good players out early. But when you do that, they miss conditioning that they are going to really need next week."
In the Cotton Bowl, West Virginia's King Arthur Owens performed regally in leading the unbeaten Mountaineers to a 28-22 conquest of SMU. Owens, a 175-pound senior running back, ripped through the Mustang defense for 171 yards on 19 carries, while Dwayne Woods, his backup, rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. The Mountaineers might have done even better but for nine penalties and six turnovers.
In other games, Oklahoma State came back in the fourth quarter to nip Texas Tech 17-16, and Arkansas beat TCU 19-8.
1. Texas (4-0)
2. Texas A&M (4-0)
3. Arkansas (3-1)
Auburn was ranked seventh in some preseason polls, but the Tigers are looking more like 77th while making Shug Jordan's last season a nightmare. After a 23-16 loss to underdog Virginia Tech, Auburn has an 0-3-1 record and its worst start since 1950, the year before Jordan became head coach. Obviously Shug expected better in his silver anniversary season than the leaden feeling he has known for four weeks. "I'm not happy," Jordan said, "and when I'm not happy, I don't like many happy people around me."
Virginia Tech maintained Jordan's black mood by racking up 404 yards total offense, which included Roscoe Coles' 89-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half. It was the longest scoring play against Auburn in 11 years. Adding insult, the Gobblers stopped Auburn's offense in the final seconds of the game. With a chance to win or tie, the Tigers took four shots from the Virginia Tech five-yard line and gained but a single yard.
Misery also prevailed in Baton Rouge, where LSU made the mistake of inviting Florida to be its homecoming opponent. A loser in only two homecoming games in 20 years—both times to Florida—the Tigers were savaged 34-6, much to the disappointment of 67,495 fans.
Quarterback Don Gaffney sparked the Gators by throwing two touchdown passes in the opening quarter before he ran for a second-quarter score. LSU averted a shutout when Quarterback Pat Lyons connected on a four-yard pass to Carl Trimble in the last 36 seconds.
Alabama's 32-6 victory over Mississippi came easy and kept the Crimson Tide on top of the Southeastern Conference race with Florida. Bear Bryant used 58 of his 60 players in the contest and was especially pleased with freshman Quarterback Jeff Rutledge and sophomore Running Back Johnny Davis. Rutledge rushed for 58 yards and directed two second-half drives that led to a field goal and a touchdown. Davis was the game's leading ground gainer with 61 yards on 13 carries and also scored a touchdown. The Tide's defensive hero was Leroy Cook, a 6'3", 220-pound end who sacked the quarterback twice, made seven tackles and forced a fumble that Alabama recovered to set up a touchdown.
Steve Raible, a Georgia Tech receiver, had the best game of his career in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 30-0 rout of Florida State, Tech's third victory in four contests. Raible caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Danny Myers and scored two other touchdowns on end-arounds of 17 and 24 yards. His running ostensibly impressed Coach Pepper Rodgers more than his reception. "A slow-footed gorilla could have caught that touchdown pass," Rodgers said. "He was 50 yards open."
"Blowing the other team out is the only way to win," said Georgia Running Back Kevin McLee. "When we get inside the five-yard line, I just run as hard as I can. Head contact ain't going to hurt me." Obviously it didn't against Clemson, which McLee stung for four touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a 35-7 rout. McLee rushed for 103 yards on 23 carries, scoring on three one-yard smashes and a three-yard bounce. Glynn Harrison, who picked up 107 yards in 16 carries, got the other touchdown on a 10-yard run. Georgia scored 21 points in the first 17 minutes and finished with 366 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs say their game plan, in contrast to last season's pass offense, is very simple. "We just line up and hit the first man who comes our way," says Guard Joel Parrish.
It was not that easy for Maryland, which lost a fumble, gave up an interception and suffered 119 yards in penalties before beating Syracuse 24-7. The Terrapins didn't put the game out of reach until early in the fourth quarter when Defensive Guard Paul Divito recovered a fumble by Syracuse Quarterback Bob Mitch at the Orange 38-yard line. After two procedure infractions, Maryland survived a goal-line fumble to boost its lead to 17 points. Maryland now stands at 3-1-1, while Syracuse suffered its first loss.
Elsewhere, North Carolina edged Virginia 31-28, Vanderbilt topped Tulane 6-3, North Carolina State blanked Indiana 27-0 and South Carolina upset Baylor 24-13.
1. Alabama (3-1)
2. Florida (3-1)
3. Tennessee (2-1)
It was only momentary, but top-ranked Ohio State looked vulnerable in the opening quarter of its nationally televised matchup with UCLA. Archie Griffin, of all people, lost a fumble, Raymond Burks recovered for the Bruins, and in seven plays Quarterback John Sciarra marched his mates 73 yards to a 7-0 lead. Stop the game. Alas, there were still more than 50 minutes left, and when they were gone the Buckeyes had crushed the Bruins 41-20. On their next six possessions after the fumble, the unbeaten Bucks scored five touchdowns and a field goal before the Bruins scored twice—when it no longer mattered. Griffin finished with 160 yards on 21 carries, one of which was an 18-yard touchdown run. His work was matched, if not overshadowed, by the performance of Quarterback Cornelius Greene. In his finest game of the year, Greene rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, passed for 98 yards and set up the other Ohio State scores. Fullback Pete Johnson scored twice to run his touchdown total to 11 in four games.
"We have a lot of weapons in our backfield and we went into the game intending to use them all," said Woody Hayes. "I think we should be No. 1. I do, of course, think I am biased." Maybe so, but John Sciarra, for one, agreed with Woody. "They have the best offensive team in the United States," he said.
Like UCLA, San Jose State suffered its first loss of the season, but with a lot more heartbreak. Rallying from a 20-10 halftime deficit to gain a 24-20 lead over California, the Spartans were stunned one minute and eight seconds from the end when Joe Roth connected on a 46-yard bomb to Wesley Walker. Earlier in the 78-yard drive, Roth completed a third-and-long pass to Chuck Muncie.
"When I was in high school," Walker said, "I dreamed of just that kind of big play to win the game. I took the defender outside and then cut inside, and Joe laid it right on my fingers. This was a dream come true."
In contrast, Stanford proved a nightmare for Army, the Cards blitzing the Cadets 67-14. Mike Cordova threw four touchdown passes, and Mike Langford booted eight (of eight) extra points and added a field goal.
Moving up a notch to Division I competition, Grambling parlayed 445 yards total offense with uncustomary defensive strength to beat winless Oregon State 19-12. Losing 13-10, the Beavers had a first down on the Grambling three but failed to score. Grambling iced the contest with 59 seconds left when Douglas Williams threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Dwight Scales. Oregon also is still looking for its first victory after bowing to Washington 27-17.
In other games, Arizona bombed Northwestern 41-6, Arizona State handled Idaho 29-3, BYU edged New Mexico 16-15 and San Diego State routed Fullerton 59-14.
1. USC (4-0)
2. Arizona (3-0)
3. Arizona State (4-0)
A week earlier, Air Force had scored an upset of sorts by playing UCLA to a 20-20 tie, but the implication of that deadlock was lost on Navy, one of the most improved teams in the country. At Washington's RFK Stadium, the Midshipmen controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage for a 17-0 victory. Navy's third in four games and its best start since 1967.
Navy's offense was sparked by Gerry Goodwin, who gained 132 yards on 19 carries and scored his sixth touchdown of the year on a 10-yard run. The Middies' tenacious defense never allowed the Falcons inside the 32-yard line.
Pittsburgh's defense also was dominant in the Panthers' 14-0 defeat of Duke. Pitt limited the Blue Devils to two yards rushing in the first half and 33 all told.
Penn State benefited from penalties but still had to hold off a late drive for a 10-3 win over Kentucky. A personal foul call against the Wildcats gave the Lions field position for Chris Bahr's 29-yard field goal and a holding penalty later nullified Sonny Collins' 31-yard run to the State 15.
Setting a record of sorts, Hawaii flew 5,000 miles to New Brunswick, N.J.—at a cost of about $35,000—to score three points. Rutgers, rude host, scored seven.
In other games, Princeton beat Columbia 27-7; Brown whipped Penn 17-8; Boston University stopped Harvard 13-9; Yale defeated Colgate 24-10; Temple edged Cincinnati 21-17; and Boston College crushed Villanova 41-12.
Brown's victory was its sixth in a row over a two-year span—look out, Oklahoma—as Bob Bateman ran for one touchdown and passed for another. Harvard held a 9-7 lead against Boston U. late in the game, but Peter Kessel gathered in a 45-yard pass from Greg Geiger to give the Terriers the win. Colgate committed four turnovers, which Yale turned into three scores before a sparse Yale Bowl "crowd" of 13,758. Temple handed Cincinnati its first loss of the season, while Boston College, with Quarterback Mike Kruczek completing 12 of 16 passes for 208 yards, walloped Villanova.
1. Penn State (4-1)
2. West Virginia (4-0)
3. Pittsburgh (3-1)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Senior Running Back King Arthur Owens slashed through SMU's defense like Excalibur, gaining 171 yards on 19 carries to lead unbeaten West Virginia to its 28-22 victory, the surprising Mountaineers' fourth in a row.
DEFENSE: Michigan State Linebacker Kim Rowekamp, a 6'3", 240-pound junior, paced the defense that refused to let Notre Dame cross the goal line. Rowekamp intercepted a pass and was credited with 15 tackles in MSU's 10-3 win.