Ranked among the Top Ten in all major preseason polls and a 13½-point favorite to beat Boston College, Texas did an el foldo before 30,476 jubilant fans at Chestnut Hill. "I kept saying I was fearful of coming up here and nobody believed me," lamented Longhorn Coach Darrell Royal. That was understandable. For the past two years B.C. had bowl aspirations but both times the Eagles were humiliated in their season openers by ranked opposition. Last year Notre Dame thumped them 17-3 and in 1974 Texas itself ran up a 23-point victory. Even Eagle diehards felt the current team was inferior to the last two. On top of that, Anthony Brown, the No. 1 tailback, was out with a bad shoulder and in Ken Smith B.C. had a quarterback who had yet to throw a varsity pass.
On the second play from scrimmage, Neil Green, filling in for Brown, took a pitchout on his own 26, got a block from Guard Tom Lynch and raced 74 yards for a touchdown. B.C. increased its lead to 14-0 when Smith engineered a 12-play scoring drive following a Texas fumble on the Eagle four-yard line. The Longhorns came back to score on a 35-yard Mike Cordaro-to-Alfred Jackson TD pass and looked as if they might yet salvage the game when Halfback Johnny (Lam) Jones scored on an 18-yard sweep with 4:38 left to play, making it 14-13. Eagle Defensive Back Kelly Elias stopped Jones' two-point conversion try. Longhorn Placekicker Russell Erxleben had the last chance to win it, but his 53-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the game was just wide. "This is the biggest victory for any B.C. athletic team ever," crowed Athletic Director Bill Flynn. Said Royal, "I don't think they were underrated as much as we were overrated."
Penn State turned three first-period fumbles into two touchdowns and a field goal, then held off Stanford 15-12. Freshman Fullback Matt Suhey rushed for 119 yards in 23 carries, including a six-yard TD burst. Suhey was replacing his older brother Larry, who had been injured in practice. The win was the Nittany Lions' fourth straight over the Cardinals.
September 19, 1976
Rutgers kept its eight-game winning streak alive by downing Navy 13-3. New Coach Frank Cignetti got a happy welcome at West Virginia as the Mountaineers thumped Villanova 28-7. Army topped Lafayette 16-6.
1. PITTSBURGH (1-0)
2. PENN STATE (1-0)
3. B.C. (1-0)
It took Houston 20 years of campaigning to join the Southwest Conference. It won that fight in 1971, only to be told it must wait another five years before it could play a conference game. Having waited that period, Bill Yeoman's Cougars waited another 30 minutes and then defeated favored Baylor 23-5. Fullback Dyral Thomas scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Danny Davis another and Lennard Coplin kicked a 22-yard field goal while the Cougar defense kept Baylor from crossing midfield in the second half.
Texas A&M Fullback George Woodard scored two touchdowns, rushed for 111 yards and caught three passes to lead the Aggies over Virginia Tech 19-0. It could have been worse for the Gobblers. A&M lost two fumbles inside the five, was intercepted at the one and missed a 39-yard field goal.
Texas Tech intercepted Colorado's Jeff Austin five times to upset the Buffaloes 24-7. Linebacker Thomas Howard had two of the thefts and got at least a piece of 17 tackles. The Red Raiders struck for two quick touchdowns by Tommy Duniven and Jimmy Williams, whose 87 yards rushing provided about as much offense as Tech needed.
Arkansas Halfback Ben Cowins kept one scoring drive alive by scooting 21 yards on third and 19, and scored the final touchdown in Arkansas' 33-16 win over Utah State.
Defending NAIA champion Texas A&I extended college football's longest winning streak to 28 games, pounding Slippery Rock 58-7. Larry Collins scored two touchdowns and Quarterback Larry Urban threw for two more. SMU beat TCU 34-14.
1. TEXAS A&M (1-0)
2. ARKANSAS (1-0)
3. TEXAS (0-1)
Paul Bryant's birthday cake was "tasteless" and the 63 roses sent by a fan were as droopy as the Bear's spirits after Mississippi stopped Alabama 10-7, snapping the Tide's 20-game Southeastern Conference winning streak. One more would have been a record. Ole Miss won on a 24-yard pass-interception runback by Linebacker George Stuart and a 34-yard field goal by freshman Hoppy Langley, moving Athletic Director John Vaught to say, "You'd have to go back to 1953 for a win that meant as much to us."
North Carolina, the first giant-killer of the fall, followed up its defeat of Miami of Ohio two weeks ago by beating Florida 24-21. Mike Voight scored the winning touchdown after third-string Quarterback Bernie Menapace kept a fourth-period drive alive by somehow finding Fullback Billy Johnson, lying on his side at the Florida six, with a desperation fourth-down pass. Tar Heel Coach Bill Dooley's magic wand must be worn to the nub.
Duke and Tennessee each scored three touchdowns, but the Vols didn't make an extra point and Duke won 21-18. Tennessee set up for a tying field goal late in the game but Kicker Jimmy Gaylor thought a fake had been called and never kicked the ball.
Cal's Joe Roth "looked like he was throwing baseballs" in the eyes of Georgia Defensive Back Johnny Henderson, whom Roth burned for touchdowns of 69 and 88 yards in the first half. But in the third quarter Henderson robbed Roth of his third strike with an interception. Whereupon Bulldog Quarterback Matt Robinson came up with a slick toss of his own—a 33-yard touchdown pass to Gene (yet another) Washington—and Georgia went on to upset Cal 36-24. Roth was nonplussed. "Heck, I keep telling everyone I'm not superhuman." Why be bothered? Roth threw for 379 yards (one shy of the Cal record), completing 21 of 36.
Surprising LSU held Nebraska to a 6-6 tie with superb defense whenever the Cornhuskers got close to the Tiger goal line. LSU scored on 35-and 18-yard field goals by Mike Conway, but failed to win when Conway missed a 44-yarder with 34 seconds left.
Oklahoma Quarterback Dean Blevins led the Sooners to a 24-3 win over Vanderbilt, and Maryland's Mark Manges threw two touchdown passes and sophomore Tailback Steve Atkins gained 169 yards in the Terrapins' 31-7 victory over Richmond. Memphis State won for the second straight week on the heroics of sophomore Quarterback Lloyd Patterson. He hit 10 of 17 for two touchdowns and ran for another, in a 21-12 defeat of Florida State.
1. MARYLAND (1-0)
2. MISSISSIPPI (1-1)
3. GEORGIA (1-0)
If you think Frank Kush or Bear Bryant or Darrell Royal had nightmarish openers, consider poor John Robinson, who was making his debut at USC. Robinson fumed on the sidelines watching his Trojans, a seven-point favorite over Missouri, cough up three fumbles, get hit with seven penalties and yield a field goal and four touchdowns in the first half—two of the six-pointers a direct result of USC's shoddy kicking game. The vaunted Trojan defense gave up 315 yards rushing and 171 in the air. At the final gun, Missouri had a 46-25 upset and Robinson was left to ponder USC's worst defeat in an opener since 1888.
Trojan mistakes were not solely responsible for Robinson's anguish. Tiger Quarterback Steve Pisarkiewicz and Tailback Curtis Brown did their bit, too. Playing with a deep cut on his throwing hand, Pisarkiewicz completed seven of 10 passes in the first half as Missouri shot to a 30-10 lead. He finished with 171 yards, lifting his career total to 2,791—only 265 shy of Paul Christman's all-time Tiger record. Brown, best known as the only human to gain 100 yards against Oklahoma the last three seasons, rushed 20 times for 101 yards, caught a 49-yard TD pass and returned a kickoff 95 yards for another score. Not even Ricky Bell's routinely remarkable performance—172 yards in 29 carries—could cheer Robinson up. "I feel embarrassed, angry and let down," he said. "We'll have to rebuild from the ground up."
A Grand Canyon State record gathering of 52,206 turned out at Arizona Stadium to watch the Wildcats crush Auburn 31-19, spoiling Doug Barfield's debut as coach of the Tigers. Succeeding All-WAC Quarterback Bruce Hill, who was graduated, junior Marc Lunsford hit 11 of 18 passes for 178 yards, seven of them to Split End Keith Hart-wig. Lunsford put the game on ice early in the second half, directing the Wildcats on an 80-yard scoring march for a 28-0 lead.
David Turner ran for 239 yards in 32 carries to power host San Diego State to a 24-14 win over Arkansas State, ending the Indian win streak at 15 games.
San Jose State beat Hawaii 48-7. Air Force defeated Pacific 36-3.
1. UCLA (1-0)
2. ARIZONA (1-0)
3. WASHINGTON (1-0)
Michigan State lost twice in one week end. On Friday a U.S. district court judge in Grand Rapids refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have allowed the Spartans to suit up six players under suspension by the NCAA. Then in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday Michigan State took it on the chin again, losing 49-21 to Ohio State and Coach Woody Hayes, who admitted he put the NCAA on the Spartans' trail. With MSU Quarterback Eddie Smith, Tight End Michael Cobb and two other starters missing, it was no contest. The Buckeyes unveiled two future stars—Jeff Logan and Rod Gerald.
Logan, a junior tailback, returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown and scored twice more on runs of 75 and three yards. He also had a 71-yard jaunt called back because of a penalty. Gerald, a sophomore who has taken over for the graduated Cornelius Greene at quarterback, played only a half but tallied twice on keepers of 17 and 12 yards. Fullback Pete Johnson, who led the nation in scoring last year, rambled 58 yards for his 41st career touchdown. Ohio State led 28-0 before Hayes showed any mercy and substituted. Said new MSU Coach Darryl Rogers, "Our players may have been a little awed."
Except for all the intrigue, the script was much the same up in Ann Arbor, where Michigan whipped Wisconsin 40-27. The Wolverines have Harlan Huckleby in Gordon Bell's old tailback spot, and the sophomore from Detroit showed his stuff before the game was two minutes old, zipping around right end for 56 yards and the first of his three touchdowns. Quarterback Rick Leach tossed two TD passes in a game made interesting only by the fact that two second-half touchdowns gave the Badgers the honor of scoring the most points against Michigan since 1969.
Minnesota Quarterback Tony Dungy threw for two touchdowns and ran in two more as the Gophers downed Indiana 32-13. Purdue topped Northwestern 31-19 with Tailback Scott Dierking gaining 151 yards on the ground, and Illinois beat Iowa 24-6.
It was quiet in the Big Eight with most of the conference powers playing away from home. The stay-at-homes—Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Kansas State—all won. Quarterback Nolan Cromwell scored two touchdowns and Halfback Laverne Smith closed in on a Kansas career rushing record with a 142-yard day as the Jayhawks knocked off Washington State 35-16. Iowa State crushed Drake 58-14. Oklahoma State caught fire after trailing Tulsa 6-3 at halftime, and won 33-21 as Running Back Robert Turner scored twice. Kansas State was practically handed a touchdown when Brigham Young's punter mishandled a snap and was tackled on BYU's two-yard line. When added to a pair of Bill Sinovic field goals from 58 and 48 yards, it produced a 13-3 Wildcat victory.
It takes gutsy coaching to pull off a major upset and Marshall got some from its head man, Frank Ellwood. Leading Miami of Ohio 14-9, Ellwood spurned a field goal with fourth and goal at the Redskin two and went for the TD. Tailback Mike Bailey skirted the heavy traffic in the middle of the line and went in to score for the Thundering Herd's first victory over Miami in 37 years, 21-16.
1. MICHIGAN (1-0)
2. OHIO STATE (1-0)
3. OKLAHOMA (1-0)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DEFENSE: Middle Linebacker Pete Cronan, a 6'2", 243-pound senior converted from defensive tackle last spring, led unranked Boston College with 15 unassisted tackles, as the Eagles stunned seventh-ranked Texas 14-13.
OFFENSE: Unfazed by a cut requiring stitches on his passing hand, Missouri's senior quarterback, Steve Pisarkiewicz, completed nine of 16 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 46-25 upset of USC.