Served compliments of a fan, the LSU football team sat down 48 hours before playing Florida and dined on 100 pounds of breaded alligator meat. "It tasted pretty good," was freshman Linebacker Jerry Hill's assessment. "Just like fish." Obviously looking for a similar repast, LSU, which hadn't won out of its home state in 35 months, then took off for Gainesville, where the Florida Gators hadn't lost in 35 months. And still haven't.
In an untidy game marked by fumbles lost and easy scores on both sides, Florida turned LSU away just five yards from its goal in the final seconds, and it was the Tigers who were finally eaten, 28-23. Unbreaded, and, until then, unbeaten.
Florida, which boasts enough speed to field an Olympic relay team, got away quickly, thanks to two LSU fumbles after fair-catch signals on punts. The first gave the Gators the ball at the 10, from where Jimmy Fisher passed to Wes Chandler for a touchdown. The second came at the nine and was followed by a six-yard scoring run by reserve Quarterback Bill Kynes.
October 10, 1976
In the third quarter it was the Gators' turn to play giveaway. A fumbled pitchout at the Florida 26 led to one LSU touchdown; a fumble on the center snap at the Florida five led to a second. Then it came down to the final seconds, with LSU at the Florida nine, first and goal. Three runs—two of them by Tailback Terry Robiskie, who scored all three Tiger touchdowns—netted just four yards. On fourth down, with 14 seconds on the clock, LSU Quarterback Pat Lyons rolled to his right and passed toward Split End Bruce Hemphill, open in the end zone. The pass was low and wide. On that thin thread hung the Florida victory.
Overheard outside the Mississippi dressing room:
Fan One: "The way our offense played today, coach ought to make them run plays all the way back to Oxford."
Fan Two: "The way they played today, they wouldn't get home until 1980."
Favored Mississippi, an early-season victor over Alabama, managed just one first down in the first half and five in the second as Auburn won 10-0. Auburn's scores came on an early field goal by Neil O'Donoghue and a last-minute five-yard touchdown run by Quarterback Phil Gargis.
The last time Penn State lost three games in a row was in 1964. Until last week, that is, when Derrick Ramsey scored twice, one on a 61-yard romp, to give Kentucky a 22-6 victory over the crippled Nittany Lions. Penn State, down to almost no one at running back, finally scored after a pass-interference penalty put the ball at the Kentucky one.
Frustrated as much by a driving rain and a muddy field as by Villanova's defense, Maryland sloshed to a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to salvage a 20-9 victory. At halftime Villanova, scoring on a safety and a short plunge after a pass interception, had led 9-6. At that point Maryland Coach Jerry Claiborne ordered his troops to concentrate their attack on the center strip of Bermuda grass where footing was more solid. And so, with 7:39 left in the third quarter, Fullback Tim Wilson bulled 13 yards to put Maryland ahead. Quarterback Mark Manges backed it up with a 48-yard scoring strike to Split Receiver Chuck White.
Duke figured it had a good chance—if it could contain Pitt's Tony Dorsett. And contain Dorsett Duke did, for a while anyway. But, meanwhile, Pitt Quarterback Matt Cavanaugh was throwing a school-record five scoring passes and leading the second-ranked Panthers to a 44-31 victory. Held to 45 yards in the first half, Dorsett finally got rolling. He finished with 129 yards and one touchdown and is now just 518 yards behind Archie Griffin's collegiate career rushing record.
Georgia Tech came up with a new offense (the veer in place of the wishbone) and a new quarterback (5'8½" freshman Gary Lanier) and dumped hapless Virginia 35-14. Halfback David Sims gained 96 yards and scored twice to become Tech's alltime leading rusher (1,778). Taking advantage of six personal fouls, Tennessee flagged Clemson 21-19, while previously winless Tulane turned a punt return and a pass interception into touchdowns to upset Vanderbilt 24-13. Mississippi State routed Cal Poly-Pomona 38-0; Louisville, with Calvin Prince adding three touchdowns to his nation-leading total, defeated Wichita State 28-14; and Florida State finally won, downing Kansas State 20-10.
1. GEORGIA (4-0)
2. MARYLAND (4-0)
3. AUBURN (2-2)
Baylor Coach Grant Teaff has often told his troops that to win football games you have to win the fourth quarter. Taking him at his word, the Bears spent the first three quarters watching South Carolina build a 17-0 lead, then came roaring back with a pair of touchdowns, a two-point conversion and a field goal to win 18-17. "Spotting them 17 points," said Teaff, "well, that's carrying it a little far."
For most of the game South Carolina 'played nearly flawless football. "But in the fourth quarter Baylor was perfect," said South Carolina Coach Jim Carlen. Baylor's first score came on a 15-yard pass. Quarterback Mark Jackson to Split End Tommy Davidson. Jackson then ran it in for a two-point conversion. At last in high gear, Jackson ripped off one 19-yard run, then flipped a 27-yard pass to Greg Hawthorne—at which point 'Jackson's mother fainted in the stands—to set up a 25-yard field goal by Lester Belrose. On the bench South Carolina Tackle Mike Fralic turned to a teammate and asked, "What has happened to our momentum?"
But "our momentum" had become Baylor's. Behind the running of Jackson and Tailback Gary Blair and aided by a pass interference call that picked up 12 yards, Baylor moved to the three. From there, with 1:16 regaining, Blair punched it in. Belrose kicked the decisive extra point.
"That Jackson was the difference," Carlen said. "He got hot in the third quarter and burned us in the fourth." South Carolina scored twice in the first half, first on a four-yard run by Tailback Kevin Long at the end of an 80-yard drive. The second came after a Baylor fumble at the 13.
"I've never had a halfback with that kind of speed," said Darrell Royal of Texas. "We've had some quick guys, but Johnny Lam's a racehorse. He's not only got speed; he's got good running ability."
Johnny Lam is Johnny Jones, a gold-medal winner in the 400-meter relay at Montreal, who gave Royal and Texas an Olympian performance against Rice. Only one of 11 runners unleashed by Royal as the Texas ground game chewed up 353 yards, Jones sped for 182—including runs of 45 and 13 for touchdowns—in just 15 carries as the Longhorns rolled to a 42-15 victory.
"We just didn't have the speed to match them," said Rice Coach Homer Rice. The Owls did have Tommy Kramer, who completed 34 of 57 passes for 397 yards, two touchdowns and three school records, and James Sykes, who caught 12 passes, another school record, for 125 yards.
After two straight Saturdays of offensive futility, Arkansas got well against Texas Christian's croaking Horned Frogs, and Frank Broyles was saying things like, "We look more like a complete team now." After 22 minutes the score was 32-0 but with Broyles holding his lads in check it was no worse than 46-14 at the end. Both of TCU's touchdowns came in the last six minutes after Arkansas had dipped deep into its reserves.
Plagued by fumbles, heavily favored Oklahoma State never really got going and needed a last-minute goal line stand to salvage a 16-10 victory over North Texas State. Tulsa crushed New Mexico State, winning 32-7 and Memphis State put away hapless SMU 27-13.
1. TEXAS (2-1)
2. TEXAS TECH (2-0)
3. HOUSTON (2-1)
Terry Donahue, the 32-year-old rookie coach of unbeaten UCLA, called it a very maturing experience. No, not playing Ohio State to a nationally televised and locally booed 10-10 tie. Donahue was talking about shaking hands with Ohio State's Woody Hayes after the game.
"I just wanted to shake hands with the man who has been my idol," Donahue said after following his idol's strategy in playing not to lose. "What did he say? I honestly don't know, something like 'Good game.' " Well, up to the last 35 seconds it was good enough. At that point Ohio State had a fourth down and four yards to go at the UCLA 47. Hayes had three options: 1) go for it; 2) give a 65-yard shot to his field-goal kicker. Super Toe Tom Skladany, who booted one 59 yards long against Illinois last year; or 3) punt. Woody elected to punt. The hometown crowd of 87,969, the third-largest in Ohio Stadium history, elected to voice its collective displeasure.
"I don't like ties, but I was not going to throw the game away for our kids who had played so well," Hayes said. "I heard the boos. I got a little bitter...disgusted.... I hope they were booing me and not the players."
Now it was UCLA's turn for one last crack at victory. The ball was at the 12 with 24 seconds to play. Donahue ordered his quarterback to fall down at the line of scrimmage and preserve the tie. Again the boos rained down. "I was surprised that they didn't come out passing," Hayes said. "I thought they'd go for a big one; most young coaches would have."
Oddly, Donahue had proved himself a successful gambler a little while earlier. Then, with Ohio State leading 7-3, UCLA faced a fourth and one at its own 26. It was late in the third quarter. For this one Donahue ordered a fake punt, and sophomore Fullback Theotis Brown, who finished with 102 yards, made it pay with a 25-yard gallop to the Buckeye 49. Spurred by the successful ploy the Bruins drove to the one-foot line, and senior Quarterback Jeff Dankworth dove in to score. Trailing 10-7, Ohio State bulled to the UCLA eight, stalled and settled for a Skladany field goal. And a tie. Then later there was the brave soul who asked Hayes if a tie really was like kissing your sister? "It's been so long since I kissed my sister I wouldn't know," responded the 64-year-old coach.
A somewhat subdued Michigan, widely criticized for racing up the score against Navy the week before (70-14), held it down against Wake Forest, winning only 31-0. Rob Lytle scored two touchdowns, gained 110 yards and moved past Tom Harmon to fifth place on the Wolverines' alltime rushing list.
It was not one of those classic Notre Dame-Michigan State meetings. This is hardly a vintage Irish team, but its defense is strong, and against the weak Spartans it had a 17-0 advantage after 21½ minutes. Then Notre Dame tried to make it a contest by fumbling. Little chance. Its offense inept, Michigan State tried six field goals, made two. Notre Dame won 24-6.
Staving off a fourth-quarter Western Michigan rally to win 31-28, Bowling Green established itself as a top contender for the Mid-American Conference championship. It took a 31-yard field goal by Robin Yocum to overcome an amazing one-man offensive show by Western Michigan's Jerome Per-sell. Totaling 186 yards for the day, the 5'9" Persell scored on runs of five, six, five and 26 yards. In another Mid-American skirmish, powerful Ohio University sacked win-less Toledo University 34-8 behind the running of Tailback Arnold Welcher. For the day Welcher carried 19 times for 143 yards and one touchdown.
Trailing 9-7 with only 12:08 to play, Nebraska found strength in back-to-back 15-yard penalties to kick a go-ahead field goal and went on to overcome a hard-nosed Miami (Fla.) team. After the field goal, a 32-yarder by Al Eveland, Nebraska drove 67 yards for the clinching touchdown in the closing minutes, winning 17-9.
Third-ranked Oklahoma sent Horace Ivory 62 yards to score off a draw play and then saw Jerry Anderson return an interception for another touchdown, both in the last four minutes, to defeat fired-up Iowa State 24-10. Rolling up more than 500 yards, Missouri dominated North Carolina 24-3 in 94° weather, while Texas A&M, tough on defense but fumbling on offense, had enough to down Illinois 14-7.
Kansas defeated Wisconsin 34-24; Southern Illinois downed Lamar 19-7; North Carolina State rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat Indiana 24-21; freshman Quarterback Jim Krohn threw three touchdown passes as Arizona rolled over winless Northwestern 27-15; and Purdue made a mess of Miami of Ohio's defenses in a 42-20 game. It was, alas, Miami's fifth straight defeat. Northern Michigan defeated Eastern Michigan 28-6.
1. MICHIGAN (4-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (4-0)
3. NEBRASKA (3-0-1)
Even with such and extraordinary weapon as Ricky Bell, USC figured it would have its hands full trying to move, much less score, against Iowa. After all, the Hawkeyes, fresh from a stunning upset of Penn State the week before, were coming in with a defense ranked first in the Big Ten, and, some reported, second only to the Alamo. The situation seemed even more perilous when Vince Evans, the starting USC quarterback, spent the week scrimmaging against the flu.
But Evans was able to start, and before his stamina faded he completed eight of 15 passes, one of them to Shelton Diggs for 17 yards and a touchdown just two minutes and 37 seconds into the game. "Iowa was giving us the pass, and you have to be willing to take what the other guy gives," reasoned USC Coach John Robinson.
Iowa was giving up the ball, too. That first score came after a fumble by Hawkeye Quarterback Butch Caldwell. Early in the second quarter another Iowa fumble set up the second of two one-yard scoring plunges by Bell, who wound up with 119 yards in 28 carries. So, staked to a 21-0 lead and with Evans obviously tiring, USC gave the job to reserve Quarterback Rob Hertel. Hertel closed out the second quarter by firing scoring strikes of 33 and nine yards. Thus at the half it was USC 35 points; Iowa two net yards.
"We committed the ultimate sin in football," moaned Iowa Coach Bob Commings. "We fumbled, and when you fumble then everybody stops running because they're afraid they are going to fumble."
For Iowa, the trouble was only beginning. In the second half Hertel threw two more touchdown passes, one of 16 yards, the other of 20. The four touchdown passes matched the single-game USC record first set by Pete Beathard in the 1963 Rose Bowl game. In all, Hertel completed 10 of 13 passes for 167 yards. USC's last score—upping the final count to 55-0—came on a 60-yard sprint by freshman Charles White.
"We weren't that effective," said Hertel. "We weren't consistent. We scored 55 and the way they were giving us the pass we should have had 90. But don't count Iowa out. I think they are a very good defensive team against a club that doesn't pass too well."
Deciding that his club was timid after a loss to Indiana, Washington Coach Don James put his Huskies through some rare into-the-season head-knocking scrimmages last week. "I guess we'll have to start beating them up in practice," said James. So primed, the Huskies came out bloodied but belligerent against unbeaten Minnesota, scored four of the first five times they possessed the ball and went from there to win 38-7.
Surprised but pleased to discover San Jose State defensing him man-for-man, California Flanker Wesley Walker hauled in eight passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns as the Golden Bears roared to a 43-16 victory.
Statistics can be deceiving. As a case in point take San Diego State, which edged BYU in yards gained (283-209), in first downs (17-15) and in average gain per play (4.2 to 2.8). On the other foot, BYU led in field goals (two by Dave Taylor to none) and safeties (1-0) and won 8-0. It was the first shutout of San Diego State after 57 games.
With three minutes to play, Bob Davis, a halfback, threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Split End John Arnold, and underdog Wyoming had handed Arizona State its third straight loss, 13-10. Three touchdown passes by Jack Thompson spurred Washington State to a 45-6 victory over fumbling (seven) Idaho. Striking for all of its points in the first half, unbeaten Long Beach State rolled past University of the Pacific 17-14. Oregon defeated Utah State 27-9, and New Mexico downed Colorado State 33-20.
1. UCLA (3-0-1)
2. USC (3-1)
3. CALIFORNIA (2-2)
Late rallies were the order of the day for Army and Navy, with Army coming on in the second half to upset Stanford 21-20; but the Middies, playing in the rain, fell four points short in a 17-13 defeat by 15th-ranked Boston College.
At West Point, the Cardinals crumbled in the face of three strong Army drives in the last half, and then saw any chance of victory sail wide with a 42-yard field-goal attempt by Mike Michel with four seconds to play. Bottled up the first half and losing 20-0, Army finally got moving on the powerful passing arm of Leamon Hall.
Hall went into the game leading the nation in completion average and passing yardage per game, but through the first half he managed only three completions and 40 yards in 12 attempts. Once cranked up, Hall was unstoppable. He moved the Cadets 80 yards to score in the third quarter, with the touchdown coming on a four-yard burst by plebe Jon Dwyer. Then Army, aided mightily by two Stanford pass-interference calls on third downs, marched 66 yards and scored on an 11-yard Hall-to-Tom Kuchar pass. Minutes later Army drove 80 yards and scored on a one-yard dive by Hall.
For three quarters, Boston College had things pretty much as it wanted against Navy. Using a crunching ground attack punctuated by timely throwing, the Eagles scored twice on passes from Kenny Smith to Dave Zumbach in the first half, and added a 28-yard field goal by Tim Moorman in the third quarter. Then Navy, switching the quarterback helm to Bob Leszczynski, began to move.
The Middies' first drive carried 60 yards, with Larry Klawinski scoring from one yard out. The next time it had the ball, Navy moved 89 yards in 17 plays. Joe Gattuso, a wide receiver running at tailback, carried in from the four.
Benched for most of the third quarter for failing to move his team, Quarterback Bert Kosup came back angry and on target as unbeaten Rutgers scored twice in the last period to down winless Cornell 21-14. Kosup threw three passes in the first scoring drive, the last one 14 yards for a touchdown to Mark Twitty. After Bob Davis intercepted a Cornell pass, Rutgers got its running game un-tracked and Mike Fisher ran three yards for the deciding touchdown. Unbeaten Brown edged Princeton 13-7; Columbia came from behind to upset Penn 14-10; Jim Kubacki ran for two touchdowns and passed for two; more as Harvard defeated Boston University 37-14; Dartmouth crushed Holy Cross 45-7; and Yale, with John Pagliaro running for 193 yards and two scores, downed previously unbeaten Lehigh 21-6.
Starting for only the second time, sophomore Quarterback Bill Komlo ran for a pair of touchdowns to lead Delaware over Temple 18-16, which made Harold Raymond the winningest coach (85 victories) in Blue Hen history. Temple scored with 1:39 to play, but then fell short with a two-point conversion pass. Syracuse, winless in its first three starts, unveiled a new and apparently potent if dull "thunder" offense to down Oregon State 21-3. The new offense incorporates two tight ends, which should tell you something. Still, Syracuse completed half of its passes—one.
1. PITTSBURGH (4-0)
2. BOSTON COLLEGE (3-0)
3. RUTGERS (3-0)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DEFENSE: Georgia Roverback Bill Krug, a 6'1", 200-pound junior, intercepted a crucial pass and added six tackles and a quarterback sack as the undefeated Bulldogs handcuffed 10th-ranked Alabama in a 21-0 victory.
OFFENSE: Senior Flanker Wesley Walker, who caught eight passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in California's 43-16 victory over San Jose State, broke the Pac 8 conference's single-game record.