With 7:29 to play and Texas trailing 9-6 at Arkansas, the Longhorns were faced with a dilemma on third and four at their own 26-yard line. Giving the ball again to Earl Campbell was too obvious a play to call, so Quarterback Randy McEachern resorted to some fakery and his throwing arm. As the play unfolded, McEachern thrust the ball toward Campbell, who was gleefully tackled by the Razorbacks. But while Campbell was going down. McEachern was dashing to the right. When he spotted his other running back, Johnny (Ham) Jones, in the clear, he made good on a 14-yard pass.
That provided some working room for McEachern, who followed with a 31-yard toss to Alfred Jackson and then executed a "reverse screen left" pass to Campbell for 28 more yards to the Arkansas one. Two downs later, McEachern faked again to Campbell and pitched wide to Jones for the go-ahead score. That gave undefeated Texas a 13-9 win, its sixth in a row over Arkansas, and a 2-0 record in the Southwest Conference.
Campbell carried 34 times for 188 yards and became the conference's alltime rushing leader with 3,385 yards. Much of the game, though, revolved around the kicking of Russell Erxleben of Texas and Steve Little of Arkansas. Erxleben put the Longhorns on top 6-0 with field goals of 58 and 52 yards in the first period. Then Little booted three-pointers from 33 and 67 yards in the second quarter, the latter tying Erxleben's NCAA distance record. And it was Little who put the Razorbacks in front 9-6 with a 25-yarder in the third period.
October 23, 1977
An even more dramatic windup was staged by SMU, which scored 20 points in the final 39 seconds to overcome Houston 37-23 in the Astrodome. Despite suffering a hyperextension of the elbow in the first half, the Mustangs' freshman quarterback, Mike Ford, ignited the resurgence by moving SMU downfield and setting up a 25-yard field goal by John Dunlop that made the score 23-17. Houston seemingly had an opportunity to lock up the game with 3:41 remaining, but David Hill of the Mustangs blocked a field-goal attempt from 26 yards out. Then, with 39 seconds left, Arthur Whittington scored on a dazzling 14-yard run to knot the score. Dunlop added the extra point and SMU led 24-23. SMU then got two quick touchdowns, one after the Cougars fumbled at their own two and another when D. K. Perry intercepted a pass and raced 37 yards into the end zone.
Impressive statistics were accumulated by Ford (14 of 26 passes for 259 yards). Wingback Emanuel Tolbert (seven receptions for 140 yards and one TD) and Whittington (136 yards and two touchdowns in 26 rushes, three pass catches for 49 yards and two kickoff returns for 23 more).
Baylor also put on a remarkable late effort, but fell short and lost to Texas A&M. Three touchdown passes by Quarterback David Walker and two one-yard scoring plunges by Fullback George Woodard enabled the Aggies to storm to a 35-7 lead. It was at this juncture that the Bears got busy, freshman Quarterback Scott Smith scoring from one yard out just before the half ended.
Two short touchdown runs in the third period moved Baylor to within 35-28. But two late turnovers led to the Bears' downfall and a 38-31 setback, while the Aggies now have a 2-0 SWC record. The most befuddling aspect of the game was that Baylor Fullback Steve Howell, who had gained 125 yards in the first half, did not get the ball thereafter.
A 21-point third period helped Texas Tech knock off Rice 42-7. Bill Adams contributed field goals of 52 and 47 yards as Tech won its second conference game in three outings.
1. TEXAS (5-0)
3. TEXAS A&M (4-1)
Nebraska was not the only Big Eight favorite to have a hard time. Oklahoma lost the statistical battle to Missouri (25 first downs to 12, and 419 yards to 358), but came away a 21-17 winner. And Colorado was fortunate to salvage a 17-17 tie with Kansas.
A 16-yard scoring run with a recovered fumble by Linebacker Billy Bess and a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Brockhaus had given Missouri a 10-0 lead over Oklahoma. Striking fast, the Sooners needed just three plays and 41 seconds to score before halftime. Quarterback Thomas Lou scampered 62 yards on the first of those plays, four more on the next and then passed 14 yards to Tight End Victor Hicks for the touchdown.
Encouraged by that and hoping that a 20 mph wind coming at Missouri would hamper the passing of Quarterback Pete Woods, Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer decided to kick off to the Tigers at the start of the third period. His strategy worked perfectly. Missouri was unable to move, Oklahoma took over and marched 46 yards for a touchdown, with Elvis Peacock darting the last 35. Woods was intercepted on Missouri's next possession and five plays later Lott scored on a one-yard sneak for a 21-10 Sooner lead.
Going into its game, Kansas was last in the Big Eight in rushing defense and Colorado was sixth in the country in ground gaining. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks outran the Buffaloes 338 to 158. Colorado had held a 17-3 lead, but Brian Bethke came off the bench to direct the Jayhawks to a pair of touchdowns. Bethke was also moving Kansas into position for a game-deciding field goal in the closing seconds only to have the ball fumbled away.
Oklahoma State avoided a tie with Kansas State when Quarterback Randy Stephenson went over from the one-yard line with less than a minute to go for a 21-14 win.
"The idea that we are 17-point favorites is ridiculous," said Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler before a Big Ten confrontation with undefeated Wisconsin. He felt the score would be closer. When the game was over, the 104,892 spectators had to disagree with Bo, whose Wolverines more than tripled the point spread while winning 56-0. Even with leading runner Harlan Huckleby sidelined with a pulled hamstring, Michigan racked up 419 yards on the ground. Sophomore Roosevelt Smith, Huckleby's understudy, picked up 157 of them in 25 carries and scored twice.
The only thing Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes lost at Iowa was his cap, which was swiped by a fan after his Buckeyes' 27-6 win. Hayes did not lose his temper with reporters and even permitted them to interview his players. And he was positively loquacious about Quarterback Rod Gerald, who hit on nine of 12 passes and ran for 100 yards.
In other Big Ten tussles, Illinois scored twice in the fourth period to upend Purdue 29-22, Minnesota beat winless Northwestern 13-7 and Indiana tied Michigan State 13-13. Bowling Green tightened up the MidAmerican race by handing Kent State its first conference loss, 14-10.
1. MICHIGAN (6-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (5-1)
3. OHIO STATE (5-1)
Optimism abounded at Colorado State, the Rams feeling certain they would lengthen their five-game unbeaten streak against Brigham Young. About the only thing that bothered the Rams was that they would not have a chance to display their defensive proficiency against the Nation's No. 1 passer, BYU's Gifford Nielsen, whose knee was operated on last week.
Subbing at quarterback for the Cougars was sophomore Marc Wilson, a Nielsen built-alike at 6'5" and 205 pounds. It did not take long for Wilson to give the State defense a chance to show itself and for him to prove he could pass like Nielsen. Instead of dropping back into the pocket a la Nielsen, though, Wilson uncorked his passes off sprintouts. Before the third period ended he had accounted for eight touchdowns, seven with his passes (a WAC record) and one with a short plunge. By the time Wilson was removed late in the third quarter, BYU was in front 56-10. Almost obscured by his feats was a WAC mark set by State's Ron Harris, who took a kickoff two yards in his end zone and zipped the length of the field for a touchdown. When it was all over the Cougars, 63-17 victors, had moved into first place in the conference.
Also displaying his marksmanship was California Quarterback Charlie Young, who completed 17 of 25 throws for 375 yards as the Golden Bears throttled Oregon State 41-17 in a Pacific-8 clash. While establishing a school total offense record of 399 yards, Young connected on scoring bombs of 83, 85 and 43 yards. Tallying on those last two plays was Tailback Oliver Hillmon, who also scored on two short runs as he set another Cal record with his four touchdowns.
Big plays were prevalent, too, as Washington dumped Stanford 45-21. Long-distance scoring jaunts were made by five Huskies: Tailback Joe Steele (83 yards around right end); Fullback Ron Gipson (59 yards right down the middle); Cornerback Nesby Glasgow (73-yard punt return); Flanker Spider Gaines (26-yard pass from Quarterback Warren Moon); and Safety Greg Grimes (29 yards with an interception). Those plays offset the 28-for-47 passing of Stanford's Guy Benjamin, whose tosses produced three touchdowns and 376 yards.
While many of the 51,120 fans tuned in the Dodger-Yankee World Series game on their radios, Southern Cal turned on the Homecoming crowd with a 33-15 wipeout of Oregon. What grabbed the spectators' interest most were a pair of lengthy scoring passes by Quarterback Rob Hertel. His first was a 51-yarder to Randy Simmrin, the second a 44-yarder to Kevin Williams. Washington and USC thus remained the only undefeated teams in Pac-8 play. A 27-16 win over Washington State gave UCLA its first conference triumph.
San Diego State, which had its 10-game winning streak ended the week before, prolonged a streak of a different sort by correctly calling the pregame coin flip for the 15th time in a row. Then David (Deacon) Turner of the Aztecs barreled his way for 129 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-7 romp over Texas-El Paso. Three other Aztec touchdowns were picked up on the passing of Quarterback Joe Davis.
Three second-half touchdowns by Fullback George Perry enabled Arizona State to down Air Force 37-14.
1. USC (5-1)
2. CALIFORNIA (5-1)
3. BYU (4-1)
A resolute defense enabled Kentucky to beat LSU in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1949. The Tigers, who led the nation in total offense with 487.5 yards a game and in rushing with 371.7, wound up with only 259 yards, 162 of them on the ground. Not satisfied with just stopping LSU, Wildcat End Art Still grabbed the ball on a blocked field-goal try by the Tigers and lugged it 52 yards for a touchdown. Cornerback Dallas Owens then stole a pass and ran it in from 81 yards out as Kentucky won 33-13 in this Southeastern Conference game.
Bear Bryant's hands shook as he sipped a postgame soft drink. His Alabama squad had just beaten Tennessee 24-10, but the Crimson Tide hadn't had an easy time with the fired-up Vols. What did in Johnny Majors' troops were touchdown runs of four and nine yards by Quarterback Jeff Rutledge and his 30-yard scoring pass to Ozzie Newsome.
Georgia took advantage of fumbling Vanderbilt to register a 24-13 win. Mississippi downed independent South Carolina 17-10. Mississippi State, though, was surprised by outsider Memphis State 21-13. And independent Georgia Tech stopped Auburn 38-21.
Freshman Tailback Amos Lawrence, who had gained more than 100 yards in each of the previous two games as a reserve, got his first start for North Carolina and broke loose for 216 yards in a 27-14 upset of first-place North Carolina State in an Atlantic Coast Conference game. Maryland stopped Wake Forest 35-7. Clemson rallied past Duke 17-11.
Doug Williams of Grambling set an NCAA career record with his 73rd touchdown pass during a 42-21 win over Mississippi Valley State. Williams threw three touchdown passes and his aerials accounted for 324 yards.
1. ALABAMA (5-1)
2. KENTUCKY (5-1)
3. FLORIDA (2-1-1)
For the first time in 27 years Joe Paterno missed a Penn State game. Instead of going to Syracuse, the Nittany Lions' coach stayed with his son David, 11, who the day before had suffered a fractured skull in a fall from a trampoline. Without Paterno, his team nearly blew a 31-10 third-period lead. A 63-yard return with the opening kickoff by freshman Booker Moore got Penn State going and two diving touchdowns by Steve Geise helped build State's advantage. But the Orange's junior Quarterback Bill Hurley confounded the Penn State defense with his arm, setting school records with 36 passes, 22 completions and 329 yards gained, and by participating in 58 plays. Among the passes were two for touchdowns, and he might well have made Syracuse a winner had it not been for two 15-yard penalties that thwarted one drive, and if a pass to the State 10 had not been dropped in the late going. Bruce Semall, who muffed that throw, tied a team mark with seven pass catches to no avail as Penn State hung on 31-24.
Navy, too, rallied but was unable to catch Pittsburgh. The Panthers scored 14 points in their first two possessions and went on to win 34-17. However, the Middies got 129 yards rushing from Joe Gattuso and at one point cut the Panther lead to 24-17. Keeping the Pitt offense clicking were Elliott Walker (169 yards in 21 carries), Fred Jacobs (109 in 13 tries) and Matt Cavanaugh (nine completions in 12 attempts for 179 yards).
Tailback Jerome (Pearly Gates) Heavens set a Notre Dame record by rushing for 200 yards in 34 carries against Army, breaking the team mark of 186 set by Emil Sitko in 1948. Heavens scored the only TD of the first half on a three-yard thrust. But then the Irish wore down the Cadets, finishing with 342 yards rushing and with a 24-0 victory.
Boston College and Boston University both earned wins with late scores. The Eagles trailed 24-17 at West Virginia before recovering a Mountaineer fumble and picking off a pass, defensive efforts that set up a touchdown, a field goal and a 28-24 upset. The Terriers trailed 13-3 going into the last quarter at Holy Cross. They came out ahead 14-13 when Greg Geiger scored from one yard out with 48 seconds left and then ran for a two-point conversion. Moments earlier, Geiger had missed on a two-point pass attempt, but the Crusaders had been offside and he made good on his second chance.
Lehigh, which had been averaging 33.8 points, did not get on the scoreboard at Rutgers, losing 20-0.
By rolling up its biggest score against Dartmouth since 1893, Harvard toppled the Big Green from the unbeaten list, 31-25, and took command in the Ivy League with a 3-0 record. Yale parlayed a blocked punt and three Columbia fumbles into four early touchdowns, got 172 yards rushing from John Pagliaro and breezed 42-20. Brown methodically disposed of Cornell 21-3. A 98-yard scoring sprint with the opening kickoff by Henry White started independent Colgate on its way to a 31-13 drubbing of Princeton.
1. PENN STATE (5-1)
2. PITTSBURGH (4-1-1)
3. COLGATE (6-0)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: In his first start, Quarterback Marc Wilson completed 15 of 25 passes for 332 yards and seven touchdowns, plunged one yard for another six-pointer and guided BYU to a 63-17 victory over Colorado State.
DEFENSE: Tackle Brad Shearer, a 6'4", 250-pound senior, made 18 tackles (eight unassisted), sacked the quarterback once and recovered a fumble as undefeated Texas did not allow a touchdown, beating Arkansas 13-9.