Alabama Coach Bear Bryant knows that confidence is the first step on the way to victory and that over-confidence is the first step on the way to defeat. So he chooses his words carefully and utters them at opportune moments. Pregame pep talks, Bryant has insisted for years, are useless. Or, as he puts it, "If you haven't told them everything they need to know before Saturday, you've wasted the week." With Louisville coming to town, the Bear set the stage with some well-timed oratory.
On Wednesday evening Bryant walked into a team meeting, marched straight to the rostrum and delivered what Defensive Tackle Marty Lyons called, "The most inspiring talk I've ever heard. Coach was really emotional. He said we had as much talent as any of his national-championship teams. Coach said the only difference might be that each of them wanted it—the national title—more than we have maybe showed we want to win it. He said those teams had 'that certain spark' about them that he thought we had in us, too. When he sat down, you wouldn't believe how quiet it was. None of us could say anything, really, because we were choked up."
A day later, Bryant worked his eloquence from the other angle, telling the press that Louisville was capable of making it a "sad, sad homecoming" for Alabama.
October 31, 1977
On Saturday, the Tide showed more than "that certain spark"; it displayed a burning intensity, rushing for 413 yards, passing for 161 and scoring 55 points to the Cardinals' six to make it a happy, happy homecoming. Among the heroes were Running Back Tony Nathan, who ripped off a 71-yard scoring run, and Quarterback Jeff Rutledge, who teamed with Split End Ozzie Newsome on 67- and 32-yard touchdown passes.
"I still don't know how good we are," said Kentucky Coach Fran Curci after winning 33-0 at Georgia. His Wildcats were good enough to hold the Bulldogs to 47 yards in 38 rushing attempts and to 80 yards passing as Georgia was shut out for the first time in 58 games. Quarterback Derrick Ramsey solved Georgia's Junkyard Dog defense as he passed for three touchdowns and helped Kentucky roll up 392 yards in total offense. Alabama currently leads the Southeastern Conference by a half game. However, second-place Kentucky, because of its probation, is ineligible for the championship.
Even though he was dazed in the second period, Larry Key established a Florida State record by rushing for 170 yards during a 24-3 trimming of Auburn. Key, the country's No. 2 all-purpose runner, also returned a kickoff 39 yards to set up a scoring drive.
Late scoring splurges enabled Florida and Mississippi to come up with victories. Tennessee had tied Florida at 17-17 when Kelsey Finch dashed 99 yards in the third period. There was no further scoring until the Gators put 10 points on the board in the last 92 seconds, Berj Yepremian kicking a 28-yard field goal and Tony Green going six yards for a touchdown. Mississippi, which had lost three times following its upset of Notre Dame, scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to topple Vanderbilt 26-14. The Commodores had taken a 14-3 lead at the end of the first period with the aid of a length-of-the-field kickoff return by Preston Brown.
LSU tore apart visiting Oregon 56-17, and Mississippi State was beaten 14-7 by outsider Southern Mississippi. Charles Alexander of the Tigers improved upon his 142-yard rushing average as he ran for 237 yards and four touchdowns. A 36-yard TD run with an intercepted pass by Defensive Back Mike Crenshaw in the fourth period gave the Golden Eagles their victory, their third over an SEC team, Auburn and Mississippi having fallen previously.
A tenacious defense helped North Carolina throttle South Carolina 17-0. Two fumble recoveries by the Tar Heels set up a field goal and a touchdown. North Carolina has given up only 44 points in seven games.
Clemson and Maryland improved their ACC records to 3-1, the Tigers overhauling North Carolina State 7-3 and the Terrapins defeating Duke 31-13. The Tigers, who had just moved into the Top 20 for the first time since 1959, held ACC total-offense leader Johnny Evans to 61 yards, 101 below his average. State's Ralph Stringer was on his way to returning a kickoff for a touchdown when he was brought down by the last Tiger in his way, Obed Ariri, the kicker. For Ariri, a soccer player from Nigeria, it was the first tackle of his football career. Stringer's 54-yard run set up a 39-yard field goal by Jay Sherrill in the third quarter. Willie Jordan of Clemson also came close to scoring on a long run, but was hauled down after returning a punt 75 yards in the fourth period. Three plays later, Steve Fuller hit Jerry Butler with a scoring pass that covered 19 yards and the Tigers pulled the game out. Maryland breezed behind Tailback Steve Atkins (116 yards rushing and three touchdowns) and Quarterback Larry Dick (12 of 15 for 249 yards).
All of Virginia's points during a 12-10 squeaker over Wake Forest were produced by Russ Henderson's field goals. Henderson, who had never attempted a field goal in a game, connected from 31, 19 and 27 yards and, with five seconds to go, on a 34-yarder.
"They kicked our posteriors off," said Tulane Coach Larry Smith after a 38-14 loss to Georgia Tech. North Texas State overcame a 19-7 fourth-period deficit to stun Memphis State 20-19. Undefeated Tennessee Tech tied Austin Peay for the Ohio Valley lead by outlasting Morehead State 24-22.
In a showdown between unbeatens, Florida A&M edged Tennessee State 31-28, despite an aerial display by Joe Adams, who completed 30 of 48 passes for 342 yards and four touchdowns. The Rattlers held State runners to minus-41 yards while piling up 293 of their own.
1. ALABAMA (6-1)
2. KENTUCKY (6-1)
3. FLORIDA (3-1-1)
Texas Halfback Earl Campbell gave SMU the shirt off his back—six of them, in fact. But that was about all the Mustangs got their hands on as he ripped off 213 yards in 32 carries. Campbell took a while to get his 220 pounds in high gear, but after being held to 54 yards in his first 13 rushes, he flattened a couple of Mustangs in the course of a 58-yard scoring jaunt.
The Longhorns' 30-14 Southwest Conference win was no cakewalk, however. SMU stayed in the game on the passing of freshman Mike Ford (21 for 46 and 253 yards) and the catching of sophomore Emanuel Tolbert (seven catches, two for touchdowns). Those two scores were the only six-pointers of the season against Texas' first-string.
Lengthy kicks were plentiful, Russell Erxleben of the Longhorns averaging 48 yards on five punts and Ken Rosenthal of the Mustangs 46 on nine. Erxleben also contributed field goals of 35, 43 and 24 yards.
Rice, a 35-point underdog, also put up a stubborn battle before losing to Texas A&M 28-14. The Owls limited 270-pound George Woodard to 69 yards in 16 carries and got 128 yards from their own Earl Cooper. But Aggie Halfback Curtis Dickey broke loose for 106 yards and Quarterback David Walker passed for 115 more. The Aggies and Longhorns are tied for the SWC lead.
Two touchdown passes in 95 seconds—seven-and 15-yard tosses from Ron Calcagni to Tight End Charles Clay—helped propel Arkansas past Houston 34-0.
Last week NCAA calculators announced that Baylor and Missouri had played the toughest schedules of any teams this season. Thus the Bears were delighted to show their stuff against Air Force, a four-time loser. Baylor piled up 476 yards in total offense and won 38-7. Freshman Quarterback Scott Smith passed for two touchdowns and Tailback David Seaborn ran for two more while rushing for 145 yards. Cornerback Howard Fields intercepted three passes, one of which he ran back 53 yards for a TD. In all, the Bears stole five passes. There was, though, a bit of air left in Air Force, Dave Ziebart finding his receivers with 22 of 41 passes for 311 yards.
Texas Christian, which ended a 15-game losing streak two weeks ago, won its second game by overcoming Miami 21-17, as Quarterback Steve Bayuk scored from one yard out with 1:08 remaining in the game.
1. TEXAS (6-0)
2. ARKANSAS (5-1)
3. TEXAS A&M (5-1)
All that UCLA Chancellor Charles Young could do on behalf of his team was pace the sidelines. Charlie Young did a lot more for California, completing 25 of 44 passes for 299 yards. Nonetheless, it was Young, the pacer, who came up a 21-19 winner.
Two miscues did in Cal. The first was a high snap that wiped out a chance for a second-quarter field goal. Seven plays later, UCLA Quarterback Rick Bashore broke off left tackle, spun away from a would-be tackier and sprinted 41 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead. Then, early in the fourth period, Marvin Morris, who plays in the middle of UCLA's punt-block squad, smothered the ball right at the kicker's shoetop and had the ball bounce smack up into his arms. "All I could think was, 'Go, man, go,' " said Morris. Go he did, 26 yards into the end zone.
Like Charlie Young, Jim Breech of California excelled in defeat, booting field goals of 24, 38, 37 and 45 yards. Breech's four field goals equaled a Pac-8 one-game record and gave him a conference career mark of 45.
There were passes galore as Stanford held off Washington State 31-29. Guy Benjamin of the Cardinals threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns as he hit on 27 of 39 and out-dueled Jack Thompson of the Cougars, who was 19 for 24 for 274 yards. Running Back Darrin Nelson caught six Benjamin passes and added variety to the offense by rushing for 104 yards. Other Benjamin targets were Phil Francis (eight receptions) and James Lofton (five catches, two for touchdowns).
For the sixth time in seven games, Washington did not yield a touchdown in the second half. Peskiest of the Huskie defenders during a 14-6 victory over Oregon State were Nose Guard Cliff Bethea and Linebacker Mike Jackson. Bethea intercepted a pass and took part in 22 tackles, 15 of them unaided, while Jackson made 21 tackles, 11 on his own. Washington's victory gave it a 3-0 record and a tie with USC for the Pac-8 lead.
Marc Wilson, who threw seven touchdown passes the week before in his first start for Brigham Young, had just one as the Cougars squeezed past Wyoming 10-7. This time, Wilson was intercepted six times and picked up only 96 yards on 10 completions in 26 attempts. BYU, which had been leading the nation in scoring with an average of 48 points a game and had been gaining 464 yards each time out, was bested by Wyoming 304 yards to 234. Nine fumbles ruined the Cowyboys' hopes. Wyoming lost seven of its fumbles, three of them being recovered by Linebacker Larry Miller. Brigham Young's triumph kept the Cougars (3-0) in first place in the Western AC. Second-place Arizona State (2-0) demolished Texas-El Paso 66-3 and Colorado State (3-1) downed New Mexico 14-9.
1. USC (5-2)
2. STANFORD (5-2)
3. UCLA (4-3)
While Minnesota and Notre Dame deserved Sunday's headlines (page 20), lesser surprises were pulled off by Purdue and Michigan State. Mark Herrmann, the 6'5" freshman quarterback, and Split End Reggie Arnold put on a whale of a show as the Boilermakers won their first Big Ten game by toppling Iowa 34-21. Herrmann threw for five touchdowns and Arnold set a conference record by scoring four of them on receptions of 22, 43, 28 and 26 yards. Herrmann, who completed 13 of 20, now has 1,858 yards passing, tops in the nation and the third highest single-season total in Big Ten history and he still has four games to play.
Michigan State upended Wisconsin 9-7. With a fourth and one at the Spartan 12 early in the last period and Wisconsin trailing 9-0, Badger fans urged their team to go for it. Wisconsin Coach John Jardine complied, disdaining a field-goal try. Alas, the Badgers did not pick up the yard, and Wisconsin rooters turned their fury on Jardine. Wisconsin finally scored with 1:42 left, but could not catch the Spartans, who got 100 yards rushing from Jim Earley and a 51-yard field goal from Hans Nielsen.
Despite coughing up the ball on half of its eight fumbles, being intercepted once and giving up 252 yards on the ground, Ohio State beat Northwestern. The Buckeyes' 35-15 triumph, which moved them a game ahead of Michigan in the Big Ten, was built around a ground attack that netted 300 yards. Two State touchdowns were set up by long runs, a 73-yard gallop by Ron Springs and a 64-yarder by Jeff Logan, and Rod Gerald hit on nine of 14 passes for 148 yards. Illinois disposed of Indiana 21-7.
Colorado figured it would not have much difficulty penetrating Nebraska's porous defense, and for a while the Buffaloes gamboled and rambled all over the field. Howard Ballage returned a kickoff 98 yards for six Colorado points and Fullback James Mayberry barged over from one yard out to build the lead to 15-3.
But Husker Coach Tom Osborne inserted an extra linebacker and that helped contain the Buffs' running. Colorado was kept scoreless the rest of the way and Nebraska amassed 480 yards, 390 of them on the ground, en route to a 35-15 Big Eight win. For the fifth week in a row, I. M. Hipp ran for more than 100 yards for the Huskers, this time zipping for 172 on 31 carries and scoring on runs of 28 and four yards. Once-tied Colorado suffered its first loss of the season.
Moving into undisputed leadership in the conference was Oklahoma, which stomped Iowa State 35-16. Fullback Kenny King, who had missed the previous game because of a bruised shoulder, picked up the first 65 yards of a 71-yard drive to the Sooners' first touchdown and wound up with 146 in 23 trips.
With Oklahoma State leading Kansas 7-0 at halftime, Cowboy Coach Jim Stanley chewed out his No. 1 ground-gainer, Running Back Terry Miller. "You can run harder than you've been running," Stanley told him. "Let's get with it." After the intermission, Miller got going, romping 34 yards for a TD and coming through with his 15th straight 100-yard game as the Cowboys won 21-0. With 149 yards in 31 tries, Miller became the Big Eight's alltime rushing leader and raised his career total to 4,117 yards. His 1,043 yards for this season made him the first runner in the conference to gain 1,000 yards three consecutive years.
It has been a rough season for Missouri Coach Al Onofrio, whose team had dropped five of its first six. Fans now shout "Impeach Onofrio" and "A.O. must go." A HELP WANTED—COACH ad appeared in a local paper. So the Tigers' 28-13 homecoming win over Kansas State was particularly sweet. Quarterback Pete Woods, who had missed four games because of injuries, completed 15 of 20 passes for 205 yards.
Wichita State stayed in contention in the Missouri Valley race by smothering Drake 47-17 as Jim Andrus passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns. Tulsa lost 28-0 to Cincinnati, which got three touchdowns from Fullback Gus Tucker.
Remaining atop the Mid-American Conference was Miami of Ohio, which beat Bowling Green 33-13 as Quarterback Larry Fortner ran for two touchdowns and passed for another pair. Second-place Kent State defeated Eastern Michigan 29-13. Quarterback Jeff Hepinstall raced 37 and 24 yards for fourth-quarter scores as Toledo overcame 192 yards in penalties to down Ohio U. 31-29. Tailback Jerome Persell gained 234 yards to lead Western Michigan past outsider Marshall 53-29.
1. OKLAHOMA (6-1)
2. OHIO STATE (6-1)
3. MICHIGAN (6-1)
Haste may make waste for others, but for Penn State it was a vital factor in a 49-28 win over West Virginia. The first three times the Nittany Lions got the ball they scored—first when Tackle Matt Millen scooped up a blocked punt and carried the ball three yards into the end zone, then on a 41-yard pass from Chuck Fusina to Mickey Shuler and lastly on Steve Geise's seven-yard run. At that point, Penn State had been in possession of the ball for 29 seconds and led 21-0.
For the second week in a row, Syracuse came close to scoring a major upset. This time the Orangemen, who the week before had given Penn State a scare, led Pitt 21-14 going into the final quarter. But Quarterback Matt Cavanaugh rallied the Panthers. Cavanaugh, who connected on 17 of 26 passes for 332 yards, combined with Fred Jacobs on a 58-yard play to tie the score. Then, after a Syracuse field-goal try had been blocked, Cavanaugh passed 45 yards to Gordon Jones and moments later went over from the one as Pitt won 28-21. Syracuse had given Pitt fits by forcing nine fumbles and by gaining 366 yards.
Tailback Joe Gattuso ran for two touchdowns and passed for another as Navy drubbed William & Mary 42-17. Two touchdowns within 11 seconds in the second quarter helped Army defeat Lafayette 42-6. A 66-yard pass from Ken Smith to Mike Godbolt highlighted Boston College's 17-0 conquest of Villanova. Lehigh, which has played teams from seven states, shocked Division I VMI 30-20 as Mike Rieker hit on 14 of 24 passes for 229 yards.
Massachusetts (4-0) took the lead in the Yankee Conference with a 10-0 victory over Connecticut. New Hampshire (3-0) remained unbeaten, stopping outsider Northeastern 28-13.
Tailback Bobby Isom carried a school-record 44 times for 209 yards as Princeton zapped Harvard 20-7. Tying the Crimson for the Ivy League lead were Dartmouth, a 17-13 victor over Cornell, and Yale, which scored 15 points in the final 15 minutes to nose out Penn 27-21. John Pagliaro of the Elis scored twice and set a Yale record as he brought his career touchdown total to 29. There were lots of big numbers at the Colgate-Columbia game: 220 yards passing by Bob Relph of the Red Raiders, who hit on 14 of 19 attempts: 204 yards rushing in just 11 carries by Raider Halfback Henry White, who scored three touchdowns: 667 yards in total offense by Colgate, which outscored the Lions 48-36. Colgate is one of two major-college teams still undefeated and untied, the other being Texas. Holy Cross also kept its streak intact, losing to Brown by a score of 44-13 to lower its record to 0-6.
1. PENN STATE (6-1)
2. PITTSBURGH (5-1-1)
3. COLGATE (7-0)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: In a 42-17 win over William & Mary, Navy Tailback Joe Gattuso rushed 29 times for 250 yards and two TDs, passed 20 yards for another TD, caught three passes for 25 yards and returned two kicks 34 yards.
DEFENSE: Linebacker Mike Hunt, a 6'2½", 237-pound senior, was the big stopper in Minnesota's 16-0 upset of previously undefeated and No. 1-ranked Michigan, making 15 tackles (10 unassisted) and recovering a fumble.