It was a week filled with significant games that determined bowl bids, conference titles and 10 major—more or less—trophies. North Carolina clinched first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 16-3 decision over Duke. Three field goals by Tom Biddle and 138 yards rushing by Amos Lawrence made winners of the Tar Heels, who now go to the Liberty Bowl where they will meet the loser of the Nebraska-Oklahoma game. Despite missing the season opener and carrying only five times in the second game, Lawrence wound up with 1,211 yards rushing, an ACC record for a freshman. Carolina's defense corralled Mike Dunn, who was the ACC's total-offense leader, limiting him to six completions in 18 attempts for 74 yards and to 24 yards rushing in 15 carries. Dunn, who had thrown 105 times without an interception, also had three of his passes stolen.
After seesawing past South Carolina 31-27, Clemson accepted an invitation to face Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl, its first postseason game since 1959. The Tigers zipped in front 24-0, then fell behind 27-24. Tailback Spencer Clark, who rushed for 157 yards in 18 carries, started the Gamecock resurgence with a 77-yard scoring run late in the third period. Quarterback Ron Bass ended it when he hit Philip Logan with a 40-yard, fourth-down scoring pass with 1:48 to go. Quarterback Steve Fuller then took Clemson 67 yards in 50 seconds for the final touchdown, combining with Jerry Butler on a 20-yard pass.
Headed for the first Hall of Fame Classic in Birmingham was Maryland, a 28-0 victor over Virginia as George Scott ran for 173 yards and scored on a 13-yard pass. In his last three games Scott has rushed for a total of 581 yards.
November 28, 1977
While idle Alabama learned it would play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, other Southeastern Conference teams fought for somewhat lesser rewards—the Beer Barrel, the Golden Egg and the Rag. Doing his best to root Kentucky to victory in the Beer Barrel clash against Tennessee was Henry Harris, the proprietor of a bar near the Wildcat campus. Although Harris frantically ran up and down the aisles blowing his police whistle, waving signs and exhorting people to cheer, the Wildcats trailed 17-14 after Jim Taylor booted a 57-yard, fourth-quarter field goal. Six Kentucky defensive starters were ailing, and Quarterback Derrick Ramsey was unable to pass because of an injured shoulder. In stepped sophomore Mike Deaton to replace Ramsey. On his first play Deaton hit Felix Wilson with a 36-yard pass to the Vol 44. Back came Ramsey, who wrapped up the victorious drive by plunging over from one yard out for a 21-17 verdict. The Beer Barrel became the Kentucky-Tennessee trophy in 1925 when, despite the protests of the WCTU, one was lugged around the field wearing a sign that said ICE WATER as students sang How Dry I Am.
In 1927 the Golden Egg came to symbolize supremacy for Magnolia State rivals. This battered metal object, which looks more like a football than an egg, went to Mississippi State this season as the Bulldogs overcame a 14-0 Mississippi lead and won 18-14 at Jackson. State Quarterback Bruce Threadgill passed for one touchdown and ran for another, and David Marler kicked 44- and 30-yard field goals.
Two visiting teams also blew leads. Cincinnati lost a 9-0 fourth-quarter advantage in dropping a 13-9 verdict to Vanderbilt. Utah led 20-10 going into the last period, only to have Florida score four touchdowns and pull out a 38-29 victory.
LSU struggled past independent Tulane 20-17 as junior Charles Alexander rushed for 199 yards and set an SEC season record of 1,455 yards. To the winners went the Rag, a flag split diagonally and bearing both teams' colors.
Austin Peay won the Ohio Valley Conference championship by downing East Tennessee State 24-10.
Louisville beat Indiana State 27-16 even though Vincent Allen gained 122 of his 128 yards rushing in the second half. Allen thus finished the season with 1,026 yards and his career with 4,335 to become the fourth NCAA Division I runner to have four 1,000-yard years. Louisville will go to the Independence Bowl where it will face Louisiana Tech, a 41-14 loser to North Texas State. Tech, which topped the nation in total defense (204.9 yards a game), yielded 493 yards to the Mean Green. Picking up 216 yards was Quarterback Ken Washington, who hit on 13 of 19 passes for four touchdowns.
1. ALABAMA (9-1)
2. KENTUCKY (10-1)
3. N. CAROLINA (8-2-1)
Down the drain—that's where a possible bowl bid and a perfect season went for Colgate.
The Red Raiders brought a 10-0 record and a 501.7-yards-a-game total offense, the best in the country, with them to Delaware. They led 3-0 at the half, but the Blue Hens shut them out in the final 30 minutes to win 21-3. In this rare battle between a pair of wing-T teams, Delaware moved ahead 7-3 late in the third period on a surprise play-action pass: Halfback Craig Carroll slipped behind a linebacker, caught a pass from Quarterback Jeff Komlo and outran four defenders on his 75-yard touchdown jaunt. Delaware also exploited its "counter criss-cross." This was the play that Clary Anderson, who quarterbacked Colgate's last unbeaten team in 1932, said was "exactly the one we used to have. Knute Rockne and others called it an 'inside Sally.' Everybody's going one way, and you go the other." Delaware used the play to take a 14-3 lead, Komlo handing off to Halfback Ivory Sully, who handed off to Carroll, who went "the other way" for 32 yards and six points. With its offense outdistanced 419 yards to 329, Colgate went down to defeat. Constantly harassing the Red Raiders was Safety Mike Randolph, who made three interceptions, a fumble recovery and 15 tackles.
With Art Monk scoring on an 11-yard pass and on runs of 25 and 30 yards, Syracuse throttled West Virginia 28-9. Monk gained 136 yards in 19 rushes as the Orange finished with a 6-5 record in a season in which they beat one bowl-bound team (Washington) and lost to four others (North Carolina State, Maryland, Penn State and Pittsburgh).
Gaining 596 yards, 475 of them on the ground, Rutgers walloped Boston University 63-8. Three backs did most of the damage, Mark Lassiter gaining 142 yards on only six carries. Glen Kehler adding 132 on 10 attempts and Mike Fisher galloping for 48 yards and three touchdowns on seven rushes.
In the "most-played" series, Lehigh came back from a 17-14 deficit to down Lafayette 35-17 in their 113th confrontation. Mike Rieker rallied Lehigh with his 21st, 22nd and 23rd touchdowns of the season. In another traditional showdown Temple defeated Villanova 38-15 to win the Quaker City Award.
1. PENN STATE (9-1)
2. PITTSBURGH (8-1-1)
3. COLGATE (10-1)
Washington, with its Moon shine Offense and Bring 'Em Down to Earth Defense performing admirably, carved up Washington State 35-15. That assured the Huskies of at least a tie for the Pac-8 title—and a berth in the Rose Bowl if USC beats UCLA this week. Either USC or Washington will face Texas or Texas A&M in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.
Warren Moon's 12-for-l8 passing resulted in three touchdowns and gave Washington possession of the Apple Cup. Joe Steele caught two of the scoring passes and also rammed into the end zone from three yards out. The Huskie defense zapped State's Throwin' Samoan, Jack Thompson, holding him to nine yards passing in the first half. Most of Thompson's 17 completions in 38 tries came after Washington took a 35-0 lead.
Senior Guy Benjamin and freshman Darrin Nelson had outstanding afternoons as Stanford beat California 21-3. Benjamin, the NCAA's top-ranked passer, connected on 16 of 27 throws for 211 yards and his 19th touchdown. Nelson, a running back, became only the sixth freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in major-college ranks, picking up 94 yards to bring his total to 1,069. Stanford, which will meet LSU in the Sun Bowl, concluded its first unbeaten and untied at-home season since Clark Shaughnessy's 1940 Wow Boys by nailing down its sixth backyard victory of the year. The Cardinals also won The Axe, a 15-inch steel blade once stolen by Stanford rooters who posed as photographers but whose cameras were equipped with tear-gas canisters, not flashbulbs.
With freshman Halfback Gary Beck rushing for 131 yards and throwing a 65-yard scoring pass, Oregon beat Oregon State 28-16.
There's nothing like a little miserable weather to make Colorado State feel right at home, which is where the Rams cornered Arizona State. In 15 previous meetings, 10 of them played in Tempe, the weather had always been tolerable and the Sun Devils had always won. It seemed they would continue their mastery when they swept to a 14-3 second-period advantage. But the Sun Devils, who had practiced at home in 83° sunshine, froze when the temperature in Fort Collins plummeted from 33° to 20°. As the weather got colder the Rams got hotter, pulling to within 14-10 at halftime; then amid a second-half snowstorm they took complete command. Linebacker Dana Isoline picked off a pass and ran it back 15 yards for a Ram touchdown and a 17-14 lead. Tom Drake booted 30-and 42-yard field goals, and Arizona State Quarterback Dennis Sproul was smothered for a safety. That gave Colorado State a 25-14 win and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State if Arizona, which beat Texas-El Paso 41-24, topples Arizona State this week.
Marc Wilson of Brigham Young equaled an NCAA record with 27 first-half completions as the Cougars built a 24-8 lead over Long Beach State. But Paul McGaffigan teamed up with Vernon Henry on touchdown passes of 53 and 49 yards to enable the Forty-Niners to move in front 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. BYU pulled out this non-conference tussle in Provo 30-27 as Wilson completed six of seven passes in an eight-play, 71-yard drive that was climaxed by Tod Thompson hauling in a 15-yard scoring pass with 5:43 left. That was the fourth TD pass of the day for Wilson, whose 37 completions in 54 attempts accounted for 408 yards.
Florida State, which will meet Texas Tech in the Tangerine Bowl, was beaten 41-16 by San Diego State. Both teams entered the game with 8-1 records, but the Aztecs got fine performances from Joe Davis (he made good on 21 of 30 passes for 228 yards) and Ronnie Smith (he gained 121 yards on nine receptions, three of them for touchdowns).
1. UCLA (7-3)
2. WASHINGTON (7-4)
3. ARIZONA ST. (8-2)
The Air Force's retiring Coach Ben Martin was presented with the traditional N.D. blanket by Notre Dame Athletic Director Moose Krause before his final game. As soon as the contest began, though, the Irish began making the Falcon defense look like a patchwork quilt. Halfback Vagas Ferguson racing 56 yards for a touchdown on Notre Dame's first play from scrimmage. When it was all over the Irish had a 49-0 victory and 680 yards in total offense, 128 picked up by Ferguson, who did not run in the second half. Northwestern's Johnny Pont, who announced his retirement last Tuesday, avoided a winless season, his Wildcats stopping Illinois 21-7. Minnesota beat Wisconsin 13-7 as Kent Kitzmann of the Gophers, who set an NCAA mark by carrying the ball 57 times the week before, continued to be a busybody, gaining 154 yards in 40 attempts. Freshman Marion Barber got Minnesota's lone touchdown on a 33-yard run and wound up with 97 yards in 17 carries as the Gophers regained the eight-foot-long Paul Bunyan Axe. Paul Rogind, who kicked field goals of 27 and 33 yards, supplied the winning margin for the fifth time this season. The Old Oaken Bucket went to Indiana for its 21-10 trimming of Purdue. Michigan State knocked off Iowa 22-16.
Oklahoma and Nebraska rested for this week's Big Eight title game, but other conference teams were in action. Oklahoma State's dazzling Terry Miller had his 19th straight 100-yard effort as he rushed for 155 yards, but Iowa State won 21-13. Dexter Green had a hand in all three Cyclone touchdowns. Iowa State will take on North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl. Colorado's James Mayberry rushed for 174 yards—his seventh 100-yard game of the season—in a 23-0 win over Kansas State. Brian Bethke of Kansas, who was recovering from an ankle injury and had passed for only 204 yards all year, hit on six of nine tosses for 180 yards to help upset Missouri 24-22. One of Bethke's passes was a 44-yard touchdown strike.
A 57-21 romp over Tulsa moved West Texas State into a tie for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference as Fullback Bo Robinson ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
Central Michigan took second place in the Mid-American Conference by holding off Western Michigan 28-23. Dave Wilson's four touchdown passes helped third-place Ball State roll over Eastern Michigan 45-21.
1. OKLAHOMA (9-1)
2. MICHIGAN (10-1)
3. OHIO STATE (9-2)
The idea was viable, but the results were disastrous. What TCU wanted to do was stop Texas A&M's massive fullback, George Woodard. Concentrating its energies on that formidable task, though, gave fleet Halfback Curtis Dickey running room, and he made the most of it by speeding 13 and 80 yards for scores and gaining 175 yards in 20 carries. For his part, Woodard blasted through the keying defenders for 163 yards in 20 carries and scored on runs of six and 28 yards. Freshman Quarterback Mike Mosley rushed for another 98 yards on 15 carries as the Aggies, who won 52-23, rolled up 605 yards on the ground, five short of the SWC record, and gained 687 all told, the most ever in a conference game. Another SWC mark was established by TCU's Mike Renfro, who hauled in nine passes to give him a career total of 159. The former record of 155 was held by Jerry Levias of SMU.
It seemed someone's game plan for the Texas-Baylor matchup should have included putting glue on the ball: the Longhorns lost five of seven fumbles, the Bears five of eight. Earl Campbell hung on to the ball long enough to ensure Texas' 29-7 victory, rushing for 181 yards and the 37th touchdown of his career.
One game remains for the Longhorns, this week's showdown with Texas A&M, the winner going to the Cotton Bowl. Arkansas, which will take on the Big Eight titlist in the Orange Bowl, drubbed SMU 47-7. Ben Cowins scored twice and amassed 115 yards rushing, and Steve Little's two field goals gave him an NCAA Division I career-record 52.
Houston piled up 485 yards while dismantling Texas Tech 45-7. Alois Blackwell of the Cougars rushed for 136 yards on 17 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.
1. TEXAS (10-0)
2. ARKANSAS (9-1)
3. TEXAS A&M (7-2)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: With David (Deacon) Turner, a 5'11", 205-pound senior running back, rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries and catching three passes for 25 yards, San Diego State shocked Florida State 41-16.
DEFENSE: Mike Bell, a 6'5", 262-pound junior tackle for Colorado State, was in on 17 tackles (six for losses of 35 yards and a safety) and caused a fumble and an interception in the Rams' 25-14 upset of Arizona State.