It was no surprise that Mark Herrmann hit on four of six passes during a 65-yard drive to Purdue's first touchdown against Michigan. What did surprise the Wolverines was that Herrmann ran for only his second touchdown in three seasons and that reserve Running Back Ben McCall tallied on runs of two and nine yards. Unexpected, too, was a rugged Boilermaker defense that held Michigan, a team that had been rushing for an average of 275 yards a game, to only 99 yards on the ground. But the biggest surprise of all was the final score: Purdue 24, Michigan 21.
Asked how his Iowa team held Ohio State to 185 yards rushing, Coach Hayden Fry said, "Easy. The secret was to give them the ball real close to our goal line so they wouldn't have far to go." The Hawkeyes did, indeed, do that, losing five fumbles and five interceptions. "Then at the end, our own fullback backed into our punter, and maybe you think that isn't a kick in the rear," Fry added. Thus the Buckeyes won 34-7 and were alone at the top of the Big Ten.
Turnovers—eight of them—also did in Kansas State. But Nebraska also had trouble, losing five fumbles before taking the Big Eight contest 21-12. An interception and a 60-yard return by Lawrence Cole gave Nebraska a 7-6 halftime lead, but the rest of the Husker offense consisted mainly of two 15-yard scoring drives after Wildcat fumbles.
For the fourth week in a row, Oklahoma scored 38 points, smothering Kansas this time, 38-0. It was 10-0 at halftime, but then Billy Sims scored his 21st touchdown of the season and the rout was on.
Oklahoma State trailed 20-0 entering the fourth period, and 20-14 with 3:52 to play when Colorado Coach Chuck Fairbanks decided to try for a first down on fourth-and-a-foot at his own 39. The Cowboys stopped that cold and went on to win 21-20.
"It was like tackling had been declared illegal for the afternoon," Delaware Coach Tubby Raymond said after a 51-45 win over Youngstown (Ohio) State. The Blue Hens had trailed 31-7 at halftime in this matchup of teams tied for first in the Division II ratings. But then Delaware poured across four touchdowns in 8:42 of the third period, and Ed Wood scored from a yard out with 24 seconds left to negate 264 yards rushing by Robby Robson of the Penguins.
A 37-14 win over Eastern Michigan helped Central Michigan clinch the MAC title.
1. NEBRASKA (9-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (8-1)
3. OHIO STATE (10-0)
Hold it. That's exactly what Pittsburgh and West Virginia had trouble doing, the Panthers losing five of seven fumbles and having a pass stolen, the Mountaineers losing one of three fumbles and having five passes intercepted. In between miscues, Pitt built a 10-3 lead after three periods and held on for a 24-17 win in which freshman Dan Marino passed for 232 yards.
Navy's defense against the run, which had been the fifth best in the nation with an average yield of 95 yards a game, was left in tatters by Syracuse. The Orangemen, 30-14 victors, rushed for 334 yards, Joe Morris gaining 159 and Quarterback Bill Hurley 144.
Akron's Zips were zapped by Temple 42-6. Brian Broomell of the Owls played only the first half, in which he passed for 148 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 54 yards and another six-pointer.
Yale and Penn kept their perfect records intact, the Elis sewing up first place in the Ivy League and remaining unbeaten by trampling Princeton 35-10, and the Quakers staying winless as they were downed by Harvard 41-26. Dartmouth beat Brown 24-10, and Cornell handed Columbia a 24-7 setback.
It was Knight-time when Rutgers' Scarlet ones met Army's Black variety. For the first time in 12 games and 88 years, Rutgers beat the Cadets, winning 20-0.
1. PITTSBURGH (8-1)
2. TEMPLE (8-1)
3. PENN STATE (6-3)
This was it. Washington, which had fought back from a 17-3 third-quarter deficit to USC only to fall behind again, 24-17 in the fourth, had a first down at the Trojan two with 4:00 left to play. The Huskies picked up one yard on first down, lost a total of nine in their next three tries, and USC held on to win and assure itself of a Rose Bowl berth. It was Tom Flick who kept rallying Washington with 18-for-28 passing, good for 245 yards and one TD—and by plunging one yard for another score.
In another scratch-and-scramble contest, UCLA trimmed Arizona State 31-28. Freeman McNeil gained 142 yards for the Bruins, who rushed for a total of 237 yards against the Sun Devil defense that had been the Pac 10's stingiest against the run. Freshman Thomas Ramsey rallied UCLA, coming off the bench to complete a 63-yard touchdown pass play to JoJo Townsell and scoring on a 10-yard run to turn a 13-10 deficit into a 24-13 lead. Mark Malone, who had 28 completions in 51 tries for 365 yards, put State back on top 28-24 with 1:03 left. A final comeback was then engineered by Ramsey, who took the Bruins 75 yards and tallied on a one-yard sneak with nine seconds remaining.
Oregon shocked Stanford 16-7, rolling up 352 yards on the ground. Dwight Robertson, who scored on a 48-yard run, gained 138 of those yards for the Ducks.
Arizona, which had only 22 turnovers this season, coughed up the ball eight times during a 42-10 loss at San Diego State in which Tony Allen of the Aztecs rumbled for 151 yards. Brigham Young led 24-6 at the half at Long Beach State, and won 31-17 as Marc Wilson passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns with a 24-for-39 performance.
1. USC (9-0-1)
2. BYU (9-0)
3. WASHINGTON (7-3)
It was a game that might have been labeled Saturday Night Not So Live. Despite running for 252 yards and converting 10 of 18 third-down situations against a patched-together Louisiana State defense, Alabama bogged down when near the goal line. The Tide, which had been averaging 37.6 points a game, pulled out a 3-0 SEC victory when Alan McElroy booted a 27-yard field goal midway through the third period. It was Coach Bear Bryant's 100th win in the past 10 seasons, a modern record.
It took three years, but Tennessee Fullback Hubert Simpson may finally have regained the starting job he had in 1976. Simpson, the Vols' strongest inside runner but an indifferent performer during practice, tore through Notre Dame for 117 yards and four touchdowns during a 40-18 upset. Tennessee stuck to the ground for 352 yards, while the Irish gained 321 yards through the air.
Auburn's vulnerable defense, which had given up an average of 28 points a game, plugged its leaks in a 14-3 victory over Mississippi State. The leading plumber was Linebacker Freddie Smith, who was in on 22 tackles and blocked a field-goal attempt. A 66-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter by James Brooks sealed the win.
Georgia kept its SEC title hopes alive by beating Florida 33-10. Kentucky stopped Vanderbilt 29-10, and outsider Tulane walloped Mississippi 49-15.
"I started Wally to nickel-and-dime 'em to death," Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden explained. Wally Woodham did precisely that, flicking five-yard passes here, 10-yard passes there and hitting on 15 of 29 tries for 145 yards as the Seminoles beat South Carolina 27-7. Also cashing in for State was Dave Cappelen, who kicked four field goals, one a 50-yarder. Most of the Gamecock offense was generated by George Rogers, who rushed for 186 yards, 80 on a TD run.
Field goals settled three games involving ACC teams. North Carolina State appeared to have pulled out a 7-6 victory over Penn State in an out-of-conference encounter. Scott Smith scoring from two yards out with 1:18 left. Smith had kept that drive going with a 31-yard pass on fourth-and-nine. But the Nittany Lions retaliated swiftly, Dayle Tate passing 36 yards to Terry Rakowsky on fourth-and-24 from the Penn State 27 with 20 seconds to go. Herb Menhardt, who earlier had kicked field goals of 38 and 37 yards, then boomed a 54-yarder off the right upright and across the bar as time ran out. That 9-7 triumph assured Penn State of its 41st straight non-losing season, an NCAA mark.
Wake Forest tied its record for most wins in a season, stopping Duke 17-14 for its eighth victory. James McDougald rushed for 213 yards and two touchdowns, but it took a 22-yard field goal by Frank Harnisch with 17 seconds left for Wake to win. Four three-pointers by Obed Ariri helped earn Clemson a 19-10 decision over North Carolina.
With Theron McClendon carrying 46 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns, unbeaten McNeese (La.) State drubbed Louisiana Tech 41-7 and clinched the Southland title.
1. ALABAMA (9-0)
2. FLORIDA STATE (9-0)
3. AUBURN (7-2)
"We don't turn on the lights for visiting teams unless there's a $400 deposit," Texas Coach Fred Akers was told when his Longhorns went to the Astrodome for a Friday workout before taking on Houston. So Akers shelled out $400 and the lights went on. The next day, Texas turned out the Cougars' lights, ending their unbeaten season 21-13 by forcing four turnovers and blocking two punts. Donnie Little of the Longhorns scored on runs of five and 15 yards, the latter the clincher with 1:25 left.
"Exquisite technicians." That's what Baylor Coach Grant Teaff called Arkansas early in the week. The Razorbacks were anything but exquisite during the first 38 minutes against the Bears, trailing 17-0. During the last 22 minutes, though, the Hogs proved Teaff to be correct as they turned three turnovers into 17 points, scored on a bomb and added a safety. The big play in Arkansas' 29-20 comeback win came when Robert Farrell hauled in a pass from Kevin Scanlon and turned it into a 60-yard touchdown with 3:22 to go. All of which left Houston, Texas and Arkansas tied for first in the SWC.
1. TEXAS (7-1)
2. HOUSTON (8-1)
3. ARKANSAS (8-1)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Charles White ran for 243 yards as USC beat Washington 24-17, giving him 1.609 yards for the season—the best in the nation—and moving him up to second on the NCAA's alltime list with 5,404 career yards.
DEFENSE: Bill Kay, a 6'2", 183-pound junior cornerback for Purdue, intercepted three passes, recovered a fumble, made three solo tackles and also helped out on three others as the Boilermakers shocked Michigan 24-21.