Two stunning comebacks that ended in dead heats last Saturday had fans panting—and coaches ranting—for more. The ties lowered the Top 20 ratings of UCLA and Florida and kept their underdog opponents, Rutgers and Tennessee, from cracking the Top 20. "I'm not complaining," complained UCLA coach Terry Donahue, "but I think when a game as exciting as this ends in a tie, somebody ought to be given the chance to win in overtime." Why not a tiebreaker? Not the way the NFL settles ties—a coin flip, first team to score wins—but something along the lines of the tiebreaker mechanism in the rule books for games that affect playoffs in Divisions I-AA, II and III. Each club gets to start a possession at the opponent's 25-yard line. Survivor wins.
The problem is that big-time programs don't really want to win at all costs; they just prefer not to lose. "Everyone's content to leave it as a tie because of the bowl system and the money involved," says Georgia Tech athletic director Homer Rice, the chairman of the NCAA Rules Committee. "That's the reason [using the tiebreaker] has never been fully discussed." And it won't be, unless someone comes up with a playoff payoff in I-A that is more appealing than the bowls'.
Largely on the 10-of-15 passing of UCLA sub David Norrie, who had lost his starting spot to Matt Stevens, the Bruins scored two touchdowns and two two-point conversions in the final five minutes to tie Tennessee at 26. Three other players would have loved another period to pad their stats. Sophomore running back Gaston Green had the fifth-best game in UCLA history (194 yards on 24 carries). The Vols' Tony Robinson completed 25 of 35 tosses for 387 yards, and Chris White intercepted three UCLA passes.
Rutgers coach Dick Anderson found his tie as satisfying as kissing a sister—say, Twisted Sister. The Scarlet Knights were down 28-7 midway through the third quarter when Florida coach Galen Hall—a teammate of Anderson's at Penn State in 1961—pulled his starting quarterback, Kerwin Bell, and inserted sophomore Rodney Brewer. Brewer opened with a flare pass for a touchdown, a 48-yarder to Rutgers end Todd McIver. A fumble and an interception later, and Bell was back in. Too late, though. Rutgers' backup quarterback Joe Gagliardi, a senior with one career completion to his credit, moved the Knights to a 28-28 tie and had them in line for a game-winning field goal until a last-minute fumble. "Why should we feel good after just coming back?" asked Anderson after Rutgers tied an overwhelming favorite that had a No. 1 ranking in at least one major poll. "We lost the chances we had to win the game."
Mississippi almost had a rare double—wins in Oxford and Atlantic City on the same day. But while Susan Akin, a Mississippi senior, won the Miss America Pageant, Arkansas came through with a 24-19 win over Ole Miss. Shortly before Miss Miss. broke into an Italian love song, You're My World, the Hogs' Carl Miller was breaking a five-yard run into the end zone to prevent an upset.
Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Doug Lindsey calls his elite defenders the Black Watch, after the Scottish regiment. The Watchers are distinguishable by their helmets: black stripes down the middle, black GT's instead of the regulation white ones on the sides. And by their stats: The five Black Watchers combined for 11 tackles for losses in Tech's 28-18 win over North Carolina State.
In what figured to be a regional rat race, Temple got nipped by Eastern rival Penn State 27-25. "They won, but I sure wouldn't want to be their trainer tomorrow," said Temple guard John Rienstra. The Owls knocked seven Nittany Lion starters out of the game. Temple drew to within two points with 3:43 to play behind the rushing of Paul Palmer, who dashed for a career high 206 yards on 30 carries. But Penn State's Blair Thomas shut down the surging Owls with his 58-yard kickoff return from the end zone. "Return people are supposed to make things happen," said Thomas. "I didn't see anyone within 20 yards of me, so it was a chance to make something happen."
West Virginia stopped a two-point conversion attempt by Duke with only 29 seconds left to preserve a 20-18 win. Eyeing his team's next foe, wary coach Don Nehlan said, "If we play like we played today, Maryland will need two scoreboards."
Trailing 24-3 in the second half, Washington mounted three drives deep into BYU territory. Two stalled on the 18 and one on the two. "They were able to get the yardage on us, but we kept them out of the end zone," BYU coach LaVell Edwards said later. Not that BYU wasn't without help: Washington penalties nullified two TDs, and the Huskies lost 31-3. While the Washington offense failed to produce, its defense failed to impress. "We expected them to be more physical than UCLA," Edwards said, "but that wasn't the case." Meanwhile, the Cougars' intensive work on their running game paid big dividends. Lakei Heimuli's 112 yards rushing certainly eased the burden of quarterback Robbie Bosco (23 of 37 for 279 yards), whose streak of throwing a TD pass in 37 straight games came to an end.
In a battle of the wishbones, Air Force fumbled four times in the first quarter against Wyoming and lost the ball twice. After each turnover, Falcons defensive coordinator Bruce Johnson assembled his charges on the sideline. "We call it a sudden-change defense," says Johnson. "I want to make sure they have that look in their eyes. We just don't do any griping if the offense turns the ball over." A 7-0 Wyoming lead at 8:57 to go in the half became a 49-7 Air Force blowout, the Falcons' second 42-point rout in as many games. Air Force outgained the Cowboys 477 to 171 to win in Laramie for the first time since 1970.
It was 7:01 p.m. C.S.T. last Wednesday and the Bill Mallory call-in show was live on WIRE Radio in Indianapolis. Surely the fans in Hoosierland wanted to ask the Indiana coach if the Hoosiers were going to end their 16-game losing streak and give him the 100th victory of his career with a rout of Louisville on Saturday. But the phones weren't ringing. Trouble was, at that very moment Pete Rose was lining his record 4,192nd hit. "Even my wife was watching Rose," Mallory said, "and she hates baseball."
But Saturday was Mallory's day. After sons Bill and Doug helped Michigan upset Notre Dame 20-12 (page 38), and before No. 3 son, Curt, helped Bloomington South High School down Connersville 28-7, Dad's Hoosiers beat Louisville 41-28 to end the nation's longest losing streak. Indiana's Steve Bradley ran for 101 yards and passed for 274 more.
A 40-17 drubbing by Duke in Northwestern's Sept. 7 opener wasn't the most encouraging of signs for the Wildcats' coach, Dennis Green. Missouri figured to be tough, too, opening at home under new head coach Woody Widenhofer, former designer of Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain. But the Wildcats cruised to a 17-0 lead over the Tigers and hung on to win 27-23. "Northwestern—everybody thinks of them as a joke," said Missouri nosetackle Darryl Darling. "I feel embarrassed personally. I feel ticked off."
In all, the Big Ten went 9-0 for its first unbeaten week in the 14-year tenure of conference commissioner Wayne Duke. Iowa was the Big Ten's biggest winner, pounding Drake 58-0 at home. But the beaten Bulldogs still came out ahead. The $200,000 they received to play patsy for Iowa should help pay for the Drake marching band, the school president's mansion...and the football program, which reportedly lost $250,000 last year.
It was a matchup made in Neverland. Tulsa was leading Texas Tech 17-14. Eleven seconds to play. Tech's ball on the Tulsa 20. Mark Cook, Tulsa's scout-team quarterback and third-string defensive back, settled in at free safety. "They say you're just an ankle injury or a knee sprain away from playing," said Cook later. Actually, it was an ankle injury and fractured vertebrae that had gotten him into the game. Cook looked across the line of scrimmage. And down. Split out left was Texas Tech freshman Tyrone (Smurf) Thurman, at 5'2¾", 128 pounds the country's wee-est wideout. "Football is just dedication," said Thurman, "and I have dedication." Red Raider quarterback Aaron Keesee called an 80 Go Switch. The pass hit Thurman, cutting toward the post, at the five. "I had to cut in front of [Cook] so Keesee could see me," Thurman explained later. Cook made contact. Smurf spun free. "He always seems to wriggle in there," said Keesee. Two other Golden Hurricane DBs dived at him. Only air. Touchdown Tech. Final score: Small World 21, Victim of Circumstances 17.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Kansas quarterback Mike Norseth completed 24 of 38 passes for a Big Eight-record 480 yards as well as four TDs in a 42-16 rout of Vanderbilt. His 509 total yards also set a conference mark.
DEFENSE: Rutgers linebacker Tyronne Stowe, unable to practice with contact in preseason because of a shoulder injury, had 16 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery in a 28-28 tie of No. 1 Florida.
SI Top 20
1. OKLAHOMA (0-0)
2. USC (1-0)*
4. OHIO STATE (1-0)
5. OKLAHOMA STATE (2-0)
6. IOWA (1-0)
7. ARKANSAS (1-0)
8. AUBURN (2-0)
9. PENN STATE (2-0)
10. FLORIDA STATE (2-0)
11. MARYLAND (1-1)
12. FLORIDA (1-0-1)*
13. UCLA (1-0-1)
14. S. CAROLINA (2-0)
16. NEBRASKA (0-1)
17. VIRGINIA (1-0)
18. BYU (2-1)
19. MICHIGAN (1-0)
20. ALABAMA (2-0)