It's no longer a game of inches, folks. Try 10ths of seconds instead. On two of three long field goal attempts (one missed, one made), Georgia's Steve Crumley booted the ball 1.2 seconds after the snap. But on a 51-yard try late in the second quarter, there was a high snap and 1.3 seconds elapsed. "If a kicker can't get it off in 1.2 seconds, then we've got a chance at it," said Auburn's Kevin Porter, who came through to block the kick. The Tigers recovered on the Georgia 38 and eight plays later scored to go up 17-7 at the half en route to a 24-10 win. With 121 yards rushing and two TDs on 19 carries, Bo Jackson helped Auburn's cause immensely, as well as his own in the Heisman voting.
Clemson coach Danny Ford claimed Maryland should not have been allowed its TD with 1:18 to play for three reasons: The 25-second clock had expired, Ferrell Edmunds had dropped Stan Gelbaugh's two-yard pass, and the Terps' offensive line had moved. Visiting Maryland coach Bobby Ross had Dan Plocki kick the extra point to tie the game at 31 and banked on his defense to get the ball back. It did, and with 44 seconds left Gelbaugh began a march of 72 yards on four plays, the last of which was a 44-yard strike to Edmunds that set up Plocki's 20-yard field goal with seven seconds left. Maryland's 34-31 victory clinched at least a tie for the ACC championship for the Terps and a scholarship for Plocki, who's a walk-on. The loss blew Clemson's cool: After the final kickoff, a band of players on the sideline pummeled the Maryland tackier who wound up there.
A pair of pass catchers broke a brace of splendid standards. In a 41-21 win over Boston College, Syracuse junior Scott Schwedes broke the school's single-game receiving record, held by Art Monk, with 249 yards on eight receptions. Schwedes's catches accounted for all but 42 of the passing yardage of sophomore quarterback Don McPherson, who's 5-1 as a starter. Meanwhile, Rhode Island's junior tight end, Brian Forster, caught 16 passes to increase his season total to 115, 12 more than the Division I-AA record Jerry Rice set last year at Mississippi Valley State. Forster's four touchdown catches helped erase a 35-14 Connecticut advantage; the Rams prevailed 56-42, thanks also to quarterback Tom Ehrhardt, who Ehr'ed it out for 566 yards. Ehrhardt completed 40 of 60 passes, eight of them for TDs.
Penn was thrown for its usual loop at Harvard Stadium. The Quakers, who haven't won in Cambridge since 1972, had their 13-game Ivy League winning streak snapped by the Crimson 17-6, leaving the schools tied for first with a game to go.
Wisconsin removed Ohio State from the Big Ten driver's seat with a 12-7 win in Columbus, the Buckeyes' first defeat at home since Wisconsin beat them there in 1982. Ohio State, which had lost but two fumbles—of no consequence—all season, fumbled three times in the second half, once to set up the Badgers' clinching TD. Linebacker Mike Reid recovered all three bobbles. Wisconsin coach Dave McClain, whose team was outgained 365 yards to 222, said, "Without those turnovers, I gotta be honest, we'd never win." Iowa, which beat Purdue 27-24, needs only to beat Minnesota on Saturday to go to the Rose Bowl.
In the Big Eight, Nebraska geared up for this week's showdown with Oklahoma, a 31-0 winner over Colorado, by crushing Kansas 56-6. Behind Thurman Thomas's 172 yards rushing, Oklahoma State stayed in the chase with a 21-19 win over Missouri. The Tigers (1-9) finished their home schedule without a victory for the first time in 30 years. Kansas State (1-9) joined Kansas and Missouri at the bottom by losing 21-14 to Iowa State, which raised its record to 4-6. Going into the game the Cyclones ranked 104th out of 105 Division I-A teams in total offense. Kansas State was No. 105.
For UC Davis, the dream of "15 in '85" is now reality. With a 34-6 romp over Cal State-Hayward, the Aggies, ranked No. 1 in Division II, cinched the Northern California Athletic Conference championship. Under coach Jim Sochor, Davis has won or tied for 15 straight league titles to break the record set by Oklahoma in the Big Eight from 1946 to '59. Quarterback Chris Petersen connected 16 of 23 times for 267 yards. The Aggies, who have never won the national championship, will probably open the playoffs against Santa Clara, which tied Portland State 20-20. The Broncos voted to play that game despite the death early in the week of sophomore linebacker Dave Cichoke. He suffered a brain hemorrhage some 40 hours after making the game-saving tackle in a 21-19 victory over Cal State-Northridge Nov. 9.
Fresno State held off Long Beach State 33-31 to set up what could be the only battle of unbeatens in postseason play: the 9-0-1 Bulldogs against 10-0 Bowling Green in the California Bowl on Dec. 14. Fresno's offense, No. 2 in the country in scoring, was balanced as usual. Split end Stephen (The Touchdown Maker) Baker had six catches for 214 yards and one TD, and tailback James Williams ran for 176 yards and three scores.
UCLA, paced by tailback Gaston Green's 108 yards, rolled up 569 yards to Oregon State's 133 in a 41-0 blowout. The Bruins now stand one win away from a Jan. 1 date in the Rose Bowl. After kicking two field goals, UCLA's John Lee stands one away from the career record of 78 set by Arizona State's Luis Zendejas. But Lee, who had been perfect in field goals (17) and PATs (27) this year, missed three-pointers from 39, 51 and 46 yards. "The first miss was something so unexpected," said Lee, who's still the most accurate field-goal kicker (85.6%, minimum 60 tries) in NCAA history. "As soon as I kicked it, I said, 'What's going on?' "
The men of Baylor routed Rice 34-10 and then stayed up to watch Texas A & M and Arkansas on TV. The Aggies won 10-6, boosting Baylor into first in the SWC and shutting the Hogs out of the Cotton Bowl. "The whole thing caved in," said Arkansas quarterback Greg Thomas, who completed just one of seven passes and had two picked off. "I take all the blame." Equally responsible was the Aggies' D, which held the nation's eighth-ranked rushing attack to 141 yards. Said A & M defensive end Rod Saddler, "We just thought we would fly around and chase the football and good things would happen to us. And good things did happen." The Aggies, Texas and Baylor have one conference defeat apiece.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: George Swarn, a junior tailback, rushed for 326 yards—the most in Division I-A this season—on 41 carries and scored four touchdowns as Miami of Ohio defeated Eastern Michigan 31-16.
DEFENSE: Michael Brooks, a junior linebacker, made 13 tackles, 11 of them unassisted and five for losses, in LSU's 17-15 victory over Mississippi State. Brooks caused two fumbles and recovered one.
SI Top 20
1. PENN STATE (10-0)
2. NEBRASKA (9-1)
3. IOWA (9-1)
4. MICHIGAN (8-1-1)
5. AUBURN (8-2)
6. MIAMI (8-1)
7. OKLAHOMA (7-1)
8. OKLAHOMA STATE (8-1)
9. FLORIDA (8-1-1)*
10. OHIO STATE (8-2)
11. FLORIDA STATE (8-2)
12. UCLA (8-1-1)
13. BYU (9-2)
14. AIR FORCE (10-1)
15. BAYLOR (8-2)
16. ARIZONA STATE (8-2)
17. ALABAMA (7-2-1)
18. GEORGIA (7-2-1)*
19. TEXAS A & M (7-2)
20. LSU (6-1-1)