With college football clicking along toward bowl time, one thing is certain. The era of domination by the Oklahomas, Notre Dames, Armys and Ohio States, so prevalent since the war years, has finally come to an end. After seven weeks of exciting and often turbulent action, there are at least half a dozen fine teams clamoring excitedly for recognition as the nation's best—a situation which is refreshing, to say the least.
Northwestern, refusing to become fodder for the Ohio State meat grinder, met the Buckeyes on their own terms and gave them a thrilling lesson in ball control before winning 21-0 to stir up the Big Ten. After almost-three full periods of hard-nose, crunching football, wonderful Dick Thornton found Halfback Ron Burton running free as the breeze behind the Ohio State secondary and laid a perfect lead pass into his arms for a 67-yard touchdown play. In the last quarter Thornton covered 33 yards in two desperate runs for another score and completed the Buckeye humiliation with a short touchdown pass to End Elbert Kimbrough. Gloated deliriously happy Coach Ara Parseghian: "This is the only present I want. Nothing for my birthday. Nothing for Christmas. This is all I want."
Iowa, the only team to beat the incredible Wildcats, ended 34 years of frustration at Ann Arbor, finally mastering Michigan 37-14 to remain atop the nervous Big Ten heap. Coach Forest Evashevski, an old Wolverine himself, took the wraps off Sophmore Halfback Willie Fleming (see page 13) and watched him bewitch Michigan with a 72-yard punt return and a 61-yard touchdown dash.
Wisconsin stayed in the scramble, easing past thoroughly deflated Michigan State 9-7. At Lafayette, Ind. 46,357 fans who turned out to watch Purdue's Golden Girl, Adelaide Jeanne Darling, wiggle her way through the hula were disappointed when she left some wrinkles out of her act but were pleased when the Boilermakers, aided by stubby Skip Ohl's two field goals, beat Illinois 31-8. Minnesota, down deeper than a Gopher these days, took another one on the chin, losing to Indiana 6-0. The top three:
1. IOWA (5-0-1)
2. NORTHWESTERN (5-1-0)
3. OKLAHOMA (5-1-0)
Unbeaten LSU, reaching for the Sugar Bowl with 33 able hands, combined the best efforts of all three of its units to hand Mississippi its first defeat, 14-0. The Rebs, waiting anxiously for the (Billy) Cannon to go off, couldn't handle Halfback Johnny Robinson's diving cross-bucks from the double wing T and found themselves outmanned defensively by Coach Paul Dietzel's "white unit" and "Chinese bandits." The high-strung Tigers, alone now at the head of the SEC, took their cue from a gallant second-period goal-line stand led by Center Max Fugler (right) and rallied to turn a Mississippi fumble and an alert recovery of a blocked kick into two short-yardage touchdowns by Quarterbacks Warren Rabb and Durel Matherne.
Good-field, no-hit Auburn, easy to scare but tough to beat, had the pitching to squeeze past Florida 6-5. Trailing 3-0 after Gator Billy Booker's 23-yard field goal in the third quarter, Auburn passed its way downfield, scoring on a 10-yard toss from third-string Quarterback Dick Wood to End Joe Leichtnam. Minutes later the Tigers trembled again when Florida drove to the one-yard line but the Gators fumbled and Auburn gave up an automatic safety to get out of trouble.
North Carolina, preening for a bowl bid, coasted to a 21-7 victory over Tennessee when the mooselike middle bursts of Fullback Don Klochak parted the Vol line and kept the secondary honest for Quarterback Jack Cummings' passing.
Clemson all but wrapped up the ACC title with a narrow 14-12 win over Wake Forest as Johnny Mac Goff, subbing for injured Harvey White, sneaked over from the one-yard line in the last quarter.
After four futile field goal attempts, Sophomore Tommy Wells finally found the range from the 14-yard line to give Georgia Tech a 10-8 win over stubborn Duke, the third game the Blue Devils have lost on a three-pointer; Kentucky, the most defeated good team in the South, responded behind Halfback Calvin Bird's pass-snatching and running to beat Mississippi State 33-12.
In other games, Quarterback Richie Petitbon's passing breathed life into listless Tulane for a 27-0 win over Texas Tech; Maryland's Ed Nickla, a 225-pound tackle, harried South Carolina's centers into two bad passes, enough to give the Terps a 10-6 upset; Alabama defeated Georgia 12-0; Vanderbilt added to Miami's troubles by hustling the Hurricanes to their third straight loss 28-15. The top three:
1. LSU (7-0-0)
2. AUBURN (5-0-1)
3. MISSISSIPPI (6-1-0)
Bogged down by its own lack of imagination for most of the season, Notre Dame struck with oldtime Irish efficiency from a spanking new wing T to beat hard-pressed Navy 40-20. Quarterback George Izo (see page 11), faking magnificently, provided the direction as well as the much-needed air arm, completing nine of 14 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the hard-charging Irish line kept the pressure on the Middies.
Syracuse, beaten only by Holy Cross, moved up among the East's few bowl eligibles on the strength of a come-from-behind 16-13 upset of Pitt. Trailing 13-10 in the fading minutes, the Orange moved 80 yards under the guiding hands of Quarterback Chick Zimmerman, who dove over from the one-yard line.
Cornell continued to lead the Ivies, romping over Columbia 25-0, while Dartmouth, with a 22-14 victory over Yale, and Princeton, a 28-18 winner over Brown, remained within breathing distance. But Harvard was not quite so fortunate, bowing to Penn 19-6.
Rutgers, one of the nation's two major unbeaten teams, moved past Delaware 37-20; Army outmanned, outpowered and outclassed helpless Colgate 68-6; Holy Cross defeated Dayton 26-0; Boston College found Dick Bass hard to contain when he got into the open but managed to keep him inside often enough to whip COP 25-12. The top three:
1. ARMY (5-0-1)
2. SYRACUSE (5-1-0)
3. RUTGERS (6-0)
Oregon State found a way to bottle up California's Joe Kapp, sending Tackle Ted Bates crashing in to smother the biggest Bear as he rolled out on his option plays. The result: an intercepted pitchout for a touchdown and a pass theft to set up another score in a 14-8 victory that sent the eager Beavers to the top of the frantic PCC race.
USC caught hot-and-cold Stanford on the frigid side and clobbered the Indians 29-6; Washington State made its last stand against UCLA a winning one, trouncing the Bruins 38-20 for the first time in 21 years; Washington nuzzled past Oregon 6-0.
Colorado started off bravely enough against Oklahoma, pushing over a touchdown in the first quarter, but the undefeated Buffs just didn't have the power or the depth to stop a Sooner backfield that charged like frightened beer barrels behind a relentless line. In the end Oklahoma won 23-7 and Colorado began dreaming about next year.
The Air Force, faced with the prospect of getting shot down for the first time, rallied behind Rich Mayo's passing (28 for 46 and 214 yards) to overcome Oklahoma State 33-29; New Mexico was Still top dog in the Skyline Conference after holding off Denver 21-15. The top three:
1. AIR FORCE (5-0-1)
2. OREGON STATE (5-2-0)
3. COLORADO (5-1-0)
TCU's Horned Frogs, going nowhere with their passing game until third-string Halfback Harry Moreland provided running support, jumped over Baylor 22-0 and into a first-place tie with idle Rice in the Southwest Conference.
SMU spotted Texas 10 points before Don Meredith tuned up his pitching arm to run down the Longhorns 26-10; Arkansas, soundly beaten six straight times, defied Texas A&M with a three-man line and made the shocking maneuver pay off with a 21-8 win over the air-minded Aggies.
Houston, jolted for two quick touchdowns by Tulsa, never could catch up and eventually bowed 25-20 for its first Missouri Valley Conference loss in three years. The top three:
1. RICE (4-2-0)
2. TCU (5-1-0)
3. SMU (3-3-0)
BACK OF THE WEEK: Quarterback George Izo, starting his first game, deftly directed Notre Dame's new wing-T attack, passed for three TDs to beat Navy 40-20.
COACH OF THE YEAR: TOAST OF THE MIDWEST is young Ara Parseghian, coach of the Northwestern Wildcats. Parseghian, whose team in 1957 lost all nine of its games, has masterminded 5-1 record, 21-0 upset conquest of the power-laden Ohio State Buckeyes.
LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Big, tough LSU Center Max Fugler led gang tacklers in goal line stand, constantly shot gaps to harass Mississippi backs in 14-0 victory.
NEW FACES OF THE WEEK: Princeton Tailback Hugh Scott (left) scored twice, caught one conversion pass as Tigers beat Brown 28-18; spunky Iowa Halfback Willie Fleming tallied on two electrifying runs in 37-14 victory over Michigan.
RED GRANGE PREDICTS
WISCONSIN VS. NORTHWESTERN
Northwestern has certainly been the surprise of the year but I don't think the Wildcats have the depth to stand up under their tough week-to-week Big Ten schedule. Quarterback Dale Hackbart and a big Badger line give the edge to WISCONSIN.
MINNESOTA VS. IOWA
Iowa's offensive variations, handled expertly by Quarterback Randy Duncan, will be too much for the poor Gophers. IOWA.
OHIO STATE VS. PURDUE
The Buckeyes can't seem to get moving offensively and their strong defense may not be able to contain Purdue's fast backs and line-busting Bob Jarus. PURDUE.
PITT VS. NOTRE DAME
No winner here because I'll be doing this NCAA telecast on NBC-TV, but it should be a dandy battle of quarterbacks as Pitt's Toncic and Kaliden match passes with Notre Dame's Izo and Williams.
PRINCETON VS. HARVARD
The Tigers are still in contention in the Ivy League while the Harvards slipped a notch against Penn. An even-up game, with a slight bulge to PRINCETON.
LSU VS. DUKE
A mob of good linemen and backs like Warren Rabb and Billy Cannon should keep the boys from the bayou unbeaten and untied on their way to the Sugar Bowl. LSU.
AUBURN VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE
Auburn has been cutting its margin mighty fine recently but I'll stick with the Tigers until some team finds a way to beat that big defense. State can't do it. AUBURN.
RICE VS. ARMY
A close one, but I doubt whether even an improving Rice club can tie up Army's Dawkins and Anderson long enough to win. ARMY.
SMU VS. TEXAS A&M
Don Meredith is back and the Mustangs are ready to kick up their heels again. The Aggies will find it difficult to defense against SMU's spread formations and Meredith's passing. SMU.
CALIFORNIA VS. UCLA
The only thing certain on the West Coast this year is that the unpredictable will happen. The Golden Bears need this one to stay within reach of the Rose Bowl, and Joe Kapp's superior passing should win for CALIFORNIA.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS:
6 RIGHT; 3 WRONG; 0 TIE
RECORD TO DATE: 41-20-3