For better than 59 minutes, Rice's fired-up Owls showed they were singularly unimpressed by awesome Army. Their forwards treated Pete Dawkins and Bob Anderson like mere mortals, holding them to a combined gain of 19 yards, and the Owls were ready, even willing, to settle for a 7-7 tie. But with only 58 seconds remaining, Dawkins grabbed Quarterback Joe Caldwell's perfect middle-alley pass on the dead run and churned through the haze of humidity-drenched Rice Stadium to complete a 64-yard touchdown play for a 14-7 victory.
Meanwhile, back in the Southwest Conference, pass-happy SMU moved up to challenge first-place TCU and Rice. With Quarterback Don Meredith (see above) hale and hearty again after early-season miseries, the Mustangs pranced over Texas A&M 33-0. Texas, nearly pitched into oblivion by Baylor's Buddy Humphrey, pulled itself together to beat the Bears 20-15. TCU routed Marquette 36-8. The top three:
1. TCU (6-1-0)
2. RICE (4-3-0)
3. SMU (4-3-0)
Pittsburgh, with its early 15-0 lead scuttled by the pro-efficient passing of Notre Dame's George Izo (18 of 26 for 332 yards and two touchdowns), were all but beaten 26-22 with six minutes to play. But the Panthers went on the prowl and pulled out a 29-26 victory when Quarterback Bill Kaliden, rolling out behind a horde of crashing blockers, hustled over from the five-yard line with 11 seconds to go. Oldtimers agreed it was the greatest cliff hanger in the 35-year-history of Pitt Stadium.
Picking up the scent of Orange blossoms, Syracuse gave all hands a go at poor Boston U., rumbling past the futile Terriers 42-0 to move a step closer to a New Year's Day date in Miami.
Brown tied the Ivy League in a neat little knot, knocking Cornell from its lofty perch 12-8 and into a three-way deadlock with Princeton and Dartmouth. A hard-charging Bruin line rushed Cornell's Quarterback Tom Skypeck all afternoon and provided more than adequate protection for its own Quarterback Frank Finney, who passed for both Brown touchdowns. Among the other Ivies, Princeton called gambling Charlie Ravenel's bluffs to beat Harvard 16-14; Dartmouth hardly drew a deep breath while whipping Columbia 38-0; Penn set down Yale 30-6.
Navy found a crunching fullback in Joe Matalavage (see page 10) as the Middies beat Maryland 40-14; Quarterback Tommy Greene ran and passed Holy Cross to a 20-0 win over Colgate; unbeaten Rutgers outscored Lafayette 18-0. The top three:
1. ARMY (6-0-1)
2. SYRACUSE (6-1-0)
3. PITT (5-2-1)
The Big Ten, year in and year out the best matched group of teams in the nation, produced its champion earlier than usual when Iowa stormed by Minnesota 28-6 to win the title and a bid to the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Randy Duncan, with two scoring passes, and fleet-footed Halfback Willie Fleming, who romped 46 and 63 yards, put the icing on the cake for the jubilant Hawkeyes.
Relegated to the list of also-rans were Northwestern's surprising Wildcats, who gave it the good fight before bowing to Wisconsin 17-13, and Purdue, tied by Ohio State 14-14 when bruising Buckeye Tackle Jim Marshall (see page 7) scored twice. In other games, Indiana End Earl Faison ran a blocked field goal back 92 yards to beat Michigan State 6-0; Illinois' Rich Kreitling snared three scoring passes to defeat Michigan 21-8.
Oklahoma sputtered but finally overcame Iowa State 20-0; Missouri swamped Colorado 33-9. The top three:
1. IOWA (6-0-1)
2. OKLAHOMA (6-1-0)
3. WISCONSIN (5-1-1)
LSU and Auburn, the two best teams in the South, finally exploded with all their might. LSU, striking from all over the field, manhandled Duke 50-18, and Auburn, finding an offensive spark in sub Halfback Jim Pettus (see page 10), rolled over Mississippi State 33-14.
Mississippi, beaten by LSU the last time out, poured it on Houston 56-7, while bowl-conscious North Carolina, still on the upbeat, clobbered Virginia 42-0.
There were even cheers for the smaller schools. Unbeaten Mississippi Southern aimed its big guns at North Carolina State and brought down the Wolfpack 26-14; Sewanee downed Washington and Lee 12-0 to remain undefeated. Chattanooga turned on Tennessee 14-6 for the first time in 51 years, bringing a promise from Coach Scrappy Moore: "I'll live today the rest of my life."
Georgia Tech moved past ponderous Clemson 13-0; Florida edged Georgia 7-6; Vanderbilt tied Kentucky 0-0 for its third muddy deadlock; Tulane beat Alabama 13-7; Florida State downed hapless Miami 17-6. The top three:
1. LSU (8-0-0)
2. AUBURN (6-0-1)
3. MISSISSIPPI (7-1-0)
When asked for a résumé of football in the West as the season was nearing its end, Los Angeles Correspondent James Murray replied succinctly: "On the basis of today's play, we would rate the Air Force No. 1 in the West, followed loosely (and we use the word advisedly) by California, USC, Washington State, Oregon and, probably, Manual Arts High. (We are kidding. Actually Santa Monica High is better.) But it would be impossible to find 10 'top' teams on the Coast in this year of our Lord. The Ivy League looks ferocious by comparison."
But someone has to win, even on the West Coast, and last week it was California's turn to inch back into the PCC lead, beating UCLA 20-17, while Washington State upset Oregon State 7-0.
In other games USC defeated Washington 21-6; Oregon held off Stanford 12-0; Air Force squeaked by Denver 10-7. The top three:
1. AIR FORCE (6-0-1)
2. CALIFORNIA (5-3-0)
3. COLORADO (5-2-0)
BACK OF THE WEEK: SMU Quarterback Don Meredith, faking Texas A&M dizzy, twice tucked ball on hip and stole around end for TDs, passed for third in 33-0 win.
LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Ohio State Tackle Jim Marshall was like a fifth back, scoring on romps with blocked punt, intercepted pass in 14-14 draw with Purdue.
NEW FACES OF THE WEEK: Hard-running Navy Fullback Joe Matalavage (left) scored twice as Middies mauled Maryland 40-14; another sophomore, Auburn Halfback Jim Pettus, caught three TD passes in 33-14 win over Mississippi State.
TOP 10 SMALL COLLEGES
1. NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA (8-0)
2. ARIZONA ST. (FLAGSTAFF) (8-0)
3. WILLAMETTE (8-0)
4. ST. BENEDICT'S (9-0)
5. MISSOURI VALLEY (6-0)
6. GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS (8-0)
7. EAST TEXAS STATE (7-1)
8. KEARNEY STATE (9-0)
9. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (7-1)
10. LENOIR RHYNE (8-1)
RED GRANGE PREDICTS
CORNELL VS. DARTMOUTH
The winner will be in a good spot to grab a piece or all of the Ivy League title. A battle of defensive lines, and I think the Indians can hold the Big Red. DARTMOUTH.
YALE VS. PRINCETON
The Elis are having their troubles, and the Tigers, loaded with good tailbacks, will be out to keep their Ivy hopes alive in this NCAA regional telecast. I'll be working the game on NBC-TV, so no prediction.
IOWA VS. OHIO STATE
The Hawkeyes, with the Big Ten crown and a trip to Pasadena already in their pocket, may suffer a letdown, but not enough to open the gates for an offense-poor Ohio State team. IOWA.
PURDUE VS. NORTHWESTERN
Northwestern seems to have simmered down a little. Purdue, beaten only by Wisconsin, packs too much all-round power for the eager Wildcats. PURDUE.
OKLAHOMA VS. MISSOURI
Missouri, after surprising Colorado, will be shooting for the Big Eight crown and the Orange Bowl. But the Tigers must contend with a Sooner team which has been coming fast. I can't pick against OKLAHOMA.
NOTRE DAME VS. NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina has shown rapid improvement under Coach Jim Tatum but the Tar Heel defense will be under severe pressure when Notre Dame's George Izo begins to toss those long ones. On passing alone, it must be NOTRE DAME.
MISSISSIPPI STATE VS. LSU
The Tigers are still unbeaten and State doesn't have the means to stop them. Rabb's passing, Cannon's running and a great line spell victory for LSU.
AIR FORCE VS. WYOMING
The Air Force Falcons are flying high ahead of schedule and have too many good ballplayers for Wyoming. AIR FORCE.
RICE VS. TEXAS A&M
The Owls went down to the last minute before losing to Army. They'll have less trouble with Texas A&M. Even without a great passer, the winner must be RICE.
TCU VS. TEXAS
Texas hasn't been able to get un-tracked since upsetting Oklahoma. TCU has a lot of good backs and they will run all over the Long-horns. TCU.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS: 8 RIGHT; 0 WRONG; 1 TIE RECORD TO DATE: 49-20-4