It was the last game in the long, historic series between Alabama and Georgia, a game being discontinued because of the old Bear Bryant-Wally Butts-Saturday Evening Post controversy of 1963. Fittingly enough, when all of the excitement was over in Athens, Ga. last Saturday there was another controversy that Alabama and Bryant will not soon forget. With just two minutes remaining in the game and heavily favored Alabama clinging to a 17-10 lead, only recently earned, the Bulldogs pulled off a succession of miracles—and seemingly a piece of sleight of hand—that left 41,500 spectators in utter shock. Georgia thumbed back into the pages of football's razzle-dazzle days and spun off a 73-yard pass-lateral-run play for a touchdown, then went for a two-point conversion try and made it, and one of the nation's mightiest teams fell 18-17 in the very first full week of college play.
With just 3:14 left the climax unfolded in genuinely dramatic fashion. Alabama drove behind Quarterback Steve Sloan for 74 yards and a go-ahead touchdown that looked as secure as Bryant's job. And in that moment Sloan, despite a skittery start, appeared to merit the words Bryant had spoken of him earlier. Said Bear, "He's the best quarterback I've coached." That meant he was better than $400,000 Joe Namath, among others. But, if Sloan were that good, the question was soon to arise as to the worth of Georgia sophomore Kirby Moore.
On the first play after the kickoff Moore, from his own 27, threw a pass out to End Pat Hodgson on the 35. Hodgson caught the ball and flipped a lateral to Halfback Bob Taylor almost in the same motion. He moved so fast that no official was able to detect what a sequence camera later showed—Hodgson's knee on the ground while he had possession of the ball. The play should have been dead on the 35. Instead, Taylor raced untouched down the sideline for the touchdown. A place kick would have tied Alabama and most Georgians would have been delirious at that prospect. But not Coach Vince Dooley, a 33-year-old former Auburn assistant who guided Georgia to a surprising 7-3-1 record last year. Dooley wanted all or nothing. So on the conversion try the Bulldogs lined up in their customary wing T, and Moore calmly tossed a pass into the end zone where Hodgson—him again—grabbed it as Bryant and the usually fierce Alabama defenders stood appalled at the brashness of it all.
Dooley later credited the pass-lateral-run play to Georgia Tech. "Four years ago Tech used it on us when I was at Auburn, and I thank them very much. We practiced it for two weeks, but I thought it would be 1980 before I'd have the nerve to call it in a game."
Bryant tried to warn his loyal followers during the week that Alabama might have trouble, but Bryant is always cautious, and no one was really prepared to believe him. While Bear had been happy with Sloan, he insisted this was his worst team in eight years—too young, too light (the defensive line averaged under 200) and poor in its workouts.
Early in the game Alabama looked almost as bad as Bryant had said it could be. Georgia got off to a 10-0 lead on a field goal and a 55-yard intercepted pass for a touchdown by Tackle George Patton, but Alabama managed to fight back on the strength of typical Tide stunts—a couple of fumble recoveries deep in Georgia territory. It was to Steve Sloan's credit, and Alabama's, that the team could rally for the drive and late touchdown that would have won on any normal afternoon.
But nothing was normal last week in Athens, except Bear Bryant's first reaction on seeing the play that may have cost him the national championship. "The officials," he said without rancor, "are paid to make the call."
1. FLORIDA (1-0)
2. KENTUCKY (1-0)
3. ALABAMA (0-1)
The new look of LSU'S offense last week was penalties—lots of them for illegal shifting. Coach Charley McClendon's Tigers perforce fell back on the old reliable defense to stave off Texas A&M 10-0. The difference between the two: Doug Moreau's 46-yard field goal and a blocked punt.
If LSU was unimpressive against one Southwest opponent, two other Deep South teams were mortally embarrassed by SWC teams, BAYLOR'S Terry Southall passed Auburn dizzy for a 14-8 upset. And poor SMU, which won only one game a year ago, journeyed to Miami and upset the Hurricanes 7-3. Quarterback Mac White, recuperated from last season's injuries, scored, and the SMU defense chased three Miami quarterbacks amid a chorus of local boos.
Army opened away from home for the first time in 76 years—and should not have. TENNESSEE discovered a passer in Charlie Fulton, who threw for two touchdowns in the 21-0 victory. Powerful MICHIGAN had troubles, too, but it survived North Carolina and 86° heat to win 31-24, as Halfback Jim Detwiler got two touchdowns before he reinjured a knee and was benched.
Georgia Tech needed a 78-yard punt return by sophomore Jimmy Brown to get away with a disappointing 10-10 tie with light regarded VANDERBILT. Quterback Bob Kerr's passes earned Vanderbilt the tie in the second half, OLE MISS looked as Ole Miss should against Memphis State, shaking off an 0-7 deficit to win 34-14.
Aside from the Georgia-Alabama game, the next most important battle in the South was waged at Charlottesville, Va. where DUKE capitalized on two breaks to defeat Virginia 21-7.
1. PENN STATE (0-0)
2. SYRACUSE (1-0)
3. BOSTON COLLEGE (1-0)
Late last Friday afternoon SYRACUSE Coach Ben Schwartzwalder was toying with Xs and Os in a Bowie, Md. coffee shop. "Navy deploys all over the lot and likes to throw the football," he explained. "They'll try to get five quick receivers out against you, and there is just no way you can cover them with an Okie or loose six. Your linebackers can't get to them fast enough. So, we'll go after Navy with a 5-3." Next day, in Navy's steaming (90°) Memorial Stadium, Schwartzwalder's strategy proved refreshingly correct. Just as he figured, the Middies threw the ball—21 times, in fact. But Syracuse deep defenders Charley Brown, Terry Roe and George Fair and Linebacker Roger Smith covered Navy's "quick receivers" so well that they picked off five passes. On defense, Navy stunted, looped, gapped and blitzed, always keying on Floyd Little, the Orange's splendid halfback, and generally forgetting Quarterback Ted Holman. Holman rolled out six yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, then picked up a bob-bled snap, found he was too late to ride Fullback Ron Oyer off tackle and, instead, slipped through the open middle and ran 10 yards for another score in the last period. That gave Syracuse the game 14-6.
Oregon had a couple of surprises ready for Pitt. The first was a straight T with ends split out. The second was Tom Trovato, a slick junior college transfer who came in to quarterback the Webfoots in the second half and almost immediately took them in for two touchdowns. He passed eight yards to sophomore Scott Cress for one score, then pitched out to Cress, who ran six yards to put Oregon ahead 17-7. Even so, Pitt nearly won. Halfback Bob Dyer's pass to Mitch Zalnasky and two-point pitch to Eric Crabtree got the Panthers up to 17-15, but an end-zone interception stopped the Panthers with five minutes to go.
One thing BOSTON COLLEGE'S clever Coach Jim Miller likes to do is hit an unsuspecting opponent with an early bomb. Against Buffalo, on the very first play, Quarterback Ed Foley threw a 38-yard pass to sophomore Paul Della Villa, and pretty soon the Eagles had a touchdown. After that, bigger BC rode herd on the Bulls, winning 18-6. Villanova got caught in the blast by TOLEDO'S young Rockets. Sophomore Jim Hauser ran 15 yards, Bob Buchs kicked a 27-yard field goal and Toledo won 9-7.
Colgate overwhelmed Lafayette 40-0 but Massachusetts was upset by MAINE 10-8.
1. NEBRASKA (1-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (1-0)
3. MICHIGAN (1-0)
If anyone needs to be convinced that NEBRASKA is No. 1, speak to TCU's Abe Martin. The Huskers made him a believer when they shucked off his Frogs 34-14. Quarterback Bob Churchich and Split End Freeman White, who teamed up for two touchdown passes, were the most persuasive Nebraskans, but there were others, such as Halfback Ron Kirkland and little Fullback Frankie Solich, who ran for 137 yards. "Until I see someone better," said Martin, "Nebraska deserves its rating."
Before Missouri met KENTUCKY, Coach Dan Devine predicted, "We're going to have to scratch for every inch we get." Unfortunately, the Tigers missed a couple of important inches in the fourth quarter when Halfback Johnny Roland fumbled going into the end zone. Earlier, Kentucky's Rick Norton threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Halfback Larry Seiple and that gave the Wildcats a 7-0 victory.
It was a fine opening day for some Big Ten teams, PURDUE lit into Miami of Ohio with Bob Griese's good passing and shelled the Redskins 38-0. MICHIGAN STATE'S Hawaiian imports, sophomore Fullback Bob Apisa and barefoot kicker Dick Kenney, defeated UCLA for the Spartans 13-3. INDIANA got off to a good start under new Coach John Pont, beating Kansas State 19-7.
But there were Big Ten casualties, too. Illinois, leading OREGON STATE 10-6 with three minutes to go, lost 12-10 when sophomore Clayton Calhoun caught Paul Brothers' deflected pass in the end zone, WASHINGTON STATE beat Iowa 7-0 on Tom Roth's 20-yard pass to Rich Sheron in the last minute. Northwestern was no match for strong FLORIDA. Quarterback Steve Spurrier passed for one touchdown and scored another as the Gators won 24-14. And COLORADO held WISCONSIN to a scoreless tie.
Bowling green, the Mid-American favorite, needed time to get going against Los Angeles State, but won finally 21-0.
1. TEXAS (1-0)
2. ARKANSAS (1-0)
3. BAYLOR (1-0)
Hurricane Betsy, in chasing the TEXAS-TU-lane game out of New Orleans and into Austin, at least spared most Green Wave rooters the unhappy sight of their heroes being trampled. Led by Linebacker Tommy Nobis, the Longhorns held Tulane to a mere 18 yards rushing, while a mob of accomplished players—Quarterback Marv Kristynik, Fullback Tom Stockton and sophomore Halfback Linus Baer were the most effective—rang up four touchdowns as Texas won 31-0.
Kansas was luckier than Tulane. It suffered at the hands of Texas Tech for only three quarters. Tom Wilson had passed the Jayhawks silly, Donny Anderson had run them ragged and Tech was leading 26-7 with 14:04 to go in the fourth quarter, when tornado-warning sirens began to wail and the public-address announcer told everyone to take cover. Kansas Coach Jack Mitchell knew when he had had enough and asked the officials to call the game. They did. Happily the tornado missed Lubbock, and the only wreck left was Kansas.
Arkansas, it was said, had a quarterback problem. It does not any longer. Jon Brittenum stepped in against Oklahoma State to relieve Coach Frank Broyles of that little annoyance. He completed nine passes for 100 yards and one score, ran eight and 15 yards for two more and contributed a crushing downfield block to help Wingback Harry Jones get away on a 50-yard touchdown dash. With that kind of help, the Hogs beat State 28-14.
Mississippi State, unawed by Houston's Astrodome, decorated its dressing room wall with a sign that read, "We are the Bulldogs. Let's show them we are the eighth wonder of the world." Then, while the rains splattered down on the bubble top, Marcus Rhoden, a 9.5 sprinter, ran a punt back 89 yards, and State went on to rout Houston 36-0. "I've never had a clearer path to glory," said Rhoden modestly.
For a while Louisiana Tech's Billy Laird had RICE in a tizzy. He completed 16 of 23 passes, and the Owls were finding it hard to get the ball. But they managed to score in the second quarter and again in the last seconds to beat the stubborn Bulldogs 14-0.
1. USC (0-0-1)
2. STANFORD (1-0)
3. WASHINGTON (1-0)
Right from the start it was use's Mike Garrett against MINNESOTA'S John Hankinson—the classic runner against the superb passer—in Los Angeles' Memorial Coliseum. Garrett ran, darted, dodged and squirmed for 146 yards, caught four passes and scored twice. Hankinson completed 17 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown and ran the ball over twice himself. The result: a 20-20 tie. "When you see a better one than Garrett," said Minnesota's Murray Warmath, "you've seen something." USC's Johnny McKay was high on Hankinson, too. "We rushed him with four men, we shot backers, we did everything," he said.
Once NOTRE DAME got going against California, it was like trying to round up a herd of buffalo with Shetland ponies. Senior Quarterback Bill Zloch did not even try to imitate John Huarte, but instead ran for two touchdowns. Nick Eddy and Bill Wolski slashed the embattled Cal line brutally, Nick Rassas intercepted three passes and returned a kick 65 yards, and the big Irish linemen stopped everybody. Notre Dame won 48-6 and looked almost good enough to be national champions. But Cal's Ray Willsey did not see it quite that way. "Notre Dame is not that good," he fumed. "We just played bad."
Stanford had an easy time with San Jose State, drubbing the Spartans 26-6 as Quarterback Dave Lewis threw two touchdown passes. But WASHINGTON, a notoriously slow starter, almost did not make it past Idaho. Quarterback Tod Hullin's 26-yard pass to End Dave Williams with 2:43 to go barely bailed out the somnolent Huskies 14-9.
It is now clear that any other team in the Western AC with title aspirations will have to beat WYOMING. Despite 10 inches of snow on the plains of Laramie and the 30° temperature, the Cowboys were as hot as a prairie fire against Air Force. Passing sparingly, they turned loose Quarterbacks Tom Wilkinson and Rick Egloff and a horde of other spectacular runners against the Falcons and whipped them 31-14.
Arizona gave signs that it could be the team to challenge Wyoming. The Wildcats, behind Utah 9-0 at half time, suddenly came alive. They turned a 19-yard pass interception by Woody King, a safety and a 60-yard drive into a 16-9 victory.
The college game got off to one of its most bizarre starts last week. Purdue won a game shortened by intense heat. Texas Tech won another shortened by threatening tornadoes. Air Force and Wyoming played their game to the end—in snow. Even where the weather was clement, there were surprises—including a trend toward high scoring and fancy passing. And the old crash of upsets claimed USC, tied by Minnesota, and—most astonishing—Alabama, tripped by Georgia and a questionable touchdown play (right).
The controversial 73-yard forward pass-lateral pass-and-run play that shocked Alabama into an 18-17 upset unravels in the above sequence. Georgia Quarterback Kirby Moore passes (1) to End Pat Hodgson (2). Hodgson's knee touches the ground as he makes the catch (3) and, in a quick reflex, he laterals (4) past defender Frank Canterbury to Halfback Bob Taylor (5). Taylor, in the clear, takes the lateral and begins his sprint (6) to the touchdown that, deservedly or otherwise, defeated Alabama.
BACK OF THE WEEK: Texas Western sophomore Quarterback Billy Stevens hit 21 of 35 passes for 500 yards, breaking Jerry Rhome's NCAA record. Three went for touchdowns in a 61-15 win over North Texas State.
LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Jimmy Keyes, Ole Miss sophomore middle guard, personally outscored Memphis State 16-14. He kicked two field goals, four extra points and intercepted a State pass for a 36-yard touchdown run.
The 15 hardest picks
NOTRE DAME OVER PURDUE
But Griese's good passing will worry the Irish.
INDIANA OVER NORTHWESTERN
Indiana is better organized under new Coach John Pont.
MISSOURI OVER OKLAHOMA STATE
The tough Cowboys, however, will not yield easily.
ARIZONA OVER KANSAS
Arizona's youngsters have matured in a hurry.
KENTUCKY OVER MISSISSIPPI
Kentucky's go-go game will be too much for Ole Miss.
TENNESSEE OVER AUBURN
The eager Vols are quite ready for Auburn's tough defense.
FLORIDA OVER MISSISSIPPI STATE
The Gators are loaded with talent. State has less.
PENN STATE OVER MICHIGAN STATE
The Lions have a knack for beating Big Ten teams.
SYRACUSE OVER MIAMI (FLA.)
Syracuse has more muscle in the right places.
OKLAHOMA OVER PITT
There are just too many Sooners for Pitt's skimpy forces.
BOSTON COLLEGE OVER VILLANOVA
BC is bigger and faster in the line.
ARKANSAS OVER TULSA
Tulsa's game is passing, but the Hogs have better runners.
WASHINGTON OVER BAYLOR
The Husky defense is more exacting than Baylor's offense.
IOWA OVER OREGON STATE
With better support. Snook will outdo State's Brothers.
OREGON OVER UTAH
Both teams like to play on the ground. Oregon is better at it.
LAST WEEK'S PREDICTIONS
6 RIGHT, 7 WRONG, 2 TIES