The Alabama-Auburn game will not be a Southern-fried replay of Ohio State vs. Michigan after all. Florida saw to that by upsetting the unbeaten, fifth-ranked Tigers 25-14 before a record home crowd of 64,912.
Auburn's loss was every bit a team effort. When the offense fumbled for the first time this year inside the 50, the defense reciprocated by promptly allowing its first scoring pass, a seven-yarder from Don Gaffney to Lee McGriff. Fittingly, that touchdown put the Tigers behind—for the first time all season. "Florida," said Tiger Linebacker Ken Bernich, "just out-physicaled us." This was especially apparent in the Gators' running attack, which picked up 363 yards. Jimmy DuBose made 143 in 25 carries, and James Richards and Robert Morgan ran for two short touchdowns. David Posey, meanwhile, kicked field goals of 47 and 40 yards. The defense held Auburn scoreless in the second half. "My greatest win ever as the Florida coach," Doug Dickey exulted afterward. The Gators, beaten only by Vanderbilt, would like to face Alabama in a bowl game.
The Tide remained a leading candidate for a major invitation by thrashing the best Mississippi State team in years 35-0. Another record crowd, this one 59,069, cheered every minute of Alabama's 33rd consecutive victory at Denny Stadium. The game also marked the return to action of Quarterback Richard Todd, who had missed the previous three wins. Todd completed four of nine passes for 92 yards and ran two yards for a touchdown.
Charlie McClendon notched his 100th coaching victory as LSU pounded Mississippi 24-0. It was the fifth straight loss for the Rebels, who have not suffered this kind of embarrassment since 1944. All three Tiger touchdowns, including two by Halfback Brad Davis, came within 10 minutes of the third and fourth quarters.
Kentucky's defense stunned Tulane with three interception returns for touchdowns in a 30-7 victory. Greg Woods, Tony Gray and Mike Siganos were the culprits. The offensive punch came from Sonny Collins, who scored the game's first touchdown on a 66-yard blast around left end. Kentucky managed only two first downs in the second half, prompting Tulane's Bennie Ellender to say, "I thought our defense played the best game in some respects that it had all year." Unfortunately, the offense was playing its worst, in all respects.
Houston and Georgia, a couple of teams on the upswing, collided in Athens and the Cougars swung even higher, 31-24. It was Houston's fifth straight win and the Bulldogs' first loss in four games, even though they outgained the visitors 413 yards to 362. "The game was critical for both teams," said Houston Coach Bill Yeoman, with an eye on his team's bowl chances. "That makes me know we did a good job." The Cougars jumped to a two-touchdown lead in the first six minutes, fell into a 14-14 tie, then went ahead to stay after recovering a fumble at the Georgia seven.
Florida State's losing streak reached 20 games with a 42-14 loss to Memphis State. The Seminoles fell out of contention just before the half when Steve Cacciola blocked a field goal and rumbled 78 yards for a TD.
In an Atlantic Coast Conference game North Carolina trimmed Virginia 24-10. The Tar Heels' shuffling tailbacks, Mike Voight and Boom Boom Betterson, accounted for 239 yards, but the big play was a 44-yard touchdown pass from Chris Kupec to Jimmy Jerome. "Chris called that one at the line of scrimmage," Coach Bill Dooley said afterward. "We don't throw long much, but we'll do it anytime the defense tries to stack up against our tailbacks."
Duke and North Carolina State posted wins against independent opponents. The Blue Devils handed Georgia Tech its first shutout in 108 games, 9-0, and the Wolfpack defeated South Carolina 42-27. A key to Duke's victory was the booming punting of Bob Grupp, who averaged 44 yards on nine attempts. Stan Fritts gained 165 yards for N.C. State and scored two touchdowns. The Pack had lost its last two after six previous wins, while the Gamecocks had won two after five losses.
1. Alabama (8-0)
2. Florida (7-1)
3. Auburn (7-1)
Chief second-guesser of the Southern California Trojans this year has been Coach John McKay. Ever since USC was upset in its season opener by Arkansas, he has been muttering that those seers who predicted a national championship might have been breathing too deeply in freeway traffic. This week El Trojan was lucky to tie California 15-15, and McKay was even more vitriolic. "We stunk," he snapped hoarsely after Cal beat a 20-point spread. "We refused to play well. Cal deserved to win." The Golden Bears had, indeed, moved from their own 20 to the USC 17 in the last minute of play, but freshman Jim Breech's field-goal try from the 24 was off to the left with seven seconds remaining. How does this affect USC's Rose Bowl hopes? "We can't think in the future," McKay said. "We have no future. We are not as good as we thought we were."
If not forcibly restrained, UCLA and Washington will jump on each other at the drop of a referee's handkerchief. As evidence, some scores in recent years: UCLA 57, UW 14; UW 61, UCLA 20; and last year UCLA 62, UW 13. This explains why Washington Coach Jim Owens was calling timeouts in the final seconds, angling for yet another score with his Huskies leading 31-9. Sophomore Fullback Robin Earl rushed for 152 yards in 22 carries to help Washington dominate the game. "He has added about 20% efficiency to our offense," Owens said happily. "He keeps the linebackers frozen and that opens up all the other phasss of our game."
The Miners of Texas El Paso mucked out their first win after 17 consecutive losses to Arizona State by upsetting the Sun Devils 31-27. Arizona had been favored by as much as 42 points and had been proud of a defense that had allowed an average of just seven points per game. State lost five of six fumbles, two of which set up an early 16-7 UTEP lead on 31-, 25- and 51-yard field goals by Bronko Belichesky. The Devils put together an 86-yard drive just before halftime, and fast Freddie Williams went 85 yards for another score immediately after the kickoff, but that led only to overconfidence, which was shattered when UTEP's Bob McKinley belted over following a pair of sustained fourth-quarter drives.
After scoring two touchdowns in the first eight minutes, North Texas held on to overthrow San Diego State 14-9. Dave Deaton's 26-yard interception return and Vance Jackson's 25-yard reception of a Ken Washington pass gave North Texas the game.
Back in the Pacific Eight, Stanford's Indians scalped Oregon State 17-13 to tie for the conference lead, and Washington State beat Oregon 21-16.
Arizona was idle while Colorado State edged Wyoming by the bizarre score of 11-6 on the strength of three field goals of 47, 47 and 44 yards by Clark Kemble and a safety forced by Middle Guard Loren Mulkins.
1. USC (5-1-1)
2. Arizona (5-2)
3. Arizona State (5-2)
Texas scored its 33rd consecutive home-field victory, 35-15, by tattering Southern Methodist in a Southwest version of Buckle Down, Whindsocki. Two of the game's first three scores came after mini-punts caused by the flag-snapping wind. The first, a 10-yarder by Texas, resulted in a 49-yard Mustang field goal. Then in the second quarter with the 30-mph gusts in its face, SMU got off a wind-blunted 14-yard punt that led to a Longhorn TD. Texas Quarterback Marty Akins, running the triple option superbly, was the game's leading ground-gainer with 115 yards and also completed a touchdown pass, while losing a little face. He needed five stitches in a badly cut upper lip; it cost him his mustache.
Rice won its first game of the season by upsetting Texas Tech 21-7 and knocking the Red Raiders out of SWC title competition. The Raiders should have been forewarned. Rice has won only 11 games in the last three years, and eight of those have been in November. Owl Coach Al Conover, known for his psych techniques, tried something new. "I said and did nothing," he reports. Apparently it was enough to spook his team to a win.
Baylor beat TCU 21-7 and still has a prayer of winning the conference championship. Steve Beaird scored twice on runs of 12 and three yards, and Neal Jeffrey located Split End Alcy Jackson with a 20-yard pass for another in sending the Frogs down to their seventh straight defeat.
1. Texas A&M (6-1)
2. Texas (6-2)
3. Houston (6-2)
After Ohio State routed much-injured Illinois 49-7, the stadium's victory bell tolled 200 times, once for each of Coach Woody Hayes' career victories. And as the largest crowd in the horseshoe's history (87,813) rose to applaud, the Buckeyes presented Woody with a stained-glass window in which was formed the auspicious number. "'There are not many people who can comprehend how good this Buckeye team is until they study films," Illini Coach Bob Blackmail said. "They had scored 15 of the last 21 times they had the ball coming into our game, and had averaged 52 points in four Big Ten games. After a while it becomes humorous—in a perverted way—watching Ohio State score." Woody saw it differently. "We sure started out to see how lousy we could be," he complained, although finally placated by a 644-yard offense, an Ohio State record.
"You have to play your best football game ever, the other team has to play way below the way it can, and the crowd has to make noise like crazy, even cheering the other team's mistakes," Indiana's Lee Corso said. He was explaining the Hoosiers encompassing game plan for beating Michigan. Well, Indiana did all that was asked, and Michigan still won 21-7. But for the second time in three years the Wolverines barely escaped a trap. Michigan did not get its clinching touchdown until Gil Chapman skirted right end with 36 seconds remaining, and even then Indiana drove to the Wolverine 14 before the game ended. "Instead of assuming the other team is terrible, why not give them credit?" Michigan's Bo Schembechler said. "Indiana's offense is well conceived and it doesn't make mistakes."
Michigan State upset nationally ranked Wisconsin 28-21, forcing two second-half Badger fumbles to set up touchdowns. Linebacker Terry McClowry, who had already caused one of those fumbles, sewed up the game by intercepting a pass in Spartan territory with less than two minutes left. Earlier scrambling Quarterback Charley Baggett broke the 21-21 tie by capping a 65-yard march with a five-yard TD sweep.
Northwestern won its first victory at Minnesota in 12 years, 21-13, on Jimmy Pooler's two TDs and Jim Trimble's 151 yards rushing. Purdue smashed Iowa 38-14.
Coach Barry Switzer was running a 102° temperature at halftime, when his Sooners were holding a bare 7-0 margin over Iowa State. But by game's end Switzer's thermometer had receded to a more comfortable 100° with a 28-10 win. The Sooners, all in a fever to get out of the halftime locker room before Switzer could bite them, swallowed two Cyclone fumbles in the first two minutes of the second half and were on the way to recovery as they converted both into touchdowns.
Nebraska beat Colorado 31-15 for the seventh straight time. The Buffs last won at home in 1960. Although Buffalo Quarterback Dave Williams outpassed Dave Humm, 171 yards to 165, Humm set up most of the Cornhusker touchdowns. He hit four of four, including two critical third-down completions, in Nebraska's first-quarter touchdown drive. But, said Colorado Fullback Terry Kunz, "Nebraska is a good ball club. Oklahoma is an awesome ball club."
Oklahoma State Free Safety Darnell Meyers recovered two fumbles in the third quarter to preserve a 24-13 win over Kansas. Meyers' first recovery initiated a 74-yard drive that ended in Skip Taylor's end-run TD, and his second halted a 63-yard Jayhawk march.
Missouri Tailback Tony Galbreath, a late starter in the Tiger lineup, rushed 194 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (and caught three passes) to lead Mizzou to a 52-15 roasting of Kansas State.
Miami of Ohio clinched at least a tie for the Mid-American title by walloping Western Michigan 31-0. The 16th-ranked Redskins now have a 20-game unbeaten streak. Quarterback Sherman Smith led the way with two touchdowns, including a 55-yard romp around right end. Toledo kept its title hopes alive by dissipating Northern Illinois in a field-obscuring fog 44-14.
1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. Oklahoma (7-0)
3. Michigan (8-0)
Defensive Back Jeff Hite, who had been benched for two games, came back with two remarkable steals that gave Penn State a 24-17 victory over Maryland. First, Hite went 79 yards on an interception after anticipating a pass to the man in motion. Then he stepped between two Maryland backs to pick off a lateral on a kickoff return and went 21 yards to a touchdown. It was a wild game all around, especially the second quarter. Maryland Quarterback Bob Avellini opened that period by drilling a 34-yard touchdown pass to Walter White to tie the game 7-7. Then with just over four minutes remaining, Penn State opened up a 25-second burst of scoring when Quarterback Thorn Shuman connected with Dick Barvinchak. On the ensuing kickoff, Hite stole the lateral, after which Avellini retorted by locating White again with a 66-yard scoring pass on the first play from scrimmage.
Navy appeared headed for its second huge upset in another dismal service-academy season by leading stupendously favored Notre Dame 6-0 going into the fourth quarter at Philadelphia. Kickers Steve Dykes and John Stufflebeem had put Navy in that position—Dykes with 48- and 37-yard field goals and Stufflebeem with a 48-yard average on 11 punts, including one of 68 yards. Irish Quarterback. Tom Clements hit only five of 22 passes for a mere 59 yards, but he finally clicked to Pete Demmerle, who made a diving grab in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and Randy Harrison put it away with a 41-yard interception. "It's a win," Ara Parseghian said. "That's all that counts."
Temple whoo-oo? Cincinnati beat the 19th-ranked Owls 22-20 in the last 10 seconds to break a 14-game winning streak, second longest in the country. Dan Shepherd's third field goal of the contest, a 25-yarder, overcame a touchdown march that Temple put together in the last couple of minutes for a 20-19 lead. Owl field general Steve Joachim passed for 245 yards, but Cincinnati snared four interceptions and recovered three fumbles. Cincy Fullback Jay Bonds came through with a pair of touchdown dives.
Pitt won a chance for a very late Thanksgiving dinner by holding off Syracuse 21-13. Rumormongers have it that ABC-TV is considering asking Pitt and Penn State to reschedule their Nov. 23 game to Thanksgiving night if fan interest is high enough. But once-staid Syracuse—now willing to gamble on fourth-down fake punts, pitchout reverses and halfback passes—nearly kept the turkey on schedule.
Harvard stomped all over undefeated Penn 39-0 in a game that had been rated even before the kickoff. A rugged Crimson defense kept the supposedly explosive Quakers scoreless for the first time since 1971 as fortuitously named Halfback Tom Winn led a Harvard assault that collected 468 yards in total offense.
Yale, also undefeated, barely squeaked past Dartmouth 14-9, Brown beat Princeton 17-13 at home for the first time in 20 years and Cornell downed Columbia 24-0.
1. Penn State (7-1)
2. Pittsburgh (6-2)
3. Temple (6-1)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Ohio State's Archie Griffin gained an NCAA record 100 or more yards for the 18th consecutive game. Against Illinois the 5'10" back had 144 and two touchdowns, despite leaving the game in the third quarter.
DEFENSE: Mike Smith of Florida, a 6'4" 230-pound defensive end, dumped Auburn's quarterback three times and accounted for a total of nine unassisted tackles plus four assists, aiding the Gators in their 25-14 upset victory.