Brigham Young has a fine team, to be sure, but the uncrowned champion of the Western Conference is Utah State, an independent that has defeated the Cougars and three other WAC members. The most recent victory was a 34-0 waltz past Utah in which Louie Giammona, the nation's leading rusher, gained 207 yards.
The country's No. 4 ballcarrier, Willard Harrell, scooted 147 yards as Pacific blasted Wyoming 50-14. Willard concludes his college career in ninth place on the NCAA's alltime ground-gaining list.
The best of the West's running backs, Anthony Davis, hit the 147-yard mark in Southern Cal's 42-11 victory over Washington. A.D. became the first player in Pacific Eight history to top 1,000 yards three straight years, and his two touchdowns extended his league career scoring mark to 47.
UCLA broke a 7-7 halftime deadlock to trounce Oregon State 33-14. The Bruins got 100-yard games from Eddie Ayers and Russel Charles to offset the passing of Alvin White, whose 27 completions and 342 yards set school records. "It was a shame to lose with White having that kind of day," said Beaver Coach Dee Andros.
A record-breaking performance was also turned in by Steve Bartkowski, who passed California to a 37-33 victory over Washington State. By completing 21 passes for 304 yards Bartkowski surpassed Craig Morton's school marks for single-season passing and total-offense yardage. The Cougars tried to do on the ground what Cal accomplished in the air, gaining 442 yards, but a fumble at the Cal two with 1:30 left cost them their best winning chance.
Stanford got offensive balance in a 17-0 victory over Oregon. Mike Cordova threw two scoring passes and Scott Laidlaw ran for 142 yards.
Arizona edged Air Force 27-24 while Arizona State lost its third straight, 35-14 to impressive North Carolina State. Dave Buckey hit 11 of 13 passes for the Wolfpack and Stan Fritts and Roland Hooks each scored twice. A rare fullback pass by Fritts produced another touchdown.
1. USC (7-1-1)
2. Arizona (7-2)
3. California (7-2-1)
The have-nots are beginning to have in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt—as unlikely a winning parlay as you'll find anywhere—all continued their surprising success. Alabama and Auburn, meanwhile, stayed on top, winning 28-7 over Miami and 17-13 over Georgia, respectively.
Kentucky clinched its first winning season since 1965 with a 17-point fourth-quarter blitz that downed Florida 41-24. ""When we had a 2-2 record," said Coach Fran Curci afterward, ""I thought we were headed for a disastrous season. Now we know that if we hang in there something good's gonna happen. This was probably the most important game in our modern football history. We really know how to win around here now."
Mississippi State's seventh victory equals its best total in 27 years. The Bulldogs had not beaten LSU since 1963, when another 7-6 outcome resulted from precisely the same circumstances: the Tigers missed a two-point pass with less than three minutes remaining.
Vanderbilt Coach Steve Sloan said he felt 100 years old after his team came from behind twice to beat Tulane 30-22, making this the first time since 1955 the Commodores have won more than five games.
The only unusual thing about Alabama's victory was the Orange Bowl crowd of 26,265, the smallest ever to watch a Tide team under Bryant. Two goal-line stands, the second with just over three minutes remaining, keyed Auburn's triumph. Quarterback Phil Gargis rushed for 160 yards and one touchdown and Secdrick McIntyre had 112 and the other TD. Tennessee won its first SEC game with a 29-17 victory over Mississippi.
Virginia Tech ended Florida State's one-game winning streak 56-21 while Wake Forest, which succeeded the Seminoles as the nation's most consistent loser, fell 34-21 to South Carolina. Georgia Tech evened its record at 5-5 by topping Navy 22-0.
Maryland clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference title by pummeling Duke 56-13. Bob Avellini completed 10 of 11 passes and Walter White scored three touchdowns. North Carolina outscored Army 56-42 as Chris Kupec passed and ran for five TDs.
1. Alabama (10-0)
2. Auburn (9-1)
3. Maryland (7-3)
"You've already made me gray," Ara Parseghian told his Notre Dame team after the Irish pulled another one out, this time against Pittsburgh, "now you're trying to make me bald-headed." Tom Clements scored the winning touchdown in the 14-10 victory, crashing over from the three with 2:49 remaining. The outcome was not secured, however, until Defensive Backs Reggie Barnett and Randy Harrison batted away two Panther pass attempts in the final minute. Tackle Mike Fanning and End Steve Niehaus led a defensive charge that held Tony Dorsett to 61 yards.
Michigan nailed down a tie for the Big Ten championship with its finest effort of the year, a 51-0 trouncing of Purdue. The Wolverines amassed 581 yards to the Boilermakers' 185, with Gordie Bell running for 166 and Dennis Franklin passing for 149.
Ohio State prepped for The Showdown by pulling away from stubborn Iowa in the second half for a 35-10 victory. Champ Hen-son scored three touchdowns and Archie Griffin gained 175 yards in 23 carries. "We knew that either Griffin or Henson would carry," Hawkeye Coach Bob Commings said. "We knew what kind of play it would be. We stacked the defense to stop them but we just couldn't do it."
Rich Baes rushed for 159 yards and Quarterback Charley Baggett gained 151 as Michigan State overcame Indiana 19-10. The Big Ten's best rushing performance, however, was turned in by Bill Marek, who totaled four TDs and 230 yards as Wisconsin ripped Northwestern 52-7. Illinois got its first victory over Minnesota since 1964, 17-14, when Jeff Hollenbach completed his fifth consecutive pass in an 87-yard scoring drive with 45 seconds left. The 25-yard touchdown strike went to Marty Friel.
Kansas outnumbered Oklahoma at the pregame coin toss 18-4, then struck for a touchdown on the third play of the game, but still lost 45-14. The Sooners' final score came on a pass with six seconds left. "It was just egotistical on their part," said Jayhawk Linebacker Steve Towle. "They were doing it for their national ranking." Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer agreed. "We had to have it to stay on top," he said.
Nebraska blasted Big Eight doormat Kansas State 35-7 behind David Humm's two touchdown passes and Missouri teat Iowa State 10-7 on Tim Gibbons' 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Colorado, in the words of Coach Bill Mallory, "lined up and knocked them out of there," upsetting Oklahoma State 37-20.
Miami of Ohio completed its second straight unbeaten season by smothering Cincinnati 27-7. Kent State pounded Toledo 35-14 as Larry Poole's three touchdowns rushing gave him a career conference record 36, and Tulsa concluded an unbeaten season against Missouri Valley opponents with a 52-14 romp over Drake. Jeb Blount completed five touchdown passes, four to Steve Largent, who caught five altogether.
1. Oklahoma (9-0)
2. Michigan (10-0)
3. Ohio State (9-1)
The good news is that Texas Christian had its best scoring day of the season against Texas: 16 points. The bad news is that the Longhorns had one of the best scoring day in the history of the Southwest Conference: 81 points.
After it was over TCU Coach Jim Shofner was regretful, Darrell Royal was embarrassed and one flogged Hornfrog was saying, "It was like climbing uphill with no arms and no legs."
"They weren't trying to run up the score," Shofner said. "There was nothing we could do to hold it down. I should apologize to Darrell because we should be able to compete better than that." And Royal said, "I don't like to score 81 points, but I think it would have been more of a slam to punt on first downs." The regulars came out in the first half when the Longhorns rolled up 52 points, three on a school-record 56-yard field goal by Mike Dean.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M and Baylor maintained their holding pattern at the top of the standings. Bubba Bean gained 138 yards and scored twice as the Aggies whipped Rice 37-7. An interception and two fumbles led to three A&M scores within 4½ minutes of the second quarter. Rice was pitiful on offense, completing only nine of 34 passes for 50 yards. "It wasn't their defense," said Owl Coach Al Conover. "That doesn't have anything to do with the way the ball goes through the air."
Baylor came from behind in the fourth quarter for the fifth time this year to defeat Texas Tech 17-10 and guarantee its first winning season since 1963. Pat McNeil's 20-yard run with 4:51 remaining provided the victory, while Steve Beaird rushed for 92 yards to set a single-season school record of 837. "You've got to give Baylor credit," Tech Coach Jim Carlen said. "They're a good team. I don't think we played badly at all."
Arkansas tied SMU 24-24 and Houston overcame five fumbles to edge Memphis State 13-10 on Marshall Johnson's fourth-quarter touchdown.
1. Texas A&M (8-2)
2. Houston (7-2)
3. Baylor (6-3)
Powerful running by Rudy Green and stifling defense by the nation's least-scored-upon team led unbeaten Yale to a 19-6 victory over Princeton. Coupled with Brown's 10-7 upset of Harvard, the win gave the Elis at least a share of the Ivy League title. Green scored twice and gained 138 yards as he and his senior teammates won for the 16th time in 17 home games. Linebacker John Smoot smote Tiger backs all afternoon. Brown's third straight victory was Harvard's first league loss, as a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Kevin Slattery provided the difference. In other Ivy games Dartmouth downed Cornell 21-9 and Pennsylvania beat Columbia 21-3.
Penn State overpowered Ohio 35-16 as Tom Donchez scored three touchdowns and Boston College blasted Syracuse 45-0, the Orange's worst loss in 26 years. Keith Barnette had 196 yards and three touchdowns. Steve Joachim's passing and play-calling riddled West Virginia in a 35-21 Temple victory. Rutgers edged Boston University 6-0, and John Provost's 26th career interception—second-best on the alltime list—helped Holy Cross down Villanova 10-6.
Williams secured its fourth straight Little Three title by defeating Amherst 17-14, and Vermont, lost 41-15 to American International in what may have been the last game of its 77-year football history.
1. Penn State (8-2)
2. Pittsburgh (7-3)
3. Temple (7-2)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: California's senior Quarterback Steve Bartkowski showed Washington State the form that has made him the Pacific Eight's top passer and a likely first-round draft choice by completing 21 of his 30 attempts for 304 yards.
DEFENSE: Michigan ranks first nationally in rushing defense and second in scoring defense because of players like Roverback Don Dufek, whose nine tackles helped the Wolverines blank Purdue and allow only 68 yards on the ground.