Suddenly there was a jam at the top of the Big Eight again. Nebraska, which the week before had taken sole possession of the lead, was upended by Iowa State 37-28. Sharing first place with the Huskers were Oklahoma,' Colorado, Oklahoma State and Iowa State, which has never won a league championship but which now has an 8-2 record, the best of any team in the conference.
The Cyclones' chances against the Huskers seemed to dwindle when Quarterback Wayne Stanley hurt his knee just before half-time, but Buddy Hardeman took over and ran for 93 yards. Iowa State, a 52-0 loser at Nebraska a year ago, allowed just 77 yards rushing, while Cyclone backs galloped for 321. Split End Luther Blue further enlivened the Cyclone attack by dashing 95 yards with a kickoff for a touchdown. State's defenders were relentless, forcing eight fumbles and pouncing on six of them. Nose Guard Maynard Stensrud made nine tackles, recovered one fumble and provoked two others.
Oklahoma outlasted Missouri 27-20, Halfback Horace Ivory running for 159 yards, Fullback Kenny King for 128 and Quarterback Thomas Lott for 126. With the Tigers trailing 27-10 at the start of the fourth period, Steve Pisarkiewicz came off the bench to complete 12 of 23 passes for 193 yards. But 6'5", 200-pound Linebacker Daryl Hunt forced him to rush one pass that was intercepted and later sacked Pisarkiewicz for a 10-yard loss. Hunt also caused two fumbles.
Kansas turned the ball over 10 times as Colorado prevailed 40-17. Running Back Tony Reed of the Buffaloes ran for 168 yards. Oklahoma State clobbered Kansas State 45-21 as Halfback Terry Miller scored 30 points.
Ohio State and Michigan geared up for this week's Big Ten showdown by notching victories. The Buckeyes struggled past Minnesota 9-3, picking up just four first downs and 42 yards in the second half. Quarterback Jim Pacenta set up the game's only touchdown by passing for 51 yards during a 73-yard drive in the second period. Minnesota's Tony Dungy passed for 201 yards and directed five second-half drives into Buckeye territory, but the State defenders did not yield a touchdown.
Running Back Rob Lytle became Michigan's alltime rushing leader (3,085 yards), picking up 89 yards and scoring three times in a 38-7 walloping of Illinois.
Purdue blanked Iowa 21-0. Indiana overcame a 14-0 deficit to nip Wisconsin 15-14 on a late touchdown run by Ric Enis and a two-point conversion run by Tim McVay, son of the New York Giant coach. Northwestern shocked Michigan State 42-21 after being down 21-20 going into the last quarter.
Notre Dame gained 484 yards and Alabama 401, with the Irish scoring all their points in the second period and then hanging on for a 21-18 verdict. Irish freshman Vagas Ferguson ran for 107 yards and Rick Slager completed 15 of 23 passes for 235 yards. Jeff Rutledge of the Tide hit on 13 of 24 attempts for 207 yards.
Western Michigan upset first-place Ball State 24-10 in a Mid-American clash. Also jolted was Northern Michigan, which had its 18-game winning streak snapped by Grand Valley State 31-14.
The Minnesota-Duluth at Michigan Tech game and the NCAA Division II rushing title were decided in the last two seconds. That's when Duluth intercepted a pass in its end zone to seal a 21-14 victory. On the game's final play, Ted McKnight of the Bulldogs, who needed one yard to beat Tech's Jim VanWagner out of a third straight rushing crown, bolted 28 yards. That gave McKnight a season total of 1,488 yards.
1. MICHIGAN (9-1)
2. OHIO STATE (8-1-1)
3. IOWA STATE (8-2)
"I can only take so much," said Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett. "Then emotion takes over." Dorsett's emotions were aroused by what he labeled "dirty play" by West Virginia. Convinced that a Mountaineer tackier tried to spear him while he was down, Dorsett threw a flurry of punches, an outburst that resulted in his being banished from the game with 22 seconds to go. By then he had done more than enough damage with his feet to ensure Pitt's 24-16 win, having rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Matt Cavanaugh added 124 yards in 19 carries, but the Panthers, who had taken over the top spot in the polls for the first time since 1937, kept the game reasonably close by fumbling eight times.
Both Navy and Army went to the air to register impressive victories. Bob (Alphabet Soup) Leszczynski completed 14 of 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns as the Middies toppled Georgia Tech 34-28. Leamon Hall was on target with 14 of 31 attempts for 195 yards and three TDs as the Cadets handed Colgate its first loss 29-13.
Brown and Yale wound up their seasons tied for the Ivy League title. It was the first time the Bruins had finished atop the league since it was established in 1956, but to do so they had to overcome a 17-7 halftime deficit at Columbia. Brown won 28-17 as Quarterback Paul Michalko and Halfback Billy Hill each ran for two touchdowns. Yale also had to come from behind to beat Harvard. Halfback John Pagliaro gained 94 of his 128 yards in the second half as the Elis, down 7-0, won 21-7. Cornell bopped Penn 31-13 and Dartmouth pummeled Princeton 33-7.
Syracuse and Temple both took early 14-0 leads. The Orangemen came up black and blue, though, as Boston College rallied for a 28-14 decision. But the Owls gave their fans cause to cheer as they kept adding points and downed Dayton 35-6. Cheering was something that was noticeably absent at Temple, especially several weeks ago when only a handful of students attended a pep rally before the Penn State game. Undismayed by that lack of school spirit. Temple Coach Wayne Hardin had his players do the cheer-leading. "We've been doing it every day after practice," Hardin said.
East Stroudsburg (Pa.) State, with Tailback Pete Radocha's 184 yards, stomped on Morgan State 23-0 to extend its winning streak to 19 games, the longest in the NCAA.
1. PITTSBURGH (10-0)
2. RUTGERS (10-0)
3. PENN STATE (7-3)
Wyoming got an early Christmas present. By rallying for a 14-10 victory at Texas-El Paso, the Cowboys assured themselves of at least a share of the Western AC title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl. Wyoming's dream of a warm Christmas in Arizona was nearly snuffed out by five inches of snow and by the stubborn Miners, who led 10-7 in the fourth quarter. But Quarterback Marc Cousins, who had run 50 yards for a touchdown in the second period, scored the winner on a three-yard keeper in the fourth. Still, it remained for the defense to thwart a final effort by the Miners, who drove to the Cowboys' 12-yard line in the waning moments.
The passing of Gifford Nielsen propelled Brigham Young past New Mexico 21-8. Nielsen, the major-college passing-yardage leader, completed 17 of 35 throws for 288 yards and three touchdowns. That left him with 2,777 yards and 26 touchdown passes, both tops in the nation and WAC records. Laboring in a losing cause for New Mexico was Fullback Mike Williams, who ran for 126 yards in 25 carries to bring his total rushing yardage to 947 for the season.
"Our exhibition season is over now," said USC Coach John Robinson after disposing of Washington 20-3. That set up this Saturday's all-or-nothing contest against UCLA, which defeated Oregon State 45-14, with the winner nailing down the Pac 8 championship and a berth come this January in the Rose Bowl.
Trojan Tailback Ricky Bell, no longer bothered by a hip pointer, was slowed down by a sore left ankle and gained only 21 yards in a dozen runs. That, though, was enough to move him past O. J. Simpson and into the No. 2 spot on the alltime conference rushing list behind Anthony Davis. Bell now has a career total of 3,431 yards. USC fans got a scare when Quarterback Vince Evans, forced to scramble late in the third quarter, was creamed by Outside Linebacker Stan Walderhaug. Walderhaug and Evans careened across the sideline stripe and crashed into a platform built for the official timer. Evans was knocked out but was otherwise unhurt and will be ready for the Bruins.
UCLA Tailback Wendell Tyler, however, was not as fortunate. Tyler, who broke loose for a 68-yard scoring run on the third play of the game and who brought his career rushing-yardage total over the 3,000-yard mark, suffered a badly bruised shoulder that might sideline him for the USC contest.
Quarterback Guy Benjamin and Wide Receiver Tony Hill teamed up on a pair of first-period touchdown passes as Stanford stopped Oregon 28-17 in another Pac 8 battle. California held a 23-0 edge in the third quarter before Cougar Quarterback Jack Thompson connected on three touchdown passes and on a pair of two-point conversions. After narrowing the deficit to 23-22 with 13 seconds left, Thompson missed on a try for yet another two-point pass.
San Jose State locked up the Pacific Coast AA title by defeating Pacific 50-30. Independent San Diego State brought its record to 8-1 with a 7-6 squeaker over Utah State, Safety Herman Edwards setting up the Aztec touchdown with a 21-yard runback of an interception and by batting down an Aggie pass for a two-point conversion.
1. UCLA (9-0-1)
2. USC (8-1)
3. WYOMING (8-2)
Revenge at the Rock was not the name of a second-rate movie; it was the goal of Texas A&M when it faced Arkansas at Little Rock. A year ago the Aggies went to the Rock with a 10-0 record and visions of No. 1 dancing inside their helmets. They were humiliated 31-6. This time they came to the Rock with two losses. The Aggies also came with David Walker, a left-handed quarterback who had helped them score 127 points in their last three games, all wins. Arkansas took a 3-0 lead, but then the Aggies got their revenge as Walker set up one touchdown with a 41-yard pass and drove the team 80 yards for another score. Halfback Curtis Dickey completed a 39-yard pass to Split End Randy Teate for yet another six-pointer. A&M zoomed in front 24-3 at halftime, as the Razorbacks managed to gain only three yards on five second-quarter plays. For the Aggies, who did not commit a turnover, the sweetest part of their 31-10 revenge was that the setback left Arkansas with a 3-1-1 record in the Southwest Conference, virtually knocking the Hogs out of title contention.
First-place Texas Tech improved its SWC mark to 5-0 by overwhelming SMU 34-7. The game was delayed 90 minutes while an unseasonable six inches of snow was removed from the Tech field. Red Raider runners gained 401 yards, Quarterback Rodney Allison leading the way with 92 yards and two touchdowns. All of which set up this week's showdown against Houston, which did not play last Saturday and which is 5-1 in the SWC.
Like A&M, Texas also relied on a lefthanded quarterback. And, like Tech, the Longhorns played in the snow and won by exactly the same score, 34-7. Texas breezed past TCU behind the signal-calling of freshman Mark McBath, who hit on six of nine passes for 78 yards and one touchdown. Another freshman, Halfback Johnny (Lam) Jones, gained 95 yards rushing, 50 of them on a touchdown jaunt.
Mark Jackson of Baylor passed for 246 yards and one touchdown as he completed 17 of 26 tosses in a 38-6 rout of Rice.
1. TEXAS TECH (8-0)
2. TEXAS A&M (7-2)
3. HOUSTON (6-2)
Georgia warmed the hearts of its fans with a 28-0 drubbing of Auburn while Kentucky cold-shouldered Florida 28-9. That iced the Southeastern Conference title and a Sugar Bowl bid for the Bulldogs. Running Back Kevin McLee of Georgia bulldozed his way for 203 yards, Fullback Al Pollard for 158.
Kentucky Coach Fran Curci longed for a "field covered with snow" that would chill Florida's offense. He even switched benches so the afternoon shadows would give the Gators goose bumps. Curci did not get snow, but the 37° weather may have been sufficient. Whatever it was, the Gators gained just 154 yards while the Wildcats rumbled for 472.
Mississippi State jarred LSU 21-13, Tennessee smothered Mississippi in a 32-6 romp and Vanderbilt shot down visiting Air Force 34-10.
Although bad at acting, Maryland was adept at execution as it rolled to its second shutout in a row, 20-0 over Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Clemson. When the Terps lined up for a field goal the Tigers were not fooled, but they still could not keep Quarterback Mark Manges from taking the snap, rolling to the right and uncorking a 15-yard pass to Wide Receiver Vince Kinney, who ran the final 18 yards for a touchdown.
North Carolina overpowered Virginia 31-6, Duke surprised North Carolina State 28-14 and Wake Forest hung on to stop independent South Carolina 10-7. Mike Voight of the Tar Heels ran for 190 yards.
Two Eastern visitors won, Rutgers beating Tulane 29-20 and Penn State stopping Miami 21-7. The Scarlet Knights came into their game leading the nation in three defensive categories, but fell behind 20-17 at halftime and did not seal the victory until the final minutes. Chuck Fusina completed 17 of 27 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns as the Nittany Lions won their sixth straight.
East Carolina missed a chance to sew up the Southern Conference title, losing to Furman 17-10. Richmond upset Virginia Tech 16-0. Memphis State beat Louisville 26-14.
1. MARYLAND (10-0)
2. GEORGIA (9-1)
3. MISS. STATE (8-2)
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Junior Halfback Terry Miller ran for 221 yards in 37 carries and tied a Big Eight record by scoring five touchdowns on jaunts of nine, 16, nine, one and 18 yards as Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 45-21.
DEFENSE: Safety Malcolm Hunter made six tackles, recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass to help Northwestern knock off Michigan State 42-21 and end the nation's longest major-college losing streak at 15.