Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden could see exactly how it would happen: He'd alternate quarterbacks against top-ranked Pitt, using strong-armed Blair Williams for long passes and option specialist Kelly Lowrey to wear the Panthers down. On a humid night in Tallahassee, Pitt's big, but slow, defense would wilt. "We had it working perfectly," Bowden mused after his Seminoles had lost 37-17 despite jumping to a 10-0 advantage and being tied 17-17 at the half. "Then that rain washed it all away. It was cold after the rain came." So was the FSU offense. Apr√®s le deluge Lowrey, who doubles as the Seminole punter, mishandled the snap and kicked the ball straight up in the air. Whereupon another Lowery, Pitt's Art, took it and went five yards for a TD. Panther Quarterback Danny Marino completed 13 of 22 passes for 133 yards and two TDs, one to Flanker Julius Dawkins for 16 yards, and another for three yards to Tight End John Brown.
"In the third quarter you're supposed to make things happen," said Clemson Coach Danny Ford, echoing Bowden's sentiments after the Tigers' 17-17 tie with Boston College in which Clemson squandered a 14-0 halftime lead. "Well, Boston College did and Clemson didn't." Specifically, BC Quarterback Doug Flutie got warmed up on his way to an 18-for-35, 242-yard performance. The nation's top passer going into the game, Flutie shook off two first-half interceptions to lead a pair of Eagle TD drives, throwing 15 yards to Split End Jon Schoen for the second BC score. The Eagles eventually went up 17-14 on Kevin Snow's 37-yard field goal. Clemson kicker Donald Igwebuike, who tied the game from 43 yards with 5:40 to go, missed from the same distance at :08.
"We needed some momentum, that's why we went for it," said North Carolina Coach Dick Crum of his decision to try for a first down on fourth-and-one at his own 43 despite trailing Vanderbilt 10-3 in the second quarter. Tailback Ethan Horton, filling in for Kelvin Bryant, who had sprained an ankle earlier, picked up eight of his 201 yards rushing on the play. The Tar Heels went on to convert two more fourth-down situations in the 90-yard, 22-play drive, which ended with Horton going over from the one, again on fourth down. Carolina held Vandy to 31 yards rushing in winning 34-10.
Alabama limited Mississippi to just 12 yards on the ground and picked off four passes in its 42-14 win. "This is as close to the best Alabama team I've ever seen," said Ole Miss Coach Steve Sloan, a former quarterback under Crimson Tide Coach Bear Bryant. "They have no weaknesses." The Tide began rolling after Mississippi pulled to within 20-14. Sloan called for an onsides kick that 'Bama recovered, and two plays later Tide Quarterback Walter Lewis ran 16 yards for a touchdown. Alabama Fullback Craig Turner scored three TDs as Bryant won his 317th game and 30th straight from a former player or coaching protégé. The Bear now has a 40-5 record against his erstwhile pupils.
Grambling State's Eddie Robinson, who is right behind Bryant among winningest active coaches, won game No. 299 with a 31-14 defeat of Alcorn State.
Miami and Auburn won in Pyrrhic fashion, each losing preseason All-Americas to injuries for the year. Hurricane Quarterback Jim Kelly became his school's career-completions leader, completing 17 of 24 for 207 yards and a TD in Miami's 14-8 defeat of Virginia Tech. But after picking up 20 yards on a scramble in the fourth quarter, he took a pop from the Hokies' David Marvel that separated his right shoulder. Auburn Defensive Tackle Donnie Humphrey injured his left knee just before halftime of the War Eagles' 21-19 defeat of Southern Mississippi. The Auburn defense, given a 21-6 lead on Randy Campbell's TD passes of 47 and 51 yards to Split End Mike Edwards, needed Linebacker Gregg Carr's 21 tackles to stave off the Golden Eagles.
Oklahoma intercepted Kentucky Quarterback Randy Jenkins four times in its 29-8 defeat of the Wildcats; North Carolina State ripped Wake Forest 30-0 as freshman Mike Cofer kicked three field goals and Tol Avery, a senior quarterback, completed 14 of 22 passes for 202 yards; Duke's Ben Bennett hit Chris Castor with touchdown passes of 36 and 10 yards in the Blue Devils' 30-17 win over South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. before the largest crowd—66,928—ever to watch a football game in that state. Elsewhere, LSU routed Oregon State 45-7; Mississippi State rolled past Memphis State 41-17; and James Madison denied George Welsh his first victory as Virginia's coach by winning 21-17.
Georgia Tech snapped its 11-game losing streak with a vengeance, trouncing The Citadel 36-7. Quarterback Jim Bob Taylor completed 14 of 18 passes for 216 yards, Tailback Robert Lavette ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns, and Ron Rice set one Yellow Jacket record and tied another with a 55-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The boot was equal to the longest in Tech history and gave Rice a school-record five field goals in one game.
Penn State's junior quarterback, Todd Blackledge, has a 4.0 average this semester. In each of the Nittany Lions' three games, Blackledge has thrown for four touchdowns, tying the school record for scoring passes in a game. Among his 15 completions in 24 attempts during Penn State's 49-14 defeat of Rutgers were TD throws to Curt Warner (for 22 yards), Gregg Garrity (for nine), Mike McCloskey (for eight) and Kenny Jackson (for seven). Blackledge needs only four more scoring passes over the next eight games to break the school record, shared by Chuck Fusina and John Hufnagel, for TD passes in a season. As Blackledge filled the air with passes, two Lion runners quietly achieved milestones of their own. With 49 yards on the ground and 39 through the air, Warner, a senior tailback, became the Penn State career leader in all-purpose yardage with 3,880; Halfback Jon Williams' 47 yards rushing made him the 17th player in the school's history to run for more than 1,000 yards in his career.
"I found I was getting better control and more distance," says Mike Bass, Illinois' unshod kicker, of his decision to shed his right shoe over the summer. Bass, the son of San Diego Charger Defensive Coordinator Tom Bass, booted four field goals, including a 53-yarder, five PATs and 10 kickoffs into the end zone as the Illini defeated Syracuse 47-10. Illinois Quarterback Tony Eason, who was 26 of 38 for 293 yards and one TD, didn't leave the game until less than three minutes remained. "Tony needs the work, the practice, the chance to read defenses," explained Coach Mike White, sort of.
Army's Craig Stopa had four field goals, too, as the Cadets beat Lafayette 26-20; Temple got 209 yards rushing on 24 carries from Harold Harmon to shut out Delaware 22-0; and Colgate, though outgained on the ground and through the air, beat Lehigh 21-14. Ivy League co-favorites Yale and Dartmouth lost, the Elis 28-21 to Brown and the Green 21-0 to Penn, which snapped a 24-game road losing streak. Princeton downed Cornell 41-36 as Quarterback Brent Woods completed 20 of 33 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns and Running Back Farris Curry went over from four yards out with :54 remaining. Reserve Quarterback Don Allard's two TD passes lifted Harvard past Columbia 27-16, and two scoring runs by Peter Muldoon, Holy Cross's quarterback, paced the Crusaders in a 27-14 win over Massachusetts.
"That was a classic," wheezed Rhode Island Coach Bob Griffin while sprawled on the grass outside the URI dressing room after the Rams had won a 58-55, six-overtime game with Maine that took three hours, 46 minutes and is believed to be the longest game in modern collegiate history. "I just decided it was time to have a winner and a loser." Trailing 55-52, Griffin passed up the chance to kick another tying field goal and called Wide Receiver T.J. DelSanto's number on an end-around with fourth-and-goal at the two. DelSanto scored his fourth touchdown of the game, so ending 51 minutes of matching touchdowns and field goals under the Yankee Conference's NCAA-approved tie-breaker system. The score at the end of regulation was 21-21; nine touchdowns and three field goals later, Rhode Island had its victory.
"We Just went High and left out the five," said Nebraska Tight End Jamie Williams of the arms-at-their-sides leaps he and teammate Todd Brown performed after Brown's 18-yard touchdown catch midway through the Huskers' 68-0 romp over New Mexico State. Their fiveless highs were in response to Coach Tom Osborne's ban on excessively euphoric post-touchdown rituals, but afterward Osborne admitted it was his offense, which set NCAA records for first downs (43) and total yardage (883), that should have shown some restraint. "I felt a little bad about things toward the end," said Osborne, who pulled starting Quarterback Turner Gill and I-Back Mike Rozier for the second half, which began with the Huskers up 28-0. "I didn't quite know how to get things shut down." A thigh bruise shut down Running Back Roger Craig in the first half, and he's questionable for Nebraska's next game, with Penn State. How will they do? "I don't think they're a college football team," said Aggie Quarterback Jamie McAlister. "They could probably play the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow and win."
In contrast, Purdue Coach Leon Burtnett high-fived every black jersey in sight after the Boilermakers took a 10-7 lead late in the first half against Minnesota. His celebration was premature. A snap over Purdue Punter Matt Kinzer's head led to a Gopher safety and Minnesota's Mike Hohensee (18 of 24 for 254 yards and two TDs) completed four straight passes in the final minute of the half, the last on Tailback Tony Hunter's 36-yard romp with a screen pass, as the Gophers rolled to a 15-10 halftime lead en route to a 36-10 win.
"It wasn't bad for a conservative coach, was it?" UCLA's Terry Donahue said after his Bruins had beaten up on Wisconsin 51-26, gaining 300 yards and a 30-6 lead in the first half. Quarterback Tom Ramsey threw for two TDs and ran for two others, and the Bruin defense so limited the Wisconsin running game (66 yards) that a wide receiver, David Keeling, led the Badgers in rushing with 35 yards on six reverses. "There are days when you ask yourself why you ever coach," said Wisconsin's Dave McClain. "This was the worst football game we've played in I don't know how long."
For the third straight year, Iowa State Kicker Alex Giffords provided the winning margin against Iowa. Giffords booted four field goals and one PAT in a 19-7 victory. Senior Linebacker Mark Carlson, who ruptured an eardrum during the summer when a pipe valve exploded near his head, had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter that led to one three-pointer.
Ohio State broke a 10-10 tie with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat Michigan State 31-10; Kansas routed TCU 30-9; and Miami of Ohio beat Northwestern 27-13 to run the Wildcats' loss streak to 34 games.
"My quarterback is one of the five best in the country," said San Jose State Coach Jack Elway after that quarterback had completed 21 of 40 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns and run three yards for the winning score in a 35-31 upset of Stanford. "I don't want to compare him with any other around here." Translation: Jack Elway's quarterback is Steve Clarkson, and Jack Elway didn't want to compare Clarkson with his son, John Elway, who many observers believe is the best in the country. Elway Ms went 24 of 36 for 382 yards and two TDs, but the Spartan pass rush sacked him four consecutive times in the last four minutes to preserve the victory. Clarkson, whom John helped his father recruit, threw six passes to Wide Receiver Tim Kearse for 163 yards and three TDs. Kearse, in turn, tossed an 84-yard touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Tony Smith on a flea-flicker.
Washington Quarterback Steve Pelluer threw two touchdown passes following recoveries of Arizona fumbles and the Huskies scored on four of their first seven possessions to build a 20-0 lead in a 23-13 win over the Wildcats. The Washington defense sacked Arizona Quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe seven times for minus 58 yards.
Southern Cal sophomore Sean Salisbury completed 13 of 22 passes for 171 yards and two TDs and Joey Browner returned a punt 54 yards for another touchdown in a 28-7 win over Indiana; Tight End David Lewis and Running Back Scott Smith each scored two TDs in California's 28-0 romp over San Diego State; Colorado shut out Washington State 12-0 for the Buffalos' first road victory (and the Cougars' first scoreless effort) since 1979; and New Mexico Running Back Mike Carter ran 10 times for 111 yards in the Lobos' 49-21 defeat of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Navy and Arkansas had never played before, so Razorback Coach Lou Holtz didn't quite know what to expect. "All I know about Navy is that they're on our side," he said before the game. After the Midshipmen had played the Hogs tough in a 29-17 Arkansas win, Holtz was impressed. "We got outplayed, outcoached, outeverything-ed. I guess we did look all right leaving the dressing room." The Razorbacks, however, nibbled away. Their longest run was for 13 yards and they put the game away with an 89-yard, 18-play, passless drive that used more than nine minutes of the third and fourth quarters. Running Back Darryl Bowles, who picked up 49 yards in that march, finished with 138 and a TD on 27 carries. Navy's Marco Pagnanelli gave the Hogs secondary fits, completing 19 of 30 passes for 274 yards and two TDs.
Almost a month after beginning fall practice, Texas opened its season—with a passing game that seemed to need some work. Quarterback Robert Brewer completed only three of 11 for 28 yards and suffered an interception, so the Longhorns relied on Tailback Darryl Clark and Fullback Terry Orr to beat Utah 21-12. Clark had 162 yards on 20 carries, including a total of 66 yards on the first and final Longhorn TD drives of the day. Orr scored on runs of five and 22 yards.
Though the Arizona State defense set up all 17 of the Sun Devils' first-half points in a 24-10 win and forced six Houston fumbles, picked off two passes and blocked a punt. Cougar Quarterback Lionel Wilson said, "We made them look better than they are." Part of the problem was Wilson himself, who was still nursing a tender ankle that had kept him out of the previous week's loss to Miami.
Tailback Eric Dickerson scored two touchdowns, one on an 80-yard run on the game's second play, as SMU defeated Texas-El Paso 31-10. Dickerson, a 6'3", 215-pound senior, had 165 yards on 16 carries, giving him a school-record 3,181 yards for his career. Craig James, who shares time with Dickerson in the Mustangs' I formation, gained 103 yards on 18 carries to mark the sixth straight game in which both have rushed for 100 or more yards.
Texas A&M ran up its highest point total since 1944 in a 61-22 drubbing of Texas-Arlington as David Hardy scored 19 points on seven PATs and four field goals, including a 57-yarder. Texas Tech beat Air Force 31-30 on a two-point conversion pass by Jim Hart, who also threw for three TDs; Tulane downed Rice 30-6; and Tulsa beat Oklahoma State 25-15 on Sunday night.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: San Jose State Wide Receiver Tim Kearse, a 5'11", 188-pound senior, had six catches for 163 yards and three TDs and threw a pass for an 84-yard touchdown in a 35-31 upset of Stanford.
DEFENSE: USC Safety Joey Browner, a 6'3", 205-pound senior, recovered a fumble, made eight tackles and ran three punts back for a total of 87 yards and a touchdown in a 28-7 victory over Indiana.