"If they beat us, they're going to have to pass to do it," Baylor Coach Grant Teaff said before taking on Southwest Conference co-leader Southern Methodist. The Mustangs win on passes? C'mon, Grant, everybody knows there's no way to harness SMU's Pony Express tandem—Eric Dickerson and Craig James, who were, respectively, second and 12th nationally in rushing average. It turned out, though, that Teaff knew whereof he spoke: At halftime the Mustangs had gained only 13 yards in 20 runs, and they trailed 13-0 because the Bears had gotten two field goals from Ben Perry and a one-yard scoring run from Allen Rice. What corralled the Pony Express was Teaff's calculated switch from his usual 4-3 defensive alignment to a 6-1 in which the ends were moved to tackle positions and the outside linebackers up to the line as ends for the Bears.
Baylor's 6-1 did its job—Dickerson wound up with 73 yards, James with 22—but, as predicted, the Bears were vulnerable to passes. SMU Quarterback Lance McIlhenny exploited that weakness in the second half. Although completing only seven of 16 passes, McIlhenny made three pay off for touchdowns to give the Mustangs a 22-19 victory.
"We didn't hold up our end of the bargain," Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer said of his team's disappointing 2-2 record, which was why the Texas game was not on national TV for the first time in five years. Fullback Weldon Ledbetter gained 144 yards in 20 rushes and scored on runs of 15 and 59 yards as Oklahoma ran for 384 yards while scoring once in each period to topple unbeaten Texas 28-22. The Longhorns lost even though Robert Brewer passed for 235 yards.
Leonard Harris of Texas Tech ran back the opening kickoff 83 yards to the Arkansas 11. Thereafter, the Razorback defense hog-tied the Red Raiders, who made nothing or lost yardage on 39 of 76 plays, gained only 36 yards in 37 rushes and lost 21-3. Texas Christian defeated Rice 24-16, and Houston beat Texas A&M 24-20.
Penn State's 42-21 loss at Alabama was a real kick in the pants. There was Ralph Giacomarro of the Nittany Lions, all set to punt with 4:48 left in the game. There was Mike Suter, who was back to protect the punter. Simple enough. Except that Suter, who usually doesn't play on the punting team, blocked the wrong person, backing right into the pad) of Giacomarro, whose kick ricocheted off his teammate and back toward the Penn State goal. Two plays after the Tide got the ball at the 12, Halfback Linnie Patrick went around right end for six yards and a touchdown. That, plus a two-point pass by Quarterback Walter Lewis to Jesse Bendross, gave Alabama a 35-21 lead. On the first play after the ensuing kick-off, Linebacker Eddie Lowe of the Crimson Tide intercepted a Todd Blackledge pass and raced 31 yards for another TD.
That sudden turnaround blew open what had been, for the most part, a taut game. 'Bama had scored first on a four-yard run by Lewis, only to have Halfback Curt Warner knot the score by turning a Blackledge pass into a 69-yard scoring play. The Tide led 21-7 at the half and 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. And Blackledge again had the Nittany Lions on the move. He had a third-and-one at the Alabama 45 when End Russ Wood of the Tide made a spectacular tackle. Warner, sweeping left behind blockers, seemed to be on his way to picking up a vital first down, but Wood knifed between two blockers, under a third and tripped him up for a three-yard loss. That's when Giacomarro came in to make his ill-fated punt. Blackledge passed for 234 yards as he made good on 20 of 36 attempts. But he also had four of his throws picked off. Lewis repeatedly dipped, dodged and dashed out of the hands of would-be tacklers, rushing for 86 yards and connecting on nine of 14 passes for another 96.
Alabama rooters are accustomed to winning, but that hasn't been true of Vanderbilt fans. Which is why most of the crowd of 39,726 in Nashville wouldn't leave Vanderbilt Stadium until the Commodores returned for one last cheer after shocking Florida 31-29. For Vandy, it was the first Southeastern Conference victory at home since 1975. Most of the Gators' 540 yards in total offense (to 400 for Vandy) came from Fullback James Jones, who rushed for 146 yards, and Quarterback Wayne Peace, who hit on 28 of 36 passes for 285 yards. Whit Taylor of the Commodores connected on 30 of 47 throws for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia matched Alabama's 2-0 record in SEC play. The Bulldogs ran for 304 yards, 149 by Herschel Walker on 24 carries, as they defeated Mississippi 33-10. Walker scored three times and broke the conference record for career rushing by increasing his total to 4,158 yards, 123 more than Charles Alexander had when he finished up at LSU in 1978. Georgia's Kevin Butler tied an SEC mark with a 59-yard field goal.
More superb kicking—on both field goals and punts—gave Tennessee a 24-24 tie at Louisiana State. Fuad Reveiz of the Vols, who earlier had booted two 38-yard field goals, concluded the scoring with a 52-yarder with 2:07 left. Tennessee's Jimmy Colquitt, who went into the game with a 48.5-yard punting average, second in the nation, averaged 53 yards on five kicks. The Vols, behind 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, capitalized on a freak fumble by Tiger Quarterback Alan Risher. The ball slipped out of his grasp when he cocked his arm to pass. Five plays after End Mike Cofer recovered that fumble for the Vols, Quarterback Alan Cockrell hit Wing-back Darryal Wilson with a nine-yard TD pass to cut LSU's margin to three points.
No, that wasn't Rameses IX, the ram that is North Carolina's mascot, who battered through Wake Forest's defenses for 368 yards rushing as the Tar Heels won 24-7. Most of Carolina's slambang running during the Atlantic Coast Conference game was done by Tailbacks Tyrone Anthony (179 yards on 24 carries) and Kelvin Bryant (142 yards on 29). Clemson also stuck mainly to the ground, grinding out 492 yards while routing Virginia 48-0. In nonconference games, Maryland defeated Indiana State 38-0, Georgia Tech beat Tulane 19-13 and Duke was edged by Virginia Tech 22-21. The Gobblers' Todd Greenwood completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Allan Thomas with 33 seconds left, and then a two-point conversion pass to Mike Shaw. There was no such suspense in Tallahassee, where Florida State hounded Southern Illinois into seven turnovers in a 59-8 romp.
George Radachowsky of Boston College signaled for a fair catch of a punt, but dropped the ball, and it was recovered by West Virginia at the Eagles' 13 with 1:26 to go. Three carries by Tom Gray netted 11 yards. West Virginia Quarterback Jeff Hostetler then faked to Fullback Ron Wolfley, kept the ball and went around right end for the TD with 25 seconds left to finish off the visiting Eagles 20-13.
Widener, last season's Division III champion and ranked No. 1 with a 4-0 record this season, had the ball late in the fourth quarter in a 10-10 standoff at Gettysburg and was on the Bullets' four, first and goal. By scoring, Widener could extend the longest winning streak in all college ball to 18 games and run its string of regular-season victories to 40. It wasn't to be. One yard from pay dirt, Fullback Mike Forward fumbled. Brian Barr, Gettysburg's freshman safety, plucked the loose ball out of midair and galloped 86 yards to the Widener 13. Four plays later, Mike Ercole plunged the final yard for a TD that gave the 3-2 Bullets a 17-10 upset.
Another pick-it-out-of-the-air fumble recovery enabled Penn to win 24-21 at Brown. The big play began when Tim Chambers, who had fielded a punt, had the ball jarred from his grasp after an eight-yard return. Teammate John Waterfield grabbed the loose ball and ran 53 yards for a third-period touchdown that closed out the scoring. Penn, 1-9 last year, thus remained unbeaten, was alone at the top of the Ivy League and—at 4-0—was off to its finest start since 1968. Columbia knocked Princeton out of a tie for first in the Ivy, 35-14, as Quarterback John Witkowski frustrated the Tigers' stunting by calling more than 50% of his plays at the line. Witkowski helped the Lions end a 10-game losing streak by completing 24 of 40 passes for 316 yards and four TDs. Harvard beat Cornell 25-13, Yale stopped Boston University 27-24 and Dartmouth lost 24-16 at William & Mary.
"Even though our two-minute offense hadn't produced anything all year, I was confident," Arizona State Quarterback Todd Hons said. What figured to make scoring even tougher than usual was that, instead of two minutes, there were just 49 seconds left against visiting Stanford when the Sun Devils got the ball at their 20, trailing 17-14. But Hons hit on four of five passes for 79 yards and then sent Fullback Tex Wright over from the one to pull out a 21-17 victory. Stanford's offense, which was ranked fourth in the country, was up against an Arizona State defense that was No. 2, and the defense carried the day. The Cardinal's 240 yards in total offense was 53 yards above the Sun Devils' average yield, but far below Stanford's average of 479.5 yards. John Elway of the Cardinal was 18 for 33 for 209 yards, thus breaking the Pac-10 career passing record of Washington State's Jack Thompson by one yard, with a total of 7,819 yards.
Washington roared past California 50-7 (page 34). UCLA tied Arizona 24-24 on a 36-yard field goal by freshman John Lee with two seconds to go. Tom Ramsey of the Bruins passed for 345 yards as he completed 29 of 43 attempts. Oregon State tied Washington State 14-14 to end a string of 14 losses.
Crossing the bar was no problem for field-goal kickers from Northern Arizona and Nevada-Reno, who combined for nine. That set a Division I-AA record and is believed to be an alltime single-game high for NCAA competition at any level. Northern Arizona's Mark Diamond was on target from 40, 51, 39 and 42 yards out. But Reno prevailed 24-12 as Tony Zendejas, after two misses, was successful on kicks of 25, 35, 52, 24 and 38 yards.
It was the old make-'em-sweat-it-out ploy. But instead of fretting when Miami called time-out with 16 seconds remaining, Notre Dame field-goal kicker Mike Johnston "just stood there, looked and tried to visualize kicking it straight off the tee." When play resumed, Johnston's visualization became reality and his successful 32-yard attempt with 11 seconds left made the Irish 16-14 winners. That left Johnston nine for nine in field-goal attempts this year. Early in the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes had scored on a 79-yard Mark Richt-to-Rocky Belk pass that put Notre Dame behind for the first time in four games this season, 14-10. Johnston, who earlier had kicked a three-pointer from 29 yards out, cut the deficit to 14-13 with a 42-yarder.
From start to finish, the Purdue-at-Illinois matchup was an aerial duel. The Illini shot in front 14-0 after only 4½ minutes, Tony Eason collaborating with Fullback Mike Murphy on a five-yard scoring pass and Cornerback Charles Armstead picking off Scott Campbell's first pass for the Boilermakers and running it back 36 yards for six more points. But Campbell rallied Purdue and three times put his team ahead as he completed 21 of 46 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Eason, however, was even more productive, 28 of his 40 throws being good for 358 yards. And Eason's fourth and last scoring toss, a 50-yarder to Running Back Mitchell Brookins, put Illinois in front for keeps 38-34, the final score, with 6:33 to go. That kept the Illini atop the Big Ten and improved their overall record to 5-1, the best Illinois start since 1963.
Michigan, which remained half a game back, zipped to a 31-3 lead over Michigan State and ultimately won 31-17. Going into the game, the Spartans had the No. 2 defensive unit in the conference, a ranking it didn't live up to, as the Wolverines gained 456 yards in total offense. A touchdown on its first possession gave Wisconsin a 6-0 win at Ohio State, where the Badgers had gone 0-18-3 since 1918. Despite 390 yards passing by Babe Laufenberg, Indiana lost to Iowa 24-20. Two short touchdown runs by Eddie Phillips plus a 63-yard scoring pass from Chuck Long to Norm Granger won it for the Hawkeyes.
Randy Essington of Colorado set three team records against Nebraska—51 pass attempts, 24 completions, 361 yards—all to no avail. After two third-period Buffalo touchdowns the Cornhuskers led by only 20-14, but in the last quarter Nebraska drove 91 yards for one touchdown and scored two others after interceptions by Linebacker Steve Damkroger. The Huskers' I-back, Mike Rozier, rushed for 212 yards as Nebraska won 40-14.
Two other Big Eight games wound up in ties. Kansas State deadlocked Missouri 7-7 when, with 13:49 to be played. Wildcat Split End Mike Wallace made an end-zone catch of a 33-yard pass from Doug Bogue on fourth-and-32. Ernest Anderson of Oklahoma State, who leads Division I-A with a rushing average of 189 yards a game, had 270 in a 24-24 tie with Kansas.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Al Del Greco of Auburn, a 5'10", 180-pound junior, equaled an NCAA record in an 18-3 victory over Kentucky by kicking six field goals—from 22, 28, 26, 23, 39 and 38 yards away.
DEFENSE: West Virginia's outside linebacker, 6'4", 222-pound senior Darryl Talley, helped do in Boston College 20-13 by taking part in 15 tackles, nine of them unassisted and three behind the line.