With two seconds remaining and Notre Dame leading Missouri 16-14 in Columbia, Tiger kicker Brad Burditt essayed a 39-yard field goal. "I didn't hit it properly," said Burditt. "I knew it was going to be questionable." The kick fell short, but Burditt wasn't the only goat. Missouri had blown two attempts at two-point conversions.
UCLA's John Lee may have forgotten what it feels like to miss. In the Bruins' 33-16 victory at Colorado, he booted field goals of 51, 49, 39 and 36 yards. For the season he's made good on 14 of 14; for his career he's 45 for 53. That's a career conversion percentage of 84.9. The NCAA record is 81.9%, by Chuck Nelson of Washington in 1980-82.
After Oklahoma State's all-conference tailback, Shawn Jones, fumbled three times against San Diego State two weeks ago, coach Pat Jones said, "I will not play a fumbler. I will give them all fair warning." Though Jones the runner kept dropping the ball all week during practice, Jones the coach decided at the last minute to give him a chance. Shawn responded with 174 yards and two touchdowns—and no fumbles—in the Cowboys' 31-7 win at Tulsa. "He took a lot of abuse last week, a lot of it from me," said Jones the coach. "But he played awfully hard and awfully well."
Syracuse's momentous upset of Nebraska in the Carrier Dome wasn't the product of fluke or gimmick. The Orange defense held the Huskers to 154 yards on the ground, 249 fewer than their average, while the offense controlled the ball for almost 37 minutes. "They were just more physical up front, on offense and defense," said Nebraska coach Tom Osborne, whose team suffered two sacks, lost two fumbles and had three crucial fourth-down lapses.
The first came when the Huskers, leading 7-3 in the third quarter and facing fourth-and-one on the Syracuse 41, chose not to punt. Syracuse tackle Jeff Knauff stuffed the play for a one-yard loss. Two series later Orange quarterback Todd Norley threw a 40-yard pass to Mike Siano, who outjumped two defenders at the goal line for a TD that put Syracuse up 10-7. "They'd been playing me to the outside most of the first half," said Siano, "and I told Todd I thought I could get behind them."
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Orangemen were stopped on their own 25 and punted. However, a 12th Cornhusker had run onto the field just before the snap, and Syracuse was back in business. Six plays later, Norley threw 21 yards to sophomore wide receiver Scott Schwedes on the Nebraska 26. (Schwedes's father, Gerhard, a halfback with Ernie Davis on Syracuse's 1959 national championship team, was in the stands with 29 other members of that team.) Six plays after that, Harold Gayden, with a key block from guard Steve Villanti, took it in from the one.
The Huskers' final fourth-down flub came with 1:09 on the clock. Trailing 17-7 and nine yards shy of a first down on their 21, Nebraska punted. Had Osborne given up? "The first time, I thought we could make the yardage, and it didn't turn out that way," he said later. "In the late seconds we needed two quick scores, and I figured our kicker would boot it deep, where we might get a nervous fumble. Obviously, neither decision proved right." An intentional safety by punter Jim Fox made the final score 17-9.
After the gun the fans, including the 1959 alums, swarmed onto the field, where they cheered for an hour. They were joined by many of the Syracuse players. "Do I believe it?" asked Gayden, who had fumbled three times in a 19-0 loss to Rutgers the week before. "Hey, I don't know. I guess I believe it because I look up at the scoreboard and it says 17-9. Yeah, I guess I really do believe it."
Orange fans celebrated into the night in Marshall Street watering holes, some in the home of coach Dick MacPherson. "I don't care if the whole town is here," said his wife, Sandra. "I just opened my doors." Always a man of perspective, MacPherson deflected talk that he should be Coach of the Week. "I'd be embarrassed," he said. "I'm the same guy doing the same job I did a week ago when we lost to Rutgers."
Texas dominated Penn State 28-3 before a crowd of 76,883 in Giants Stadium across the Hudson from New York City. One Longhorn twist on offense was an unbalanced line, formerly used only on the goal line, in which three tackles are to the right of center. It worked beautifully halfway through the first quarter, when the Longhorns' man for all positions, Terry Orr—a fullback, tailback, tight end and coach on the field—set up behind the overloaded right side and went 51 yards for the game's first score. "Basically, on that play what you do is run," said Orr. "No cuts, just run." The Nittany Lions lost three of four fumbles, and quarterback Doug Strang endured a horrendous passing day, completing just nine of 26. Said coach Joe Paterno, "I'm not doing a real good job of coaching."
After Vanderbilt had defeated Alabama 30—21, one of the songs that blared from a portable cassette player in the Commodores' locker room was the Prince hit Let's Go Crazy, which made some sense. Vanderbilt had never won in Tuscaloosa and hadn't beaten the Tide anywhere since 1969. Even crazier are Bama's 1-3 record, its worst start since 1957, and Vandy's 4-0 start, its best since 1950. "I think, we can play with anybody," said Commodore quarterback Kurt Page, who completed 19 of 32 passes for 218 yards and two TDs. "We've got a diversified offense and one of the best lines in the country. And after what our defense did today [it held the Tide to 269 yards] we may have what it takes to go a long way this year."
It was 10-10 late in the third quarter of the Georgia-South Carolina game in Columbia when Gamecock quarterback Allen Mitchell went out with an injured elbow. His replacement, Mike Hold, a junior who had played only four downs since transferring from Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, quick-kicked 66 yards to the Georgia 30. Nine minutes later, Hold threw a bomb to Ira Hillary that covered 62 yards to the Bulldog six. "The adrenaline was pumping so much I was afraid of overthrowing Ira," said Hold. "He just blew by their corner and ran a perfect route." Two plays later Hold sneaked one yard for the touchdown that made the final score 17-10. His stats: three passes, three completions, for 101 yards.
Bill Malinchak lives! In Florida State's 44-27 victory over Temple, sub defensive back Joe Wessel blocked a punt to set up one TD and then a field-goal attempt, after which teammate Eric Riley picked up the ball and ran 34 yards for a TD. On the season, Wessel, the slowest member of the FSU secondary, has blocked three punts and one field-goal attempt. "Amazing," said coach Bobby Bowden. "He's not supposed to do it, and I don't know how he's doing it."
In the first half of Galen Hall's debut as coach of Florida, the Gators fumbled before anyone hit them, lined up in wrong formations and wasted time-outs. In the second half the-defense held Mississippi State to 70 yards as the offense scored 20 unanswered points, and Florida won 27-12. But the stigma of the NCAA investigation that precipitated Charley Pell's dismissal is still evident. "We're not the Florida Gators anymore," said safety Roger Sibbald. "It's like we're the Gainesville Raiders. We have our fan support and that's it. Everybody else seems to hate us."
Arizona State can thank tailback Darryl Clack for its 28-10 defeat of Stanford. Clack was hampered in the first three games by a hip pointer and severe bruises on both shoulders, but on Saturday the Sun Devils did the hurting as Clack had a run of 84 yards for one touchdown and scored another on a 65-yard pass reception. Stanford quarterback John Paye was sacked five times before fracturing a knuckle on an opposing player's helmet. Paye will be out for at least a month.
In the third quarter of San Jose State's 33-18 upset of Cal, Golden Bear coach Joe Kapp pulled his entire first-string defense, which had surrendered 26 points. Said Kapp, "We'll play our third team if that's what it takes to get people out there who want to be on the field."
Idaho's 41-22 rout of Oregon State was the Vandals' first win over the Beavers since 1952. Idaho's victory was particularly surprising because it came without quarterback Scott Linehan, who was injured. His replacement, Rick Sloan, passed for 332 yards.
The list of undefeated teams includes Cal State-Fullerton, which is 5-0 after beating Utah State on three TD passes by Damon Allen, and 4-0 New Mexico, which battered Texas-El Paso 34-7. "We've got a chance to be a really good team," said Lobo coach Joe Lee Dunn, who knows something about chances. Earlier in the week he had had a hunch. "I was thinking about the weather and how cold it was," he said. "I figured I'd bet the horses that were used to running in cold." He put $24.00 on a trifecta at the State Fairgrounds in Albuquerque that included two Canadian-bred horses, and came away with $7,100.
"Same old TCU, same old TCU," said SMU tailback Reggie Dupard. "We beat 'em every year." Entering the game, the Horned Frogs were 2-0 and boasted the nation's No. 1 offense (612.5 yards a game), No. 1 rusher (Kenneth Davis with a 192.0-yard average) and lofty hopes for the first time in a decade. But the Mustangs burst the Frogs' bubble 26-17, and Davis was held to 60 yards on 20 carries. SMU's chief offensive weapon was sophomore wide receiver Ron Morris. He caught five passes for 120 yards and one touchdown, on a play that covered 44 yards. Although he'd run the ball from scrimmage just once in his career, Morris also looped behind the line seven times to take option-play pitches from quarterback Don King. On one he went eight yards for a touchdown, and on another 20 yards to set up a field goal. "TCU has never seen me in that formation," said Morris. "I think it kind of messed them up."
As Orange fans squeezed together to celebrate, Todd Frain suffered defeat alone.
Ty Allert's 13 tackles led a Texas D that knocked D.J. Dozier (42) out of the game.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Center John Davis graded out an exceptional 80% in Georgia Tech's 28-21 upset of Clemson. Davis held 305-pound All-America noseman William Perry to only five tackles and no sacks.
DEFENSE: Tackle Tim Green, a 6'2", 252-pound junior, forced a fumble that led to a field goal and made 12 tackles, including five unassisted stops and two sacks, in Syracuse's big 17-9 upset of Nebraska.