The list of the nation's unbeaten and untied major-college teams, dwindling rapidly, was down to three—Texas (8-0), Alabama (8-0) and Rutgers (7-0)—after Colorado got caught up in the latest wave of upsets, bowing to twice-beaten Utah.
Meanwhile, bowl promoters, scurrying frantically to lock up appealing attractions, were busy rearranging their plans. The Orange Bowl, which had decided to invite Colorado and Georgia Tech, now wasn't so sure. The Bluebonnet was angling for Arkansas, while Gator officials had an eye on Syracuse. The best bowl bets: Rose—UCLA vs. Ohio State or Minnesota; Cotton—Texas vs. Mississippi; Sugar—LSU vs. Alabama.
The Ivy League, of course, looks down its collective nose at postseason bowls, but at least four teams played as though an invitation were in the offing. While Columbia was securing its future against Dartmouth, Harvard, defending with a tenacity seldom seen in Harvard Stadium in recent years, beat Princeton 9-7. The Tigers' single wing, weakened by injuries to Tailbacks Greg Riley and Hugh MacMillan, was reduced to ineffectual probing after a first-period touchdown and Harvard eventually turned a fumble into the winning score. Guard Ernie Zissis pounced on the loose ball and sophomore Quarterback Bill Humenuk led the Crimson on a 39-yard scoring march, bootlegging around end for the last yard with 4:45 left to play.
The incentive seemed just as great at Pitt Stadium, where Notre Dame and Pitt bobbled the ball back and forth until the Irish won 26-20. Fred Cox tried desperately to keep the Panthers in the ball game with a touchdown, 45-and 52-yard field goals and two extra points, but it wasn't enough. Notre Dame's Frank Budka passed for one score, set up another, intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble. Other major eastern independents had it much easier than the poor Pitts. Syracuse turned its "last hurrah" with Colgate into a 51-8 rout; Army swarmed over William & Mary 48-13; Penn State beat West Virginia 20-6; Holy Cross whomped Massachusetts 44-7.
Unbeaten Rutgers, pushed back on its heels by two quick Delaware touchdowns, rallied behind the running and passing of Quarterbacks Sam Mudie and Bill Speranza and the line busting of Fullback Steve Simms to outscore the persistent Blue Hens 27-19 and win the Mid-Atlantic title. The top three:
1. SYRACUSE (6-2)
2. PENN STATE (5-3)
3. RUTGERS (7-0)
While Alabama, Mississippi and LSU nonchalantly devastated nonconference rivals—Alabama ran over Richmond 66-0, Ole Miss battered Chattanooga 54-0, and LSU beat North Carolina 30-0—there were some significant rumblings in the lower reaches of the SEC. Tennessee caught Georgia Tech looking ahead to Saturday's battle with Alabama and upset the daydreaming Jackets 10-6. A Tech fumble gave the Vols' Gary Cannon a chance to kick a 31-yard field goal, and Tailback Mallon Faircloth did the rest. Running behind superb single-wing blocking, he picked apart the usually ungiving Jacket defense with slashing charges, then passed 22 yards to End Mike Stratton for the winning touchdown. Auburn, too, was brought up short. Mississippi State, which hadn't won a conference game since 1958, unexpectedly turned on the Tigers and beat them 11-10 when Billy Cook rushed over from the three-yard line and End Johnny Baker made a diving catch of Billy Hill's pass for two points with 2:45 to go.
Duke, heading for an Atlantic Coast showdown with North Carolina on Saturday, warmed to its next task by beating Navy 30-9. Coach Bill Murray, weary of watching his lonely end trying to match muscles with two defenders, sent a halfback in motion toward the same side to force the Middies to split their forces, and it worked even better than he expected. On Duke's fourth offensive play, End Jay Wilkinson grabbed Walt Rappold's 12-yard pass and jigged 65 yards for a touchdown. On the fifth play, Rappold ran 45 yards for another score, and Navy never recovered.