THE TOP THREE:
1. WISCONSIN (6-1)
2. MISSOURI (7-0-1)
3. NORTHWESTERN (6-1)
A funny thing happened to Northwestern on the way to the Rose Bowl. It got thoroughly whipped by Wisconsin 37-6. The bigger, tougher and bolder Badgers simply overwhelmed the unbeaten Wildcats with their brawny defense and then, surprisingly, beat them at their own passing game. Tom Myers, Northwestern's talented passer, spent a dismal afternoon dodging onrushing Wisconsin linemen, and Paul Flatley, his pet receiver, was so earnestly shadowed by alternating defensemen Jim Nettles and Bill Smith that he caught only two passes. This while Wisconsin's Ron VanderKelen was having the time of his life. When he wasn't sending his backs squiggling through the shaky Northwestern line, he was lofting three touchdown passes to Gary Kroner and Lou Holland. Kroner also kicked a 38-yard field goal and four extra points while Holland ran for two other scores. Northwestern's disappointed Ara Parseghian was crushed but honest: "We were just overpowered."
Suddenly the Big Ten was up to its ears in contenders. Minnesota, playing its stern defensive game for all it was worth, throttled Iowa 14-0 to move into a first-place tie with Wisconsin and Northwestern (all 4-1), while Purdue (now 3-1) was still in the race. Up to their old, almost forgotten tricks, the Spoilermakers upset bumbling Michigan State 17-9.
Indiana's gung-ho gang-tackling Hoosiers, who rarely win but almost always leave battle scars on the opposition, carried Ohio State right down to the wire before the faltering Buckeyes squeaked through 10-7 on
Dick Van Raaphorst's 27-yard field goal with eight seconds left. At Ann Arbor the grim brothers Elliott staged their annual duel and Michigan's Bump beat Illinois' Pete for the third time, 14-10.
While Big Eight leader Missouri romped merrily over Colorado 57-0 and second-place Oklahoma clobbered Iowa State 41-0, Nebraska set aside its fancy stuff and got back to bone-crushing football. Led by third-stringer Willie Ross, who scored three times, the Huskers charged through the Kansas line on trap plays, ran up 32 points in the first 20 minutes and trounced the Jayhawkers 40-16. Kansas Coach Jack Mitchell was beside himself. "They just annihilated us," cried Mitchell. "Our coaching was lousy and so were our players. We should crawl into a hole and never come out."
It took almost three years for Notre Dame's Joe Kuharich to "discover" senior Quarterback Daryle Lamonica, and last Saturday Pitt was sorry that he didn't wait longer. Lamonica threw four touchdown passes, three to End Jim Kelly, as the Irish won 43-22.
Unbeaten Ohio moved to a 6-0 lead over Bowling Green but the Falcons tied the score on Don Lisbon's one-yard plunge, then won the game and the Mid-American title 7-6 on Asa Elsea's placement kick.