THE TOP THREE:
1. ILLINOIS (5-0-1)
2. OKLAHOMA (5-1)
3. OHIO STATE (4-1-1)
The Big Ten leaders—ILLINOIS, OHIO STATE and MICHIGAN STATE—were nervously bracing for the stretch run to the Rose Bowl. The best bet to win: Ohio State, which, thoughtfully, arranged the easiest schedule.
As usual, the masterminding in the Big Ten was intense. Illinois' Pete Elliott planned to go wide against Purdue, but the wise Boilermakers spoiled his plans when they sent their monster linebacker with the man in motion. It was the nicest thing that could have happened to the Illini. Fullback Jim Grabowski went careening up the middle for 99 yards and three touchdowns, and Purdue's strategy collapsed like a soggy bag. Illinois won 41-21.
Ohio State's Woody Hayes was just as full of little surprises. When his Buckeyes got into trouble against Iowa, Woody switched Tom Barrington, his new 208-pound sophomore quarterback, to left half. Barrington churned through the Hawkeyes for 44 yards in a 73-yard drive that ended with Fullback Matt Snell going over from the three. Ohio State won 7-3. Where will Barrington play next week? "Buy a program and see," chortled Hayes, that old legerdemainist.
Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty was less guileful. After his Spartans spotted Wisconsin a 7-6 lead and then lost their quarterback, Steve Juday, with an injury, Duffy sent in Dick Proebstle and hoped for the best. He got it. The big MSU line pushed the Badgers around dreadfully and Proebstle took the Spartans in for three touchdowns as Michigan State won 30-13.
Michigan's Bump Elliott borrowed a pass-rush defense from Michigan State and beat Northwestern with it 27-6. Minnesota, magnanimous to a fault, gave up the ball six times on fumbles and interceptions and grateful INDIANA took the game 24-6.
Army and NAVY mounted a small-scale invasion of the Midwest and came away pleased. In Chicago, Army went at Air Force with Coach Paul Dietzel's good old ball-control football. Even when the Falcons went ahead 10-7 with six minutes to go, the Cadets played their game. They powered 48 yards to the Air Force 17, and on fourth and two Halfback Ken Waldrop, who had scored earlier, barreled in to win for Army 14-10. At South Bend, Navy's Roger Staubach prodded stodgy Notre Dame off balance with his pretty passes (for two touchdowns), Fullback Pat Donnelly bombed away at the middle, and the Irish succumbed 35-14.
Nebraska's Bob Devaney was wary of Missouri. "On offense," he said, "they say 'here we come.' On defense, they dare you." Quarterback Dennis Claridge and his Huskers made a few errors, but Missouri made more. The Tigers missed an extra-point placement, failed on a two-point attempt and Nebraska eked it out 13-12 to take the Big Eight lead.
But OKLAHOMA was close behind. The Sooners pounded away at Colorado until the poor Buffs gave in 35-0. KANSAS clobbered Kansas State 34-0. Oklahoma State's Mike Miller embarrassed IOWA STATE with his passing (15 completions for 201 yards), but the Cyclones held on to win 33-28.