When Florida came to town, ALABAMA'S Bear Bryant knew just how he was going to play the tough Gators. "Men," he told his squad, "we're going to turn straight at 'em." Sure enough, Bryant's team aimed its shots at the muscular Gator middle. Florida, however, had 'Bama fighting for its life before the afternoon was done. Twice Alabama had to come from behind. Fullback Steve Bowman scored from in close and then squirted through the Gator middle for 30 yards. Both times Alabama went for a tie, and David Ray kicked the extra points. Then, with 3:30 to play, Ray kicked a 21-yard field goal and 'Bama won 17-14.
LSU should have expected trouble from TENNESSEE. The Bengals had beaten Tennessee only once in 31 years. The Vols' Fred Martin kicked a 28-yard field goal, LSU's Doug Moreau booted one from the 21 and the game ended in a 3-3 tie. Florida State got its comeuppance from VIRGINIA TECH. Bob Schweikert threw a touchdown pass, ran for two more as Tech shocked the Seminoles 20-11. Tulane turned loose its "Posse," an eager defensive group with more vigor than finesse, and almost did in GEORGIA TECH. Tech came back on Bruce Fischer's eight-yard pass to Mike Fortier to win 7-6.
Those two former powers, MISSISSIPPI and AUBURN, were still bogged down. It took a 51-yard pass from Jim Weatherly to Dave Wells to get Ole Miss a 7-7 tie with VANDERBILT. Auburn barely squeezed by Southern Mississippi 14-7. MISSISSIPPI STATE also had trouble but beat Houston 18-13. Kentucky was less fortunate. GEORGIA defeated the slumping Wildcats 21-7.
Penn State finally got rolling. Halfback Bob Riggle broke away for 86 and 17 yards, ran for 172 in all, and the Lions romped over West Virginia 37-8. INDIANA, another invader of the South, wore down Miami in the last quarter to win 28-14.
In the Atlantic Coast, NORTH CAROLINA at last showed signs of muscle while beating South Carolina 24-6, and WAKE FOREST surprised Maryland 21-17. NORTH CAROLINA STATE outscored Virginia 24-15.
THE TOP THREE:
1. OHIO STATE (5-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (5-0)
3. NEBRASKA (6-0)
Notre Dame, which beat Stanford 28-6 (see page 20), and NEBRASKA, a 21-3 winner over Colorado, hoped to hear that OHIO STATE, the Midwest's other unbeaten power—and the nation's No. 1 team—had stumbled against Wisconsin. Far from it. The Bucks, hitting the Badgers with their usual tough defense, let Quarterback Don Unverferth have some fun with his passes, then went back to Fullback Will Sander's booming rushes up the middle. State won easily, 28-3. But Coach Woody Hayes had a gripe coming. He complained, "We got two easy touchdowns, then we let down and were sort of dull."
The other Big Ten contenders wished they were as dull. PURDUE had to scramble to hold off Iowa's Gary Snook, who completed 26 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. But the Hawkeyes also fumbled the ball away five times, and Purdue took the game 19-14. MICHIGAN, after romping to a 19-0 lead, got wound up in a hair-raiser with Minnesota. The Gophers scored twice in the last quarter, and Michigan had to hang on desperately for a 19-12 victory. MICHIGAN STATE routed Northwestern 24-6 and ILLINOIS, warming up for Purdue, rolled over UCLA 26-7.