THE TOP THREE:
1. USC (7-3)
2. OREGON STATE (8-2)
3. OREGON (7-2-1)
The season ended on the Coast amidst charges and countercharges. The north section of the AAWU was jealous of the south, it was said, and excluded a more deserving USC from the Rose Bowl while voting in its own candidate, Oregon State. Actually, the conference had bowed to a procedural vote the week before. According to conference rules, only by agreement of all eight schools could the AAWU select its representative for the Rose Bowl before all conference members had finished their schedules. USC, which had Notre Dame to play and hoped to sway the other schools in its favor by its showing against the No. I team, did not agree—hence the delay. When the conference did vote, two hours after USC's splendid victory over Notre Dame, it chose Oregon State, probably by a vote of 5-3, with USC, UCLA and California favoring the Los Angeles school. Whichever way the vote had gone, there would have been bad feeling. Possibly the better team will not play January 1, but Oregon State and USC tied in league competition and at least five schools consider the Beavers more representative.
There were no bowl bids at stake in Tucson, just a blood feud involving ARIZONA and Arizona State and a valued piece of the Western Athletic Conference championship. Arizona State, beaten only once (by Utah) went into the game a clear favorite and came out of it soundly trounced, 30-6. The Wildcats simply gave Quarterback John Torok the short pass (he completed 25 of 47 for 394 yards) and, led by 210-pound Linebacker Tom Malloy, clamped down on the eager Sun Devils whenever they threatened seriously. Arizona intercepted six of Torok's passes, running them back for 124 yards, and held State to minus 23 yards rushing. Halfback Floyd Hudlow, a racy runner, led the offensive charge, going 58 and seven yards for touchdowns as Arizona earned a three-way tie with Utah and New Mexico for the WAC title.
New Mexico, meanwhile, had big trouble with Kansas State. Halfback Doug Dusenbury kept the Lobos in a hole with his spectacular 52.8-yard punting—one went 71 yards—and the stubborn Wildcat line held three times inside the 10-yard line. It took three field goals by Jack Abendschan, a 222-pound, two-way guard, to beat the Wildcats 9-7. Abendschan's kicks, all in the first half, were good for 24, 22 and 50 yards, the last a new WAC record.
With seven minutes to go, SAN JOSE STATE looked like a sure 15-7 loser to once-beaten San Diego State. Then the fun began. The Spartans scored twice and Quarterback Ken Berry's 15-yard pass to End Bob Bonds with 32 seconds to go edged San Diego 20-15.
When Slippery Rock, whose very name inspires love and laughter, came west to play LOS ANGELES STATE, the Rockets were received like foreign potentates. They were welcomed at the airport by a caravan, complete with band, presented with a scroll proclaiming Slippery Rock Day in southern California, and some friendly and sympathetic natives even formed a cheering section, complete with card stunts and miscellaneous yells. But it was all to no avail. Los Angeles State thrashed the Rockets 62-6.
THE NUMBERS GAME
When the last yard was counted, free-wheeling Tulsa and its record-breaking pass-catch team of Jerry Rhome and Howard Twilley had claimed six NCAA titles. Tulsa was first in total offense, with 4,618 yards in 10 games, passing with 3,179 yards and 34 touchdowns, and scoring with 38.4 points per game. Rhome led in total offense with 3,128 yards gained and in passing with 224 completions in 326 attempts for a .687 average, 2,870 yards and 32 touchdowns. Twilley was the leading pass receiver with 95 catches for 1,178 yards and 13 touchdowns. Wake Forest Fullback Brian Piccolo took what was left. He led the nation's rushers (1,044 yards) and scorers (111 points).