Despite these offensive talents, Texas Western was an underdog in each of its first two games, but the team scored lopsided victories in both. Stevens gained 500 yards passing, a national record, in a 61-15 rout of North Texas State, and threw for five scores against New Mexico. "I'm still in a state of shock," said New Mexico Coach Bill Weeks four days after the game, "but I've become a believer."
Last week New Mexico State's peppery coach, Warren Woodson, was not a believer. He was planning to furnish the surprises. "You don't think I've come down here to lose to these punks?" he growled. Woodson made the 42-mile trip from Las Cruces with the biggest defensive line that Texas Western is likely to see this year—four men weighing an average of 237 pounds. Woodson also put two men each on Wallace and Hughes and often wound up with seven men in the defensive secondary. New Mexico State scored first, taking a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. But it never threatened again. With nine minutes left in the first half and the ball on his own 36, Stevens lofted a pass downfield to Hughes, who was tightly covered by Defensive Halfback Jim Miller on the New Mexico State 25. Miller caught the ball, but as he and Hughes tumbled to the ground Hughes simply wrestled it away from him. Five plays later Wallace raced across in front of two New Mexico defenders and leaped high to catch a Stevens pass on the one-yard line. When the defenders tumbled to the ground in a tangle, Wallace jogged into the end zone for Texas Western's first score and a 7-6 lead. Three minutes later Hughes returned a punt 85 yards for another Texas Western touchdown, and late in the third quarter Wallace, standing on the goal line while fending off the New Mexico safety man, pulled in a 41-yard Stevens pass for the final score of the game and an eventual 21-6 victory.
"It was a good experience for Billy," said winning Coach Dobbs. "He got roughed up a lot. They made us work for everything we got."
It had indeed been a rough night for Billy. The breath was knocked out of him completely on one play and his knee strained during another. He emerged from the evening with large, red bruises all over his body and 81 yards lost trying, unsuccessfully, to get rid of the ball. But when he did get it off, Wallace and Hughes did the rest. Stevens now leads the nation in total offense with 977 yards, in passing with 1,106 yards gained and in touchdown passes with 10. So who needs experience to be a top quarterback? Get yourself a strong arm, a team with a pro-style passing attack, five elephants in the forward wall, a couple of receivers with baseball gloves for hands and then just throw the ball someplace. Really, there's nothing to it.
1. TEXAS (3-0)
2. ARKANSAS (3-0)
3. BAYLOR (2-1)
Texas Western and New Mexico State were expected to stage a close game, SMU and PURDUE were not, which explains why a Dallas motel sign pleaded with the Boilermakers to BE KIND TO SMU and only 17,000 appeared at the 75,000-capacity Cotton Bowl to watch Purdue's Bob Griese and company commit legal murder. Griese threw for two first-half scores, and SMU seemed destined for more of the same when Mustang Linebacker Jerry Griffin started "reading" the Purdue offense, calling quick checkoff defensive signals at the line and tackling. And he read it pretty well, making 13 tackles in all, as the Boilermakers were held scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile Quarterback Mac White all but laid Purdue to rest. He threw two touchdown passes as SMU partisans screamed, "To hell with No. 1," and led a final drive that fell short as Dennis Partee's field goal attempt with 21 seconds to go was blocked. The score: a satisfying (for SMU) 14-14 tie.
Indiana, a three-touchdown underdog, gave TEXAS fits for almost two quarters before succumbing 27-12 to what is becoming a diversified Longhorn attack. Texas scored on four long drives (the shortest was 66 yards) and rested Linebacker Tommy Nobis and his defensive wrecking crew much of the time in anticipation of next week's annual bloodbath with Oklahoma.
ARKANSAS Defensive Coach Jim Mackenzie, who supervised an instant videotape rerun setup, was asked how things went against TCU. "Not a fair test," he answered. "The team did nothing wrong." The Frogs would concur. They were beaten 28-0 as Harry Jones and Bob Burnett scored two touchdowns apiece in Arkansas' 15th straight victory.