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All week long Angelenos brooded over UCLA'S bad luck. Quarterback Gary Beban was out with a broken ankle, and Norman Dow, his senior substitute, had had almost no varsity experience. But while USC backers got themselves in the proper frame of mind for the Rose Bowl, Coach Tommy Prothro built up the nervous Dow's confidence by telling him, "If we win, boy, you're the toast of the town." Last Saturday night he was. Handling his team flawlessly, passing sparingly but prodding USC off-balance with his skittish running, Dow scored on a five-yard dash and handed off to Cornell Champion on a 21-yard bolt through tackle for another score. The Bruins won 14-7 but USC, the AAWU champion with a 4-1 record to UCLA's 3-1, was named to play in Pasadena on Jan. 2. Cradling the game ball in his left arm, Dow insisted, "I'm not a good passer or a good runner. I don't excel at anything." Too bad. He would have looked good in the Rose Bowl.
It did not mean a thing, except to OREGON STATE. The Beavers (7-3) tied UCLA for second by beating Oregon 20-15 as stubby Fullback Pete Pifer rammed for 130 yards to become the first conference player to twice gain more than 1,000 yards in a season. WASHINGTON and STANFORD also salvaged some glory. The Huskies beat Washington State 19-7, while Stanford took California 13-7.
The Western AC title belonged to Wyoming, of course, but the competition was still on for places in the standings. ARIZONA STATE rolled over New Mexico 28-7 and can still tie Utah, a 13-7 loser to independent UTAH STATE, for third. ARIZONA surprised Iowa State 27-24 as Quarterback Mark Reed completed 27 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth. But IDAHO'S Ray McDonald had the biggest day—250 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-12 rout of Weber State.
The big teams—unbeaten Alabama and Georgia Tech and once-beaten Georgia and Florida—all rested last week, but that did not deter bowl promoters. They made their matchups anyway, and it is official now: Alabama goes to the Sugar Bowl to meet Nebraska; Georgia to the Cotton Bowl to play either SMU or Arkansas; and Georgia Tech and Florida to the Orange Bowl.
Tennessee (6-3), Mississippi (7-2) and Miami (6-2-1), however, had to earn their: invitations. Quarterback Dewey Warren pitched four touchdown passes, two to Richmond Flowers, to beat Kentucky 28-19 and put Tennessee into the Gator Bowl against: Syracuse (8-2). Ole Miss had it easier. The Rebs turned Halfback Doug Cunningham loose for 19-and 64-yard touchdown runs as they crushed Vanderbilt 34-0. Mississippi will probably play the Southwest runner-up in the Bluebonnet. Miami Quarterbacks Bill Miller and David Olivo passed for three scores, Halfback Joe Mira ran for a couple and the Hurricanes smashed defenseless Iowa 44-0. Then Miami accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
West Virginia was no match for SYRACUSE, losing 34-7. The Mountaineers stacked their defenses, using a 7-4 and defying the Orange to pass, and still Larry Csonka and Floyd Little ran through them. Pounding inside, Csonka picked up 145 yards and a touchdown, while Little, hitting outside, got 127 and scored twice. And just to prove that West Virginia's massed defense was a sad mistake, Quarterback Rick Cassata passed I for two touchdowns. "It was just no use," mourned Coach Jim Carlen.