1. HOUSTON (4-1)
2. TEXAS (3-2)
3. RICE (3-1)
Somehow things were not as usual when Texas and Arkansas got together in Little Rock for their annual hoedown. The two teams were not fighting for the national championship, or even for the Southwest Conference lead, just survival. But Texas Halfback Chris Gilbert turned the game into a personal bonanza when he carried 38 times for 166 yards and scored three times as the Longhorns won 21-12. "You need a net to catch him," said Arkansas Guard David Cooper admiringly. "It's like trying to take a rabbit." One thing the toughest rabbit in the Southwest achieved was to get Royal back to a point where his team still has some kind of chance for the conference title.
As if TCU's season has not been dark enough, a burned-out transformer blew most of the lights in Fort Worth's Amon Carter Stadium just a few minutes before the Frogs were to play Texas A&M. It was black everywhere but on the field, where TCU would have welcomed less exposure. Led by Linebacker Billy Hobbs's 100-yard pass interception, A&M drubbed the poor Frogs 20-0. But everything was bright and shiny for Rice in Houston. The Owls came from behind to beat SMU 14-10 and take the SWC lead on Tailback Terry Shelton's 42-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Brigham Young's three passing quarterbacks were overmatched against the University of Texas at El Paso, which needed only one passer, Billy Stevens, who threw for six touchdowns, four of them to Flanker Volley Murphy, as UTEP won 47-17.
1. USC (6-0)
2. UCLA (6-0)
3. WYOMING (6-0)
USC Coach John McKay had worried all week about taking his No. 1-ranked team to Seattle to play Washington. "Jimmy [Owens] always gives us trouble up there," said McKay apprehensively. The trouble Husky Coach Owens evolved this time was a tough defense that stopped every Trojan except O. J. Simpson. But that is not defense enough. O. J. ran 86 yards for one touchdown, got another on a 10-yard sweep and threw a 17-yard pass to Split End Earl McCullouch for a third as USC broke open a bruising 7-6 battle and won 23-6.
Undefeated UCLA, meanwhile, was having its problems in Palo Alto. Determined Stanford, with little Quarterback Chuck Williams taking unusual passing liberties against UCLA's rather short secondary, did everything to the embattled Bruins but beat them. And once again it was Gary Beban who bailed out UCLA. Twice he fooled the Indians by hiding the ball so well on rollouts that not even his own teammates knew who had it. Beban ran 11 and four yards for touchdowns, and the Bruins prevailed 21-16. After eight straight losses Oregon found a clay pigeon in Idaho, whom they beat 31-6. Washington State, however, stepped into Oregon's losing role as it dropped its eighth in a row, to Arizona State 31-20.
Unbeaten Wyoming, stung by a Wichita State touchdown pass on the Shockers' first play, recovered to win 30-7 as Jerry DePoyster kicked his 27th field goal, tying Charlie Gogolak's NCAA career record. Utah remained in the Western AC race by outscoring Arizona 33-29, while New Mexico lost to San Jose State 52-14.