Darrell Royal of Texas had reason to be optimistic on the eve of the Longhorns' opener against Houston. After all, everybody knew that he had one of the most potent backfields extant. What everybody supposedly did not know, however, was that Royal had also come up with a different offensive formation, one so new he hadn't had time to name it. The what's-its-name alignment moved Fullback Steve Worster midway between the halfbacks and much closer than usual to Quarterback Bill Bradley, thus setting up all kinds of spinning, handoff plays.
So there was Royal, happily cuddling his secret at a cocktail party the night before the game, when a Houston radio announcer sidled up to him and said, "I hear you're going to have your fullback lined up pretty close to your quarterback." But the "surprise" offense still worked well enough, springing Longhorn runners for 297 yards, 159 of them by Chris Gilbert. Alas, Not-so-Super Bill Bradley completed just one of seven passes and had three intercepted. Meanwhile, Houston was giving the Texas defense fits, especially Paul Gipson, who gained 173 yards rushing and scored three times, once on a 66-yard sprint. To salvage a 20-20 tie Texas had to stop the Cougars twice in the fourth quarter, first on the two-yard line, then one foot from the goal.
There was no secret about the offense to be used against Oklahoma State by Frank Broyles of Arkansas. He was turning over a new pro-type attack to sophomore Quarterback Bill Montgomery and sure enough the Razorbacks came out passing, with Montgomery finding his receivers with 10 of his first 25. But the Razorbacks trailed at halftime 15-3, so back into use came a no-nonsense 1965-style I-formation running game. From there on it wasn't fancy, but David Dickey, Bill Burnett and Russell Cody ran through the Cowboys, and with help from Montgomery, who made good on five of six second-half passes, Arkansas scored four times in 18 minutes for a 32-15 win.
Jim O'Brien, who earlier had kicked a 47-yard field goal, scored on a 53-yard pass from Greg Cook to give Missouri Valley underdog Cincinnati a 10-10 tie against the Southwest Conference's Texas Tech.
Three touchdowns by Paul White helped Texas-El Paso to defeat New Mexico 44-15 in its first game as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. The first two times that New Mexico State had the ball Halfback Ron James scored on runs of 25 and 43 yards against North Texas State, but then the Eagles regrouped. Steve Ramsey, who led the nation in touchdown passes last year, came through with three of them and North Texas took the game 47-20.
1. ALABAMA (1-0)
2. FLORIDA (1-0)
3. TENNESSEE (0-0-1)
Clemson Coach Frank Howard likes nothing better than a belly laugh except, perhaps, getting off a funny line so that other folks can have a belly laugh. Well, no one was laughing after Clemson's 20-20 tie with Wake Forest, least of all Howard, who, with less than three minutes to play and his team trailing 20-19, disdained going for a two-point conversion and a possible win. Afterward Howard beat his critics to that oldest of coaches' clich�s: "A tie is like kissing your sister." But he spruced it up a bit by adding: "All I can say is that I had a mighty pretty sister today."
It was clear, though, that Howard was fit to be tied. His favorite line during the off season had to do with his defense, which he called "the best I have ever had in 38 years at Clemson." Fortunately for Howard, his offense was more effective, with Scat-back Buddy Gore flitting for 98 yards and Quarterback Charley Waters for 87 more. This alone might have been sufficient to produce a victory had it not been for the feats of Deacon Quarterback Freddie Summers, who hit on seven of his last 12 passes, ran for 69 yards and scored twice.
In two other ACC games, Duke and North Carolina State both scored twice in the first period, the Blue Devils hanging on for a 14-7 upset over South Carolina and the Wolfpack beating North Carolina 38-6. Sophomore Quarterback Leo Hart of the Blue Devils completed 16 of 26 passes for 214 yards and Linebacker Dick Biddle made 25 individual tackles, twice stopping the Gamecocks on fourth-and-less-than-a-yard plays inside the Duke 20. Chapel Hill, N.C. is suffering its worst drought in 14 years, and the football buffs there are no better off than the weather watchers, for the Tar Heels don't have much but spirit. This was obvious within two minutes after the opening kickoff, all the time it took the Wolfpack to score twice.