1. FLORIDA (3-0)
2. LSU (3-0)
3. GEORGIA (2-0-1)
The battle of the brains was intense before the Alabama-Mississippi game. 'Bama pulled the curtains on its AstroTurf practice field and Ole Miss locked the gates for its sessions and went to two workouts a day as the noises emanating from the two hideaways sounded like a George Wallace campaign rally. Finally the two teams got at each other and for almost a half they were locked in a scoreless duel. Then, with less than two minutes to play in the second quarter, Ole Miss Quarterback Archie Manning hit Vernon Studdard on a 49-yard pass play to the Alabama 12 and a moment later he passed six yards to Hank Shows for the touchdown. Perry King kicked the extra point, but his crucial boot came later, a 44-yard field goal that made it 10-0. Alabama was shut out until the last eight seconds when a blocked kick led to the final score of 10-8. It was the first Ole Miss victory over the Crimson Tide since 1910.
The win put Mississippi in a tic for the SEC lead with Auburn, which won its second conference game as John Riley kicked Kentucky into submission, 26-7, with four field goals—from 22, 23, 47 and 30 yards—an SEC record. "The good Lord was with me," said Riley, sharing the credit.
Florida was the only other SEC team with a conference victory, and it came easy enough for the Gators, who defeated Mississippi State 31-14. The other contenders were still busy playing nonconference opponents. LSU rolled over Baylor 48-16, but Georgia almost didn't make it past South Carolina. Coach Paul Dietzel's alert defense—Roy Don Reeves, brother of the Dallas Cowboys' Dan, intercepted three passes—and two field goals by Billy DuPre had the Gamecocks ahead 20-7 in the first half. Then Quarterback Mike Cavan found his passing touch and Georgia's big backs began to hammer. Cavan's 15-yard pass to Kent Lawrence and Jim McCullough's extra point barely pulled the Bulldogs through 21-20.
There is nothing that makes Florida State Coach Bill Peterson angrier than not scoring a touchdown. So, after last week's 9-3 Florida defeat, he shook up his offensive unit, bringing in Bill Cappleman at quarterback, sophomore Jim Tyson at tight end and sophomore Tom Bailey at fullback. The changes worked. While a tough Seminole defense, led by Linebacker Dale McCullers, stopped Texas A&M's gaudy Edd Hargett—he was intercepted four times—the newcomers fired up FSU. Cappleman passed for two touchdowns, once to Tyson, and Bailey gained 90 yards as FSU won 20-14.
Clemson has been coming down to Georgia Tech's Grant Field on and off since 1945, and each time Coach Frank Howard has taken home a lot of loot for the athletic vault. But never a victory. Last Saturday Howard got a check for $150,000 along with his usual defeat, this time 24-21, as Tech Quarterback Larry Good threw two touchdown passes. After the game, the familiar twinkle was gone from Howard's eye as he said, "I thought we could beat their behinds. It's hell to go home without a win."
For a while West Virginia's sophomore quarterback, Mike Sherwood, had third-ranked Penn State confused as he pitched the Mountaineers to a 14-7 lead. But then the Lion tackles, Mike Reid and Steve Smear, the heart of Penn State's good defense, began to get to him. What discouraged Sherwood even more, though, was Linebacker Dennis Onkotz's penchant for grabbing his passes. Onkotz ran one back nine yards for a touchdown and set up another score with an interception. That, and some slick running by Charlie Pittman, who gained 125 yards, won for Penn State 31-20.
Duke Coach Tom Harp knows how to give a guy confidence. With his team trailing Maryland 28-27 and driving to within field goal range, he had David Pugh, his placekicker, warm up by kicking footballs into the stands. With three seconds to go and the bad kicks out of his system, Pugh came in and converted a 27-yarder to give the Blue Devils a 30-28 victory and hard-luck Maryland its 16th straight loss. North Carolina took advantage of a bad Vanderbilt center snap to score a touchdown in the last quarter and beat Vandy 8-7.