1. TEXAS (4-1-1)
2. ARKANSAS (5-1)
3. SMU (5-1)
Texas Tech scored 10 points the first two times it had the ball against SMU, but then, with Cotton Bowl visions dancing inside the helmets of the Red Raiders, the Mustangs came on like dreambusters. They scored twice within 10 seconds on passes by Chuck Hixson, on a 53-yard field goal by Bicky Lesser, on a safety and on another 53-yarder by Lesser—39 straight points in a 39-18 victory. Hixson, who leads the country in completions with 164 in 291 tries, hit his receivers with 29 out of 50 passes, connecting 11 times with Jerry Levias.
Unlike SMU, Texas is a running team, and with Chris Gilbert leading the overland assault, the Longhorns crunched out 440 yards and whipped Rice 38-14. Gilbert gained 213 yards to set an SWC career record of 2,729. Missed extra points and rugged defensive play helped Baylor and Arkansas to prevail. Baylor picked off three Texas A&M passes and three fumbles—the last on the Bears' 16 with 33 seconds to go—to win 10-9. Arkansas led 17-3 against North Texas State, then hung on to win 17-15 when the Eagles missed a PAT kick and later bobbled a pitchout on a two-point try. Bill Burnett ran for 185 yards and scored twice for the Razorbacks.
1. USC (5-0)
2. CALIFORNIA (5-1)
3. WYOMING (5-2)
USC Coach John McKay and his No. 1-ranked Trojans had a day off last Saturday, but USC's next four Pacific Eight opponents were all beginning to demonstrate the kind of strength that could upset the Trojans' plans for a rosy New Year's Day celebration. Oregon, for example, beat Utah 14-6 for its third straight, and USC must face the Ducks in Eugene this Saturday. California, with its best team in 10 years, smashed Syracuse 43-0. Oregon State, after its customary sputtering start, has now righted itself. OSU defeated Washington State 16-8.
Even UCLA, after three losses in a row, suddenly came alive. "We lack flamboyance," UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro had complained. "We don't have the verve, the dash and the drive. We don't have smoothness, audacity and the desire to dish out heavy punishment." It looked like yet another verveless afternoon for his Bruins when Stanford took a 14-0 lead but, all of a sudden, in the early minutes of the third quarter, UCLA at last began to exhibit some flamboyance. Quarterback Bill Bolden and Wingback Gwen Cooper teamed up on a 64-yard pass play for a touchdown. Minutes later, after a Stanford fumble on the UCLA 24, Fullback Rick Purdy went over from the one for another score. Both times, however, the Bruins tried to run for two extra points and failed, and Bill Shoemaker's 24-yard field goal put Stanford ahead 17-12 early in the fourth quarter. But now the Bruins showed some audacity, as Quarterback Jim Nader hurled a 50-yard pass to Split End Ron Copeland, who caught it in a crowd on the Stanford three. With 3:43 to go, Halfback Greg Jones bulled over for a touchdown and then ran for two extra points as UCLA won 20-17.
After six straight losses, New Mexico's Lobos figured that everything possible had already happened to them. Then Wyoming's Bob Jacobs kicked off into a 45-mile-per-hour wind that whistled northward across the bleak Laramie plains. The ball got caught in the gale and ended up drifting backward to the New Mexico 48, where Wyoming Linebacker Gene Sheahan grabbed it. From there the Cowboys went on to score, and eventually won 35-6. "It was a brilliant piece of strategy," explained Coach Lloyd Eaton.
That wasn't the only strange happening in the Western AC. Brigham Young, breezing along with a 22-point lead in the last quarter, lost to Texas-El Paso 31-25 when Brooks Dawson came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes and Jeff White ran two yards for another score with 30 seconds to go. That ruined the frosting on BYU's 25,000-pound homecoming cake.