1. OHIO STATE (7-0)
2. MICHIGAN (7-1)
3. KANSAS (7-1)
Overhead, a chill wind blew a clutch of balloons labeled Orange Bowl Bound out of Kansas Stadium. Overland, a few seconds later, came Steve Owens of Oklahoma, barging into the end zone to deny Kansas an unbeaten season and possibly a trip to the Orange Bowl. Owens, who scored the decisive touchdown in the 27-23 victory with 4:14 left, also threw a touchdown pass. That came after Sooner Offensive Coach Barry Switzer, noting a Jayhawk halfback's tendency to move up too quickly on running plays, had suggested a halfback pass. Oklahoma Coach Chuck Fairbanks spoke of his team's buildup for the game in ethereal terms, saying, "It was like electricity forming." Judging from the result, the Sooners got a charge out of it.
Missouri thus moved into the lead in the Big Eight, but will have to contend with the aroused Sooners themselves this week. The Tigers went to the top by beating Iowa State 42-7. Two other conference powers were stunned, Nebraska by Kansas State 12-0 and Colorado by Oklahoma State 34-17.
There were also shocks in the Big Ten, alhough Ohio State had no difficulty whipping Wisconsin 43-8, even with No. 1 passer Rex Kern sidelined. Ron Maciejowski, filling in for Kern, completed 13 of 19 passes and ran for 124 yards and three scores. Asked if his team's 301 yards rushing meant he was returning to his three-yards-and-a-cloud offense, Coach Woody Hayes replied, "Might be. That's what I call my Neanderthal offense." Indiana won another close one, scoring with 52 seconds left to upset Michigan State 24-22. It was Minnesota, however, that pulled the top surprise by downing Purdue. Jim Carter scored each of the first three times the Gophers had the ball, and the Boilermakers went down 27-13. Iowa's Ed Podolak set a Big Ten record, gaining 286 yards in a 68-34 rampage against Northwestern. Michigan got its seventh straight by polishing off Illinois 36-0.
With Notre Dame's Terry Hanratty out with a torn knee ligament that required surgery, his understudies went to work on Pittsburgh. Sophomore Quarterback Joe Theismann scored twice and erstwhile Quarterback Coley O'Brien, switched to halfback, went over three times. Not even a fast second-half clock, which was kept running on incompleted passes, could save the Panthers from a 56-7 licking.
Unbeaten Ohio University trailed Bowling Green 27-14 with 4:20 to go in their MidAmerican Conference game, then scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and won it 28-27 on a 48-yard run by Cleve Bryant. Xavier also scored late to overcome Toledo 20-10, and Kent State defeated Marshall 36-12. Miami of Ohio blanked Dayton 14-0. Cincinnati beat Louisville 37-7 in a Missouri Valley game.
1. TEXAS (6-1-1)
2. KANSAS (7-1)
3. HOUSTON (4-1-2)
Anyway, there was no bombing pause in Texas. A total of 244 points was scored in four Southwest Conference games. The SWC wound up with a peck of offensive records in tatters, but with Texas, Arkansas, SMU and Texas Tech still tied for first place. Arkansas and SMU will meet head on this week and both warmed to the task with easy wins. Bill Montgomery set an Arkansas season mark for total yardage (1,622) as he hit on 15 of 23 passes for 266 yards to give the Razorbacks a 46-21 win over Rice. For SMU the record smashers were Mike Richardson and Jerry Levias. Richardson carried 39 times (an SWC alltime high) for 244 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Mustangs forsook their usual passing attack to hand Texas A&M its most decisive defeat of the year 36-23. Levias, although held to five receptions and 59 yards, established an SWC career mark for pass-catching yardage (2,095). Tech won over TCU the hard way. The Red Raiders, who had 15 players bothered by flu, trailed 14-0 at the end of one period but still came back to win 31-14, Joe Matulich got the Raiders started with a seven-yard scoring pass before having to leave the game. In came Tom Sawyer, another flu victim, who tossed a four-yarder for another touchdown and later, on an apparent third-down punt, he threw a 71-yarder to Bobby Allen. Texas was behind 13-12 to Baylor at the half, but the Longhorn runners were only delayed on their way to accumulating 557 yards and winning 47-26. Chris Gilbert, who picked up 212 yards, and Steve Worster each scored three times.