Other Big Ten wins went to Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa. Bill Triplett ran for three touchdowns and passed for a fourth as the Spartans finished off Northwestern 31-14. The Gophers dealt Wisconsin its 15th loss in a row 23-15, and the Hawkeyes recovered from a bumbling start to beat Illinois 37-13. Mid-American teams took two of three games from outsiders. Ohio University concluded a perfect 10-0 season by overpowering Northern Illinois, and Bowling Green came on strong to trounce Xavier 44-14 as Vern Wireman passed for three third-period scores. But Miami of Ohio was stunned 23-21 by Cincinnati, which trailed 14-0 going into the final quarter, then scrambled back for three touchdowns and a 47-yard field goal by Jim O'Brien with three seconds to go. O'Brien's winning kick gave him 142 points for the season, the highest in the nation.
North Texas State (4-1) crushed Wichita State 44-6 and can claim a share of the Missouri Valley title should Memphis State (4-0) lose to Louisville this week.
1. USC (9-0)
2. OREGON STATE (7-3)
3. ARIZONA (8-1)
It was only a few minutes after his team had beaten Oregon State two weeks ago and USC Coach John McKay was busy lighting up a slim cigar when someone asked if he thought that clinching the Pacific Eight title and the Rose Bowl invitation would cause his team to have a letdown against the next opponent, UCLA. McKay adroitly fielded that one on the first hop. "We'd like to be national champions," he said softly, "and you can't do that without being city champions." For a while last Saturday his Trojans almost blew both prizes, and maybe it was just as well that the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was socked in by smog. UCLA led 10-7 early in the second quarter, thanks to some fancy running by Halfback Mickey Cureton. Then O.J. Simpson, hammering the Bruins relentlessly inside and out, got USC back on the track. Still the Trojans were ahead only 21-16 in the last period and UCLA was on the USC one-yard line. But Quarterback Jim Nader, in for injured Bill Bolden, tried a sweep right, slipped and fell. Minutes later the precocious Bruins were threatening one last time, but Linebacker Jim Snow intercepted a Nader pass. Simpson then ate up 47 yards in three big gulps, scored his third touchdown of the day from the four-yard line and the Trojans won 28-16. O.J. carried 40 times for 205 yards, bringing his total for the year to 1,654 and breaking Mercury Morris' week-old NCAA single-season record.
There was the chance, too, that Oregon State would have a letdown against Oregon in what Oregonians like to call their annual "civil war." Coach Dee Andros didn't think so. "We're fighting for respect," he said. Oregon showed how much it respected OSU Fullback Bill Enyart, stacking its defense to stop him. It was no use. Enyart scattered the stack with his crushing jolts, smashed the Ducks for 168 yards and scored three touchdowns as OSU won easily 41-19.
California's version of The Game was almost as startling as the Ivy League's. Everybody figured that California's strong defense would gobble up Stanford. Instead, Quarterback Jim Plunkett and Flanker Gene Washington had their own picnic. Plunkett cluttered up Cal's defense with keeper plays and accurate passes, Washington caught seven to break the conference record—with 71—and Stanford won 20-0 for a 6-3-1 record, the same as Cal's. Washington State also surprised Washington, whipping the Huskies 24-0 to give Coach Jim Owens his first losing season (3-5-2) in a decade.
For years Arizona has played its games in near seclusion. But suddenly the Wondercats have become one of the hottest items in the state and a record 40,500 turned out in Tucson to watch them play Wyoming in a Western AC showdown. The crowd wasn't disappointed. Arizona made up a 7-0 deficit on the sharp passing of Quarterback Bruce Lee and then beat the Cowboys 14-7 as Fullback Noki Fuimaono, a native-born Samoan, set up the winning touchdown with five straight blasts into the line. Now to win the WAC title Arizona must only beat Arizona State this Saturday. An Arizona loss, however, will give it to Wyoming. Arizona State, meanwhile, warmed up for the big game by trouncing San Jose State 66-0 as Art Malone scored four touchdowns.
There had been a few hints earlier in the season that Air Force was coming on strong, but nobody really expected the Falcons to manhandle Colorado. They did, though, despite a brilliant performance by Buffalo Quarterback Bob Anderson, who had 286 yards in total offense. Halfback Ernest Jennings shredded the Colorado defense for 124 yards, Quarterback Gary Baxter threw over it for three touchdowns and Air Force won easily 58-35 for a 7-3 season.