1. OHIO STATE (1-0)
2. MISSOURI (2-0)
3. OKLAHOMA (2-0)
While the will-success-spoil- Ohio State question was about to be answered in Columbus (page 18), Notre Dame pondered whether it could ever beat Purdue's Mike Phipps. "I think so," concluded Linebacker Bob Olson. "He's a fairly good runner and has a good arm, but he had Keyes in the past and good receivers." Defensive Tackle Mike McCoy remembered the Purdue game of 1967: "That year Purdue didn't treat us too well. Phipps killed us. It made him nationally known. But I don't want to say anything more until after the game. Then, if we win, I'll blow my mouth, but if we lose I'll keep quiet."
McCoy was quiet in the Notre Dame dressing room after Phipps had beaten the Irish 28-14 before the biggest sports crowd in Indiana history (always excepting the Indianapolis 500). The 68,000 in Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium, which is referred to in South Bend as the Snake Pit, watched the Boilermakers' All-American Band salute two graduates, Neil Armstrong and the late Gus Grissom, with a halftime show entitled "The Greatest Touchdown Ever." The crowd considered Phipps' first-quarter 37-yard pass to Halfback Randy Cooper a close second, since it gave Purdue a 7-0 lead. "The reason I threw to Cooper on that first touchdown was because we felt if we could hurt them once early they'd lay off. We knew they were wary coming in here and we wanted the momentum. It worked."
Phipps made first downs on critical third downs and long yardage in each of his four touchdown drives. "He's always had poise and great presence," Ara Parseghian said after the game. "He made the key play, the critical play—the third-down play." The quarterback, who by now is used to beating the Irish, was blas� while facing a crush of reporters. "It's nice to know I beat them three years in a row, but I imagine it will mean more to me some later year," he said.
Another quarterback, this one an unknown, was less casual during his postgame interview. California's Steve Curtis left the bench with the Golden Bears trailing Indiana 14-7 in the second quarter and proceeded to fumble. "That shows how nervous I was," Curtis said. Then Curtis went on to lead the Bears to a 17-14 upset. He threw a game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to substitute End Ken Adams, whose grandfather founded Grambling College. The real hero of the game was not Curtis but rather the California defense. After allowing two scores in the game's first eight minutes, it shut out the Gonso-Isenbarger-Butcher laughing boys. "Who says defense is dead?" bubbled Coach Ray Willsey. "It didn't look like it this afternoon."
Wisconsin football is becoming more enjoyable. The team's running backs hale colorful nicknames—Greg (Grape Juice) Johnson and Alan (A-Train) Thompson—and they also have speed and power. Thanks to their ability to carry the football the Badgers scored 23 points against UCLA, Wisconsin's highest point total in 47 games. Just one problem: the Bruins scored 34, thanks to the arm of Quarterback Dennis Dummit, a JC transfer. Many Bruin followers consider him to be more talented than Gary Beban. Tommy Prothro is more cautious. "I couldn't rate someone who has played just three games with someone who played 30. But he is a good passer."
Jim Ettinger joked that he would gather his teammates around and celebrate Kansas' 13-0 win against Syracuse with a Saturday night poetry reading. The quarterback's poems, however, would have been inappropriate. "They deal with heartbreak and sorrow and are in the mood of Rod McKuen's songs." A Detroit publisher has printed two collections of his verse entitled But What of the Lonely and Anxious Are the Young. Coach Ben Schwartzwalder and the Orangemen had a lonely plane ride home after Kansas folk hero Emery Hicks—or Mr. Bad, as he is known in Laurence—hit Syracuse Quarterback Rich Panczyszyn as he threw the ball. The pass was intercepted by John Mears, who, after a key block thrown by Hicks, rambled 56 yards for the final touchdown.
Missouri's Joe Moore is a local boy, having grown up in St. Louis. He had rebelled at Beaumont High School when he was shifted from defensive guard to fullback. After the Tigers took care of Illinois 37-6, the sophomore halfback said, "You can tell them I don't want to play guard anymore." Moore carried the ball 22 times for 191 yards and began the scoring with a 58-yard touchdown run.
Steve Owens wasn't expected to start against Pittsburgh, having suffered a bruised thigh in Oklahoma's opening game. He missed four days of practice. "On Friday night I kept saying to myself I could play," Owens said. "Before the game in warmups it felt bad, but on the first series of downs it felt better." All he was able to accomplish was 104 yards and three touchdowns as the Sooners beat Pitt 37-8.