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Purdue could have played it safe and kicked the extra point for a tie, but the way Phipps had been playing Purdue Coach Jack Mollenkopf didn't think one more option play was exactly a gamble. " Phipps is one of the few quarterbacks in the country who could have thrown a pass like that," Mollenkopf said later. "It was 45� behind him and right in between three defenders. We sure would have hated to lose it, but in a game of this kind you play to win."
Phipps, the baby-faced senior from Columbus, Ind., passed for 429 yards and five touchdowns, both school records. He completed 28 of 39—including 13 straight in the last quarter as Purdue came back from a 14-point deficit. The 12th pass in that string was for Purdue's fifth TD, and No. 13 was the two-point conversion. "It was a great comeback," said Mollenkopf.
Only a performance like Phipps' could have overshadowed that of Stanford's own fine quarterback, Jim Plunkett, who had been responsible for putting Purdue in the hole it was in. Plunkett threw four TD passes, completing 23 of 46 for 355 yards.
Elsewhere in the Big Nine—Big Nine because everybody knows Ohio State is in a league by itself and can't go to the Rose Bowl any way—it was not such a happy week. Besides Purdue, only Ohio State (of course) and Iowa (which smashed winless Arizona 31-19) were able to win nonconference games, which makes Purdue the heir apparent to the Rose Bowl berth.
In South Bend, Notre Dame shrugged off its loss to Purdue and thumped Michigan State 42-28 as Quarterback Joe Theismann made like a Lujack-Huarte-Hanratty. He hit Ed Ziegler with a 29-yard scoring pass to put the Irish ahead for good, and then Notre Dame helped itself to the most points against State since Michigan scored 55 in 1947. Theismann completed 20 of 33 passes for 294 yards.
The Big Ten—er, Nine—got an even bigger jolt when Colorado beat Indiana 30-7 behind Tailback Bobby Anderson, who had been a quarterback until only a few days before the game. "I was immensely frustrated with our offense," said Colorado Coach Eddie Crowder, "so I decided to put Anderson at tailback. My coaches said nuts." Anderson scored three times and gained 161 yards, giving him 4,096 yards in career total offense—fourth in Big Eight history. Perhaps Indiana's wide-open offense was bothered by the sloppy field, the result of an early fall storm that dumped 12 inches of snow around the Boulder area.
Two of the East's best teams, Syracuse and Penn State, ventured into the Midwest. The Orangemen swamped Wisconsin 43-7, leaving the Badgers still looking for their first win in three seasons, but Penn State had more trouble than it bargained for before finally beating upcoming Kansas State 17-14. Kansas State Coach Vince Gibson tried to inspire his squad by reciting the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk (come on, Vince) but the Wildcats still couldn't chop through Penn State's defensive line. On the way home, Penn State's plane stopped for fuel in Columbus, Ohio, leading one fan to observe, "That's as close as they will come to Ohio State all season."
Michigan fumbled and stumbled against Missouri, losing 40-17 for the Wolverines' first defeat since Bo Schembechler became head coach. Afterward the new coach was fuming, mainly over a blocked punt that Missouri used to break the game open. "A blocked punt is a sin," Schembechler said. The main sin Northwestern committed in a 36-0 loss to UCLA was showing up.