Finally getting its Veer in gear, Houston defeated winless Arizona 34-17 as Quarterback Gary Mullins scored three times. The victory was especially pleasing to Houston Coach Bill Yeoman, who had once applied for the Arizona job, only to be turned down.
1. TENNESSEE (4-0)
2. LSU (4-0)
3. FLORIDA (4-0)
Nobody outside of Nashville was exactly sure why 34,000 fans had bothered to line up on Dudley Field's creaky old bleachers to watch the home team, Vanderbilt, play Alabama. The Commodores had not beaten the Crimson Tide—or anybody else much, for that matter—since 1956, and this season's prospects were hardly much brighter. Oh, sure, everyone had been all fired up about this Vandy team before the season, but then—bang, bang, bang—the Commodores had lost their first three, and once more their black jerseys looked only too fitting.
Well, after spotting Alabama a field goal, Vanderbilt gave its fans the sort of game they have been awaiting all these years. The Commodores not only penetrated Alabama's secondary for two touchdown passes, but their defense—which had yielded 1,299 yards and 96 points in the first three games—limited Alabama Quarterback Scott Hunter to only four completions in 25 attempts, including Christie Hauck's end-zone interception that began Vandy's winning drive in the last quarter. With the fans standing and cheering, Quarterback Watson Brown hit Tight End Jim Cunningham to make it 14-10, the clincher with 2:45 left. "You've got to give Bill Pace credit for taking the program at Vanderbilt and bringing it up to where they beat us," said Bear Bryant. "And, apparently, I've taken ours to where we got beat."
Only an upset of those dimensions could have upstaged what Mississippi's Archie Manning did to another previously unbeaten team, Georgia, in Jackson. Chased all over the field by the Bulldogs' defense, Manning hurt his shoulder late in the first half as Ole Miss fell behind 14-13, and he was still in the dressing room when the teams returned to the field for the second half. "Coach Vaught left two doctors with me," Archie explained later, "and he told me to come out when I felt like it and when they said I could." He got back in the third quarter just in time to set up a touchdown run by Tailback Leon Felts, then stayed around long enough to hit Riley Myers with a 43-yard scoring pass on a play that surprised Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught almost as much as the Georgia secondary. Instead of running on third and short, Manning sent Myers deep. "I sure didn't send that play in," confessed Vaught, who had more than Archie to gloat over after the Rebs' 25-17 victory: sophomore Cloyce Hinton kicked a 59-yard field goal for a national record.
Tennessee's trio of linebackers—Steve Kiner, Jack Reynolds and Jackie Walker—bullied Georgia Tech enough that the Vols took over as the South's No. 1 team by winning 26-8. "You can get a complete education in one afternoon playing Tennessee," said Tech Coach Bud Carson. LSU's defense forced Miami to cough up a fumble and an interception in the last quarter, and the Tigers converted both into touchdowns en route to a 20-0 win. Florida's John Reaves hit Carlos Alvarez for a two-point conversion, and the Gators beat Tulane 18-17.
Virginia Tech's Jack Simcsak—who had already connected from the 55 and 36—missed a 46-yard field goal attempt with 16 seconds left, and Tech lost to Kentucky 7-6. The Wildcats' new head coach, John Ray, had accused Auburn's Shug Jordan of pouring it on in an earlier 44-3 win, and Jordan was still smarting after his Tigers drubbed Clemson 51-0. "We played 61 men," said Shug. "We certainly weren't trying to run up the score." Whatever you say, Shug.