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William F. Reed
November 10, 1969
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November 10, 1969

Football's Week

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1. USC (6-0-1)
2. UCLA (7-0-1)
3. STANFORD (4-2-1)

The least of Coach Jim Owens' problems was Washington's 57-14 loss to UCLA—even though it dropped the Huskies' record to 0-7 and was the worst drubbing ever received by Washington under Owens. On Thursday afternoon Owens had lined up his 80 players on the sidelines and interviewed them, one by one, on the matter of team loyalty. Later he told Assistant Coach Carver Gayton, a black, to drop four blacks from the squad because "they could not give me assurance they were prepared to give total commitment to the ball club and the Washington football program."

The following morning the team was confronted with some 200 protesters as it prepared to board buses on the first leg of the trip to UCLA. Then the team's other nine blacks, along with Gayton, decided not to go. These players would "incur no official reprimand or recrimination," Washington Athletic Director Joe Kearney said later, "because they indicated they were under considerable pressure not to board the bus—even to the extent of threat of physical violence to themselves and their families." That night Owens' 17-year-old daughter, Cathy Eloise, reported that she was struck in the face after four men—two black, two white—forced her car off a road.

Arriving at UCLA, Owens refused to comment, except to say that he would meet with all the players—including the blacks—upon his return to Seattle. Meanwhile the blacks alumni club called for Owens' immediate dismissal, calling his actions "uncompromising bigotry and totally unconstitutional." As for the game, Owens hastily called up eight players from the deep reserves to join the team in Los Angeles, and UCLA took advantage of the confusion to lead 23-0 before the first 15 minutes were up. "We wanted this one for the big man [ Owens]," said End Dan Roberson. "He's in a bad spot, but we just couldn't do it."

At Tempe, Ariz., another team with racial problems, Wyoming (SI, Nov. 3), was beaten by Arizona State 30-14—the Cowboys' first loss of the season. The game drew 48,129, a Western Athletic Conference record, and it was played under tight security because of rumors about possible demonstrations in protest of Coach Lloyd Eaton's dismissal of 14 blacks three weeks ago. More than two dozen deputy sheriffs ringed the field, but no trouble was reported except what happened to Wyoming on the field. The Sun Devils ran up 323 yards passing, and Fullback Art Malone gained 69 yards on the ground to break the alltime WAC career rushing record. "We knew before the season that Arizona State had the best tools in the league," said Eaton, who refused to discuss the dismissed blacks. "It's just like we graduated 14 players. We have to make do with what we have." Wyoming lost the league lead to Utah, which beat Utah State 27-7 and has a 3-0 WAC record. The Cowboys play at Utah next.

Not to be outdone by UCLA, Southern Cal also remained unbeaten in the Pacific Eight, albeit with its usual hairy finish. Three field goals by Cal's Randy Wersching had given the Bears a 9-7 lead, but then USC went off on a quick 55-yard drive that ended with Clarence Davis scoring from the one, with 57 seconds left. At Corvallis, Stanford's defense jarred Oregon State into six fumbles, four interceptions and a safety, while the Indians' Jim Plunkett was passing his learn to an easy 33-0 win.

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