1. TENNESSEE (6-0)
2. LSU (6-1)
3. FLORIDA STATE (6-1)
Although LSU had beaten its hated neighbor, Ole Miss, only once in Charlie McClendon's seven years as coach, the Tigers went into the game as undaunted as they were unbeaten. Around Louisiana the feeling was that this finally would be the year when "Go to Hell, Ole Miss, Go to Hell" would become more than just something to yell in the days before the game. After all, hadn't Ole Miss already lost three times? And didn't LSU have not only the South's best defense but the school's most explosive offense since Cannon-Dietzel-Chinese Bandits? And even if this Archie Manning was the greatest thing since grits, surely one man couldn't beat a whole team, could he? Well, could he?
"You wouldn't think that, the way football is played today," said LSU's bone-weary senior Linebacker George Bevan after the Rebs' 26-23 victory in Jackson's Memorial Stadium, "but he is the one who beat us. I thought we had him every time, but he can turn a 15-yard loss into a 25-yard gain. I thought the quarterback from Auburn was good, but he has only one leg compared with Manning."
The Tigers looked like winners early in the third quarter, taking a 23-12 lead after Quarterback Mike Hillman lofted a 32-yard scoring pass to End Andy Hamilton. The LSU fans went into a purple-and-gold fury, but the Ole Miss rooters just polished their white-on-red "Archie" buttons and waited for their miracle worker to do his stuff. Right away Manning passed and ran Ole Miss to the LSU three, then scrambled untouched around right end to narrow the gap to 23-18. And then, at the end of the period, Archie sneaked over from a foot away for the winning points. The Ole Miss defense set up the final TD by recovering a fumble at the LSU 23, then put out the Tigers' last hope by knocking down a fourth-down pass at the Ole Miss 23 with time running out. LSU could have gone for a tying field goal—junior Mark Lumpkin had already kicked three—but McClendon elected to try for the first down. "Yes, the field goal entered my mind," McClendon said, "but we had really put the sweat on 'em, and in this situation I felt we had a good chance for the first down."
While Tennessee was beating Georgia (page 52) to stand as the SEC's only unbeaten, the young Florida Gators finally met defeat in Auburn's Cliff Hare Stadium. Florida's sophomore quarterback, John Reaves, put the ball in the air 66 times and completed 33 for 369 yards and two touchdowns—putting him just one TD pass behind Babe Parilli's SEC season record. The trouble was, Auburn's defense intercepted nine times—an SEC record—and the Tigers won 38-12. Before Auburn, Reaves had thrown only six interceptions and never more than two in a game. "It's all my fault," said Reaves afterward, "but don't worry. Florida will be back and so will I." Auburn's sophomore Quarterback Pat Sullivan completed 22 of 39 for 218 yards and accounted for four TDs.
The annual Pep Rally Powwow made for a big weekend at Florida State. Featured were such stars as Mason Williams, Stu Gillam, Oliver and Paul Magalski. Paul who? Well, he is a sophomore fullback who got to carry the ball for the first time this season, and all he did was gain 111 yards and score twice as the Seminoles did in the Atlantic Coast leader, South Carolina, 34-9. "We've been playing checkers with our running backs, and now we're all a bunch of smart coaches," said State's Bill Peterson, while the Gamecocks' Paul Dietzel fumed, "We did a lot of dumb things today, and I did most of them."
1. OHIO STATE (6-0)
2. MISSOURI (6-1)
3. PURDUE (6-1)
The chant in Oklahoma's locker room was "Bring On Missouri," and who could blame the Sooners for feeling giddy? They had warmed up for this week's Big Eight showdown with the Tigers by beating Iowa State so severely and in so many ways that it was almost embarrassing. In the air, Oklahoma Quarterback Jack Mildren hit 13 of 18 for 221 yards, but even that was peanuts compared to what Tailback Steve Owens did. He carried 53 times for 248 yards (both Oklahoma records), scored four touchdowns and, just for the hell of it, completed his only pass. Naturally, the press wanted to know if Steve was a little tired. "I could have carried 25 more times," said Owens, cheerfully, after sitting out the last series of downs in Oklahoma's 37-14 victory.