Michigan State's band played the theme from Mission: Impossible, then watched the Spartans self-destruct against Minnesota. They fumbled two punts in the second half to set up both TDs and the Gophers' 14-10 victory. Northwestern ended Indiana's Rose Bowl hopes with a 30-27 win, but not without a fight from the Hoosiers' John Isenbarger. Besides gaining 131 yards to become Indiana's first 1,000-yard career rusher, Isenbarger took over at quarterback when both Harry Gonso and his backup, Mike Heizman, were injured, and he threw a 25-yard scoring pass with only 54 seconds left. Indiana now is 0-2 since Coach John Pont kicked off 10 blacks for missing two straight practices. Wisconsin Coach John Coatta was subjected to an unfamiliar charge—pouring it on—after the Badgers beat lame and halt Illinois 55-14. Noting that Wisconsin had beaten Iowa, Indiana and Illinois, Coatta said, "That makes us champions of the Three-I League." And just think—it wasn't too long ago that the Badgers would have had trouble with Ithaca College. Ohio's only other major unbeaten, Toledo, defeated Dayton 20-0.
1. LSU (8-1)
2. TENNESSEE (7-1)
3. AUBURN (7-2)
Ara Parseghian called it "Jack of class," and that was probably one of the kinder ways to describe the treatment Notre Dame got in Atlanta. Angered by the way the Irish were pushing their team all around Grant Field, Georgia Tech fans pelted Parseghian with ice and dead fish during and immediately after the game, won by Notre Dame 38-20. One Notre Dame equipment man leaving the field was hit in the head by a full can of Coca-Cola, and another—both arms full of gear—was hit in the face. It was such a brutish display of Southern hospitality that Notre Dame followers momentarily forgot all those bowl rumors that have been building around the Irish through their last four games, all victories.
The Irish have received bowl feelers every year since Parseghian came to coach in 1964, but always have declined in keeping with long-standing school policy. Last Monday, however, Athletic Director Moose Krause capped a week of rumors by announcing that the Irish had accepted a bid to play in the Cotton Bowl against the Southwest champion. To insure their chances of a bid, the Irish tried to score as much as possible against Tech. The first team, including Quarterback Joe Theismann, was still playing in the last quarter, which was probably what angered the Tech fans more than anything, especially since their own star quarterback, Charlie Dudish, had been suspended by Coach Bud Carson earlier in the week for breaking regulations.
Georgia ran in four quarterbacks against Auburn's notorious defense, but the only offense the Bulldogs could muster was Jim McCullough's field goal. Meanwhile Auburn mixed Pat Sullivan's passing with a monotonously effective running game, and the Tigers won 16-3. "Against the best personnel in the league today," said Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, "I thought we played well."
Dooley might get an argument from the folks in Baton Rouge, who watched their beloved LSU Tigers butcher Mississippi State 61-6. The Tigers beat the Bulldogs so thoroughly that Coach Charlie McClendon ordered his third-string quarterback, sophomore Butch Duhe, to kill the clock late in the game. But boys will be boys and Duhe, at the behest of his teammates, couldn't resist throwing a 37-yard TD pass to End Curtis Martin on the last play of the game. "After I threw it, I felt bad," said Duhe, apologizing in the dressing room. "I don't like to rub it in when we're far ahead." Shrugged McClendon, "It was impossible to keep 'em down."
With Tennessee's unbeaten season being shattered by Ole Archie—er, Miss (page 50)—the Tigers saw a chance to pick up points with the bowl scouts, which they did in such superb fashion that all McClendon could tell them at halftime was "continue doing what you're doing...everything is just perfect."
The first-string quarterback, Mike Hill-man, played barely more than half the game, just long enough to complete 12 of 13 passes, breaking Y. A. Tittle's LSU record for career completions (167 to 162). The defense was equally devastating, holding State to minus 13 yards rushing—the second time an LSU opponent has been in the minus column—and intercepting three Tommy Pharr passes. Said bighearted Charlie, "I just felt sorry for Charley Shira [the State coach], even though you're not supposed to pity the enemy." The team to pity now is Tulane, which is all that remains between LSU and a 9-1 year, its best under McClendon.
At Gainesville the opening kickoff was in the air, heading for Harvin Clark, a second-stringer who had never started a game nor received a kick. The other deepback, Jimmy Barr, yelled, "You take it, Harvin—take it all the way." Clark did just that, and his 96-yard return cranked up Florida for what was to be a 31-6 rout of hapless Kentucky. "What was I going to do," asked Clark afterward, "yell back that I couldn't do it?" The temperature was in the 40s—the coldest football afternoon in Gainesville in years—but John Reaves kept Gator hearts warm with 26 completions in 42 passing attempts for 280 yards. Reaves broke two more SEC records—season passes completed and attempted—and his Cuban battery-mate, Carlos Alvarez, now is only six catches behind the SEC season record of 79. "Everyone else seemed to like playing in the cold weather, but not us Cubans," said Alvarez. "My lungs felt frozen."