- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Eligible this season for the Lambert Trophy (awarded annually to the best team in the East), West Virginia easily defeated Richmond 49-10. Quarterback Mike Sherwood completed nine of 10 passes before being relieved, while Pete Wood rushed for 157 yards and caught five passes for 49 more. Afterward Bobby Bowden, West Virginia's new coach, said: "Our goal is to be No. 1." They play Penn State Oct. 31.
Old Pitt Stadium had a new look: AstroTurf, brick red Tartan track, walls and ramps freshly painted blue and gold. The most interesting new look, however, was in the Panthers themselves, who pushed UCLA around quite a bit before finally succumbing 24-15. Even after star Linebacker Ralph Cindrich was injured early in the game the Panthers made UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro sweat for his 100th victory. Sophomore John Hogan, the Irish son of a steelworker, out-dueled UCLA's Dennis Dummit, completing 29 of 47 passes for 299 yards while Dummit was hitting 10 of 25 for 135. However, the statistics did not reveal how courageously Dummit rallied the Bruins in the third quarter for two touchdowns—and the game.
At West Point, Army expected to have a breather against Baylor. The Bears were 0-10 last year, and they were thumped by Missouri 38-0 in this year's opener. So imagine the long gray looks when the Bears won 10-7. The stars were Matthew Williams, a sophomore tailback who broke away in the third quarter for a 30-yard TD, and Mike Conradt, whose 35-yard field goal provided the decisive points. At Villanova, the Wildcats put the ball into the air 56 times against Boston College, but the Eagles completed the pass that won the game—a 78-yard play from Quarterback Frank Harris to Wide Receiver George Gill in the fourth quarter. BC ultimately won 28-21.
1. USC (1-0-1)
"It was one of those games made to match two of the nation's superior forces," said Nebraska Coach Bob Devaney. "I like to think we're one of the better teams in the nation. And I can assure you that USC is." He probably could not have got much of an argument from the 73,768 who sat in the Los Angeles Coliseum and watched his Cornhuskers, the favorite in the Big Eight, and Southern Cal, the Pacific Eight pick, battle to a 21-21 tie. The only argument, in fact, was this: Should USC Coach John McKay have gone for a two-point conversion after the Trojans' last touchdown?
That score, drawing the Trojans within a point at 20-21, came with 6:44 left, USC's strong Clarence Davis bulling the ball in from the nine to complete an 80-yard drive. Instead of going for two points, McKay went for the sure thing—Ron Ayala's extra-point kick. "A tie is better than a loss," said McKay afterward.
If Devaney seemed more disappointed than McKay ("Hell, no, I'm not satisfied with a tie," he said), it was understandable. After a 14-14 tie at halftime the Huskers took a 21-14 lead in the third period. Quarterback Jerry Tagge, who had spent most of the week in the hospital with a ruptured vein in his leg, pitched out to Joe Orduna, who slipped around USC End Charlie Weaver and took off on a 67-yard TD run. Early in the last period Nebraska missed a chance to build its lead to 10 points when Kicker Paul Rogers flubbed what seemed to be an easy field-goal try from the 13-yard line. "We figure he's automatic on one like that," said Devaney, '"but it was a bad pass from center and the holder had a little problem."
There were no problems in Palo Alto, where Jim Plunkett and Stanford eased past San Jose State 34-3. Plunkett completed 17 of 29 passes for 302 yards. He now has a Pacific Eight record of 5,584 yards in total offense—and still has nine games to go. Although the Indians scored three of the first four times they had the ball, Plunkett said, "I think we were a little tired. But we'll be ready for Oregon this week."
Last season Colorado State lost to Arizona State 79-7; last week the Sun Devils won by only 38-9. Quarterback Joe Spagnola hit on 13 of 25 passes for 189 yards for the winners, and Dave Buchanan rushed for 313 yards in 20 carries. In Laramie, Wyo., Coach Lloyd Eaton and a record crowd of 24,541 were wondering what happened to the Cowboys' defense. The Air Force gained 564 yards against the Cowboys, Flanker Ernie Jennings caught eight passes for 235 yards—including a nice one-handed grab for an 80-yard TD play—and won 41-17. Said Eaton, "He makes catches he has no right to make."