1. MISSISSIPPI (1-0)
2. FLORIDA (2-0)
3. AUBURN (1-0)
With only a few seconds left on the clock in Baton Rouge, the highly regarded Tigers of Louisiana State had a seemingly safe 18-13 lead over Texas A&M. The LSU fans were beginning to make their way toward the exits—but wait, what was this? Here was A&M's Lex James, the sophomore quarterback with the matinee-cowboy name, flinging the ball into the sky. And here came an LSU defender to intercept and end the game—but, oops, he overran the ball, which dropped right into the hands of Hugh McElroy, the Aggies' tiny (5'7", 170) split end. And, as that gentleman put it later, "All I could think was that I had to outrun everybody." Which he did, to give the Aggies a 20-18 upset.
It was LSU's first opening loss at home since 1957 and the Tigers' first ever under Coach Charlie McClendon, who could only look at the scoreboard and groan: "We were in the right defense but went for the ball instead of the man and gave away the big play."
The Tigers led 12-3 going into the final quarter, but the Aggies took the lead with 10 quick points. First came a field goal by Pat McDermott (who does not wear a shoe on his kicking foot), and then Linebacker Mike Lord, who comes from Baton Rouge, recovered an LSU fumble to set up a TD pass from James to End Homer May. Nevertheless, the game still seemed to be LSU's when Mark Lumpkin kicked a 21-yard field goal with 2:34 left and added one from 31 yards with 45 seconds to go. Then came the bomb that gave the Aggies what Coach Gene Stallings called "as big a win for Texas A&M as any, at least since I've been here." Well, Gene should enjoy it while he can. This week the Aggies meet Ohio State. In Columbus. Gulp.
Another upset occurred in Lexington, where the Kentucky Wildcats surprised Lynn Dickey and Kansas State 16-3—thanks in part, at least, to Coach John Ray. After Kentucky's opening loss to North Carolina, Ray said, "I was ashamed of our defense." He spent the week trying to gain some pride in it. Well, not only did it stop Kansas State with a minus-93 yards rushing, it also intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles, the second by Linebacker Wilbur Hackett with 47 seconds left that stopped K-State's last gasp and led to a Kentucky TD on the final play of the game. Though Dickey completed 20 of 30 passes for 224 yards, he also was dumped four times for losses of 44 yards and had to leave the game because of sore ribs. The win ended Kentucky's seven-game losing streak.
In Memphis Archie Manning of Ole Miss opened in routine fashion—which is to say spectacular. Although the Memphis State defense was set to stop his end sweeps, Manning—or "Broadway Archie," as the latest button has it—still scored two TDs and passed for another as the Rebels won 47-13. Before turning over the quarterbacking to two understudies, Manning gained 44 yards rushing and completed 17 of 22 passes for 180 yards.
Auburn and Tennessee warmed up for their game this week with easy victories. With Quarterback Pat Sullivan hitting 15 of 24 passes for 241 yards, the Tigers' 33-14 win over Southern Mississippi was so mechanical that even Coach Shug Jordan was bored. "We looked like an old baseball player who has been up 3,000 times," said Jordan. "It was just another time at bat." At Knoxville SMU's Chuck Hixson wasn't really sharp—he completed 20 of 38 but threw the ball everywhere except into the end zone—and Tennessee made Bill Battle's coaching debut a success by taming the Mustangs 28-3. The week got off to a bad start for Florida Coach Doug Dickey. On Tuesday sophomore Linebacker Fred Abbott quit, saying he could not play Dickey's unemotional brand of football. But the Gators came back to chew up Mississippi State 34-13, with Quarterback John Reaves accounting for 272 yards passing and two TDs. In the Atlantic Coast Conference impressive North Carolina beat NC State 19-0 for its second straight, South Carolina defeated Wake Forest 43-7 and Duke outlasted Maryland 13-12. Georgia Tech moved past Florida State 23-13 for victory No. 2.
1. NEBRASKA (1-0-1)
2. NOTRE DAME (l-O)
3. MISSOURI (2-0)