Playing on a bad knee that has kept him out of games and practice, Houston's Gary Mullins led the Cougars to a 31-14 win over Mississippi State, hitting 11 of 16 passes for 173 yards. His talented receiver, Elmo Wright, made six catches for 160 yards. At Lexington, Coach John Ray was no longer talking about bowl trips for his Kentucky Wildcats after their 35-6 loss to Utah State. Tony Adams, the Aggies' sophomore quarterback, threw three TD passes and ran for another.
1. PENN STATE (2-2)
2. WEST VIRGINIA (4-1)
3. PITTSBURGH (3-1)
After West Virginia rolled to easy victories in its first three games Coach Bobby Bowden said: "Now it's time to worry about Indiana and Penn State." He forgot to mention Duke, which was sandwiched in between, and every coach who ever tooted a whistle knows what happens when you don't play 'em one at a time. So, sure enough, it was Duke 21, West Virginia 13, and afterward Duke Fullback Steve Jones allowed himself a small gloat. "They didn't think very much of us before the game," said Jones. "I guess that's changed now."
What changed most was Duke's attack. Normally it consists of Quarterback Leo Hart's passes. Against West Virginia, however, on rain-soaked artificial turf, Hart passed only 10 times, a career low. What the Blue Devils did instead was run and slide a lot. With Jones gaining 98 yards and a fellow sophomore, Billy Thompson, picking up 93 more, the Blue Devils out-gained West Virginia's backs 236 yards to 212. "We worked all week to stop Hart's passing," said Bowden, "so they crossed us up by ramming the ball down our throats."
Surprises and strategy also played a decisive role in Penn State's 28-3 victory over previously unbeaten Boston College. During practice the Lions' coach, Joe Paterno, put in a new play—the Eagle Special—designed to block a kick. It worked in the third quarter when Linebacker Gary Gray crashed through the Eagles and got his hands in front of a punt. Another linebacker, Jack Ham, picked up the loose ball and a convoy of blockers at the BC 42, and ran down the left sideline for his first college touchdown. That gave Penn State a 14-3 lead and helped the Nittany Lions end their losing streak at two. "This was our best overall game," said Paterno. "BC is a better team than either Colorado or Wisconsin, both of which defeated us."
The Eagle offense was a perfect match for the weather—foggy—and the Penn State defense tied a school record by intercepting seven passes, six of them off BC's top quarterback, Frank (Red) Harris. Of some cheer to BC, however, was the performance of Halfback Fred Willis. Although he was sick with a virus all week and on a liquid diet, Willis rushed 27 times for 110 yards and caught three passes for 31. "Willis is quite a ballcarrier," said Paterno. "The best we've faced."
Penn State's foe this week, Syracuse, defeated Maryland 23-7 for its first victory of the year. Once more a heavy police guard surrounded Archbold Stadium, but the heat of the controversy involving Coach Ben Schwartzwalder, the school administration and eight deposed black players seemed to be waning. Only 10 students showed up to picket. Marty Januszkiewicz scored all three TDs for the winners. Afterward one of the Syracuse tri-captains, Paul Paolisso, held up the game ball and said: "We haven't had the luxury of one of these this year, and there's only one person who deserves it. The coach stuck by us all the way; it's for him."
Pittsburgh, apparently, is for real. The Panthers slipped past Navy 10-8 and will shoot for their fourth straight victory this week against West Virginia. Cornell Tailback Ed Marinaro, the nation's leading rusher, gained 190 yards in 35 carries as Cornell beat Penn 32-31. Marinaro, a 210-pound junior, scored two TDs on runs of 36 and one yards. For the first time in nine years Columbia beat Harvard. The score: 28-21.