1. STANFORD (7-1)
2. AIR FORCE (8-0)
3. ARIZONA STATE (6-0)
With help from Washington, Stanford and Jim Plunkett virtually assured themselves of the school's first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1951-52. While the Indians were home beating Oregon State 48-10, their nearest rival, Oregon, was upset by Washington 25-23 in Seattle. Now Oregon, California and UCLA all have two losses in the Pacific Eight Conference, while Stanford is unbeaten in the league. So all Stanford needs is a victory in one of its last two conference games, against Washington this Saturday and California (Nov. 21) to wrap up the championship.
The Indians got a little Halloween scare from the Great Pumpkin (which is what everybody calls Oregon State Coach Dee Andros) early in their game against the Beavers. Stanford took a 7-0 lead when Plunkett and Jack Lasater combined on a 70-yard pass play. Those yards put Plunkett past 7,000 in career total offense, but while Jim was being congratulated. Oregon State took advantage of a muffed punt play to tie it. At halftime the Indians led by only 17-10 but, before Stanford fans could get seriously frightened, the Indians scored four quick TDs. The steamroller was turned on by Safety Jim Kauffman, a rugby enthusiast who intercepted a pass and returned it 37 yards for a TD early in the third period.
Washington sophomore passing star Sonny Sixkiller had the flu, so the Huskies had to put in Greg Collins in the third quarter. At the time they were trailing Oregon 15-7, but Collins threw a touchdown pass, then maneuvered the Huskies into position for Steve Wiezbowski's winning 19-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining. Said Coach Jim Owens, "Collins has looked so good in practice. It was just a matter of time until he got his chance." In Los Angeles, California upset Southern Cal 13-10, snuffing out the Trojans' last faint hope for a fifth straight Rose Bowl trip. The winning points again were provided by a field goal, this one Randy Wersching's 46-yard kick.
Perhaps the most dramatic field goal of the day, however, was the one that the Air Force used to beat Arizona 23-20. With only four seconds left and the score tied at 20, the Air Force's Craig Barry missed a field goal from the 19. But Arizona's Jackie Wallace was called for piling on, and Barry got to kick again. This one, with no time left on the clock, was good and the Falcons were still unbeaten and untied.