Bunce's baptism came on foreign soil, in Columbia, Mo. against a team noted for its defense. Result: a handy 19-0 win for Coach John Ralston and Stanford, and a grade of, say, B-plus for Bunce.
Not that he would ever be deemed capable of making the Indians forget Plunkett, but Don Bunce might be a better all-round collegiate quarterback, inasmuch as he is niftier on the option play. He scampered for 52 yards against Missouri and still drifted back and hit 12 passes for 149 yards, including one of 26 yards for a touchdown to the new Randy Vataha, a sophomore flanker named John Winesberry.
"I liked the way he scooted for good yards when he wasn't throwing," said Ralston. "This wasn't a bad opener for us."
It was dreadful for LSU down in Baton Rouge, where so much was expected. But that's not anything new. How about last year? LSU began going to the Orange Bowl last season by losing to Texas A&M in its opener 20-18, one of only two games the Aggies won all year. How about 1961? The Tigers blew any possible shot at No. 1 that year by losing their opener to Rice, and then going 10-1. Maybe this is another of those seasons for LSU. It may take 10 straight to redeem the loss to Colorado Saturday night. The score ended up 31-21, but the game was not even that close.
What rugged Colorado did was what nobody ever does on Charles McClendon and LSU—run. Led by a sizzling sophomore, Charlie Davis, who got 174 yards, the Buffs tore into LSU for 293 yards on the ground. Coach Eddie Crowder's team had the Tigers down by 24-7 before anybody could say Tommy Casanova.
Some of the Colorado heroes were more familiar than Charlie Davis. There was Cliff Branch of the 9.2 speed getting off another of his punt returns, this one for 75 yards and a touchdown. And there was Bad Dude Stearns making an interception and managing to punt after a bad snap and just generally being a bad dude.
Meanwhile, it was not difficult for Defensive Back Casanova to distinguish himself, although it was difficult for him to get any points for LSU. He covered Cliff Branch so well on deep patterns that after the game Branch said, "He's the best I've ever faced."
Some losses are not too crippling in college football. Not when a team has other top opponents ahead against which it can regain its national prestige. LSU has some, including Notre Dame. So does USC. And Colorado cannot celebrate too long. The Buffs must visit Woody Hayes next week, so the trip to Baton Rouge had better not be too much of a fluke.
As for Nebraska, Michigan, Stanford and Alabama—the other heroes of the "early week"—they have a little breathing time ahead.
And as for all the coaches with new problems, well, Bo Schembechler has taught a new way to get points at least.