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Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes usually refers to nonconference games as "exhibitions," but the visit from Colorado was different, not only because the Buffaloes had previously whipped LSU and Wyoming but because the Big Eight had won 17 straight victories over Big Ten teams. Growled Woody, "The Big Eight has been rubbing our noses in it." Before the usual packed stadium in Columbus, Hayes put on quite a show, especially when he hurled his baseball cap to the ground, jumped up and down on it and then, to further vent his rage, fell on it—all this to protest a referee's call. But Colorado put on an even better show, twice making successful stands inside its five-yard line and displaying an excellent triple-option offense as it upset the Buckeyes 20-14.
The play that hurt the most was a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown by senior Cliff Branch, the sixth time in two seasons the sprinter from Houston has gone the distance with a kick. Colorado Quarterback Ken Johnson clinched the game with a 39-yard bolt up the middle. Hayes' eruption came when he thought Colorado should have been called for pass interference in the end zone ( Ohio State was trailing 13-0 at the time), but he staged a couple of more hat dances before the final gun as Quarterback Don Lamka almost brought the Buckeyes back. Despite suffering a separation in his left shoulder on OSU's first scrimmage play, Lamka hit 20 of 33 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown.
"Fight Ara Pollution," said the buttons Purdue students wore all week as they got themselves stirred up for the intrastate battle with Coach Ara Parseghian's Notre Dame powerhouse. But it was just plain rain, not any sort of pollution, that did in the Boilermakers. With 2:58 left in the game and Purdue leading 7-0 courtesy of Gary Danielson's 26-yard TD pass to Otis Armstrong, Purdue's Scott Lougheed stood in the end zone ready to punt. The snap was low, the ball was as slippery as a cake of soap and he dropped it. Irish Defensive Back Clarence Ellis hit him as he tried to retrieve it and the ball squirted away to where Defensive End Fred Swendsen could cover it for an Irish touchdown. Then, on a call that may bury memories of the time Parseghian once played for a tie, Quarterback Pat Steenberge passed to Tight End Mike Creaney for the two-point conversion and an 8-7 victory. It was Notre Dame's first win at Lafayette since 1961.
LSU traveled north to play a Big Ten team for only the second time in its history and beat Wisconsin 38-28. Quarterback Paul Lyons ran for three touchdowns, passed for another and gained a school-record 304 yards total offense. Penn State ignored the wet turf and chilly rain, relied on runners Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell and defeated Iowa 44-14. Northwestern Coach Alex Agase did not even bother to show his team the film of the previous week's slaughter by Notre Dame. The Wildcats forgot about their 0-2 record and beat Syracuse 12-6 with simple, brute-force football. Duffy Daugherty enjoyed his 100th career win as Michigan State beat Oregon State 31-14, and Michigan pummeled UCLA 38-0.
Nebraska won its third straight by a margin of five touchdowns to one, this time picking on Texas A&M 34-7. The Aggies' lone score was a 94-yard kickoff return by little Hugh McElroy. Houston's Robert New-house picked up more than 100 yards for his eighth straight game and the Cougars beat Cincinnati 12-3.
While other Big Eight teams were punishing the Southwest Conference and the Big Ten, Oklahoma traveled east to play Pitt and display its best weapon, Quarterback Jack Mildren. The ex-Texas high school star did not amass a load of gee-whiz statistics, but he ran the Wishbone-T attack beautifully, especially on quick pitchouts to Halfbacks Joe Wylie and Greg Pruitt, and Oklahoma battered the Panthers 55-29. Mildren drew raves from Pitt Coach Carl DePasqua, who called the Sooners "the most explosive machine I've seen." Winning Coach Chuck Fairbanks was not about to disagree, and in a moment of uncoachly euphoria said, "It is possible we can be No. 1." A brave statement, what with USC, Texas and Colorado coming up on the next three weekends.
Princeton and Rutgers renewed the oldest rivalry in college football, the Battle of New Jersey Route 1, and underdog Rutgers won 33-18, taking advantage of the Ivy Leaguers' porous first-half pass defense. There was no scoring in the second half, even though Princeton three times got inside the Rutgers five-yard line. Dartmouth opened its season with a 31-7 romp over Massachusetts and Penn beat Lehigh for the 32nd straight time, 28-14.
Poor Holy Cross, the only team Army could whip last year, had gone 1,036 days without a victory before it upset Harvard 21-16 Saturday. The last Crusader win was over Connecticut on Nov. 23, 1968. "Sometimes you have to win to show people you exist," said Holy Cross Captain Ed Jenkins. "We've had our faces in the mud for some time. We proved we're a team today." The victory marked Eddie Doherty's debut as head coach. The last time he appeared at Harvard Stadium was in an "informal" game for Boston College against the Crimson, and he was injured. This time his players tried to carry him off the field and he fell off their shoulders. He should have them practice that play all week in case it is ever needed again.