1. STANFORD (5-1)
2. AIR FORCE (4-1)
3. ARIZONA STATE (4-1)
Stanford appeared to have a lock on its second straight Pacific Eight championship and Rose Bowl appearance following Saturday night's 33-18 victory over Southern California. The Indians did it with a Trojan weapon, the Power I. USC's John McKay said he knew how to stop it ("You just tackle the man with the ball. It's not difficult"), but apparently his players didn't. The Stanford offense was not overwhelming statistically, but it did control the ball, 82 plays to 56, and the Thunder Chickens were in control when USC had possession. They allowed 88 yards rushing and held Jimmy Jones to three completions in eight passes for two yards before retiring. "The Thunder Chickens ate you up," Stanford Assistant Coach Jack Christiansen yelled at the downcast losers afterward. The Trojans, who trailed 7-0 after the first Stanford possession, did not get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. By then McKay was counting as lost another Rose Bowl opportunity in another disappointing year.
When Oregon played Washington last year the Ducks lost 25-23 after a late fumble gave Steve Wiezbowski a short field goal opportunity. Last week Oregon was leading 23-21 when Washington again took over on a fumble in the final two minutes. Only this year Wiezbowski missed the kick from the 21 (he missed earlier from the 23), and the Ducks were saved. The fault was not all Wiezbowski's, of course. Washington got off to a 14-0 lead and couldn't gain one yard when it would have given them a three-touchdown advantage.
Through the first three quarters Sonny Sixkiller passed only 13 times, completing two. He opened up in the final period, but Oregon held on. Bobby Moore, Oregon's fine back from Washington (Sixkiller is from Oregon) became the school's alltime leading rusher by gaining 101 yards in 21 carries for 1,903 overall. "Losing this game makes me madder than hell." said Coach Jim Owens after his club dropped its second straight and fell out of Rose Bowl contention.
The recent history of the Oregon State-Arizona State series softens the impact of the Beavers' 24-18 victory that ended the Sun Devils' 21-game winning streak. After all, OSU has won the last five meetings during a period in which Arizona State has won 43 of 52 games. "Their strength is against our weakness," explained Coach Frank Kush. "They have it on us physically. We may have more skilled players, but we can't cope with their size."
Kush figured his team was due to lose before the season was over, anyway. "This team is not as good as the one we had last year. That club had much better balance and a much better passing game. We've got good receivers, but we can't get the ball to them."
Arizona State trailed 10-0 but tied the game after three quarters. Then Oregon State Fullback Dave Schilling, who gained 157 yards in 47 carries, scored his second and third touchdowns of the game to break it open. During his busy afternoon Schilling surpassed the school's alltime rushing record of 2,233 yards. The victory evened the Beavers' record at 3-3 and came a day before Dee Andros' 47th birthday.
It was a bad day all round for Arizona fans as UCLA defeated the University of Arizona 28-12. The Bruins gained 346 yards rushing while their defense tossed Arizona ballcarriers for 64 yards in losses.
California edged Washington State 24-23 on a 20-yard field goal by Ray Wersching with 1:06 remaining. Air Force, which hasn't lost to a rival service academy since 1967, defeated Army 20-7. New Mexico Quarterback Rocky Long ran for touchdowns of six, 10 and 33 yards to give the Lobos a 21-21 tie with San Jose State. The Californians jumped to a two-touchdown lead before Long got New Mexico moving. It was the Lobos' second straight tie.