1. NEBRASKA (6-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (5-0)
3. MICHIGAN (6-0)
Oklahoma proved that its offense is versatile as well as awesome. Colorado was geared for the wide stuff, so Quarterback Jack Mildren sent his runners off tackle and even dropped back to pass four times, which is one more than he had the previous two weeks in big wins over USC and Texas. The result was a 45-17 victory in a battle of Big Eight unbeatens and a school-record 670 yards total offense. That gives Oklahoma more than 1,600 yards in October games alone.
"Getting pretty exotic, aren't we?" said OU Coach Chuck Fairbanks of the passing wrinkle that netted two touchdowns and 172 yards. The Sooners settled it early by taking a 24-0 halftime lead. They had seven possessions in the first half, converting four into scores and losing three fumbles. Greg Pruitt, who twice went off left tackle for gains of 66 and 59 yards, improved on his 11-yard-per-carry average with 190 yards in 14 attempts. Joe Wylie, still favoring a sprained ankle that kept him out last week, played sparingly but still had 41 yards in six carries and caught a 68-yard scoring pass. "They have as much talent as any team I've ever seen," said Colorado Coach Eddie Crowder. His lone bright spot was Quarterback Ken Johnson, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 241 yards. Johnson was intercepted twice, however, and dumped three times for losses by reserve Tackle Lucious Selmon, who was astutely inserted for his pass rush ability.
It was old grads' week in Lincoln, and who should show up to plant a kiss on the Homecoming Queen at halftime but Johnny Carson, class of '49. "The way the Giants and Jets are playing, it's a treat to come out here and see a real football team in action," said H-e-r-e-'s John-ny! Nebraska walloped Kansas 55-0 as the Husker defense, known as the Black Shirts, recorded its second straight shutout of a Big Eight opponent and threw Kansas runners to the ground for minus 42 yards. Coach Bob Devaney told inquirers afterward, "There isn't much bad I can say about our team, but we'll think of something by Monday." It certainly won't be the rushing game, which had its best day of the year with 411 yards.
Ohio State remained unbeaten in the Big Ten with what Coach Woody Hayes called its top defensive showing of the year in a 27-7 victory over Indiana. Hayes could not say the same for the offense, but he is bound to be displeased when Ohio State is forced to pass 39 times. For the first time this year the Buckeyes survived a game without a serious injury.
Purdue scored after only 47 seconds of play when Otis Armstrong went 81 yards, then waited until the fourth quarter to score twice more, edging Northwestern 21-20. The Boilermakers are at the top of the Big Ten with Michigan and Ohio State, but until Darryl Stingley's 14-yard run and Mike Renie's conversion with 1:30 left, they didn't look as if they would make it.
After seven consecutive losing seasons Wisconsin appears to have a winner. The Badgers upset disappointing Michigan State 31-28 on Roger Jaeger's late field goal to up their record to 3-2-1. "We've finally won the one we weren't supposed to," said Coach John Jardine. In a losing cause, Eric (The Flea) Allen gained 247 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Toledo won its 29th straight, 35-24 over Western Michigan after trailing 21-7 well into the third quarter. "I was scared for the first time in my career here," said senior Safetyman John Saunders. Quarterback Chuck Ealey threw four touchdown passes, broke five Mid-American Conference records and tied a sixth. His afternoon's work showed 23 completions in 42 attempts for 381 yards plus 11 more rushing.
Notre Dame, which has allowed only two touchdowns in five games, shut out high-scoring North Carolina 16-0. The Irish continued to have offensive problems, as they went inside the eight-yard line four times without scoring a touchdown. Their lone touchdown came on a short fourth-quarter pass to Tom Gatewood, who broke Jim Seymour's career reception record. "There's no rule in football that requires a certain number of points to win," said Ara Parseghian afterward, with a look toward the national rankings.