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It has been a bumpy trail, but Texas keeps plugging away and has now suddenly emerged as the strong favorite to make a fourth straight trip to the Cotton Bowl. While transistor radios tuned to the Arkansas-Rice game buzzed throughout the stands, the Longhorns stamped out a solid 24-0 win over Baylor before a home-town Austin crowd of 54,500. Texas Quarterback Eddie Phillips returned to action after missing four games with a pulled hamstring muscle and guided his team to a 17-0 halftime lead before turning the ball over to super-sub Donnie Wigginton. But most of the excitement was provided by Jim Bertelsen and punt-return specialist Dean Campbell. Bertelsen slashed his way 31 yards for a touchdown the second time Texas had the ball, added another in the third period on a one-yard dive and picked up a total of 136 yards in 20 carries. Campbell, a wispy 5'5" 145-pounder who risks being floored by the punts he catches, returned one 57 yards to set up a 36-yard field goal by sophomore Linebacker Glenn Gaspard in the second quarter and ran back another 32 yards.
Stumbling Arkansas escaped total extinction on Dil McClard's third field goal of the game, a 45-yard kick that tied Rice 24-24 with only two seconds left. It provided a dandy item for second guessers. On the previous play Owl Coach Bill Petersen elected to have Mark Williams punt the ball from his end zone with nine seconds left rather than take an intentional safety and earn a free kick from the 20. The Hogs' Jack Morris, standing on the Rice 43, signaled for a fair catch, but Carl Swierc of the Owls, barreling downfield, stumbled into Swierc. The subsequent 15-yard penalty put the ball on the Rice 28, and on the next play McClard tied the game up.
Texas Christian kept its bowl hopes warm, just barely, by grinding out a 17-6 win over disappointing Texas Tech. Best known for a strong passing attack triggered by Quarterback Steve Judy, the Horned Frogs stuck to the ground for a change, running for 217 yards and passing for only 83.
Neither Texas A&M nor SMU have much left to look forward to this season, except as spoilers. The Aggies, who had beaten Arkansas the week before, just about dislodged the Mustangs from the conference race, thumping them 27-10.
Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler has so much manpower he can lose his starting fullback, Fritz Seyferth, through injury on Tuesday and still come up with a substitute on Saturday—in this case sophomore Ed Shuttlesworth—who can blast out 112 yards rushing and score three touchdowns. Which is one of the reasons the Wolverines walloped hopelessly outmatched Iowa 63-7 and virtually assured themselves a Rose Bowl trip. Strangely, the game was close for a brief time after Iowa Quarterback Frank Sunderman hit Dave Triplett with an 11-yard scoring pass following a fumble recovery. But the Wolverines' Bruce Elliott returned a punt 33 yards to the Hawkeye three-yard line and Shuttlesworth smashed over for his third TD, and Michigan was on its way. Adding to the carnage was Kicker Dana Coin, who booted nine extra points to set an NCAA season record with 51 consecutive conversions.
"We gave them the ball in too good a field position," was the way Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes rationalized the Buckeyes' shocking 17-10 loss to Michigan State. Trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, the Spartans tied the score as Brad Van Pelt returned a pass interception 30 yards to the Buckeye seven, and two plays later MSU's Eric Allen darted into the end zone from five yards out. The Spartans then scored in the final quarter after Doug Halliday had fallen on a loose Buckeye pitchout at the Ohio State 11. Four plays later Allen dived in again for the winning touchdown.
Oklahoma had its usual tough time with Missouri, punching out a 20-3 victory. The Tigers throttled the Sooner Wishbone T with a closely packed 6-2-3 defense that contained the deep pitches to Halfback Greg Pruitt and dared Oklahoma to pass. The Sooners got all three touchdowns on three explosive plays—a 70-yard run with a blocked field-goal attempt by Linebacker Mark Driscoll, a 78-yard burst oft" tackle by Roy Bell and, finally, a 44-yard pass from Quarterback Jack Mildren to Al Chandler, the lone Oklahoma pass completion of the game.