The record crowd of 76,042 in Lincoln was made possible by the fourth stadium expansion since Coach Bob Devaney arrived 10 years ago. But it was not a totally happy day for Nebraskans. All-America Johnny Rodgers' "nervous stomach" was found to be caused by a bleeding ulcer.
Chris Gartner, a nearsighted pre-dental major from Sweden, kicked field goals from 42 and 45 yards out and made himself one of the heroes in Indiana's 27-23 victory over Minnesota. Senior Quarterback Ted McNulty passed for almost 200 yards and Ken Starling ran for 130, but Gartner's foot was the most important Hoosier weapon. Five of his six soccer-style kickoffs went out of the end zone, preventing the Gophers from even trying runbacks.
Michigan had more trouble than expected in a 7-0 win over Northwestern before 71,757 fans in Ann Arbor. New Wolverine Quarterback Dennis Franklin did well, but Coach Bo Schembechler was most pleased about his defense. "I don't care what the score is as long as we win," he said. Illinois was forced into a running game because of Quarterback Mike Wells' injured finger, and Michigan State beat the Illini 24-0. The Spartan defense scored two touchdowns and set up a third.
While Colorado was blitzing Cincinnati 56-14, Oklahoma was having a grand time in Norman, crushing Utah State 49-0. The Sooners played 63 men, and two freshmen, Quarterback Kerry Jackson from Galveston, Texas, and Halfback Joe Washington, were the leading ground-gainers. What happened to All-America Greg Pruitt? Oh, he got his licks in, too: 80 yards in 15 carries and three short-yardage touchdowns. " Oklahoma has so many people out there they trip over each other," marveled State Coach Chuck Mills. Iowa State shut out Colorado State 41-0. The Rams have failed to score a point in eight quarters.
1. LSU (1-0)
2. ALABAMA (1-0)
3. GEORGIA (1-0)
Georgia was a 28-point favorite over visiting Baylor (1-9 last year) and, as usual, reporters and fans were ignoring Coach Vince Dooley's gloomy forebodings. This time, however, he was right. Baylor, under new Coach Grant Teaff, who conducts morning devotionals for his team, gave the Bulldogs a good scare before losing 24-14. Punter Don Golden probably saved Georgia by averaging 46 yards on seven kicks, rolling one out on the Baylor one and another on the two-yard line. "He's the guy who killed us," said Teaff. A 55-yard scoring pass from James Ray to Rex Putnal helped, too. "We're not as good as everybody thinks we are," said professional pessimist Dooley. "We just can't replace people we lost. We don't have the big playmakers." Dooley lingered to talk to the press after the game, and the team bus left without him. "I guess I deserve to walk," he said, "but I didn't know we looked that bad."
At Grant Field in Atlanta, a sophomore defensive back named Randy Rhino, who by all logic should be a charging fullback, led Georgia Tech to a 34-6 trampling of South Carolina. He gave Tech a 10-0 half-time lead by returning a punt 95 yards for a touchdown and he returned another 41 yards to set up Tech's third TD.
Pacific played before the biggest crowd in its football history, 66,574 at Baton Rouge, and shocked LSU with a first-minute touchdown (recovering a blocked kick in the end zone). Not only that, the Westerners, led by freshman Quarterback Bruce Keplinger, outgained LSU on the ground 167 yards to 91. Still, the host Tigers won 31-13 as the smallest player on the field, Split End Jimmy LeDoux (5'7", 171 pounds), scored three touchdowns. LSU Quarterback Bert Jones hit nine of 17 passes, including two to his kid brother Ben, a sophomore.
Memphis State jumped off to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and showed a strong offense throughout, but could not hold up its defense in a 34-29 loss to Mississippi. Rebel Quarterback Norris Weese ran for two touchdowns and passed for three. Kentucky beat Villanova 25-7 and Virginia downed Virginia Tech 24-20.