1. OKLAHOMA (3-0)
2. OHIO STATE (3-0)
3. NOTRE DAME (3-0)
Michigan State had been battered 51-6 the week before by USC, and a transplanted cornerback, Mark Niesen, was at quarterback, yet it took three field goals by Bob Thomas (now six for six on the year) and a last-second touchdown run of eight yards by Andy Huff to give Notre Dame a bruising 16-0 victory over the Spartans before a national television audience and 77,828 fans at East Lansing. Thomas' first field goal, from 47 yards, proved sufficient to win against a Michigan State offense that made too many mistakes, stuck almost entirely to the ground, punted more often than it passed (10-9) and never penetrated deeper than the Irish 44.
In its first three games Penn State had failed to score a point in the first half, but the Nittany Lions made up for it with 21 points in the first quarter of their game with Illinois, going on to win 35-17. The Illini scored first on an 11-yard pass from Mike Wells to Bob Hayes and led 7-6 until Penn State's John Cappelletti raced 53 yards for a touchdown and Quarterback John Hufnagel passed 37 yards to Chuck Herd for another score. The Lions boosted their margin to 28-10 at halftime, when Hufnagel scored from 13 yards out on a keeper and then coasted home.
Improving Navy trailed powerful Michigan only 7-0 after three periods, but was blown apart by a 28-point final quarter spiced by Dave Brown's 83-yard punt return, and lost to the Wolverines 35-7. In Big Ten games Purdue shut out Iowa 24-0 and Wisconsin defeated Northwestern 21-14 as Rufus (Roadrunner) Ferguson broke Alan Ameche's school scoring record with two touchdowns for a career total of 152 points. The Badgers pulled out the victory with two touchdowns in the last 2:10, the final score coming on a 51-yard pass from Rudy Steiner to Jeff Mack.
In the Big Eight, Oklahoma and Nebraska rested, but Oklahoma State, upset victor over Colorado two weeks ago, barely nipped Missouri 17-16 when Brent Blackman connected on a 54-yard touchdown pass to Split End Steve Pettes that came on fourth down with 98 seconds to play. Then Eddie Garrett, who missed a conversion kick in Oklahoma State's earlier loss to Arkansas, kicked the winning point.
Kansas State was trailing 24-17 with nine minutes to go in its game with Colorado at Manhattan, but Wildcat Quarterback Dennis Morrison was firing bullets and moving his team toward a tie or possible victory. Then the tide turned with shocking suddenness. Gangling Mark Cooney, Colorado's 6'4", 224-pound right tackle, grabbed a deflected Morrison pass and galloped 69 yards for the touchdown that sent the Buffaloes off toward a 38-17 win.
1. TEXAS (3-0)
2. ARKANSAS (3-1)
3. RICE (2-1-1)
Cautious ineptitude had characterized the play of Arkansas through a trouncing by USC, one-point squeakers over Oklahoma State and Tulsa, and almost three-quarters of a game it was losing to TCU last week. "We just stand around hoping we don't make a mistake," moaned Razorback Coach Frank Broyles. Then, trailing the Horned Frogs 13-0, the Porkers suddenly began to gobble up yardage and touchdowns with uninhibited greed. Quarterback Joe Ferguson finally looked like a Heisman candidate, tossing touchdown passes of 34 yards to Jack Ettinger, eight yards to Mike Rep-pond and 11 and 20 yards to Jim Hodge, and guided his team to 204 yards on its last 23 offensive plays as Arkansas won 27-13.