1. OHIO STATE (5-0)
2. MICHIGAN (6-0)
3. NEBRASKA (5-1)
Oklahoma was not the only team to gets its comeuppance over the weekend. The faithful in South Bend glumly witnessed an even greater miracle: Missouri 30, Notre Dame 26. Stomped 62-0 by Nebraska the week before, shut out by mediocre Baylor earlier in the season, poor ol' Mizzou was off the board. But the Tigers played almost errorless ball and scored three touchdowns and three field goals on fourth-down plays.
True, Notre Dame performed without freshman Defensive Tackle Steve Niehaus, Split Ends Willie Townsend and Bob Washington and leading runner Eric Penick, but Coach Ara Parseghian said the loss was caused by "our inability to control the line of scrimmage on defense."
"If I were a fullback, there's only one school in the country I'd consider," said Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes, glowing over his team's 44-7 thwacking of Indiana. It was a victory earned the Woody way: pure power into the center of the Hoosier line by four different fullbacks who perceptively chose the right school. They gained 210 yards in 43 carries and scored three touchdowns. As usual, the best of the lot was Harold (Champ) Henson, a 6'4" sophomore who gained 116 yards and scored his 10th and 11th TDs of the season. Added Woody, "You don't beat a team up the middle, but you pin 'em down and then you can do anything you damn please."
Indiana was further debilitated when Quarterback Ted McNulty was hurt in the first quarter. McNulty, who earned all sons of high school honors right in Hayes' backyard, underwent surgery Saturday night to repair a torn knee ligament. He is lost for the season and so, probably, are the Hoosiers.
"The turning point is that we dominated the game all the way," quoth Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler. Fortunately, his team had more control over the ball than Bo had over the language, drubbing Illinois 31-7. The Illini are now 0-6, the same record they had last year when they started a five-game winning streak against Purdue. This week's opponent: Purdue. Illinois' biggest worry will be how to stop Otis Armstrong, who broke three school rushing records in the Boilermakers' 37-0 rout of Northwestern. He gained 233 yards to set the single-game mark and upped his career total to a record 2,613.
"Smile and Beat Nebraska," urged the outsized campaign buttons worn all week by Kansas supporters. By midway in the second quarter at Lawrence it was obvious there was no reason to do the first and no chance to do the second. Cornhusker Quarterback David Humm threw four TD passes, Coach Bob Devaney played 47 of his 50-man traveling squad in the first half and Nebraska went home with a 56-0 win. Since their opening loss to UCLA, the bullies from Lincoln have beaten five opponents by a combined score of 281-14.
Baylor fumbled 15 times, lost seven of those bobbles and threw three interceptions in rainy Stillwater as Oklahoma State slopped to a 20-7 win. One of the few bright spots for the Bears was the play of Defensive End Roger Goree, whose father was an All-America guard at LSU in 1936. Goree recovered three Cowboy fumbles, caused another and was in on 16 tackles.
John King just might be crowned in Minneapolis. In Minnesota's first win of the season, a 43-14 upset of Iowa, he rushed for 173 yards on 29 carries and scored four touchdowns. After four straight losses to national contenders, Michigan State whipped Wisconsin 31-0. Iowa State improved its record to 4-1 with an easy 55-22 victory over visiting Kansas State.