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The Ivy League race came down to next week's Dartmouth-Penn and Harvard-Yale games. Dartmouth whipped Cornell 31-22 and Penn topped Columbia 20-14. Penn had the tougher time, trailing 14-0 before getting untracked. Yale maintained its chance for a share of the championship by blasting Princeton 31-7 behind Dick Jauron's three touchdowns. Rod Foster came off the bench to gain 159 yards in 13 carries and score two TDs in Harvard's 21-14 victory over Brown.
Arizona State seemed locked out of its familiar place atop the Western Athletic Conference standings until Utah and Arizona nose-dived last week. While State was bombing San Jose State 51-21 in a nonconference victory, Brigham Young was frustrating the Utes 16-7 and Wyoming was stunning the Wildcats 22-14. The Sun Devils, who were led by Woody Green's 201 yards and two touchdowns, can win the WAC by defeating Arizona this week. Utah could have had the inside track but in the final 3:30 two fumbles and a pass interception cost the Utes the game and probably the conference title. Also in the wacky WAC, Colorado State ended the nation's longest losing streak at nine games by defeating Texas-El Paso 35-22 on Willie Miller's two scoring receptions in the fourth period.
While most of the nation was following the Pacific Eight leaders in their annual playoff for the Los Angeles area championship, other local rivalries were also being settled. Washington State's harassing defense intercepted three passes, all by Eric Johnson, and nailed Sonny Sixkiller six times in a 27-10 defeat of Washington. Sixkiller was so addled he fumbled three snaps from center. Oregon defeated Oregon State for the first time in nine years, 30-3. Don Reynolds took the Ducks' first scrimmage play 60 yards for a touchdown. California won the San Francisco area championship by upsetting Stanford 24-21. Steve Sweeney's diving catch on a fourth-and-goal pass from the seven won the game as time ran out.
If a team cannot hold that line, it matters little that the nation's leading punter is awaiting the snap from center. This is what Southern Mississippi discovered when Utah State recovered Ray Guy's blocked punt in the end zone with five seconds left to break a deadlock and defeat the Southerners 27-21. Earlier Guy had kicked three field goals, one a 61-yarder that broke the NCAA record. Mitchell True gained a school and PCAA conference record 310 yards in 37 carries as Pacific upset previously unbeaten University of California-Davis 36-26.
Although the distinction may not be as impressive as it was when the Southwest Conference annually produced two or three teams among the nation's leaders, Texas is the league champion for the fifth successive year. The Longhorns clinched the title with their third straight shutout of Texas Christian and first of the season, 27-0. The Horned Frogs never drove inside the Texas 40, while all the Longhorn touchdowns came on quarterback sneaks, three by Alan Lowry. Sloppy conditions caused 15 fumbles, each team losing four. Roosevelt Leaks carried just three times in the fourth quarter and finished with 96 yards rushing, the sophomore's first game under 100 in six weeks.