Virginia Tech and Florida State each dreaded graduation. The Gobblers lost the Strock brothers—passer Don and kicker Dave—who accounted for 171 of Tech's 307 points. Coach Charlie Coffey naturally plans to switch to a running game and hopes Florida State will not foul up Tech's second straight unbeaten season at home. The Seminoles' pro donations included Gary Huff, who fired 25 scoring strikes, and Barry Smith, who grabbed 13 of them. Florida State's already adept ground game is ready to go on its own with Hodges Mitchell back after setting a single season yardage record amidst all the passing. South Carolina Coach Paul Dietzel maintains that having great athletes was the secret of his "genius" at Louisiana State, but he has already let slip that "the year after this I may be a genius again." Followers who thought the school's resignation from the ACC would mean instant success on the gridiron do not cotton to that kind of preseason next-year talk.
At a glance, Marshall appeared to possess a fantastic pass defense a year ago, allowing only two touchdowns through the air. So who needed to pass when the Thundering Herd was being trampled by 30 touchdowns on the ground? No dummy when it comes to cultivating fan interest, Coach Jack Lengyel won the home opener and the last game of the season. A third successive 2-8 season seems unlikely with 18 starters returning to Huntington. Southern Mississippi did almost everything better than its opponents, and that includes fumbling—it lost 25 en route to a 3-7-1 finish. That may have happened to the Southerners, but Golden Eagles never drop anything, and the school's new nickname sits well with Running Back Dandy Doyle Orange.
The strange virus that caused Southern Mississippi's fumbleitis descended upon Northern Illinois in epidemic proportions. The Huskies dropped the ball an astonishing 60 times and lost it on 37 occasions. The guiltiest party was 232-pound Fullback Mark Kellar, who personally turned the ball over 10 times. Ironically, Kellar was also the source from which most of Northern's blessings flowed. He carried the ball 285 times, pounding his way to 1,316 yards and nine TDs. Five of Kellar's seven offensive linemen return as well as Flanker Byron Florence, who caught an 80-yard touchdown pass and finished second in the nation in kickoff returns.
Dayton's Ron Marciniak was an assistant to Alex Agase at Northwestern last year and then Purdue's defensive line coach under Agase as late as January. He had actually recruited Boilermaker players for a full month prior to becoming Dayton's 21st head football coach since 1905. He could use some of the talent he sent to West Lafayette. Tony Mason, another Purdue assistant, should be shocked by the discrepancy in talent at Cincinnati. He will still better the 2-9 finish that finished his predecessor, because Houston and Colorado are off the schedule, and Temple, Tulsa and Southwestern Louisiana are on. Xavier's Tim Dydo passed for 1,568 yards as the Musketeers improved their record to 3-8 after three one-victory seasons in succession. The trouble with being lousy is that no one wants to play you at home. Xavier doesn't have a game on its home field until November 3, and that makes it tough to get good.
Out West, Utah State is displaying quarterback withdrawal symptoms. Twice last year Tony Adams, drafted by the Chargers, threw five touchdown passes in a game. His season totals—204 of 351 for a .581 completion average, 2,797 yards, 22 touchdowns and only nine interceptions—would make great career statistics for most college quarterbacks. Phil Krueger, who returns to the Aggies as head coach after being an assistant back in 1963, is fortunate not to have to play Texas and Oklahoma as the Aggies did last year. With a decidedly weaker team in hand, Krueger may decide that mere possession of the Beehive Boot—symbolic of the state rivalry with Utah, Weber State and Brigham Young—is of greater importance.