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It seemed harmless enough when New Mexico was offside on its opening kickoff to Texas Tech, for the Lobos simply walked five yards back and kicked again. Only this time Lawrence Williams gathered in the ball on his five-yard line and went all the way for a touchdown. That was just the start of a day crammed with miseries for the Lobos, who immediately fumbled the kickoff they received. Three plays later Williams took a 24-yard toss from Joe Barnes and had his second touchdown in the opening 93 seconds. Tech also recovered another NMU fumble as it built a 21-0 first-period advantage. In all, New Mexico dropped the ball nine times, lost it on five of those miscues and went down to a 41-7 defeat.
Last March an automobile accident nearly killed TCU Coach Billy Tohill. Tohill entered Amon Carter Stadium on crutches for his team's opener and he was given a standing ovation from the fans. Making his comeback complete was a 49-13 triumph by his Horned Frogs over Texas- Arlington.
Arkansas had a kick coming against Oklahoma State. As a matter of fact, several. The trouble was, the Razorbacks had difficulty getting off several of them. It seems that Tim Downey, who centers the ball to the Arkansas punter, lifts the ball before snapping it back. Cowboy Tackle Barry Price took advantage of this and got a hand on one Downey snap and psyched him into hurrying another. Once the punter was tackled at his own 16 and the Cowboys converted that into a field goal. The other time the snap sailed into the end zone for a safety. When Arkansas tried a different center, he, too, sent the ball into the end zone and the Cowboys got another safety. When it was over, Oklahoma State had a solid—even humiliating—38-6 win.
Three other Big Eight teams held off outsiders, though not without considerable exertion. Nebraska trailed North Carolina State 14-10 in the fourth period before breaking loose for three touchdowns and a 31-14 verdict. John Cherry passed for 199 yards and one touchdown (a 52-yard bomb to Jim Sharp), as Missouri beat Virginia 31-7. With Tailback Charlie Davis sidelined by a shoulder injury, Billy Waddy took his place and put on a dazzling performance that enabled Colorado to overcome Wisconsin 28-25.
Preparing for their encounter with Northwestern, Notre Dame scouts spotted some wide line splits and slow reaction in the Wildcat kicking game. Thus educated, the Irish at times put on an eight-man rush against Punter Dave Skarin. He never had a chance. One of his punts was blocked, another was deflected, and the Irish added injury to insult when Skarin suffered a broken leg. Notre Dame gained 473 yards and a 44-0 win, the 150th victory for Ara Parseghian in 23 years of coaching.
Ohio State had the week off, but Michigan enhanced its reputation by drubbing Stanford 47-10. Mike Lantry, a 25-year-old Army veteran, set a Wolverine mark when he kicked a 50-yard field goal and then eclipsed that 12 minutes and 30 seconds later by booting one from 51 yards. Minnesota's John King carried the ball for 110 yards and two TDs in a 41-14 trouncing of North Dakota. But Big Ten prestige slipped a notch when Purdue lost to Miami of Ohio 24-19. Redskin Quarterback Steve Sanna, who missed the past two seasons because of bad knees, hit on nine of 18 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Fullback Chuck Varner, a linebacker a year ago, scored three touchdowns, two in the final quarter, as Miami fought back from a 19-10 deficit.