Coach John McKay of Southern California is now using what might be called the Triple Tailback Formation; not three all at once, just one after the other. "We keep them fresh that way," said McKay after Tailbacks Anthony Davis, Rod McNeil and Allen Carter had accumulated 227 yards rushing on 39 carries in the 31-10 pasting of Oregon at Los Angeles. "By doing this we also keep their friends and parents happy." When Davis, McNeil and Carter weren't running with the ball, Quarterback Pat Haden was throwing it. He hit on 13 of 23 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Haden opened the scoring with a 35-yarder to Jake McKay, the coach's son, and closed it with a screen pass to Flanker Lynn Swann, who was sprung loose by crisp blocking, then outhustled Safety Tim Slapnicka to the end zone on a 55-yard play.
Up north in Spokane, heavily favored UCLA seized on four of Washington State's nine fumbles and put down the stubborn if sloppy Cougars 24-13. "The best 1-5 team in the country," said the Bruins' Pepper Rodgers when it was over. UCLA broke the game open in the third quarter when it scored three touchdowns, one on a 54-yard eruption by reserve Fullback Charlie Schuhmann. Kermit Johnson also pitched in with a big day for UCLA. He scored twice on short plunges and gained 92 yards rushing. His career total of 1,992 yards has now surpassed Kenny Washington's old school mark of 1,915.
In Seattle, a booing, rain-soaked crowd of 51,500 watched Stanford take a 16-0 lead, then survive a fourth-quarter Washington revival to win 23-14. The Cardinals tipped Skip Boyd's 22-yard field goal attempt late in the game that would have put the Huskies ahead, and Stanford clinched the win with a pass interception with less than a minute to go. The final Pacific Eight Conference game of the day went to California, by 24-14 over Oregon State.
In the Western Athletic Conference, Arizona State, playing a rare daylight game, ripped out yardage in huge, greedy bites as the Sun Devils demolished Brigham Young 52-12. Quarterback Danny White and Running Back Woody Green were served a feast by the BYU defense. White hit on 17 of 25 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns, one a 77-yard missile to Wingback Morris Owens, and Green gobbled up 128 yards rushing on 17 carries to push the nation's best major school winning streak to 11.
The scoring was explosive in the rest of the WAC as well. In Tucson, Texas Tech out-scrambled Arizona, handing the Wildcats their first loss in six games, 31-17. New Mexico enjoyed a breather in its own thin, clear desert air at Albuquerque, snuffing out Texas-El Paso 49-0.
1. ALABAMA (6-0)
2. LSU (6-0)
3. TENNESSEE (5-1)
While Alabama and Tennessee were tearing at each other in Birmingham (page 28), LSU survived a wild one at home in Baton Rouge against Kentucky, keeping its record clean. The Bengal defense scored on the very first play of the game when Cornerback Mike Williams jumped on an end-zone fumble by Wildcat Tailback Sonny Collins, but it took some more bravura work by Williams in the closing moments to preserve a 28-21 win. Kentucky rebounded from that opening-play disaster, getting three quick touchdowns, two of them on long scoring strikes from Quarterback Mike Fanuzzi to Elmore Stephens (63 yards) and Fred Bishop (31 yards). Then the home side pulled itself together with a 74-yard scoring march just before halftime to make it 21-14, crept within a point on a 53-yard drive following the second-half kickoff, and finally regained the lead for good on a nine-yard touchdown sweep by Richard Romain to climax a fourth-quarter drive. Kentucky made several furious attempts to even things, but each time the LSU defense, led by Williams, turned the Wildcats aside.
It was the third quarter and Vanderbilt's Hawkins Golden had just hit on a 47-yard field goal and now Barry Burton had punted 79 yards to the Georgia one-yard line. "I could sense that the players knew something big was about to happen," Commodore Coach Steve Sloan said later. What happened was that Vandy, a 17-point underdog, was about to overcome an early 14-3 Bulldog lead and score a stunning 18-14 upset before the delirious homefolks in Nashville. Georgia scored first, after a short march of 34 yards, on a one-yard keeper by Quarterback Andy Johnson, then scored again, after a 36-yard Golden field goal, on a 45-yard Johnson to Horace King pass. But in the second half Golden and Burton really put the boot to the Bulldogs. In Vandy's first possession following his devastating punt, Burton scooped in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Fred Fisher. In the fourth quarter Golden added field goals three and four, from 24 and 38 yards, to give the Commodores their first win over Georgia since 1961.
In another Southeastern Conference dogfight at Atlanta, Auburn seized on some fortuitous bounces to hand Georgia Tech a 24-10 setback. With his team trailing 10-7 in the second quarter, Auburn's Mitzi Jackson retrieved a wild pitchout that had been thrown behind him, reversed directions and ran 25 yards to the Tech four, setting up his own touchdown from two yards out. With his team leading 17-10 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers' Chris Linderman fumbled into the Tech end zone, but the ball was recovered for a touchdown by teammate Chris Vacarella, the freshman quarterback who had handed Linderman the ball when the play first began 18 yards upfield.