Arkansas continues to be pestered by Rice, a most unlikely nemesis. The Razorbacks, who have not defeated the Owls since 1970, were upset again 17-7 despite a whopping 404 to 138 advantage in yardage. Rice Punter Mike Landrum played an important role in the victory by averaging over 40 yards a kick and rolling four boomers dead inside the Arkansas 15. The Owls, whose only other win this year came against Montana, were further aided by pass interceptions. One was returned for a touchdown, another was brought back 55 yards to set up a score.
Texas A&M's 45-10 victory over crippled and disappointing SMU, which has lost four of its last five games, featured the league's first-ever duel of freshman quarterbacks. The Aggies' 17-year-old David Walker scored once and guided A&M to a school-record 432 rushing yards and its biggest scoring day in the conference in 32 years. Skip Walker, no relation to David, scored twice and tripped to 184 yards in 13 carries. SMU Coach Dave Smith saw very little good in his team's effort. "I've never had a team that's been so out of it," he said. "We just won't fight back."
1. UCLA (8-1)
2. USC (7-1-1)
3. ARIZONA STATE (8-1)
USC proved some time ago that it was an impostor among the national championship contenders and last week the Trojans very nearly waved goodby to their Rose Bowl hopes. Had a 5'5", 135-pound Indonesian by way of Holland not kicked a 34-yard field goal with three seconds left to beat Stanford 27-26, USC would have been tied for second place in the Pacific Eight with UCLA still to be played. So thank goodness for a diminutive, sidewinding foreigner named Chris Limahelu—right, John McKay? "We were fortunate to win," admitted the Trojan coach, who only last year expressed deep concern that his team had not defeated Stanford by 1,000 points. No doubt the pronouncement inspired the Cardinals to their 23-10 lead, built on two Mike Boryla touchdown passes and three field goals by Rod Garcia, one a conference and L.A. Coliseum record 59-yarder. The Trojans' 17-point fourth quarter wiped the advantage out, however, although Garcia managed still another field goal, an NCAA career record 39th.
Limahelu's winning kick followed a 53-yard drive and was set up by a 25-yard pass from Pat Haden to Jim Obradovich. Haden's earlier fourth-quarter heroics had produced a 26-yard scoring toss to Lynn Swann and a 10-yard touchdown run. The other Southern California TD had come in the second period on a three-yard spurt by Anthony Davis. When it got down to the final kick, Limahelu, who had made good from the 17 in the first quarter, was a reluctant hero. "I was nervous," he said. "I'd been nervous the last minute or so. But I never looked at anything and I didn't hear anything. I just waited until I saw the snap and swung." Four years ago, in a very similar situation, SC's Ron Ayala pulled out a 26-24 victory with another three-pointer.
UCLA had a much easier time of it against Oregon. The Bruins sloshed through pouring rain and over soggy AstroTurf for a 27-7 victory. "We didn't want to go wide and the passing game was nil," said Pepper Rodgers, who sent Kermit Johnson mostly inside for 146 yards in 20 carries. Oregon fumbles led to two Bruin touchdowns. Other games involving Pacific Eight teams saw Washington State score a 13-7 win over Oregon State and Washington and California take nonconference victories from Idaho, 41-14, and San Jose State, 19-9.
Arizona clinched at least a tie for the Western Athletic Conference title by whipping Brigham Young 24-10. Big plays won it for the 8-1 Wildcats, a pair of 80-yard scoring runs by Willie Hamilton and Jim Upchurch and a 38-yard interception return by Leon Lawrence. "We felt they were susceptible to quick-hitting plays into the line," dead-panned Coach Jim Young.
Arizona State cannot win the WAC title outright but it can clinch the league's Fiesta Bowl spot by getting past Texas-El Paso this week and Arizona on Nov. 24. Last Saturday the Sun Devils bombed Wyoming for 40 second-half points and a 47-0 victory. Woody Green and Ben Malone each carried 22 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns. That's balance.
Other key games in the West saw Air Force thump Rutgers 31-14 and San Diego State bump Long Beach State 17-2. It was the third straight victory for the Falcons and fifth in eight games. Rich Haynie had another big passing day, with 14 completions in 21 attempts for 195 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the scoring grabs were by Frank Murphy. Air power also won for the Aztecs, now 6-1-1 and headed for their second straight PCAA title. Jesse Freitas, the nation's top-ranked thrower, was good on 22 of 34 tries for 260 yards and one score. Long Beach State remains winless.