Brigham Young eliminated Arizona State from this year's Western Athletic Conference title chase and all but assured the championship for itself in a 21-18 victory.
There were 14 turnovers in the game, eight of them by the winning Cougars. The difference was a defense that limited Arizona State's ballcarriers to 78 yards. "It was the best defensive effort I've ever seen here," said BYU Coach La Veil Edwards.
The Cougars got the game's decisive touchdown following an 80-yard drive with six minutes left. Two more wins over lesser opponents will clinch the league's Fiesta Bowl berth. "I've been there three times by myself." said Edwards. "It would sure be great to take the squad with me this time."
Arizona held second place by converting four turnovers into scores for a 34-21 victory over Colorado State. Jim Upchurch rushed for 132 yards, and Bruce Hill completed two touchdown passes. Texas-El Paso won its third in a row, 35-13 over Wyoming. Quarterback Bobby McKinley completed eight of 10 first-half passes for 148 yards and two TDs.
San Diego State clinched its third consecutive PCAA title by bombing Pacific 37-9. Monty Reedy showed the way by scoring three touchdowns and gaining 123 yards in 14 carries.
In the Pacific Eight, California racked Washington 52-26, UCLA outclassed Oregon 21-0 and Oregon State topped Washington State 17-3.
"We knew we couldn't get into a slugging match with Washington," California Coach Mike White said. "We had to throw, let it all hangout." Quarterback Steve Bartkowski did just that, setting a school total-offense record with 309 yards on 16 completions in 27 attempts. Wesley Walker caught scoring passes of 43 and 56 yards. UCLA, which lost Quarterback John Sciarra earlier in the year, saw leading rusher Wendell Tyler sidelined against Oregon. It was the Bruins' first shutout since 1969. Washington State helped the Beaver cause by losing three fumbles.
1. USC (6-1-1)
2. Arizona (6-2)
3. California (6-2-1)