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A 58-yard field goal by Dave Lawson ignited a 17-point third-quarter rally that enabled Air Force to tie UCLA 20-20. It was the second three-pointer of the game by Lawson, the 42nd of his career and it tied an NCAA record. On the series following the field goal, Falcon Ray Wild returned an intercepted pass 36 yards for a touchdown. Although the Bruins then set out on an 80-yard scoring drive of their own, Air Force marched right back on the passing or Quarterback Rob Shaw, who completed a seven-yarder to Frank Cox for the final TD. In the fourth quarter each team missed a field goal of about 45 yards.
Stanford had an even more upsetting experience, losing to unbeaten San Jose State 36-34. The Cardinals tried hard, but they never could make it back from a 30-point outburst in the second quarter that gave the Spartans a 30-7 halftime lead. State Quarterback Roger Proffitt passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another.
USC, held to three first downs and 58 yards of offense in the first half, capitalized on Danny Reece's punt returns to beat Purdue 19-6. Romps of 47 yards to the Boilermaker 12 and 68 yards to the three helped the Trojans break the game open. Ricky Bell was limited to 89 yards in 25 tries and one touchdown.
Washington and California won their first games at the expense of previously unbeaten opponents. Pass defense keyed the Huskies' 14-13 win over Navy. Interceptions by Roberto Jourdan and Al Burleson set up one touchdown and scored the second; Burleson then knocked down a two-point conversion attempt by the Middies with 1:08 remaining. Paul Jones scored twice and Chuck Muncie gained 124 yards as the Bears topped Washington State 33-21.
The lesser lights of the Big Ten could not handle one of the most challenging schedules in conference history. Not surprisingly, USC, Missouri, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Penn State, five of the country's top 12 teams, rolled over Purdue 19-6, Wisconsin 27-21, Northwestern 31-7, Illinois 43-13 and Iowa 30-10.
The biggest disappointment, however, was Michigan's 14-14 tie with Baylor, the second straight week the Wolverines were deadlocked at home. What's worse, everyone agreed that the Bears, also tied for the second week in a row, should have won. "Console me," said Baylor Coach Grant Teaff. "We said if we went undefeated in our first three games we would be No. 1. Well, we did, but we aren't even in the top 20."