Auburn was ranked seventh in some preseason polls, but the Tigers are looking more like 77th while making Shug Jordan's last season a nightmare. After a 23-16 loss to underdog Virginia Tech, Auburn has an 0-3-1 record and its worst start since 1950, the year before Jordan became head coach. Obviously Shug expected better in his silver anniversary season than the leaden feeling he has known for four weeks. "I'm not happy," Jordan said, "and when I'm not happy, I don't like many happy people around me."
Virginia Tech maintained Jordan's black mood by racking up 404 yards total offense, which included Roscoe Coles' 89-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half. It was the longest scoring play against Auburn in 11 years. Adding insult, the Gobblers stopped Auburn's offense in the final seconds of the game. With a chance to win or tie, the Tigers took four shots from the Virginia Tech five-yard line and gained but a single yard.
Misery also prevailed in Baton Rouge, where LSU made the mistake of inviting Florida to be its homecoming opponent. A loser in only two homecoming games in 20 years—both times to Florida—the Tigers were savaged 34-6, much to the disappointment of 67,495 fans.
Quarterback Don Gaffney sparked the Gators by throwing two touchdown passes in the opening quarter before he ran for a second-quarter score. LSU averted a shutout when Quarterback Pat Lyons connected on a four-yard pass to Carl Trimble in the last 36 seconds.
Alabama's 32-6 victory over Mississippi came easy and kept the Crimson Tide on top of the Southeastern Conference race with Florida. Bear Bryant used 58 of his 60 players in the contest and was especially pleased with freshman Quarterback Jeff Rutledge and sophomore Running Back Johnny Davis. Rutledge rushed for 58 yards and directed two second-half drives that led to a field goal and a touchdown. Davis was the game's leading ground gainer with 61 yards on 13 carries and also scored a touchdown. The Tide's defensive hero was Leroy Cook, a 6'3", 220-pound end who sacked the quarterback twice, made seven tackles and forced a fumble that Alabama recovered to set up a touchdown.
Steve Raible, a Georgia Tech receiver, had the best game of his career in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 30-0 rout of Florida State, Tech's third victory in four contests. Raible caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Danny Myers and scored two other touchdowns on end-arounds of 17 and 24 yards. His running ostensibly impressed Coach Pepper Rodgers more than his reception. "A slow-footed gorilla could have caught that touchdown pass," Rodgers said. "He was 50 yards open."
"Blowing the other team out is the only way to win," said Georgia Running Back Kevin McLee. "When we get inside the five-yard line, I just run as hard as I can. Head contact ain't going to hurt me." Obviously it didn't against Clemson, which McLee stung for four touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs to a 35-7 rout. McLee rushed for 103 yards on 23 carries, scoring on three one-yard smashes and a three-yard bounce. Glynn Harrison, who picked up 107 yards in 16 carries, got the other touchdown on a 10-yard run. Georgia scored 21 points in the first 17 minutes and finished with 366 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs say their game plan, in contrast to last season's pass offense, is very simple. "We just line up and hit the first man who comes our way," says Guard Joel Parrish.
It was not that easy for Maryland, which lost a fumble, gave up an interception and suffered 119 yards in penalties before beating Syracuse 24-7. The Terrapins didn't put the game out of reach until early in the fourth quarter when Defensive Guard Paul Divito recovered a fumble by Syracuse Quarterback Bob Mitch at the Orange 38-yard line. After two procedure infractions, Maryland survived a goal-line fumble to boost its lead to 17 points. Maryland now stands at 3-1-1, while Syracuse suffered its first loss.
Elsewhere, North Carolina edged Virginia 31-28, Vanderbilt topped Tulane 6-3, North Carolina State blanked Indiana 27-0 and South Carolina upset Baylor 24-13.