With 23 seconds left to play, it appeared that Brigham Young and Arizona were headed for a 16-16 tie. Then Arizona punter Wid Knight, who had averaged 40 yards on six kicks, got off an 18-yarder that gave BYU the ball on the Wildcat 43-yard line. Cougar Coach Lavell Edwards inserted three wide receivers. His plan was to send Split End George Harris to the right flat, Flanker Jeff Nilsson to the left flat and throw down the middle underneath the coverage to Split End John Vanderwouden in an attempt to get within field-goal range. But Harris, who had not caught a pass all year, noted that the Arizona linebackers had dropped back to cover the short pass, so he streaked to the end zone. Quarterback Gifford Neilsen lofted a 43-yard strike to Harris for the winning score with just three seconds remaining. "If we had planned it that way, it probably wouldn't have worked," said Edwards after the 23-16 win.
When Arizona State Coach Frank Kush cried wolf, it was passed over as humility or strategy. People may start to believe him now that the Sun Devils have lost their second game in two starts, to California 31-22. Cal pounded out 276 yards on the ground against a derelict Arizona State defense. The brightest spot for the Sun Devils was the passing of Quarterback Dennis Sproul, who connected on 12 of his 23 throws for 232 yards and two TDs. Cal Quarterback Joe Roth, touted by some as a Heisman Trophy candidate, could only complete 10 of his 27 passes. He didn't throw for any TDs and was intercepted twice.
On the final play of the second quarter in the Stanford-San Jose State game, Spartan Running Back Walt Robinson slammed into right tackle for what appeared to be a touchdown. That's the way Duffy Daugherty called the play in the TV booth and the TV monitor seemed to confirm that as Robinson fell the ball landed an inch beyond the goal line. The officials, however, ruled that Stanford Linebacker Gordy Ceresino had made the stop an inch short of the line, so the Cardinals went into the dressing room leading 14-9 instead of trailing 16-14. That difference proved crucial. San Jose rallied in the third quarter and built a 23-14 lead, but Stanford came back with an unexpected ground game in the fourth quarter for two touchdowns and a 28-23 win. Before the rushing attack gave the Cardinals the win, second-team Quarterback Guy Benjamin got himself a starting job by completing 25 of 41 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Tailback Wendell Tyler set a UCLA career rushing record when he gained 156 yards in the Bruins' 40-7 rout of Air Force. The 5'10", 190-pound Tyler now has rushed for 2,519 yards, 24 more than the old mark set by Kermit Johnson.
Texas Tech splits its quarterbacking between Tommy Duniven and Rodney Allison. Against New Mexico each threw a touchdown pass. Duniven's traveled nine yards to Brian Nelson, and Allison's 69 yards to Godfrey Turner. Those scores and two Brian Hall field goals were just enough as the Red Raiders edged the Lobos 20-16. New Mexico's chances for an upset were thwarted by two fourth-quarter interceptions of Noel Mazzone passes.
Indiana downed Washington 20-13, Oregon beat Utah 21-13 and Wyoming defeated Utah State 20-3.
1. UCLA (3-0)
2. USC (2-1)
3. SAN DIEGO STATE (3-0)
Penn State failed on a two-point conversion try and missed a short field goal in losing 7-6 to Iowa. The Hawkeyes got their seven points on a first-quarter, two-yard touchdown run by Tom Renn and a conversion by Nick Quartaro. The Nittany Lions were unable to score until 9:01 remained in the game. Matt Suhey dived one yard for Penn State's touchdown but a two-point-try pass was incomplete, following an Iowa fumble at its 30. With 2:09 left, Nittany Lion Linebacker Ron Hostetler recovered a Renn fumble at the Hawkeye 26-yard line. Penn State got down to the five but stalled and freshman Herb Menhardt's 25-yard field-goal attempt was wide. "If he made it, we would have lucked out," Coach Joe Paterno said. "The Hawkeyes deserved to win. They kicked our ears in."
Tony Dorsett, hobbled by a leg bruise, still gained 112 rushing as Pittsburgh downed Temple 21-7. It was Dorsett's 10th straight regular-season 100-yard game and left him 637 yards short of Archie Griffin's collegiate rushing record of 5,177 yards. The Owls, who lost to Pitt 55-6 last year, led at halftime 7-6. Their touchdown came on Safety Chuck Gill's 15-yard run with a blocked punt.