Few coaches have greater loyalty to former associates than Bear Bryant. Ironically, the Bear may have cost one of his favorite pupils his job Saturday in a televised drama from Knoxville. That's where Alabama scored a 20-13 victory over Tennessee, coached by the embattled Bill Battle.
It was the Crimson Tide's sixth straight win over the Volunteers and a crushing blow to Battle's waning job security, now that Tennessee has a 3-3 record. "I don't know anything about what the situation is at Tennessee," Bryant said after the game, "but I do know that he's a heckuva coach."
The Tide, improving its record to 4-2, got its winning touchdown with less than six minutes left when Calvin Culliver bolted in from the seven-yard line. Alabama had gambled and lost on fourth down at the Volunteer one earlier, but the Tide defense kept Tennessee deep in its own territory to set up the final scoring march.
Because the game was televised, scalpers were stuck with excess tickets and were selling them for $1 each at kickoff time. Whether Battle saves his scalp remains to be seen.
Bowl scouts who came to see LSU went home wishing they had saved their plane fare after the Tigers fell inelegantly to Kentucky 21-7. As the Southeast Conference's leading spoiler, Kentucky remained unbeaten at home and almost shut out an LSU offense that entered the game averaging 24 points.
Kicking-game prowess kept injury-riddled Maryland unbeaten. The Terps eked out a 17-15 triumph over Wake Forest when Kenny Roy blocked a field goal to set up Mike Sochko's 27-yarder with 2:56 to go. Maryland's 17th straight Atlantic Coast Conference victory was achieved without Tailback Steve Atkins, who was out with a bad knee.
Mississippi State fumbled only five times to seven for Memphis State and thus came back from a 27-21 halftime deficit for a 42-33 win. Mississippi State rushed for 418 yards and now boasts a 5-1 record.
North Carolina State used a reverse tactic, building a 21-0 lead in the first half and hanging on for a 21-13 victory over North Carolina. It was the Wolfpack's second win and Carolina's second loss.
At Columbia, S. C, Ron Bass threw the winning touchdown pass in South Carolina's 10-7 upset of Ole Miss, but it wasn't his biggest thrill of the night. "I enjoyed watching our defense play more than I enjoyed playing," Bass said.