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Texas A&M and Texas won by putting their best feet forward, but Arkansas prevailed by utilizing its hands. Tony Franklin set an SWC record by booting field goals of 38, 39, 32, 29 and 35 yards for the Aggies against Rice. And teammate George Woodard, a 248-pound fullback, ran for 188 yards and four touchdowns. But the Aggies still had trouble finishing off the Owls. Tommy Kramer of Rice, the nation's leader in total offense and pass completions, tossed three TD passes and hit on 24 of 59 attempts for 376 yards. Ten of those throws were caught by Doug Cunningham, giving him 47 receptions. The two teams combined for 1,092 yards in total offense, the Aggies setting school marks by rushing for 526 yards and gaining 622 overall as they won 57-34. A&M's points were the most in an SWC game since 1960.
Texas nudged SMU 13-12 behind the booming kicks of Russell Erxleben, who had field goals of 57 and 52 yards. Erxleben entered the game as the nation's best punter with a 48.6-yard average and kicked five times for an average of 54.2 yards. His final punt left the Mustangs with the ball on their own 15 and trailing 13-6 late in the fourth quarter. Minutes earlier, Johnny (Lam) Jones had scored Texas' lone touchdown on a dazzling 63-yard sprint. SMU Quarterback Ricky Wesson, who did not start because of a bum elbow, then oiled up his arm and completed three passes for 48 yards. With 51 seconds left. Wesson lobbed a two-yard scoring pass to Tight End Robert Fisher, cutting the Longhorn margin to 13-12. Texas held on when, after a five-yard illegal-motion penalty, Wesson's pass for a two-point conversion was batted away.
Arkansas, too, had to come through with some late defensive efforts to preserve a 14-7 victory over Houston. The Razorbacks grabbed four Cougar fumbles, and Linebacker Larry Jackson ended Houston's last-ditch drive by picking off a pass at his own 17. Ben Cowins of the Razorbacks gained a total of 186 yards, picking up almost half of that on an 89-yard touchdown gallop.
"I'm hoping I can push that record up so far that no one can ever dream of beating it. I want that record to be mine as long as I'm on this earth." So said Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh after cracking Archie Griffin's year-old major-college career mark for rushing, doing it on a 32-yard scoring jaunt as Pitt crushed Navy 45-0. With four games to go, Dorsett has 5,206 yards and is a sure bet to surpass the absolute record of 5,297 held by Howard Stevens, who played two seasons for Randolph-Macon, a small college, and two for Louisville. Dorsett established two other NCAA records, becoming the first to pick up 1,000 yards in four straight seasons (he has 1,072 so far this year) and erasing Ed Marinaro's mark for carries with 931.
Army, Syracuse and Penn State took to the air. Leamon Hall (page 40) set a Cadet season record for completions (119) as he hit on 16 of 24 passes, but in vain as Army lost to Boston College 27-10. The Eagles powered their way past the Cadets by grinding out 390 yards on the ground. Sophomore passers excelled as Syracuse stopped Temple 24-16. Bill Hurley of the Orangemen, who had passed for only 110 yards in his first six games this season, completed 11 of 20 attempts for 193 yards and rushed for another 53 yards. And Syracuse Safety Tim Moresco came through with several last-man tackles to thwart Temple's scoring chances. For the Nittany Lions, who dealt West Virginia its first home shutout in 13 years, 33-0, the passing was done by Chuck Fusina, who hit on 15 of 24 throws for 261 yards and two touchdowns.