1. MICHIGAN (10-1)
2. OHIO ST. (8-2-1)
3. NEB. (7-2-1)
Houton's Cougars, the new kids on the block, have made themselves right at home. Their 27-19 jolting of previously unbeaten Texas Tech moved them a giant step closer to a berth in the Cotton Bowl in their first season as members of the Southwest Conference. Houston built a 24-5 halftime advantage, Quarterback Danny Davis passing for a pair of touchdowns and Fullback Dryal Thomas plunging in to cap an 81-yard drive. And Tackle Wilson Whitley led a defense that limited the Red Raiders to just 50 yards in total offense during the first two periods. Tech's attack did not click until late in the fourth quarter. With Houston leading 27-5 and only 6:45 left in the game, Defensive End Richard Arledge picked off a Davis pass and went seven yards for a Tech touchdown that made the score 27-11. Quarterback Rodney Allison, who completed 20 of 31 passes for 327 yards, then took only 58 seconds to drive the Red Raiders 93 yards in five plays. Allison concluded that march with a 16-yard scoring toss to Tailback Billy Taylor, and passed to Split End Sammy Williams for a two-point conversion that cut the deficit to 27-19. There was still 3:26 left, and Tech had a chance to gain a tie when it recovered a Houston fumble on the Tech 24. Hitting on a succession of rapid-fire passes, good for 11, 34 and 27 yards, Allison brought Tech to the Houston nine. But, with 1:25 to go, Safety Elvis Bradley intercepted an Allison pass at the Cougars' two to end the threat. If Houston defeats Rice this week, it will go to the Cotton Bowl. Should the Cougars lose, and should the Red Raiders take their final two games against Arkansas and Baylor, Tech goes to the Cotton Bowl. Whatever happens, Tech is assured of being in a postseason game, having already accepted an offer from the Blue-bonnet Bowl.
Baylor, which has defeated Texas only twice in the last 19 years, throttled the Long-horns 20-10 and limited them to 14 yards in 37 rushes, their lowest total in the 83 years they've been playing football. Texas freshman Halfback Johnny (Lam) Jones, who had averaged 6.5 yards per carry going into the game, picked up just one yard in 10 attempts. Baylor Quarterback Mark Jackson ran for 76 yards and one touchdown and passed for another score.
Arkansas' hopes of going to the Tangerine Bowl were dashed when Southern Methodist pulled off a 35-31 upset. SMU thus avoided setting a school record for consecutive losses by stopping its streak at seven. Mustang Quarterback Ricky Wesson tossed four seven-yard touchdown passes, three of them to Slotback Emanuel Tolbert, the other to Tight End Elton Garrett. Tailback Art Whittington set up one SMU score by returning a kickoff 92 yards. The Razorbacks committed 10 penalties, three blunting Arkansas drives, another three keeping SMU marches going. The only consolation for Arkansas was that sophomore Running Back Ben Cowins rushed for 147 yards to go past 1,000 for the season.
Texas A&M was the most convincing winner in the SWC, thrashing winless Texas Christian 59-10. The Aggies, losers of two of their first five games, have now won five in a row, piling up 207 points in so doing. That resurgence earned them an invitation to the Sun Bowl. For the Horned Frogs, it was their 30th setback in their last 31 games.
1. HOUSTON (7-2)
2. TEXAS TECH (8-1)
3. TEXAS A&M (8-2)
Two of the biggest guns in the West—Gifford Nielsen of Brig-ham Young and Dave Ziebart of Air Force—were on target again. Nielsen hit on 24 of 35 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars whipped Utah 34-12 and earned a tie for first place in the Western Athletic Conference with Wyoming. That performance gave Nielsen a total of 3,192 yards passing for the season, only the seventh time an NCAA player has topped 3,000 yards.
Ziebart, a freshman, threw 26 passes, completed 19 for 339 yards and three touchdowns and directed the Falcons to a 41-21 upset over Wyoming. One of Ziebart's passes was an 89-yarder to Split End Paul Williams, the longest pass play in Air Force football history. The Falcons did not strike only through the air, however. Freshman Fullback David Thomas scored the Air Force's other three touchdowns on runs.