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Also coming up with a Southeastern Conference win was Mississippi State, which knocked off Mississippi 28-11. Two touchdown passes by Quarterback Bruce Threadgill and three field goals by Kinney Jordan enabled State to finish with a 9-2 record, its best in 36 years. But the Bulldogs won't go to a bowl—the school is on NCAA probation.
Florida accepted a Sun Bowl bid after thrashing Rice 50-22. Owl Quarterback Tommy Kramer, playing as usual in a losing cause, hit on 29 of 47 passes for 327 yards and one touchdown. Alabama, idle last week, agreed to take on UCLA in the Liberty Bowl. LSU held Tulane to minus 11 yards in the first half and went on to a 17-7 victory.
Maryland became the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to go undefeated in 21 years, stopping Virginia 28-0. That shutout, the third in a row for the Terps, was topped off by an invitation to the Cotton Bowl against the Southwest Conference champion, the first major bowl appearance by an ACC squad in 15 years.
Bowl-bound, too, was North Carolina, which held off Duke 39-38 to conclude its season with a 9-2 record. The Blue Devils had gone ahead 38-31 with only 2:53 left when sophomore Quarterback Mike Dunn scored his fourth touchdown of the day on a nine-yard run. But with 37 seconds showing on the clock, North Carolina's freshman fullback, Billy Johnson, caught an eight-yard touchdown pass. That made it 38-37. Duke. The Tar Heels went for a two-point conversion and got it. Tailback Mike Voight rambling into the end zone after taking a pitch-out. Voight also scored four touchdowns and gained 261 yards in 47 carries. That left Voight with a career total of 3.971 yards, the fifth-best mark in the NCAA books.
Fullback Tracy Perry and Quarterback Steve Fuller each ran for a pair of touchdowns to highlight the upset as Clemson surprised independent South Carolina 28-9.
Quarterback Jimmy Jordan and Wide Receiver Kurt Unglaub combined on a 96-yard pass play as Florida State upended Virginia Tech 28-21. Also going a far piece was Flanker Larry Stokes, who took a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to help Tennessee- Chattanooga down Bowling Green 49-29. Southern Mississippi shocked Memphis State 14-12, Tailback Chuck Clancy throwing for one touchdown and bulldozing his way four yards for another.
There was a big game at Williams High School in Burlington, N.C. That's where Elon won the South Atlantic Conference title, wrapped up an 11-0 season and earned a berth in the NAIA playoffs by walloping Carson-Newman 49-25. Williams High, five miles from the Elon campus, has long been the home of the Fighting Christians, who have no football field of their own. Leading the assault was Running Back Howard Ferguson, who gained 207 yards in 36 carries and scored two touchdowns. His running mate, Alex McMillan, added three touchdowns and 143 yards in 25 carries.