Nebraska was not the only Big Eight favorite to have a hard time. Oklahoma lost the statistical battle to Missouri (25 first downs to 12, and 419 yards to 358), but came away a 21-17 winner. And Colorado was fortunate to salvage a 17-17 tie with Kansas.
A 16-yard scoring run with a recovered fumble by Linebacker Billy Bess and a 36-yard field goal by Jeff Brockhaus had given Missouri a 10-0 lead over Oklahoma. Striking fast, the Sooners needed just three plays and 41 seconds to score before halftime. Quarterback Thomas Lou scampered 62 yards on the first of those plays, four more on the next and then passed 14 yards to Tight End Victor Hicks for the touchdown.
Encouraged by that and hoping that a 20 mph wind coming at Missouri would hamper the passing of Quarterback Pete Woods, Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer decided to kick off to the Tigers at the start of the third period. His strategy worked perfectly. Missouri was unable to move, Oklahoma took over and marched 46 yards for a touchdown, with Elvis Peacock darting the last 35. Woods was intercepted on Missouri's next possession and five plays later Lott scored on a one-yard sneak for a 21-10 Sooner lead.
Going into its game, Kansas was last in the Big Eight in rushing defense and Colorado was sixth in the country in ground gaining. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks outran the Buffaloes 338 to 158. Colorado had held a 17-3 lead, but Brian Bethke came off the bench to direct the Jayhawks to a pair of touchdowns. Bethke was also moving Kansas into position for a game-deciding field goal in the closing seconds only to have the ball fumbled away.
Oklahoma State avoided a tie with Kansas State when Quarterback Randy Stephenson went over from the one-yard line with less than a minute to go for a 21-14 win.
"The idea that we are 17-point favorites is ridiculous," said Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler before a Big Ten confrontation with undefeated Wisconsin. He felt the score would be closer. When the game was over, the 104,892 spectators had to disagree with Bo, whose Wolverines more than tripled the point spread while winning 56-0. Even with leading runner Harlan Huckleby sidelined with a pulled hamstring, Michigan racked up 419 yards on the ground. Sophomore Roosevelt Smith, Huckleby's understudy, picked up 157 of them in 25 carries and scored twice.
The only thing Ohio State Coach Woody Hayes lost at Iowa was his cap, which was swiped by a fan after his Buckeyes' 27-6 win. Hayes did not lose his temper with reporters and even permitted them to interview his players. And he was positively loquacious about Quarterback Rod Gerald, who hit on nine of 12 passes and ran for 100 yards.
In other Big Ten tussles, Illinois scored twice in the fourth period to upend Purdue 29-22, Minnesota beat winless Northwestern 13-7 and Indiana tied Michigan State 13-13. Bowling Green tightened up the MidAmerican race by handing Kent State its first conference loss, 14-10.
1. MICHIGAN (6-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (5-1)
3. OHIO STATE (5-1)