Optimism abounded at Colorado State, the Rams feeling certain they would lengthen their five-game unbeaten streak against Brigham Young. About the only thing that bothered the Rams was that they would not have a chance to display their defensive proficiency against the Nation's No. 1 passer, BYU's Gifford Nielsen, whose knee was operated on last week.
Subbing at quarterback for the Cougars was sophomore Marc Wilson, a Nielsen built-alike at 6'5" and 205 pounds. It did not take long for Wilson to give the State defense a chance to show itself and for him to prove he could pass like Nielsen. Instead of dropping back into the pocket a la Nielsen, though, Wilson uncorked his passes off sprintouts. Before the third period ended he had accounted for eight touchdowns, seven with his passes (a WAC record) and one with a short plunge. By the time Wilson was removed late in the third quarter, BYU was in front 56-10. Almost obscured by his feats was a WAC mark set by State's Ron Harris, who took a kickoff two yards in his end zone and zipped the length of the field for a touchdown. When it was all over the Cougars, 63-17 victors, had moved into first place in the conference.
Also displaying his marksmanship was California Quarterback Charlie Young, who completed 17 of 25 throws for 375 yards as the Golden Bears throttled Oregon State 41-17 in a Pacific-8 clash. While establishing a school total offense record of 399 yards, Young connected on scoring bombs of 83, 85 and 43 yards. Tallying on those last two plays was Tailback Oliver Hillmon, who also scored on two short runs as he set another Cal record with his four touchdowns.
Big plays were prevalent, too, as Washington dumped Stanford 45-21. Long-distance scoring jaunts were made by five Huskies: Tailback Joe Steele (83 yards around right end); Fullback Ron Gipson (59 yards right down the middle); Cornerback Nesby Glasgow (73-yard punt return); Flanker Spider Gaines (26-yard pass from Quarterback Warren Moon); and Safety Greg Grimes (29 yards with an interception). Those plays offset the 28-for-47 passing of Stanford's Guy Benjamin, whose tosses produced three touchdowns and 376 yards.
While many of the 51,120 fans tuned in the Dodger-Yankee World Series game on their radios, Southern Cal turned on the Homecoming crowd with a 33-15 wipeout of Oregon. What grabbed the spectators' interest most were a pair of lengthy scoring passes by Quarterback Rob Hertel. His first was a 51-yarder to Randy Simmrin, the second a 44-yarder to Kevin Williams. Washington and USC thus remained the only undefeated teams in Pac-8 play. A 27-16 win over Washington State gave UCLA its first conference triumph.
San Diego State, which had its 10-game winning streak ended the week before, prolonged a streak of a different sort by correctly calling the pregame coin flip for the 15th time in a row. Then David (Deacon) Turner of the Aztecs barreled his way for 129 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-7 romp over Texas-El Paso. Three other Aztec touchdowns were picked up on the passing of Quarterback Joe Davis.
Three second-half touchdowns by Fullback George Perry enabled Arizona State to down Air Force 37-14.
1. USC (5-1)
2. CALIFORNIA (5-1)
3. BYU (4-1)