It was a week filled with significant games that determined bowl bids, conference titles and 10 major—more or less—trophies. North Carolina clinched first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 16-3 decision over Duke. Three field goals by Tom Biddle and 138 yards rushing by Amos Lawrence made winners of the Tar Heels, who now go to the Liberty Bowl where they will meet the loser of the Nebraska-Oklahoma game. Despite missing the season opener and carrying only five times in the second game, Lawrence wound up with 1,211 yards rushing, an ACC record for a freshman. Carolina's defense corralled Mike Dunn, who was the ACC's total-offense leader, limiting him to six completions in 18 attempts for 74 yards and to 24 yards rushing in 15 carries. Dunn, who had thrown 105 times without an interception, also had three of his passes stolen.
After seesawing past South Carolina 31-27, Clemson accepted an invitation to face Pittsburgh in the Gator Bowl, its first postseason game since 1959. The Tigers zipped in front 24-0, then fell behind 27-24. Tailback Spencer Clark, who rushed for 157 yards in 18 carries, started the Gamecock resurgence with a 77-yard scoring run late in the third period. Quarterback Ron Bass ended it when he hit Philip Logan with a 40-yard, fourth-down scoring pass with 1:48 to go. Quarterback Steve Fuller then took Clemson 67 yards in 50 seconds for the final touchdown, combining with Jerry Butler on a 20-yard pass.
Headed for the first Hall of Fame Classic in Birmingham was Maryland, a 28-0 victor over Virginia as George Scott ran for 173 yards and scored on a 13-yard pass. In his last three games Scott has rushed for a total of 581 yards.
While idle Alabama learned it would play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, other Southeastern Conference teams fought for somewhat lesser rewards—the Beer Barrel, the Golden Egg and the Rag. Doing his best to root Kentucky to victory in the Beer Barrel clash against Tennessee was Henry Harris, the proprietor of a bar near the Wildcat campus. Although Harris frantically ran up and down the aisles blowing his police whistle, waving signs and exhorting people to cheer, the Wildcats trailed 17-14 after Jim Taylor booted a 57-yard, fourth-quarter field goal. Six Kentucky defensive starters were ailing, and Quarterback Derrick Ramsey was unable to pass because of an injured shoulder. In stepped sophomore Mike Deaton to replace Ramsey. On his first play Deaton hit Felix Wilson with a 36-yard pass to the Vol 44. Back came Ramsey, who wrapped up the victorious drive by plunging over from one yard out for a 21-17 verdict. The Beer Barrel became the Kentucky-Tennessee trophy in 1925 when, despite the protests of the WCTU, one was lugged around the field wearing a sign that said ICE WATER as students sang How Dry I Am.
In 1927 the Golden Egg came to symbolize supremacy for Magnolia State rivals. This battered metal object, which looks more like a football than an egg, went to Mississippi State this season as the Bulldogs overcame a 14-0 Mississippi lead and won 18-14 at Jackson. State Quarterback Bruce Threadgill passed for one touchdown and ran for another, and David Marler kicked 44- and 30-yard field goals.
Two visiting teams also blew leads. Cincinnati lost a 9-0 fourth-quarter advantage in dropping a 13-9 verdict to Vanderbilt. Utah led 20-10 going into the last period, only to have Florida score four touchdowns and pull out a 38-29 victory.
LSU struggled past independent Tulane 20-17 as junior Charles Alexander rushed for 199 yards and set an SEC season record of 1,455 yards. To the winners went the Rag, a flag split diagonally and bearing both teams' colors.
Austin Peay won the Ohio Valley Conference championship by downing East Tennessee State 24-10.
Louisville beat Indiana State 27-16 even though Vincent Allen gained 122 of his 128 yards rushing in the second half. Allen thus finished the season with 1,026 yards and his career with 4,335 to become the fourth NCAA Division I runner to have four 1,000-yard years. Louisville will go to the Independence Bowl where it will face Louisiana Tech, a 41-14 loser to North Texas State. Tech, which topped the nation in total defense (204.9 yards a game), yielded 493 yards to the Mean Green. Picking up 216 yards was Quarterback Ken Washington, who hit on 13 of 19 passes for four touchdowns.