"We were in a position where we had to take some chances," said Penn State Quarterback Chuck Fusina. The spot the Nittany Lions had found themselves in was trailing Southern Methodist 21-12 early in the third period, after Dave Hill stole a Fusina pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. Two earlier SMU scores had been set up by the passing of sophomore Mike Ford, who hit on half of his 36 attempts for 289 yards.
The biggest chance Penn State took was a fourth-and-one gamble at its 36-yard line when it was trailing by nine points. Tailback Booker Moore picked up the first down on that play, and Fusina concluded the drive with a 16-yard pass to Scott Fitzkee. A three-yard run by Matt Suhey later in the third quarter wrapped up Penn State's 26-21 triumph before a record home crowd of 77,404.
In lengthening its victory streak to 12 games, the best among the Division I-A teams, State got four first-half field goals from Matt Bahr and clamp-down defense in the second half. The Nittany Lions sacked Ford four times in the second half and held the Mustangs to minus-five yards rushing for the afternoon. Bahr, who has made good on 13 of 15 three-point tries in four games, is already closing in on the NCAA season record of 21 field goals.
Pittsburgh, too, had to struggle to get past Temple 21-12. The Owls, 76-0 losers to the Panthers last season, led 6-3 at halftime and were outgained only 321 yards to 317. But a 16-yard run by Quarterback Rick Trocano put Pitt in front for keeps.
Texas A&M Running Back Curtis Dickey, who ran an unofficial world-record 9.85 for 100 meters last spring, turned on his speed at Boston College. Despite missing most of the second half because of a bruised thigh, Dickey ripped off 138 yards in 18 carries and scored three times as the Aggies thrashed the Eagles 37-2. Boston College, which gave up six of seven fumbles the week before, was even more butterfingered this time as it lost six of 10 to the Aggies.
Navy, 32-0 victors over Virginia two weeks ago, cruised to its second straight shutout, stifling Connecticut 30-0. The Middies had six sacks, allowed the Huskies only 106 yards and never let them penetrate deeper than the Navy 39-yard line.
A 14-0 lead was not enough for Army as visiting Virginia evened its record with the service academies with a 21-17 upset at West Point. Midway through the fourth quarter, Tom Vigorito bulled over from one yard out on fourth down to put the Cavaliers on top.
Lehigh and South Carolina State, which were tied for first place in the Associated Press Division I-AA poll, both won. The Engineers extended their longest-ever victory streak to 11 games by smothering Colgate 38-7, as Quarterback Rich Andres passed for a pair of touchdowns and ran for two more. In a Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference contest played before a crowd of 17,139 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, South Carolina State whipped Howard 27-0. The Bulldogs' offensive line, which averages 245 pounds, repeatedly opened holes, which Cornelius Reed rushed through for 163 yards and Nate Rivers for 126.
Yale began the defense of its Ivy League title by muzzling Brown 21-0. For the first time since 1970, Columbia came out on top of Harvard 21-19; it was also the first time the Lions had won in Cambridge since 1961. Buddy Teevens' 15 completions in 24 throws enabled Dartmouth to outlast Penn 31-21. Cornell's running built up a 14-0 edge over Princeton, but the passing of Ken Barrett rallied the Tigers to a 14-14 tie.
1. PENN STATE (4-0)
2. PITTSBURGH (2-0)
3. NAVY (2-0)