SI Vault
Mike DelNagro
October 23, 1978
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October 23, 1978

The Week

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Unbeaten, 13th-ranked Colorado was favored against winless Oklahoma State, but the past eight times they had met in Stillwater, the Buffaloes had been favored, and five times Oklahoma State upset them. On Saturday the Cowboys did it again as they held the Buffaloes to just 254 yards, 150 under their average, and capitalized on three breaks in a 24-20 upset. First, a Colorado punt from the Buffalo four-yard line sailed practically straight up into a brisk wind, the Cowboys recovering the ball on the Colorado 11. Vince Orange scored on the next play to make it 14-10 in favor of the Buffaloes at halftime. Next, a Colorado fumble was recovered by the Cowboys on the Buffaloes' 30-yard line. Two plays later, Oklahoma State fumbled and Colorado recovered on its 22, but—break No. 3—the Buffaloes were penalized for being off-sides. Oklahoma State retained possession, and seven plays later Ed Smith scooted over from the three for a 24-14 lead that Colorado never overcame.

It was third-and-six at the Missouri 11. One moment Missouri Coach Warren Powers was charging down the sideline, shouting at his defensive end, Wendell Ray. The next moment Iowa State Running Back Dexter Green threw a pass to Quarterback Walter Grant, who had floated down the left sideline after pitching to Green. A moment after that, there was Wendell Ray, jumping in the air to intercept the ball and stop Iowa State from scoring in a 26-13 Tiger triumph. "They beat us with that play two years ago," Powers said, "so I wanted Wendell to know that they might throw back to the quarterback."

No. 8-ranked Nebraska frolicked for 606 yards in a 48-14 thrashing of Kansas State as seven Huskers scored and Tailback I. M. Hipp ran for 183 yards. On offense, the Wildcats couldn't handle Husker Middle Guard Kerry Weinmaster, who sacked Dan Manucci, the Big Eight's passing leader, five times in the first half. No. 1-ranked Oklahoma, whose star quarterback Thomas Lott was out nursing a sprained ankle, was guilty of a variety of fumbles, penalties and mental mistakes and barely beat Kansas 17-16. "When you do everything wrong, the difference in the talent levels of your team and the other becomes zero," said Sooner Coach Barry Switzer. No zero was Billy Sims, an emerging Heisman candidate, who darted for a career-high 192 yards in 30 carries.

1. OKLAHOMA (6-0)
2. NEBRASKA (5-1)
3. MICHIGAN (4-1)


Baylor, which was winless in four games but had never lost by more than six points, pounced on SMU for a 21-0 half-time lead and then intercepted a pass and advanced to the Mustang one-yard line with 8:04 to play in the third quarter. A fifth straight loss seemed impossible. Quarterback Steve Smith faked a handoff, ran an option to the left and headed toward a huge hole. But suddenly, somehow, the ball squirted out of his hands, SMU's Tim Jones fell on it and—just as quickly—Baylor came unglued. The Mustangs who made the Bears fall apart were Mike Ford, who tied a Southwest Conference record by throwing four touchdown passes, and Emanuel Tolbert, who tied another SWC mark by catching each one of them as SMU rallied for a 28-21 victory.

Following Smith's fumble, Ford engineered a 99-yard scoring march in which he completed 10 of 12 passes for 73 yards. On SMU's next possession, the sophomore led the Mustangs on an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive, completing eight of 10 for 64 yards. He next found Tolbert in the end zone from nine yards out following an interception and hit Tolbert on a three-yard TD pass after a Baylor fumble. All told, Tolbert caught 13 passes, the fourth most in SWC history. In the final minute, with the Mustangs up by seven, Baylor's Tommy Tabor blocked a punt and the Bears recovered at the SMU 31. With less than 30 seconds to go, they lined up on the SMU nine with one last chance to retrieve victory. But David Hill picked off his sixth pass of the season to seal the SMU win.

Texas fumbled four times, drew 10 penalties for 130 yards and got riddled by North Texas State Quarterback Jordan Case for 165 yards worth of passing, including a 38-yard scoring bomb to Charlie Murray. Still, the Longhorns slipped by with a 26-16 win, thanks largely to Randy McEachern, who came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes and help Texas overcome a 9-0 deficit. McEachern entered the game midway through the second quarter after starting Quarterback Donnie Little had fumbled three times. McEachern quickly led Texas on an 83-yard scoring drive capped by a one-yard plunge by A. J. Jones, and then hit Johnny (Lam) Jones on a 41-yarder for the TD that gave Texas a 16-9 bulge at halftime. McEachern's other scoring strike was a 13-yarder to Les Studdard.

Rice, winless and outscored 160-33 by four previous opponents, led TCU 14-7 at half-time and, as Coach Ray Alborn said, "We were more fired up than ever when the second half started." That half opened with the Owls kicking off to TCU freshman Phillip Epps, who fielded the ball behind his goal line and raced 100 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 14-14. However, the Owls' enthusiasm didn't wane, and Quarterback Randy Hertel mounted a 72-yard march, including a 41-yard touchdown strike to David Houser that gave Rice a 21-14 win, its first SWC triumph since it beat SMU two years ago. Arkansas was idle.

1. ARKANSAS (4-0)
2. TEXAS (4-1)
3. HOUSTON (4-1)

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