The Sooners, who had gained a mere 78 yards against Colorado's stunting defense in the first half, sandwiched a 20-yard scoring pass from Thomas Lott to Forrest Valora between their lengthy runs. After being held to 42 yards in the first half, Sims finished with 221 in 27 cracks for his third straight 200-yard game, equaling an NCAA record.
Fast-improving Oklahoma State dumped Missouri 35-20 in Stillwater to take sole possession of third place in the Big Eight behind Oklahoma and Nebraska. Scott Burk of the Cowboys passed for 132 yards and ran for another 93 and a touchdown. Iowa State beat Kansas State 24-0.
"You looked like a passer out there today," a reporter said to Rick Leach after Michigan had won 34-0 at Iowa in a Big Ten matchup. "I am a passer," replied the oft-maligned Leach. "Look, if I get a chance to throw more than five or six times, I get the rhythm down and can pass with anyone around." Given the opportunity, Leach was on target with nine of 17 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. More than that, he passed for first downs on third-and-long six times. Leach's scoring throws came on a third-and-23 from the 36 and on a third-and-goal from the 14-yard line.
Leach may have impressed folks with his passing, but his head-bobbing while calling signals irked Hawkeye Coach Bob Commings. Iowa was twice drawn offsides by Leach's bobbing, a habit he insists he is unaware of. The Wolverine defense bobbed up in the right place at the right time, holding the Hawk-eyes to four yards rushing and 65 passing.
Two other easy road winners remained tied with Michigan for second place in the Big Ten. Ohio State drubbing Wisconsin 49-14 and Michigan State whomping Illinois 59-19. "It hurts to get touchdowns that easily," said Coach Woody Hayes, whose Buckeyes were outgained 327 yards to 316 by the Badgers but had cashed in on four Wisconsin mistakes. Illinois surprised the Spartans by taking to the air right from the start and rolled up a quick 12-0 lead before State ran a play from scrimmage. The Illini took the opening kickoff, climaxed a 78-yard drive with a 17-yard run by Wayne Strader and then, after recovering a Spartan fumble on the ensuing kickoff. scored on a 10-yard pass. With Spartan runners grinding out 360 yards and Ed Smith finding his receivers on 20 of 31 passes for 219 yards. State had no trouble overcoming the early deficit.
Kevin Strasser hit on 14 of 23 passes for 106 yards and set a Northwestern season record with his 126th completion. Aside from that, there was little to gladden the hearts of Wildcat fans as NU lost 31-0 to Big Ten leader Purdue. The Boilermakers got their third shutout of the season, helped in no small measure by nine quarterback sacks. Defensive End Keena Turner was in on four of those as he set school records for the most such tackles in a season (17) and career (27). Playing just half the game, Mark Herrmann threw a career low of 14 passes, made good on nine of them, three for touchdowns.
One of the most rousing comebacks of the year was pulled off at Minnesota, where the Gophers trailed Indiana 24-0 in the second period. But Marion Barber bulled over on two short runs, and Quarterback Wendell Avery tossed a pair of fourth-period touchdown passes—a 14-yarder to Roy Artis and a 19-yarder to Barber. In between all this Gopher scoring was a Hoosier touchdown, so with three minutes left Indiana was still ahead 31-29. But Minnesota intercepted a pass at its own 45 and drove to the Hoosier 10. With two seconds to go, Paul Rogind kicked a 31-yard field goal for the 32-31 win.
"You keep running into a brick wall and pretty soon you get worn down," said Notre Dame's Dave Huffman, a 6'5", 245-pound center. It was Navy that Huffman and his teammates wore down 27-7, snuffing the Middies' hopes for an undefeated season. Navy, which had given up only 399 yards rushing in its first seven games, yielded 375 to the Irish. Vagas Ferguson, who gained 219 yards on 18 carries, one an 80-yard scoring dash, set a school single-game rushing record.
For the seventh time in nine outings, a New Mexico State game was decided in the final minute. This time the Aggies held on to a 21-20 victory when Drake fumbled on a two-point PAT try with 50 seconds left. Touchdown runs of seven, 12 and two yards by Gary Steele enabled State to cling to first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. Haifa game back was Tulsa, which slugged West Texas State 44-23 as Shurman Johnson ran for 213 yards. In an out-of-conference contest, Louisville downed Wichita State 38-20. Nathan Poole of the Cardinals scored three times and gained 269 yards to raise his season total to 1.244 yards.
1. OKLAHOMA (9-0)
2. NEBRASKA (8-1)
3. MICHIGAN (7-1)