Florida State's Homes Johnson was glad his mother had talked him out of quitting the team a few weeks earlier when he was not playing well. Johnson ran for 152 yards and a touchdown as the Seminoles fought back from a 14-3 deficit to beat Virginia Tech 24-14.
1. ALABAMA (9-1)
2. GEORGIA (8-1)
3. MARYLAND (9-1)
Wisconsin, outscored 146-16 in the past three weeks, figured to be a pushover for Purdue on its way to the Rose Bowl. But the Badgers, behind 24-6 in the fourth period, pulled out a 24-24 tie. Helping the Boilermakers build their big lead was Mark Herrmann, who was on target with 18 of 29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Rallying Wisconsin was Mike Kalasmiki, whose 31-yard scoring pass to Wayne Souza brought the Badgers up to 24-13. Then, after a 10-yard Purdue punt, Steve Veith kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it 24-16. Resurgent Wisconsin next blocked a punt and recovered the ball at the Purdue 12. Twice more Kalasmiki delivered, firing a three-yard TD pass to David Charles with 25 seconds left and then a game-tying two-point conversion pass to Souza.
Tied for second place in the Big Ten race are Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, all easy winners. With Rick Leach running for three touchdowns and passing for two more, Michigan stomped Northwestern 59-14. Leach thus set an NCAA record by having taken part in 75 TDs during his four-year career. A 31-point second-half spurt led Ohio State past Illinois 45-7, Art Schlicter running seven, seven and five yards for scores, and hitting on nine of 15 passes for 109 yards. Minnesota was flattened 33-9 by Michigan State as Ed Smith completed 26 of 42 passes for 296 yards. Hauling in eight of Smith's passes for 122 yards was Kirk Gibson; another six were caught by Eugene Byrd, who turned two of them into touchdowns. Indiana overwhelmed Iowa 34-14.
While Nebraska wrested the Big Eight lead from Oklahoma (page 22), Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri also picked up conference victories. Kansas State was expected to be outmanned by visiting Colorado, so it was no surprise that the Wildcats trailed 10-0 at halftime. But things didn't follow form after that, as State came on to astonish the Buffaloes 20-10. Charlie Green, who on Friday became the father of a baby boy, ignited the comeback by running 73 yards for the Wildcats' first punt-return touchdown since 1970. L. J. Brown, who rushed for 138 yards, topped off the Kansas State surge with a 30-yard TD run. Another Green, Iowa State's Dexter, scored on two short runs for a 28-15 win at Oklahoma State. At halftime of the Kansas-at-Missouri contest, a fan ran through the Jayhawk band while it was performing. After knocking down a couple of the musicians, he was tackled by a tuba player. The Jayhawks could have used a few tuba players against the Tigers, who gained 552 yards while winning 48-0. Missouri's James Wilder ran for 160 yards, and Earl Gant for 134 as he scored a team-record four touchdowns.
Linebackers Bob Golic and Steve Heimkreiter each took part in 17 tackles as Notre Dame dumped Tennessee 31-14. The Irish, trailing 7-6 at halftime, scored 18 points within nine minutes in the third period, blocking a punt, returning a kick 46 yards and then recovering a fumble to set up their scores.
Ball State's defenders, No. 1 in the country in total defense (199.8 yards a game) and scoring (6.1 points), and No. 2 in rushing defense (92.7 yards), decided to concentrate on stopping Western Michigan's Jerome Persell. In the past two seasons, Persell had gained a total of 409 yards against State. But this time the Cardinal Crush defense held him to 47 yards in 17 carries, his lowest total ever, and gave up only 99 yards passing and 46 rushing, all told. Despite that and a 14-6 lead. Ball State had to hold on for a 20-14 win and the No. 1 spot in the Mid-American Conference.
Allen Harvin, Cincinnati's 5'9", 190-pound block-buster, became the 10th freshman in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards. Harvin picked up 132 yards for a season total of 1,002 as the Bearcats beat Ohio University 35-0. For Harvin, the only freshman among the top 50 Division 1-A runners, it was his third straight 100-yard-plus game.
Rick VanEss ran for 109 yards and scored twice as Grand Valley (Mich.) State won the Great Lakes Conference title by defeating Wayne State 24-10.