"Intensity" has replaced "second effort" in the lexicon of today's coaches. When Utah Coach Wayne Howard talked to his players at halftime, he told them that despite trailing visiting Brigham Young 16-0, their 4-3 defense was lacking only one ingredient: intensity. The Utes got the message. The defense allowed the Cougars only 84 yards in the third period and four in the fourth: the offense redoubled its efforts and Utah pulled off a 23-22 upset. It was the first conference loss this season for WAC-champion BYU, which will face Navy in the Holiday Bowl. Keeping the Utes on the move was Randy Gomez, who passed for three touchdowns as he hit on 20 of 31 for 265 yards. It was the running game that paid off for New Mexico as the Lobos walloped Pacific University 44-6. A WAC rushing mark was set by Mike Williams of the Lobos, whose 81 yards gave him a career total of 3,812. His freshman teammate Mike Carter gained 147 yards in only nine carries.
1. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (9-1)
2. UCLA (8-3)
3. STANFORD (7-4)
Five times the lead had changed hands and now, with 5:18 left, would come the biggest play of a frenetic game. Georgia, having just scored on Willie McClendon's one-yard plunge, trailed 22-21 at Auburn. Obviously, the Bulldogs had little choice but to try for a two-point conversion run or pass. After all, a kick would merely tie things up and, if the game ended that way, the deadlock would grievously wound Georgia's hopes for a Sugar Bowl berth. But instead of going for two points, Coach Vince Dooley sent in Rex Robinson, who kicked the PAT that made it 22-22, which is how the contest ended.
"It was the wrong decision and I apologized to the team for it," Dooley said later. "I felt the tie would put pressure on Auburn, that our defense could hold and that Robinson would get a shot at another field goal." The opportunity never came for Robinson, who had kicked field goals of 35, 40 and 47 yards earlier in the game. All of which means that if Alabama beats Auburn on Dec. 2, it will be the Southeastern Conference champion with a 6-0 record, and Georgia will be second at 5-0-1. In short, the Tide would go to the Sugar Bowl to face Penn State, with the No. 1 ranking in the final polls at stake.
Auburn was fired up for Georgia. For the first time since 1951, when Dooley was their quarterback, the Tigers wore orange jerseys. They outgained Georgia in total offense 502 yards to 268, Joe Cribbs setting a school record by rushing for 250 yards. Cribbs scored on runs of 60 and two yards, and caught a two-point conversion pass.
Berj Yepremian, who had kicked a 37-yard field goal in the first period and three-pointers of 33 and 37 yards in the third, booted a 38-yarder with 0:42 left as Florida won 18-16 at Kentucky. At Jackson, Miss., Mississippi State jolted Louisiana State 16-14. The Bulldogs held Charles Alexander to 57 yards rushing and scored twice on passes thrown by Dave Marler as they upset 17th-ranked LSU. Tennessee disposed of SEC opponent Mississippi 41-17, while Vanderbilt ended a seven-game losing streak by downing Air Force 41-27. Frank Mordica of the Commodores set SEC marks with 309 yards rushing and with five touchdowns on runs of 40, 30, six, 70 and 77 yards.
For the first time since 1967, Clemson finished atop the Atlantic Coast Conference, coming from behind three times at Maryland to earn a 28-24 victory. A 98-yard scoring run by Steve Atkins, the longest ever from scrimmage by a Terp, put Maryland in front 21-14 in the third period. But the passing of Steve Fuller, who had teamed with Jerry Butler on an 82-yard pass play to tie the score at 14-14, rallied Clemson. This time Fuller hit Dwight Clark on a 62-yard pass as the Tigers knotted the score at 21-21. Clemson then drove 70 yards for the decisive touchdown, Lester Brown gaining 34 of those yards, including the last five. The Tigers now go to the Gator Bowl to meet the loser of this week's Ohio State-Michigan showdown.
North Carolina State, North Carolina and South Carolina beat ACC opponents at home. It was Ted Brown Day at State, and in a 24-10 win over Duke the Wolfpack runner celebrated by gaining 96 yards and raising his career yardage to 4,471, the fifth-best total by a Division I rusher. North Carolina stopped Virginia 31-20. At South Carolina, sophomore George Rogers, who five weeks earlier had dislocated his shoulder, carried 27 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns as the Gamecocks whipped Wake Forest 37-14.
Florida State was trailing Navy 3-0 when Coach Bobby Bowden conferred with his offensive coordinator, George Haffner, on a telephone hookup to the press box. "They're covering us man-on-man, blitzing and daring us to throw long," Bowden said. "Let's bring on the Rifleman," Haffner suggested. Bowden agreed, and in came Jimmy Jordan, who mowed down the Middies, connecting on 15 of 27 passes for 280 yards. Jordan tossed four touchdown passes, three of them to Sam Piatt, of four, 36 and 51 yards as the Seminoles won 38-6. Jordan and Wally Woodham passed for 350 yards against a Navy defense that had been allowing only 98 yards a game through the air. And State gained 453 yards in total offense against the Midshipmen, who were fifth in the nation in total defense (225 yards a game). Nevertheless, Navy got a bowl bid to meet Brigham Young in the first Holiday Bowl, in San Diego. BYU and seven other other losers from last Saturday also accepted bowl offers—LSU, Texas A & M, Nebraska, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Purdue. Florida State, which like Navy is 7-3, hasn't been invited anywhere yet.