Texas rooters could hardly wait for their Longhorns, the last major team to begin play, to finally do their thing. Given a chance, the Longhorns didn't show much in the first half against Iowa State, which got field goals of 36, 43 and 35 yards from freshman Alex Giffords, who was raised in Mexico and did not see his first football game until his senior year of high school in Tucson, to lead 9-3 at the half. From there on, though, it was all Texas, which won 17-9 as A. J. (Jam) Jones scored on a pair of one-yard blasts—he rushed for 125 yards in all—and the defense yielded a mere 20 yards in 19 second-half plays.
Oklahoma State, which had lost both defensive ends to injuries, could not contain Arkansas. During a string of five possessions, the Razorbacks averaged seven yards per play as they zipped in front 24-0. At the end it was 27-7.
With ace passer Mike Ford lost for the season after knee surgery, Southern Methodist used Jim Bob Taylor at quarterback. He spent most of the game handing off to freshman Tailback Charles Wagoner, who in his first start carried 26 times for 184 yards as the Mustangs beat North Texas State 20-9.
1. TEXAS (1-0)
2. HOUSTON (2-0)
3. ARKANSAS (2-0)
Having gained just one yard on its first two runs against Pittsburgh, North Carolina decided to try a pet pass play. The Tar Heels had used it once in their only other outing, and it had clicked for 43 yards and six points when Quarterback Matt Kupec hit Phil Farris. Once more Kupec passed and Farris caught, and once more the results were 43 yards and a TD that triggered Carolina's upset victory.
Further prestige was gained by the ACC as its teams prevailed in four of five other non-conference games. Duke lost 35-0 at South Carolina as the Gamecocks rushed for 397 yards, 161 of them by George Rogers. But Maryland won 35-14 over Mississippi State (page 24), Virginia blanked VMI 19-0, Wake Forest defeated East Carolina 23-20 and Clemson beat Georgia 12-7.
Wake's quarterback, Jay Venuto, set ACC records for completions (28 in 33 tries) and passing yardage (334) to give the Deacons a 3-0 record and their best start since 1951. Following a scoreless first half, Clemson drove 70 yards for a touchdown at the start of the third period, plowing between the tackles on all 14 plays. That, plus a safety, a field goal, 146 rushing yards by Marvin Sims and three interceptions made the Tigers winners.
The SEC did well, too, its only loser in six at-home non-conference games being Mississippi. Missouri whipped the Rebels 33-7 after trailing 7-3 at the intermission. Once they got going, the Tigers scored on a 10-yard run by Gerry Ellis, a 14-yard dash by James Wilder, Phil Bradley's 69-yard pass to Ken Blair and a nine-yard run by Bradley. Florida was tied 7-7 by Georgia Tech.