What an I-opener at Auburn! After running the wishbone for four years, Tiger coach Pat Dye has installed the I formation to give Bo Jackson more carries. In a 49-7 rout of Southwestern Louisiana the I of the Tiger piled up 565 yards, 290 by Jackson, who also scored four touchdowns in his 23 carries. Second-string tailback Brent Fullwood had 173 yards and one TD on 11 carries.
"I like the I better," Jackson said. "There isn't as much blocking required—I had to make only about four blocks today—and the running is mostly north and south. There's not a lot of the east-and-west running you do in the wishbone. I don't think I got as tired running the ball as I did in the wishbone."
"I don't like to predict games, but I'm going to say 24-0 'Canes," said Miami quarterback Vinny (I've Got the Skinny) Testaverde before his school's opener with Florida. Testaverde seemed more geek than Greek after the Gators beat the Hurricanes 35-23. "One thing I think Testaverde forgot is that football is played on the field, not in the paper," said Florida free safety Vernell Brown. On the field, Gator quarterback Kerwin Bell completed 20 of 28 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns.
Jerry Sage was Phi Beta Kappa, class president and a letter-winning lineman at Washington State in the 1930s. During World War II, he trained guerrillas in sabotage and intelligence work until he was captured by the Germans. He then organized large camp breakouts and escaped three times. His successful final attempt in 1944 served as an inspiration for the movie The Great Escape. Sage became known as the Cooler King during the war because of all the time he spent in solitary confinement.
Sage, now a retired colonel, spoke to the Cougars on Friday night before their game with Cal. "He told us to keep trying the best you can under any circumstances," said quarterback Mark Rypien. That's exactly what the Cougars did the following day when, trailing 19-0 with fewer than nine minutes to play, they rallied to beat the Bears 20-19. That was their second great escape in as many years. Last season Washington State defeated Stanford after trailing 42-14 in the third quarter. "I said [to the players] that Washington State is without question one of the best teams in the nation at coming from behind," said Cougar coach Jim Walden. "We are also the best team in the nation at getting behind."
It looked like the biggest snoozer in Texas sports this side of Ranger baseball: Texas-El Paso at Southern Methodist. UTEP had opened the week before with a 48-6 loss to Air Force. SMU was ranked fourth by SI before the game. UTEP came in as a 42-point underdog. Davy Crockett had better odds at the Alamo.
But UTEP's blitzing, stunting defense befuddled the Mustangs, who trailed the Miners I7-14 entering the fourth quarter. SMU then returned to basics and, with one passing exception, ran the same two plays, a sweep and a draw, the entire quarter. The Mustangs prevailed 35-23, but the lowly Miners scared them good.