Two stunning comebacks that ended in dead heats last Saturday had fans panting—and coaches ranting—for more. The ties lowered the Top 20 ratings of UCLA and Florida and kept their underdog opponents, Rutgers and Tennessee, from cracking the Top 20. "I'm not complaining," complained UCLA coach Terry Donahue, "but I think when a game as exciting as this ends in a tie, somebody ought to be given the chance to win in overtime." Why not a tiebreaker? Not the way the NFL settles ties—a coin flip, first team to score wins—but something along the lines of the tiebreaker mechanism in the rule books for games that affect playoffs in Divisions I-AA, II and III. Each club gets to start a possession at the opponent's 25-yard line. Survivor wins.
The problem is that big-time programs don't really want to win at all costs; they just prefer not to lose. "Everyone's content to leave it as a tie because of the bowl system and the money involved," says Georgia Tech athletic director Homer Rice, the chairman of the NCAA Rules Committee. "That's the reason [using the tiebreaker] has never been fully discussed." And it won't be, unless someone comes up with a playoff payoff in I-A that is more appealing than the bowls'.
Largely on the 10-of-15 passing of UCLA sub David Norrie, who had lost his starting spot to Matt Stevens, the Bruins scored two touchdowns and two two-point conversions in the final five minutes to tie Tennessee at 26. Three other players would have loved another period to pad their stats. Sophomore running back Gaston Green had the fifth-best game in UCLA history (194 yards on 24 carries). The Vols' Tony Robinson completed 25 of 35 tosses for 387 yards, and Chris White intercepted three UCLA passes.
Rutgers coach Dick Anderson found his tie as satisfying as kissing a sister—say, Twisted Sister. The Scarlet Knights were down 28-7 midway through the third quarter when Florida coach Galen Hall—a teammate of Anderson's at Penn State in 1961—pulled his starting quarterback, Kerwin Bell, and inserted sophomore Rodney Brewer. Brewer opened with a flare pass for a touchdown, a 48-yarder to Rutgers end Todd McIver. A fumble and an interception later, and Bell was back in. Too late, though. Rutgers' backup quarterback Joe Gagliardi, a senior with one career completion to his credit, moved the Knights to a 28-28 tie and had them in line for a game-winning field goal until a last-minute fumble. "Why should we feel good after just coming back?" asked Anderson after Rutgers tied an overwhelming favorite that had a No. 1 ranking in at least one major poll. "We lost the chances we had to win the game."
Mississippi almost had a rare double—wins in Oxford and Atlantic City on the same day. But while Susan Akin, a Mississippi senior, won the Miss America Pageant, Arkansas came through with a 24-19 win over Ole Miss. Shortly before Miss Miss. broke into an Italian love song, You're My World, the Hogs' Carl Miller was breaking a five-yard run into the end zone to prevent an upset.
Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Doug Lindsey calls his elite defenders the Black Watch, after the Scottish regiment. The Watchers are distinguishable by their helmets: black stripes down the middle, black GT's instead of the regulation white ones on the sides. And by their stats: The five Black Watchers combined for 11 tackles for losses in Tech's 28-18 win over North Carolina State.
In what figured to be a regional rat race, Temple got nipped by Eastern rival Penn State 27-25. "They won, but I sure wouldn't want to be their trainer tomorrow," said Temple guard John Rienstra. The Owls knocked seven Nittany Lion starters out of the game. Temple drew to within two points with 3:43 to play behind the rushing of Paul Palmer, who dashed for a career high 206 yards on 30 carries. But Penn State's Blair Thomas shut down the surging Owls with his 58-yard kickoff return from the end zone. "Return people are supposed to make things happen," said Thomas. "I didn't see anyone within 20 yards of me, so it was a chance to make something happen."
West Virginia stopped a two-point conversion attempt by Duke with only 29 seconds left to preserve a 20-18 win. Eyeing his team's next foe, wary coach Don Nehlan said, "If we play like we played today, Maryland will need two scoreboards."