New Mexico's defense has a habit of blitzing constantly, so Arkansas Coach Lou Holtz installed two tight ends and had his seven offensive linemen line up shoulder to shoulder. That wrinkle put a crimp in the Razorbacks' multiple I offense, but the Lobos never got to Quarterback Brad Taylor, and Arkansas won 17-0.
In Rice's 24-10 loss to LSU, the Owls fumbled four times, while Arkansas State did the same on eight occasions—and lost four of them—in its 38-0 defeat at Texas A&M. One of the Aggies' touchdowns came on a 60-yard punt return by Billy Cannon Jr. In that game A&M Kicker Alan Smith hit six field goals—the last a 57-yarder with seven seconds left—to tie the NCAA record for field goals in a game. Said Aggie Coach Jackie Sherrill of his decision to call a time-out and give Smith a chance at the record, "I think it's important to do this type of thing for your football team."
"My heart skipped a lot of beats tonight," said Florida Coach Charley Pell after his Gators escaped an upset by scoring on a 15-yard TD pass with 9:22 remaining to beat Indiana State 17-13. "Psychologically, everything was in our favor," said Sycamore Coach Dennis Raetz. "All week long the media said we didn't have a chance, but our kids didn't believe it. In that situation you can either respond or fold, and we responded."
Florida State also got a surprise—a 34-28 upending by Tulane. The Green Wave jumped ahead 14-0 on a 99-yard interception return by Treg Songy and a 77-yard punt return by Curt Baham. Tulane used a double-wing alignment, designed by first-year Coach Wally English, formerly quarterback and receivers coach of the Miami Dolphins. The formation is a pro-set with two tight ends, and it opened up draw plays and passes to the tight end. Thus, Tight End Larry Route ended up with six catches for 120 yards. After Florida State went ahead 21-14 in the second quarter, Tulane scored a field goal and two more touchdowns under the direction of senior Quarterback Jon English, the coach's son. When his father took the job at Tulane, English, who had already attended Michigan State, Iowa State and two junior colleges, enrolled at Tulane. The NCAA declared him ineligible, but English took the matter to court. A state judge agreed to hear the matter on Oct. 4 and issued a temporary restraining order that allows English to play. Tulane's returning quarterback, Bubba Brister, then quit and left school reportedly because he felt that Coach English was showing preferential treatment to Quarterback English. Against the Seminoles English completed 16 of 29 passes for 210 yards. "Give Tulane credit," said Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden. "That quarterback made play after play."
The Clemson-Georgia showdown came down to a field goal—a 31-yarder by Georgia's Kevin Butler that tied the score at 16-16 with 38 seconds to play. In the final seven seconds Clemson's Donald Igwebuike missed a 68-yarder, and then Butler was unsuccessful from 66 yards. Earlier Bulldog Roverback Terry Hoage had blocked two Clemson fieldgoal attempts. Hoage ascribes his kick-blocking skill to "running as fast as you can. Then you just lay your body out there. I just tried to cut the corner close and I was able to do it."
In a duel of quarterbacks, West Virginia and Jeff Hostetler beat Maryland and Boomer Esiason 31-21 as Esiason bruised his right (non-throwing) shoulder and Hostetler threw for two touchdowns. Duke lost its third straight, 31-24 to South Carolina. The Gamecocks were trailing 14-0 when sophomore Allen Mitchell came off the bench to start the third quarter and spark the comeback.
North Carolina's 48-17 stomping of Miami of Ohio gave Tar Heels third-string Tailback William Humes a chance to play. He took advantage, gaining 161 yards on 26 carries.
Alabama rolled over Mississippi 40-0 as Walter Lewis connected on 13 of 15 passes for 230 yards, and Miami shut out Purdue 35-0 on three touchdown passes by Bernie Kosar. Kentucky won its third straight, 24-13 over Indiana, for its best start since 1964.