It was a game USC couldn't lose. It was also a game USC couldn't win. That's the way it was when the University of Southern California visited the University of South Carolina. But few fans expected the Gamecocks to be the USC to get the victory—much less one by a lopsided 38-14 score. South Carolina wasn't exactly overwhelmed by Southern Cal's reputation, though. "We knew they had a young offensive line, and that's why we blitzed more than we have been," said Gamecock Linebacker J.D. Fuller. His unit, known as the Fire Ants because of their tendency to swarm around the ball, had seven sacks, stopped the Trojans on 11 of 13 third downs and held them to only a net 49 yards rushing. "It was a great win for us," said South Carolina Coach Joe Morrison. "It was the finest, the greatest and all those other adjectives that I've ever been associated with."
Because Georgia Safety Charlie Dean was out with shoulder and knee injuries sustained the previous week, Terry Hoage, an All-America roverback, had to switch to safety against Mississippi State. But there was no harm done as Georgia won this battle of Bulldogs 20-7. "I couldn't believe it when they didn't test Terry early in the first quarter," said Georgia Defensive Coordinator Bill Lewis. "I visualized them faking to the fullback and sending [Split End] Danny Knight straight down the middle, right at Terry, three times in a row if they had to. But they chose not to do that." Instead, Mississippi State ran its backs up the middle and Quarterback John Bond around the ends. "I was surprised they didn't test me deep," said Hoage, who in the first quarter intercepted a short pass from Bond in the Georgia end zone. Hoage's replacement at roverback was freshman John Little, who said, "They were putting two blockers on Hoage, and it left me open to make a lot of tackles. I was nervous in the beginning, but after that it was just like practice."
At Duke it was a reunion of sorts as Howard Schnellenberger's Miami Hurricanes blew in to play Steve Sloan's Blue Devils. As offensive coordinator under Bear Bryant at Alabama in the '60s, Schnellenberger had recruited Sloan, a quarterback, and coached him to two national titles. Last Saturday Schnellenberger was again teaching Sloan a lesson or two, as the Hurricanes won 56-17. They held the Blue Devils, now 0-4, to 32 net yards rushing and sacked Quarterback Ben Bennett five times. Miami also racked up 613 yards on offense, surpassing a school record of 582 set against Elon College in 1941.
With Boomer Esiason nursing a sore right shoulder, Maryland relied on its running game and short passes to beat Virginia 23-3. Said Esiason, who threw for 190 yards on 13 completions in 26 attempts, "Why go out there and take a chance on getting beat up when I could sit back and take it easy?"
After LSU's 31-17 loss to Florida, Tigers Coach Jerry Stovall was asked if he was disappointed. "Absolutely," he answered. "We will definitely look at the film and cry." The Gators held Dalton Hilliard to 28 yards in 14 carries and Garry James to 21 yards in six. And with a 10-point lead at the half, Florida successfully switched to a running game and gained 210 yards in the final two quarters. Florida Quarterback Wayne Peace, who connected on 14 of 20 passes for 185 yards in the first half, threw only three times in the second, twice for interceptions.
Last Thursday Tulane transfer Quarterback Jon English had apparently lost his fight for eligibility when New Orleans Civil District Judge Revius Ortique denied a request for a temporary injunction against the NCAA, which had ruled that English could not play for Tulane because he hadn't sat out a year since leaving Iowa State. "This court is not unmindful of the adverse impact this decision may have on the life of the plaintiff," read Ortique's opinion. "He sincerely believes he can become a professional football player. He wishes to hone his skills in his final year of intercollegiate competition.
"But when one weighs Jon English's plight against the principles of liberty and freedom, our courts will not interfere with the internal affairs of private associations, except in cases where affairs and proceedings have not been conducted fairly and honestly."
On Friday, English's lawyers persuaded the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that he would suffer irreparable harm if he were not allowed to perform. The court issued a temporary restraining order, and English played. He completed 21 of 36 passes for 318 yards, but Vanderbilt's Kurt Page threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Commodores over the Green Wave 30-17.
Trailing 27-24, Florida State Quarterback Kelly Lowrey guided the Seminoles to the Auburn 26-yard line with 59 seconds to play. Obviously time for some War Eagle heroics. Enter, or rather reenter, Auburn's All-America Defensive Tackle Donnie Humphrey, who had been in and out of action with a left knee injury. With the game in the balance, he told Defensive Line Coach Wayne Hall that he was going back onto the field. Humphrey then hurried Lowrey into throwing an interception to Linebacker Greg Carr.
North Carolina battled back from an 11-point deficit at the half to hand Georgia Tech its fourth loss of the season, 38-21. The last time Tech opened a season 0-4 was in 1900.