A sidelight to Penn State's 41-23 victory over West Virginia was the return to form of senior Tailback Jon Williams. With the flashy performances of freshman D.J. Dozier, Williams had found himself on the bench, and teammates had told him that worrying about his situation was affecting his play. Dozier, nursing a bruised left shoulder, was to be used sparingly against the Mountaineers, and Williams, awaiting his chance to shine, was nervous. "Before the game [Tackle] Ron Heller came over to me and said, 'Hey, look baby, you're going to have the best game of your life,' " said Williams. "And that picked me up. I thought everybody had given up on me." He carried 24 times for 106 yards and caught five passes for 58 more. Meanwhile Dozier, who played only three downs, went 47 yards on a screen pass for the touchdown that put the game away.
The Nittany Lions' strategy against West Virginia Quarterback Jeff Hostetler was to force him to throw, a seemingly unusual plan for a team that had been giving up 279 passing yards per game. On the other hand, Hostetler had run for four first downs against Boston College and three against Pitt. The plan worked. Though Hostetler threw for 273 yards, he ran only six times for a total of four yards as the Mountaineers lost to the Lions for the 25th straight year.
Lehigh beat Army 13-12 to gain its first victory over the Cadets since 1893. Said Coach Jim Young, now 2-5 in his first season at West Point, "This is frustrating, because Lehigh is a team we should have handled." Holy Cross got three touchdowns from Fullback Chuck Doyle in defeating Brown 31-10. The 7-0 Crusaders are off to their best start since 1945.
"It was stupid," said Columbia Quarterback John Witkowski. "Dumb. I didn't think it could happen on a quarterback sneak that close. But it did." Witkowski had thrown three TD passes—one of them for a school-record 93 yards—to put the Lions up 28-20 against Bucknell and had driven Columbia to a second-and-goal at the Bison one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. As Witkowski pressed the ball to his side on the sneak, the ball slipped off the hard plastic surface of his flak jacket and popped into the air, and Bucknell recovered. The teams went on to play to a 31-31 draw, and Witkowski wound up completing 21 of 39 passes for 423 yards, with one interception. "I was lousy," said Witkowski afterward. "Mentally, I didn't have it today."
Princeton's Doug Butler also threw for a boatload of yards—424—but his three interceptions did in the Tigers in their 28-26 loss to Harvard. Earlier in the week junior Alix Coulter played her second game at safety for Harvard's Lowell House. As the first woman in the school's history to participate in intramural tackle football, Coulter had been asked to sign a waiver absolving Harvard of any responsibility if she were injured. Because her teammates hadn't been required to sign such a release, she refused and played anyway. Taking part in about one-third of her team's defensive plays, the 5'11", 160-pound Coulter had one tackle as Lowell lost 16-0 to Winthrop House. The athletic department later decided that asking for the waiver had been a mistake, adding, "There is no policy against women participating in intramural sports at Harvard."
The showdown between Texas and Southern Methodist began early last week with a battle of boosters. First, SMU backers circulated bumper stickers around Dallas that read THE LIES OF TEXAS ARE UPON YOU! Many Mustang fans believe that officials at Texas turned in Southern Methodist for the alleged recruiting violations now being investigated by the NCAA. The Longhorns deny that charge. Texas alumni countered with a sticker—SUPPORT PRO FOOTBALL: WATCH THE SMU MUSTANGS—that spoke for itself.
Fueling the intensity of the rivalry was the fact that this would be the first time the teams had met with perfect records since 1947, when Doak Walker led Southern Methodist over Bobby Layne and the Longhorns. This year's game came down to a two-point conversion attempt. With SMU trailing 13-12 and 2:47 remaining, Mustang Quarterback Lance McIlhenny sprinted to his right and, under a heavy rush, aimed a pass at Tailback Reggie Dupard, but Texas Safety Jerry Gray broke up the play. A safety accounted for the Longhorns' last two points in their 15-12 win, which broke the Ponies' 21-game unbeaten streak. "It was an absolute street fight," said Texas Coach Fred Akers, whose team survived despite six turnovers.
According to Tulsa Coach John Cooper, the key to his team's 59-20 victory over Texas Tech was that "we kept our tight end moving all night to force them into defensive adjustments." Red Raider Defensive Tackle Brad White admitted, "Our defense did a lot of shifting to adjust to that, [but] we knew what we were doing. It wasn't confusion." Nevertheless, Tulsa tailbacks Bobby Booker and Michael Gunter scored four and three touchdowns, respectively, as Tech allowed the most points in its history.