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Mississippi State, trailing Ole Miss 24-23, attempted a 27-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining. Bulldog Kicker Artie Cosby sent the ball in the right direction. He hit it high enough and, apparently, far enough, but it was "blocked" by a gust of wind. "It was like something reached down and stopped the ball in flight," said Mississippi State Coach Emory Bellard. "The wind simply blew the ball back away from the goal post." That turnaround, impressive as it was, is no more dramatic than that of the Rebels team under first-year Coach Billy Brewer. After losing seven games in 1982 and five of its first six in this season, Ole Miss has defeated TCU, Vanderbilt, LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi State to earn a berth in the Independence Bowl.
Even more impressive is the reversal at Kentucky. The Wildcats, 0-10-1 a year ago, finished 6-4-1 under second-year Coach Jerry Claiborne and, despite their 10-0 loss to Tennessee last week, will play in the Hall of Fame Bowl against West Virginia.
With 19 seconds left and Pitt leading 24-21, Penn State Quarterback Doug Strang was sacked on his own 40 yard line. The play took six seconds and the clock stood at :13, but the Nittany Lions had jumped offside—and the flags had been thrown—before the snap. Because the clock at Pitt Stadium shouldn't have been started and because it couldn't readily be reset, the officials ruled—and informed both benches—that six seconds would be added to the game after the clock ran out. By the time 0:00 flashed on the board, Strang had marched the Lions to the Pitt 16. At that juncture, hundreds of Pitt fans ran onto the field to celebrate their apparent victory. After the mob was cleared from the field, Nick Gancitano kicked a 32-yard field goal to give Penn State a 24-24 tie. "I'm dumbfounded," said Pitt Tackle Bill Fralic. "The clock said zero. I saw it." Said Lion Coach Joe Paterno, "It's not my nature to be happy with a tie. We were going to try a fake field goal, but our seniors worked so hard I wanted them to leave with something."
For the second week in a row Syracuse played the spoiler, following up its 21-10 upset of Boston College with a 27-16 triumph over West Virginia. The Orange defensive line did unto Mountaineer Quarterback Jeff Hostetler as it had done unto Eagle Doug Flutie, sacking Hostetler six times and harassing him into three interceptions.
Against hitherto unbeaten Holy Cross, Flutie had a difficult first half, completing three of 16 passes with two interceptions. But after leading only 10-0 at the half, BC—and Flutie—came on to win 47-7.
Harvard and Yale may have 100 games under their belts (see box), but in the 119th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, the Engineers prevailed 22-14 as Linebacker John Shigo made 11 tackles and set up a field goal with a 22-yard interception return.
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