Cal State-Fullerton has no real stadium. Between 1980 and '82 the team and coaches built one seating 7,500 using temporary bleachers from the Rose Bowl Parade and the Long Beach Grand Prix. Last year, because of a rain clause at Anaheim Stadium, a game with UNLV was switched to a local high school stadium at 9:30 the morning of the game. Fullerton has no on-campus housing and no marching band, and the team has had to share charter planes with archrival Long Beach State to save money. Wise guys call the school Cal State-Disneyland (Mickey lives just six miles away). But the Titans, al 10-0 after their 20-17 victory over Fresno State, are the winningest team anywhere.
Coach Gene Murphy came to Fuller-ton from the University of North Dakota in 1980. He calls his offense a "squirrel derby" and his defensive backs "munchkins." His team has taken away 29 more turnovers than it has given up. Linebacker John Nevens carries a bullet in his left leg; he was struck during a shooting mishap two years ago. Quarterback Damon Allen—Marcus's kid brother—is the No. 7 passer in the country. Against Fresno he completed a 40-yard pass late in the game to tie the score at 17-17 and then drove the Titans 26 yards to set up the winning field goal, a 48-yarder by Greg Steinke with 1:36 left. "There never was any need to panic," said Allen.
"Yeah, I heard the boos when I first came in," said Penn State quarterback Doug Strang after the Nittany Lions' 37-30 victory over Boston College in University Park. "I may not have had awesome stats, but I think I proved I'm a winner. Maybe I can set an example that when you're down you're not out." Before the game with BC, Penn State coach Joe Paterno decided to bench Strang and start sophomore John Shaffer. But when Shaffer suffered a concussion in the first quarter, Strang entered the game. His stats weren't awesome (four for 13, 127 yards), but his first completion was a 42-yard touchdown play with Herb Bellamy on the receiving end, and in the final four minutes Strang ran for two first downs to help the Lions run out the clock.
Penn State's defense sacked Doug Flutie four times and harassed him into throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice. Still, Flutie passed for 447 yards, which gave him 10,003 yards of total offense for his career. That surpassed Jim McMahon's NCAA record of 9,723, which he set at BYU between 1977 and '81. Said Paterno, "Flutie made some plays you can't believe anybody would make. Let's just forget about him. I'm so glad he's graduating."
Since losing 55-0 to Clemson in its opener, Virginia has not been beaten. In a 27-7 upset of West Virginia, the Cavaliers rushed for 349 yards, including a 51-yard TD by fullback Steve Morse. Their defense, led by linebacker Russ Swan's 13 tackles, held the Mountaineers to 85 yards. Said Virginia coach George Welsh to his team, "I don't know how you're doing it, but you're doing it."
Through 56 minutes of Navy's game with Notre Dame, the Middie defense completely outwitted the Irish, pouncing on two fumbles, sacking Steve Beuerlein thrice and picking off four of his passes. With 4:02 to play, Navy's Todd Solomon kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Middies a 17-7 lead. So what did Navy do? It rushed only three men and dropped off into a cover-eight prevent defense. As Navy coach Gary Tranquill later admitted, Beuerlein "had an hour to throw the ball." He needed only 1:45 to drive Notre Dame 83 yards to a quick TD and a two-point conversion. With one minute to play, the Irish took over on their own 18. Beuerlein, once again feeling no rush, completed passes of 18, seven and 29 yards to set up a 44-yard field goal by John Carney with 14 seconds left. Final score: Notre Dame 18, Navy 17.
Tranquill was upset by the officiating. First, he thought his punier, Mark Coley, was roughed on his last kick, though no flag was thrown. According to referee William McDonald, Coley's foot had returned to the ground and "a kicker is no longer a kicker" at that point. Second, apparently unbeknownst to field judge John Daniels, the winning field goal came after the 25-second clock had expired. Said Tranquill, "Some of these guys are gutless when the ball game's on the line."
Said Irish coach Gerry Faust, "There are a lot of great comebacks in Notre Dame history. This wasn't one of them."
In the first night game ever at West Point, Army defeated Air Force 24-12 on five field goals by Craig Stopa, while at King's Point, N.Y., the Merchant Marine Academy beat Coast Guard 41-0 as the Mariners' freshman quarterback, Frank Azzarita, threw for three TDs and ran for a fourth. At halftime comedian-pianist Victor Borge, who is a friend of the Academy's band director, was given a belated birthday cake—he turned 75 in January—which he shared with as many as he could in the crowd of 5,063.