Knoxville Mayor Randy Tyree proclaimed it Beat 'Bama Week and opened "the hunting season on any species of Alabama bears." Yes, sir, Tennessee's hopes were high. During the game, though, the Crimson Tide socked it to the Vols and the weather soaked it to them. By halftime, 'Bama was in front 17-0 and had limited Tennessee to minus two yards of total offense. Vol fans in the crowd of 96,748, the largest ever in the South, were further silenced when three Tennessee third-quarter opportunities were snuffed out as the Tide intercepted a pair of passes and blocked a field goal. Alabama wrapped up the rainy second half, and its 27-0 win, with a touchdown and Peter Kim's fourth field goal of the day.
Two days before his team took on Vanderbilt, Georgia Coach Vince Dooley's car was struck from behind and spun around before coming to a stop, rather appropriately, smack on top of a Bulldog symbol painted on the pavement near campus. Dooley suffered nothing more than a bruised lip, but the Commodores were left black and blue by the Bulldogs, who clobbered them 41-0 in another SEC game. Doing much of the damage was freshman Tailback Herschel Walker, who broke loose for 283 yards on 23 carries, shattering Charlie Trippi's 35-year-old Georgia single-game rushing record. Walker scored on runs of 60, 48 and 53 yards. For a change, the Bulldogs also did some effective passing, making good on 13 of 17 tries for 214 yards.
Mississippi State also had a freshman standout. John Bond, a 6'4", 200-pound quarterback. Bond was instrumental in shredding Miami's rugged defense, which went into the game ranked fourth nationally against the rush, allowing 73 yards per game, and seventh in total defense (208.8 yards). In all, the Bulldogs pierced the Hurricanes for 404 yards, 339 of them on the ground. When Bond wasn't busy passing for 65 yards, he was rushing for 92 or pitching out to teammates for sizable gains. Mississippi State took a 24-10 lead at the half, but Miami pulled even at 31-31 late in the third quarter when Mark Rush ran back a kickoff 92 yards. A 37-yard field goal by Dana Moore put the Bulldogs back on top 34-31 early in the fourth period and that's where they stayed as they staved off one last Miami threat. The Hurricanes' final chance came when they had a first down at the Mississippi State three. Three plays later they were five yards out, and when a fourth-down field-goal try missed, they were done.
Florida's Brian Clark didn't miss any three-pointers, as he equaled an SEC record with five in an all-field-goal 15-3 triumph at Mississippi. Clark's boots, which ranged from 19 to 47 yards, made up for the four he missed against Louisiana State two weeks earlier.
Although he kicked only one field goal, Al Del Greco of Auburn made it count. His 21-yarder late in the fourth quarter led to a 17-14 victory over Georgia Tech, which put up a gritty battle despite having to play the entire game without both its front-line quarterback and leading rusher, who were injured.
LSU remained tied with Alabama for first place in the SEC by winning 17-10 at Kentucky. After the Wildcats had squared matters at 10-10 with 6:50 to go, the Tigers scored the clincher on a two-yard run by Alan Risher with 41 seconds left.
Freshman Quarterback Ben Bennett directed Duke to a 34-17 ACC upset at Clemson. Bennett, who was on target with 23 of 32 passes for 257 yards, also helped the Blue Devils break their 11-game losing streak when, in a reversal of roles, he caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Halfback Mike Grayson.
Virginia lost 30-0 at Virginia Tech before the largest football crowd in the state's history—52,000. Cyrus Lawrence lugged the ball a school-record 40 times, gained 194 yards and scored twice for the Hokies, now 6-1.
Three other independents also gained lopsided triumphs. Florida State defeated Boston College 41-7, allowing only 105 yards in total offense and sacking Eagle quarterbacks six times. Bill Capece of the Seminoles booted four field goals, giving him nine in the last two games. Altogether, Capece has been successful on 18 of 20 attempts, making him the No. 1 field-goal kicker in the nation. Winless Cincinnati trailed South Carolina 49-7 at the half and that's the way the game ended as the Gamecocks substituted liberally. South Carolina runners, led by George Rogers with 128 yards, gained 424 yards. Southern Mississippi beat Arkansas State 35-0 with Tailback Sammy Winder, the leading scorer in Division 1-A, picking up his 11th and 12th touchdowns, on runs of 12 and five yards. Having won all six of its games and outscored its opponents 195-68, Southern Mississippi has the most dazzling record among the leading major independents in the land. This week the Golden Eagles get their big chance—gulp—at Alabama.