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It was this kind of day for Texas: while on his back, the Longhorns' Darryl Clark made a spectacular catch of a pass from Donnie Little, who was trying to avoid being sacked by Southern Methodist tacklers. But Clark's acrobatics resulted in a five-yard loss. The Mustangs' ferocious defense held Long-horn runners to 90 yards while their own gained 283 during a shocking 20-6 upset in Austin. Craig James provided the needed running power, zipping 53 yards for a touchdown and finishing with 146 yards.
Baylor led by only 7-6 in the third period at Texas Christian when it was announced that Texas had lost. On the very next play, Bear Free Safety Vann McElroy made a diving interception, and six plays after that Mike Brannan fired a 40-yard scoring pass to Dennis Gentry. Steve Stamp of the Frogs completed 28 of 53 passes for a whopping 408 yards, but was intercepted four times and the TCU running game gained only 16 yards. The Bears' 21-6 victory left them 7-0—the best start in their 81-year history—and gave them a 1½-game edge over Houston in the SWC.
The Cougars moved up to second by jolting Arkansas 24-17 after trailing 14-3. Houston won despite continuing quarterbacking woes. Audrey McMillian, a third-stringer forced into a starting role, raced 30 yards on the first play from scrimmage, but suffered a shoulder separation when tackled. That brought in Brent Chinn, who had a sore thigh. Chinn, though, rallied the Cougars as he passed for 91 yards, ran for 136.
Despite making nary a first down in the second half. Rice won 10-6 at Texas A&M. Calvin Fance's 41-yard TD run on a flare pass and Kenneth Sam's 34-yard field goal, both in the second quarter, carried the Owls.
"I had a great defense set up for him," said Michigan State Coach Muddy Waters of how he planned to keep Purdue's Mark Herrmann "from getting the 72 yards he needed to become the alltime Division 1-A passing-yardage leader. "I took it to the defensive coaches and they said they had a better one. Mine only used 15 players. Theirs had 18." Fourteen seconds into the second period, Herrmann surpassed the mark held by Washington State's Jack Thompson with a 14-yard toss to Bart Burrell, a teammate of his since seventh grade. The Spartans led much of the way until Herrmann's 4-for-4 passing during an 80-yard drive helped put the Boilermakers in front for keeps at 26-25. When done, Herrmann had hit on 24 of 46 passes for 340 yards, giving him a career total of 8,087, not counting bowl games. That, plus five field goals by Rick Anderson, which equaled a Big Ten record, propelled Purdue to a 36-25 victory. A conference-record 102 passes were thrown. John Leister of the Spartans uncorked 54 passes, completed 18 and had five picked off". Purdue's Dave Young led all receivers with 12 catches for 172 yards.
Michigan and Ohio State remained tied with Purdue for the Big Ten lead as both won handily. John Wangler of the Wolverines passed five times to Anthony Carter for 121 yards and one touchdown, and Stanley Edwards ran for 152 yards during a 45-14 triumph over Illinois. Ohio State beat Wisconsin 21-0, Tim Spencer scoring on a 50-yard run and Art Schlichter going in for two shorties. Three touchdowns by Marion Barber led Minnesota past Iowa 24-6. And Indiana kept Northwestern winless, overcoming a 17-7 deficit to prevail 35-20 as Lonnie Johnson ran for 160 yards and two TDs.
Colorado knew it would need a miracle to beat Nebraska, and for a while it seemed the Buffalos might get one. Jarvis Redwine of the Huskers, who had missed two games because of a cracked rib, gained 64 yards in nine carries, then crashed into the Colorado bench and suffered a thigh bruise that finished him for the day. On the next play, his backup, Craig Johnson, hurt his shoulder and was through. However, third-string I-Back Roger Craig ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns in 21 carries as Nebraska won 45-7.