Midway through the first period, Yellow Jacket Quarterback Mike Kelley, who started for the first time since spraining his shoulder four weeks earlier, jammed his ailing shoulder again and was through. In came Whisenhunt, a walk-on freshman, whose only experience at Tech had been in practice as a receiver, to engineer a 53-yard drive that ended when Smith kicked a 39-yard field goal with 6:11 to go in the half.
From there on, it was up to the Tech defense; the offense picked up only one first down and 10 yards in the second half. Peeples, who had been bothered by a knee injury, took over at quarterback late in the third period, but couldn't get anything going. Jaracz, Skelton and Sheffield recovered Notre Dame fumbles in the fourth quarter. And other defenders—notably Mooney, Wood and Lowe—repeatedly stopped the Irish. Notre Dame scored after Stacey Toran intercepted a pass at the Irish one and brought it back to the 11. Quarterback Mike Courey ran for 11 yards and passed twice for 19 more, but there would be no more big gains. With the ball on the Tech 29 on fourth-and-three, Harry Oliver, who had missed a 27-yard field-goal try in the second quarter, booted a 47-yarder with 4:14 left to make it 3-3. Notre Dame had two chances after that. The first ended with a lost fumble. The second was doused when freshman Quarterback Blair Kiel was thrown for a 16-yard loss on third-and-four from the Tech 42. With 20 seconds to go, fourth and 20 on the Irish 42, Notre Dame Coach Dan Devine considered a field goal, but he finally opted for a punt—Kiel booted the ball 58 yards—hoping to intercept an ensuing Tech pass. Peeples indeed threw two times, but Notre Dame didn't intercept either and time ran out.
Alabama Coach Bear Bryant, who found out the week before what it felt like to lose a No. 1 ranking, tried to rouse his team for an SEC game against Louisiana State by saying, "What do you do when you get beat? Do you duck your head and run off to hide? Or do you pick up a sword and get after people?" Swords in hand, the Tide rebounded from its loss to Mississippi State by foiling LSU 28-7. It was the Tide's 52nd straight on campus victory, an NCAA record. Ken Coley, starting at quarterback for the first time, raced 35 yards for a score on 'Bama's first possession. A pair of three-yard runs by Major Ogilvie accounted for two more touchdowns.
Clemson had the record-setter, but North Carolina came up with the victory in an ACC game. Obed Ariri established an NCAA career mark by increasing his field-goal total to 58 with a pair of three-pointers. Other mainstays in the Tiger offense were Homer Jordan, who passed for 207 yards, and Chuck McSwain, who rushed for 116. But Clemson lost fumbles at the Tar Heel 14, 15 and 30 and wound up a 24-19 loser. Kelvin Bryant of North Carolina ran for 138 yards and a touchdown, and his sidekick, Amos Lawrence, added 112 yards and two TDs to build a 24-6 lead.
Another player who set a record and lost was freshman Quarterback Ben Bennett of Duke. Bennett passed for an ACC-record 469 yards as he completed 38 of 62 attempts. Quarterback Jay Venuto helped Wake Forest beat the Blue Devils 27-24 by connecting on 23 of 50 passes for 291 yards. Rutgers beat Virginia 19-17 on a 41-yard field goal by Alex Falcinelli with 33 seconds left.
Bill Capece of Florida State was one record-breaker who played for a winner. By kicking four PATs and a field goal, Capece raised his season's point total to 99, an NCAA mark for a kicker. Virginia Tech led the Seminoles 7-0, but then was stung for two touchdowns in 51 seconds and lost 31-7. The first came on a 45-yard pass from Rick Stockstill to Hardis Johnson on a fourth-down gamble. And then, after the recovery of a Tech fumble, the same twosome clicked on an 11-yarder.
In a matchup between the top two rushers in the country—No. 1 Stump Mitchell of The Citadel and No. 2 George Rogers of South Carolina—Rogers came out the winner. He rushed for 179 yards to improve his per-game average to 159.6 yards, best in the nation. Mitchell's 146 yards dropped him to third, with a 156.7 average. Moving up to second was Southern Cal's Marcus Allen with a 159.4 average. Oh yes, the Gamecocks won 45-24.
Joe Delaney also strutted his stuff, running for 231 yards and the winning touchdown as Northwestern State of Louisiana downed Nicholls State 21-14. Delaney, who has rushed for 484 yards in his last two games, amassed 669 yards against Nicholls during the past three seasons.
FLORIDA STATE (9-1)