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Western Kentucky, which had the only perfect record in Division I-AA, won the coin toss before the Murray State game. From there on, it was all downhill. Western Coach Jimmy Feix had so little respect for Murray's offense that he had his team elect to kick off, hoping to benefit from a moderate tailwind. "The next time I looked up it was 35 to nothing," said Feix, who was on the short end of that startling score. The Racers widened the final margin to 49-0 as Lindsey Hudspeth ran for 150 yards and four touchdowns, and Gino Gibbs passed for 160 yards and three scores.
"We want to go to Miami [to the Orange Bowl] and eat stone crabs and send Nebraska to El Paso [to the Sun Bowl] to eat tamales," said Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer before playing the Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Since the end of World War II, the winner of the Sooner-Husker showdown has won or shared the Big Eight title 34 of 36 times. Nebraska seemed Miami-bound when Jeff Quinn sneaked in from the one for a 17-14 Husker lead with 3:16 left. But the Sooners went 80 yards in seven plays, freshman Buster Rhymes streaking 43 yards on one gallop and then crashing over from the one four plays later. That gave Oklahoma a 21-17 victory, its ninth in the past 10 games in the series. It also negated the running of Jarvis Redwine of the Huskers, who scored on an 89-yard burst and had 152 yards altogether. But—hold your stone crabs and tamales—Orange Bowl officials had stated earlier that the Sooners would get their bid only if they beat Nebraska and won their season-ender this week against Oklahoma State.
There was no doubt about who would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl; for the fourth time in five years it will be Michigan. A 13-yard pass from John Wangler to Anthony Carter on a third-and-11 play in the third period resulted in the decisive score in the Wolverines' 9-3 victory at Ohio State. Third-down plays were pivotal, Michigan succeeding on 10 of 20, the Buckeyes on only four of 17. Vital, too, were the runs of Butch Woolfolk of the Wolverines, who gained 141 yards. And the Michigan defense, which now hasn't yielded a touchdown in 18 quarters and allowed Ohio State just 123 yards rushing.
Mark Herrmann completed 19 of 23 passes for 323 yards and one touchdown as Purdue nosed out Indiana 24-23. Lonnie Johnson kept the Hoosiers in contention, running for 220 yards, and Steve Corso caught Tim Clifford's seven-yard scoring pass with 17 seconds to go, cutting the Boilermaker lead to one point. That's how it wound up as Mike Marks broke up a pass on a two-point try.
Air Force, which will have traveled farther than any team this season—24,372 miles—came up short at Notre Dame. After the Falcons had held the Irish to a surprising 3-3 halftime standoff, Notre Dame used grind-it-out tactics to win 24-10. Phil Carter put the Irish ahead for keeps with a two-yard run that concluded a 76-yard march during which he carried 13 times for 71 yards. A one-yard plunge by Charlie Heath of Air Force late in the game ended a Notre Dame-record string of 23 periods without giving up a touchdown.
Unfortunately for West Virginia, its Luck—Quarterback Oliver Luck, that is—didn't last. Luck, who had thrown a five-yard touchdown pass against Syracuse, was knocked out of commission with a separated shoulder late in the second period with the Mountaineers trailing 10-7. From there on, the Orangemen were in control, intercepting four passes as they won 20-7. Syracuse, too, had to make do without a key player. Joe Morris, the school's alltime leading rusher, missed the game because of an injury. Taking his place at halfback was Glenn Moore, a freshman. Moore, wearing the number—44—that once belonged to Orange All-Americas Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, ran for 192 yards. His running mate, Ken Mandeville, added 120 yards.