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Several weeks ago, Clemson Strong Safety Willie Underwood and Linebacker Jeff Davis came up with the colorful idea of having the Tigers wear orange uniform pants for their shootout against intrastate rival South Carolina. Clemson Coach Danny Ford listened to the suggestion but kept mum. Then, at the team breakfast last Saturday, he spoke up: the Tigers would, indeed, wear orange pants for the first time ever, along with their home orange jerseys. Despite the running of George Rogers, who ripped off 168 yards and regained the lead as the nation's No. 1 rusher with a 161.9 average, South Carolina was limited to a pair of field goals, and orange power prevailed. The Gamecock three-pointers were kicked by Eddie Leopard, giving him a school record of 11 in a row. Obed Ariri of Clemson matched those two kicks to set an NCAA single-season record of 23. With the score 6-6 in the third period, Underwood set up a touchdown by returning an interception 64 yards. He picked off another pass a minute later and ran it back 37 yards for six more points as Clemson pulled off a 27-6 upset. "The uniforms helped fire us up," Underwood said.
Something vastly different was motivating Maryland: a three-part series in the Washington Post (Oct. 30-Nov. 1) that said the Terp football program had leveled off and that the team was incapable of winning important games. Understandably, those articles irked the Terps. Since the Post stories appeared, Maryland has won three straight and out-scored the opposition 89-7. The Terrapins topped off the surge last week by drubbing Virginia 31-0 in an ACC game, as Charlie Wysocki rushed for 148 yards. In contrast, Cavalier runners set a team record for futility with minus 17 yards in 27 carries.
With Amos Lawrence breaking loose for 120 of his 143 yards in the first half and with Kelvin Bryant gaining 164 of his 199 in the second half, North Carolina locked up first place in the ACC by defeating Duke 44-21. Lawrence scored on a 56-yard scamper and ended the season with 1,118 yards, tying Tony Dorsett's record of having run for 1,000 or more yards in each of four straight years. Bryant, a sophomore who scored twice, closed out with 1,039, and so the Tar Heels became the 11th NCAA team to have two ballcarriers with 1,000 yards in the same season.
North Carolina State got 176 yards rushing from Wayne McLean, overcame a 14-10 half-time deficit and beat East Carolina 36-14. In another non-conference game, Jay Venuto passed for 226 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Kenny Duckett as Wake Forest upended Appalachian State 28-16.
With a 19-14 Southeastern Conference victory over Mississippi, Mississippi State wound up 9-2, its best record since 1940. The Bulldogs, down 14-13 in the fourth quarter, pulled the game out when Michael Haddix scored on a 10-yard run that was set up by John Bond's 54-yard pass to Glen Young.
In a matchup for the Southland Conference title and a berth in the Independence Bowl, McNeese State beat Southwestern Louisiana 14-0. The Ragin' Cajuns, who had been averaging 339.5 yards a game, were held to 164 and never caught up after Stephan Starring put the Cowboys on top with a 27-yard pass to Mike Kysar. Southern Mississippi is also headed for the Independence Bowl despite a rain-drenched 6-3 loss to Louisville. That upset occurred when Dave Betz booted his second field goal of the night, a 38-yarder, with 1:54 remaining.
Miami earned its first postseason invitation in 13 years—to the Peach Bowl to face Virginia Tech. A team-record four field goals by Dan Miller led the Hurricanes to a 26-8 win over North Texas State, which was playing its ninth away game of the year.
Tennessee State's Joe (747) Adams passed for four touchdowns in his final college game, a 38-13 victory over Kentucky State. Adams thus extended his Division I-A record for career touchdown passes to 81.
Barry Redden became the first Richmond runner to gain 1,000 yards in a season, bringing his total to 1,151 by getting 191 yards in a 26-14 defeat of William & Mary. Stump Mitchell's 149 yards on the ground, however, couldn't keep The Citadel from falling 28-15 to the Southern Conference's champion, Furman. Mitchell became the 12th NCAA runner to reach the 4,000-yard plateau, wrapping up his collegiate career with a total of 4,062. Leading Furman to victory were Tim Sorrells, who passed for 195 yards, and Mike Glenn, who ran for 100.