In what could have been labeled The Battle of the Hobbling Heisman Trophy Candidates, Ohio State's Art Schlichter and Stanford's John Elway, both nursing sore ankles, played to a draw in their personal quarterbacking duel, but the Buckeyes came out on top 24-19. Schlichter completed 16 of 32 passes for 240 yards and two TDs, Elway 28 of 42 for 248 and two TDs. The difference in the game was the Ohio State defense, which held the Cardinals to two field goals through the first three quarters. "We were blitzing and generally pressing," said Ohio State Middle Guard Nick Miller, "but then we went into a nickle and three-man rush. That gave Elway a little more time." Elway took advantage of it, passing to Don Lonsinger and Mike Tolliver for fourth-quarter touchdowns before reinjuring his ankle. Elway returned with 1:33 to play, but the Cardinals' final drive ended on the Ohio State 46 when Vincent White fumbled after catching a short pass.
"We've been choking on duck meat," said Washington Tailback Dennis Brown of last year's 34-10 upset at the hands of the Oregon Webfoots. Brown and his teammates found a more palatable taste in this season's 17-3 win. Still, the game, which was played in intermittent rain, wasn't exactly duck soup for the Huskies. They needed a blocked punt to put them ahead and 10 points in the fourth quarter to keep them there. "I think we finally recognized that this is a rivalry," said Washington Coach Don James. "You better be ready to play. We took this game more seriously this year."
Arizona State may not have taken its game against Washington State seriously enough, and the Sun Devils were upset by the Cougars 24-21. The difference was Kevin Morris' 29-yard field goal with 5:18 to go. Washington State jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead, the second score having been set up by a 45-yard flanker reverse pass from Paul Escalera to Jeff Poppe, but Arizona State tied the score with two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in a 3:03 span in the third quarter.
Texas and Miami engaged in a defensive struggle for the better part of three quarters in Austin, and then staged a shootout for five minutes and 14 seconds late in the third and early in the fourth quarters. When the smoke had cleared, the Longhorns had two of the three touchdowns, enough for a 14-7 victory. Texas marched 99 yards in seven plays for the first TD. A.J. (Jam) Jones ran nine yards for the score, but the big play in the drive was a 58-yard pass from Rick McIvor to Herkie Walls, who made a juggling, falling catch at the Miami 36. "I practice those just to give the folks something for their money," said Walls. "Seriously, the ball hit me in the face mask. I was bobbling it and just thinking I'd better hold on. If I'd been able to stay on my feet, that would have been something." Miami retaliated on the next series with a four-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The clincher was a 32-yard pass from Jim Kelly to Larry Brodsky. Texas came back with an 80-yard touchdown march of its own. McIvor connected with Donnie Little on a 45-yard pass for the TD. Before all the offense, punters had provided most of the action. Miami's Greg La-Belle averaged 45.4 yards on eight kicks, and Texas' John Goodson booted seven times for a 48.8-yard average.
The officials provided most of the action in Houston's 35-7 win over Utah State. Cougar Quarterback Lionel Wilson ran for two scores and threw for another, but the refs were the real standouts, assessing Houston 208 yards in penalties and Utah State 147.
In a day-night doubleheader in Jackson, Miss., Mississippi State beat Florida 28-7 and then Arkansas defeated Mississippi 27-13. Defense was the key to the Bulldogs' victory, as they picked off five Gator passes, recovered a fumble and held Florida to minus 10 yards rushing. Mississippi trailed Arkansas by seven points late in the fourth quarter and was marching for a score when Cornerback Danny Walters intercepted a John Fourcade pass on the Razor-back 13-yard line and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. "The second I released the ball I knew it was going to be a footrace," said Fourcade. One that he was bound to lose, according to Walters. "When I tucked the ball away I couldn't see anything but grass," said Walters, "and I knew no quarterback was going to catch me." Three plays before throwing the interception, Fourcade broke the Mississippi career total offense record. His 257 yards gave him 5,677. The old mark belonged to Archie Manning, who accounted for 5,576 yards from 1968 to 1970.
Alabama Coach Bear Bryant moved closer to a record of his own after the Tide beat Vanderbilt 28-7. The win was Bryant's 309th and leaves him just five short of Amos Alonzo Stagg's career victory mark. The Tide rolled when Defensive Tackle Jackie Cline blocked a first-period punt through the end zone for a safety. Seven minutes later, Cline hit Vanderbilt Quarterback Ardell Fuller from behind, jarring the ball loose. Defensive End Russ Wood caught the ball in midair and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.
Kelvin Bryant of North Carolina had another resplendent day as the Tar Heels routed Boston College 56-14. Celebrating his 21st birthday, Bryant iced Boston College with four touchdowns and 173 yards in 22 carries. In three games, North Carolina has scored 161 points.