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All four Southwest Conference games were played in rain, but nobody had a more washed-out feeling than Arkansas Halfback Gary Anderson, who had three touchdowns—a 47-yard run, an 18-yard pass reception and a 63-yard punt return—nullified by penalties. Nevertheless, the Razor-backs hung Rice out to dry 41-7. Brad Taylor took over the Hogs' signal-calling for injured Tom Jones and accounted for 287 yards—197 by completing 15 of 25 passes and 90 more on 20 carries. While Arkansas piled up 618 yards in total offense, the Owls had only 117. Rice rallied—sort of—in the third period with its first pass completion and its initial first down.
Southern Methodist sloshed to a 27-7 triumph at Texas A&M to cling to its Southwest Conference lead. As usual, it was Mustang Tailbacks Eric Dickerson and Craig James who made the difference. Dickerson twice banged across the goal line from one yard out, broke loose on a 26-yard jaunt for another TD and rushed for 123 yards. James ran for 84 yards and averaged 42.1 yards on nine punts, one a quick kick of 73 yards.
Texas Tech Quarterback Ron Reeves was waterlogged after being sacked 13 times for losses totaling 86 yards in a 26-9 loss at Texas. Rodney Tate, who has moved ahead of A.J. (Jam) Jones as the starting Longhorn tailback, darted 52 yards for a TD and Raul Allegre kicked four field goals.
Dry. It sounded like the perfect name on such a soggy day. But F.A. Dry, the Texas Christian coach, had lots to lament. Like scads of injuries: Six Horned Frog defensive tackles have been hurt in the past three weeks. And Quarterback Steve Stamp, seventh in the nation in total offense at the game's start, dislocated his right shoulder when he tackled Houston's Grady Turner, who intercepted one of his passes early in the fourth period. Eddie Clark, who hadn't thrown a pass all year, replaced Stamp and tossed for two yards and a touchdown to cut the Cougar advantage to 20-16 with 2:13 left. TCU executed an onside kickoff and recovered at its own 46, but Houston held on to preserve its margin.
Southern Mississippi scored its second straight shutout, 22-0, at North Texas State, to remain undefeated. That made the Golden Eagles the NCAA leaders in scoring defense with a six-points-per-game average. The visitors' Nasty-Bunch defense hounded the Mean Green into 12 fumbles and yielded a meager 48 yards in total offense. Southern Mississippi got 140 yards rushing and one touchdown from Sammy Winder and scoring runs of 54 and 13 yards from Reggie Collier.
Ohio State caught Purdue with its punts down—one, anyway—en route to a 45-33 triumph in West Lafayette. It was Flanker Cedric Anderson who crashed through to block one of five Boilermaker kicks. Said Buckeye Coach Earle Bruce, "Cedric told me, 'I'll block one, Coach.' Cedric did that, had two touchdown receptions and had a one-handed grab on our last drive that was really important." Two plays after the punt that Anderson smothered rolled out of bounds at the Boilermaker 16, Art Schlichter faked a pitchout and dashed 14 yards for a touchdown and a 10-7 Ohio State lead. On the Buckeyes' next possession, Anderson caught a long pass from Schlichter and took one stride into the end zone to conclude a 47-yard scoring play. That pair also combined on two big passes in the fourth quarter. The first was a 23-yarder for a touchdown. Then, after Purdue had closed to within five points, 33-38, Anderson made his one-handed catch of a 31-yard pass from Schlichter on third-and-nine from the Buckeye 39. Schlichter finished with 336 yards and three touchdown throws as he completed 19 of 33. Boilermaker Scott Campbell was even more productive of yardage, completing 31 of 52 passes for a school-record 516 yards and three TDs. But Campbell was also sacked seven times for minus 66 yards.
Victories by Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin kept them half a game behind Ohio State in the Big Ten standings. Wolverine Coach Bo Schembechler guessed correctly that Minnesota would "come at us hard to stop the run, so we turned Smith loose." Steve Smith responded by completing 13 of 20 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns as Michigan won 34-13. Eight of those tosses—good for 154 yards and one touchdown—were hauled in by Anthony Carter.
Illinois defenders pounced on four of five Iowa fumbles (one in the end zone for a TD), picked off two passes and knocked the Hawk-eyes out of a share of first place, 24-7. Tony Eason of the Illini was on the mark with 22 of 34 aerials for 263 yards, including a pair of touchdown passes to Oliver Williams that covered 56 and four yards.