Running Back Del (Popcorn) Rodgers became the first Utah runner to gain 200 yards in a game, rushing 28 times for 232 yards and two TDs. The Utes were also helped by Todd Speer's 48-yard punting average and by a sack on the game's last play with the ball at the Utah 12.
Notre Dame allowed its first touchdown in 11 quarters but finished with a flourish to defeat Air Force 35-7. After the Falcons had cut the Irish lead to 14-7 in the fourth period, Notre Dame scored three quick touchdowns to pull away. Phil Carter rushed for 156 yards and the first two Irish scores.
Idaho State Quarterback Mike Machurek, the I-AA total offense leader, accounted for 426 with his passing during a 50-24 romp over Utah State. Machurek completed 25 of 42 throws, with four of his five touchdown passes going to Chris Corp.
At the request of the Nebraska team, Slick Steels sang the national anthem before the game against Iowa State. Later in the afternoon, Wingback Anthony Steels, a/k/a Slick, caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Turner Gill that helped the Cornhuskers win 31-7. Steels is a senior who went to high school in Spain, where his father was in the Air Force. His TD was part of a 24-point Husker spree accomplished in 5:08 of the fourth quarter, a spurt that broke apart what had been a 7-7 standoff.
After the game the Huskers learned they had clinched the Big Eight title—and an Orange Bowl bid—as Oklahoma lost at Missouri. A one-yard TD run by Quarterback Brad Perry to cap a 79-yard drive, two field goals by Bob Lucchesi and a 19-yard TD run by Bobby Meyer had put the Tigers on top 19-7 in that game. But before it was over, Mizzou fans had reason to fear a 12th straight loss to the Sooners. Four plays after Oklahoma recovered a Tiger fumble at the Missouri 47 with 2:51 left, Steve Sewell caught a deflected pass and turned it into a 46-yard scoring play that made the score 19-14. But after successfully executing an onside kick, the Sooners were unable to move the ball. Once again, turnovers—six fumbles, two interceptions—bedeviled Oklahoma.
With Frank Seurer passing for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Kansas defeated Colorado 27-0. Oklahoma State toppled Kansas State 31-10 as Rusty Hilger threw for 224 yards and Cornerback Greg Hill ran 97 yards for a touchdown after fielding a fumble in midair.
"So things really haven't changed. It's down to one game. That's the way it's been through the years." That's what Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler said after the Wolverines beat Purdue 28-10. What it all meant was that, as usual, this week's Michigan-Ohio State game will probably settle the Big Ten race. Wolverine Quarterback Steve Smith, who had his first pass intercepted and fumbled on his team's second possession, redeemed himself by throwing 27 yards to Tight End Craig Dunaway to give Michigan a 7-3 lead. Boilermaker Tailback Jeff Feulner's five-yard run on a trap play midway through the third period made the score 10-7. The Wolverines didn't regain the lead until the final period, with touchdowns by Smith on a 26-yard option play, Butch Woolfolk on a one-yard plunge and Lawrence Ricks on a five-yard burst.
Ohio State handed Northwestern its 30th loss in a row. Buckeye Quarterback Art Schlichter starred in the 70-6 rout by hitting 16 of 24 passes for 281 yards before leaving the game midway in the third quarter. As usual, Ohio State was tough against the run (the Wildcats gained only 18 yards in 19 tries) but had trouble against the pass (Northwestern hit for 339 yards). If Michigan beats Ohio State, it will go to the Rose Bowl. Should the Buckeyes win and should Iowa defeat Michigan State, the Hawkeyes will make the trip to Pasadena. So the only way the Buckeyes can smell the roses is if they come through with a win and Iowa loses.
Wisconsin, which seemed to have first place sewed up midway through the season, fell out of contention with a 17-7 loss to Iowa. The Badgers had averaged 243 yards rushing in seven Big Ten games but were held to 43 this time. Iowa didn't make a first down in the second half and had just seven altogether, but the Hawkeyes made the most of five Wisconsin turnovers. Tailback Phil Blatcher scored both Iowa touchdowns, on two- and one-yard runs. Hawkeye punter Reggie Roby averaged 53.7 yards for his seven kicks, making his average for the season 50.3, the nation's best.