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Sugar Bowl-bound Georgia and Cotton Bowl-pick Alabama took the week off, and two other SEC teams wished they had. Tennessee, which will play Wisconsin in the Garden State Bowl, had seven turnovers—five fumbles and two interceptions—and blew a 10-0 lead in losing 21-10 at Kentucky. Wildcat Coach Fran Curci, whose team finished 3-8, blew kisses to the Commonwealth Stadium crowd as he walked off the field after the victory. "I love these people and this might be the last time I see them," said Curci, whose fans do not include Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown. Mississippi State was the SEC's other surprise loser, Ole Miss scoring a 21-17 upset. Dana Moore's 27-yard field goal put the Bulldogs ahead 17-14 with 30 seconds remaining, but three plays later State was called for pass interference in its end zone. With two seconds to play, Rebel Quarterback John Fourcade, who hit 21 of 29 passes for 240 yards, scored the winning touchdown from the one. Mississippi ended the season 4-6-1, while the Bulldogs, who will face Kansas in the Hall of Fame Bowl, dropped to 7-4.
Miami jumped ahead of North Carolina State 14-0 in the first 4½ minutes and then used a stingy defense to hold on for a 14-6 victory. Jim Kelly threw TD passes of five and 60 yards to Tailback Mark Rush on the Hurricanes' first two possessions. Kelly wound up completing 21 of 30 throws for 244 yards. The Wolfpack managed only five completions and 57 yards on the ground as it lost its sixth straight game.
Charlie Wysocki ran for 153 yards and four touchdowns as Maryland finished its first losing season (4-6-1) in 10 years by routing Virginia 48-7. It was the 18th time that Wysocki, the Terps' all-time leading rusher, had gained more than 100 yards in a game. Virginia Military ended the bowl hopes of Virginia Tech by beating the Hokies 6-0, and The Citadel upset Southern Conference champ Furman 35-18. Howard edged Morgan State 35-32 in a rivalry that dates back to 1899. Morgan State leads the series 30-15-3.
While the combination of Washington's 23-10 win over Washington State and Southern Cal's 22-21 defeat of UCLA was sending the Huskies to the Rose Bowl (page 32) and Brigham Young was earning a spot in the Holiday Bowl (page 88), Idaho State and Weber State were making college football history with the first-ever triple-overtime game. Weber State's Roger Ruzek sent the game into overtime—which under Big Sky Conference rules consists of each team receiving one series in which it attempts to score from the opponent's 15-yard line—by kicking a 51-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in regulation play to make the score 23-23. It was 30-30 after Weber State's Phil Principe caught a nine-yard TD pass and Idaho State's Rick Ambrosi scored on a two-yard run in the first OT. In the second, after Bengal Quarterback Mike Machurek (who wound up with 312 yards passing) threw his fifth interception of the day, Ruzek missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt. Ruzek missed again, from 44 yards, on Weber State's third overtime possession, but then, three hours and 33 minutes after the opening kickoff, Idaho State's Case de Bruijn settled matters with a 32-yard field goal that gave the Bengals a 33-30 victory. Although both Idaho State and Boise State, which defeated Idaho 45-43, finished with 6-1 Big Sky records, the Bengals are considered sole champions because they beat the Broncos earlier this year.
Hawaii, which had won its first seven games, dropped to 7-2 after a 23-17 loss to the University of the Pacific. Arizona State drubbed winless Colorado State 52-7 as Sun Devil Fullback Gerald Riggs ran for 208 yards on 23 carries, and Quarterback Mike Pagel threw four touchdown passes and ran for another in only three quarters.
Running Back Darrin Nelson led Stanford to a 42-21 win over California by grabbing six passes and rushing for 78 yards. Nelson caught 67 passes and ran for 1,014 yards this season. He also had two TDs against Cal to become the Cardinals' alltime leading scorer with 242 points. Although the Bears' J. Torchio threw for more yardage than Stanford's John Elway (312 to 247), Elway, only a junior, tossed three touchdown passes to break Jim Plunkett's school record for career TD throws with 53. Both Oregon and Oregon State were 0-6 in Pac-10 play before Saturday's game in Eugene. For the seventh year in a row the Ducks floated and the Beavers sank. Final score: Oregon 47, Oregon State 17.
A 34-12 defeat of Baylor sent Texas to the Cotton Bowl as the Southwest Conference representative, but Southern Methodist's 32-18 win over Arkansas left no doubt as to which is the finest team in the SWC. The Mustangs, who are on NCAA probation and can't go to a bowl, concluded their best season (10-1) in 46 years and won their first conference championship since 1966. After taking a 12-7 halftime lead on two field goals by Eddie Garcia and a 10-yard interception return for a TD by Defensive End Russ Washington, SMU fell behind 18-12 at the start of the final period. Garcia tied the score with kicks of 24 and 47 yards, and then Linebacker Eric Ferguson set up Craig James's winning 10-yard TD run by picking off a pass deep in Arkansas territory. With 27 seconds remaining, Eric Dickerson added a security touchdown on a 31-yard dash. Tailbacks James and Dickerson combined for 258 of SMU's 302 yards on the ground, and the Mustangs' three interceptions gave them a national-high 31 for the year. "This is the first time anyone outmuscled us," said Razorback Coach Lou Holtz, whose team will face North Carolina in the Gator Bowl.
"We ran into a buzzsaw in the first quarter," said Baylor Coach Grant Teaff after the Bears lost to Texas. The Longhorns scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, one a 67-yard run by Running Back A.J. (Jam) Jones. The Texas defense gave Baylor Quarterback Jay Jeffrey fits all afternoon, stealing six of his passes. Jeffrey had thrown only six interceptions all season. Jones finished with 146 yards on 15 carries, and Darryl Clark, filling in for suspended Fullback Carl Robinson, had 131 on 13 tries as Texas gained 424 yards on the ground.