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"We had our at bats but struck out," said Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer after the Sooners lost to Southern Cal 12-0 with a Punch-and-Judy ground game that gained just 43 yards. Oklahoma went 0 for 4 in the first half from inside the USC 30. And the whitewash hurled by the Trojan defense was the first shutout the Sooners had suffered in an NCAA-record 181 games. Southern Cal now holds the longest current streak of games in which they've scored, with 169. USC's two touchdowns came on a one-yard Sean Salisbury pass following a shanked Sooner punt and on a quarterback-to-tailback-to-flanker-to-split-end flea-flicker that ended with Split End Jeff Simmons cradling Flanker Timmy White's 67-yard TD pass.
Herkie Walls, Texas' 5'8", 154-pound wide receiver and former Southwest Conference indoor sprint champion, feigned disappointment after his 80-yard dash on an end-around gave the Longhorns their first score in a 21-0 defeat of Missouri. "Hell, I'm supposed to be faster than that," said Walls after being told that he took 13 seconds to reach the end zone. Tailback Darryl Clark had 128 yards on 26 carries, and the Texas defense jarred Mizzou into losing four fumbles.
Arkansas Coach Lou Holtz had scheduled Mississippi because he wanted to keep the Arkansas-Texas game from looming so big in the eyes of the Hog faithful—not because he expected a breather. "I've never been so limp after a game," said Holtz, who had just watched Ole Miss nearly tie—and then nearly beat—the Razorbacks. After the Rebels had pulled within two points of Arkansas, at 14-12, a bold defensive stunt stopped Ole Miss Tailback Andre (Hammerhead) Thomas on a sweep for a two-point conversion. Later, after a 15-yard penalty against the Hogs for having 12 men on the field put Ole Miss at the Razor-back 30, Reb Kicker Todd Gatlin sent a 48-yard field goal attempt wide with :01 left. So it remained, 14-12. Arkansas Quarterback Billy Taylor threw for one score and ran for another in his first start.
SMU, a 22-point favorite, had just one pass completion, for seven yards, in struggling past TCU 16-13. Could the Ponies be running too much? "Sure, we run all the time," snapped Coach Bobby Collins. "But we don't run in the same spot. We go around end, off tackle, over guard, up the middle. Anybody who says we're predictable has problems." The Horned Frogs had theirs with SMU's variety at the tailback spot. Eric Dickerson ran for 160 yards on 27 carries and two TDs; Craig James carried 22 times for 122 yards.
Texas A&M Quarterback Gary Kubiak threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the Aggies' 38-27 defeat of Louisiana Tech; Baylor edged Texas Tech 24-23; and Houston romped past Lamar 48-3.
"I feel sorry for Tony," said Illini Coach Mike White, lamenting the fate of his quarterback, Tony Eason, who suffered five interceptions and nine sacks in Illinois' 20-3 loss to Pitt. "It was like he was in a revolving door." The game—and Eason—turned abruptly on a single play early in the second quarter. Leading 3-0, Illinois had a first down at the Pitt two when Eason tried to throw a pass away. He apparently mistook 6'3", 255-pound Panther Defensive Tackle Dave (Freak of Nature) Puzzuoli for the right sideline, and Puzzuoli rumbled 95 yards with the interception for a score, thanks to a block from his 6'1", 251-pound linemate, J.C. Pelusi. "There were 12 minutes left in the second quarter when he intercepted it and eight left when he got to the end zone," said Pelusi. Pitt Linebacker Yogi Jones, who is stronger than the average bear, had 14 tackles, and Quarterback Dan Marino was 18 of 35 for 215 yards and a TD—but threw four interceptions.
Ahead 20-16 at home with barely 2½ minutes left against Stanford, Ohio State had the ball and no reason to pass. Yet the Buckeyes did, twice, and both times a Cardinal intercepted. Stanford took the second interception—of a Mike Tomczak throw on second-and-12 from the Cardinal 27-80 yards on seven passes by Quarterback John Elway to pull out a 23-20 victory. Coach Earle Bruce took the blame for the decisive interception, saying, "I called it. It was a bad call. But you can't have four interceptions and two fumbles and win." Elway, who was 35 of 63 for 407 yards, threw two scoring passes, his second an 18-yard strike to Wide Receiver Emile Harry with :34 remaining to cap the final Cardinal drive. As Elway rolled left. Halfback Mike Dotterer ran the wrong pattern and Harry simply vacated Dotterer's area and headed for the right corner of the end zone. No one was within 10 yards of him. "It's a lot like hitting a home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth," said Elway, an outfield prospect in the New York Yankee farm system who will soon have to choose between pro football and baseball. "Right now football is so much fun. And I don't think anyone will want to see me in Columbus anymore."
"At this point a win is almost as important to me as getting my diploma," said Northwestern Cornerback Roosevelt Groves, an industrial and nuclear engineering major, before the Wildcats put their NCAA-record 34-game losing streak on the line against Northern Illinois. Behind Running Back Ricky Edwards' four touchdowns—and despite Northern supporters bearing KEEP IT ALIVE WITH 35 buttons—Northwestern ended its three-year nightmare 31-6. The win was the 'Cats' first since beating Wyoming 27-22 on Sept. 15, 1979, and Coach Dennis Green's first since coming to Evanston in 1980.