After being tied up for most of the first half by Houston, Southern Methodist broke loose during the last half. SMU led only 10-7 at halftime but then clamped down on defense and held the Cougars to just 75 yards in total offense. Meanwhile, Tailback Eric Dickerson, who had gained only 35 yards in nine carries in the first half, was running wild. He lugged the ball 18 more times and churned out 206 yards. Dickerson's biggest gainer was a 62-yard burst around right end for a third-period touchdown. That left him with 1,001 yards on 134 carries this year, an average of 7.4 yards. It all added up to a 20-14 SMU win that put the Mustangs alone at the top of the Southwest Conference, half a game up on idle Arkansas. It also stretched SMU's victory streak to 10 games, the longest in the nation.
Unlike SMU, Baylor couldn't recover from a slow start. Five lost fumbles in the opening half hurt the Bears, who were defeated by Texas A&M 28-23. Texas Tech kept Rice winless, squeezing past the Owls 23-21.
Big numbers. That's what players need to win the Heisman Trophy. But Pitt's Dan Marino and Penn State's Curt Warner, who were among the preseason favorites for the award, didn't come up with any big numbers until last week. Marino, who wasn't even ranked among the NCAA's top 25 passers last week, put together his first impressive statistics of the year during a 38-17 defeat of Temple. With Marino connecting on 26 of 36 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns, the Panthers started fast and finished with a flurry. In between, though, the Owls pared a 17-0 deficit to 17-14 in the third period. What fanned Temple's hopes for a major upset were three interceptions of Marino passes plus the 18 for 29 passing of Tim Riordan, who netted 241 yards through the air. Two of Riordan's passes were scoring tosses of 58 and 33 yards.
Amid hail, snow, sun and rain at University Park, Warner broke loose for touchdown runs of four and 34 yards and gained 148 yards on 25 carries as Penn State beat Syracuse 28-7. Going into the game, Warner had run for only 261 yards all season, having been hampered by both frequent leg cramps and the Nittany Lions' new emphasis on passing. Warner's roommate, Quarterback Todd Blackledge, did less passing than usual, however, completing 10 of 15 throws for 120 yards. Blackledge also twice slammed over from one yard out for his first rushing touchdowns of the season. Syracuse Tailback Jaime Covington ripped off 129 yards in 24 runs, but the Nittany Lions put the squeeze on the Orange passing attack by stealing five of Todd Morley's passes.
There was only 1:18 left on the clock when Boston College got the ball at its own 13 against visiting Rutgers, which led 13-6. What made the situation even more hairy for the Eagles was that they didn't have any timeouts left. Clearly, Boston College needed a long pass or a break. The Eagles got both: A pass by Quarterback Doug Flutie glanced off the hands of Wide Receiver Paul Zdanek and into the arms of Wide Receiver Gerard Phelan for a 27-yard gain to the Scarlet Knight 47. On the next play, the fifth of a 10-play drive, Flutie went around left end for 12 yards. A 15-yard penalty for a late hit moved the ball to the Scarlet Knight 20. Flutie then ran for 15 yards, missed a pass, ran for three more yards and then fired the ball into the end zone. Freshman Running Back Troy Stradford, who had run for 132 yards on 17 carries, made a diving catch with 12 seconds left. That still left the Eagles trailing by a point, 13-12. Flutie reversed that margin with a two-point conversion pass to Tight End Scott Nizolek that made the Eagles 14-13 winners. For the day, Flutie was on target with only 15 of 40 passes and was intercepted four times, but his completions were good for 239 yards.
Two short touchdown runs and 217 yards passing by Quarterback Marco Pagnanelli led Navy to a 39-3 rout of William & Mary. Pagnanelli attempted 25 passes and hit on 17.
Despite setting a team record of 28 completions (in 44 tries), Gary Vura and Penn came up on the short end of a 35-20 score at Lafayette. Vura aerials went for 291 yards, but Frank Novak passed for 195 yards and three touchdowns as the Leopards handed the Quakers their first loss of the season. Princeton also lost a non-league game, squandering a 14-0 lead against Army and going down to a 20-14 defeat. Both the Quakers and Tigers, however, improved their Ivy League positions, thanks to Harvard's 14-12 setback at Dartmouth. That left Penn as the only team without a loss in Ivy competition and moved Princeton into a tie for second with the Crimson. Brown doubled up Cornell 38-19, and Yale took advantage of eight Columbia turnovers to win 36-10.