Comedian Bill Cosby, a former Temple football player, sat on the Owls bench at Penn State, but he couldn't find anything to joke about. Cosby was able to smile when Kevin Duckett zipped 64 yards to give Temple a 7-6 halftime lead, but there was nothing funny about the way the Nittany Lions handled the Owls' Brian Broomell, who came into the game as the nation's most efficient passer. Broomell was sacked six times for 43 yards, was intercepted three times and completed only four of 16 passes for 46 yards. And Temple, which had been averaging 35.8 points a game, lost the total-offense battle 339 yards to 134 and the game 22-7. Penn State's second-half surge was built around Matt Suhey's pair of one-yard touchdown plunges and Herb Menhardt's third field goal of the day. Both teams accepted bowl bids, the Nittany Lions to the Liberty against Tulane, and the Owls to the Garden State, their first bowl since the inaugural Sugar Bowl in 1935.
Pittsburgh, too, made life miserable for quarterbacks, sidelining Army's Earle Mulrane with a concussion and sacking his substitute, Jerryl Bennett, for a safety in a 40-0 romp. On their way to earning a Fiesta Bowl berth, the Panthers held the Cadets to minus nine yards passing, got two short scoring runs from Ray Jones and 272 yards passing from Dan Marino, who hit on 17 of 30 throws.
Rutgers and Syracuse were upset, the Scarlet Knights by Villanova 32-17 and the Orangemen by Boston College 27-10. The Wildcats got three field goals from Chuck Bushbeck and a couple of TD runs from Don Zeisel. Three missed field goals and two lost fumbles led to Syracuse's defeat. After a scoreless first half, John Loughery took over as the BC quarterback and got the Eagles untracked by passing for one touchdown and running for another.
Yale was also shocked, losing to Harvard 22-7 for its only defeat of the year. Crimson Quarterback Burke St. John passed 39 yards for one score, ran two yards for a second and led an attack that gained 248 yards against the Elis, whose defense had allowed an average of only 166 yards, the best in the country. In other Ivy League action, Brown beat Columbia 31-14, Princeton stopped Cornell 26-14 and Dartmouth downed Penn 20-6.
No two teams have squared off against each other more often than Lehigh and Lafayette, which met for the 115th time. The Engineers, who led Division I-AA in scoring defense with a 7.6-points-per-game average, coasted to a 24-3 win. It was a dreary day for the Leopards, who lead the series 63-47-5, as their runners had a net of zero yards, having gained 57 and been thrown for 57 in losses.
Ithaca (N.Y.) College knocked off Dubuque 27-7 in a Division III playoff game. The Bombers intercepted nine passes, two short of the NCAA record.
Since the Pennsylvania Conference adopted a playoff system in 1960, the two most lackluster teams in the league have been Cheyney State (20-83-2 going into this season) and Lock Haven State (33-73-2). This year, though, they met for the conference championship, with Lock Haven leading 41-0 at the half and coasting to a 48-14 win. Dan Spittal hit on 13 of 18 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more TDs, and Joe Speese rushed for three scores as the Bald Eagles wrapped up one of the year's most remarkable turnarounds. They finished with a 9-2 record after having been 1-8-1 in 1978.
1. PITTSBURGH (9-1)
2. PENN STATE (7-3)
3. TEMPLE (8-2)