Missouri found out that beating Oklahoma is no snap. The Tigers led 9-7 at halftime, but on the third play of the second half Sooner Billy Sims broke loose on a brilliant run. Starting from his own 30, he burst over the middle, was completely spun around by a would-be tackier at the Missouri 30, eluded another Tiger at the 20 and dashed on for a 70-yard touchdown. Then Oklahoma drove 80 yards to a score on its next possession, Sims zipping and darting for 67 of those yards. In all, Sims gained 154 yards in the third period, and Oklahoma needed every one of them to come away with a 24-22 Big Eight victory.
Quarterback Phil Bradley kept the Tigers on the go, completing 16 of 23 passes for 222 yards and scoring the game's final points on a 68-yard scamper with 9:01 left. Missouri had a chance to pull out the victory, getting a first down on the Oklahoma 25 with 3:18 remaining. When the march stalled, the Tigers went for a 37-yard field goal by Ron Verilli, who earlier had kicked a 39-yarder. This time the snap was high, spoiling Verilli's timing, and his boot was short.
Starting at quarterback for the first time since the season opener, Nebraska's Jeff Quinn put some spark back into the Huskers' passing attack, connecting on 11 of 17 attempts for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 34-3 win over Iowa State. Both Quinn's scoring tosses went to Junior Miller and came during a 25-point third-period explosion by Nebraska that finished off the Cyclones. The Huskers, who held Iowa State to 29 yards rushing on 28 carries while their own runners gained 311 yards, will meet Oklahoma this week to determine the Big Eight championship. The winner will go to the Orange Bowl, the loser to the Cotton.
While Ohio State and Michigan fought it out for Big Ten supremacy (page 30), Purdue grabbed second place by beating Indiana 37-21. That win also earned the Boilermakers a trip to the Bluebonnet Bowl. And Purdue won even though Quarterback Mark Herrmann had to leave in the fourth period after sustaining a mild concussion. Herrmann departed with the Boilermakers in front 27-21, and having hit on a career-high 26 passes in 40 tries for 269 yards. Also helping Purdue win the Old Oaken Bucket were Mike Augustyniak, who scored on three one-yard plunges, and Ben McCall, who had a TD, ran for 148 yards and caught five passes for 45 more.
"We have almost climbed the mountain," said Iowa Coach Hayden Fry after his team outlasted Michigan State 33-26. Although the Hawkeyes finished with their 20th straight losing season (5-6), the victory made them 4-4 in the Big Ten and put them in the first division for the first time in 10 years. Iowa was paced by Dennis Mosley, who rambled for 136 yards and wound up as the conference rushing leader with 1,267 yards. But the Hawkeyes might not have won had it not been for some questionable strategy by Spartan Coach Darryl Rogers at the start of the third period. Ahead 16-13, Michigan State needed two inches for a first down at its own 30, and Rogers decided to go for it. The Hawkeyes stopped Bryan Clark's plunge and five plays later scored a touchdown.
Minnesota's Mark Carlson set Big Ten season records for the most completions (157), passing yardage (1,953) and total offense (1,926) with a 20-for-34 performance that netted 227 yards against Wisconsin. But the Badgers overcame a 14-0 deficit and won 42-37 as Quarterback Mike Kalasmiki ran for three TDs and passed for two others.
Notre Dame also blew a lead—the Irish outscored Clemson 10-0 in the first half—and lost 16-10. The Tigers got their points on Billy Lott's 26-yard dash and three field goals by Obed Ariri. Clemson, which will go to the Peach Bowl, triumphed despite 219 yards passing by Rusty Lisch and 110 yards rushing by Vagas Ferguson.
With his total scholarships pared from 85 to 37 and his coaching staff from six assistants to four because of athletic budget cuts. Bill Yung's West Texas State squad was picked to finish last in the MVC. Despite being a dismal 0-5-1 against outsiders, the Buffaloes ran their league record to 5-0 and clinched first place by beating off Drake 28-13.
1. NEBRASKA (10-0)
2. OHIO STATE (11-0)
3. OKLAHOMA (9-1)