SI Vault
Herm Weiskopf
November 26, 1979
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November 26, 1979

The Week

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There was juicy news in Tallahassee, where Florida State accepted an Orange Bowl bid after swamping Memphis State 66-17. The Tigers, who were ninth nationally in pass defense and had allowed only three touchdown passes all season, were riddled by Jimmy Jordan's three TD tosses in the second period. In all, Jordan was on target with 18 of 29 throws for 189 yards.

Things were hardly so sweet for Georgia which fell 33-13 to Auburn, thereby losing a chance to clinch a share of first place in the SEC and a Sugar Bowl berth. On its first offensive play, Georgia lost Quarterback Buck Belue, who suffered a broken ankle when tackled for a safety. The Bulldogs led 10-9 at halftime and then crumbled. In the third period Auburn Defensive Back Bob Harris picked off a pass and pounced on two fumbles to set up 17 points. When James Brooks wasn't zipping around the Bulldogs for 200 yards in 13 carries, Joe Cribbs was hammering through them for 166 in 27 cracks. They became the first two backs on a Southeastern Conference team to rush for 1,000 yards each in the same season; Brooks raised his total to 1,153 yards as he scored on runs of 67 and 44 yards, and Cribbs brought his total yardage to 1,027 and twice went over from the one. However, the Bulldogs still might wind up thinking kindly of the Tigers—if Auburn can topple Alabama on Dec. 1, thereby depriving the Tide of sole possession of first place and enabling Georgia to go to the Sugar Bowl.

There was only one thing unusual about Alabama's 30-0 home win over independent Miami: it wasn't a sellout. Some 6,000 tickets went unsold and quite a few fans didn't bother using those they had bought. What the no-shows and no-buys missed seeing was the Tide's 49th straight victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium, a 'Bama offense that rolled up 444 yards and a defense that held the Hurricanes to 131. Other Alabama statistical notes: Alan McElroy's three field goals gave him a team-record 14 for the season; five interceptions ran the Tide's total to a school-high 25 for the year; and Steadman Shealy hit on nine of 14 passes for 187 yards.

Mississippi's much-maligned defense intercepted a Tennessee pass in the end zone and recovered three fumbles, each of which was turned into a touchdown, as the Rebels pulled off a 44-20 SEC upset. Leon Perry of Ole Miss rushed for 126 yards and three TDs.

North Carolina State clinched the ACC championship, but North Carolina got the bowl bid. The Wolfpack, which may yet go to a postseason game, decked Duke 28-7 with the help of three interceptions by Cornerback Eric Williams. The Tar Heels beat Virginia 13-7 behind angry Quarterback Matt Kupec. "I feel like they [the Carolina coaches] spit in my face," said Kupec, whose only completion in five pass attempts was an eight-yard touchdown toss to Mike Chatham. What irked Kupec, the Tar Heels' alltime leading passer, was that he had been benched in the first half. Kupec's 17th scoring pass of the season tied an ACC record and enabled Carolina to earn a Gator Bowl bid.

South Carolina was bound for the Hall of Fame Bowl following a 35-14 win over Wake Forest, which will make its first postseason trip since 1948, when it faces LSU in the Tangerine Bowl. The Gamecocks intercepted three passes, got 315 yards from their runners and two Garry Harper-to-Zion McKinney touchdown throws.

Charlie Wysocki of Maryland had his best day of the season, rushing for 222 yards as the Terps whipped Louisville 28-7.

For Georgia Tech, the big gun was Mike Kelley, who completed 16 of 30 passes for 361 yards and set a team single-game record of 376 yards of total offense. Kris Kentera caught six passes for 203 yards, three for touchdowns covering 57, 57 and 40 yards.

McNeese (La.) State, which had won five games by three points or fewer, had something of a breather—at least by the Cowboys' standards. They remained unbeaten with a 10-6 victory over Southwestern Louisiana.

A 45-44 loss to Furman cost The Citadel a share of the Southern Conference title. The Paladins prevailed despite the Cadets' Tim Russell, who hit on 13 of 20 passes for 362 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 49 more yards. Mark Slawson turned four of those throws into TD plays covering 53, 78, 31 and eight yards.

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