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Texas Christian, befuddled and behind for more than two quarters Saturday, rushed back during the second half to overhaul Rice 20-17, and clinch at least a tie for second place in the Southwest Conference and a berth in the Cotton Bowl. Baylor, the only team which might tie TCU for second place, was defeated by the Horned Frogs earlier in the season. TCU's Cotton opponent will come from a list that includes Tennessee, Navy, Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Pitt.
Baylor, openly hoping for a Sugar Bowl bid, bounced Southern Methodist 26-0. SMU drove past midfield only once, a fact that caused Mustang Coach Woody Woodward to comment: "It was defense that really won the game."
Border Conference Champion Texas Western (9-1), en route to the Sun Bowl, embarrassed Trinity 54-0 and gained some satisfaction for its only defeat. Trinity had tied North Texas State, which had tagged Western for its Only loss. Arizona State defeated College of Pacific 19-6 and Hardin-Simmons Outscored New Mexico A&M 38-19 in a battle for the Border Conference cellar.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
In the area's top game, Brigham Young of the Skyline Conference punched across 20 points in a big third quarter to rip apart the Air Force Academy 34-21 in Denver. The loss gave the Cadets some idea of what to expect next year. Most of the 1957 Falcon schedule will be contested against Skyline Conference opponents. At Albuquerque, New Mexico topped San Diego state 34-21, as Quarterback Joe Gale passed the victors to two touchdowns of 54 and 23 yards and scored a third on a one-yard plunge. Utah's Redskins exploded with a 23-point second half to beat Utah state 29-7 and thereby gain second place in the Skyline behind unbeaten Wyoming. Halfback Jack Hill scored the Utes' lone touchdown, plunging over from the two. He finished the season with 105 points, losing the national scoring title to Syracuse's Jim Brown by a single point.
THE FAR WEST
Pacific coast football, if nothing else, was at least democratic in 1956. The equality theme was never more evident than on Thanksgiving Day at Corvallis, when Oregon , tied for third in the conference, held mighty Oregon state, the conference champ and Rose Bowl host apparent, to a 14-14 tie. There is, of course, the obvious conclusion that recruiting scandals and subsequent reprisals taken by conference fathers against the perennial league leaders dragged everyone down to the same level of mediocrity. This theory might stand up were it not for the fact that PCC teams fared amazingly well against topflight intersectional competition. Stanford, which finished a sad sixth, came very close to beating Michigan State and Ohio State on successive weekends earlier this fall. California, another PCC also-ran, beat Pittsburgh.
Saturday's results were further proof of the even distribution of talent. California edged Stanford 20-18, use beat UCLA 10-7 and there was the Oregon State tie on Thursday. Only in the Washington-Washington state game—won by Washington 40-26—was there anything like a walkaway.