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Once the weekend before the traditional big games was a momentary lull before the final, frantic climax of another football season as the big rivals either rested or sharpened their claws on minor opposition. This year the semifinal Saturday was a climax in itself, and many of this Saturday's traditional contests may seem like unimportant afterthoughts. Saturday was indeed a climactic day for Iowa as the Hawkeyes upended Ohio State to insure themselves at least a tie for the Big Ten championship and a certain bid to the Rose Bowl. It was a mighty important Saturday for Tennessee, which removed Mississippi as the last serious obstacle in the path of an undefeated season, a Southeastern Conference title and a Sugar or Cotton Bowl berth. For Yale, Saturday's game against Princeton reached its customary fever as the Ivy League's two leading contenders had their showdown in New Haven. Seldom has an Eli team looked more impressive; a starting lineup of 10 seniors finally avenged two years of humiliation at the hands of the Tiger and brought Princeton's dream of finishing undefeated to a sad end. Miami knocked Clemson from the undefeated list to remain the only major unbeaten independent in the South and simultaneously removed much of the luster from the Orange Bowl game, since Clemson is almost certain to be one of the contestants. Oklahoma spent the afternoon dismembering Missouri in an obvious bid to regain its No. 1 ranking from Tennessee in the Associated Press weekly poll.
Frank Merriwell was nowhere near New Haven Saturday, but Yale did not need him. In fact, the way the Bulldog backs performed against Princeton , it is highly probable the storied hero would have been forced to sit on the bench. Yale won 42-20. The margin might have been greater but for the magnanimity of Coach Jordan Olivar who used a generous assortment of substitutes in the second half. The fired-up Blue team—led by Halfbacks Dennis Mc-Gill and Al Ward, each of whom scored twice—ran up a 35-13 half-time score and seemed on the verge of making it a record-breaking point total against the Tigers when Olivar granted mercy. The win assured Yale of at least a tie for the Ivy crown, and a win against Harvard this week would clinch the title. It was Princeton's first loss of the season. Syracuse also had a track meet, and star Halfback Jimmy Brown collected most of the Gold Medals. Brown personally accounted for 43 points (six touchdowns and seven extra points) as the Orange rolled over archrival Colgate 61-7. It was the worst licking Colgate has ever taken from a Syracuse team.
Pittsburgh , playing Army, maintained its reputation as a second-half team. The Panthers came from seven points behind late in the second quarter to bury the Cadets 20-7, after Quarterback Corny Salvaterra abandoned power tactics and switched to options and roll-outs which kept Coach Red Blaik's forces bewildered. Penn state edged North Carolina state 14-7 in a game which was scoreless until the last four minutes. Milt Plum, cagey Lion quarterback, clinched the victory with 15 seconds remaining when he threw a nine-yard, tie-breaking touchdown pass to Les Walters in the end zone.
In another tradition-draped affair, Lehigh topped Lafayette 27-10 in the 91st renewal of this series which began in 1884.
In New England, fast-growing Connecticut won its first outright Yankee Conference championship, downing Rhode island 51-6; Williams won the Little Three title from Amherst 27-12 on a second-half, three-touchdown rally, and Tufts closed out its best season in 20 years with a 53-19 win over Upsaia. Springfield collected its first undefeated season (one tie in nine games) by stopping Hofstra 27-9. New England's only other undefeated team, New Haven State, downed Bridgeport 33-12 for its ninth straight win. Other scores:
Boston College 13, Boston U. 0
No one in Dixie can think of anything but bowls these days, and officials of the bowls are doing some thinking, too. Over the weekend some of these thoughts came into sharp focus. Tennessee's convincing 27-7 triumph over Mississippi set Sugar Bowl officials drooling with anticipation. Georgia Tech's workmanlike 27-0 whitewashing of resurgent Alabama gave Cotton Bowl sponsors bright visions for New Year's Day. But in Miami, Orange Bowl promoters were growing ulcers and calling for Miltown after watching Miami humiliate clemson. The Tigers looked inept in all departments against Miami as they took their first loss of the season. Nonetheless, Clemson remains the only logical pick for the bowl assignment as the representative of the Atlantic Coast Conference.