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Remember Dorando in the 1908 Olympic marathon? Far in front, he collapsed just 10 yards short of the finish line in one of the most fantastic foldups in sporting records. Last week the nation's front-running football teams were beginning to show signs of fatigue reminiscent of Dorando while running the final few laps of the 1956 college gridiron race, with the rich bids awaiting just the other side of the finish line. Georgia Tech, for instance, retained its untied and undefeated status by the barest of margins as an inspired Duke team outplayed the Engineers on the ground and in the air. Tennessee, also unmarred in six battles, kept its clean slate against a weak North Carolina team, but by no means as convincingly as had been expected. Tech and Tennessee meet this Saturday in a game that must mar the aspirations of one of them. The outcome will decide which team will be most sought after by the Cotton and Sugar Bowls. Oklahoma, ineligible for a bowl but determined to nail down its second consecutive national championship, faltered dangerously against Colorado and had to erase a two-touchdown half-time deficit before winning by a mere eight points—its poorest showing of the season (see page 18). Iowa, until Saturday the only team in the Big Ten with a perfect record, bowed to Michigan and saw its Rose Bowl hopes diminished, while sturdy Ohio State took over the Big Ten lead with a lucky hairline victory over downtrodden Northwestern.
In the East, both Syracuse and Navy showed that they may have the stuff to go the distance and simultaneously heightened their chances for bowl bids with impressive wins over Penn State and Notre Dame, respectively. Clemson gained stature as the probable Atlantic Coast Conference representative in the Orange Bowl slot by beating Virginia Tech. Out West, however, the Rose Bowl picture was still muddy as Stanford lost to UCLA (see page 16) and faced a showdown with Oregon State this weekend. The final run to the tape appeared to be filled with stumbling blocks even yet.
Football's regimental-stripe-tie, button-down-collar brigade, those eastern oddballs who play the game for fun, have gone big league—and on their own terms. Saturday's round of eastern grid matches produced at least two red-hot bowl contenders and proved that hallowed halls can still send forth fair matches for any challenger in the country.
Navy, possibly only the third or fourth best team in the East behind the independent Big Three ( Syracuse, Penn State and Pitt) walloped Notre Dame for the first time since the war year of 1944, 33-7. The win stirred interest in the Middies down in Gainesville, Fla., where the Gator Bowl fathers are inspecting 1956 candidates for the Dec. 29 show. Syracuse and Penn State , unconquered save in the East (by Pittsburgh and Army respectively), fought a traditional battle which could well have decided the Lambert Trophy winner. Syracuse took the game 13-9, thanks to two costly Penn State fumbles in the third quarter, one of which was converted into the winning Orange touchdown. Both the Cotton and Gator Bowls were watching for the winner of this one.
Perhaps the most unusual game of the year was played at West Point, where Army yielded 46 points to a potent Colgate attack, yet still managed to win 55-46. Together, the teams gained 939 yards, rolled up 44 first downs and a total of 101 points. Three men scored three touchdowns each ( Bob Kyasky and Dick Stephenson for Army and Jack Call for Colgate).
Yale and Princeton continued their neck-and-neck race for the Ivy League crown with respective wins over Dartmouth (19-0) and Brown (21-7), apparently setting the stage for a sudden-death title match Nov. 17 at New Haven. Pennsylvania surprised Harvard 28-14 for its first road victory since 1952. Columbia won the big one for departing Coach Lou Little, a 25-19 farewell present over favored Cornell. It was the final home game for Little, who can now boast he began and ended his 27-year tenure at Columbia's Baker Field with victories.
Bates 13, Bowdoin 12