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After four weeks of solid combat, college football began to take on a lively new look. While perennial powers sadly licked their wounds, a new cast of characters sneaked into prominence. In the Midwest, Oklahoma and Ohio State each nursed two defeats, and Northwestern and Purdue, not too long ago the boot scrapers of the Big Ten, became the teams to beat. In the East, twice-beaten Army and Navy lost irretrievable ground to Penn State and Syracuse among the independents, while in the Ivy League Dartmouth and Princeton were no longer the bully boys. Instead, unbeaten Penn, Cornell and Yale were regarded as most likely to succeed. In the Southwest, undefeated Texas and Arkansas took the play away from TCU and SMU, the preseason favorites. In the West, USC, after years in the depths of the late Pacific Coast Conference, was back in the driver's seat. Only in the South, where LSU and Mississippi were still rolling along and Georgia Tech had moved up, were things near normal.
The Big Ten was shuddering and shaking all over, but out of the organized confusion came one indisputable fact: it would take a combination of skill and luck to win the championship.
Unbeaten Northwestern, pushed around by Minnesota's bulky line and missing Quarterback Dick Thornton, barely escaped with its life and a 6-0 victory. Scrawny Sophomore Bob Eickhoff finally picked the faltering Wildcats up in the fourth quarter, passing seven yards to End Paul Yanke for the winning touchdown.
Meanwhile, Purdue was breathing heavily down the necks of the subdued Wildcats. While the tenacious Boilermaker line stifled Wisconsin's running attack, forcing five fumbles, and rushing Passer Dale Hackbart so badly that he had three tosses intercepted, junior Quarterback Bernie Allen carried out Coach Jack Mollenkopf's prebattle plan to perfection. Throwing against Wisconsin's nine-man line, Allen, a fill-in for injured Ross Fichtner, pitched for three touchdowns, and the Boilermakers won 21-0.
Iowa edged back into the race with an awesome display of power against Michigan State. The Hawkeyes, striking fast and often as Quarterback Olen Treadway had his best passing day (two touchdowns), ran down the meager-attacking Spartans 37-8.
Illinois, with scant regard for preseason predictors who blandly left them for dead, caught Ohio State with its usually reliable defense down and shocked the Buckeyes 9-0. The Illini defenders, led by Tackle Joe Rutgens, forced Ohio State's Bob White to eat dirt most of the afternoon, while Mel Meyers left the Buckeyes gasping when he and Johnny Counts teamed up on a 73-yard touchdown pass.
Michigan, after six straight losses, wriggled out from under to beat Oregon State 18-7, and Indiana overwhelmed Marquette 33-13.
In other games Kansas edged Nebraska 10-3; Quarterback Gale Weidner led Colorado past Kansas State 20-17; Ohio U. beat Xavier 25-7; Bowling Green downed Western Michigan 34-0; Miami of Ohio suffered its first defeat in 28 MidAmerican Conference games, bowing to Kent State 13-7. The top three:
1. NORTHWESTERN (3-0)