This doltishness diverted attention from what the football team is going to do now that quarterback Major Harris is no longer around. While his replacement, Greg Jones, was completing only six of 18 passes for 88 yards, Maryland's Scott Zolak was connecting on 23 of 42 attempts for 313 yards. Zolak's 59-yard scoring pass to Gene Thomas with 2:27 to play marked the second week in a row that the pair had hooked up for a game-winner in the closing moments.
Like a played-out oilfield, the SWC had begun to resemble a succession of dry holes. But the league is gushing some good football again. On a Saturday when its two best teams, Arkansas (which leaves for the SEC next year) and Texas A&M, were idle, the SWC still went 4-3 against outside competition—and that could have been 5-2 had Texas Tech caught another break or two in a tough 17-10 loss to Ohio State in Columbus.
The conference's most important victory was the 17-13 beating that Texas handed to Penn State, in State College, Pa. The once-mighty Longhorns, who haven't finished in the final Top 20 since 1983 and who are coming off their first back-to-back losing seasons in 51 years, trailed 7-6 at intermission, but quickly took control when Adrian Walker returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards. That set up a six-yard touchdown run by Chris Samuels and a two-point conversion for a 14-7 lead.
"I've preached and preached that most opening games are won or lost by the kicking game," said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and he was right. The Nittany Lions' kicking game also included a blocked punt, a blocked field goal attempt and a missed 31-yard field goal try. Kicking wasn't a total washout, though. The Lions' Gary Brown returned five kickoffs for a school-record 201 yards, including a 95-yard return of the opening kickoff, which set up Penn State's first TD.
The Longhorns have a week off before learning if they are for real, against Colorado on Sept. 22, but one Texas player has already made up his mind. "We have a chance to win the national championship now," says cornerback Van Malone.
Hey, slow down, Van. Most Texas fans will be happy just to see the Longhorns compete for the SWC title and put some meaning back into the Oct. 13 showdown with Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.
Pittsburg ( Kans.) State extended the nation's longest regular-season winning streak to 47 with a 45-7 victory over Missouri Western, but Westminster (Pa.), the NAIA Division II champion the last two years, had its 27-game winning streak stopped by a 7-6 loss to Northwood ( Mich.) Institute....
Kansas' 38-12 victory over Oregon State, coupled with Kansas State's 27-6 win over Western Illinois, marked the first time since Nov. 17, 1984, that both teams won on the same day....