THE TOP THREE: 1. NORTHWESTERN (4-0) 2. WISCONSIN (4-0) 3. NEBRASKA (5-0)
Saturday afternoon began pleasantly enough for 84,376 homecoming celebrants at Ohio Stadium. Halfback Bob Klein's 90-yard return of the opening kickoff and Fullback Dave Francis' nine-yard plunge put Ohio Stale ahead of Northwestern 14-0; the romp was on. Unfortunately for State, the Wildcats didn't see it that way. They dug in on defense, turned brilliant sophomore Quarterback Tom Myers loose on offense and pretty soon OSU was in big trouble. Myers' quick passes—he completed 18 of 30 for 177 yards, mostly to Paul Flatley—led Northwestern to two touchdowns (but no extra points) by half time. Myers switched to Ohio State's own ground game in the last period, sent his backs through the line for 42 yards in six plays, the last a one-yard plunge by Steve Murphy. Northwestern won 18-14.
The rest of the Big Ten was orderly. Iowa tried to beat Wisconsin at its passing game and came off second best. Quarterbacks Ron Vander Kelen, who pitched three touchdown passes, and Harold Brandt completed 22 of 34 for 238 yards and the Badgers took their fourth straight, 42-14. Purdue's Ron DiGravio passed for three scores, ran for one himself and the Boilermakers whomped Michigan 37-0, their first win over the Wolverines in 33 years. Illinois, surprisingly tough for Minnesota, finally lost 17-0. While Notre Dame followers shouted "'Joe must go," Michigan State's George Saimes made matters even more uncomfortable for Coach Joe Kuharich, crumbling Irish defenses for 54, 49 and 15 yards as Michigan State trounced Notre Dame 31-7.
"I'd be surprised if we can hold them to two touchdowns and I just don't see how we can score as many as two," said Kansas Coach Jack Mitchell before his team met Oklahoma. He was right. The Sooners broke loose Joe Don Looney for 61 yards on a halfback trap, Monte Deere scored on a three-yard sweep and Oklahoma won 13-7. In other Big Eight games, Nebraska overpowered Kansas State 25-6, Missouri alternated its famed power sweeps with lunges up the middle to beat Oklahoma State 23-6 and Iowa State clobbered Colorado 57-19.
The Mid-American race was heading for a showdown between Ohio and Bowling Green. Ohio used two field goals, one for 52 yards, by Jim McKee to down Miami 12-6; Bowling Green beat Kent State 45-6.
THE TOP THREE: 1. WASHINGTON (4-0-1) 2. USC (4-0) 3. OREGON (4-1)
Washington's Huskies looked more frustrated than menacing against Stanford. Three times they had to fight off the Indians inside their 10-yard line, and once Stanford got to the one before it gave up the football. But Halfback Nat Whitmyer, subbing for ailing Charlie Mitchell, made life bearable for perfectionist Coach Jim Owens. He ran 10 yards for one touchdown, burst 35 more yards to set up Quarterback Pete Order's scoring pass to Jim Stiger in the second period as Washington won 14-0. Although Owens was far from ready to admit that Washington is a cinch for the Rose Bowl, at least two exuberant Husky rooters were so convinced. They rushed into Palo Alto, bought several dozen roses and happily doled them out to melancholy Stanford coeds.
They might better have saved their thorns for USC, which is looking better each week. California simply couldn't keep up with Hal Bedsole, the 6-foot-5 Trojan end who grabs passes like a pro and runs like a halfback. Bedsole caught six passes from Quarterbacks Bill Nelsen and Pete Beathard, scored two touchdowns and USC romped over Cal 32-6. Washington State, too, showed off its passing muscles against Indiana. Attacking voraciously in a frantic last quarter, the Cougars scored twice on one-yard plunges by George Reed, then pulled ahead of the Hoosiers 21-15 when slippery End Hugh Campbell snared Dale Mathiesen's 50-yard pass with only 1:18 left to play.