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On the surface, Pitt's 14-6 victory over Boston College appeared to be a shocking near-upset. Actually, the third-ranked Panthers played as expected:
•Their inexperienced offense had some shaky moments, losing the ball four times on fumbles and five times on interceptions. Sophomore Quarterback Dan Marino became a hero instead of a goat, however, by completing 23 of 43 passes for 221 yards and twice hitting Benjie Pryor on eight-yard scoring plays.
•Led by Defensive End Hugh Green, who had two sacks and three solo tackles, Pitt's experienced defense held BC to 33 yards rushing and forced seven turnovers.
•Coach Jackie Sherrill reached into his bottomless playbook and pulled out two ploys that resulted in scores. After the first Marino-to-Pryor touchdown play in the closing moments of the second quarter, the Panthers milled around as if they were going to line up for a placekick. But, suddenly, Center Russ Grimm sidesnapped the ball to End Ricky Jackson, who followed a phalanx of blockers into the end zone for two points. The decoy play became important when BC scored in the third quarter on a 35-yard pass from John Loughery to Jon Schoen. Trailing 8-6, the Eagles had to try a two-point conversion of their own and failed. A few minutes later Marino decoyed the BC defense by rolling left and then throwing across the field to the unguarded Pryor for his second TD.
Rutgers whipped Temple 21-3 as Ed McMichael completed 15 of 19 passes for 175 yards. Jerryl Bennett threw to Split End Mike Fahnestock for 10 completions, 149 yards and two touchdowns as Army trounced Holy Cross 28-7.
While top-ranked Ohio State had its troubles with Syracuse (page 22), Big Ten archrival Michigan was pressed even harder by lowly Northwestern before winning 17-10. Indeed, with 11 minutes left, the Wolverines, who were the 32-point favorites, were fortunate to be tied 10-10, having scored a field goal following a Northwestern fumble and a touchdown after the Wildcats were penalized for having 12 men on the field for a Michigan punt. With 10:59 to go, Sophomore Quarterback Rich Hewlett put Michigan ahead for good with his second scoring pass of the day, a 23-yarder, to classmate Anthony Carter.
Oklahoma, another heavy favorite, needed a fourth-quarter fumble, an unusual safety and a long pass to beat Kentucky 29-7. Trailing 7-0 at the half, Oklahoma tied the score on sophomore Chet Winters' 13-yard run and Ali Haji-Sheikh's PAT. The Sooners took the lead early in the fourth quarter; after Kentucky fumbled on its own 28, Quarterback J.C. Watts hit Steve Rhodes on a 21-yard pass play, setting up David Overstreet's TD run. Oklahoma subsequently got a safety when Kentucky's Randy Jenkins was called for intentionally grounding the ball from his own end zone. Taking the ensuing free kick, Sooner freshman George Rhymes set up Watts' 12-yard touchdown run with a 36-yard runback, and Watts completed the scoring with a 74-yard bomb to Split End Bobby Grayson.