1. OHIO STATE (9-0)
2. NOTRE DAME (9-0)
3. NEBRASKA (10-0-1)
"Let's talk about this game, not the Rose Bowl. This was the big game for us," said Northwestern's Alex Agase after his Wildcats defeated Michigan Slate 23-20. It was indeed the big game for Northwestern's slight Rose Bowl chances wilted with Ohio State's victory (page 16). Was Agase disappointed? "Look, it's beautiful," he said. "It's beautiful to be 6-1 in the Big Ten. This is only the second time in history Northwestern has won six conference games. And it's nice to be thought about."
On the field Maurie Daigneau threw touchdown passes of 31 and 64 yards to Flanker Barry Pearson, both off fakes that found Spartan defenders looking the other way, and Mike Adamle carried for 137 yards to set a Big Ten season record of 1,054. The vital man, though, was Bill Planisek, who kicked three field goals. The first opened the scoring, the second made it 20-all, the third won the game.
In 1964 and 1966 Nebraska was Big Eight champ and bowl-bound prior to the Oklahoma game. Each time the Sooners won. On Saturday the Cornhuskers made it past even Oklahoma—but barely. Not until Cornerback Jimmy Anderson intercepted a Jack Mildren pass in the end zone on the last play of the game was Nebraska's 28-21 victory and undefeated season secure.
The Huskers' winning touchdown came in the fourth quarter after a nifty third-and-14 pass from Jerry Tagge to Fullback Dan Schneiss. "In our offense the fullback doesn't get to carry the ball very much, so I have to take advantage of the opportunities I have," said Schneiss of his 24-yard catch amid three defenders, which put Nebraska on the Oklahoma three. "I juggled it a little and was telling myself, "Better not drop this one.' " Tagge took it in from there.
Eddie Periard, the 5'9", 201-pound Corn-husker middle guard, isn't big, but he's proud. He said, "The coaches told us, watch the short passes, don't give Mildren any running room and keep 'em out of the end zone. We did all three."
Around Madison, one indelible mark of a successful season is a victory over Minnesota in the Midwest's oldest rivalry (81 years). Wisconsin beat the Gophers, 39-14, so call Coach John Jardine's first year a success even though his won-loss record was only 4-5-1. Still it was the Badgers' best season since 1963.
Wisconsin accumulated 477 yards, most of them off' the arm of Quarterback Neil Graff", who passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. Then there were a couple of surprises. Kicker John Krugman threw to End Terry Whittaker for a 47-yard touchdown off a fake punt, and Fullback Gary Lund gained 74 yards in 14 carries as a sub for injury-prone Alan (A-Train) Thompson. "I was very surprised that Lund was that caliber of player," Gopher Coach Murray Warmath confessed. "Thompson must be an awfully good back to keep a guy like that on the bench."
As for the Toledo Rockets, bless 'em, they made it two straight undefeated seasons by defeating Colorado State 24-14.