This was supposed to be the year of the forward pass in college football, but the runners had a field day Saturday.

Oklahoma State's Terry Miller ripped off 246 yards to move ahead of Earl Campbell of Texas as the nation's leading rusher. But the Cowboys lost to Missouri, 41-14. Campbell gained 153 yards in the Longhorn 44-14 victory over TCU.

Miller has gained 1,525 yards this season for a 152.5 average. Campbell in one fewer game has gained 1,341 yards for 149 yards a game.

Elsewhere, I.M. Hipp rambled for 200 yards as Nebraska rushed for a team record 556 yards in a 52-7 demolition of Kansas.

Minnesota's Kent Kitzman carried an NCAA record 57 times and gained 266 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 21-0 victory over Illinois.

Big gainer of the day was North Carolina freshman "Famous" Amos Otis who motored for 286 yards on 35 carries and North Carolina clinched at least a tie for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship with a 35-14 victory over Virginia.

Bowl bids will go out Saturday and it appears the Cotton Bowl will have the biggest game of all, probably the one for the national championship. That game pits the Southwest Conference champion against a selected opponent.

No. 1-ranked and undefeated Texas is a game ahead of Arkansas and Texas A&M in the conference with two games left.

Arkansas knocked the Aggies out of a tie for the lead, 26-20. Texas already has beaten Arkansas and its duel for the conference title with A&M will be Nov. 25 in College Station, Tex.

Notre Dame kept on course for a Cotton Bowl showdown with a come-from-behind 21-17 victory at Clemson. Cotton Bowl officials have said they want the Irish, and Notre Dame says it will go the bowl with the highest-ranked opponent.

Halfback Bagas Ferguson came off the bench with two sprained ankles to rush for 75 yards in 13 carries and set up two fourth-quarter Irish touchdowns, one-yard runs by quarterback Joe Montana.

Southern California's Rose Bowl chances were almost snuffed out by Washington as the Huskies rolled to a 28-10 victory in Seattle. Washington and UCLA, a 48-18 victor over Oregon State, are tied for the Pacific Eight conference lead with one game left.

The Bruins will be the host Rose Bowl team if they beat the Trojans on Nov. 25. Washington goes if UCLA loses that game and the Huskies beats Washington State next week. If both Washington and UCLA lose, a four-way tie is possible and the bowl representative would be selected by a conference committee.

The Pac-8's opponent will be the Big 10 champion. That will be decided Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan or Ohio State.

The Sugar Bowl will match the Southeastern Conference representative, second-ranked Alabama, against an opponent to be selected. Among those being considered are Arkansas, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, the Big Eight runner-up and the Big 10 runner-up, the same teams the Cotton and Orange Bowls are scouting.

Kentucky, 5-0 in the SEC and 9-1 overall, has a shot at the conference championship, but is on probation and cannot go to a bowl.

The Orange Bowl will have the Big Eight champion against one of the same teams being considered for the Sugar. The Big Eight title will be decided in two weeks, Nebraska against the Sooners in Oklahoma. Oklahoma bombed Colorado on Saturday, 52-14.

Navy, Maryland and Howard won Saturday but the Bison were the only ones who had an easy time. Howard walloped North Carolina Central, 33-0, and Maryland squeaked by Richmond, 27-24.

Navy, with President Carter in attendance, upset Georgia Tech 20-16. Tailback Joe Gattuso ran for 147 yards on a school-record 30 carries. He also has 1,167 yards, a single-season Navy rushing record. The Mids are 5-5 and anticipate a winning season with a victory over Army in two weeks.