SI Vault
Sublime weekend for the underdogs
Mervin Hyman
October 21, 1963
Rarely have so many major college teams been mistreated so horribly in a single weekend. While Texas bushwhacked Oklahoma with unexpected ease, 28-7 (see page 22), Alabama, Navy, Penn State, Oregon State, Nebraska and West Texas State were all rudely put down for the first time by suddenly aroused and, in some cases, most unlikely underdogs. Duke was held to a tie by California. Ohio State and Illinois saved or—according to how you look at it—ruined their day by playing to a deadlock. Among the already defeated, USC was shocked for a second time by Notre Dame, and Arkansas was the surprise victim of Baylor.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 21, 1963

Sublime Weekend For The Underdogs

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

It is not quite true that GEORGIA TECH beat Tennessee 23-7 on Billy Lothridge's skills and Coach Bobby Dodd's lung power. It is true that after Tech's first score, Tennessee forced a Jacket punt and illegally sent in an offensive team. Dodd screamed loud enough to be heard by every one of the 51,527 spectators (most ever to attend an athletic event in Tennessee), and the Vols got parked back on their own goal. Soon after, Lothridge—without using a huddle-destroyed the intimidated foe with a 54-yard pass to End Ted Davis. From then on Tennessee alumnus Dodd had no trouble spoiling Tennessee's Homecoming.

Trapped, Miami's George Mira escaped and skittered a brilliant 34 yards to the LSU 14. As Mira was forced out a teammate, yards behind, clipped. Later, with one second left, End Hoyt Sparks took a Mira end zone pass right on the belt buckle—and dropped it. Sparks slumped to the ground crying, and LSU had won 3-0 on Doug Moreau's field goal. It has been that kind of season for Mira and Miami. Came hail, high water and CLEMSON from behind to tie GEORGIA on Bob Swift's half-yard plunge, 7-7. Losing a 10-0 lead over MISSISSIPPI STATE, Tulane went to its 15th straight defeat 31-10. AUBURN had a 28-0 outing against Chattanooga, KENTUCKY bullied Detroit 35-18.

A very dead ACC contender, Maryland lost again, 14-7, to NORTH CAROLINA. The new challenger, NORTH CAROLINA STATE, followed Jim Rossi to an easy 18-6 win over South Carolina. Wake Forest lost its 14th straight, 35-0, to FLORIDA STATE, whose Steve Tensi threw three scoring passes.


1. WISCONSIN (3-0)
2. OKLAHOMA (2-1)
3. ILLINOIS and OHIO STATE (2-0-1)

Because all he can do is punt, NORTHWESTERN left Merlin Norenberg at home when it played Illinois, and a five-yard kick set up the winning touchdown. Last week the Wildcats stayed home with Norenberg, who 1) got off one 80-yard punt, 2) twice pinned Minnesota within its five, 3) averaged 48 yards and 4) kept Northwestern alive. In unconscious parody of Minnesota's field-position game, NU consistently kept the ball in Gopher territory—only to lose it just as consistently on intercepted passes and a fumble. Then Tom Myers passed to Mike Buckner for 64 yards and to Willie Stinson for 25 yards, with two minutes left, and Northwestern won 15-8. "That's what I like about passing," said Ara Parseghian. "It's inconsistent, but it's explosive. Sputter, sputter. Boom."

The Big Ten's unbeaten, untied dark horses, ILLINOIS and OHIO STATE, emerged from their exciting battle just as unbeaten, just as dark and a lot more tied. The 84,712 spectators pondered not the reason for the 20-20 tie—that was OSU's Dick Van Raaphorst's record 49-yard field goal in the last two minutes—but why their team had not won. Particularly puzzled were the Illini, whose men had overcome a 17-7 deficit on a Mike Taliaferro-Eddie Russell pass and a Jim Warren run. Only a missed two-point conversion kept last year's eighth-placers from being this week's sole Big Ten leader.

North Dame's Hugh Devore said before the USC game that the Irish would have to control the ball to win. The Notre Dame team was equally unoriginal but mighty impressive in winning, 17-14. The Irish held possession for almost 22 minutes of the final half and won in the last six minutes on a field goal by Ken Ivan.

Three weeks ago Purdue was held scoreless for the first time since 1959. Last week WISCONSIN beat Purdue 38-20, scoring the most points on the Boilermakers since 1948. IOWA'S Fred Riddle threw five touchdown passes for a Big Ten record as the Hawk-eyes outscored Indiana 37-26. MICHIGAN tied MICHIGAN STATE 7-7 in a bitterly fought game before 101,450.

Air Force is smarter than Nebraska. The score, 17-13, proved this, but so did Guard Todd Jagerson's explanation. "We could tell what Nebraska linemen were going to do by the weight they put on their hands," he said. "When they pulled, their hands relaxed. When they came straight, they must have had hundreds of pounds on each finger."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4