Texas dominated opening play. With Wilmer Cooks carrying, Texas drove to a first down on the five. Cooks drove to the one, but then O'Toole threw him for a three-yard loss. A pass on fourth down was incomplete as Pennsylvania stormed in. The crowd, aware that in the three previous all-star games no team was able to carry the ball across the Pennsylvania goal line, went delirious. An outsider might have thought a war had ended—which, come to think of it, may have been the case. Three times during the game the Texans drove to first downs inside the six, and three times Pennsylvania stopped them from ramming the ball across. Late in the second quarter, Texas had a first down on the four. By fourth down, Texas was eight yards out, and Jimmy Russell came in to kick a field goal for the only score of the first half.
During the half, Lefty James simplified plays on the blackboard and told Bob Bazylak, a slender quarterback bound for Pitt, that victory was up to him. James, who had shuttled players in and out of the game during the first half to wear down the Texans, told Bazylak to wear them down even more by running the ends, plunging up the middle and throwing short passes.
The strategy worked. Within 92 seconds after the second half started, Bazylak passed 17 yards to Bob Longo, a huge end, and Longo ran 45 yards for a touchdown, going first around and then through the Texas secondary. Bobby Layne used a new quarterback, Al Fierro, slated for Nebraska, and Fierro kept going for the bomb. He led Texas right down to the two-yard line, but then that Pennsylvania line, playing a gap defense, held again, and Russell came in to kick his second field goal, tying the score at 6-6.
Five and a half minutes from the end, the big break came. Ken Hebert, a superb punter for Texas, sent a high kick down the field. Ben Gregory grabbed it on the 20 and, according to plan, took two steps to his right, where, not according to plan, he bumped into a Texas tackier. Startled, Gregory quickly got back on plan by slipping away and cutting to the left sideline, where the alert Penn players had formed a protective wall. He shot up this alley of muscle as his teammates bowled over the pursuing Texans, who were laid out one by one, bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk, like a stack of fallen dominoes. Gregory scored, to make it 12-6.
But Texans die proudly, and there are probably some frightened Pennsylvanians who are not convinced yet that the Texans have quit fighting. With 31 seconds left, Fierro, who gained 241 yards passing in the second half, took over on the Texas 33. Everyone in the stands could see 13-12 in his mind's eye, and Fierro was not out to disappoint anybody. He completed two passes, but the receivers could not shake away, and the game ended to shouts of joy.
In the locker room the Pennsylvanians praised the Texans, but they knew for sure who had won. "They shouted a lot before the game," said Rettig. "We just took it easy and said we'd show 'em. We did. You can say a lot but what counts is what you do a lot." Perhaps the finest compliment came with three minutes to go when it was still anybody's game. The P.A. announcer asked the crowd, "Would you like a rematch with Texas next year?" There was a roar of approval. In the press box Al Clark chuckled. "Why," he said, "I believe they would." And why not? The Pennsylvania-Texas football game gives all the promise of becoming one of the great rivalries in sports.