Coach Harvey Robinson of Tennessee, who succeeded General Bob Neyland in 1953 and still seems to dwell in the famed old coach's shadow, thought he had it all figured out. "We figured Duke to go wide and to pass," he said after the game. But Duke did neither. Instead, split-T Quarterback Jerry Barger, who is ranked with Notre Dame's Ralph Guglielmi as one of the nation's best, called play after play through the Tennessee line, off right tackle and over the center.
TENNESSEE READ JUSTS TOO LATE
It was not until almost the end of the first period that Coach Robinson realized he had figured the Dukes wrong and readjusted his line to stop an 88-yard touchdown drive. But by then it was too late. Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, a sophomore who took over from Barger after Duke had ground down to the Tennessee 10-yard line, called for a quarterback option play (see diagram) and pitched out to Halfback Bob Pascal, who ran wide around end for the touchdown. Jim Nelson kicked the extra point.
Late in the second quarter Duke marched downfield again, for 81 yards, and very nearly scored again. On the Tennessee four-yard line Halfback Fred Beasley, one of a half dozen Duke second-stringers who appear every bit as good as the starters, took a pitchout from Barger and went wide around right end. It was a clear path to the goal. It also was clear that Beasley, normally alert and reliable, did not have his mind on what he was doing. He juggled the ball and dropped it on the one-yard line. Tennessee recovered.
The Volunteers, deprived of injured Tailback Jimmy Wade, ran a single-wing offense that relied on substitute Tailback John (Drum) Majors. But Majors couldn't get his team moving until the beginning of the second half. Six plays after the kick-off, Majors and Fullback Tom Tracy had moved Tennessee from its own nine-yard line to Duke's 28. There Tracy took the ball from center and, the way cleared by an intricate double-team play that froze the right side of the Duke line (see diagram), scooted 28 yards to a touchdown. Tracy, trying for the extra point, bent disconsolately toward the grass when the ball dribbled from his toe to the left of the goalposts. It was almost as if he knew then and there that the ball game was over.
But to the 30,000 fans, many of them Tennesseeans who came in by bus, car and chartered plane to swelter in the 91� sun at horseshoe-shaped Duke Stadium, there were more thrills.
Duke drove from its own 31 to the Tennessee two-yard line late in the third period, but dropped another chance to score when Jerry Barger's pass to the end zone was intercepted by Tennessee Tailback Pat Oleksiak. "It was the worst day for passing Barger's ever had," said Duke Coach Bill Murray. Barger attempted 10 passes, completed three.
THE INEVITABLE QUESTION
Before the Tennessee game there was considerable talk about the apparent strength in depth that had enabled Duke the week before to destroy Pennsylvania, 52 to 0. The inevitable question: Was it Duke's strength or Pennsylvania's weakness? Tennessee clearly proved the latter, if Penn had not already done so by another huge loss, this time 27-7 to William and Mary.
But Coach Murray didn't seem disturbed by what his narrow victory over Tennessee proved. He never had thought the Volunteers would be easy to beat. After the game, Murray philosophized: "You think one game's tough as hell, but then you finish that and there's another one tougher."