SI Vault
Alfred Wright
December 03, 1956
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December 03, 1956

Day Of The 'big Game'

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Trooping sadly off the field with the players, Alexander Salvaterra, a frail little man, who, like other Pitt dads, had sat on the bench, muttered:

"We should have won it."

In the stony silence of the Pitt dressing room, the acting captain, Fullback Ralph Jelic, was muttering too:

"It was just like losing."

As a matter of fact, both Penn State and Pitt had several good chances to win the 56th renewal of a savage backyard brawl in sub-freezing Pitt Stadium. But they settled for a deserved 7-7 standoff.

Penn State broke the ice early in the second quarter of this furious battle on half-frozen turf before a blanket-and-parka crowd of 52,000. Milt Plum, as versatile a quarterback as there is anywhere, made the key play in a 61-yard scoring drive by circling Pitt's right end for six yards on fourth down to lug the ball to the seven. State bit off the remaining yardage in two chunks, with Billy Kane diving inside Pitt's left tackle for the touchdown.

The Panthers came back after the following kickoff and traveled 78 yards to even the score. Corny Salvaterra, who was half a hero and later nearly the goat, threw a high lobbing pass for the final 18 yards. End Rob Rosborough snared it in the extreme corner of the end zone. Bugs Bagamery made the conversion. That was it.


Lynn (Pappy) Waldorf went out in triumph when California defeated Stanford 20 to 18 in the 59th Big Game. Portly Pappy had announced his retirement after 10 years at Berkeley in a squad meeting on the Tuesday before the game. That may have been just what lit the fire under the underdog Bears, because they marched to scores the first three times they grabbed the ball. A jammed stadium of 81,410 remained to see the game ball placed in Pappy's large paws as he was lifted to shoulder pads and paraded around the field.

Stanford has lived by the pass all season, and thrice has died by the toe. Losses to UCLA (13-14) and Oregon State (19-20) kicked the Indians out of the Rose Bowl. Halfback Mike Raftery failed to hit on three against Cal, and this time the Indians were kicked out of the Honolulu Pineapple Bowl. The offer held only if Stanford won the Big Game.

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