SI Vault
September 23, 1957
HERMAN HICKMAN SAYS: As so many of us have said so often, a league composed of the leading eastern independents could be on a par with any conference in the country. Technically, the eastern teams belong to the rather loose-knit ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference), but there is no championship competition. In fact, all the Ivy League teams are also members of ECAC, but they, of course, fight it out among themselves for their own title. Since most of the major independents are located in the East, let's take a look at them first.
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September 23, 1957

The Independents

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COLORS: Blue and white
1956 RECORD: Won 6, lost 2, tied 1
WATCH FOR: Hard and shifty running of Halfback Bruce Gilmore

THE DOPE: The Nittany Lions may be the best team in the East. Coach Rip Engle would like a big tackle and maybe a guard or two, but otherwise he's ready to turn his men loose. The reason for this—despite the graduation of All-America Guard Sam Valentine, Quarterback Milt Plum and six other starters—lies in Engle's two-unit system. In short, the returning boys not only have the talent but have worked together as a team. In the backfield, three, and probably four, first stringers move up from last year's all-sophomore second unit. Most spectacular of these is Halfback Bruce Gilmore, an evenly built 175-pound parcel who runs like former Penn Stater Lenny Moore. Al Jacks, top-shelf passer and field general, is set at quarter and Andy Moconyi at the halfback post opposite Gilmore. Fullback is uncertain, but it looks as though Maurice Schleicher, a 235-pound jumbo, will join his classmates on the first unit. The line picture is spotty. No worries over Ends Les Walters and Jack Farls, who in 1956 logged the most game time of this year's squad, or center, where Chuck Ruslavage and Steve Garban return. Engle's biggest thorn is at tackle, where only Bill Wehmer is back. There are slight guard infirmities, but if these are shored up, Penn State will bring home the prizes—and one will be the Lambert Trophy.

1957 SCHEDULE (1956 score):

SEPT. 28 at Pennsylvania (34-0)
OCT. 5 Army (7-14)
OCT. 12 William & Mary (no game)
OCT. 19 Vanderbilt (no game)
OCT. 26 at Syracuse (9-13)
NOV. 2 West Virginia (16-6)
NOV. 9 at Marquette (no game)
NOV. 16 at Holy Cross (43-0)
NOV. 23 at Pittsburgh (7-7)


COLORS: Blue and gold
1956 RECORD: Won 7, lost 2, tied 1
WATCH FOR: Charley Brueckman at the center of a big, tough line

THE DOPE: The Panthers may not have the toughest team in the country this year, but they may well have the toughest schedule. Coach Johnny Michelosen guided his first two Pitt teams to bowl games with the strength of great benches. This year he sorely lacks the bench. Gone by graduation are his first two quarterbacks, two fullbacks, both tackles, All-America Joe Walton and three other ends, plus sundry halfbacks and guards. Despite all this, Michelosen has been able to patch together a grand first-string line. From tackle to tackle it is big and rough, led by All-America prospect Charley Brueckman at center and 245-pound Tackle Jim McCusker. The ends are chancy with Dick Scherer and Art Gob. In the backfield Bill Kaliden will take over at quarterback, and although he can't run the option with the skill of Corny Salvaterra, he is faster and probably a better passer. The veteran halfbacks, Dick Bowen and Jim Theodore, are being broken up with the shift of Bowen to full. Big ground-gainer should be Theodore, who traveled 400 yards last year. Michelosen, whose blocking assignments already are single-wing style, may swing into some single-wing plays. He's been itching to.

SEPT. 21 Oklahoma (no game)
SEPT. 28 Oregon at Portland, N (14-7)
OCT. 4 at USC, N (no game)
OCT. 12 Nebraska (no game)
OCT. 19 at Army (20-7)
OCT. 26 at Notre Dame (26-13)
NOV. 2 Syracuse (14-7)
NOV. 9 West Virginia (14-13)
NOV. 23 Penn Stale (7-7)
DEC. 7 at Miami (14-7)

New Brunswick, N.J.

COLOR: Scarlet
BASIC OFFENSE: Single wing
1956 RECORD: Won 8, lost 7

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