SPARTANS 21, IRISH 7
As millions of TV watchers learned at half time last Saturday, Michigan State University sets great store by the precision of its marching band. As the hitherto unbeaten and unscored-on Irish of Notre Dame learned the same afternoon, Michigan State produces precision football too.
Notre Dame entered the game as the fourth-ranking team in the U.S., Michigan State as the 13th. After a two-hour display of Spartan finesse, the new rankings read: Michigan State, No. 6; Notre Dame, No. 11.
It is no disgrace to be beaten by the 1955 Spartans. In retrospect, indeed , the No. 1 team in the country, the University of Michigan, more than ever deserved that ranking for the simple fact that it has been the only team in the U.S. this season able to beat Michigan State (SI, Oct. 10).
Much of the credit for the Michigan State victory last Saturday belongs to a sturdy, rocklike man of whom the U.S. is bound to hear more—Coach Hugh Duffy Daugherty who is serving his second term as Spartan head coach after seven years as line coach for Biggie Munn. Daugherty is an old lineman himself (Syracuse, '40) and his Michigan State line last week, led by Guard Embry Robinson, outcharged Notre Dame's forwards all day and turned in a devastating demonstration of downfield blocking. Behind them, with blazing precision, came the backs.
Gerry Planutis, an ex-G.I. who was discovered by far-flung Spartan recruiters while starring for a U.S. Army team in Trieste, was the big rocket in State's backfield but he had a lot of help. While Planutis ripped the Irish middle, Clarence Peaks sliced through the tackles, fleet Sophomore Walt Kowalczyk raced around end and Quarterback Earl Morrall kept the whole thing moving with his deft ball-handling, play selection and passing.
The final score was 21-7, and it just about represented the difference between the two teams.
AGGIES 19, FROGS 16
Coach Bear Bryant of Texas A&M is a man who likes to win. When the Aggies hired him away from Kentucky two years ago with a six-year contract, it was a storm signal of sorts to the rest of the Southwest Conference.
No one expected miracles from Bryant in his first year and none were forthcoming—A&M lost nine of its 10 games in 1954. But old Aggies didn't mind—they just pointed to Bear's freshman team, composed of the cream of the Texas schoolboy football crop, which won the unofficial conference freshman championship. "Wait till 1956 and 1957," old Aggies said.
This is still sound advice—and sound warning. In Fort Worth last week, however, Bryant's Aggies gave a brief glimpse of the shape of things to come by knocking over undefeated Texas Christian 19-16.
On defense the A&M youngsters used their speed to smother TCU's great breakaway back, Jim Spink, before he could get started; on offense they sucked TCU's Horned Frogs with trap plays, pulled them in, then ran around them. With five sophomores and five juniors in the starting lineup (there were only four seniors on the squad), Bryant's "pore little boys" played TCU off its feet.
Sophomore Quarterbacks Jimmy Wright and Donnie Grant faked beautifully and ran the attack with precision. Junior Halfback Don Watson caught one 20-yard touchdown pass, blazed 51 yards for another. Sophomore Halfback Bill Dendy went 21 for the third. And Jim Stanley, a tremendous sophomore guard who followed Bryant all the way to College Station, Texas from Lynch, Ky., led an Aggie line which Saturday caused the Bear to say after the game: "Our line won it for us." Even the unhappy opponents were full of praise. "They were awfully quick," said Hugh Pitts, TCU's great center and linebacker. "They came out of those positions like they were fired out of cannons."