SOUTHERN METHODIST 19
NOTRE DAME 13
Sixty-one thousand football-hungry Texans swarmed into the Cotton Bowl for the first rite of fall—the largest opening-game crowd in Cotton Bowl history despite the 87° temperature. They came, not so much in hopes of a Mustang victory, but rather to look upon mighty Notre Dame and heroic Paul Hornung. This was a fine way to start the season off, even if the home team—two-touchdown underdogs and an overwhelming choice for last place in the Southwest Conference—seemed in for a tough evening.
But Notre Dame, despite the aura of the name, was untested, too, a fact which was deeply felt by the SMU football team. They had been pointing for this one since spring practice, and it showed the minute the boys started to play football. They pushed Notre Dame around for a 13-0 half-time lead, and then, after the Irish had come back to tie it up, pulled out the game with a touchdown in the last two minutes of play to win 19-13, and to renew the Southwest Conference franchise for upsetting the dope.
The whole team was tremendous. The line, headed by Bob Blakely, a two-year letterman at right tackle, and Sophomore Tom Koening at guard, beat the Irish to the punch all night. A quartet of fine ends put tremendous pressure on Hornung, both on the option play and passes. The top of their T—named Jackson, Masters, and Slaughter—ran like savages, and a nice Catholic boy named Charles Arnold at quarterback treated Notre Dame with downright irreverence. He passed for the first touchdown. He sneaked over for the second. He handed off for the third. Four times he insulted the Irish by running for short yardage on fourth down; four times he made it (twice by inches on the chain). He intercepted two passes. He was, said Notre Dame Coach Terry Brennan afterward, "wonderful. Arnold was the difference."
September 30, 1956
In the noisy SMU dressing room after the game, Charlie Arnold told why he had twice gambled for short yardage deep in his own territory with the score tied late in the game. "We didn't want a good ball game," he grinned. "We wanted to win."
—WILLARD C. RAPPLEYE
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 44
Even though the game was being played almost in the shadow of the Lone Star capitol dome, the Texas announcer was ready to strike his colors by the start of the third quarter. As the ball was snapped, he shouted in anguish over the loudspeaker: "It's a pitchout to Roberts—oh, dear, here we go again."
And down on the field, Roberts went—74 high-stepping yards to his third touchdown of the night and his total of 251 yards from scrimmage, more than any USC back has ever scored in one game. Indeed, the story of the USC-Texas curtain-raising football game in Austin was the story of Mr. Roberts. The eyes of Texas have seldom beheld a more convincing display of power running than he put on before 47,000 dumb-struck Texans in Memorial Stadium last Saturday night.
The final score was 44-20 and Texans' pride was as hurt as though they had been caught driving last year's Cadillacs.
Not normally considered among the Eleven Elevens because of the unrest over the eligibility penalties (Jon Arnett, for instance, is eligible for only the first five games), Coach Jess Hill's USC Trojans have football seers taking a second look. In their last two games, the finale against Notre Dame last year and this one, USC has run up 86 points, no mean feat against major opposition. True, they are still light-hearted about defense which they regard as a useless interruption of an otherwise pleasurable pastime; USC ran up 20 first downs, but so did Texas. And Texas completed nineteen passes, enough to win most ball games.
The USC offense this year is uncomplicated by any too-frequent changing of the quarterbacking. The varsity quarterbacks, Ellis Kissinger and Frank Hall, are splitting the season between them, and Hall, who has the first five games, can concentrate on leading the team to the goal line without looking over both shoulders for fear of replacement. As one Texas player, pulling on his cowboy boots after his shower, commented, "Them fellows can be fooled—especially with passing. But when they got that ball...man, it's murder."
MR. ROBERTS OF USC
USC's Mr. Roberts is an awesome 207-pound Negro fullback who runs the hundred in 9.8 with or without tacklers hanging on to him and answers to the nickname "C.R." The first time he got the ball against Texas he swooped around end for 11 yards, knocking Texans, Trojans and even an official out of his way. The next time he took a pitchout for 25 yards. On the first play of the second quarter, he rambled 73 yards for his first touchdown. Ten plays later Roberts turned the game into the rout it was to become by rocking and rolling 50 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. One pesky tackler he was unable to straight-arm, so he whacked him on the back of the helmet and trampled him underfoot. Even his interference seemed to be running for their lives as Roberts stampeded behind them like a runaway locomotive.
WEST VIRGINIA 13
Two days before he sent his big team against West Virginia, Pittsburgh Coach Johnny Michelosen was discussing the best way to stop the split-T attack used by both schools. "The only way to play that formation is to fire in there and penetrate into their backfield," he said. "If you let them run on you, they have the advantage." Last year with a Sugar Bowl bid up for grabs, Pitt successfully fired into the West Virginia backfield and won easily 26-7. When the two teams met again last weekend Mountaineer Coach Art Lewis was ready to fight fire with fire by slanting and looping his linemen in a bewildering series of defenses. Lewis completely stopped the attack of Pitt, a team ranked among the best in the nation, but Lewis' bag of tricks did not contain a defense against fumbles, and alert Pitt turned the Mountaineers' bobbles into touchdowns to win the war 14-13, while losing every battle.
A record crowd of 34,800 crowded into elderly Mountaineer Field in Morgantown to watch the opening game of the season for these bitter rivals. The spirit of Pitt's veteran team was sky-high. Running through calisthenics the week of the game, the team bellowed happily. West Virginia was higher yet. On the first day of spring practice this year, Lewis assembled his team before a blackboard and solemnly chalked up three giant figures: 167. With a scowl, Lewis asked what the number stood for. Back came an immediate reply: there were 167 days until the Pitt game. "If we're not ready for this one," said Lewis when all the days had been ticked off, "then we don't have a ball club."
For Pitt the game was a shocking surprise. Statistically, West Virginia was by far the better team, gaining 289 yards by air and ground to only 96 by Pitt. With the toughest schedule in the country, Pitt will have to improve or be swallowed whole by teams like Notre Dame, Army and Syracuse. West Virginia Coach Art Lewis wearily slumped on a bench and played the game over again in his mind. Finally Center Chuck Howley walked by, and Lewis reached up to shake his hand. "I'm sorry, Coach," said Howley. "We beat them but the score beat us." Lewis grinned unhappily.
The roof fell in on the house that Jim Tatum built at the University of Maryland. After 15 straight victories in regular season games the favored Terrapins collapsed completely in their 1956 debut at the hands of a much better schooled and disciplined Syracuse team. It was a sad start for Tommy Mont, the "nice guy" who replaced Tatum as Maryland's head coach.
The final score was 26-12, but it would have been 26-6 were it not for the generosity of the men in bright orange. During the final moments of play Syracuse sent in their third string to cope with a Maryland drive that was too late to matter. For Syracuse it was sweet revenge after the team's humiliating defeat at the hands of the Terrapins last year, and, according to Head Coach Ben Schwartzwalder, it had been a game the Syracuse team had been preparing and waiting for ever since that 1955 loss.
The standout on the Syracuse team was Left Halfback Jim Brown, a powerful 212-pounder who time and time again cut through the highly touted Maryland line like a sharp knife nipping through soft cheese. Altogether Big Jim hustled off 156 yards rushing—well over half the Syracuse rushing total of 258 yards. After Maryland had opened the scoring in the first quarter, it was Brown who came right back eight plays later to set the plot right by catching the pass on a play that started on the Maryland 24 and running eight yards for the touchdown. Then he put his team ahead for good by kicking the extra point. Brown, who punched through the sieve-like Maryland line with consistent running gains of five, seven and nine yards, really broke Maryland's back with a 78-yard run in the third period, carrying the ball on a pitchout from the Syracuse 15 to the Maryland 7. Four plays later Syracuse scored again to make it a decisive 19 to 6.
Syracuse appeared to be a real comer in the national picture, a theory that will be properly tested next Saturday against Pittsburgh. Maryland, on the other hand, has plenty of manpower, and this one could very well be their worst game of the year.
Utah Quarterback Pete Haun executes jump pass to Halfback Stu Vaughan. Costly Utah fumbles interrupted their chances of one of week's biggest upsets.
Tech Fullback Ken Owens grinds out four yards over Kentucky line in team's first conference win.