Remember Dorando in the 1908 Olympic marathon? Far in front, he collapsed just 10 yards short of the finish line in one of the most fantastic foldups in sporting records. Last week the nation's front-running football teams were beginning to show signs of fatigue reminiscent of Dorando while running the final few laps of the 1956 college gridiron race, with the rich bids awaiting just the other side of the finish line. Georgia Tech, for instance, retained its untied and undefeated status by the barest of margins as an inspired Duke team outplayed the Engineers on the ground and in the air. Tennessee, also unmarred in six battles, kept its clean slate against a weak North Carolina team, but by no means as convincingly as had been expected. Tech and Tennessee meet this Saturday in a game that must mar the aspirations of one of them. The outcome will decide which team will be most sought after by the Cotton and Sugar Bowls. Oklahoma, ineligible for a bowl but determined to nail down its second consecutive national championship, faltered dangerously against Colorado and had to erase a two-touchdown half-time deficit before winning by a mere eight points—its poorest showing of the season (see page 18). Iowa, until Saturday the only team in the Big Ten with a perfect record, bowed to Michigan and saw its Rose Bowl hopes diminished, while sturdy Ohio State took over the Big Ten lead with a lucky hairline victory over downtrodden Northwestern.
This is an article from the Nov. 12, 1956 issue
In the East, both Syracuse and Navy showed that they may have the stuff to go the distance and simultaneously heightened their chances for bowl bids with impressive wins over Penn State and Notre Dame, respectively. Clemson gained stature as the probable Atlantic Coast Conference representative in the Orange Bowl slot by beating Virginia Tech. Out West, however, the Rose Bowl picture was still muddy as Stanford lost to UCLA (see page 16) and faced a showdown with Oregon State this weekend. The final run to the tape appeared to be filled with stumbling blocks even yet.
Football's regimental-stripe-tie, button-down-collar brigade, those eastern oddballs who play the game for fun, have gone big league—and on their own terms. Saturday's round of eastern grid matches produced at least two red-hot bowl contenders and proved that hallowed halls can still send forth fair matches for any challenger in the country.
Navy, possibly only the third or fourth best team in the East behind the independent Big Three (Syracuse, Penn State and Pitt) walloped Notre Dame for the first time since the war year of 1944, 33-7. The win stirred interest in the Middies down in Gainesville, Fla., where the Gator Bowl fathers are inspecting 1956 candidates for the Dec. 29 show. Syracuse and Penn State, unconquered save in the East (by Pittsburgh and Army respectively), fought a traditional battle which could well have decided the Lambert Trophy winner. Syracuse took the game 13-9, thanks to two costly Penn State fumbles in the third quarter, one of which was converted into the winning Orange touchdown. Both the Cotton and Gator Bowls were watching for the winner of this one.
Perhaps the most unusual game of the year was played at West Point, where Army yielded 46 points to a potent Colgate attack, yet still managed to win 55-46. Together, the teams gained 939 yards, rolled up 44 first downs and a total of 101 points. Three men scored three touchdowns each (Bob Kyasky and Dick Stephenson for Army and Jack Call for Colgate).
Yale and Princeton continued their neck-and-neck race for the Ivy League crown with respective wins over Dartmouth (19-0) and Brown (21-7), apparently setting the stage for a sudden-death title match Nov. 17 at New Haven. Pennsylvania surprised Harvard 28-14 for its first road victory since 1952. Columbia won the big one for departing Coach Lou Little, a 25-19 farewell present over favored Cornell. It was the final home game for Little, who can now boast he began and ended his 27-year tenure at Columbia's Baker Field with victories.
Tufts, which had emerged as the East's Cinderella team after opening successfully against Harvard and winning the next three in a row, finally fell to a souped-up Amherst squad 6-0. Other scores:
Bates 13, Bowdoin 12
Connecticut 0, N. Hamp. 0
Holy Cross 21, Boston U. 12
Mass. 26, Vermont 19
Maine 26, Colby 7
Middlebury 41, Norwich 14
N'eastern 19, Brandeis 13
Springfield 40, Rhode Island 0
Trinity 27, Coast Guard 7
Union 20, Williams 14
Wesleyan 24, Rochester 7
Boston College 7, Villanova 6
Del. 7, Bainbridge N.T.S. 7
F&M 21, Carnegie Tech 0
Hamilton 49, Kenyon 13
Juniata 48, Grove City 0
Lehigh 21, Temple 0
Rutgers 20, Lafayette 19
In a weekend of bright sunshine in Florida and disconcerting rain in the Carolinas, the South's unbeaten "big four" came through unsullied once more, though none was particularly impressive in winning. Georgia Tech and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, once-tied Clemson of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and once-tied Miami of the independents moved ever closer to showdown meetings with one another—Georgia Tech facing Tennessee this Saturday and Clemson colliding with Miami the following week.
Georgia Tech, still the class of the South, ran into unexpectedly stubborn resistance from Duke before grinding out a fourth-period touchdown for a 7-0 win. Tennessee, with Johnny Majors on the sidelines because of rib bruises, started slowly against a stubborn North Carolina defense but finally hacked out a 20-0 victory. Clemson vaulted past Virginia Tech for a 21-6 victory, while Miami used its first stringers sparingly Friday night, depended on its second and third teams to run off with a 20-7 triumph over game but obviously overmatched Florida State.
Mississippi and Florida racked up impressive conference victories. The speedy, shifty Rebels riddled LSU'S pass defense in the second half for an easy 46-17 victory after trailing 17-14 at half time. Florida struck suddenly on long gainers for three touchdowns and a 20-0 victory over Auburn. Tulane survived a late Mississippi State offensive to register a 20-14 conference win. Georgia came from behind to beat Alabama 16-13 on a 29-yard field goal by Ken Cooper.
In interconference games, Vanderbilt beat Virginia 6-2. A 46-yard drive and a 78-yard punt return brought methodical Kentucky a 14-0 victory over Maryland's amazingly impotent Terrapins. Other scores:
W. Vir. 14, G. Washington 0
VMI 20, Wm. & Mary 6
South Carolina 13, Furman 6
Wake Forest 13, N.C. State 0
Miss. South. 36, Abilene Chr. 6
Davidson 7, Richmond 0
Chattanooga 33, Tampa 0
Sewanee 26, Centre 0
Citadel, 20, Presbyterian 13
Stetson 20, Car. Newman 0
After Saturday's play in the Big Ten Minnesota, rated at the beginning of the season as an outsider, must be favored to go to the Rose Bowl. The Gophers continued unbeaten (though once tied—by Northwestern) with a squeaker over a fine Pittsburgh team 9-6. Michigan, which lost to Minnesota last week, kept alive its faint hopes for a trip to Pasadena on New Year's Day by coming from behind to beat Iowa 17-14 at Iowa City. Iowa buckled and fell under Michigan's second-half pressure after leading by 11 points at half time. Michigan State bounced back from its loss last week to Illinois, easily crushing weak Wisconsin 33-0. Ohio State, a rugged ground-gaining power that regards the forward pass as an effete maneuver, reluctantly had to throw the ball to beat surprisingly tough Northwestern 6-2. Illinois and Purdue, two erratic teams, battled to a 7-7 draw, as Abe Woodson, the Illini star whose miraculous runs beat Michigan State last week, saved the game by plucking a Boilermaker fumble out of the air in the end zone and dashing out of danger. Indiana huffed and puffed and finally beat weak Marquette 19-13.
In the Big Seven Colorado, which had looked to the Oklahoma game as just another one on the schedule, almost produced the upset of the season before finally losing 27-19. The Sooners, trailing 19-6 at the half, turned loose Tommy McDonald and Clendon Thomas for three touchdowns in the final two periods for their 36th straight win. Missouri, hoping for a chance to represent the Big Seven in the Orange Bowl, fell victim to two Nebraska touchdowns and a 33-yard, third-quarter field goal by Quarterback George Harshman to lose 15-14. Missouri is now 2-1, Oklahoma 3-0 and Colorado 4-1 in the conference. Kansas came from two touchdowns behind to overhaul Kansas State 20-15, while Iowa State which had yielded 86 points and scored none in the last two games, bounced back to thrash Drake 39-14.
Houston kept up its strong pace in quest of a Missouri Valley championship, crushing Wichita 41-16. The Cougars now lead the conference with a 2-0 mark. In nonconference games Tulsa pushed College of the Pacific from the unbeaten class 14-13, and Oklahoma A&M was tied by Texas Tech 13-13. Cincinnati rolled over Detroit 33-7 in a third nonconference hassle.
Central Michigan clinched the Interstate Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, the fifth year it has either won or shared the honor, by blanking Eastern Michigan 19-0. Other scores:
Miami (Ohio) 7, Bowl. Green 7
Ohio U. 27, W. Mich. 7
Kent State 52, Toledo 6
Wabash 34, Wash. and Lee 0
Akron 40, Oberlin 14
Denison 73, Ohio Northern 0
Wash. (St. L.) 26, S. Ill. 0
Bradley 53, William Jewell 14
Lawrence 20, Cornell (Iowa) 0
John Carroll 44, W. Reserve 14
S. Dak. 20, Iowa Teachers 19
Texas A&M found fog and cold to its liking and turned the well-ballyhooed ground-power duel with Arkansas into a 27-0 rout. A&M, now 3-0 in the Southwest Conference, will almost surely play host at this year's Cotton Bowl game if the NCAA lets them off probation when the case is considered this month. SMU, unbeaten in SWC play, thanks to two extra-point conversions in its two games, scored 20 points in the first half against an inept Texas eleven, then had to hold on in the last half to withstand a fired-up 19-point assault by the Longhorns.
TCU, hoping to see A&M tripped up, knocked off Baylor 7-6 on a fourth-quarter touchdown march. Rice scored three times on passes and once on the ground to throttle visiting Utah 27-0 as End Buddy Dial caught five passes.
In the Border Conference, Texas Western posted double digits in each quarter to rout Hardin-Simmons 51-13. West Texas State, riding a five-game winning streak (2-0 in conference play), was tripped by Arizona 20-13, while Arizona State went outside the league to bedevil San Diego State 61-0 for its seventh straight. Other scores:
Howard Payne 19, McMurry 7
Trinity 7, North Texas St. 7
Steph. F. Austin 9, Sul Ross 7
Texas A&I 27, E. Texas St. 14
Ark. A&M 19, Ark. St. Tchrs. 14
Corpus Christi 20, Austin 14
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
A winterized Wyoming team virtually clinched the Skyline Conference championship Saturday by trouncing Utah State 21-0 at Logan. Jim Crawford, the nation's leading ground-gainer, rolled up 132 yards in 15 carries for the Cowboys to win individual honors and run his season total to 912 yards. In the only other Skyline game Brigham Young rolled over New Mexico 33-12 for its first win in 14 outings. Despite snow and cold, the BYU Cougars completed 22 of 43 passes for 206 yards. Montana state College, which had already clinched the Rocky Mountain title, walloped rival Montana University, their Skyline neighbor, 33-14.
The unbeaten Air Force Academy kept its slate clean with a 21-0 win over Colorado State College. The Falcons have now rolled up 251 points to 40 in their second football season. Other scores:
Idaho St. 27, Colorado Mines 6
West. State 21, Col. Coll. 14
Highlands 20, Westminster 14
E. New Mex. 59, Adams St. 14
THE FAR WEST
Oregon State set up a Rose Bowl showdown with Stanford this Saturday as it stopped Washington 28-20 at Portland before 32,890. If OSC does get to Pasadena, it will be due in no small part to sophomore Tailback Earnel Durden, who scored three of the four Beaver touchdowns. The Beavers drove 83 yards to a touchdown the first time they got the ball, with Durden carrying for the final four yards. Again in the first quarter, Durden took a 16-yard pass from Joe Francis to give OSC a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Washington eventually cut the margin to 21-13, but Durden put the game beyond recall in the fourth quarter with a 44-yard scoring run.
Even without Jon Arnett, who played his last game for use last week, the Trojans managed to handle Washington State at Pullman 28-12. UCLA'S 14-13 upset of Stanford was the stunner in Pacific Coast Conference (see page 16). The result threw the PCC Rose Bowl race into temporary confusion, which should be settled by Saturday's Stanford-Oregon State match. In the other PCC game Saturday, California's unpredictable Golden Bears fell to a swift Oregon team 28-6, and Coach Pappy Waldorf was hanged in effigy. Other scores:
San Fran. St. 10, Cal Aggies 0
Denver 35, San Jose 26
Idaho 24, Fresno St. 12
Sacramento St. 21, Nevada 20
Humboldt 7, Chico St. 6
Portland St. 33, Pacific U. 14
Linfield 20, Col. of Idaho 7
Oregon Ed. 24, Oregon Tech 7
East. Ore. 36, South. Ore. 27
Brit. Col. 7, Central Wash. 6
West. Wash. 14, East. Wash. 13
Whitman 27, Lewis & Clark 21
Puget Sound 20, Willamette 14
VITAL STATISTICS. The oft-neglected field goal brought victories to three teams last Saturday: Minnesota (Borstad, 26 yards); Georgia (Cooper, 29 yards); Michigan (Kramer, 15 yards).
AIR DEFENSE COMMAND. Penn State has allowed only 18 pass completions in six games, but, even more amazing, the Nittany Lions have intercepted 16 errant tosses.
Texas Coach Ed Price, hanged three times in effigy for turning out losing football teams, finally resigned his $12,500 per year job last week at the urging of friends who feared for his health.
The Prayin' Colonels of Centre College, wandering far from their old Kentucky home, came to the end of an 18-game winning streak—at the hands of Sewanee 26-0.
Clarence Peaks, Michigan State's All-America halfback, was brought down last week, but not by any player. He stepped in a hole while running in the clear against Illinois, injuring his knee. Corrective surgery has ended his college career.
Quarterback Earl Norwood of Oakland JC was forced to miss action in the third quarter against San Mateo JC Saturday because his wooden leg was splintered. By the time he got a spare leg fitted San Mateo led 13-0. Norwood returned to action in time to guide Oakland to two touchdowns and a satisfying 14-13 victory.