Once the weekend before the traditional big games was a momentary lull before the final, frantic climax of another football season as the big rivals either rested or sharpened their claws on minor opposition. This year the semifinal Saturday was a climax in itself, and many of this Saturday's traditional contests may seem like unimportant afterthoughts. Saturday was indeed a climactic day for Iowa as the Hawkeyes upended Ohio State to insure themselves at least a tie for the Big Ten championship and a certain bid to the Rose Bowl. It was a mighty important Saturday for Tennessee, which removed Mississippi as the last serious obstacle in the path of an undefeated season, a Southeastern Conference title and a Sugar or Cotton Bowl berth. For Yale, Saturday's game against Princeton reached its customary fever as the Ivy League's two leading contenders had their showdown in New Haven. Seldom has an Eli team looked more impressive; a starting lineup of 10 seniors finally avenged two years of humiliation at the hands of the Tiger and brought Princeton's dream of finishing undefeated to a sad end. Miami knocked Clemson from the undefeated list to remain the only major unbeaten independent in the South and simultaneously removed much of the luster from the Orange Bowl game, since Clemson is almost certain to be one of the contestants. Oklahoma spent the afternoon dismembering Missouri in an obvious bid to regain its No. 1 ranking from Tennessee in the Associated Press weekly poll.
Frank Merriwell was nowhere near New Haven Saturday, but Yale did not need him. In fact, the way the Bulldog backs performed against Princeton, it is highly probable the storied hero would have been forced to sit on the bench. Yale won 42-20. The margin might have been greater but for the magnanimity of Coach Jordan Olivar who used a generous assortment of substitutes in the second half. The fired-up Blue team—led by Halfbacks Dennis Mc-Gill and Al Ward, each of whom scored twice—ran up a 35-13 half-time score and seemed on the verge of making it a record-breaking point total against the Tigers when Olivar granted mercy. The win assured Yale of at least a tie for the Ivy crown, and a win against Harvard this week would clinch the title. It was Princeton's first loss of the season. Syracuse also had a track meet, and star Halfback Jimmy Brown collected most of the Gold Medals. Brown personally accounted for 43 points (six touchdowns and seven extra points) as the Orange rolled over archrival Colgate 61-7. It was the worst licking Colgate has ever taken from a Syracuse team.
Pittsburgh, playing Army, maintained its reputation as a second-half team. The Panthers came from seven points behind late in the second quarter to bury the Cadets 20-7, after Quarterback Corny Salvaterra abandoned power tactics and switched to options and roll-outs which kept Coach Red Blaik's forces bewildered. Penn state edged North Carolina state 14-7 in a game which was scoreless until the last four minutes. Milt Plum, cagey Lion quarterback, clinched the victory with 15 seconds remaining when he threw a nine-yard, tie-breaking touchdown pass to Les Walters in the end zone.
November 26, 1956
In another tradition-draped affair, Lehigh topped Lafayette 27-10 in the 91st renewal of this series which began in 1884.
Westminster, one of the finest small college teams in the East, went undefeated in its 21st straight, 48-0, against Carnegie Tech. In the last four years, Westminster has won 29, lost one, tied one.
In New England, fast-growing Connecticut won its first outright Yankee Conference championship, downing Rhode island 51-6; Williams won the Little Three title from Amherst 27-12 on a second-half, three-touchdown rally, and Tufts closed out its best season in 20 years with a 53-19 win over Upsaia. Springfield collected its first undefeated season (one tie in nine games) by stopping Hofstra 27-9. New England's only other undefeated team, New Haven State, downed Bridgeport 33-12 for its ninth straight win. Other scores:
Boston College 13, Boston U. 0
Brown 21, Harvard 12
Dartmouth 27, Cornell 14
Delaware 14, Temple 7
Gettysburg 21, F&M 0
Holy Cross 41, Marquette 0
Juniata 33, Ursinus 6
New Hampshire 28, Mass. 7
Penn 20, Columbia 6
Rutgers 20, Wm. & Mary 6
Trinity 14, Wesleyan 7
Union 14, Hamilton 13
No one in Dixie can think of anything but bowls these days, and officials of the bowls are doing some thinking, too. Over the weekend some of these thoughts came into sharp focus. Tennessee's convincing 27-7 triumph over Mississippi set Sugar Bowl officials drooling with anticipation. Georgia Tech's workmanlike 27-0 whitewashing of resurgent Alabama gave Cotton Bowl sponsors bright visions for New Year's Day. But in Miami, Orange Bowl promoters were growing ulcers and calling for Miltown after watching Miami humiliate clemson. The Tigers looked inept in all departments against Miami as they took their first loss of the season. Nonetheless, Clemson remains the only logical pick for the bowl assignment as the representative of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Elsewhere in the South a 70-yard scoring pass on the first play from scrimmage started Auburn to an easy 20-0 victory over Georgia. Sophomore Quarterback Billy Stacy scored three touchdowns and passed for a fourth as Mississippi state rolled over important LSU 32-13. A stolen lateral and an intercepted pass set up drives of 54 and 71 yards, bringing Tulane a 13-6 victory over Vanderbilt. Kentucky Warmed Up for this week's meeting with Tennessee by whomping Xavier 33-0.
Duke, picking up strength every week, recovered eight of 10 Wake Forest fumbles and splashed to a 26-0 victory in the rain, scoring in every quarter. South Carolina got untracked with marches of 58 and 52 yards late in the fourth quarter for a 13-0 Victory Over deflated Maryland. Virginia was no match for Navy, dropping a 34-7 decision in a mud bath at Baltimore.
In the Southern Conference, West Virginia clinched its fourth straight championship but barely stumbled past little Furman 7-0, and George Washington disposed of The Citadel, 20-0. Other scores:
Bnbrdg. Navy 19, Grt. Lakes 7
Chat. 19, McMurray 14
Emory & Henry 50, Ran. Macon 0
Fisk 26, Morehouse 9
Florida St. 20, Miss. So. 19
Hampden-Sydney 12, W&L 0
Mur. St. 34, W. Ky. 13
Richmond 45, East. Carolina 7
Quarterback Ken Ploen floated a soft pass to End Jim Gibbons in the end zone and suddenly the fragrance of roses drifted over the bellowing, shivering crowd of 57,732 in Iowa City, Iowa. With one deft play in the third quarter that covered just 11 yards Iowa had upset rugged Ohio state 6-0 and won the tangled, full-throttle Big Ten race for the Rose Bowl. For Iowa the trip to Pasadena on New Year's Day will be the first in its history. For favorite OSU, the loss was its first in 18 Big Ten games. By winning, Iowa also gained at least a tie for the Big Ten championship and will win all the marbles if Michigan happens to knock off OSU this weekend.
In one of the finest games of the Big Ten season, Minnesota upset favored Michigan state 14-13. The two teams were perfectly matched—Minnesota gained 324 yards to Michigan State's 333—but the difference was Gopher Quarterback Bobby Cox.
Michigan had no trouble with Indiana, winning 49-26, while in two other battles Of the also-rans, Northwestern beat Purdue 14-0 and Wisconsin tied Illinois 13-13. Quarterback Paul Hornung led Notre Dame to a 21-14 victory Over North Carolina that snapped a five-game Irish losing streak.
In the Big Seven where Oklahoma has a permanent lease on the championship, Sooner Coach Bud Wilkinson saw his boys maul Missouri 67-14, rolling for 464 yards on the ground and 138 more in the air. Then Wilkinson, keeping a straight face, said: "I think Missouri played well. I thought they contained us fairly well." Kansas State battered Iowa State 32-6.
Houston, champion of the Missouri Valley Conference, erased a 7-6 half-time deficit to defeat Villanova 26-13 in an inter-sectional game. Jim Wiggins dashed 82 and 90 yards for touchdowns as Oklahoma A&M bowled over Detroit 25-7 in an MVC contest. Other scores:
Carleton 27, Cornell (Iowa) 13
De Pauw 7, Wabash 7
Kent State 27, Western Mich. 13
Monmouth 26, Lawrence 13
N. Dak. St. 19, Iowa Tchrs. 13
Ohio U. 17, Marshall 0
Rippon 46, Knox 0
St. Olaf 40, Grinnell 14
Toledo 21, Brandeis 21
Tulsa 10, Texas Tech 7
Wayne 14, John Carroll 0
Wichita 14, Dayton 6
Texas A&M all dressed up with no place to go, bagged a cinch tie for the Southwest Conference championship with a 21-7 win over Rice, but it was Texas Christian, an A&M victim, which may have picked up the Cotton Bowl marbles with a 46-0 triumph over Texas. The undefeated Aggies are ineligible to represent the conference in the Cotton—or any other—Bowl now that the NCAA has refused to lift its probation for violation of recruiting rules. So the Cotton Bowl scent brought TCU back to life, and, paced by Halfback Jim Swink, the Horned Frogs pulverized Texas. Swink put the spurs to the TCU offense, scoring four times. The victory was the largest TCU has ever managed against a conference team, and it was also the worst defeat in conference history for Texas. Baylor campaigned outside the conference and subdued Nebraska 26-7, while Arkansas whomped Southern Methodist 27-13.
Texas Western won the Border Conference championship in the last two seconds of its game with second place West Texas state. Freshman Halfback Truman Hobbs booted a 38-yard field goal on the final play from scrimmage for the 16-13 victory. The Buffs had been leading 13-0 before the champs rallied. Other scores:
Lamar Tech 34, Sul Ross 7
N. Tex. St. 20, Abilene Chr. 7
S. H. State 31, S. F. Austin 0
South. Texas 14, East Texas 0
Tex. Luth. 33, Austin Col. 14
Trinity 34, Midwestern 6
THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
Wyoming put Coach Phil Dickens into a state of acute anxiety Saturday before finally tipping Brigham Young 7-6 to conclude a perfect, 10-game undefeated season. The Cowboys scored in the first quarter when Jim Crawford, the nation's leading ground-gainer, intercepted a BYU pass and raced 55 yards for the team's lone touchdown. Wyoming then held on precariously. The narrow one-point victory did nothing to enhance the Cowpokes desirability in the eyes of the bowl game scouts, particularly those holding invitations to the Gator classic in Jacksonville.
The New Mexico-Montana game, rated a tough one to pick, proved that the experts had reason to be puzzled. The New Mexico Lobos eked out a 14-13 win at Albuquerque in a game marked by raw tempers and, finally, a free-for-all.
Utah took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter against Colorado's Orange Bowl-bound Buffaloes, opening with a 60-yard touchdown drive. But then a second-period announcement of Oklahoma's devastating victory over Missouri woke up the Buffs, who rallied for three touchdowns and a 21-7 win.
The Air Force Academy, unbeaten and once tied before Saturday's tilt with Idaho state, caught the Rocky Mountain Conference Bengals at their best and dropped a 13-7 decision at Pueblo, Col.
Montana state, the unbeaten Rocky Mountain Conference titlist, added icing to the cake with a 54-0 victory over Whit-worth. It was the ninth straight for the Bobcats and gave the school its first unbeaten, untied football season since 1889. Other scores:
Boise 59, Wenatchee 6
Eastern N. Mex. 28, Western St. 19
THE FAR WEST
The Pacific Coast Conference narrowly missed the most humiliating experience in its history Saturday—having its Rose Bowl entry beaten by Idaho. Oregon State just did luck out a 14-10 win after being outplayed most of the game. Trailing 10-7 with only two minutes to play, spidery Beaver Halfbacks Paul Lowe and Earnel Durden, as usual, pulled out the win. It was a triumphant day for the Northwest. This ordinarily weak segment of the conference swept the board. Oregon dumped bored use 7-0, Washington manhandled Stanford 34-13, demonstrating again that the forward pass, like the bolo punch, is more spectacular than effective. Stanford completed 26 of 39 aerials and Quarterback John Brodie had 20 for 26, but Washington remained at sea level to grind out the easy win. Washington State beat California 14-13 in a game Coach Jim Sutherland wanted to win from his ex-boss Pappy Waldorf.
Elsewhere, Redlands wrapped up the Southern California Conference, ripping the Whittier Poets 34-13. Quarterback Howard Tipton was largely responsible for helping Redlands to an undefeated season and a bid to the Aluminum Bowl at Little Rock, Ark., Dec. 22. Cal Tech completed its best season since 1931 by winning its third game of the year, 45-7, over La Verne. Cal Tech has lost five. Other scores:
Fresno St. 50, San Diego St. 7
Hardin-Simmons 20, COP 19
Pacific 18, Lewis & Clark 6
San Jose St. 35, Cal Poly 28
Teen-age daughters of old Yale grads ecstatically advance on conquering Elis—after victory over Princeton—with pencils drawn. The girls, ringed by happy Yalemen, including End Paul Lopata (left) and Coach Jordan Olivar (right, wearing baseball cap), clamored for autographs on the back of their ticket stubs. One of the misses returned triumphantly to her father, waving an autographed ticket, exclaiming: "Look, Daddy, I got Dennie McGill."