Though the Army-Navy game—traditional finale to college football—monopolized most of the nation's attention last week, a scattering of other games were still to be played, particularly in the South and Southwest, where the weather takes a kinder attitude toward deep autumn sports and spectators.
Holy Cross excited New England partisans with a 7-0 victory over its ancient rival, Boston College. The winning score came on a 21-yard pass play from Quarterback Bill Smithers to Halfback Paul Toland, with only 40 seconds left in the game. The Holy Cross rooters immediately swarmed onto the field, so the game had to be held up five minutes as police cleared them off. The win gave Holy Cross a 24 to 23 edge in this ancient series. In another game, Hofstra beat Kings Point 34-0.
The action elsewhere was light and scattered, although there were still some important games left to be played in the South and the Southwest.
December 10, 1956
It may have been nervousness over postseason prospects, but all of the leading bowl candidates had to overcome the jitters before rolling up impressive victories and insuring themselves of lucrative invitations to play football again on New Year's Day or thereabouts.
At Nashville Tennessee was sloppy at the start and found itself tied 7-7 with fired-up Vanderbilt near the end of the half. After the Vols finally came to life, they methodically disposed of the Commodores 27-7. The victory clinched an unbeaten season (10-0), the Southeastern Conference championship and a date to play Baylor in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 1.
At Athens, Ga. Georgia Tech showed only a meager 7-0 lead over weak Georgia at half time. But the Engineers got back on the track, exploded for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and a 35-0 victory. Loser only to Tennessee, Tech wound up with a 9-1 season chart, second place in the SEC (7-1) and an invitation to replay last year's Sugar Bowl game with Pitt in the Gator Bowl Dec. 29.
Clemson could do no better than a 7-7 standoff with little Furman in the first quarter, then found the range for two touchdowns in the second period on the way to a 28-7 victory. The win earned Clemson, the Atlantic Coast Conference champion, the Orange Bowl berth. The Tigers will face Colorado in Miami Jan. 1. Other scores:
Miami 20, Florida 7
Auburn 34, Alabama 7
Miss. 13, Miss. St. 7
LSU 7, Tulane 6
In the southwest, while Texas Christian and Baylor were winning after slow starts and acquiring partners for the Cotton and Sugar Bowl games, Texas A&M exorcised a ghost by chasing Texas' stadium jinx 34-21. It was the first time the Aggies had beaten the Longhorns in Austin since Memorial Stadium opened in 1924. In their final regular-season games, Texas Christian beat down Southern Methodist's inspired Mustangs 21-6, and Baylor blitzed Rice 46-13. The conference ended with Texas A&M on top with a 6-0 record, followed by TCU, 5-1, Baylor, 4-2, Arkansas, 3-3, Southern Methodist, 2-4, Rice, 1-5 and Texas 0-6.
In the Border Conference, West Texas state (7-2) exploded for 21 points in the second half to rout Midwestern 41-14 and thus clear their last hurdle before meeting Mississippi Southern in the Tangerine Bowl at Orlando, Fla. Midwestern had shaved the lead to 20-14 before State's first string returned to action and sewed up the contest. Hardin-Simmons closed out the season with a 41-14 win Over Texas Tech, while Houston, champion of the Missouri Valley Conference, rolled over Detroit 39-7. Oklahoma bashed Oklahoma A&M 53-0 for its 40th straight win, a new national record.
Chuck Mehrer, a Missouri tackle, grabbed Bobby Robinson, a Kansas halfback, in the end zone with 39 seconds remaining, to give the Tigers a 15-13 Big Seven victory, while Colorado A&M and New Mexico, a couple of Skyline Conference teams just finishing out the season, had themselves a scoring spree, with Colorado A&M winning 28-27.
THE FAR WEST
West coast football bowed out with the traditional Southern California-Notre Dame game at Los Angeles. The Irish, hampered by inexperience all season, could not contain USC's vicious ground attack, and ended their worst season in history with a 28-20 loss.