In the '30s the mark of a dedicated college football fan was whether he could spell Alex Wojciechowicz. Those were the days when titans (small t) flourished in the East; when always-powerful Pitt played three straight scoreless ties with always-powerful Fordham. Now, after a quarter of a century, the East again may have reached a point where its top teams are as plentiful and its heroes' names as difficult to spell.
As the 1963 collegiate season opened, no sector was more surprising than the East. Its teams won three big intersectional games away from home and one on native ground, all in convincing style. And no sector produced more hard-to-spell names. Consider: Staubach and Sai (Navy), Liske, Klingensmith and Urbanik (Penn State), Mazurek (Pitt) and Mahle (Syracuse). Happily for West Point, its hero was Tom Smith.
In a cradle of hills at Morgantown, West Virginia, Navy's gifted passer, Roger Staubach, and gifted runner, Johnny Sai, humiliated the supposedly good Mountaineers 51-7. In Los Angeles, where Pitt blasted UCLA 20-0, Quarterback Fred Mazurek did everything well. In Portland, where Penn State sprung a mysterious new offense on highly regarded Oregon to win 17-7, the stars were Pete Liske, Gary Klingensmith and Tom Urbanik. And, back in the East, Syracuse's run-happy Walley Mahle (pronounced Mail-e) got the best of Boston College's pass-happy Jack Concannon 32-21 in a sprightly duel of quarterbacks.
It was five years ago—1959—that Coach Ben Schwartzwalder's Orange team won the national title and started the East on the road to everything. Since then, while there have been no other national championships, there have been more teams of the caliber of Syracuse and more coaches of the caliber of Syracuse's Schwartzwalder. But if last week's activities were a true indication, the coach who may be destined to take the East further than anyone is Navy's Wayne Hardin. In his fifth season, he seems to have come up with a team so explosive that even he cannot appraise it.
September 29, 1963
A record 35,000 turned out in Morgantown, hopeful of seeing West Virginia's Jerry Yost outthrow Staubach. It was no contest at all. Staubach began his junior year the way he left off as a sophomore when he buried Army 34-14. He completed 17 of 22 passes for 171 yards and guided Navy to most of the 417 yards it gained. The performance left Hardin almost as dazed as West Virginia.
Penn State's Rip Engle certainly had an answer for Oregon, a feared team with a feared back, Mel Renfro. The answer was a new offense called the swing T, which sent a "Z" back to an open end position on either side of the line. This unbalanced the line at times, made a tackle an eligible pass receiver and split an end out 15 yards wide. Thoroughly confused, Oregon's defenders permitted all sorts of Penn State atrocities, chief among them Quarterback Pete Liske's two touchdowns. When Oregon tried to overshift to meet the new attack, Liske ordered a fast snap and sent Klingensmith running outside (for 85 yards) and Urbanik inside (for 40 yards more).
On Friday night in Los Angeles, Fred Mazurek was Pitt's special Z against UCLA. Noted recently for its sluggish teams, Pitt blasted out 429 yards, rushing and passing, and a staggering 27 to 6 edge in first downs against the Bruins. Mazurek hit eight of 11 passes for 106 yards and scooted along the line for 43 yards. While Pitt did not need to display a wide-open attack, it did unveil a streak of a sophomore ballcarrier, Eric Crab-tree, a 9.7 sprinter who averaged 5.5 yards on eight carries. "Pitt is one of the top 10 teams in the U.S.," said UCLA's beleaguered Bill Barnes. Like Navy and Penn State, the Panthers seemed to have a little bit of everything, and Eastern rooters, having viewed one showdown between Syracuse and BC, are now looking to another on October 26 between Navy and Pitt and to Pitt's November 23 collision with Penn State.