Publish date:

Bitter and better bowls

Superb passes, dazzling runs, collapse of a superstar and a near brawl made it a rewarding day for the channel-switcher

Blessed with normal agility and a certain amount of determination, it was possible on New Year's Day to spend six hours in front of a television set and emerge, dial fingers blistered and retinas raw, with a vast sense of accomplishment: attendance at four bowl games. Those with emotional or monetary attachments to Louisiana State and Wisconsin may disagree, but it seemed to be unusually good entertainment. Seven of the eight teams were ranged among the top 10 in final wire-service polls and this may have accounted for better over-all quality than in years past. And despite the absence of suspense, there was a handful of outstanding individual performances and some rather surprising developments on the field. What one might have missed by remaining at home—pretty girls, parades, traffic jams, cold hot dogs—was compensated for by the impressions gained from viewing the production as a whole. Some of the impressions as well as some of the key players appear on these three pages.

Explosive moment at Dallas became most headlined—and most controversial—event at any bowl game. Threatened battle between Syracuse Tackle John Brown, who said a Texas player four times called him a "dirty nigger," and Longhorn Larry Stephens (84) was averted when the two rival coaches piled into middle of scuffle, herded players toward their own lines. Whether or not there was name-calling, the Cotton Bowl undoubtedly produced day's most aggressive tackles and blocks.

Terrific twin quarterback punch of Georgia, featuring running and defensive play of Charley Britt (17), passing of Francis Tarkenton (10), led to Missouri's downfall in the Orange Bowl. Britt's darting roll-out runs and punt returns softened the Tigers up while his two timely interceptions kept them away from the Georgia goal. Then Tarkenton came in to throw two touchdown passes and give Georgia a victory in what its coach, Wally Butts, called "our worst game all year."

Finger-Tip catch in end zone by tumbling Lee Folkins occurred at end of 23-yard pass from Bob Schloredt, Washington's one-eyed wizard of a quarterback, who confounded beefy Wisconsin defense all day with slick play selection. What other heroics the Huskies needed were supplied by George Fleming (25), scoring at right on a 53-yard punt return, aided by teammate Kurt Gegner's block. Fleming, a Negro from Dallas whom an integrated Texas could have used, later ran another punt back 55 yards, caught a 65-yard pass, kicked a 36-yard field goal and five extra points.

Hounded star, LSU's famed Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon, spent most of a miserable Sugar Bowl afternoon on the seat of his All-America pants. The boy whose No. 20 jersey will be the first ever retired at Louisiana State could gain but eight yards on Mississippi tacklers in six carries, dropped a pass, failed to complete the only one he threw. At times it appeared that Cannon's jersey had been retired a day early, with Billy inside.