In what is perhaps the greatest victory in Baylor football history, the No. 11 Baylor Bears upset the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1957.
First year head coach and former Baylor All-American end Sammy Boyd led the Bears to a record of 8-2 on their way to a third place finish in the SWC. The Bears lost quarterback Doyle Traylor mid-season with a broken anklebone, and subsequently lost two games by a total of seven points to TCU and Texas A&M. Southwest Conference champions TCU earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl, and the Bears were chosen to attend the Sugar Bowl.
"I'll buy that," said Coach Boyd "To see Baylor win the Southwest Conference title and gain the Cotton Bowl has become an obssesion with me...but until we do that... this is the one."
The Tennessee Vols were heavily favored and in the December 24, 1956 issue of Sports Illustrated, Herman Hickman predicted a Tennessee victory. "Baylor is big and explosive. Tennessee is stronger defensively and steadier offensively, with an outstanding kicking game."
Yet, it was the Bears who dominated the game more than the final score indicated. Led by senior All-American right guard Bill Glass and senior halfback Del Shofner, the Bears opened up an early 6-0 advantage heading into halftime.
To start the game, Baylor's Bobby Peters returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to the Vol 44 yard-line. Quarterback Bobby Jones then led the tough running game of Shofner, Peters, and Charley Dupre to the Vol 4. But after a delay of game penalty, the Bears' Donnel Berry missed a 26-yard field goal.
After a Tennessee quick kick and a Baylor punt, Baylor's Art Beall made the first of four interceptions for the Bear secondary. But the Bears couldn't take advantage of the turnover, and the first quarter ended scoreless. Baylor then added 6 points to the scoreboard on an 80-yard touchdown drive accentuated by a 54-yard Shofner run and a 12-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Jerry Marcontell. Berry's extra point was wide.
Tennessee opened up the third quarter with a 39-yard drive topped off by a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Johnny Majors to put the Vols up 7-6. The teams traded possessions until Tennessee's Majors fumbled a Shofner punt on his own 7-yard line. Baylor then pounded the ball on five successive runs from the 15, and quarterback Buddy Humphrey plunged in for a 1-yard score. Berry made the extra point to make the score 13-7.
Baylor would intercept Tennessee passes on two of its last three drives, and the Bears pulled off the biggest bowl win in their history.
"We figured the direct power...running straight at 'em...was our best bet," coach Boyd said. "We put aside our delayed handoffs, fired right at 'em...and it turned out to be the best policy."
The Bear's tough defense and strong running game were too much for the Vols, as Baylor out-gained them 275 to 146 yards on the ground and 299 to 162 yards overall. The Baylor defense also forced five turnovers while Tennessee only forced two.
Shofner was named the Sugar Bowl's Most Outstanding Player with 88 net rushing yards on 14 carries, one interception, and seven punts for 228 total yards. Shofner and Glass were selected 10 and 11 overall in the 1957 NFL draft. Baylor was the only school in 1957 with two first round picks.
Written by Luke Blount, Student Media Relations Assistant