Oct. 18, 2013
Editor's Note: In each home game program this fall, legendary Texas sportswriter and Baylor treasure Dave Campbell will reminisce about his most-memorable games of the decade being honored at Floyd Casey Stadium, starting with the 2000s and culminating with the 1950s when the Bears' 64-year-old home den opened its doors as Baylor Stadium. We hope you will enjoy this trip down memory lane each week as we relive some Baylor's greatest wins at The Case.
By Dave Campbell
Selecting the game of the Sixties is easy: it has to be Baylor 35, Syracuse 12 in the 1966 season opener. The ABC television network chose that Sept. 10 game as its opening college telecast of the season. It would be the first national telecast of a Baylor home game in history. Syracuse, armed with All- America halfback Floyd Little and future NFL superstar Larry Csonka, was ranked No. 7 in the AP's first poll of the season. Baylor, 5-5 the season before, was unranked.
But it was no contest. As a crowd of 31,000 looked on and with two famous names in the TV booth, Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson, doing their thing, Baylor quarterback Terry Southall and a bevy of accomplished receivers produced four touchdowns, Kenny Stockdale threw for another, and an aroused Bear defense led by Greg Pipes, Ridley Gibson, Randy Behringer and David Anderson did the rest. It was 35-6 before the Orangemen got their second score.
At the time it was Baylor's most decisive victory in history over a team ranked as high as No. 7 nationally.
While underdog Baylor's ability to trounce No.7-ranked and former national champion Syracuse was the game that secured an enduring place as the most unforgettable Baylor conquest of the 1960s, there were at least four other BU victories on the Bears' home gridiron during that decade that should not be overlooked.
In no particular order, those four were Baylor's 14-0 homecoming victory over Texas A&M in 1960; a hard-earned 12-7 triumph over No.12-ranked Rice in the Bears' final game of the regular season; a 20-6 decision over SMU in a game that was originally scheduled for Nov. 23 but was moved to Dec. 7 because of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on the day before that game was to be played; and a 10-9 victory over Texas A&M in 1968.
Each of those four games left Baylor fans with distinctive calling cards.
Baylor's 1960 victory over the Texas Aggies left the Bears with a 5-0 record for the season, it protected the team's No. 7 ranking nationally, it gave coach John Bridgers his second straight triumph over the Aggies in just his second year at Baylor (that is the only time in history the Bears have handed the Aggies back-to-back defeats in football and that's going back to 1899 when they first met), and with 40,000 fans on hand to see the Bears administer the second whitewashing, Baylor partisans were able to leave the stadium even more impressed with the high octane backfield Bridgers had assembled. That backfield included quarterback Ronnie Stanley and swift running backs Ronnie Bull, Ronnie Goodwin and Tommy Minter, and by the time the season ended they had propelled Baylor to a New Year's Eve date against Florida in the Gator Bowl.
But to nail down that date against Florida the Bears had to squeeze out a victory against Rice in their regular season finale. And by the time of that game's opening kickoff, Rice was ranked 12th in the country, while Baylor, with two losses by then (to TCU and Texas), was 19th. The Bears paved the road dirst with defense, stopping Rice at the Baylor 2 and then at the 6. After Baylor had scored, the Bears made another fine defensive stand but the Owls would not be denied the fourth time. When they scored that time, they went ahead, 7-6, but Baylor's alternate QB, Bobby Ply, took over, moved the Bears smartly downfield, and put Baylor ahead to stay with two good passes to Bob Lane and a touchdown pass to Goodwin.
Baylor's victory over SMU was no surprise -- Baylor was already assured an invitation to the Bluebonnet Bowl (the game, played at Rice Stadium on a bitterly cold December 21 and won by the Bears over LSU, 14-7) -- but of course the December timing was unusual, the result of the JFK assassination. Baylor, 7-3 at kickoff time, earlier had played eventual national champion Texas down to the wire before losing in the final seconds (can any Bear fan ever forget UT's Duke Carlisle's interception of All-SWC Don Trull's pass in the UT end zone to All-America Lawrence Elkins as time was running out?), and figured to have little trouble with six-time loser SMU. And the Bears really didn't, making the most of the passing of Trull, the pass-snatching of Elkins and the power running of Dalton Hoffman to win with room to spare, 20-6.
Baylor's victory over A&M in 1968 remains noteworthy because it was coach Bridgers' final meeting against a team from Aggieland and the Bears had been beaten decisively the year before at College Station, 21-3. Not only that, A&M was defending conference champion and Cotton Bowl winner over Bear Bryant and Alabama. But the Bears prevailed, thanks to a 21-yard field goal by Terry Cozby, a fumble recovery followed a few plays later by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Steve Stuart to Mark Lewis followed by Cozby's successful PAT. The Aggies had scored first with a 27-yard field goal and last with a 21-yard pass from Edd Hargett to Dave Elmendorf. But the PAT was no good, and thanks to that missed PAT the Bears were able to emerge triumphant. Embattled John Bridgers, in his tenth season at Baylor, was able to sleep well that night.