The year was 1963. The game was in the Cotton Bowl, the legendary stadium of the southwest United States. The quarterback was All-American and future Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach. The team was Navy, and they were in Dallas to play SMU. Navy was heavily favored and SMU was on its way to a 4-7 season. But, John Roderick rushed for 146 yards on just 11 carries, scoring two touchdowns and the SMU defense sent Staubach to the bench twice with dislocated left shoulder, leading SMU to a big upset. Trailing 28-26 with 2:52 left in the game, SMU Danny Thomas hit Billy Gannon who was brought down at the Navy 46. Roderick took the next snap 23 yards down to the Navy 23. A pass interference penalty put the ball at the 1 yard line and Gannon plowed over the right tackle for the winning score. The SMU defense held off Stabauch’s last attempt at a comeback and SMU won 32-28. Navy would lose two games that season, both in the Cotton Bowl. (Texas beat them in the Cotton Bowl Game on Jan. 1st.)
THIS WEEK’S GAME:
SMU will visit Navy this week. SMU leads the all time series 7-5, winning 6 of the first 7 matchups. Navy won the last meeting in 1998 in Annapolis. SMU has played two of the top passing offenses the past two weeks but will face the Navy’s triple option attack this week. SMU brings the run and shoot offense into Annapolis, led by true freshman quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. Bo Levi has an outstanding football name. He has 4 300 yard passing games and 21 touchdown throws on the season. His favorite target is Emmanuel Sanders. He has 823 yards receiving, second in the nation and 8 TD’s this season, becoming the all time TD reception leader in SMU history. Sophomore Aldrick Robinson leads the nation with 909 receiving yards and 10 TD’s in just 8 games. Kickoff return man Jesse Henderson is SMU’s career kickoff return yardage leader with 2,671 yards and is only 251 yards short of the NCAA record. Linebacker Justin Smart leads the Ponies with 63 tackles in 2008. SMU played 12 true freshman in the season opener, more than any other NCAA school.
Nay will play its 1200 football game against SMU this week. Navy has won 3 of their last 4 games under new head coach Ken Niumatalolo. Navy features the triple option offense average 367 yards a game. Shun Wright leads Navy with 768 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns. He rushed for 348 yards against Towson. Jabaree Tunai, playing on the defensive line, leads the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss.
SWC MEMORIES PLAYER PROFILE:
Eric Dickerson came out of Sealy High School a top recruit, setting his sights on OU. His mama talked him into attending SMU (with the help of some boosters I’m sure). His freshman season he rushed 115 times for 477 yards. He then became part of the Pony Express, rushing with backfield teammate Craig James. Neither of the two friends liked the system at first. Dickerson’s sophomore season saw him rush for 928 yards and 5 touchdowns. The story is he called OU coach Barry Switzer wanting to transfer to OU, but the Sooner coach was not in his office to take the call and thus he stayed at SMU. The 1981 season, Dickerson’s junior year, would be one for the record books as the Pony Express system became the most potent rushing attacks in NCAA history. He would carry the ball 255 times and rush for 1,428 yards which ranked 6th nationally and first in the SWC. He would score 19 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for 100 yards in 10 of 11 games. Against Baylor he totaled 158 yards and 3 touchdowns and against the Aggies he had 121 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Pony Express combo of Dickerson and James rushed for 2,575 yards and 27 touchdowns and led SMU to a 10-1 record, a SWC Championship (first since 1966) and a #5 ranking, the first Top Ten finish since 1966. Dickerson’s 4,450 rushing yards on 790 carries for his SMU career broke Earl Campbell’s SWC record for yards and attempts and his 48 touchdowns tied Doak Walker for the SMU all time record. Dickerson would play professionally for both the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts.
OTHER GAMES THIS WEEK:
Ole Miss at Arkansas (Arkansas struggles continue as they look to take on Ole Miss)
Baylor at Nebraska (Baylor looks to pull off major upset in Lincoln)
Rice at Tulane (Rice needs to win on road to stay in bowl hunt)
OK State at Texas (Big showdown week two in Austin)
Texas A&M at Iowa State (A&M actually has a chance to win one, but it is on the road)
Wyoming at TCU (TCU should cake walk through this one)
Texas Tech at Kansas (Difficult stretch starts for Red Raiders as they visit KU)
RESULTS FROM LAST WEEK:
SWC Game of the Week:
Texas Tech 43 Texas A&M 25 (Aggies can’t hold onto half time lead as Red Raiders get things ironed out and roll over A&M for 7th time in 8 games)
Kentucky 21 Arkansas 20 (Kentucky rallies to beat Petrino for first time)
OK State 34 Baylor 6 (OK State rolls over the Bears, look to showdown in Austin)
Houston 44 SMU 38 (SMU loses in final seconds as Houston moves to 3-0 in the conference)
Rice 45 Southern Mississippi 40 (Rice wins as Clements and Dillard connect on three more touchdowns)
Texas 56 Missouri 31 (First game as #1 since 1977, Texas scores early and rolls over the Tigers)
TCU 32 BYU 7 (TCU stays in BCS hunt with big win over top ten BYU on a Thursday night)
W L W L
Texas 2 0 7 0
TCU 1 0 7 1
Texas Tech 1 0 7 0
Rice 1 1 4 3
Houston 1 0 4 3
Arkansas: 0 1 3 4
Baylor 0 0 3 4
Texas A&M 0 1 2 5
SMU 0 2 1 7
ON THE BLOG:
Read about The Boulevard, the main street on campus (Bishop) where students, student groups, alumni groups, tailgate before each game.
This is not the most glamorous matchup for the teams today, but it sparks the past memories of SWC glory for us here at SWC Game of the Week. I hope everyone has a good week, and comes back wanting more.
A Blog devoted to all things SWC, the greatest college athletic conference. Updated weekly with the SWC Game of the Week during football season. Other relevant SWC News will appear from time to time as well.