The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

December 5, 2011

HERTZEL COLUMN - Orange Bowl memories are many

MORGANTOWN — While West Virginia played one of the most memorable football games ever played in the Orange Bowl, it has never played in THE Orange Bowl.

If this sounds contradictory, it is not.

When it was announced Sunday that WVU had been selected to play in the Orange Bowl game against Clemson, it marked the school’s first venture into that bowl game, which is somewhat shocking, considering that Duquesne played — and won — in the Orange Bowl 74 years ago.

But we will get to that.

See, for many years the University of Miami played in the structure that was the Orange Bowl Stadium, and on the night of Oct. 2, 2003, one of the greatest regular season football games with two of the greatest plays was played by the Mountaineers and the Miami Hurricanes.

This, of course, was the game where Quincy Wilson took a swing pass from Rasheed Marshall on a third and 13 play with just two minutes to play, juked Vince Wilfork, who would become an NFL star, then bowled over and jumped over another NFL-player-to-be, Brandon Meriweather, en route to a 33-yard touchdown the likes of which have never been seen.

Moments later, however, on fourth-and-13, Winslow made a spectacular fingertip, diving grab of a Brock Berlin pass for his 10th catch of the game to keep a drive alive that would end in a game-winning field goal on the final play.

The Orange Bowl, of course, is no longer played in the rickety Overton structure that was completed the year after the 1936 Duquesne team played a New Year’s Day Orange Bowl game with Mississippi State, winning, 13-12, on a desperation pass on the last play of the game.

To show how much times have changed, Duquesne was favored over Mississippi State that day the Orange Bowl in which they played cost all of $390,000 Depression-era dollars to build, or half as much as the revenue WVU brought in this season on beer sales in its stadium.

Certainly, few games have as rich a history as does the Orange Bowl, something Clemson is well aware of, considering that the Tigers wrote a page of it themselves when, in 1982, the Tigers defeated Nebraska, 22-15, in the 48th Orange Bowl to nail down their first national championship.

In that game Clemson rode the defense led by safety Terry Kinard and a 295-pound freshman middle guard who would go on to become William “Refrigerator” Perry of the Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears.

Perry is just one of so many famous players who first came onto the nation’s radar in the Orange Bowl, beginning perhaps in 1953 when a backup quarterback from Alabama got some playing time in the first Orange Bowl game to be televised, playing late in the most one-sided Orange Bowl Classic of all time, Alabama’s 61-6 victory over Syracuse.

He threw the touchdown pass that broke the Orange Bowl

scoring record and his name would become synonymous with big games, Bart Starr, the man who quarterbacked Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.

Names really do jump out at you as you look back upon the history of the Orange Bowl, which began in 1935 when the Miami Hurricanes were matched up with Bucknell.

Bucknell? That Bucknell?

Yes, that Bucknell, and as you might expect, it was a mismatch, although you probably couldn’t have guessed that Bucknell won the game, 26-0. It was, by the way, the first time The Associated Press transmitted a photo across America ... probably of Miami’s red faces.

As we say, names make history and so it is that the Orange Bowl gained some of its luster in its second game, but not because Catholic University beat Mississippi, 20-19, but because in the press box writing about it that day was the great sportswriter Grantland Rice.

Names you don’t expect to see? How about the 1945 game when a quarterback threw for an Orange Bowl record 304 yards while playing on the losing Georgia Tech team, a quarterback who would become a better coach and administrator, Frank Broyles.

Then there was the time Holy Cross went to the Orange Bowl, losing to Miami, 13-6, a game that had what might have been the Orange Bowl’s most exciting finish. Tied at 6-6 with 10 seconds left, the Holy Cross quarterback threw a pass that was batted into the air and returned 89 yards for a touchdown.

The quarterback who threw the pass was Gene DiFilippo, who would go on to become athletic director at Boston College and be the man in charge when the Eagles jilted the Big East and jumped to the ACC.

Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden, Bud Wilkinson, Tom Osborne, Bobby Dodd and Joe Paterno, all coaching legends, won national championships in the Orange Bowl, but perhaps the best and the worst coaching job was done by Clemson’s legendary Frank Howard in a 27-21 loss to Colorado in 1957.

Down 20-0 at the half, Howard gave his team an inspiring speech in which he threatened to quit on the spot if he didn’t get better effort from his team. Well, they fought back to take a 21-20 lead but for some unknown reason Howard opted to try an onside kick once he got the lead with 11:22 to go. Colorado recovered it and drove 53 yards for the winning touchdown.

And so it went, year after year, moment after moment, highlight after highlight. It is a BCS game because it’s so rich in history, filled with controversy and upsets, far too many to recount at the moment.

Rest assured, West Virginia will go into the game trying to write a little history of their own, a rookie coach with a unique offense trying to spring an upset in what it hopes is its final game representing the Big East.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions

    West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.

    April 22, 2014

  • WVU athletic department to form Fan Experience Committee

    The West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is forming a fan experience committee to discuss the needs of Mountaineer fans with the hopes of enhancing the fan experience at its events.

    April 22, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a long-time baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games

    Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.

    April 22, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right

    The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.

    April 21, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma

    Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.

    April 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Dr. Graber disagrees with Gee’s stance on Turnbull firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
    He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos