The 1969 College All-Star Game

All-Star Game

 

Note: Increasingly, the game was becoming a distraction to the pro players. Joe Namath, hero of the Super Bowl, showed up just ten days before the game. Otto Graham, coach of the All-Stars and Johnny Sample, Jets’ defensive back, got into a physical altercation during the game. For the collegians, the luster of the game seemed to be waning in the late 60's as O.J. Simpson, 1968 Heisman Trophy winner, chose not to participate in the game because of risk of injury while not yet under contract with an NFL team. He was joined by Purdue's Leroy Keyes and others. The public lost the chance of seeing Simpson's pro debut against Joe Namath and the amazing Jets and this definitely reverberated throughout the sports world.

 

CHICAGO, Aug. 1 (AP) - Joe Namath was a thousand boos from Broadway, but he got enough passed out his system to lead the New York Jets to a 26-24 football thriller over the College All-Stars.

 

In the vast Soldier Field arena Friday night, Broadway Joe made his first big public appearance of the season, only 10 days after reporting to camp. The crowd of 74,208 let him have it.

 

The brittle-legged hero of the Jets Super Bowl upset of the Baltimore Colts, returning to the pro football world from the bistrosphere, let the booing fall where it may. Playing until only the last five minutes of the game, he hit on 17 of 32 passes for 292 yards.

 

None of his shots went for a touchdown, but they did much in setting up field goals for 43, 42, 18 and 16 yards by Jim Turner and scoring runs of three and 35 yards by Matt Snell.

 

"I wasn't throwing worth a flip, but at this stage I'm satisfied.” said Namath. "How far off am I? About five games."

 

The cheers of this National Football League city crowd deservedly went mainly for the Al1-Stars quarterback Greg Cook of Cincinnati and streaking runners Altie Taylor of Utah State and Jerry Levias of Southern Methodist.

 

They combined to nearly blow New York out of the Jetstream in a last half spectacular when the collegians scored all their points.

 

Cook, property of the Cincinnati Bengals, came in after Terry Hanratty of Notre Dame and Bob Douglass of Kansas had been given shots at quarterback by head coach Otto Graham.

 

After Taylor raced back a Jet kickoff 78 yards in the first six minutes of the third period to turn on the crowd, Cook hurled a 17-yard touchdown pass to Gene Washington of Stanford.

 

Later, Cook hit Taylor for 44 yards and then speared Bob Klein of Southern California for a 12-yard touchdown.

 

In the last 16 seconds of the game, Cook hooked up with Levias on a 59-yard aerial and eventually hit him again with a 19- yard scoring shot. Soccer-style placekicker Roy Gerela of New Mexico State booted the extra points and also added a 28-yard field goal. In all, Cook completed 12 of 23 tosses for 241 yards to compensate for a sad All-Star running attack that withered before the Jet defense for a net ground gain of 16 yards.

 

The bird-dogging of Namath' pass receivers by Jim Marsalis of Tennessee State and Willie Thompson of Maryland State also drew applause. They were so eager, in fact, that several costly pass-interference penalties were called.

 

But probably the greatest achievement of the collegians must be credited to a remarkable goal-line stand early in the second quarter. On the one-yard line they held off two blasts from the rugged Snell, and one each from Emerson Boozer and Bill Mathis.

 

Among those who did most in the gallant stand were Bill Bergey, Arkansas State; Fred Dryer, San Diego State: Terry Brown, Oklahoma State; Dave Bradley, Penn State, and Bob Babich, Miami of Ohio.

 

"That was one of the greatest goal-line stands I've ever seen in my years of coaching," said Notre Dame Coach Ara Parseghian who visited the All-Star dressing room.

 

Graham, who coached the All-Stars to their last victory in the series- over Green Bay in 1963- and returned to the helm this tune after leaving the Washington Redskins, declared "This is one of the greatest bunch of fellows I've had the honor to coach."

 

About the only one showing signs of combat was Graham. He nursed a cut and swollen nose.

 

Near the end of the game, Otto accused Jet defensive back John Sample of clotheslining Washington. They got close enough so that Sample butted him with his helmet.

 

"I slapped him a couple of times after that but I only hit his face guard," laughed Graham, who drew a bench penalty.

 

Coach Weeb Ewbank of the Jets said his team "could have had three touchdowns in the first period, but our execution was poor. I thought Namath did well for being in camp only 10 days."

 

Namath passes (from the cover of SI).

 

Matt Snell is stopped by Bill Bergey during All-Stars' goal line stand.

 

Joe Namath petitions the officials for a touchdown, but Matt Snell was stopped short.

 

It was sometimes a rough night for Namath.

 

The Jets' Bill Mathis rumbles against the Stars.

 

1968

 

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