Tennessee's season started in unspectacular fashion in 1965. But,
they appeared to turn it around when they tied mighty Alabama and Ken
Stabler at Birmingham’s Legion Field in a game that was tantamount to a
victory to bring their season record to 2-0-2 when tragedy struck. On
the following Monday morning, offensive line and kicking coach Charlie
Rash, 28, left his Forest Oak Drive home in Knoxville in his Volkswagen
Beetle, stopped to pick up end coach Bob Jones, 30, at his Deane Hill
Apartment on Gleason Drive, and then headed to pick up Coach Majors at
his Cessna Drive home a mile or so southwest.
As the three coaches pulled away from his small rental home toward
Westland Drive, they collided with a Southern Railway train heading
toward downtown Knoxville. The right rear of the VW was smashed, sending
it 96 feet down the track. The train, which was traveling at a high rate
of speed but had set its air brakes after seeing the car, traveled
nearly a mile before stopping.
Majors and Jones were killed instantly. Rash was taken to Fort Sanders
Presbyterian Hospital in very critical condition. He would die four days
later. Authorities later cited the time of the crash at 6:53 a.m. after
finding Jones’ watch from the 1957 Sugar Bowl between Baylor and
A service was held the next day at Church Street United Methodist Church
near the campus. The whole football team was in the back with (blazer)
uniforms. The week was a whirlwind of activity for Coach Dickey, as he
had to help with out of town burial services. After deciding to continue
with the season, the staff realigned itself. Former coach Jim McDonald
came back from administration, and additional duties were given to the
remaining coaches. The team also decided to wear black crosses over the
“T’s” on the helmets as memorial tributes for the rest of the season.
Tennessee valiantly managed to win 4 of the next five games before
meeting Rose Bowl bound and #5 ranked UCLA in Memphis in a game dubbed
the "Rosebonnet Bowl”. The Volunteers pulled off a stunning 36-35 upset.
Frank Emanuel was named an All-American on a defense that yielded just
98 points in 11 games. They finished the regular season ranked #7.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane had taken the collegiate passing game to a
level never seen before. The Hurricane averaged nearly 318 yards in 1964
and increased that average to 346 yards in 1965. Under the tutelage of
Coach Glenn Dobbs, quarterbacks Jerry Rhome (in 1964), Billy Anderson
and wide receiver Howard Twilley revolutionized the way college football
was played. Twilley was the national scoring champion and established
eight NCAA records. Anderson accounted for ten NCAA records
including single game passing yardage of 502 yards. The team gained a
record 614 total yards in the season finale against Colorado State. They
went into the Bluebonnet Bowl against Tennessee with an 8-2 record, with
losses only to Arkansas and Oklahoma State, hoping to repeat the success
of its previous year's Bluebonnet Bowl appearance, a win over Ole Miss.
The game was played in a swampy Rice Stadium in Houston (video).
It was played in the wettest weather that had ever confronted either
team, a steady downpour that did not cease until long after the game was
Tennessee jumped out to a 6-0 lead following a drive of 48 yards on a 6
yard touchdown reception by Hal Wantland (video).
Tulsa countered with a 44-yard, 11-play touchdown drive in the closing
minutes of the first quarter that saw Gary McDermott run it in from one
In the second quarter, following a Hurricane fumble, Tennessee drove 33
yards and Dewey Warren carried it over from 1 yard out (video).
Tennessee’s third touchdown came on a seven-yard drive after a 45-yard
punt return by Jerry Smith. Again, Warren carried it in from the one.
The Volunteers led 20-6 at halftime
Tennessee put the game out of reach with their final touchdown early in
the third quarter, coming after another Tulsa turnover. Glenn Gray’s
pass interception was followed by an 11-yard burst by fullback Stan
Mitchell for the score (video). The
final score was 27-6. Besides the first quarter touchdown drive, Tulsa
did not cross the Tennessee 20-yard line until the last minute of the
game. Tennessee’s Dewey Warren was the offensive MVP and Frank Emanuel
took honors on defense.
Statistically, Tulsa outgained the Volunteers by 105 yards, including a
250 to 37 yard advantage in the passing department. It was a testimony
to the Hurricane offensive power that they were able to amass such
yardage through the air despite the wet conditions. The season was a
testimony for the Tennessee family and their love for their coaches and
the game of football.
TENN- Wantland 4 pass from Warren (Kick failed)
TULSA- McDermott 1 run (Kick failed)
TENN- Warren 1 run (Leake kick)
TENN- Warren 1 run (Leake kick)
TENN — Mitchell 11 run (Leake kick)
TENN- Warren 18-46, Mitchell 7-49
TULSA- Lakusiak 9-21, McDermott 7-37
TENN- Warren 3-7-37
TULSA- Anderson 23-47-250
TENN- Wantland 2-24
TULSA- Twilley 8-78, McDermott 7-74