Cotton Bowl



TCU 28

Syracuse 27

TCU Fight Song


This Classic was all it was advertised to be: a wild offensive show. TCU earned its second straight Cotton Bowl appearance even though the Frogs wound up the conference campaign second to Texas A&M. The Aggies had roared through the SWC undefeated, but NCAA imposed sanctions prevented them from participating in post-season play.


Selected as the Frogs’ opponent was once-beaten Syracuse. The Orangemen were ranked eighth nationally, but their main attraction was Jim Brown, the consensus All-America halfback who could do a little bit of everything with the football. The Classic was billed as a rushing duel between Brown and TCU’s great halfback Jim Swink, an All-America selection for the second consecutive year (video).

TCU, making its fifth Cotton Bowl appearance, spent an afternoon capitalizing on Syracuse mistakes, and started each of its touchdown drives following turnovers. On the strength of quarterback Chuck Curtis’ arm, the Frogs struck for 14 first half points. Curtis combined with John Nikkel for six yards to begin the scoring barrage, and a fumble recovery at the Syracuse 35 set up the Frogs’ second touchdown. Curtis finished it off with an eight-yard toss to Jim Shofner.


Down by 14 points, Brown began a virtual one-man show to bring the Orangemen back (video). Brown returned the TCU kickoff 30yards, and then netted 59 of the remaining 70 yards which led to Syracuse’s first touchdown. By halftime, Brown had scored on runs of two and four yards, and to boot, added both extra points. The score remained deadlocked for much of the third quarter until a Brown fumble gave the Purples new life at their own 40-yard line. Again, Curtis was instrumental in the Frogs’ attack, carrying the last seven yards to move TCU back into the lead, 21-14.TCU returned to the scoreboard early in the final period after recovering yet another fumble, this one at the TCU 31. Nine plays later, Swink powered his way into the end zone to give TCU a 28-14 advantage.

Time certainly was against them now, but Syracuse wasn’t through, neither was Brown. On the ensuing kickoff, Brown rambled 46 yards to the TCU 49, and moments later, plunged one yard over right tackle for the score. It was here that TCU’s Chico Mendoza made the play of the day, crashing through to block Brown’s extra point attempt (video).


The clock was an even bigger factor now for Syracuse, trailing 28-20. But, in the game’s dying minutes, the Orangemen started their final drive. With 1:16 left, Charles Zimmerman hit Jim Ridlon with a 27-yard scoring pass. Down by two, Syracuse surprisingly kicked off deep rather than the expected onside kick. TCU played it safe and ran out the clock, putting an end to one of the wildest scoring Classics ever.


 Jim Brown carries against TCU.

Swink carries against Syracuse.


Swink (23) played defense, as well. Here, he moves in to stop Brown.


Attendance- 61,500

Summary Scoring

First Quarter
TCU- Nikkel 6 pass from Curtis (Pollard kick)

Second Quarter:
TCU- Shofner 8 pass from Curtis (Pollard kick)
Syr- Brown 2 run (Brown kick)
Syr- Brown 4 run (Brown kick)

Third Quarter
TCU- Curtis 7 run (Pollard kick)

Fourth Quarter:
TCU- Swink 3 run (Pollard kick)
Syr- Brown 1 run (kick blocked)
Syr- Ridlon 27 pass from Zimmerman (Brown kick)

Individual Statistics

Syr- Brown 26-132, Cann 8-28, Ridlon 5-25, Zimmerman 4-21
TCU- Dike 11-54, Swink 12-41, Wineburg 7-17

Syr- Zimmerman 1-3-22, Brown 1-2-20
TCU- Curtis 12-15-174

Syr- Ridlon 2-48, Massey 1-15
TCU- Swink 4-60, Nikkel 3-57, Williams 2-37, Vacek 1-28, Shofner 2-16