By Johnny Williams
San Antonio Express
(Special)- Defenses stole the spotlight from two of the finest offensive
teams in the nation as the Texas Longhorns finally won a bowl game for
Coach Darrell Royal with a 12-7 victory over the University
of Mississippi Rebels Monday. It was one of the grandest Cotton Bowl
games ever staged.
Five pass interceptions by the Longhorn defenders and strong Steer line
play slowed the Ole Miss attack, which had been the most effective in
the nation this year, and made the two touchdowns, engineered by steady
Mike Cotten, stand good.
But Texans in the 75,000 attendance must have had the feeling of a
fellow sitting on a powder keg and striking matches. It looked
throughout the second half as if the Rebels would blow things apart but
somehow the flame sputtered out before the big boom hit.
Texas too had its offensive troubles. The Longhorns ranked second
nationally in rushing offensive, averaging 258 yards per game, but
Monday they settled for 123 yards overland. Mississippi had averaged 418
yards a game total offense, and got a respectable 319 yards in this
outing, but couldn't overcome those pass interceptions.
Slim James Saxton slipped through tackle for the first Texas touchdown
on a one-yard carry, one of nine assignments on which the All-America
halfback found his activities restricted to a net of 22 yards. Mike
Cotten pitched 24 yards to Jack Collins for the other Texas score in the
Mississippi got onto the Scoreboard in the third quarter on a 20-yard
pass from Glynn Griffing to Reed Davis, and it was Griffing who kept
fans in a sweat on a 41-degree day with his long tosses. He connected on
12 of 29 passes for 163 yards.
Ole Miss Coach Johnny Vaught, who saw his team lose a bowl game for the
first time since 1955, couldn't remember a time when his team had had so
many passes swiped. The credit belongs to a line that stayed in 6-2 and
4-4 defenses and left the deep work to Duke Carlisle, Jerry Cook and
David Russell, with some relief from Sexton and Collins. The linemen
stopped the running game and usually hustled in on the passer before the
four Rebel receivers could complete their patterns.
The Mississippi defense, which had nine men on or near the line of
scrimmage, brought about new Texas offensive patterns. The Longhorns
often sent the tailback in motion toward the strong side, and Cotten
would flip a quick pitchout to fullback Ray Poage or fire a pass to his
scurrying tailback in the flat.
Poage picked up 54 yards on 11 carries as the top Longhorn ball toter,
but the skill with which Cotten operated the team in the first half won
him the vote as the game's outstanding back, with Griffing the
runner-up. Cotten completed 8 of 7 passes for 80 yards in the first
half, before he too started hitting opposition receivers.
Jerry Cook, who intercepted two of the Mississippi passes, also ran well
in the vote for the top back, and End Bob Moses, who made the key
tackles stopped two Rebel drives deep in Longhorn territory, was easily
the choice as top lineman. Defense did have its rewards.
Jim Dunaway and Ralph Smith, the Mississippi tackle and end combination
that created so much trouble for the Texas running game, were right
behind Moses in the balloting.
It was the first Texas victory in a bowl game since 1953, when the
Steers gored Tennessee in same Cotton Bowl, and was the first win for
Royal in four bowl appearances.
Players on each club expressed admiration for the ability of the
opposition, calling the rival the best they had faced.
Royal, after receiving a pregame award as the nation's "coach of the
year," showed his grid philosophy early, instructing his team to take
the wind upon winning the coin toss. The move paid off when Ole Miss
Quarterback Doug Elmore fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, Texas
taking over on the Mississippi 26 yard line.
Texas failed to move, however, and a field goal attempt by Eldon Moritz
from the 40-yard line was blocked by Dunaway. That was the first of many
close calls by both clubs.
Tommy Ford set up the first Longhorn score by intercepting a toss at the
Rebel 34 yard line. Quick pitchouts to Fullbacks Pat Culpepper and Ray
Poage gained 27 yards before Saxton slammed through right tackle for one
yard and the score. Dunaway blocked the extra point try by Moritz.
The Longhorn! marched 72 yards for their second score. Cotten racing 27
yards to supply the spark that flamed into a touchdown when the stocky
Austin senior passed to Collins for the tally. Collins took the pass
near the line of scrimmage, got a clearing block from Don Talbert and
raced across untouched. Cotten ran for the extra points and failed.
Then began the trials and tribulations for Ole Miss. The Rebels moved 70
yards just before halftime as Griffing passed to Art Doty for 30, to
Woody Dabbs for 32 and to Louis Guy for 24 yards. But from the Texas
7-yard line Griffing threw again and the ball was taken by Cook after
Johnny Treadwell had batted it Into the air.
Moses slashed through to kill one Mississippi drive at the Texas 38 yard
line early in the second half but the Rebels weren't to denied the next
time when they mustered an 86-yard drive right on the heels of a 73 yard
quick kick by Saxton.
Griffing ran for 37 yards on two plays and hit a 17-yard pass to A. J.
Holloway in the midst of the drive. The payoff came on a rollout pass
from Griffing to Davis for 20 yards on a play that may may bring
controversy over the legality of the play when the movies are shown.
Griffing was right on the line of scrimmage when he finally threw.
Cotten tried to get the Steers stampeding again and moved the team from
the Texas 25 to the Ole Miss 15 yard line before throwing a low pass
toward Tommy Lucas. Lucas was open in the end zone but the pass was
lined so low that Fred Lentjes intercepted the ball.
The pinpoint passing by Griffing taxed the Longhorn defenses still
again, moving to the Texas 23 yard line. There the Rebels resorted to a
ground game and again ran afoul of Moses, who stopped Griffing two yards
short of a first down.
Seconds ticking off the clock kept the game full of suspense next four
minutes as the Texans protected their goal with both will and skill.
UT- Saxton 1 run (Moritz kick blocked)
UT- Collins 24 yard pass from Cotten (Run
UM- Davis 20 yard pass from Griffing
UT- Poage 11-54, Cotton 11-25, Saxton 9-22,
UM- Griffing 10-45, Doty 5-29, Randall 4-13,
Morris 3-10, Roberts 4-10, Elmore 7-10
UT- Cotten 6-13-60
UM- Griffing 12-29-163, Elmore 3-8-29
UT- Collins 2-30, Saxton 3-18
UM- Guy 4-43, Doty 4-41, Holloway 3-30, Dabbs
1-32, Davis 1-20