Gator Bowl

1968

 

Missouri 35

Alabama 10

Missouri Fight Song

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Missouri startled Alabama with a fresh formation perfected in secret workouts and blunted the Crimson Tide's attack with a vicious defense that swept the Tigers to a 35-10 Gator Bowl triumph Saturday.

 

Tricky Terry McMillan, lanky Missouri quarterback, directed the Tigers' newly-installed Power I offense that humbled the heralded Alabama defense before a crowd of 68,011 and pinned the worst bowl licking ever on the Crimson Tide.

 

McMillan, a high school scrub at Coral Gables, Fla., scored three Tiger touchdowns on short runs and baffled Alabama throughout the nationally televised football battle with his deft pitchouts on the option.

 

However, McMillan never completed a pass, and he had a pair of tosses picked off that gave Alabama its only points. Defensive back Donnie Sutton raced 38 yards with an interception for an Alabama touchdown in the second quarter, and Mike Dean's fourth quarter interception set up his 25-yard field goal.

 

The Tiger defense, anchored by ends Elmer Benhardt and Bill Schmitt, blunted Alabama's running and passing attack. The quarterbacks were thrown for losses nine times.

 

Alabama, losing three games in a season for the first time since 1958, managed only three first downs in the first three quarters. The Tide stayed in contention until the late minutes only with the help of its two pass interceptions and a pair of Tiger fumbles.

 

But Roger Wehrli, Missouri's All-American safety, clinched the Tigers' fourth straight bowl triumph with a late interception that set up McMillan's third touchdown, a two-yard run.

 

In the dosing minutes, Greg Cook ran 37 yards from scrimmage and Dennis Poppe raced 47 yards with an interception to pad the margin.

 

McMillan scored in the first quarter on a four-yard burst, and he gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead in the second period with a five-yard scoring run. The Tigers, who operated from the "regular I" during a 7-3 season, changed their attack during Gator Bowl workouts "to give us stronger running. Coach Dan Devine said.

 

The switch paid off with Cook, McMillan, Jim Harrison and Ron McBride all cracking through the Tide line. Missouri gained 404 yards rushing, with Cook collecting 179.

 

Alabama gained only 45 yards on the ground and added but 68 through the air. Quarterback Scott Hunter was so harassed by the Missouri ends that be hit only seven of 25 throws and was thrown for losses totaling 61 yards.

 

Alabama, a slim favorite after its 8-2 season record, never recovered from a gamble on the opening kickoff when Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant elected to take the wind and kick to the Tigers after winning the toss.

 

McMillan drove the Tigers to a 7-0 lead in 11 plays and Alabama never led although the Tide did roll to a brief tie on Sutton's scoring interception.

 

Alabama, playing in its 22nd bowl game and 10th in a row, never before had been so badly trounced nor given up so many points in a post-season battle. The Tide's worst previous loss was a 28-6 beating by Rice the 1954 Cotton Bowl.

 

Bryant bad not lost three times in a season since his first year at Alabama coach in 1958. The Missouri explosion was particularly surprising because the Tigers rolled without completing a pass against a team that had given up only 104 points during the regular season.

 

Missouri's defense harassed Scott Hunter all day, sacking Tide quarterbacks nine times.

 

Mel Gray dives for extra yards in the first half.

 

Terry McMillan didn't complete a single pass, but he ran for three touchdowns.

 

Donnie Sutton (23) returns an interception 38 yards for Alabama's only touchdown.

 

For Devine, pictured with Bear Bryant (left), it was a fourth straight bowl victory.

 

Attendance- 68,011

 

Scoring Summary

 

First Quarter

MU- McMillan 4 run (Sangster kick)

 

Second Quarter

UA- Sutton 38 yard interception return (Dean kick)

MU- McMillan 5 run (Sangster kick)

 

Fourth Quarter

UA- FG Dean 25

MU- McMillan 2 run (Sangster kick)

MU- Cook 37 run (Sangster kick)

MU- Poppe 47 pass interception return (Sangster kick)

 

Individual Statistics

 

Rushing

MU- Cook 27-179, McMillan 18-76, McBride 18-68, Harrison 11-58, Staggers 7-19

UA- Jilleba 5-20, Moore 5-10

 

Passing

MU- McMillan 0-6--0

UA- Hunter 7-25-68

 

Receiving

MU: none

UA- Ranager 2-47

 

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