Orange Bowl

1961

 

Missouri 21

Navy 14

 

 

Missouri Fight Song

 

MIAMI, Fla. UPI- Missouri's grinding ground game sank the Navy 21-14 in the Orange Bowl classic yesterday as runs of 90 and 95 yards thrilled a shirt-sleeved crowd of 71,218, including President elect John F. Kennedy.

 

Navy jumped into the lead on a 95-yard touchdown run with an interception by End Greg Mather this warm, cloudy afternoon. But Norm Beal got Missouri even with a 90-yard touchdown dash through the same stratagem and the "show me" gridders went on from there to snap six-game losing streak in bowl play.

 

When it was over, fleet Donnie Smith had plunged for one Missouri touchdown. Quarterback Ronnie Taylor hammered right in for another and Bill Tobin booted three extra points while All-America End Dan LaRose sparked a mauling Missouri line which held Navy to one lonely yard rushing in the first half.

 

That line also contained Joe Bellino, Navy's All-America back, to the consternation of Kennedy and other Navy rooters. Bellino was held to a net four yards rushing, but the Navy star snatched a 27-yard fourth period touchdown pass from Hal Spooncr with an incredible burst of speed and Spooner passed to Jim Luper for a two-point conversion.

 

Missouri played straight ahead, power football as it sent a fleet of hard running backs ripping and slashing through the overpowered Navy line, from the opening whistle. At the start it drove 70 yards to the Navy two. There Smith was trapped behind the line of scrimmage and desperately tried to lateral to Taylor. Mather, the big Navy end from Woodland Hills, Calif., picked the ball out of the air on the five and galloped unmolested all the way to the Missouri end zone.

 

The fates even this up a few minutes later when Navy tried a short on-sides kickoff and tackle Rockne Calhoun fumbled the ball. Tackle Sid Drisccoll of Waltham, Mass., recovered for Navy on the Missouri 43. Spooner, the Navy sharpshooter from Williamsport, Pa., connected with two quick passes, hitting Luper, the big end from Iowa City for 15 and fullback Joe Matalavage of Mahanoy City, Pa., for a first down on the Missouri 14.

 

Missouri's Beal squared the breaks- and the score- as he nipped off a Spooner pass on the Missouri 10 and danced 90 yards down the sidelines for the tying touchdown. Tobin's boot, the first of three which eventually gave him a record of 25 in a row this season, put Missouri ahead to stay.

 

Missouri advanced its lead in the second quarter as it hammered and drove 80 yards in 11 plays for a second touchdown. Smith smashed over from the four and Tobin's kick made it 14-6.

 

Navy had two big breaks after this, taking over twice in Missouri territory after a bad fourth down pass from center and again on a fumble. But both times, Missouri's Andy Russell stopped the Middies with interceptions on the Missouri 25 and 22 yard lines. The teams slugged toe to toe without any scoring in the third quarter. Then Missouri put over what proved to be the clincher with a 64-yard drive, workhorse Mel West in the march. Taylor finally banged it over from the one and Tobin's kick made it 21-6.

 

Spooner's passes put Navy back into the ball game late in the game when he threw the Middies to a 54-ynrd touchdown march, capped by Bellino's racing, rolling catch into the end zone. Spooner then flipped to Luper on the goal line for a two-pointer and Navy trailed 21-14. But the clock ran out as Spooner fired with desperate futility in an attempt to tie it up or pull it out of the fire.

 

Missouri's line deserved much of the credit for the victory as it held Navy to minus eight yards rushing against 176 yards passing. Missouri gained 223 yards rushing and only five passing.

 

Navy's Greg Mather takes off on 98 touchdown run with intercepted lateral in the first quarter.

 

A rough day for the great Bellino.

 

Beal's 90 yard interception return got answered Navy and got Missouri rolling.

 

Donnie Smith (45) scores from 4 yards out.

 

Missouri's Ron Taylor passed for only 5 yards, but it didn't matter.

 

Taylor (#12) plunges in for the clincher.

 

A President was in the crowd.

 

Attendance: 71,218

 

Scoring Summary

 

First Quarter

USNA-  Mather 98 fumble return (kick failed)

MU- Beal 90 pass interception return (Tobin kick)

 

Second Quarter

MU- Smith 4 run (Tobin kick)

 

Fourth Quarter

MU- Taylor 1 run (Tobin kick)

USNA- Bellino 27 yard pass from Spooner (Luper pass from Spooner)

 

Individual Statistics

 

Rushing

USNA- Prichard 1-9, Meyer 2-6, Bellino 8-4

MU- West 21-108, Smith 16-93, Mehrer 5-41, Stevenson 7-37

 

Passing

USNA- Spooner 13-21-176

MU- Taylor 1-6-5

 

Receiving

USNA- Prichard 4-69, Bellino 3-37, Matalavage 2-33

MU- West 1-5

 

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