The Bold, Brave Men of Archbold 1956: Army |

The Bold, Brave Men of Archbold 1956: Army


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
In the days of old, when knights were bold
Every city had its warrior man.
In the days of new, when fights are few
You will view them from a big grandstand.
In our college town one has great renown
If the game of football he should play.
With his pig-skin ball he is cheered by all,
He's the Saltine Warrior of today.
Chorus: The Saltine Warrior is a bold, bad man,
And his weapon is a pigskin ball,
When on the field he takes a good, firm stand,
He's the hero of large and small.
He will rush toward the goal with might and main
His opponents all fight, but they fight in vain,
Because the Saltine Warrior is a bold, bad man,
And victorious over all.

We are early in a new era in SU football- the Scot Shafer era. 64 years ago, another era began- the Ben Schwartzwalder Era, during which SU rose from its greatest depths to its greatest heights, and then all the way back down again. It was the era into which I was born, the one I remember from my youth. I can still recall listening to the games on the radio and waiting until Tuesday to see the grainy black and white films of the previous Saturday’s games on the local news. The music played over these highlights was not “Down, Down the Field”. It was “The Saltine Warrior”. My Dad thought he knew the beginning of it and would sing “The Saltine Warrior was a bold, brave man”. I later found that the line was “bold, bad, man”. But that’s not the way I learned it and it’s not the way I like it. My heroes were not “bad” men. They were “brave” men. They were the “Bold, Brave Men of Archbold”.

(My primary sources for this series is the Post Standard Archive, which also includes the Herald Journal, various publications I have collected, including Street & Smiths and the NCAA Guide, Ken Rappoport’s The Syracuse Football Story and The Nittany Lions, The Terrapins by Paul Attner, Syracuse University Football by Michael Mullins and various internet sights, as noted.)


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011

Stanley Woodward wrote a column complaining that “Financial aid to athletes in the Big Ten Conference has reached staggering proportions.” Players had ‘jobs’ where they had to perform little or no work for their salaries. Ohio State had been voted out of the Rose Bowl “on the ground that the players hadn’t done any non-football work for their salaries and had borrowed money from their coach.” Woodward credited Michigan State’s great success to “having hired teams that seem to rise above the conference average. They have apparently worked with greater efficiency than the rest…It is somehow difficult to understand, however, how Big Ten schools get certain of their heroes past the academic office.” Fortunately, we have now solved all these problems…

The coaching staff got the bad news that Ron Luciano had reinjured his right knee late in the West Virginia game and would be out for at least two weeks. The 223 pound sophomore had been backing up Chuck Strid but, per the Herald Journal, was “probably through with football for 1956.” Meanwhile Army was getting a tackle back from a “disciplinary punishment” he had been “working off”. Reid was 6-1, 200 but that’s about what most linemen were in those days. His nickname was “Tanks”. Joe Cygler, Army’s left half, was out for the game, to be replaced by Bob Munger.

Ben was also worried about his pass defense. West Virginia wasn’t a particularly good passing team but had had some success against the Orange. “Micki Timarki had too much time to pass because we were chasing down possible receivers and if we don’t do something about that situation, we’ll be in real trouble.” Bill Reddy noted “It could just as easily been a tie score because the Orange pass defense was so poor that only the inability of the Mountaineers to hold onto good passes prevented at least one more West Virginia touchdown.”

For the second straight year, Syracuse was playing Army a week after the Cadets had had an undefeated record go up in smoke at Michigan. In 1955 it was a 2-26 clobbering. In 1956, the score had been 14-48.

And for the second straight year the reason for the one-sided score had been turnovers. The Cadets had only been out-gained by 219-246 and out-first downed 11-13. Army had fumbled the ball an incredible 17 times in the two losses to Michigan. To Red Blaik, it “defied explanation. It wasn’t on the hand-offs. We weren’t getting hit hard. We just lost our poise.”

They had a good passer in Bob Kyasky, (Tony’s older brother), a graduate of the Manlius Military Academy. Reddy: “Bob is a 9.7 man in the 100 yard dash and his great speed is a real threat. When he goes back into passing position or when he keeps on the option series, he puts extra pressure on the defense because he sees daylight and he knows what to do with it.” Kyasky was “the fastest gridder in West Point history”. (No he wasn’t- Glenn Davis was a 9.6 man).

Arnie Burdick was worried about the Syracuse punts, which would be returned by Kyasky and his almost equally speedy teammate, Dick Murtland, who were known to hand off to eachother. Syracuse had punted 13 times in their first three games. One was blocked and two more were “returned right down the kicker’s throat”. Only one had proved unreturnable. That one went out of bounds. The opposition had 202 yards in punt returns- four times as much as the Orange. Syracuse had gained an average of only 18 yards in field position on its punts.

Arnie was also concerned about our kickoffs. Ben had his kickers using a “screwball or flat kick”, which resulted in an average opposition starting point of their own 37. When Arnie asked Ben about this “He merely shrugged his shoulders and said ‘I hope that we get the opportunity to kick off plenty Saturday.” They didn’t- so it didn’t much matter.

Reddy said the game was for the “temporary championship of New York State”, that is until the Colgate game- the Red Raiders had already disposed of Cornell. He wondered how Jimmy Brown would do, saying he was “terrific (against West Virginia), just as he was in the Maryland game. In between he was hobbled successfully by Pittsburgh. The Army game offers a chance for the Manhasset Marauder to prove that he’s not an in and out performer.”

Reddy was also impressed with Jim Ridlon, “who is somewhat obscured by the shadow which Brown casts but, if you want personal vote, is the best all-around football player on a good Syracuse team. He doesn’t get the spectacular gains but he gets the short yardage that’s needed. And he defends with a fury that nobody on his team can surpass. “ Arnie Burdick described him as “Born and brought up on the stormy banks of the Hudson River at Nyack, NY, just a forward pass from West Point….In high school he was a back, a hero at the local high school, one of the smaller ones in Rockland County. It was questionable that he’d be able to make the grade in the faster, bigger league. As a soph, he was an end who sat on the bench more than he played…Ridlon has been attracting more and more conversation. More and more rival coaches have been worrying about him- they’ve had to ‘defense’ him. In other words they think so highly of his talents that they take this into account when they set their special defenses to stop Syracuse. More and more scouts have rated him highly on their draft lists for the coming winter meetings. And more and more football fans have been arguing the relative merits of Ridlon vs. Jim Brown. The fact that Ridlon is mentioned in the same breath with Brown is testimony enough that he’s a terrific football player.”

There was a picture of Jim in the Friday paper, a practice field shot of him preparing to punt the ball, (on the run, it seems- maybe it was a drop-kick?). The caption read “At the rate Jim Ridlon, South Nyack senior, is moving on the field this fall, he’s going to be remembered as one of Syracuse University’s all-time stars. Ridlon is the most versatile back in the top unit, clicking on carries, on both ends of passes, interceptions and punting. Army’s scouts have given an awesome report on him for Saturday’s Archbold Stadium clash.”

Jim Brown was leading the nation in rushing yards per game with 123.7 yards per game and 6.9 yards per carry. . The nation’s leading passer was Stanford’s John Brodie who “avoids spring practice to play golf”. Despite this, “Brodie has run more plays than any other player, thrown more passes and accounted for more than half his team’s yardage and averaged more than 15 pass completions a game, a pace that would give him a record if he continues.” Syracuse was out-rushing its opponents 244 yards per game to 166 and out-passing them 81 to 68.

An article was entitled “Lasse No Dog”. The reference was to Dick Lasse “the sturdy left end who looks more and more like the best Syracuse end of Ben Schwartzwalder’s eight year reign”. Ben Schwartzwalder: “He’s the kind of guy who could play on the first team of any of the teams we play”.

Ferd Kuzala appeared to be fully healthy again and was working out with the starting team with Alan Cann at fullback and the two Jims at halfback. Chuck Zimmerman was running the second team with Ed Coffin, Tom Stephens and Ernie Jackson.

Syracuse was ranked 13th by the writers and 14th the coach’s poll. Army was unranked. They had beaten VMI 32-12 and Penn state 14-7 before the Michigan debacle. SU also led the Lambert Poll, followed by Pittsburgh, (who had been upset by California the week after downing the Orange), Penn State and Army. Will Griimsley predicted a 21-7 Syracuse victory in his weekly column of predictions, saying “Jim Brown is one of the country’s best running backs and Army is still reeling from the Michigan disaster. Dick Dunkel favored the ‘Cuse by 12 in his statistically-based column. Jack Cuddy simply predicted an SU win because “there’s still too much butter on the Cadet’s fingers”. The official line in Friday’s paper was that Syracuse was a one point favorite.

Former Coach Chick Meehan predicted that Army would win because they would be determined to prove that the previous week’s debacle was a fluke but then lose to Pitt the next week. Bill Reddy noted that the only SU game Chick had seen was the Pitt game. But Ben Schwartzwalder was wary: “They are a much better team than the Michigan seems to make them Let Army play like they did in the first quarter against VMI or against a fine Penn State team and the opponent isn’t going to go too far. “

But Army Coach Red Blaik thought highly of the Syracuse team. “Syracuse is a fine team, very much on the way up. It may be every bit as good as Michigan, which I regard as one of the finest teams I’ve ever played against. Jim Brown is terrific- probably the finest back in the area and maybe in the nation.” He wasn’t sure if his team could come back from such a disastrous defeat. “This time I don’t know. We’ve never been beaten so badly. When boys are outplayed as thoroughly as we are, they can’t help but be shaken. They are apt to lose some self-confidence., mental scar tissue you might call it.” He was asked if Jim Brown could be characterized as a ‘slow starter’ who is a better player in the second half. “You have been deceived. Brown will likely look better in the second half because the other fellow just gets tired of stopping 215 pounds of mass and velocity.”

Saturday’s paper had opposing shots of the two teams lined up as if they were facing each other. The “Saltine Warrior Starters” were Dick Lasse, Jerry Chasman, Ed Bailey, Bill Brown, Rudy Farmer, Chuck Strid and Nick Baccile on the line and Ferd Kuczala, Jim Brown, Jim Ridlon and Ed Coffin in the backfield. Army’s “Battle Array” consisted of Art Johnston, Loren Reid, Stan Slater, Ed Szvetecz, Dick Fadel, Flay Goodwin and Dick Stephenson in the line and Bob Kyasky, Bob Munger, Dick Murtland and Vince Barta in the backfield.

Bill Reddy made a public service announcement that the crossbars had been welded onto the uprights and were no longer removable. For years the uprights had been metal and grounded in concrete but the crossbar was wooden. People would get hurt trying to remove them. They tried greasing the uprights but some celebrants still managed to scale them- at their peril. Now the point of the whole thing was negated. Spoil-sports!

Unlike the previous year’s monsoon, weather conditions were expected to be “perfect” for this game. Blaik’s team arrived at the New York Central train station and went right to Archbold for a work-out and then go to the Manlius Military Academy for their over-night stay before coming back the next day for the game. 1200 Army Cadets would be given a box lunch and transported to the College of Forestry by bus where they would disembark and march into Archbold. “All 39,701 seats are expected to be occupied.” The game was broadcast both on radio and television by WSYR. It was also on regional television throughout the Northeast.


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011

The crowd exceeded the listed capacity of the stadium: 40,053.”Syracuse University, glorying in the power of its football team, thrilled a record-breaking crowd yesterday with a spectacle unmatched ever before for its splendor….Spectators turned out in fall clothes. Saltine Warrior female fans wore yellow mums with a blue S while Army rooters sported gold poms with black bows. Immaculately dressed in in gray uniforms and hats with bright gold buttons, 1,200 West Pointers marched onto the field promptly at 1PM. A 112 piece enlisted Army band, wearing black coats over their blue uniforms, led the Cadets into the stadium…Hill coeds gave the Cadets rousing cheers as they executed perfect formation. ‘Come on girls! We’ve seen men before’ yelled on coed. Another girl screamed ‘Oh, they’re so gorgeous.’ ‘I never saw anything like it.’ Another Cadet-struck coed signed. All the Cadets, from the 1st regiment saluted Syracuse University with an awe-inspiring cheer in unison that echoed through the stadium.” Army’s last visit to Syracuse was in 1907, the year Archbold Stadium opened, so few if any of the fans had ever seen such a display.

“After the Cadets were seated the Army’s famed mascot ‘Pancho’ and another mule ‘Hannibal’, galloped into the stadium. The riders dragged a Cadet dressed in orange to the middle of the field, where they symbolically ‘chopped him up’. Minutes later, the ‘Orange’ man was seized by West pointers who rolled him up and down through the block of seated cadets.” I wonder how ‘gorgeous’ SU fans thought that was.

“Spirited Army rocked Syracuse to the teetering point on its Eastern championship perch before a sell-out crowd in Archbold Stadium…it was an old-fashioned game- the kind that the 50 year old stadium, the first concrete bowl in the nation – used to see right after the turn of the century.

Army won the toss and elected to receive but Mike Morales fumbled Jim Brown’s kickoff and Ed Coffin recovered at the Army 29. But SU gave the ball back on downs at the 23. There was an exchange of punts, which would have been unnecessary except Bill Brown dropped what seemed like a sure pick-six at the Army 30. Later Bob Kyasky returned the favor with a similar drop. Jim Ridlon created some excitement with a 20 yard punt return but SU was again forced to punt. The second team got a couple of first downs to the 50 but that drive stalled, too. This time Morales had a 20 yard punt return. Army got to the SU 40 but had to punt again- into the Syracuse end zone.

From their own 20, Syracuse put on a drive that must have warmed Ben Schwartzwalder’s heart. 11 plays, all on the ground for 80 yards and what turned out to be the winning score. “Brown and Coffin teamed up for hard shots at the line, with the occasional pitch-out play, to move the ball to the Army 41, where the big play was sprung. On third down, Brown took a pitch-out from Kuczala, got a fine block by Dick Lasse at the line of scrimmage and shook off three tacklers in quick succession. He dashed down the right sideline where Walters, who had been playing deep, slanted over and brought him down at the five. Then, on first down, Ridlon took a handoff, cut to the short side, was met at the two but fought his way out of the grasp of two tacklers to score.” Brown’s conversion produced what would be the final score, Syracuse 7, Army 0, with 8:51 left in the second quarter. The rest of the game was about making that score stand up.

Of course you can make a lead stand up by extending it. Army been charged with a personal foul on the conversion and Cann “flat-kicked” the ball to the 15. Army was forced to punt. Syracuse penetrated to the Army 35 but had to give it up on downs. “Ridlon made the game’s only interception, grabbing a long heave by Dave Bourland, as the half ended. Bob Kyasky had been shaken up in the second period and was replaced by Bourland. It had been mostly a running game, (as most games were in that era), and Syracuse had dominated on the ground, 131-36. The second half would be 99-129.

Jim Brown returned the second half kick-off to the SU 35 but the teams went back to punting the ball back and forth. Army made its big move late in the third period after getting the ball at its own 25. A pass from Bourland to Saunders got the ball to midfield and then Morales, “a dervish reserve wingback”, bolted to the Syracuse 29. “Barla’s plunging made it a first down on the 19 then two plays moved it to the five…Here, Bourland started an option play to the right but pitched poorly to Munger, who raced back and scooped up the ball on the 15 . Pusued by Al Benecick, Ted Warholak and Joe Krivak, Munger retreated to the 32, where Krivak dropped him. …and then, as the third period ended a fourth down pass was knocked down by Jim Ridlon.“

Another Syracuse punt was followed by a stand at midfield where Bourland was stopped on a 4th and 4 after gaining only 2 yards. Syracuse moved to the Army 33 but a fourth down pass was incomplete. The Orange was handicapped by an injury to end Don Althouse, who was also their best punter.

At this point came the most dramatic drive of what must have been a pretty dull football game to this point. Army’s Gil Rossler “took a hand-off to the right, cut back through the secondary and seemed home free when Brown tackled him at the (Syracuse) 17. Army was hopped up by now and, in three plays, with Barta going for seven, the Cadets roared to the six yard line and a first down there. Then Barta hit for three. Morales went for a yard and a half. Barta made another yard and, with half a yard to go….everyone in the packed house was on their feet as the Cadets lined up…. the fourth down smash by Barta was halted inches way form the final stripe…. Ridlon made a terrific play at linebacker to prevent the threatened Army score. He dived in to meet Barto head-on and hurled him backward just as Vince seemed to break loose from Jim Brown and Ed Bailey for the three inches he needed to tally. The upper part of Barta’s body actually was in the end zone but the he was carrying the ball low and Ridlon jumped the ball, holding it with his hands (to prevent it) from reaching the goal!...Field judge Field Judge Clifford J. Montgomery, (Columbia’s hero of the 1935 Rose Bowl), who was sighting down the line, said it was ’no score’. It was one of the greatest goal-line stands that the ancient bowl had ever seen.”

“Syracuse didn’t let the Cadets get the ball again, although there was 3:27 left and the Army used up its times-out to stop the clock. Here brown was particularly effective as he carted the ball away for the goal posts, added a 15 yard drive off right end and finished with a 10 yard gain which ate into Army territory as time ran out.“ Who says you need a lot of scoring for an exciting game?


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011

Earl Blaik said “the turning point of the game was our errors when we failed on the five and supposedly on the one. He maintained, (incorrectly, from the photographic evidence) that Barta had scored in the fourth quarter. “Jimmy Brown is a very superior football player…Both teams appeared to be ‘on’ for the game.” But he warned that “Penn State should give Syracuse a tough time due to their depth, which we don’t have.” The Nittany Lions had upset Ohio State 7-6 that same day.

Ben Schwartzwalder said “Brown played a rock ‘em sock ‘em game against a rock ‘em sock ‘em team. …The passes we dropped were really hurt us. And I guess the boys were pressing to pick off the ball…It was real defensive battle all the way. The officials told me that it was an exceptional hard and clean game all the way….I hope we wake up and find the score still 7-0.Army could have beaten Pitt the way they played against us. The Cadets were the best team we’ve played this year and this was our best game… If we had hit at Pitt like we did today we would have had no trouble with them…. It’s wonderful when the kids really buckle down like that and a lot of credit goes to Ted Dailey and Roy Simmons. We won’t change our goal line defense, will we? One thing I’m proud of is that held Army scoreless two years running. Who’s done that?”

“If Army had tied up the game, Schwartzie said the orange would have played to win and opened up their attack after the kickoff: ‘We would have played wide open.’”

“Fresh from their game-winning goal line stand, the Orange practically ‘floated’ into their dressing room. For the second week in a row, center Billy Brown led the parade of tired but bubbling gridders….There were near-exhausted ‘whews’ and happy ‘woopers’ from almost every quarter.” Brown told the Herald: “Army hits hard but that goal line stand was our best ever. I like to be the first off the field but sometimes I stay behind when we lose.” Billy wouldn’t have to dawdle again until the Cotton Bowl.

Guard Ed Bailey said “We just knew we had to stop them. That’s all.” The other guard, Mike Bill simply asked “We won?” An unidentified players said “I don’t want to hafta play another one like that.”

Jerry Cashman, “who hit Mike Morales so hard in knocking him out of bounds in the fourth period that Morales flipped sideways in the air, guessed it was as hard as I ever hit a man. It’s a good feeling.” Probably more for him than Morales. But Cashman could handle bad feelings. “He had suffered a broken clavicle against Maryland but successfully concealed the injury from the coaches, trainer and team physician. Last week it seemed heals so he told them of the mishap. Examination revealed the injury had healed.”

Syracuse rushed for 230 yards to 165 for Army but completed only 1 of 8 passes more a mere 7 yards. The Cadets did slightly better with 42 yards on 3 for 10 but they had the games only interception and the only lost fumble. Jim Brown powered for 125 yards on 22 carries. He was the big gun but Jim Ridlon, who only gained 12 yards rushing had all the big plays, scoring the only touchdown of the game, grabbing the only interception, stopping another drive by batting down a pass and keeping the ball out of the end zone on Army’s last play to protect the lead he had created. I once heard Jim Ridlon describe the 1956 Orangemen as a “one man team”. He could play better than he could count.

There was extensive photographic coverage of the game Saturday’s Herald Journal came out with the game still in progress of had a ground-level shot of the Corps of Cadets marching in. Both Sunday’s Post Standard and Herald American had shots taken from atop the stadium of the Corps assembled on the field in a set of formations that might be letters spelling something out. But even at that level, I can’t make out what it would be. The formations, seen from head-on in the Post and from one side in the Herald spread from goal line to goal line and was likely greeted by a standing ovation in those pre-Vietnam years when the military was held in its highest esteem ever. It was a privilege to play Army and you knew you were in for quite a battle when you were granted that privilege.

In a shot that could only have come from the old days, Army Cadet Richard Thomas, sitting atop their mascot, a mule named Pancho, is shown shaking hands with the Saltine Warrior, who is identified as Peter Stone, a senior from Watertown.

The Post’s sports page led off with a wonderful picture of the games only score. Jim Ridlon in hunched over, expecting contact, but moving determedly toward the goal line, (you can tell it’s the goal because it has a sign on it that says so. This is right after Jim spun out of the attempt tackle of two Army players, one of whom can be seen on his backside, watching helplessly and the play moves past him. Two others are to Jim’s left, in a crouching position, ready to spring at him. A third is coming around a block at the goal line, drawing a bead on Jim. None of them could prevent Ridlon from scoring, as we see on the next page with Jim, having fallen over the (still labelled) goal line, seeming to be a relaxed reclining position, his torso supported over his left elbow, the ball in hand, (picture the Burt Reynolds centerfold but he’s wearing a Syracuse uniform).

Army’s attempts at a answering score are documented on the next page. “With fullback Vince Barta making the last two charges, the Black Knights of West Point came this close to a possible tie with Syracuse in the closing minutes of yesterday’s Archbold Stadium thriller. Jim Brown is shown nailing Barta for no gain in the first photo and Jim Ridlon stops him only inches from the goal line on fourth down while more than 40,000 persons hold their breaths.” The first picture showed Barta going down inside the one with what looks like two Syracuse playes holding on to him from behind while an adjacent blocker vainly tries to push them away. The second shows Barta on the ground, his helmet in the end zone and Ridlon kneeling next to him with his hands underneath, holding the ball in place. Below that is a shot from behind the south end zone, with Archbold Gym visible behind the play. The play is Dave Bourland being stopped for no gain on the play before his pitch-out to Bob Munger went awry. The only Syracuse tackler is flat on his back, looking up at Bourland, who has two other Army players inexplicably on top of him.

Page 44 has a shot of a frustrated Bill Brown, having stepped in front of Barta to intercept a pass in the first period having the ball slip through his hands and down to the turf. He had nothing in front of him but green and that goal line with the label on it. At the bottom of the page Munger is shown sweeping for 5 yards in the first period. It’s an innocuous play- deep in Army territory and they wound up punting. But there weren’t a lot of big plays to cover in this defensive duel. Barta has an anxious look on his face as three Orangemen are bearing down on him, including Dick Lasse and Ferd Kuczala.

The next page has a shot of Gil Roesler’s ’s long run with the caption “His Long Trip is About to End”. The shot is from head on with Roseler on the right side of the picture Alan Cann and Jim Brown are to his right. Cann is trying to keep up but Brown is closing in and a white cross not too far in front of Roseler marks the spot where Big Jim tackled him. At the bottom of the page is a shot from the top of the stadium showing Brown getting a seven yard game that opened SU’s 80 yard scoring drive. The play is a well-blocked sweep with hole that looks to be about 5 yards wide between the end, (or outside linebacker) and the rest of the line. It seem like Jim must have gotten more than seven yards with that hole but shortly afterwards came his 36 yard run to set up Ridlon’s score, which seems to have been on a similar play. Keep throwing it until they block it.

The Herald sports section also opened with a shot of Ridlon’s score, this one from the stands to the side. The caption reads “BIG SIX POINTS”. Ridlon is falling across the goal line while a white arrow indicates the path he has taken through the defense. Jim Brown is on the ground behind him, apparently having made a block that helped to create that path. People used to complain that Jim Brown never blocked. He did it all in the old days. Everyone did. But Jim did it better than most. On the next play a picture entitled “THE BIG RUN: Jim Brown (44) is on the loose on the Army 32 yard line. Brownie, (did anybody call him that?) reached Army five is set up orange score before Bob Kyasky (42), and Harry Walters (33), in upper right, rode him out of bounds. Two key blocks, which sprang Brown, are visible in front and behind ball carrier.”

The Bill Brown shot was repeated on Page 65. Page 67 had four shots of the game, covering the entire page. The big shot was at the top, entitled “GOAL LINE STAND” and showing Vince Barta being tackled in front of the goal line. He’s still in the air here and trying to twist out of Jim Ridlon’s grasp. Below that is “SPARSK LONG MARCH: Dave Bourland, substitute Army quarterback, passed to End Bill Saunders for a 20 yard advance from Army 30 to midfield to spark a drive which finally bogged down on Syracuse’s five yard stripe.” Bourland is standing on his won 27 in a well-formed pocket and an arrow shows the flight of the ball into Saunders’ hands, at shoulder level, on the 37. Al Cann has leaped for the ball in front of him but whiffed. Ernie Jackson is right behind Cann, running to catch up to the play and another Orangeman, bending over in anticipation of making a tackle which he didn’t get the chance to make, at least not there. A dotted line indicates the turning move Saunders made to get away from him and head upfield.

Below that is “FIRST DOWN LEAP: There was no holding back Syracuse’s left halfback Jim Brown as he churned over Army’s line. Here Jim leaps to first down after gaining 8 yards during second period yesterday.” This might be the completion of the run that began the drive shown in the Post Standard. The Army players have now closed on Jim, who is leaping over Army’s #44, Mike Morales while another player swoops in from the right. Next to that is “RIDLON DRIVES: Ground gainer Jim Ridlon, Orange’s right half, who scored the only touchdown of the cause, drives for 5 yards in the second quarter. Army’s Bob Kyasky, (420 is closing in for the tackle. ” So is another Army player whose number isn’t visible but a big tackle named Jerome Cashman is maneuvering in front of him to try to ward him off. Jim knows what’s in the cards and is hunched over, protecting the ball.”

Army was dressed in its classic black jerseys with gold numbers, helmets and pants with three narrow stripes on the sleeves. Syracuse was in its own classic uniform: white jersey with two blue stripes on the selves, orange pants and helmets. Jim Brown again has a wide white stripe over his helmet. In the “first down leap” shot part of the white stripe seems to have come off as if it’s taped or pasted on. He’s bending forward and the front has the white stripe but it disappears on the top. In the “BIG SIX POINTS” shot we Jim’s helmet on a later play from the back and it seems to have the remnants of the white strip, with a thinner version up one side and a shorter stripe on the other side. We had “game captains” in 1956, meaning that different players were chosen by the coaching staff to play the role of captain for each game. Looking through the pictures for the 1956 season, Jim seems to have a white stripe in every game. Maybe it was just a personal choice.

Syracuse lost Don Althouse, who had been on the team as early as 1952 before going into the service, due to a reinjured knee that put his leg in a cast. He would miss the Boston University game but there was hope his career at Syracuse wasn’t quite over. Jerry Cashman had “a charley horse and a couple of loose teeth.” Chuck Strid and Ed Coffin were limping.

An unknown Syracuse alumnus told Bill Reddy, “If anyone tells you Syracuse was lucky to beat Army, I want you to spit in his eye!” He was disappointed at some of the remarks he overhead by fans leaving the game. “I heard that there wasn’t enough imagination in the Syracuse attack; that the tackling wasn’t as good as it should have been; that Army shouldn’t have been allowed to gain so much on the ground. I was burned up because so many people were trying to take something away from one of the greatest victories we’ve ever scored. Listen, Army had four downs to make six yards and it didn’t make it. Syracuse didn’t stop that drive with luck!”

Reddy praised “Jim Brown is a marked man in every play that Syracuse engineered on offense, This probably was his finest all-around game. Jim gained more ground against Maryland and West Virginia; in fact he just hit his ‘average’ in this one. In four games, Big Jim has averaged 124 yards on the ground and against Army he carried for 125 yards. More than that, however, the Manhasset Marauder was a bearcat on defense. He played his position as cornerman so capably that he will probably stay in that spot. He tackled efficiently; he saved a touchdown when it didn’t seem possible that anyone could catch the fleeing Gil Roseler of Army; he batted down passes and he moved in to back up the line when necessary. Big Jim was the ‘difference’ Saturday. When he tried to leave the field, as the game ended, enthusiastic fans tore his jersey to shreds, each of them eager for a souvenir of a great performance. That part of it wasn’t a pleasant experience for the Long Island youngster, but he couldn’t complain. He’d have to admit that, like everyone else on the squad, he’d give the shirt off his back to beat Army!”

A now odd headline in the Monday paper read “BROWN EYES DAVIS FEAT”. George Davis had set the SU season rushing record with 805 yards, back in Ben Schwartzwalder’s first year, 1949. The “Manhasset Marvel” needed 310 yards in the last four games to break the record of this Davis. And the other Davis wouldn’t break that record: it lasted until Floyd Little topped it in two extra games in 1965. SU’s back-to-back shut outs of Army were the first since the Navy did it in 1912-13.

Arnie Burdick had a visitor the Monday after the game, one that become familiar in the coming years. “The Old Scout, who’s been watching football games in Archbold Stadium for 30 years, was as talkative yesterday as the rest of the city’s grid fans.” It was his first ever appearance.

“‘Every yard of those 125 that Jimmy Brown gained he really earned- boy they were really loaded up in there waiting for him. Army put four men of their nine man front against Syracuse’ strong side in order to stop Brown’s off-tackle smashes and end sweeps. These four, plus their corner line-backer, Mike Morales, did a gran job in containing the orange attack most of the afternoon. They were overloaded in there so much that Syracuse couldn’t pull any of its linemen for interference ahead of Jimmy.”

“Speaking of defense, you’ve got to hand it to Syracuse for coming though with as grand a goal line stand as the Old Stadium has ever witnessed. Left Tackle Ed Bailey, who submarined on the fourth down play, was magnificent and left end Dick Lasse crashed in with all of his 206 pounds. But it was only an alert and smart play by Jim Ridlon on Vince Barta that saved the score. Barta was stopped but he was resting on top of a huge pile-up. He hadn’t gone over but Ridlon was afraid that when the pile shook down, he might fall forward or an official might spot the ball over the goal line for the TD. So it did my heart good to see Ridlon go for the ball and put a vise-like grip on the Army ball-carrier’s arm so that he couldn’t nudge it over.“ (The other accounts of the game say that Ridlon had his hands on the ball itself.)

There had been a question about the positioning of the ball after that play. When the pile-up was cleared and the ball placed down for the next play, the tip of it seemed to be over the goal line. The O.S. explained that the ball would not have been pointing toward the goal line the way Barta was handling it. It would have been closer to parallel to it. But it has to be rotated to face forward for the next play, creating the illusion among some, (including Red Blaik) that the previous play had ‘broken the plane’ of the goal line.

The O. S. also told a story about Alta Burg, the “Orange Girl”, who had the gall to go over to Ben Schwartwalder after the pregame performance and offer some advice. “Coach, there’s a peculiar win out there this afternoon- I can’t remember when I had more trouble handling those batons- the wind was literally playing tricks on me- you’d better stay on the ground. Passes will be risky.” The O. S. said “She was dead right- and it sure made me feel better, being an old Syracuse fan, when I found out that the orange band and Alta would accompany the team to Boston this week for the game against BU.” With that, he “shuffled away”, to return after SU games for nearly three decades.

Personally, I’m not sure Ben Schwartzwadler ever needed the advice of a baton twirler to decide to run the ball.

Alexander Jones, the executive editor of the Herald Journal wrote an editorial for the Monday paper: “Just about the time you decide once and for all that college football is first cousin to the professional brand and strictly a box office proposition, there comes a day like Saturday. A day when there is a shimmering haze over the autumn pageantry of gold and red and warm browns. A day when the air is vintage wine and you simply cannot drink enough of it. A day when the sun warms you as you sit in it but with that October quality you know means a quick chill as the shadows lengthen. So you got to Archbold Stadium to see Syracuse play Army and there everything is young and burgeoning with life.

“In marches a regiment of the nation’s finest. Their marching is perfection. They are the finely trained soldier. But, the drill completed they break rank and scurry to their seats like the boys they are. Oh, to have their bounce and their power to do so. Three steps at a time as they leap up the concrete pile….They look so clean and so well groomed and they stand like men to whom the world and its problems is their uncomplicated oyster- tomorrow’s generals whom we all hope will die in bed.”

“So the game starts and these two teams have at each other like ruthless furies. The experts say it was a defensive gem. The tackling is bone jarring and the great crowd utters an undertone of apprehension as bodies collide with great violence. And almost all of the penalties are caused by over-eagerness- the joy of the fray, the desire to be worthy of the cheers of the schoolmates in the stand….”

More evidence that this was the 1950’s: “The game is over and there is a Syracuse hero. His name is Jimmy Brown. He is a hero to many in this great crowd but especially to a throng of little colored boys who engulf him as the whistle blows Jimmy Brown is a colored boy and these little fellows reach up and touch his face. They grin ear to ear and he pats their heads or smacks their backsides. What wonderful medicine for that Louisiana law that Jimmy brown cannot play with the white boys down there. A moving sermon against segregation is skipping across the turf down there….”

“It is all very young, very wonderful. It happened at a thousand games yesterday all over this land of ours. Let the politicians talk of disaster and pestilence to come. Here is the real America, young and expressing itself. “

Forum statistics

Latest member

Online statistics

Members online
Guests online
Total visitors

Top Bottom