Now things begin to get interesting. The Blue Devils were really good in 1957. They won the ACC and wound up in the Orange Bowl, where they lost pretty badly to Oklahoma. But in early October no one was really sure how good either of these teams would be. Duke won in a squeaker, 7-6.
Because the scrapbook was a bit bare for this week, I went looking for some other sources. A few years ago I took several hundred boxes out of the gym before it was remodeled and I dimly remembered that there was football material in there. Sure enough, the Woodson has all the coaching staff’s files for the 1957 season. Most of what’s there are detailed scouting reports on Rice’s opponents, but there are also game summaries. These are many pages long, but here are a couple from the Duke game. It was just tight all the way to the end.
(If there is a big outcry, I suppose I could learn how to make a pdf and post the whole thing. I hereby arbitrarily define a “big outcry” as more than five people.)
In spite of the loss, this was the game that made people begin to sit up and take notice. I found the column below especially interesting, with its comparisons to the 1953 team. That’s pretty big talk.
Bonus: This photo was sent in by a reader, Ivy Ashe, ’08. She’s a staff photographer/reporter for the Vineyard Gazette in Massachusetts. She took this picture of the 2011 Beer-Bike from the top of Rice Stadium and since she won’t make it to the Centennial, she sent it along as her contribution. I love it and wish I’d taken it, although you won’t catch me anywhere near Beer-Bike.
I really enjoy these articles on the ’57 season. Post as much as possible. I think you said sometime in the past that the athletic dept. still has a lot of game film – from the ’30s to ’70s. I’d love to see them, too. I wonder if they’d consider selling selected seasons on DVD?
For a real blast from the past the Texas Sports Hall of Fame has SW Conference Football Highlight DVD’s available for most years between 1947 and 1979. They are just short summaries of a few games per season, but for those of us who grew up listening to SW Conference football on the Humble radio network it’s great being able to hear Kern Tipps work his magic again (for seasons 1948-1966).
Funny but the one memory that sticks in my mind about the Duke game was that we were late and wound up having to park roughly where right field is today at Reckling. We helped provide the oyster shell base that was removed from the field several years ago.
You missed the most important game of 57. Rice had two QBs who rotated, King Hill and Frank Ryan. The Bear Bryant Aggies came in with a 19 game win streak, ranked 1st in all the polls and lead by that year’s Heisman trophy winner, John David Crow. Ryan was injured early in the game and was ably replaced by Hill, who passed for a TD, kicked the winning extra point, intercepted 2 A&M passes to thwart Aggie drives and kept them bottled up inside their end of the field with his punting. When interviewed by the national press who had come to Texas for the game, Hill replied that he was only the 2nd best QB on the Rice team. He jumped ahead of Crow in assessment by the pro scouts and was the #1 pick in the draft. He had a lengthy career as a pro football player and coach. Frank Ryan also had a great pro career as the QB of the Cleveland Browns, winning one World Championship. He also got a PhD in math and taught at Rice and Yale. Barney L.McCoy, Hanszen 67
I went back and read an account of the 57 A&M game and I had a couple of incorrect facts. The Aggie win streak was 14 games, not 19. And Hill ran, not passed, for the touchdown. Incidently, one of the passes he intercepted was at the Rice 9 yard line. Ryan then drove them 90 yards via the air, and Hill scored on a 1 yard run. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67
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