Syracuse

1959 - 63 Orangemen
(Authentic Reproduction)

 


 


THE 1959 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
 

A successful 1959 team was predicted during 58 as observers marveled at freshman HB Ernie Davis who gained over 100 yards in three of four freshman games. To insure the very highest level of conditioning, the always tough Schwartzwalder had the team climbing twenty-foot ropes hand-over-hand and then sprinting half-mile intervals. "Hard Nose" became the team members endearing nickname for each other. A number of talented youngsters, teamed with the stalwarts of '58 including Schwedes, FB Art Baker who stayed in top football condition as one of the best NCAA heavyweight wrestlers, and QB Dave Sarette, making for a potent offense. Up front, future Ram Bruce Tarbox, Roger Davis, another future NFL lineman, 250-pound Maury Youmans (Bears and Cowboys), and long-time Bills trenchman Al "Tombstone" Bemiller led the charge to a National Championship. Constant competition, especially among the linemen, termed "The Sizeable Seven" kept players like John Brown, an eventual ten-year NFL vet, on the second team a good deal of the time. Other than the addition of Ernie Davis, this team was similar to the '58 model: big, strong, and plodding but they would hit a ton and they played the entire year in an angry fury! The backfield reflected that, picking up the nickname, "The Four Furies" from newsmen. Adding dark navy blue two-and-a-half inch medium-rounded type numerals to the rear-quarter of the orange helmet with the navy blue one-inch center stripe gave the team a unique look and in the annals of Orange football, they were in fact unique. They roared through the schedule putting up huge offensive numbers (71 points against Colgate) and shut out five of ten opponents. Only their 20-18 win over undefeated Penn State was close and walloping UCLA in the finale silenced those critical of Eastern football. They went into the Cotton Bowl game rated number one in the nation to face off against number two Texas with a boatload of nation-topping stats; total offense at 451.5 yards per game, rushing offense with 313.6 per game, scoring offense of 39 points per contest, TD passes (21), total defense (96.2 per game), and an unbelievable rush defense that yielded but 19.3 yards per game. In an outing marked by a fistfight and constant mauling, Texas could not intimidate the Orangemen, especially the Black players who had a great deal of "extra curricular action" directed at them. The Syracuse bench emptied onto the field one time to maintain order and the game settled into a controlled slugfest. Despite a severe hamstring pull that had limited his practice time, Davis scored on a spectacular 87-yard TD catch on the second play from scrimmage, and added a second TD run and a two-point conversion reception before the conclusion of the first half. The Syracuse team overcame what was later termed poor and prejudicial officiating by the SWC portion of the crew and late in the game held the Longhorns on the one-yard line and took the ball from them in a terrific goal line stand. The 23-14 victory sealed the National Championship in fantastic fashion, a grueling, physical battle that reflected Schwartzwalder's approach to the game and Ben was named National Coach Of The Year.

If interested in any of these Syracuse helmets please click on the photos below.