Syracuse

1964 - 77 Orangemen
(Authentic Reproduction)

 

 

 

Coming off of the 1963 frosh team was HB Floyd Little, a prep star originally slotted for Notre Dame who instead chose to follow in the footsteps of Ernie Davis and completed his first varsity year at Syracuse as a soph All American. With a dedicated Jim Nance blocking for him, the Orangemen had a potent inside-outside attack. AP All American center Pat Killorin supplied the line power and Little rushed for a Syracuse sophomore record of 828 yards and 12 TD's. He also found time to be team leader in receptions, kickoff and punt returns. Nance fulfilled a great deal of his promise with 951 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns although he did not eclipse Brown or Davis but when he was on his game, he was awesome, displaying tremendous power and speed. The Little-Nance combination led the country in per-game rushing yardage and one coach summed Nance up by stating, "He doesn't have contact, he has collisions." Nance also was the NCAA wrestling champion and continued to blossom in the pros as a perennial all star with the Patriots for many years and the team marched to an impressive 7-3 record and the right to meet potent LSU in the Sugar Bowl. They dropped an exciting game there 13-10 but impressed a national audience. The only change in the helmet design was moving the two-and-a-half inch, dark navy blue numerals from the rear quarter of the shell to the sides to give a more traditional look to the identifiable orange helmet with navy blue one-inch center stripe so closely associated with the Orangemen. Nance left for the pros but 1965 provided Little with another backfield bodyguard in the form of Larry Csonka. The Solon, Ohio star actually spent his freshman year between fullback, linebacker, and defensive tackle and began his varsity career as a linebacker for the first two games of the season. That was quickly repaired and the 238-pounder teamed with Little to again affect a Mr. Outside/Mr. Inside rushing attack. Little passed Brown and Davis-set rushing records and led the country in TD's with nineteen. QB Rick Cassata and future Jaguars and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin a soph wingback, played behind big tackle Gary Bugenhagen and center Pat Killorin who received some All American notice. LB Jim Cheyunski and late-bloomer DT Steve Chomyszak who only lettered in '65 yet played seven years with the Jets and Bengals as one of the strongest men in the NFL bolstered the defense and the team rolled to a 7-3 record, matching their 64 regular season mark, defeating all of their traditional Eastern rivals in the process. Little again was named All American. 

 

1966 began poorly with losses to Baylor and UCLA but young Tony Kyasky came into his own as a DB and the Little-Csonka express picked up steam. Little was a three-time All American and Csonka showed power and speed in picking up 1012 yards. Having guard Gary Bugenhagen paving the way to the tune of All East and some All America honors made it a bit easier. Bugenhagen later played a few seasons with the Bills and Patriots. Cheyunski missed the season which hurt the defense but beating Penn State 12-10 with Little and Csonka gaining 243 yards between them made the season a morale builder and won a Gator Bowl berth. The 18-12 loss to Tennessee did not dampen the satisfaction of attaining an 8-3 record.
 

If interested in Syracuse's honoring of Larry Csonka click on above photost

 

SPOTLIGHT ON LARRY CSONKA:

 

"The Stow Steamroller" was aptly named and looked like a runaway steamroller or eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer both at Syracuse and with the championship teams of the Miami Dolphins, enough so to earn entry to both the College and Pro Football Halls Of Fame. A bruising fullback who first served as Floyd Little's "bodyguard" and road paver, Csonka was a one-man offense by the time his senior year arrived in 1967. At 6'3" and 230 pounds, he began varsity life as a linebacker, at least for two games until Coach Schwartzwalder moved him to fullback full-time and he was a battering ram, gaining 216 yards against West Virginia in his sophomore year and setting Syracuse records for 1127 yards in a season and 2934 during his three-year career (later broken by Joe Morris). The strong-armed farm boy was "country tough" and "country strong" with a body built through hard work, one that took him from the smallest boy in his class in sixth grade to a heavily recruited high school star who passed on Ohio State for the more family-oriented atmosphere at Syracuse. An All American his senior season, he was the first round draft pick of the Dolphins, supplying the power running that earned them Super Bowl entry and the NFL Championship. Csonka was among the elite and the prototype power fullback for the NFL during most of his eleven-year career, one that was rewarded with his election to Canton in 1987.

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