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Football

Greatest Moments

On October 11, 1963, the fourth-ranked Navy Midshipman came to the Cotton Bowl to play the Mustangs on the Friday night before the Texas-OU game. A crowd of 37,000 fans came to Fair Park with the intentions of getting a look at Navy’s All-American quarterback Roger Staubach. What the crowd did not expect was that the Mustangs, and second year head coach Hayden Fry, were about to knock off Staubach and company in one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

After the Midshipmen got out to a 10-0 lead, sophomore quarterback Mac White took a sweep 22 yards for a touchdown. However, Staubach brought Navy right back to extend the lead to 18-7. Danny Thomas then came in to the game and hit Thomas Hillary for a touchdown with five seconds in the first half, bringing the Mustangs to within five at 18-13 at the intermission.

Late in the third quarter, Staubach threw a touchdown pass for a 25-13 lead. But on the third play after the kickoff, Roderick ignited the Cotton Bowl as he took a pitch from White and made one of the most exciting plays of the entire decade. Roderick cut all the way across the field at the 35, got a block from White of all players and then raced 45 yards into the end zone to cut the Navy lead to six at 25-19.

The Mustang defense then stepped up and made the first of several big plays on Navy’s next possession. Dave Corder intercepted Staubach allowing the offense to come back on the field to go for the lead. SMU drove inside the Navy 10 and gave the ball to Roderick for the final surge into the end zone. The Mustangs had stormed back to take the lead, 26-25. But Staubach, with his usual determination, moved his team down the field setting up a field to give Navy a two-point lead with 2:52 remaining in the game. It only took the Mustangs four plays and 47 seconds to take the lead back. Billy Gannon was able to fight his way into the end zone from the one, and SMU took a 32-28 lead.

But back came Staubach, proving why he would come to be known as “Captain Comeback” during his days at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys. It appeared that the game was going to be won by the team that had the ball last. But Donald Campbell and Tommy Caughran broke up two passes in the end zone in the last few seconds, and the Mustangs had their upset win.

Coach Fry was named national Coach of the Week. The win over Navy helped propel the Mustangs into the Sun Bowl despite the fact that they finished 4-6 and tied for fifth in the Southwest Conference.

Nearly forty-two years after the final gun had sounded, Staubach still talks of the game. At the 2005 SMU Kickoff Luncheon, Staubach mentioned that the Midshipmen were the best team in the country, except when they stepped on to the field in the Cotton Bowl. Staubach went on to win the Heisman Trophy and then a pair of Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys. But on that October day in 1963, Staubach was not able to work his usual magic against a very determined SMU team.

It was a great day for SMU football and a career day for a little-known halfback out of Highland Park named John Roderick. By the end of the day, Roderick had gained 146 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. He was the spark the Mustangs needed to take down the heavily favored Midshipmen. The win over fourth-ranked Navy in 1963 takes its place as one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

THE COUNTDOWN
No. 90 :: First School Win (1915)
No. 89 :: Rutledge sets two school records (2003)
No. 88 :: Phillips 100 yard INT (1984)
No. 87 :: McCown completes 19 straight (1999)
No. 86 :: Brownlee kicks 57 yd. field goal (1985)
No. 85 :: Bennett records first career win (2002)
No. 84 :: SMU closes out the Cotton Bowl (1999)
No. 83 :: Ownby Stadium opens (1926)
No. 82 :: James sets SWC record (1982)
No. 81 :: Stewart named All-American (1993)
No. 80 :: Briggs sets new Mustang mark (2002)
No. 79 :: SMU defeats Arkansas 31-9 (1997)
No. 78 :: The 1980 Holiday Bowl (1980)
No. 77 :: Hopkins records 4 INTs (1981)
No. 76 :: Pony Express heads to Japan (1983)
No. 75 :: SMU plays in first ever bowl game (1924)
No. 74 :: Hayden Fry named head coach (1962)
No. 73 :: McIlhenny leads SMU over Baylor (1982)
No. 72 :: Flanigan sets total offense record (1997)
No. 71 :: Bell inducted into CFHOF (1955)
No. 70 :: Dickerson runs wild against A&M (1980)
No. 69 :: Charles breaks freshman record (2001)
No. 68 :: Johnson sets sack record (1999)
No. 67 :: Dupard leads pouding of Texas (1985)
No. 66 :: Sanders named first All-America (1928)
No. 65 :: Rossley breaks reception record (1994)
No. 64 :: First win over Texas (1924)
No. 63 :: Gregg returns to SMU (1988)
No. 62 :: Mann leads SMU over TCU (1926)
No. 61 :: Berry defines excellence (1954)
No. 60 :: Birth of the Mustang Name (1917)
No. 59 :: Ford scores first TD in Ford (2000)
No. 58 :: Wolf sets SWC record (1992)
No. 57 :: Meredith sets SWC record (1957)
No. 56 :: Choate Anchors SMU Defense (1978)
No. 55 :: SMU downs Texas (1965)
No. 54 :: Tolbert leads win over BU (1978)
No. 53 :: SMU downs Texas in Austin (1982)
No. 52 :: Partee kicks win over Baylor (1966)
No. 51 :: Hopkins recovers Pitt fumble (1983)
No. 50 :: Dickerson scores 19 TDs (1981)
No. 49 :: Romo breaks completion record (1990)
No. 48 :: LeVias breaks reception record (1968)
No. 47 :: SMU records 400th win (1997)
No. 46 :: SMU clinches winning season (1997)
No. 45 :: Walker on Life Magazine (1948)
No. 44 :: Rote No. 1 NFL Draft Pick (1951)
No. 43 :: SMU blanks TCU (1966)
No. 42 :: SMU downs UNT on Homecoming (1989)
No. 41 :: SMU RUNS over Razorbacks (1980)
No. 40 :: Richardson sets rushing record (1968)
No. 39 :: Wolf breaks NCAA record (1989)
No. 38 :: SMU downs Arkansas (1984)
No. 37 :: The Decision (1945)
No. 36 :: Doak Walker Day at SMU (1998)
No. 35 :: SMU Upsets A&M (1974)
No. 34 :: SMU Ties Ohio State (1978)
No. 33 :: SMU ties Penn State (1948)
No. 32 :: The Army game (1928)
No. 31 :: The TCU Game (1947)
No. 30 :: SMU comeback against Baylor (1975)
No. 29 :: Hixson leads nation in passing (1968)
No. 28 :: Back to the Cotton Bowl (1949)
No. 27 :: Smith picks off Marino (1983)
No. 26 :: The Aloha Bowl (1984)
No. 25 :: Mustang Mania (1978)
No. 24 :: First SWC Title (1923)
No. 23 :: LeVias Baffles Texas A&M (1966)
No. 22 :: Debut Of The Pony Express (1980)
No. 21 :: Undefeated SMU Beats Texas (1947)
No. 20 :: The Ohio State game (1950)
No. 19 :: Dickerson breaks SWC record (1982)
No. 18 :: Revenge against Houston (1992)
No. 17 :: Tie versus Texas A&M (1994)
No. 16 :: Win over Notre Dame (1951)
No. 15 :: Walker career accolades (1949)
No. 14 :: SMU ranked No. 2 (1982)
No. 13 :: The House That Doak Built
No. 12 :: Bluebonnet Bowl in 1968
No. 11 :: Opening of Ford Stadium (2000)
No. 10 :: The Navy Game (1963)
No. 9 :: Carter's block against Arkansas (1982)
No. 8 :: Miracle on Mockingbird (1989)
No. 7 :: The 1949 Notre Dame Game
No. 6 :: National Champions (1935)
No. 5 :: Signing of Jerry LeVias (1965)
No. 4 :: McIlhenny Cotton Bowl TD (1983)
No. 3 :: The Miracle Man (1982)
No. 2 :: The $85,000 Pass (1935)
No. 1 :: Doak Wins the Heisman (1948)
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