Saturday, October 1, 2016

UTA FB Vol. 4 Gm. 5 - Talent and Youth

Today's entry in the UTA football history series has way more meaning than just with opponent, site, outcome, etc., though it has a lot of that. So today, we'll look back at the 1966 season and go to Memorial Stadium as Arlington State College plays their home opener.

Today's opponent is East Texas State University, the first genuine rival ASC had since leaving the junior college ranks. The schools are roughly an hour's drive apart and the game's were relatively close. UTA dropped the first two games of the series, 9-14 and 8-17 but rebounded in 1965 for a 20-6 win.

I've mentioned before about how this was one of the higher attended games of the year for the host team. Of the six games that have hit five figures  or more on UTA's campus, two came from East Texas State. And that's out of three total games in Arlington.

1966 was really an interesting year, but not for some of the reasons initially thought. Sophomore quarterback Carl Williams led the team in passing as a freshman with 902 yards. There were many who thought he had the making to be an all-time great. But for reasons I have never been able to find, he quit the team mid-season. That left the door open for Mike Baylor, who would become that all-time great, holding most career passing records and a few single-season ones that still stand.

This was probably the combination of youngest, most talented team UTA ever fielded, especially on offense. Freshman Danny Griffin would lead the team in rushing all four years he played. The combo of Jimmy Thomas and Dick Hill as pass catchers was unmatched, at least until the 1985 season. They were joined by Raymond Matthews, who could run or catch, though he wasn't as young as the other teammates. The offensive line would have three players who finished in the all-conference team. Tackle Ken Riley and guard Bob Diem were first teamers while center Bob Utley was a second team selection. Skipper Butler was a freshman kicker and would make big kicks every year until he graduated.

Talented linebackers Fred Gough and Ken Riley were sophomores and making waves. Both would end up taken by NFL teams in the draft. Jim Marcum, listed as a defensive back, would finish as UTA's all-time interception leader and tied for the lead in a single-season. He was joined by Mike Stamps, a punishing player who played what would be considered strong safety today. Senior Mike Barnes is tied with Marcum for single-season interception leader (8) and third in career int's (13). The defensive backfield was rounded out by Robert Willbanks, who was a do-everything player.

It was rare to find an impact player who was a senior this season. But Ken Ozee was maybe one of the best ever at defensive tackle. The senior would go on to win the Southland Conference's defensive player of the year this year, the only time that has happened in 22 years of UTA playing SLC football. He would end up a College Division All-American this year, after getting honorable mention the previous.

Barnes, Baylor, Butler, Diem, Griffin, Hill, Marcum, Ozee, Stamps, Thomas and Willbanks are all in UTA's Hall of Honor, along with Coach Burley Bearden.

I'm not going to call this team or the 1967 team that went 10-1 with a Pecan Bowl win as the most-talented in UTA history. The 1979 team went 9-2 at the highest level of college football. But collectively, the 1965-68 teams went 28-12, and that is unmatched. The two season on either side of the 1979 squad went 5-6 and 3-8. Hard to argue that.

On this day in UTA Footbal History, The Arlington State College Rebels host the East Texas State Lions in 1966 (this entry is just chock full of errors so please remember I leave the articles as they appeared in the paper).

ASC Blasts ETSU, 27-10

News Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas - Arlington State's Rebels turned frustration into victory Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. They made their debut before the largest crowd (an estimated 10,000) ever to watch them play here, by East Texas State's Lions, 27-10.

It was a game fought with offensive miscues, countered by fine defensive plays on the part of both teams. The Rebels offset the tempo for the game when wingback Mike Buchanan fumbled on a reverse on the third scrimmage play of the game and Bill Garner, a 180-pound defensive recovered for the Lions at the Reb. 23. The Lions could only advance three yards in three plays, but their do-everything halfback, Curtis Guyton, came in on fourth down and booted a 37-yard field goal to give the visitors a 3-0 lead with only 2:38 gone in the game.

ARLINGTON took the ensuing kickoff and drove from its own 19 to the East Texas seven before the likes of 225-pound sophomore tackle Chadwick Brown and linebacker Kenneth Pierce. The Rebels were stopped once again in the first period at the Lions 13 and the quarter ended with East Texas on top, 3-0.

The Lions built their lead to 10-0 some six minutes into the second quarter when quarterback James Adams found Richard Houston open and going away at the Rebel 45.

Houston hauled in the perfect pass and outran two Rebel defenders to complete the 79-yard scoring play, the longest ever for a Lions' team. Guyton kicked the point after touchdown.

But sad moments were waiting for Adams' passes throughout most of the rest of the game as four of them fell into enemy hands to quell any more serious threats from the Lions.

MEANWHILE, the Rebels got things going their way for good midway of the second quarter when they uncorked a 73-yard drive that the Lions were unable to stop. Quarterback Carl Williams swept around right end for the final seven yards. A bad snap from center that holder Mike Baylor was unable to handle properly caused Dennis Hunt's PAT try to fall short. But it made little difference for the Rebels were now in high gear.

They took the lead for good with 1:32 left in the first half when Williams found Buchanan alone in the end zone with a 7-yard scoring pass to cap a 62-yard drive in nine plays Hunt was true with his kick for a 13-10 Rebel lead at the half.

Misfortune continued to haunt the Lions in the second half in the form of fumbles and pass interceptions.

Arlington scored its third touchdown of the night with 5:35 left in the third quarter. Williams sneaked over from the one to cap a 54-yard drive that started when Melvin Witt recovered a Jerry Reeder fumble at the Rebel 46. Hunt added the extra point.

SOME TWO minuted later, the Rebs scored their final TD after Jim Sheridan had hauled in another errant Adams pass to put the Rebs in business on the Lion 19. Arlington scored three plays later when Williams hit end Dick Hall in the end zone for the final five yards. Hunt again converted.

The big difference in the game was the Rebels' ability to control Guyton, who was held to only 20 yards rushing in seven carries.

Rebel wingback Raymond Matthews led all ball carriers with 104 yards rushing on 24 carries.

                                               ETSU             ASC
First Downs.................................10                 27
Pushing Yardage ........................204               338                    
Passing Yardage.........................124               129
Passes......................................7-28            10-32
Passes Intercepted by....................1                    5
Punts.....................................6-30.8              1-38
Fumbles Lost.................................1                   2
Penalties...................................3-48              4-33
East Texas State...........................3  7  0  0 - 10
Arlington State.............................0 13 14 0 - 27

ET-Guyton, 37-yd. 37-yd. FG.
ET-Houston, 79-yd. pass from Adams
ASC-Williams, 7-yd. run (kick failed).
ASC-Buchanan, 7-yd. pass from Williams (Hunt kick).
ASC-Williams, 1-yd. run. (Hunt kick).
ASC-Hill, 5-yd. pass from Williams (Hunt kick).

Taken from the Dallas Morning News, 10-2-66.

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