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Entries in college football programs (12)


November 15, 1947: Oregon at Stanford

click to embiggenA team’s game program souvenir publication often reflects the personality, ambition and traditions of its publisher. The long-term, well-funded programs for teams with large stadiums and big publication runs carry features like custom cover illustrations (for example, the humorous work by John Churchill Chase for Texas in the mid-20th century), voluminous advertising inches, player biographies, looks at other school sports, and the like. Presumably, the more you can cram into that magazine, the more likely someone will buy it on game day and not leave it laying in shreds under the seats.

As a contrast, there is Stanford University’s late-40s program format.

The cover illustration: disgusting, yes, but at least this caricature has an expression of focus and resolve as he aims his hatchet at the duck’s neck; there are many examples of much more humiliating representations of their beloved “mascot.” Stanford would continue humiliating Native Americans in this way until a group of students began agitating in 1972 to recapture a small piece of their own dignity; that year, the Stanford administration responded to their petition by unilaterally declaring, to its eternal credit, that “any and all Stanford University use of the Indian Symbol should be immediately disavowed and permanently stopped.” Ever since, there have been periodic efforts by nimrod fraternity brothers and alumni to resurrect a “wild-eyed, big-nosed, tomahawk-chopping savage” as the public face of Stanford athletics, as recently as 2006. (The Stanford Review has a good history of the subject.)

Beyond the cover, the program is itself embarrassingly skimpy for a major college program in a large metropolitan area. It’s only eight pages, including the covers; three of those pages are full-color cigarette ads, with a center spread featuring pop singers Perry Como and Jo Stafford hawking Chesterfields, and a comely back cover cheerleader insisting that Camels are “The Choice of Experience” (think her parents knew?). The four pages of editorial content are limited to head shots of head coaches Jim Aiken and Marchy Schwartz, a roster (admittedly comprehensive), and two pages of player photo collages. No stats. No game stories. No player features.

All this for fifteen cents, of which .004 cents was somehow payable as sales tax.

The game itself, the penultimate contest of Jim Aiken’s first season at the helm, played out on a rainy Saturday before 15,000 fans rattling around in Stanford’s 90,000-seat bowl; presumably most of the game programs were snapped up as emergency headwear, but no rain fell during the game itself. The Webfoots asserted themselves early on the muddy field, surrendering only a late touchdown in a 21-6 victory. “Grandpa” Jake Leicht, the PCC’s leading rusher at 27 years old, and George Bell ran over and around the bigger but slower Stanford defenders – some things never change – and Norm Van Brocklin passed and punted efficiently (and sat out on defense, as usual).

After knocking off OSC the following week, Oregon’s record stood at 7-3, their best season since 1933. With only six seniors on the 1947 roster, things were looking up.



November 9, 1935 -- OSC at Oregon


With recent conference expansion requiring some changes in scheduling, there has been discussion of moving the Oregon State game earlier in the season, along with the other traditional rivalries. Cal/Stanford has become the first victim of logistics; the 2012 Big Game will not hold its customary final-weekend status. This change has been met with cries of anguish and disgust and sadness that “tradition,” the opiate of the mature college football fan, is being cast aside so that television can have its way.

Eventually, this rivalry game date shuffle will hit the Civil War. So it’s important to note that UO-OAC has not in fact always been the season’s final scheduled gridiron event; the final game setting only became fixed after WW2. Oregon would often finish its season in the pre-war era on a road trip to California, or even an extended journey by train to Florida or Louisiana. Post-war, the Civil War was set in stone as the last game of the season; after the last “post-season” roadie in 1941 resulted in a 71-7 loss to Texas, it’s easy to guess why.

Since WW2, only four times has Oregon vs Oregon State not finished the regular season: twice the team went to Hawaii, once to Miami, and once against USC in Japan (the “Mirage Bowl”, so named because as an Oregon bowl game, it was a mirage). So, when it finally happens again, and the Civil War is closer to a midseason event, it’s going to feel a little strange.

This program is from the 39th Civil War, the sixth game of 1935, the last year of an extended era when “Civil War” and “end of season” were not synonymous. Prink Callison’s team had struggled a bit, pitching three shutout wins but losing to Cal 6-0 and, the weekend before, hammered 33-6 at eventual conference co-champion UCLA. Still, even though the Webfoots had a brilliant 9-1 season in 1933, and hadn’t lost to OSC in years, this Homecoming game was expected to be the first Hayward Field sellout since… well, since the last OSC game at Hayward, in 1931. (The game had been played in Portland the last two seasons.)

As usual, the media fell over itself complimenting the game play on the field.

“Oregon’s crushing football machine … playing the driving game of a championship eleven … one of the most dramatically thrilling gridiron classics ever seen here …” 
— Bill Phipps, Register-Guard Sports Editor, 11/10/1935 

Beaver coach Lon Stiner’s inexplicable plan to start his second team blew up in his face, as his halfback Bob Mountain fumbled on the second play from scrimmage; six runs later, Oregon had the winning points in a 13-0 game. The Ducks finished the 1935 season at 6-3 – Prink Callison’s last winning season; by 1938 he would be retired from coaching, operating the venerable Lucky’s Club Cigar Store and Tavern in downtown Eugene.

The Register-Guard by 1935 had begun tallying semi-reliable game statistics. Translating these to modern layout standards is a good indicator of how far the game has progressed in the “modern era.” Nowadays you’ll find middle school first-year-in-pads teams with better numbers than this.





15 carries, 76 yds

40 carries, 116 yds


5-16-3, 58 yds

1-6-3, 9 yds

First downs



Total plays



Total offense




10 / 40.8 avg

10 / 42.7 avg


3 / 15 yds

1 / 15 yds





It’s safe to say that the passing game hadn’t exactly caught on yet in college football, at least out West. 

Program Notes

  • To my knowledge this is the only time the entire front cover of an Oregon game program has been sponsored by any advertiser. Tobacco hustling would never get more blatant than this. (Does any smoker actually have teeth that white?)

click to embiggen


September 18, 1971 – Utah at Oregon

click to embiggenJerry Frei wasn’t happy. Called his team “sloppy.” Said “we should have scored at least nine touchdowns.”

Bobby Moore was unimpressed. “I thought I had a good game but not a great game… I should have had a better burst of speed.”

Utah coach Bill Meek played it right down the middle. “I was pleasantly surprised that our young offensive personnel moved the ball, but I didn’t think we’d get cut up that bad on defense.”

Bobby Moore, now Ahmad Rashad, 1971The fans, generously counted at 27,000, at Autzen Stadium for the first night game in school history should have been dancing in the aisles about the offensive explosion of the Fighting Ducks. The home team led 20-7 after barely five minutes had elapsed. Moore broke Jim Shanley’s school record for rushing yardage, with 249 on just 27 carries, and gathered in three passes for 89 yards and a TD; a phantom clipping penalty cost him another 35 yard TD run. Enormous fullback Greg Herd battered the Utah line. Dan Fouts threw with reasonable efficiency (18-32-1 for 245 yards and three TDs).

The total effort: 615 yards, another school record.

And yet, with under four minutes left, Oregon had its “hands” team waiting for an onside kick, from the backup kicker for the Redskins, leading by just seven points… and watched in horror as tiny reserve QB Harvey Winn muffed the catch; Scott Robbins recovered the ball for Utah, and they were in business again at midfield with momentum, along with three timeouts to work with.

That the game would come down to a final heroic defensive stand for Frei’s best offensive team was just another irony. Going into his fifth season at the helm, Jerry Frei finally had a respectable talent base. But most of that talent was on the offense. Fouts, Moore and tackle Tom Drougas would go on to lengthy NFL careers, but only linebacker Tom Graham would receive honors on the defensive side. All that scoring ability was the key to success, because the Ducks couldn’t stop anyone.

Preseason, the Ducks were talking Rose Bowl. Hoots of derision were strangely absent. The offense really did look like it could outscore anyone, but the Achilles heel was Oregon’s schedule, considered the nation’s toughest; opener at Nebraska (the eventual national champions), back home for a Utah team that had gone 6-4 in ‘70, then on the road at defending Pac-8 champion Stanford, then to Austin for a game at defending SWC champion Texas, which hadn’t lost at home in four seasons, then to Los Angeles for a date with USC. Pundits looked at that opening month and said if Oregon could get through the first four games at 1-3 and without serious injury, they’d have a shot at Pasadena.

Oregon may have the most potent offense in the country, but it is going to take more than that to get the Ducks through the first half of the 1971 season unscathed. Your prayers would help … Frei has tremendous offensive weapons, an improved defense led by All-American linebacker Tom Graham, a lot of hope and a happy football team.

“In these trying times, do not sell that last point short.” – Al Moss, San Francisco Chronicle

The “1” in that 1-3, of course, was Utah. And the Ducks needed all those yards, the magnificent performance by Moore, and that last stand on defense to come out on top, 36-29.


As predicted, Oregon started 1971 at 1-3, drubbed at Nebraska and Texas. But the ship was righted in a win over USC – the first in Los Angeles since the 1957 Rose Bowl season. A win over the Huskies at Autzen, when LB Bill Drake broke a fingernail deflecting a winning FG attempt, and suddenly Oregon was 2-1 in conference play. No UCLA on the schedule, and the remaining three conference opponents were considered eminently beatable… and Wazzu had shocked the world, and Stanford, with a 24-23 win that left five teams tied for first place. Oregon was one of them. It was the latest the Ducks had remained in Rose Bowl contention in a season since 1964.

The exalted status didn’t last. In Pullman, the Ducks blew a fourth-quarter lead, giving up a TD on a fake punt and another score following a Fouts interception, and put WSU into the Rose Bowl driver’s seat. A foggy win at Air Force put Frei’s charges at 5-4, facing two critical games, Cal and OSU, both at Autzen. Two wins could be reasonably expected; certainly one was likely. They lost both. The boosters started pulling strings, and in late January of 1972, Frei resigned in frustration.


Program Notes:

  • This program appears courtesy of Terry Frei, son of Jerry, a noted sportswriter and author currently living in Colorado. Terry is the author of two interesting and relevant books for Oregon fans: “The Witch’s Season” is a fictionalized chronicle of the turmoil in and around the UO and the Duck football program in the late Sixties; “Third Down and a War to Go” traces the story of Jerry Frei and his Wisconsin teammates who left school in 1942 after winning a national championship to serve their country in World War II. Both are well worth reading. 
  • Bobby Moore, now known as Ahmad Rashad, was named the AP National Back of the Week for his performance against Utah.
  • Traffic was a nightmare for this game. A log truck had lost its load on the Ferry Street Bridge on Friday, damaging the roadbed, and the bridge was closed. In the days before the Wash-Jeff viaduct was constructed, there were only two ways to get to Autzen if Ferry St was shut down – Club Road, via Coburg Rd from the north, or Centennial Blvd from the Springfield side. Both routes were jammed, and the chaos was said to have contributed to the disappointing gate for the home opener.
  • The program is huge – 50 pages – and jammed with photos and useful information.  There’s even a current Pac-8 standings and conference schedule, along with the schedule for the Ducks – including the freshman team! – and ticket prices for all games. (Civil War: $7)
  • Beano Cook contributes an interesting look at how ABC handled scheduling of televised games in 1971. (“No team can appear more than four times in two years, or more than three times in one year… No team can appear on national TV more than two times in one year…”) Yeah, the good old days.
  • The technology of “Instant Replay” gets a two-page study, on its fifth anniversary.
  • Check out the photo of Bobby Moore carrying the ball on page 16. Ignore the poor ball security. Focus on all that standing water. The first AstroTurf, laid down in 1969 to replace the failed grass field, was dreadful – thin carpet over concrete was how players described it – and had terrible drainage. Rooster tails were common sights on wet Saturdays.
  • Best ‘fro: Linebacker Bob Green, #46 (page 15). Bobby Green was a  Lane County Commissioner for 13 years.
  • Best pose: Fullback Greg Herd, coming out of the page at you on 18. (Why don’t they pose pictures like this any more?)
  • If you’re scoring at the game, there’s a page for “Do-It-Yourself Statistics”. Note rule #4: “Be sure to credit first downs on scoring plays originating from lines of scrimmage beyond the 10 yard line.” I’d never thought about that.
  • The roster page (24) this year includes a column for “High School Coach.” A nod to recruiting? One familiar name: Tom Drougas’ coach at Sunset in Beaverton was one Darrel Davis, aka “Mouse”, originator of the run-and-shoot offense.
  • Best juxtaposition of future notoriety: Page 25, O.J. Simpson at the wheel of a Chevy Vega.
  • The center spread is brought to you by Hi-C, a vile canned imitation fruit drink; apparently, it’s still being manufactured, though I haven’t seen it in years. Probably popular in the SEC.
  • Again, there’s a black-and-white ad for a color TV. Will they ever learn?
  • Page 38 carries a report of an odd study by the UO Center of Research for Human Performance, in which eight “coeds, ranging in age from 18 to 23,” were chosen for evaluation of the response of the human body to high elevation. Dr. Eugene Evonuk, lab director, said the girls were picked because of their “good health, average physical abilities, employability, and generally stable, outgoing personalities.” Now there’s a ringing endorsement.
  • New head basketball coach Dick Harter is introduced along with his assistants on page 45. The coming season is downplayed a bit, which was a good move, considering their eventual 6-20 record and 0-fer in the Pac 8.
  • And what early photo of Autzen Stadium would be complete without a reminder of all the parking that used to be there? See page 50. Now those were the days.

(Note there are *two* program galleries below. Squarespace limits me to no more than 29 images per gallery. An arbitrary and capricious outrage!)