Dallas Colleges: Doak Walker
A quick look at the Cotton Bowl performances of Johnny Football’s Heisman predecessors:
1949 – SMU’s Doak Walker: The hometown kid did it a little bit of everything during SMU’s 21-13 win over Oregon. Walker rushed for 66 yards and the game’s first touchdown on 14 carries, threw for 79 yards on 6-of-10 passing and boomed a 79-yard punt off a quick kick that pinned Oregon at the Ducks’ 1.
1963 – Navy’s Roger Staubach: The No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup turned into a lopsided loss for Staubach’s second-ranked Midshipmen, with Texas rolling to a 28-6 rout to clinch the Longhorns’ first national title. Staubach completed 21-of-31 passes for 228 yards, but he was picked off once and was under siege all day. Staubach was credited with minus-47 yards on 12 rushing attempts, although he did score Navy’s lone touchdown on a 2-yard run.
1978 – Texas’ Earl Campbell: The undefeated, top-ranked Longhorns got blown out by Notre Dame, 38-10, despite 116 yards on 29 carries by the Tyler Rose. Texas, committed six turnovers, fell behind 24-3 midway through the second quarter.
1985 – Boston College’s Doug Flutie: Flutie tied a Cotton Bowl record with three touchdown passes in BC’s 45-28 win over Houston, including a 63-yard bomb to future Cowboys receiver Kelvin Martin, but it wasn't an especially pretty performance. Flutie completed only 13-of-37 passes for 180 yards and was picked off twice.
1986 – Auburn’s Bo Jackson: Bo don’t know Cotton Bowl success. Actually, Jackson put up nice numbers against the Wrecking Crew, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and catching a 73-yard touchdown pass. But the Aggies blew out Auburn, 36-16.
1988 – Notre Dame’s Tim Brown: Two years later, the Aggies ruined another Heisman winner’s finale. Brown caught six balls for 105 yards and a touchdown, but his score on the opening series was the only time the Fighting Irish reached the end zone during a 35-10 loss to A&M.
1998 – Texas’ Ricky Williams: Williams, wearing No. 37 to honor the deceased Doak Walker, capped his college career with a dominant performance. He rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. His first score was a 37-yard run.
A day after highlighting the 1935 "Game of the Century" that featured TCU's Slingin' Sammy Baugh (and if you haven't seen the film clip of the game -- it is must-see -- click here), although in a rare, losing effort, how could we not come back with SMU legend Doak Walker doing his thing against the Horned Frogs in another classic cross-town grudge match?
The Mustangs came to Fort Worth sporting a 9-0 record. While the Horned Frogs were not as strong as some of coach Dutch Meyer's earlier teams, they jumped out to a 12-0 lead. Walker cut the lead to 12-7 as he pulled the down and scrambled 65 yards for a touchdown. Then, using a mixture of pass and run, guided the Mustangs in the end zone again. This time he missed the extra point, but the Ponies had the lead 13-12 with time running out on the Frogs.
But, as an SMU report tells it, the TCU wasn't about to give up on spoiling the Ponies' perfect season. TCU quarterback Lindy Berry threw a bomb from his own 10-yard line to Morris Bailey at midfield. Bailey took it all the way to the SMU 15, then tosseda lateral to wingback Charlie Jackson, who made it to the 5. He then tossed it back to fullback Pete Stout, who crossed the goal line to finish off the amazing play with only 1:30 left to play.
TCU 19, SMU 13. This one appeared to be history.
Again, according to the SMU report, legend has it that TCU tackle Harold Kilman, obviously believing the Frogs had the game locked up, looked over at Walker and said, "Now what are you gonna do, Doak? Walker responded confidently, "We're going to score again." On the ensuing kickoff, Walker caught the ball inside his 10 and took off down the sideline all the way to the TCU 35.
That's when Gil Johnson reentered the game and Walker moved to wingback. TCU double-covered Walker, knowing Johnson wanted to get the sophomore star the ball. Somehow Walker still managed to get open, and Johnson hit him at the 10-yard line.
According to the SMU report, Johnson, many years later, recalled what happened: "We didn't have time to huddle. I told everyone who was eligible to go down the field and everyone else to block. I looked for Doak, but they were all of over him as usual. Then I saw Sid Halliday out there and I threw it to him. I think he had a couple of men on him but he made a fine catch. I always did have a lot of confidence in Sid. He was a real fighter."
SMU had tied the score at 19-19 with 20 seconds left on the clock. All the Mustangs now needed to go to 10-0 was the extra point from the exhausted Walker, who had rushed for 119 yards, returned three kickoffs for 163 yards, completed 10-of-14 passes for 136 yards and scored the first two touchdowns.
Did Walker have enough leg left to win the game?
The 1947 battle would end in a 19-19 tie.
Gerhart, a Heisman Trophy finalist, averaged 143.9 yards a game as a senior, rushing for 1,871 yards and 28 touchdowns. He beat out Heisman winner Mark Ingram of Alabama and Clemson's C.J. Spiller.
Friday night's festivities is the last in a long line of award banquets since December for Gerhart. He shared the Doak Walker stage with SMU legends Eric Dickerson and Craig James, who together accepted the Doak Walker Legends Award.
"It’s been a dream come true for me," Gerhart said. "It’s a testament to Stanford football, to our team this year. I’m getting all the glory, but I wish I could share with all of them."
Interrupted James playfully: "Toby’s really hard to deal with. Eric and I have been amazed. The guy is demanding --'arrogant,' chimed Dickerson --he’s got an entourage already, boy."
Gerhart said he most enjoyed meeting the Walker family.
"It's truly an honor. You know when they said,'Welcome to the family,' that meant a lot to me," Gerhart said. "Family is a huge part of my life and to be openly accepted into theirs and to hear stories about their father and how great of a man he is, I only wish when my life is over I have a legacy that he has left and that I can touch as many people as he has."
Gerhart is training for the NFL Combine with and living with Texas quarterback and Davey O'Brien Award winner Colt McCoy.
"He's got a great style for the NFL," James said of Gerhart. "The runners that come out of college that dance, it's hard in the NFL because everybody can run, everybody can dance. You've got to break arm tackles and run past people and Toby is certainly that style of runner. I think he'll have a very successful career in the NFL."
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