Monday, December 31, 2018 – Mamma Called or The Last Time the Aggies were in the Gator Bowl
“Mamma called. And when Mama calls, you just have to come runnin.”
Let’s get in the Wayback Machine and return to December 28, 1957. It was a time of floor length formals with frills, white elbow length gloves and the Bowl Queens and their Courts who wore them.
This appears to be a 30 minute promo of the Gator Bowl in 1957. https://youtu.be/EedQfNyCc24 Lots of Gator Bowl Queens, the Tennessee Band, and a little bit of football footage. I wonder if there will be speed boat races this year.
The Texas Aggies were 8-0 and in contention for the National Championship. At one point they had been ranked Number One for three weeks in a row. The running back was Heisman Trophy Winner, John David Crow.
Reverse the Wayback Machine to October 26. Alabama lost to Mississippi State 25 to 13. The Alabama coach, J.B.” Ears” Whitworth was fired. Rumors began to fly down the railroad tracks to College Station. The coach of the Texas Aggies, Paul “Bear” Bryant might leave! Bryant played blocking end for Alabama and graduated in 1936 with a B.S. degree.
The Aggies came undone. The Aggies would lose to Rice (when it was the William M. Rice Institute for the Advancement of the Literature, Science and Art) and to The University of Texas. The Rice quarterback was the great King Hill.
Jimmy Wright, back-up Aggie quarterback, 1954-1956, is quoted to have said “When starting Aggie quarterback, Roddy Oborne threw an interception in the Arkansas game, and Coach Bryant did not say anything, I knew he was gone.”
Because of the losses to Rice and Texas the Aggies dropped out of contention. The Aggies received an invitation to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. It was like the Miss Congeniality of football games at that time. It was not the Rose Bowl. It was not the Cotton Bowl. It was not the Orange Bowl. It was not the Sugar Bowl. Those were the big games. But the Gator Bowl had just enlarged its stadium. It would now seat 43,000.
The Aggies’ opponent was Number 13 ranked The University of Tennessee. In a lackluster, no Aggie spirit, The Volunteers won with a field goal with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter to win 3-0.
It would be the last game for Bear Bryant at Texas A&M. The Aggies would not go to a bowl game again until 1968. Paul Bear Bryant would go to Alabama and as they proverbially say “the rest is history.”
When asked why he was going to go to Alabama Bryant was quoted to have said “Mamma called. And when Mama calls, you just have to come runnin.”
And THE University of Texas in 1957? The Horns played Ole Miss (an SEC team) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. It was Darryl K. Royal’s first year as head coach. They lost 39-7 to the Rebels. Hotty Toddy!
BTHO North Carolina State
Happy New Year!