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TGS PACIFIC 12 RETROSPECTIVE...DAYS OF GREAT PUMPKINS AND GIANT KILLERS!
by Bruce Marshall, Goldsheet.com Editor


Great Pumpkins and Giant Killers? Sounds more like some kind of a storybook tale than a college football reference, doesn’t it?

But for a short and glorious while at Oregon State in the late ‘60s, the two terms were synonymous for one of the more riveting, albeit brief, chapters of gridiron history during our nearly 60 years of publishing TGS.

Moreover, those Beavers began to represent more to their fan base than a simple storyline from years gone by. Indeed, “Great Pumpkins and Giant Killers” would fuel hope among a fan base that hung on to those memories for a generation during the subsequent “Dark Ages” of OSU football, fearing that they would never again experience anything other than agony on the gridiron. Indeed, there was a three decade-break between feelings of ecstasy for the Beaver program.

The basis for Great Pumpkins and Giant Killers were a coach and a team that emerged not quite from nowhere, but nonetheless surprisingly into the national conscience of college football in a glorious and unforgettable one-month stretch in late 1967 that contributed to a mystique that lives to this day.

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The Great Pumpkin? The term briefly became well-known in pop culture as the theme of a Charlie Brown made-for-TV Halloween special that first aired on CBS in the autumn of 1966. It wouldn’t take long for a real-life character to embody the label much better than even Charles Schulz could have imagined.

Meet Dee Andros, head coach at Oregon State from 1965-75. But it was in those years immediately after the Charlie Brown Halloween special in the late ‘60s that Andros became almost as much of a household name on the American sports scene were Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang to a generation of admirers. Indeed, the first time Andros was affixed with that label was right after the original airing of the Charlie Brown special, after a 1966 win over Washington State, when the legendary columnist Harry Missildine of the Spokane Spokesman-Review pulled the nickname out of his hat after Andros’ Beavers had trampled the Cougars, 41-13. Noted Oregon State SID John Eggers, who earlier had mounted an insurgent p.r. campaign to help QB Terry Baker win the 1962 Heisman Trophy, would then pick up the “Great Pumpkin” ball and run with it for the next few years while developing nicknames of his own for other players (more on those in a moment).

Of course, a couple of fortunate coincidences helped Andros became as identified with the “Great Pumpkin” as much as the term did with good ol’ Charlie Brown. First, Andros was a rotund sort, befitting a pumpkin’s shape. Second, important for the “Great Pumpkin” optics and message, he was almost always resplendent in a a polo shirt or windbreaker of orange, one of the main colors of the Beavers teams.

Third, Andros was of Greek heritage, and his birth name, Demosthenes Konstandies Andrecopoulos, added another interesting layer to the storyline, appealing to ethnics everywhere, especially those of European origin.

And fourth, Andros was just plain colorful. Sports writers loved the football version of the Great Pumpkin because he gave them plenty of printable quotes. Andros was definitely not a predecessor of the Nick Saban/Bill Belichick school of playing dodgeball with the media. The Great Pumpkin always seemed to have something to say and the media was always quick to oblige him with a platform.

Eventually, however, this trait would cost Andros and the Beaver football program, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. More on that chapter of the “Great Pumpkin” later in this piece

But the media loved Andros for many reasons other than the supply of entertaining quotes. He came from an era when football was the not the defining episode of his life. Andros, like many of his generation, had served in World War II. In fact, the Great Pumpkin was a marine and was at Iwo Jima in February of 1945 when photographer Joe Rosenthal captured the famous moment in which six soldiers raised the American flag in a never-to-be-forgotten photo that would win the Pulitzer Prize for Photgraphy, to be reprinted in thousands of publications, and later used as the image to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside of Washington, D.C..

What sort of historic event do you think Nick Saban and Bill Belichick have ever been as close to in their lives, or earned a Bronze Star for service under enemy fire at an epic battle like that of Iwo Jima? No wonder the media found Andros such an intriguing subject.

Andros’ football career began in his native Oklahoma and at Oklahoma City’s Central High before he enlisted in the military in 1942. Andros gained the same sort of appreciation for life and liberty as did all of the survivors of the Great War, and returned home in 1946 to enroll at the University of Oklahoma to resume his football career, when he played as a lineman for the Sooners and legendary HC Bud Wilkinson from 1946-49. Eventually selected by the Chicago Cardinals in the 14th round of the 1950 NFL Draft, Andros’ career would turn toward coaching instead, first on the Wilkinson staff at Oklahoma, then to Kansas, Texas Tech, Nebraska, California and Illinois before being named head coach at Idaho in 1962.

The Vandals, who hadn’t fashioned a winning record in 25 years, most of those as the punching bag of the old PCC, would finally get above .500 in Andros’ second season of 1963. In Andros’ third season, Big Sky Idaho was again punching above its weight against AAWU (successor to PCC and predecessor of Pac-8, Pac-10 and Pac-12) opposition, whipping neighboring Washington State 28-13 in the “Battle of the Palouse” and pushing a 7-2-1 Oregon and a Rose Bowl-bound Oregon State to the limit. That narrow 10-7 loss to the Beavers stuck in the minds of those in Corvallis, and legendary AD (and former hoops coach) Slats Gill, who would hire Andros at OSU after Tommy Prothro had left for UCLA following the 1964 Rose Bowl season.

Andros succeeded an era of some repute at Oregon State under predecessor Prothro, hired from Red Sanders' UCLA staff. Prothro won 63% of his games for the Beavers and qualified for three bowl games, including the Rose Bowl twice (1956 & '64), as well as coaching aforementioned Heisman-winning QB Terry Baker in 1962. It was during this period that the Beavers campaigned as an independent entry for five seasons (1959-63) after the breakup of the old Pacific Coast Conference. OSU re-joined the successor to the PCC, the aforementioned AAWU, in 1964, and promptly stole the conference title behind classy QB Paul Brothers and a rock-ribbed defense that allowed only 9 ppg in the regular season. Those Beavers also cut it close more often than Prothro would have liked, winning five games by seven points or fewer. Prothro was then lured to Westwood by UCLA AD J.D. Morgan to replace Bill Barnes almost immediately after OSU’s Rose Bowl loss to Michigan.

Andros kept the Beavers competitive in 1965 and ‘66 with 5-5 and 7-3 marks, respectively. The offense of the early Andros years was more Woody Hayes-like than even the Ohio State of the era, a pure smashmouth operation operating out of the rugged “Power T” formation that was similar is design to a full-house backfield, with three backs usually lined up side-to-side behind the QB. In ‘65 and ‘66, that would continue to be Paul Brothers, who spent much of his time handing the ball to pile-driving FB Pete Pifer, who topped 1000 YR in both ‘65 and ‘66, and complemented by wingback Bob Grim, who would eventually become one of Joe Kapp’s preferred receiving targets with the Minnesota Vikings.

The “Power T” was so closely associated to Andros that he eventually authored a book on its virtues, Power T Football: The Most Dynamic offense in Modern Football!! It did not make the New York Times best-seller list, but did become the gospel regarding everything Power T.

The seeds for a 1967 resurrection were planted late in that ‘66 season when the Beavers would batter their way down the stretch to win their last six games after losing three of their first four, including shutout defeats vs. Michigan and Southern Cal. There was nothing fancy about the Andros style, which was ultra-physical; QB Brothers would barely complete 40% of his passes and only toss 7 TD passes in all of 1965 & ‘66 combined. Line play was key; the offense featured C Rockne Freitas, who would enjoy a lengthy NFL career, while the defensive front was led by soph DT Jess Lewis, the embodiment of the rugged, physical, no-holds barred Andros style. Lewis, who tossed around offensive linemen like rag dolls, would eventually become a two-time NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship and compete in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics (skipping what would have been his senior football season, redshirting instead before finishing his OSU career in 1969).

Thus, there was some mystery involving the run-up to the ‘67 season, as Andros would have to replace key offensive contributors QB Brothers, FB Pifer, and WB Grim. The pressure was now on a couple of new faces, QB Steve Preece and converted LB-now-FB Bill Enyart, a 245-lb. moose nicknamed “Earthquake” by SID Eggers, to pick up where Brothers and Pifer left off, as well as pressure on new wingback Billy Main. The explosive weapon Grim and the rugged lineman Freitas had also left for the NFL, leaving other key roles to be filled.

Preece, an Idaho product, had been a target of Andros’ first recruiting class in Corvallis. With sprinter-like 10.0 speed in the 100-yard dash, a good arm and natural leadership skills, Preece, now a junior after backing up Brothers in ‘66, appeared to be the ideal athlete for Andros’ option-based attack. Even minus the decorated Freitas, the offensive line, led by future NFL C John Didion, appeared robust, yet there remained some questions on the attack end, replacing so many skill-position stalwarts.

The defense would be less of a concern entering ‘67, with several returning regulars. The Beaver “D” in those days generally employed a 5-3 formation (five linemen and three linebackers), and less frequently a 6-2 formation (six linemen and two linebackers). The secondary was covered by two backs and a safety, hardly uncommon for defensive backfields in an era when the forward pass was not the preferred mode of operation for many college offenses.

The DL, led by the ultra-physical Lewis, plus playmakers Harry Gunner, Jon Sandstrom, and Ron Boley, comprised one of the strongest and most stalwart units in the country, especially against the run. The linebacking crew would be paced by Skip Vanderbundt, who would eventually go on to a 10-year NFL career with the 49ers, though he was something of an unknown quantity entering ’67. The secondary has a veteran look with returnees Don Welch and Charlie Olds, plus Mark Waletich, of whom Andros said “was as good a safety as I’ve ever had.”

Another indicator of OSU’s prowess was a decorated coaching staff featuring several components who would go on to make their own names on the sidelines. Offensive line coach Sam Boghosian would proceed to a long career as an NFL assistant, while the DL coach was a young Rich Brooks, who would soon move to Prothro’s staff at UCLA and then become a longtime head coach at Oregon and in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams (and, briefly, as interim HC for the Atlanta Falcons). The DB coach was Bud Riley, who would eventually become a head coach in the CFL and also was the father of future Beaver HC Mike Riley.

The ‘67 opener would be played against Stanford at old Multnomah Stadium (still standing today, refurbished and now known as Providence Park) in Portland, where in those days the Beavs would usually play at least one home game each season. Andros’ team was installed as a 1-point favorite over John Ralston’s then-called Indians, as both teams would be starting new QBs (Preece for OSU, Chuck Williams for Stanford). The game was no artistic masterpiece; Preece and the Beaver offense struggled to gain traction. Stanford, however, was also stuck in neutral most of the night, breaking free for its only score on a 98-yard kickoff return by Nate Kirtman to tie the score at 7-7 early in the 2nd Q. For the rest of the evening it was a war of attrition, the Beaver defense eventually rewarding the “O” with decent enough field position for PK Mike Haggard to boot field goals later in the 2nd Q to stake OSU to a 13-7 halftime edge.

That was it for the scoring. Andros’ defense would be led by the future 49er LB, Skip Vanderbundt, who recorded three picks, the last in the final two minutes when Williams had moved Stanford into threatening position deep in Beaver territory. Oregon State had found a way to survive, but it was no artistic masterpiece. Preece would only complete 5 of 15 passes in his QB debut, while new backfield threats Enyart and WB Billy Main combined for just 105 YR. Nationally, few took notice; OSU, although its win streak had reached seven games over two seasons, didn’t receive even one vote in the following week’s AP poll.

The Beavers were on the road the next two weeks, at Arizona State against Frank Kush’s revenge-minded Sun Devils, a narrow 18-17 loser to OSU the previous 1966 season, and at Ray Nagel’s Iowa. The game at broiling Tempe would be considered the tougher test; Kush’s team was loaded with playmakers and boasted of its own NCAA heavyweight wrestling champ, DT Curley Culp, a future NFL stalwart, to clog the middle of the defensive line, plus a slew of other future pros (RBs Art Malone and “Mini” Max Anderson, as well as HB and future Lions WR Larry Walton, plus WR J.D.Hill) on the offensive side of the ball. But the punishing Beaver offense would neutralize Culp, and this was a coming-out-party of sorts for Preece, who would dash for 120 YR as OSU battered its way to 329 yards on the ground. Preece would also score three TDs as the Beavs held on for a 27-21 win, their eighth in a row, and finally a smidgen of respect in the polls, getting a few “also” votes from the AP the following week.

Next up it was on the road again at Iowa against what was thought to be a resurgent Hawkeyes team behind do-everything QB Ed Podolak. The Hawks had bottomed out a few years earlier under HC Jerry Burns and had been just 2-8 the previous ‘66 campaign, Ray Nagel's debut season as coach, but had opened ‘67 with a thumping win over TCU, and hopes were high in Iowa City. Yet the proceedings more resembled a mugging than a football game. Iowa could not physically deal with the Beavers, especially RBs Enyart (133 YR) and Main (117 YR), and OSU big-footed its way to a 31-0 halftime lead. The second half thus turned into garbage time, with Podolak belatedly passing for lots of yards as he would put the ball in the air a staggering 44 times, and responsible for a couple of late TDs, including a final tally with 4 seconds to play, to flatter Iowa more than a bit with the final 38-18 scoreline. Andros had called off the dogs, but had made his point with the Beaver Power-T smashing for 394 rush yards. Iowa HC Nagel was suitably impressed. "They just overpowered us,“ said the Hawkeye mentor.

OSU’s win streak was now at nine, and the Beavs received a few more votes in the AP poll, though still far away from the Top Ten. And while AAWU foes Southern Cal and UCLA were ranked 1 and 3, respectively, in the polls, some football insiders on the West Coast were now talking about another 3-team race for the Rose Bowl involving the same trio that finished at the top of the AAWU table in 1966.

Rankings, however, became an afterthought following subsequent games at Washington and home vs. BYU. Jim Owens’ aroused Huskies, always tough in Seattle, would slug out a 13-6 win to end the Beaver win streak at nine. The Beavers would be their own worst enemy with five giveaways; Preece would also only complete 3 of 10 passes. With the score level at 6-6, Owens would gamble in the 4th Q, pulling starting QB Tom Manke in favor of former starter Tom Sparlin, who provided a spark to the Husky offense, which would eventually capitalize on another Beaver fumble and drive 38 yards for the winning TD on an 18-yard run by FB Carl Wojciechowski.

The game was hard-hitting, as a pair of Beaver defensive linemen, Larry Rich and Mike Foote, were knocked out by concussions. A near-brawl developed near the end of the game as well as OSU could not contain its frustration. “Although we had a lot of turnovers, the defense needs to rise to the occasion,” lamented DE and LB coach Ed Knecht.

If OSU thought it gave one away at Washington, at least it didn’t have to worry about any “what ifs” the following week vs. BYU. The Cougars of the WAC passed the Beavers silly at Corvallis in what would be the first game of the season at a refurbished Parker Stadium, which had added 9000 seats and a new press box on the west grandstand. Cougar HC Tommy Hudspeth (who would later coach the NFL’s Detroit Lions), and his assistant LaVell Edwards, would use an unorthodox 3-QB rotation of John Erdhaus, Terry Sanford, and future Cougar radio analyst Marc Lyons, in a pass-happy attack that would target WRs Phil Odle and Casey Boyett. The day started badly for Preece with an interception on the Beavers’ first possession, quickly converted into a short TD run by Cougar wingback Wally Hawkins. Though the Beavers would level the score at 7 on a 20-yard Enyart TD run, a long bomb from Erdhaus to Boyett caught OSU napping in the 2nd Q, and that 68-yard TD pass put BYU up 17-7 at the half.

Playing from behind, Preece was forced to throw far more than Andros would have wished, and the Beavers would pay as four of Preece’s season-high 32 tosses went for interceptions. The final pick was a tipped pass returned 27 yards for a TD by BYU DB Bobby Roberts. Game, set and match to the Cougars by a 31-13 count. “We went into that game fat, dumb, and happy,“said assistant coach Ed Knecht. “We got a thorough and absolute thumping, and deservedly so. We played horribly." Knecht was especially mad at his defense that would surrender a season-high 457 yards.

But the worst part was that the Beaver season appeared to be collapsing right in front of one of what might have been the most-challenging schedule stretch ever endured by a college team. For in three of the next four games, OSU would be tasked with an unbelievable murderers row that including EACH of the top three ranked teams in the country...first at second-ranked Purdue, then home to Washington State before on the road at third-ranked UCLA, and then home to first-ranked Southern Cal. Coming off back-to-back losses to unheralded Washington and BYU, not even the most diehard Beaver backers could see a light at the end of the tunnel. The season appeared to be slipping away.

PURDUE


After the BYU loss, the Beavers had to dig deep, as DT Jess Lewis recalled. "They (BYU) just nailed us. I remember that feeling. Nobody played well. Sometimes it seems like your playing hard, but it just doesn't all come together. I remember Steve Preece standing up and giving a speech right after the game and saying how embarrassed he was by our performance. It was a gut check. 'Remember BYU' was kind of our motto after that. There was no way we were going to let that happen again."

Despite Preece's inspirational words and the promise the team had made to the coaches, practice the following week was no picnic. They were embarrassed too, and were not about to let the players off easy. DL coach Brooks had his linemen take countless trips through the obstacle course...Brooks’ favorite form of punishment.

Purdue was flying high, second-ranked behind USC and unbeaten at 4-0 and having humiliated Woody Hayes’ Ohio State, 41-6, in its previous game. Junior RB Leroy Keyes had emerged as a bone fide star, and soph QB Mike Phipps joined him in the limelight. A capacity crowd of over 60,000 jammed Ross-Ade Stadium and was positively giddy on Homecoming, expecting the Boilermakers to make the 20-point underdog Beavers another notch in their belt.

Andros, however, suspected that his rugged brand of offense could eventually wear down the Purdue defense. As long as the strike force, and Preece, didn’t play giveaway as in the previous two games when guilty of ten turnovers, the Great Pumpkin thought the Beavers had more than a puncher’s chance.

Oregon State took Andros’ confidence to heart, and from the outset it was clear that OSU meant business. Taking the openign kickoff, the Beavs marched 82 yards to a TD in eight plays, with Preece hitting WR Roger Cantlon with an 18-yard TD pass (one of only three Preece TD passes in ‘67!). Stunned, second-ranked Purdue bounced right back with its own TD drive, taking a bit more than two minutes to drive 62 yards and level the score on a 15-yard run by Keyes. Both defenses would then dominate the rest of the half; as OSU would go 18 minutes between first downs, with Preece squandering great field position in Boilermaker territory with a couple of picks. Before intermission, however, the Beav defense gifted the offense once more, with Lewis and DT Jon Sandstrom combining on a fumble recovery at the Purdue 26. Just before halftime, PK Mike Haggard hit from 25 yards to give OSU a 10-7 lead at the break.

The fans at Ross-Ade were stunned, but confident that it was just a matter of time before their Purdue heroes would regain control of proceedings. Which seemed to be the case at the outset of the second half when Phipps uncorked a 65-yard drive in just six plays, with Keyes scoring again, this time on a 7-yard run. Now back ahead at 14-10, the Boilermaker faithful began to relax, as order was seemingly restored.

Only it wasn’t. Not for Purdue, at least.

The Phipps-Keyes offense would never get inside the Beaver 40-yard-line the rest of the day. And by late in the 3rd Q, Andros’ belief that Purdue would begin to wilt under the hammering of the massive Enyart’s sledgehammer-like thrusts began to come true. The Beavers would march to another Haggard FG late in the quarter, with Preece adding some dipsy-do on the drive when handing off to wingback Billy Main on a reverse for 24 yards.

Still trailing 14-13 into the 4th Q, OSU’s relentless pounding with Andros’ Power-T continued to take its toll on the tiring Purdue defense, as the Beavers were manhandling the weakening Boilermakers in the pits. OSU was now owning the line of scrimmage as it pounded deep into Riveter territory...only for the error-prone Preece to once again suffer an interception, this time at the Purdue 8-yard-line. Lewis and the defense, however, would rise up again, as they, too, were physically punishing the Purdue offense, and forced another fumble at the Boilermaker 30 with 6:35 to go.

This time, Andros was not going to risk Preece throwing the ball, instead hammering straight ahead at the tiring Purdue defense. The rugged Enyart would carry the ball six of the next seven plays, running between the tackles, before powering his way into the end zone from the four. OSU missed 2-point conversion, but with three minutes to play had forged a 19-14 lead over the number two-ranked team!

The Beavers would catch one more break on the ensuing kickoff to help them seal the game. Andros, fearing the coast-to-coast threat Keyes also provided on returns, instructed Haggard to aim his kickoff short and as far away as possible from the deep-lying Keyes. Haggard took the advice to heart and then some, muffing the kick high and very short, but the result could not have turned out better for OSU, as the ball bounced around the 30-yard-line and was recovered by Beaver DB Mel Easley. In the final minute, Haggard would nail a 38-yard FG to put OSU ahead 22-14, and when LB Mike Groff picked off Phipps’ first pass (the Beavers’ third interception of the day) on Purdue’s last desperate possession, OSU had its upset.

And, voila, the “Giant Killers” were born!

The bruising Enyart had proven too much for the Purdue defense to handle, especially in the latter portion of the game when the Beaver OL was beginning to dominate in the trenches. Most of Enyart's 91 rush yards came in second half, and were a major contributor to Purdue's defensive fatigue. Meanwhile, DT Jess Lewis terrorized the Boilermakers, refusing to allow any running success up the middle and rattling QB Phipps (who suffered three picks) at every opportunity. Lewis would finish the day with two fumble recoveries and three solo tackles for a loss.

Purdue HC Jack Mollnkopf, whose team had beaten then top-ranked Notre Dame by a 28-21 count three weeks earlier, as well as trashing Woody Hayes’ Buckeyes, was suitably impressed. “They gave us one of the roughest times of the year all afternoon and their pass rush was very good, as good as any we've run into,” said Mollenkopf. “They came ready to play football." Meanwhile, Andros couldn’t contain his pride and glee. “I've never seen such dedication during practice as our kids showed all week, “ said the Great Pumpkin. “When they came on the field, they thought they could beat the best, and they did. We beat a great team."

Now, the Beavers could return to focus upon the AAWU race, but before facing UCLA and USC, had to avoid any post-Purdue letdown and dispose of Washington State. Which OSU did without much trouble at Corvallis, 35-7, harassing beleaguered Cougar QB Jerry Henderson at every opportunity. The Homecoming crowd was a disappointing 18,155, with heavy rains and high winds battering the Willamette Valley all week and keeping many fans at home. Weather conditions were still not optimal, but not quite as bad on Saturday when the big play also returned to the Beaver offense, with Preece lofting a 58-yard TD pass to homerun threat Billy Main. Now OSU was ready for the home stretch and hopefully getting back into the Rose Bowl chase, with the top two teams in the country on deck.

Andros, for one, was ready after the romp past the Cougars. "The kids did a great job... now bring on UCLA!" shouted the Great Pumpkin, as the Beavs prepared to trek to the L.A. Coliseum to face the Bruins.

UCLA


The second-ranked Bruins were 6-0 and riding high behind sr. All-American QB Gary Beban. They were also coached by the ex-Beaver icon Tommy Prothro, who had quickly resurrected the UCLA program upon his arrival in Westwood two years prior, including an unexpected Rose Bowl berth in 1965. This would also be the first game between the Beavers and Bruins since 1958, just before the dissolution of the old PCC. There had been bad blood between the California schools and the northwest schools (especially Oregon) in the late ‘50s, but the hostilities were now further in the rear-view mirror. And since OSU had hooked up with the league now known as the AAWU in 1964, it was about time for UCLA and Oregon State to get together again on the field.

Interestingly, after oddsmakers had opened UCLA as a 13-point favorite, a rush of Beaver money had flooded the gates, dropping the spread to 7 at kickoff. The Bruins had cut it close the previous week as Stanford was passing into the end zone for the win at the final gun, only for UCLA to hold on grimly for a 21-16 escape at Palo Alto. Thus, the wagering public suspected the Bruins could be vulnerable. The reputation of the OSU “Giant Killers” was also beginning to spread...quickly.

Once again, as at Purdue two weeks before, OSU started quick. Forcing a fumble by Bruin punt returner Mark Gustafson at the UCLA 38, Preece would escape and scramble for a long gain to inside of the Bruin 5 before the second of two bludgeons by Enyart found paydirt and a 7-0 Beaver lead. Meanwhile, the physical Beaver defense was having its way with UCLA’s finesse-oriented attack. Early in the 2nd Q, after a Charlie Olds punt return put OSU at the Bruin 37, Preece led another drive to the UCLA one, where Andros gambled on 4th down and sent Enyart up the middle once more. Although this time “Earthquake” was whistled down (too quick by the refs, thought OSU) six inches short of the goal line. The Bruins had held, barely, but Prothero realized his team was getting whipped physically, and needed QB Beban to respond quickly if the Bruins were to rally from the 7-0 deficit.

Sure enough, “The Great One” showed his eventual Heisman-winning stuff, triggering a smooth 99-yard, 14-play drive than ended with himself crashing over from three yards out to level the score. After a 20-yard punt return by Gustafson on their next possession, the Bruins would watch PK Zenon Andrusyshyn hit a school-record 52-yard FG for a 10-7 lead. Then, before the half would end, UCLA would block a Gary Houser punt and set itself up deep in OSU territory, though the Beaver “D” stiffened and forced another FG try by Andrusyshyn, which was converted from 33 yards to give the Bruins a 13-7 halftime edge.

Though UCLA had recovered from a slow start and taken the lead, it could not continue its momentum into the 3rd Q, as the OSU defense kept Beban & Co. in check. Late in the quarter, aided by two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the UCLA defense, Preece once again had the Beaver offense rolling. Covering 48-yards in just five plays, a scoring drive was capped when wingback Main raced into the end zone from nine yards after a pitchout from Preece. Haggard’s PAT, however, hit the upright and bounced back, and the score was even at 13 entering the 4th Q.

It was all up for grabs in the 4th Q when the Bruins seemed to wrest back control. UCLA came back to life, as Beban again found holes in the Beaver secondary, including a 39-yard rocket pass to WR Dave Nuttall across the middle. UCLA would march 71 yards from its own 20 down to the OSU 9-yard line. Then came the play of the game.

Sweeping wide, Bruin RB Greg Jones was swarmed, and then stripped off the ball, which went flying almost 20 yards into the air before falling the turf and being recovered by OSU. Except that one of the referees had whistled the ball dead before the fumble! "Hell, the ball was 20 yards in the air,” said OSU defensive coach Knecht. ”How in the world could it have been dead?"

Andros never forgot that play, or the quick whistle on Enyart’s apparent TD in the 2nd Q. "I don't like to make excuses, but I really think there were a couple plays where we got screwed (by the refs)," said the Great Pumpkin many years later.

Andrusyshyn would kick a 26-yard FG after the non-fumble, staking UCLA to a 16-13 lead approaching midway in the 4th Q. Then, on their next possession, the Bruins looked ready to put the game away until Beban was intercepted by Beaver S Mark Waletich in the end zone. Oregon State thus had another chance with just over 2 minutes remaining, and Preece, Enyart, Main, and halfback Don Summers immediately went to work, quickly eating up yards and the Bruin defense as they raced downfield. UCLA's D" eventually stiffened, however, and the Beavers faced fourth and five from the UCLA 11-yard line. Rather than risk the fourth down play, Andros elected to send Haggard out for a 28-yard field goal attempt. Avoiding any ill effects from the earlier PAT miss, Haggard's kick was good. With just 1:15 left to play, the score was level again at 16 apiece.

Prothro wasn't about to concede the draw, however, and Beban quickly mounted one last scoring effort. With only seconds left on the clock, the Bruins were on the Beaver 23-yard line, well within the range of PK Andrusyshyn, who had earlier connected on that 52-yard howitzer. Fortunately for Beaver fans, OSU's special-teamers were not about to give up the fight. Defensive tackle Ron Boley was the hero of the day when he leapt high over the backs of his teammates to bat down Andtrusyshyn’s FG try, providing the first blemish to UCLA's perfect season and further establishing the Beavers' Giant Killier reputation in the 16-16 stalemate.

Andros would come under mild criticism for not going for a TD late in the 4th Q, and settling for Haggard’s tying field goal instead. But the Great Pumpkin rationalized. "There wasn't time left for another chance if we missed and, besides, the yardage was too much," said Andros, who also thought his defense might be able to force a late turnover to set up another scoring chance. Still, Andros was ready for the next challenge...number one USC.

“"I'm tired of playing these number two ranked teams,” roared the Great Pumpkin. “Bring on number one!"

USC


As well as the Beavers had played; as stifling as their defense and as explosive as their offense had been; as impressive as their upset win at Purdue and tie at UCLA were, none of it was enough to convince the oddsmakers and wagering public to give the Beavers much of a chance the following week against top-ranked Southern Cal. Purdue was tough and UCLA was pretty, but they were only ranked number two by the Associated Press. USC was something else altogether as it prepared for the trek to Corvallis.

As for the Beavers, they were starting to generate a lot of attention once more in the polls, but were still outside of the Top Ten, receiving the 13th-most votes in that week’s AP poll. Another upset result seemed unlikely.

Oddsmakers were not biting on the surprise OSU results at Purdue and UCLA; the visiting Trojans were installed as solid 11-point favorites.

The game, however, did have a showdown feel about it. California Governor Ronald Reagan and Oregon Governor Tom McCall were among the dignitaries in attendance, and neither were immune to the hype; McCall, though an alumnus of the University of Oregon, had proudly hopped on the bandwagon in support of the Beavers. A former sportscaster, Reagan was an ardent Trojan fan. Arrangements were made for these two heavy-duty pols to watch the game together in the comfort of the press box at Parker Stadium.

Ever the politician, Reagan was quick to give the Beavers their due. Commenting on the lack of respect the Beavers had received in the polls, Reagan said, "You people can't get into the ratings, but you sure can knock everyone else out." As was customary, the two pols made a friendly public wager, Reagan offering a box of oranges should SC lose, and McCall countering with a freshly caught silver salmon should OSU succumb.

Besides an intriguing matchup on the gridiron, it was also Veteran's Day (November 11),and the guest list was appropriate for the occasion. The lineup of attendees look more like an inaugural parade. Beyond Governors Reagan and McCall, there were 22 bands, ten Generals and Admirals, three 3 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, a full contingent of ROTC marching units, plus the Air Force Academy Drum and Bugle Corps.

In addition to their storied history, the Trojans of this era had incredible individual talent. A staggering 82 USC players during this period were drafted into the pros. Included in this group were two Heisman Trophy winners, ten consensus All-Americans, and five individuals who would eventually be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.

With eight games under their belts, the 1967 Trojans were undefeated as they arrived in Corvallis. They entered Parker Stadium with the country's third ranked defense (giving up just 7.6 points per game) and the AAWU’s highest scoring offense (27.9 points per game).

The top-ranked Trojans were a juggernaut. In the 1960s, USC would finish no worse than second in their conference, winning six conference championships, playing in five Rose Bowls and winning two national championships. And the 1967 Trojans may have been the best Trojan team in the decade; The Sporting News would eventually rank that USC team as the #9 team of the 20th century. The Trojan non-conference schedule included #1 Notre Dame at South Bend; #3 Michigan State at East Lansing; and #4 Texas at the L.A. Coliseum. Although Michigan State and Texas would end up as disappointments that season, Southern Cal had vanquished them all, starting off the non-conference slate with a 17-13 win over Darrell Royal’s Longhorns. Then, SC defeated Duffy Daugherty's Michigan State 21-17. And in the Battle for the Shillelagh, the Trojans defeated the Irish 24-7, their first win at Notre Dame since 1939. The 17-point loss also served as the largest margin of defeat the Irish would endure at South Bend between 1963 and 1976. When the Trojans rolled into Corvallis, they were averaging winning every game by more than 20 points against a very difficult schedule. The game also marked SC's first-ever trip to Corvallis. All previous Oregon State "home" games between the two teams had been held in Portland and Tacoma.

Featured on the ‘67 Trojan powerhouse was the breakout star of the season, former juco star HB O.J. Simpson, and right OT Ron Yary, a pair that would go on to be the first picks in the next two pro fotoball drafts (Yary by the Vikings in 1968, and O.J. by the Bills in 1969). Simpson, also a sprinter of some repute (a legit 9.4 time in the 100, and part of the Trojans’ 4 x 100 yard world record relay team that would also include WR Earl McCullouch, plus sprinters Lennox Miller and Fred Kuller, in July of ‘67) ), was the top runner in the country in 1967.

(Factoid of note: with track and field metrics soon converting to meters as the standard of measurement, SC’s record time of 38.51 seconds still stands, and likely forever stands, as the standard for the 4 x 100 yard relay. “O.J. Historians” will also note how the broadcast networks would use O.J. to analyze sprint events at future Olympics before The Juice would encounter his well-publicized troubles later in life.)

Going into the game against Oregon State, “The Juice” was leading the nation’s rushers with 1,050 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Simpson would finish second on the Heisman ballots in 1967, narrowly behind UCLA’s Beban, and would win the trophy outright in 1968. Yary was unquestionably the best offensive lineman in the country, and his dominance was rewarded at the end of the season with the Outland Trophy. In addition to these two legends, the 1967 team had two other consensus All-Americans in defensive end Tim Rossovich and linebacker Adrian Young. The aforementioned Earl McCullouch provided a homerun dimension from a wide receiver spot. Lastly, the Trojans were coached by the legendary John McKay, whose 127-40-8 record at USC still stands as the winningest in school history. He led his Trojan teams to four national championships and earned Coach of the Year honors on two occasions.

Approaching kickoff, the weather, as always in the northwest, was a concern. The rain had come down, at times heavily, in the the previous 24 hours to kickoff. The forecast called for a slight let-up, but wet weather still appeared inevitable. Despite the expected inclement conditions, all signs pointed to a capacity crowd of 40,750 filling Parker Stadium, setting a new record for the largest single sports crowd in state history. (Indeed, the attendance would swell beyond capacity, to a state record 41,494.)

Contrary to eventual legend, conditions were damp but not rainy beyond some occasional drizzles on game day. The grass field, in its last season before an artificial surface would be installed the following year, was not quite a complete mud pit, but was heavy. At the beginning of the game, O.J. didn’t seem too bothered by the footing and lived up to his Heisman-hype. He opened his day with a 22-yard carry and followed it with an 18-yard gain to the Beaver 20-yard line. But as was typical of that gnarly Beaver defense, it tightened its play the closer it was pushed against its own goal line. The three plays that followed netted only two yards, forcing the Trojans to attempt a 35-yard field goal by PK Rikki Aldridge. But SC had experienced kicking problems all season, and the loose footing brought on by the recent rain did little to aid the Aldridge’s cause. True to form, his kick was wide right.

The rest of the first quarter was a defensive struggle. Although Simpson had 87 yards on 11 carries in the period, the gains were inconsistent and the Trojans were unable to put together another scoring threat.

The start of the second quarter marked perhaps the most famous defensive play in the history of Oregon State football. O.J. shook off a tackle at his own 37-yard line, bounced to the outside, and found himself with an expanse of open field and three blockers to lead the way. Safety Mark Waletich was the only Beaver who seemed to have a chance to bring him down, but with three Trojan blockers to contend with, the odds were not in his favor. Simpson slowed to set up these blockers, not realizing that Beaver defensive tackle Jess Lewis was coming up fast. Never giving up on the play, Lewis quickly closed the gap and made a TD-saving tackle at the Beaver 32-yard line...over 30 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage!

"When I caught O.J., basically (Ron Yary) just let me go,” said Lewis. “(Yary) blocked down and I just ran around, and I just happened to get the right angle on O.J. and kept after him and kept after the play. He'd been slowed up by some of the defensive backs and the linebackers a little bit anyhow. There would have been no way I would have caught him if he hadn't been slowed up." Which deflates some of the Beaver lore regarding the well-documented play, as Lewis, while agile, would not have been able to chase down O.J. in full flight, as OSU legend would grow to suggest.

Three plays later, the Beavers had forced the Trojans into fourth and two on the Beaver 24-yard line. McKay elected to go for it, calling for a quarterback keeper. The Beavers' right tackle, Ron Boley, stuffed USC quarterback Steve Sogge for no gain, keeping the shutout alive.

Later in the quarter, Trojan QB Sogge (an appropriate name considering the weather) had run for an apparent first down at the USC 47-yard line. However, a Beaver defender raced from behind and knocked the ball free. The loose pigskin would slide five yards to the left where OSU LB Skip Vanderbundt recovered.

The Beaver offense, with momentum firmly in hand, now came charging onto the field. Rugged FB Earthquake Enyart punished the Trojan defense with a nine-yard rumble over tackle. Speedy halfback Billy Main followed suit with an eight-yard gainer for a first down. Then it was Enyart for four-yards, QB Preece for two more, and Enyart again for four-yards and the first down at the USC 22. Enyart, who was looking every bit as impressive as Simpson, had two more carries of four yards each, followed by a one-yard counter by Main that put the ball directly in front of the goalposts.

With 5:02 remaining in the half, Beaver PK Mike Haggard came on for the 30-yard field goal attempt. The kick was not quite down the middle, but was good enough as it flew a couple of feet inside of the right upright, providing the first score of the day and a 3-0 lead for the Beavers.

"We weren't sure whether (the score) was going to hold up,“ said OSU DT Jess Lewis. “We were just going to keep trying as hard as we could and see if we could make this thing hold."

The Beavers offense took over again after Lewis and the defense forced another three-and-out, starting the drive on their own 40-yard line with only 2:56 left before the half. After a first down on the Trojan 44, Preece's backup Bob Mayes came in as a halfback and carried the ball 25-yards on a reverse. Unfortunately, OSU was unable to capitalize, as Haggard's 28-yard field goal attempt sailed right of the mark. But the scent of an upset was in the damp and cool Willamette Valley air, as the half ended with the Beavers up 3-0 over the Trojans.

Early in the third period, OSU appeared primed for another scoring opportunity when the road-grading Enyart blasted over left tackle from his 24-yard line, running over one USC defensive back and sidestepping another. Enyart had nothing but grass and the goal line in front of him, but there were a number of Trojans in close pursuit. After a 55-yard jaunt, Enyart was victimized by an alert SC DB, who stripped the ball at the SC 19-yard line, where Trojan captain Adrian Young made the recovery.

But as the game proceeded in the second half, each team's defense only became stronger, harassing and disrupting the opponent with ever-greater regularity. Early in the fourth quarter, the Trojans were facing third and two at their own 23. Beaver DT Ron Boley, a greater bane to Sogge's performance than the inclement weather, broke through the line and dropped the Trojan quarterback for a loss.

"You could feel the excitement build as we were getting closer and closer to the end, “ Jess Lewis would eventually recall. ”We wanted these Southern California boys really bad."

Later in the quarter, the Trojans had their best scoring opportunity of the half when they crossed into Beaver territory. The Trojans faced a third and one at the OSU 42-yard line, but again Boley blasted into the backfield. This time he dropped the muddied and bloodied quarterback Sogge for a two-yard loss.

The biggest gain of the game came on a punt return in the 4th Q by the Beavers' Charlie Olds. Receiving the punt at his own nine-yard line, Olds flew downfield, streaking 56-yards along the sideline to the Trojan 35 before getting hit and losing control of the football. Olds managed to keep his footing, but knew he stood little chance of recovering the football. So, he did what he thought was the next best thing and slapped the ball out of bounds. Unfortunately, the move resulted in a personal foul and automatic change of possession. It mattered little, as the Trojans were unable to generate a first down on the drive.

As evidence of the Beaver's defensive dominance, especially during the last three quarters, USC made only three first downs in the final 44 minutes of play. Only twice during this span did they manage to cross midfield. A significant contributor to the Trojans difficulties on offense was Gary Houser's punting. The Trojans' starting field positions were their own 31, 19, 19, 20, 25, 35, 24, and 20-yard lines.

As a final blow to his superstar ego, Simpson fumbled away his last carry of the game. Fittingly, it was Lewis who recovered the loose football near midfield. With three minutes left to play, the Beavers were so pumped that they managed their only first downs of the second half. It was enough to run out the clock, and as the final whistle blew, fans stormed the field to congratulate the team and celebrate their tremendous victory.

The 3-0 loss was the last time the Trojans would be shut out until 1983 when blanked at Washington, setting an NCAA consecutive game scoring record in the interim. It would also be the last OSU win over the Trojans until 2000.

After being carried off the field on the shoulders of his players, Andros soon found himself in the locker room following the most thrilling victory of his career. The euphoric players and coaches bounced off the walls and each other.

The Great Pumpkin would find a sturdy box, pull it over, climb on top, and signal his team for silence. The cheers and laughter died down, until everyone's eyes were fixed on Andros as the heroic and beloved coach lifted one hand and pointed his index finger to the sky.

"Who's No. 1 now?," the Great Pumpkin roared.

"We performed well for most of the game. They just performed better,“ said SC coach McKay. “I don't know who will be No. 1 next week, but it won't be us."

"How did this one feel in comparison with Purdue?, “ said Beaver KLB Skip Vanderbundt. “Exactly twice as good. No. 1 is that much better than No. 2."

Reactions to 3-0 shook the college football landscape even more than the Purdue and UCLA results. The Beavers would break into the Top Ten and even generate one first-place vote at their No. 8 ranking. But while winning the battle over SC, the Beavers would almost simultaneously lose the war. A bit later that same afternoon in Los Angeles, Tommy Prothro’s UCLA would bolt to a 41-0 halftime lead en route to a 48-0 destruction of Jim Owens’ Washington, a result that would eliminate OSU from the Rose Bowl race as it pushed the Bruins to the top of the polls. The AAWU Rose Bowl berth would be decided the next week in the epic L.A. showdown at the Coliseum between Prothro and McKay, Beban and Simpson, and a UCLA vs. USC game for the ages. The Trojans won that won, thanks to O.J.’s epic 64-yard TD run in the 4th Q, by a 21-20 count, to reassume the top spot in the polls and qualify for the Rose Bowl, where they would beat upstart Indiana and claim the national title.

But the best team at the end of the 1967 season might well have been the Giant Killers. Years later, the Great Pumpkin was convinced. "By that time (the SC game), I honestly believe there wasn't a team in the country who could have beat us," said Andros .

AFTER 3-0...


OSU still had one more game to play, the annual Civil War grudge match vs. state rival Oregon. The letdown from the SC win, plus the elimination from the Rose Bowl race, foretold a flat effort from the Beavers, while the host Ducks, better than their 2-7 record indicated, were sky-high for an upset effort against the new media darlings of college football. And, for the first three quarters, it was advantage to aroused Oregon.

OSU was sluggish, and the offense sloppy with four turnovers. Leading 3-0 at halftime, Oregon wasn’t doing much on attack, either, but after forcing another turnover via fumble on its 43-yard-line, proceeded to uncork its best drive of the game behind QB Eric Olson. Marching deep into Beaver territory, first-year Ducks HC Jerry Frei was not about to settle for a field goal on a 4th-and-goal situation at the one. Instead, future Dallas Cowboys RB Claxton Welch would dive into the end zone (left) for a 10-0 lead. It smelled like an upset in Eugene, where the Ducks faithful rocked the brand new Autzen Stadium.

At that point, and just in time, OSU summoned one more withdrawal from its near-depleted emotional reservoir. The offensive line finally began to assert itself and play Andros-style smashmouth ball. The scatter-armed Preece (who only completed 47 passes, at a 36% rate, all season), would also finally connect on a couple of key tosses, first a 35-yard gain to RB Don Summers on a third-and-eight, and then down to the one-yard line on a diving catch by WR Roger Cantlon, setting up Enyart’s one-yard smash to cut the Webfoot lead to 10-7.

Momentum was now with the Beavers, who immediately held and forced an Oregon punt, which carried only to the Ducks’ 45-yard line. From there, reminiscent of the late TD drive at Purdue, Andros ordered his physical offense to relentlessly pound away at the weakening Ducks. Out of the Power T, the Beavers, with Enyart bulldozing his way through the Oregon defense, ran eight straight line smashes to get to the four-yard line, from where Andros got "fancy" and Preece would beautifully execute an option to waltz into the end zone for the game-winning score. Soon the final gun would fire, and the Beavers were 14-10 winners, conclduing their unforgettable season with a 7-2-1 mark, and ranking seventh in the final polls.

The 1967 Oregon State team remains the only college football team to go undefeated against three top two teams in the same season. Although it is still unclear whether Governor Tom McCall ever received the box of oranges Ronald Reagan had promised to hand-pick after the epic 3-0 upset over USC.

Andros' last real hurrah at OSU came in 1968, with another rugged team featuring the bullish Enyart and versatile QB Preece (who would go on to play DB in the NFL before becoming known as one of the analysts on the Oregon State radio network), but the defense would regress minus star DT Lewis, who would redshirt as he prepared to wrestle for the USA at the Mexico City Olympics, which were held in October that year. The bruising Earthquake exceeded his 1967 rush total by nearly 500 yards, slamming for 1304 yards. Including an incredible effort vs. Utah when Andros relentlessly hammered away at the Utes with workhorse Enyart, who would set an NCAA record by bulldozing for 299 yards on an astounding 50 carries, in a game won by the Beavers, 24-21.

Still, OSU would only land in the Top Ten early in the season, cresting at a number six slot in the preseason polls. One-point non-conference losses, however, at Iowa and Kentucky, and a narrow 17-13 setback in a mid-November Rose Bowl showdown vs. O.J. and USC at the L.A. Coliseum, thwarted a possible dream season as the Beavs had to settle for a 7-3 mark, a 15th ranking (the polls would now list teams 11-20, not just the Top Ten) and runner-up spot in the newly-named Pac-8.

Minus departed linchpins Enyart and Preece, things began to unravel for Andros in 1969 even beyond events on the field, which started badly with a 37-0 loss at a rejuvenated UCLA, behind juco QB Dennis Dummit, and heavy losses to USC and Stanford later in the season. Though the Beavers stayed above water with a 6-4 mark, Andros became embroiled in a racial dispute that winter which would haunt the program and perhaps plant the seeds for a subsequent and enduring epic downturn.

For the times, and despite his past military service, Andros hardly ran a tight ship in Corvallis. Players didn't have to live in dorms, and he installed no curfews. Indeed, Andros was considered a flaming liberal in Corvallis compared to predecessor Prothro.

But Andros had a thing about hair; none over the ears or collar, sideburns no longer than mid-ear. No facial hair, period. Andros used to talk about the evils of sideburns and beards and those who wore shoes without socks as if he were a stump preacher.

When rolling across campus one day during the '69 winter term, the old marine encountered LB Fred Milton, one of several black members of the team and who had grown a goatee in the offseason. Andros, in character, ordered Milton to shave. Milton, insisting that it was the offseason, refused. The two had a long chat in Andros' office. Though not considered a militant by the definitions of the day, Milton nonetheless refused to shave, stating it was his cultural right. Andros, not used to getting any lip, booted Milton off the squad.

Although OSU AD Jim Barrett had said at the time that Milton had confused "discipline for discrimination," it was a sensitive era, especially for black athletes not long after the Tommie Smith-John Carlos black fist salute at the Mexico City Olympics. The OSU Black Student Union, organized on campus only the preceding fall (remember, there were only 47 blacks on the entire Corvallis campus in 1969), succeeded in having the school convene a commission on Human Rights and Responsibilities. Its conclusion was that Milton's rights were violated.

The accustaions, however, led to escalated charges. The chairman of the Portland chapter of the NAACP said there was an unwritten athletic policy forbidding blacks to date white coeds. The BSU claimed there was discrimination in public services and housing. Annette Green, a spokeswoman for the Black Students Union, said "Corvallis is hostile to blacks." Finally, the 47 black students staged a walkout. All 18 black athletes--six of them football players---on scholarship at the university took part. It was a stigma that would haunt Andros and the OSU program well into the next decade.

In the days that followed, what began as fairly civilized dialogue degenerated into slander. "You heard the most outrageous lies about people," said Assistant Athletic Director Dennis Hedges. "You heard them so much you started wondering, 'Could they be true?' You know better, but you begin having doubts."

The student senate first voted 11-9 in favor of the boycott, then reconsidered and voted against it 19-5. A petition backing the athletic department's policies was signed by 173 athletes. A rally for Andros drew 4,000; one against him drew 1,000. No charges, other than ordering Milton to shave, were ever documented against Andros, who had shrewdly included a clause in his recently-signed contract (when he was being pursued heavily by Pitt) that allowed he and he alone to dictate policy within his program. That addendum was suggested to Andros by none other than Bear Bryant. "You've got to have a contract to protect yourself," said the Bear, "in case your (school) president loses his guts."

Eventually, Andros was vindicated...sort of. Eleven of the 18 blacks who boycotted returned to the team that fall. Andros slightly altered policies and, due to the conciliatory tone of the report authored by the student-faculty commission, had begrudgingly made his points. Although it ruled that Andros had violated Milton's civil rights, it did rule that "neat mustaches" should be allowed but "beards" were doubtful, leaving enforcement up to the coaches of the individual sports.

(In truth, these sound vaguely like the grooming guidelines my wife has laid down for me, but we digress.)

Andros, however, was never quite the same thereafter, and neither were the Beavers. The road to the Dark Ages in Corvallis had been paved; OSU was not to emerge for almost another 30 years. Andros would have his last winning season in 1970, at 6-5, but the program was regressing, and fast. OSU's Dark Ages would thus begin in the early ‘70s; Andros lasted as coach through 1975, when he retired to become the AD. After ‘75, the likes of Craig Fertig (career record 8-36-1 after nosing out none other than a UCLA assistant named Terry Donahue for the job after the 1975 season), Joe Avezzano (8-47-2 between 1980-84), Dave Kragthorpe (17-48-2 from 1985-90), and Jerry Pettibone (13-52-1 between 1991-96) all not only failed, but did so spectacularly, until the Beavers began to revive under Mike Riley in the late ’90s. The program had stabilized, and after Riley took the NFL San Diego Chargers job in 1999, OSU would finally record its long overdue winning season under Dennis Erickson, who would get the Beavs to bowls in three of his four years, including a memorable season in 2000 when OSU climbed to fourth in final rankings with an 11-1 record.

When Erickson moved to the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers in 2003, Riley returned, and has had the program as a bowl regular for almost the entirety of his second stint as OSU coach, now entering its 12th season this fall.

Still, the legend of the Great Pumpkin and 1967 Giant Killers remains secure, especially as the entire ‘67 team would eventually be inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.

Beavers fans have never forgotten...and neither have we at TGS!


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