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Ward: Early Buff Spurt The Greatest
Buffaloes Dominating First Half Allows Orange Bowl Win
By Edwin Pope
That was the last he got to say for nearly 10 minutes after his football team slew Clemson, 27-21, in one of the wildest and weirdest Orange Bowl classics.
Ward was mauled by players, besieged by autograph-seekers, drowned out by the hysterically booming Colorado band and jostled by hundreds of fans who just wanted to touch him in the delicious delirium of the moment.
Quigg Newton, University of Colorado president of a month, rushed up to Ward.
“Man!” Newton beamed. “What a break-in for a president!”
He clutched at his heart and pulled a mock faint.
“Oh my heart…” Newton clowned as Ward guffawed.
When boss Ward finally hit the dressing-room, he made up for lost talking-time.
“How did your 20-0 first half performance compare with that first half when you led Oklahoma, 19-7?” he was asked first.
“It was the greatest,” he replied simply.
Was he shocked at the utter simplicity of the first-half rout?
“Oh Lordy, yes! Wasn’t everybody?”
“What was the turning point?” someone hollered.
“Their second onside kickoff,” Ward answered. “It gave us the ball near midfield and we went on in for the winning touchdown.”
Ward would not elaborate on Clemson’s “strategy” on that kickoff after the Tigers had taken a 21-20 lead. But one of the Buff assistants would – briefly and blatantly:
“That was a bonehead play. Clemson should have tried to put us deep and hold us instead of hoping we’d fumble like we did on their first onside kick after they came within 20-14 of us. The second onside kick just set us up. It was a really dumb call.”
(For the benefit of “fringe” football fans, an onside kickoff is deliberately sliced sideways and only a short distance. It is used, in the hope that it will catch one of the receiving team members – usually a tackle or guard, unaccustomed to handling the ball – unawares and they will fumble it.)
Colorado assistant coach Marshall Wells, whose line cleared the way for the backfield to pike up 279 yards rushing, sprayed quotes like a man who had just won the Hope Diamond on one roll of the dice.
“Our big right tackle, John Wooten, was doing all the trapping for John Bayuk on those bursts up the middle,” Wells said. “He was great! And we got nothing but the best from all our ends – Wally Merz, Jerry Leahy, Frank Clarke and Les Lotz.”
Added aide Ray Jenkins: “They weren’t ‘fooling’ us when they got 21 points in a row. They were just fired up for the second half like we were for the first.”
Backfield coach Frank Prentup, a 150-pounder virtually lost in the dressing-room jumble of hulking coaches and players, couldn’t stop smiling. He applauded fullback Bayuk (“Isn’t he a beast?) quarterbacks Boyd Dowler, Dick Hyson, Ralph Herbst and Bud Morely (“You know, Dowler and Herbst are only sophomores and Hyson and Morely are just juniors…isn’t that wonderful?”), and halfbacks Bob Stransky , Eddie Dove and Howard Cook (“Those two Stransky interceptions really saved our bacon!”)
Prentup said Joel Wells’ 58-yard run for Clemson’s second touchdown “caught our left half out of position, and Wells was just gone. That’s all.”
Just how happy were all the Colorado coaches an hour after the game?
Well, when the finally filed from the dressing-room, a Clemson rooter hollered bitterly at Ward, “You ain’t nuthin but a hound-dog!”
And Ward just grinned.
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