Majors, Ex-Tennessee Player, Coach Sugar Bowl Hall Of Fame Inductee

Archie Manning, Baugh, Bryant, Dorsett Also In Inaugural Class

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - by special to The Chattanoogan.com

NEW ORLEANS -- Legendary former Tennessee football player and head coach Johnny Majors has been named to the inaugural class of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame, as announced on Monday by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Majors is one of 16 legends who starred in the annual New Orleans football classic. The first class of Hall of Famers spans seven decades of Sugar Bowl action and includes 12 all-star players, two national championship coaches and two individuals who had the rare distinction of both playing and coaching in the Bowl.

Majors played in the 1957 Sugar Bowl and coached Tennessee to a 35-7 win over Miami (Florida) in the 1986 Sugar Bowl and a 23-22 win over Virginia in the 1991 Sugar Bowl. He also coached Pittsburgh to a 27-3 win over Georgia in the 1977 Sugar Bowl and the Panthers were named national champions.

"The Sugar Bowl has had the opportunity to host many of the greatest coaches and players in college football history," said Stanley Cohn, the president of the Sugar Bowl Committee. "We wanted to have a way to recognize the best-of-the-best in our history – what better way to do that than to create a Hall of Fame?

"We believe we have an inaugural class which should go down as one of the most accomplished groups of inductees into any Hall of Fame. But let me tell you, it was very challenging to limit it to 16. There have been so many legends in our game, our future classes figure to be just as impressive as this one."

The living members of the inaugural class of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame have all been invited to New Orleans for this year's College Football Playoff semifinal game. Attendees and their guests will participate in select Sugar Bowl VIP activities and will be recognized on the field during the pregame ceremony leading up to the big Clemson vs. Alabama showdown.

In the 1957 Sugar Bowl, Majors, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up, led Tennessee against Baylor. Majors was bottled up by a tenacious Bears defense, but he still managed 51 rushing yards and a key touchdown in a 13-7 loss. He later returned to the bowl decades later to find success as a coach.

In UT's 1986 Sugar Bowl victory over Miami (Fla.), the Vols seized control of the game in the second quarter and never looked back. After trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, UT tied the game when Daryl Dickey hit Jeff Smith for a six-yard touchdown pass that sparked a run of 35 unanswered points.

Tennessee enjoyed a thrilling fourth-quarter comeback in the 1991 Sugar Bowl to defeat Virginia. The Vols scored 20 points in the fourth quarter. Tony Thompson rushed for 151 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, including a game-winning one-yard touchdown hurdle over the line with 31 seconds remaining.

The other inductees:

TCU’s Sammy Baugh came into the 1936 Sugar Bowl known as “Slingin’ Sammy” due to his prowess as a quarterback. However, three days of heavy rains leading into New Year’s Day made the 1936 showdown between the Horned Frogs and LSU a mud bowl. The teams combined to complete just four passes, but Baugh averaged 47 yards on 14 punts and made a pair of touchdown-saving tackles as a defensive back to cement his status as one of the greats of college football.

Arguably the greatest all-around performance in Sugar Bowl history was turned in by Raymond Brown in the 1958 Sugar Bowl. The Ole Miss senior rushed for an early touchdown, passed for a second-quarter score and recorded a Sugar Bowl-record three interceptions on defense. However, his most memorable moment came as the clock wound down. Dropping back to punt from deep in his own end zone, Brown found himself under heavy pressure; he bolted to the right and then steamed down the sideline 103 yards for a touchdown – the play was officially 92 yards, still the longest in Sugar Bowl history.

Frank Broyles, a young three-sport standout, made his Sugar Bowl debut in 1944, helping Georgia Tech to victory. However, Broyles’ impact on the Sugar Bowl would go well beyond that as he is recognized as the man who had the most roles with the Bowl – player, assistant coach, head coach, athletic director, broadcaster and fan. He coached Arkansas to four different Sugar Bowls and when adding in his experience as an AD and broadcaster, he was a part of 18 Sugar Bowls.

Paul “Bear” Bryant directed nine different teams to the Sugar Bowl. His first appearance was in the 1951 game when his heavy underdog Kentucky Wildcats shocked top-ranked Oklahoma. After taking over at Alabama, he led the Crimson Tide to eight Sugar Bowl appearances. His 1962 team capped a national championship season in the Sugar Bowl and his string of Sugar Bowl games ended with three straight appearances in 1978, 1979 and 1980. All three of those games resulted in wins over fellow College Football Hall of Fame coaches – Woody Hayes (Ohio State) in 1978, Joe Paterno (Penn State) in 1979 and Lou Holtz (Notre Dame) in 1980. His last two appearances (1979, 1980) were both national championships for the Crimson Tide.

Arkansas receiver Chuck Dicus posted arguably the best back-to-back Sugar Bowl performances in history. In the 1969 game, he had one of the greatest receiving days in Sugar Bowl history when he caught 12 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in a 16-2 win over Georgia. One year later, on January 1, 1970, Dicus proved 1969 was no fluke as he caught six passes for 171 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. While his Razorbacks lost that day to Ole Miss, his two-game totals of 19 receptions and 340 receiving yards are both tops among individuals in Sugar Bowl history.

Following the 1976 season, the Sugar Bowl had the opportunity to host one of the 17 Heisman Trophy winners to play in the game as Tony Dorsett led his Pitt Panthers into the Sugar Bowl. Dorsett was solid in the first-half, scoring his lone touchdown of the game on an 11-yard dash, but it was the second half where he made his mark as he carried the ball 15 times for 130 yards and finished with a Sugar Bowl-record 202 rushing yards in a 27-3 win over Georgia.

For the Golden Anniversary of the Sugar Bowl Classic in 1984, the committee had the opportunity to invite Auburn and its once-in-a-lifetime athlete Bo Jackson. While Michigan managed to hold Jackson out of the end zone, he still finished with 130 yards on 22 carries as the Tigers escaped with a 9-7 victory. The legend of Bo also gained another chapter in New Orleans as it is said that the young football star tossed a football off the Superdome’s ceiling replay screen (over 200 feet up) during an Auburn practice session.

 The 1970s kicked off with a memorable performance by Ole Miss and its swash-buckling quarterback Archie Manning, who passed for 273 yards and a touchdown while also running for another score in a 27-22 victory over Arkansas. Manning would return to the Crescent City in 1971 after being drafted by the New Orleans Saints and would become one of the most beloved athletes in the city’s history. He was elected to the Sugar Bowl Committee in 1986 and remains a vital part of the organization today.

Pitt quarterback Dan Marino completed 26-of-41 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns in the 1982 Sugar Bowl against Georgia, but no pass was more critical than his final one. Trailing 20-17 with 42 seconds to go, Marino faced a do-or-die fourth and five at the Georgia 33. He delivered a near-perfect pass to John Brown for the game-winning score.

Another TCU passing legend was Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brien, who led the Horned Frogs into the 1939 Sugar Bowl against Carnegie Tech. Despite being just 5-7, “Little Davey” was the biggest name in college football, and he proved himself in New Orleans. O’Brien completed 17-of-27 passes for 224 yards in TCU’s victory. For good measure, the star booted a fourth-quarter field goal before effectively ending the contest with a late-game interception to clinch a perfect season and a national title for TCU.

Alabama, the team with the most Sugar Bowl appearances, has had many stars in the Sugar Bowl, but only one has the distinction of scoring touchdowns in three different Sugar Bowls. Major Ogilvie keyed three straight wins for the Crimson Tide in 1978, 1979 and 1980. In addition to scoring in all three, he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1980 game when ’Bama wrapped up another national championship.

Franklin “Pepper” Rodgers debuted in the Sugar Bowl in 1953 as he threw a touchdown pass, kicked a field goal and knocked home three point-after kicks in Georgia Tech’s 24-7 victory over Ole Miss. He outdid himself the following year, however, passing for 195 yards and three touchdowns while kicking another field goal and two more extra-points to lead the Yellow Jackets to a bowl record 42 points in a lopsided victory over West Virginia.

Claude “Little Monk” Simons was the star of the inaugural Sugar Bowl Classic in 1935. The Green Wave speedster had what is still considered one of the greatest plays in Sugar Bowl history when he took a lateral and dashed 85 yards to pay dirt to jump start a stalled Tulane offense. After his playing career, Simons would go on to a prominent role with the Sugar Bowl Committee from 1949 to 1975, including serving as President for the 1959 and 1960 games.

The most recent “alum” of the game scheduled for induction is Gene Stallings. Stallings directed Alabama to a perfect 11-0 regular season in 1992, but as the Crimson Tide entered the 1993 Sugar Bowl, few gave it much of a chance against the powerful top-ranked Miami squad. However, Stallings and his staff installed a perfect defensive scheme and shut down the Hurricanes for a 34-13 blowout victory to capture ’Bama’s first national championship since the Bear Bryant era.

Herschel Walker played in three straight Sugar Bowls (1980, 1981, 1982) for the Georgia Bulldogs, scoring touchdowns in all three. His team’s 17-10 victory over Notre Dame in the 1980 game capped an “unbeaten, untied and unbelievable” national championship season. Walker ran 36 times for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win – his huge running numbers came despite the ‘Dawgs completing just one pass all day and despite Walker dislocating his shoulder on the first play of the game. Georgia may have lost Walker’s other two Sugar Bowls (by a total of eight points), but the running back’s legend only grew as he added 187 more rushing yards and three more TDs. 

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 

 



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