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Around the Columns

The beginning of an era

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For Mizzou football, the 1959 campaign marked the beginning of what would be, until recently, the program’s undisputed glory years. The Tigers went 6-4 that regular season, earning an Orange Bowl date against the University of Georgia Jan. 1, 1960, in Miami.

Led by Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, the Bulldogs defeated Mizzou 14-0. But the Tigers would appear in five more bowl games during the next 10 years, and the decade would cement Coach Dan Devine’s legend in school history.

At the 76th Annual FedEx Orange Bowl Jan. 5, 2010, players from Georgia and Missouri will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1960 game. Planning to attend is former Mizzou quarterback Phil Snowden, BA ’61, JD ’64, of Kansas City, Mo. He was a senior in 1960.

“We had to defeat Kansas in Lawrence to get to the Orange Bowl,” Snowden says, remembering Mizzou’s 13-9 victory over the Jayhawks on the last day of the regular season. “When you think back 50 years, you didn’t have 34 bowl games, so it really meant something.”

The Tigers outgained Georgia offensively that day, but the wily Tarkenton threw a pair of touchdowns while Missouri struggled to pierce the end zone.

“I remember coming up on Tarkenton’s blind side and thinking if I took one more step I’d strip the ball,” says defensive end Rus Sloan, BS Ed ’61, M Ed ’63, of Leesburg, Fla. “He spun away. It was like he had eyes in the back of his head.”

Over the course of three days in January 2010, the 50th anniversary Orange Bowl teams will be treated to dinners, receptions, a golf outing and, of course, the football game, featuring the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

As for the reunion, the players themselves are still unsure which former teammates might show up.

“We were just a bunch of little guys from Missouri who never expected to do this kind of thing,” says lineman Danny LaRose, BS Ed ’62, of Luther, Mich. “There were Christmas lights on the palm trees.”

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