Bluegrass Bowl

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Bluegrass Bowl (defunct)
Stadium Cardinal Stadium
Location Louisville, Kentucky
Operated 1958
1958 matchup
Florida State vs. Oklahoma State (6-15)

Bluegrass Bowl was played only once, on 13 December 1958 in Louisville, Kentucky. Oklahoma State University defeated Florida State University 15-6.[1]

Background of the Bluegrass Bowl[edit]

Game organizers expected the Bluegrass Bowl to be an annual bowl game in Louisville, with the 1958 contest being the first. The bowl organizers' first choices for the game were the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama, which went 5-4-1 in its first season under Bear Bryant, who previously coached at UK for eight seasons. Kentucky was given an invitation to play in the game but the team's lettermen voted 18-12 to refuse the bid. (Kentucky's players also voted to turn down bowl bids, including one to the Gator Bowl, in 1953 despite a 7-2-1 record in Bryant's final season in Lexington, and in 1954 after going 7-3.) One reason that Kentucky declined was that the Wildcats had received poor treatment from the Louisville crowd during a 51-0 win over the University of Hawaii at Cardinal Stadium in their season opener. Oklahoma State University and Florida State University eventually accepted invitations.

Bowl organizers successfully negotiated a national television contract with ABC, with a 100-mile blackout. A crowd of 15,000 was expected for the inaugural game. Tickets were priced at $6.50 each, though due to unenthusiastic demand they were being sold for $1.50 on the day of the game. (Parking cost 25 cents.)

1958 Bluegrass Bowl[edit]

Oklahoma State entered the game ranked #19 in the AP poll and #19 in the UPI poll; Florida State was unranked. Florida State was an independent with a 7-3 regular season record; Oklahoma State was also 7-3 as an independent, having left the Missouri Valley Conference after the 1956 season and not joining the Big Eight Conference until 1960.

Florida State was playing in their third ever bowl game, under head coach Tom Nugent who was in his final season as Florida State's coach. Oklahoma State, coached by Cliff Speegle, was appearing in its fourth ever bowl game.

The game was played at Cardinal Stadium on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center, just behind Freedom Hall where that year's NCAA basketball championship had been played. Kickoff was at 1:30 p.m. and at that time the temperature for the game was 20 degrees below freezing, and falling. The playing field was icy and slippery. Field conditions caused the players to wear tennis shoes. Attendance was low due to the cold weather; crowd estimates were in the 5,000 to 10,000 range and many accounts state that just over 7,000 attended the game.

In the first quarter Florida State took two drives into Oklahoma State territory but missed 16- and 23-yard field goal attempts.

Early in the second quarter Oklahoma State halfback Duane Wood had a 17-yard touchdown run putting the Cowboys up 7-0. Late in the second quarter Oklahoma State again drove deep into Florida State territory but on fourth and 5 Florida State defender Ron Hinson stripped the ball from Oklahoma State's Forrest Campbell just a foot from the goalline.

Florida State fumbled twice in the third quarter. Oklahoma State took the second fumble for a 10-play, 39 yard touchdrown drive capped by another Duane Wood touchdown run. Wood then caught a pass for a two-point conversion to give Oklahoma State a 15-0 lead.

Florida State scored a fourth-quarter touchdown without a successful conversion, leaving Oklahoma State as the only Bluegrass Bowl champions with a final score of Oklahoma State 15, Florida State 6.

Media coverage[edit]

The Bluegrass Bowl was nationally broadcast on ABC. The Bluegrass Bowl was the last broadcast of Harry Wismer and the first national telecast to feature Howard Cosell. The game was the first ever national broadcast of a Florida State football game. Due to the cold weather, the press covering the game deserted the windowless press box and all crowded into a single enclosed, heated room with windows for the game.

Aftermath[edit]

In January 1959 officials stated that paid attendance for the game was 3,152 and actual income was $18,132. The Bluegrass Bowl organizers proclaimed the game a success despite the low attendance and stated that the game would be played again in 1959, but it was not.

Statistics[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Florida State 0 0 0 6 6
Oklahoma State 0 7 8 0 15

Scoring Summary

  • OSU - D. Wood 17 yd. run (J. Wood kick), 14:31
  • OSU - D. Wood 1 yd. run (D. Wood pass from Soergel), :07
  • FSU - Meyer 39 yd. pass from Majors (Prinzi run failed), 13:52

Team Statistics (Florida State, Oklahoma State)

  • First Downs 12, 23
  • Rushes - Yards 28-100, 76-298
  • Passing Yards 185, 77
  • Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-22-4, 6-12-1
  • Plays-Total Offense 58-285, 97-375
  • Punt Return Yards 2, 0
  • Punts - Average 2-30, 5-30
  • Fumbles - Lost 2-2, 1-1
  • Interceptions - Yards 1-4, 4-38
  • Penalties - Yards 3-25, 6-65
  • Third Down Conversions. 10-15, 11-20

Individual Statistics

Rushing:

Florida State: Pickard 14-44, Prinzi 7-30, Renn 2-13, Majors 3-12, Whitehead 1-1, McCormack 1-0

Oklahoma State: Campbell 26-130, D. Wood 17-81, Wiggins 12-59, Banfield 7-34, Rundele 3-7, Sewell 4-3, Wagner 1-1, Cross 1-(-5), Soergel 1-(-12)

Passing:

Florida State: Majors 5-9-1-116, Prinzi 3-8-3-44, McCormack 1-4-0-25, Renn 0-1-0-0

Oklahoma State: Soergel 6-12-1-77

Receiving:

Florida State: Romeo 3-62, Espenship 2-22, Renn 2-48, Meyer 1-39, Pasqual 1-14

Oklahoma State: Wiggins 2-38, D. Wood 2-23, Harkey 1-7, J. Wood 1-9

References[edit]

  1. ^ Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.

Further reading[edit]

Hill, Bob, "1958 saw birth and death of 2 bowl ideas", 'Louisville Courier-Journal', December 31, 2005, page B1, online at http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051231/COLUMNISTS05/512310375/1008/NEWS01

Rice, Russell, "The Wildcats: Kentucky Football", a book about University of Kentucky football history

See also[edit]