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One of college football's most famous plays -- a Rice touchdown.

Washington Times 2007 story about off-bench tackle in '54 Cotton Bowl...look.gif (907 bytes)

Video of the the off-bench tackle of Dicky Maegle:

 

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The 1953 Owls might've been as talented a group as ever donned the Blue and Grey. Coached by Jess Neely in his prime, and led by All-Americans Kosse Johnson and John Hudson, and Kenny Paul, Leo Rucka, and Richard Chapman, all-SWC, the Owls also had an explosive back by the name of Dickie Maegle (then spelled "Moegle"). The Owls swept through the SWC schedule, with an early 12-7 loss to SMU the only blemish.

The Owls had beaten Texas, 18-13, in Austin, and smothered the Aggies,  34-7, in Houston. By the time the New Year's Day Cotton Bowl match with Alabama loomed, the Taylor, Texas, scatback was on a roll. Against the Tide, he struck early and often. The day's stats would show, in a 28-6 victory, that Maegle rolled to 265 yards in only eleven carries, scoring three times,  still a Cotton Bowl record. But the carry of the day was one that will live in the annals of college football history. In the second quarter, with the Owls already up 7-0, they set up shop on their own five yard line. Maegle took a quick pitch, broke off-tackle, and headed for the sidelines. With nothing but daylight ahead, he was headed for a 95-yard touchdown run.

On the 'Bama bench, Tommy Lewis, a reserve back, had had all he could take. Maegle was in the clear, at the Alabama 40, when Lewis burst off the bench to bring him down. Confusion reigned; the officials huddled. Coach Neely dashed across the field, challenging Tide coach Harold "Red" Drew. "Rayud, Rayud," he drawled, "what did yo boy think he was doin'?"  Lewis moaned, "Coach, I was jus' so full of Ala-bahma."   The officials awarded Rice the TD; the Owls won going away-- and both players later traveled to New York to tell about it on the Ed Sullivan show.

Dickie Maegle later said he felt like Ed Sullivan treated him like the heel and Tommy Lewis like a hero.  "Heck, I was the one who scored the touchdown!" he said.

In any event, for years it was considered THE most famous play in college football history.  And even with the demise of historical perspective by today's media and fans, it still ranks as one of the greatest -- and probably the most bizarre.

 

maegle2.jpg (9737 bytes)

Here, Maegle is seen
streaking down the
Alabama sideline as
he breaks into the clear.....

 

 

 

 

maegle3.jpg (9038 bytes)

 

...As he reaches the 'Bama 40, Tommy Lewis can be seen in the upper left-hand corner, starting to react...

 

 

 

 

maegle1.jpg (11370 bytes)

 

...finally bringing Maegle
down in a cloud of dust, as shocked Rice cheerleaders look on

 

 

 

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