Video of the the off-bench tackle of Dicky Maegle:
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
Here, Maegle is seen
streaking down the
Alabama sideline as
he breaks into the clear.....
...As he reaches the 'Bama 40, Tommy Lewis can be seen in
the upper left-hand corner, starting to react...
...finally bringing Maegle
down in a cloud of dust, as shocked Rice cheerleaders look on