1957 National Championship Game Remembered

As Pittsburg State prepared for last Saturday’s D2 championship game, psugorrillas.com looked back at some of the school’s other championship games. The 1957 Holiday Bowl is one of the epic battles in small college football history. Here is an exerpt from Saturday’s article.

“1957 Holiday Bowl

Kansas State Teachers College claimed the school’s first national football championship by edging Hillsdale College, Mich., 27-26 in the Holiday Bowl at Stewart Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game matched the top two teams in the NAIA in postseason bowl game to decide the national title.

A missed extra point was the difference in the tightly contested National Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game that saw the Gorillas build a 20-0 first-quarter lead only to have the Dales forge a 20-20 tie early in the third quarter.

KSTC drew first blood with a 1-yard touchdown run by Charles Norris but Bill Samuels missed the extra point to leave the Gorillas up 6-0.

Norris’ second touchdown, on a 9-yard run, and the first of three Samuels PATs made it 13-0 later in the quarter and the Gorillas appeared to be in complete control following a 17-yard touchdown pass from John Matous to Paul Crandell late in the first period.

The 20-0 lead evaporated quickly in the second quarter. The Dales got to within 20-7 on Doug Maison’s 1-yard run and Wayne O’Shaughnessy’s extra point and made it 20-13 on a 5-yard pass from Maison to Walt Poe. O’Shaughnessy missed the extra point.

Hillsdale, riding a 34-game winning streak into the NAIA championship game, tied it on a 7-yard pass from Maison to Poe and O’Shaughnessy’s extra point in the third quarter.

But later in the third period, Matous and Crandell hooked up for another 17-yard scoring pass play and Samuels’ point-after made it 27-20.

Earl O’Shaughnessy caught a 14-yard TD pass from Mason in the fourth quarter but Wayne O’Shaughnessy failed on the extra point, leaving the Gorillas with the one-point margin.

The 1957 Gorillas of head coach Carnie Smith posted an 11-0 overall record and claimed the Central Intercollegiate Conference championship. KSTC posted four shutouts and Hillsdale was the only opponent to score more than 14 points against the stingy defense.

Linemen Leonard Mansfield, Tom Miller and Ted Stahura all earned some form of All-American honors with Mansfield on the NAIA first team, Miller on the NAIA second team and Stahura named to the honorable mention lists of both the NAIA and Associated Press All-America squads.”

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