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1947 Cotton Bowl Classic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1947 Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Arkansas 0000 0
LSU 0000 0
DateJanuary 1, 1947
StadiumCotton Bowl
MVPEnd Alton Baldwin (Arkansas)
QB Y. A. Tittle (LSU)
 Cotton Bowl Classic 
 <  1946   1948

The 1947 Cotton Bowl Classic was a post-season college football bowl game played on January 1, 1947 in the Cotton Bowl stadium at Dallas, Texas, between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the LSU Tigers. Due to adverse winter weather, neither team scored, and Arkansas and LSU tied the game, later referred to as Ice Bowl, 0–0. The two teams met again in the Cotton Bowl Classic in 1966.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ First African American to play in the Cotton Bowl


For In Motion, I'm Curt Parker. While the 2005 Nittany Lions may have been 2 seconds from perfection, they are part of a long list of Penn State football teams that have been noteworthy. One such group was the 1947 team, both for their accomplishment on and off the gridiron. Now this was one of the great teams in Penn State's history, they set records back then that still haven't been broken, defensive records. And the problem is, that a lot of great, the problem why Penn State's '47 team doesn't get more national recognition is because Notre Dame had a great team, Michigan had a great team, they were all loaded with, these weren't kids, these were 25, 26 year old men, they'd been through the ropes. The team went unbeaten. They set defensive records that still haven't been broken. They're the number four team in the country. They can't go to the Rose Bowl, which wasn't segregated, they can't go to the Sugar Bowl, they can't go to Miami, they're still basically segregated. Ordinance there that they couldn't play, black players could not play with white players. There was a hitch to that, that if the other team agreed to play, that you could bring the black players to play. The school let it out early that our, we're on record, as we all go, or none. And so that's what we put out. And it was up to the southwestern conference to, among themselves, determine what they're gonna do. And what happened was Matty Bell, the coach of the SMU team, agreed to play Penn State, and play against the black players. But that didn't end there. Dallas was still a segregated city. And as a segregated city, white players and black players could not eat or room together. Officials from SMU came up with a rather unique solution for the time. So there was an airbase nearby. And so, the school arranged with the government that we would stay at the airbase. And we had practice facilities and rooming facilities. With all the surrounding issues put at bay, the focus now turned toward the game: The Cotton Bowl. Higgins really wanted to win this game, and he probably over trained the kids, and they went down there and he really worked them hard, and they got really ticked off. And there are a lot of stories about what happened down there, but they did some things that, they jumped fence, let's call it, and took off, and went into town, and they partied a little bit, 'cause they were just being, they were living under a military barracks, and some of these guys had been in the military, thought they gave it up a few years ago, so they got irritated. Some say that it was the discriminatory element, and/or the heightened level of practice exerted by coach Higgins, that lead to a lackluster performance given by the Nittany Lions that resulted in a 13-13 tie. But it was obvious that something greater happened. Nobody really congratulates, says you know, it wasn't us that broke the color line in the Cotton Bowl, it was SMU, that's really the truth when you look down to it. As for Wally, he graduated, got married, and went on the the NFL, where he played several seasons for the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Cardinals. In fact, he was a record holder for most kick returns yards, and highest average per return in a game. But after all the triumphs of his life, he still remembers what it means to be Penn State. You always feel as being a part of them, being connected with them, because you went through Penn State. I'm very proud to say I'm a Penn Stater. And it gets people's attention. For In Motion, I'm Curt Parker.


Arkansas and LSU had enjoyed a neighboring-state rivalry beginning in 1901, however, the two teams had not met since 1936, the end of a 23-year run of meetings in Shreveport. The 9–1 Tigers, led by quarterback Y. A. Tittle, were not invited to play in the 1947 Sugar Bowl, and instead matched up with the rival Razorbacks.[2] Arkansas entered at 6–3–1, losing at Texas and Tulsa, versus Ole Miss, and tying Oklahoma A&M. The rain, sleet, snow, and ice from a winter storm would keep many members of the sellout crowd home, but 38,000 still showed up to watch the icy skirmish.[3] Unused to the wintry conditions, the LSU team used oil drums filled with charcoal on the sidelines as makeshift heaters, while fans reportedly started fires in the stands to keep warm.[3]

LSU was 1–3 in bowl games previous to the Ice Bowl. Arkansas, with their tie in the 1934 Dixie Classic, was 0–0–1, and 0–0–2 after their second indecisive bowl.

Game summary

The Razorbacks were statistically beaten by the Tigers, who held a 15–1 advantage in first downs. LSU also held a yardage advantage of 271–54. The Razorback defense stiffened in the red zone, however, holding the Tigers off the board from 1, 6, 7, and 8 yards out. Despite the cold and bad conditions, the final two plays were very dramatic. Tittle threw a pass to Jeff Adams, who was running to the end zone, but Clyde Scott of Arkansas tackled him at the one. LSU was in position for a game winning field goal, but there was a bad snap, and the game ended with a tie.

Tittle was named the game's Most Valuable Player.[2]


  1. ^ "2009 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic." Cotton Bowl History. Archived 2008-12-30 at the Wayback Machine The official site of the 2009 Cotton Bowl Classic. Retrieved on December 30, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "1947 Cotton Bowl, LSU 0 Arkansas 0." LSU Bowl History. The official website of LSU Tigers Athletics. Retrieved on December 30, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "The Ice Bowl." Arkansas Razorbacks Football History, [1] Retrieved on May 14, 2015.
This page was last edited on 31 July 2019, at 12:24
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