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1966 Liberty Bowl

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1966 Liberty Bowl
8th Liberty Bowl
OldLiberty Bowl logo.jpg
1234 Total
Miami 0077 14
VPI 7000 7
DateDecember 10, 1966
StadiumMemphis Memorial Stadium
LocationMemphis, Tennessee
MVPJimmy Cox, Miami
United States TV coverage
 Liberty Bowl 
 <  1965   1967

The 1966 Liberty Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game between the VPI Gobblers (now the Virginia Tech Hokies)[a] and the Miami Hurricanes, both independent programs. The eighth edition of the Liberty Bowl, it was played on December 10, 1966, at Memphis Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The game was the final contest of the 1966 college football season for both teams, and ended in a 14–7 victory for Miami.[1] A then-record 39,101 tickets were sold for the game, but due to 36 °F (2 °C) temperatures at game time, only 25,012 spectators attended.[2][3]


This was the second time that the two programs had faced each other.[4] The previous meeting, held in 1953, ended in a 26–0 shutout victory for Miami.[4]


VPI was led on defense by All-America safety Frank Loria, who caught three interceptions and returned three punts for touchdowns as a junior during the 1966 season.[5] In addition, defensive end George Foussekis was named to the Associated Press second-team All-America team,[6] and helped keep the Hurricanes' offense in check for most of the game. On offense, fullback Tommy Groom served as the third of the team's three team captains during the game.[7] VPI was coached by Jerry Claiborne,[8] who was in his sixth year as head coach. Under Claiborne, the team had amassed a strong 8–1–1 record with wins over Kentucky, Florida State, and Virginia and a 70–12 blowout win over traditional rival VMI in the final game of the season. VPI's sole loss came in the first game of the season against Tulane, and the team had a 13–13 tie against West Virginia.[9]

The game marked just the second time that VPI had played in a bowl game since they first fielded a football team in 1892, following the 1947 Sun Bowl. Future Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer participated in the game as a backup cornerback for VPI.[10]


The ninth-ranked Hurricanes boasted a 7–2–1 regular-season record, including wins over Southern California and Florida.[11] The Hurricanes were led on the field by three-time All-American lineback Ted Hendricks,[12] who would later go on to a Hall of Fame career in the National Football League.[13] Off the field, the Hurricanes were coached by Charlie Tate, who would head the Hurricanes football team until 1970.[8]

Game summary

The game kicked off in frigid 36 °F (2 °C) weather,[12] and from the beginning, defense dominated. In the first half, VPI held Miami to just 16 yards of total offense.[3] On the opposite side of the ball, Miami set bowl game records for fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest first downs allowed.[14] VPI got the first big break of the game after blocking Miami's first punt of the game. Taking over at the Miami 21-yard line, it took VPI just five plays to march into the end zone for an early 7–0 lead.[3] The teams battled to a stalemate for the rest of the first half, and VPI went into halftime still clinging to a 7–0 lead.

In the second half, VPI's fortune turned. Late in the third quarter, their defense stopped Miami's offense again, but instead of receiving the punt cleanly, VPI committed a roughing the kicker penalty that allowed Miami to retain possession of the ball with a first down. A few plays later, Miami scored its first touchdown of the game. In the fourth quarter Miami finally took the lead on a 10-play, 70-yard drive.[3] VPI was unable to answer the Hurricanes' score, and Miami won the game, 14–7.[15]


Statistical Comparison[3]
1st Downs 11 7
Total Yards 163 111
Passing Yards 108 75
Rushing Yards 55 36
Penalties 7-80 6-57
Turnovers 1 3

Miami's Jimmy Cox was named the game's most valuable player after catching five passes for 77 yards—accounting for nearly half of Miami's total offensive output.[3][16] Miami earned just three rushing first downs during the game, setting a Liberty Bowl record that has yet to be broken.[17]

Each team had two players pass the ball. VPI's Tommy Stafford finished the game having completed four 13 passes for 59 yards and one interception. Several times during the game, VPI had also played with Barker passing the ball. He finished having completed two of his three passes for 13 yards. On the Miami side of the ball, Miller completed nine of 26 passes for 99 yards and Olivo completed one pass for nine yards.[3]

On the ground, VPI's Tommy Francisco led all runners with 21 carries for 55 yards. Backing up Francisco was Sal Garcia, who finished with three carries for 15 yards. Miami's leading rusher was McGee, who carried the ball 12 times for 36 yards. Backing up McGee was Acuff, who finished with six carries for 25 yards.[3]


  1. ^ VPI became Virginia Tech in 1970, and the team's nickname became Hokies in 1981.

See also


  1. ^ "Miami Rallies To Earn 14-7 Liberty Bowl Win Over VPI". Sunday News. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. AP. December 11, 1966. p. 48. Retrieved January 13, 2020 – via
  2. ^ Bowl History: Results and Attendance by Year Archived 2008-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed March 12, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 1966 Liberty Bowl Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, Blacksburg, Virginia. Accessed February 20, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Opponent History: Miami Opponent history database, Accessed January 23, 2008.
  5. ^ Virginia Tech 2007 Football Media Guide "Hokie All-Americans", p. 174. Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, Blacksburg Virginia. Accessed January 23, 2008.
  6. ^ Virginia Tech 2007 Football Media Guide "Second & Third-Team All-Americans", p. 175. Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, Blacksburg Virginia. Accessed January 23, 2008.
  7. ^ 2002 Notable Sports Deaths "July 19", The Associated Press, December 29, 2002. Accessed March 12, 2008.
  8. ^ a b Coaches Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed March 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Virginia Tech 2007 Football Media Guide "Year-by-Year Scores and Results", p. 180. Virginia Tech Sports Information Department, Blacksburg Virginia. Accessed January 23, 2008.
  10. ^ Frank Beamer Virginia Tech Athletics Department, Accessed March 12, 2008.
  11. ^ 2006 Miami Hurricanes Media Guide Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine University of Miami Athletics Department, Miami, Florida. Page 145. Accessed February 20, 2008.
  12. ^ a b 2006 MPC Computers Bowl Media Guide Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine University of Miami Athletics Department, Miami, Florida. Page 80. Accessed February 20, 2008.
  13. ^ Ted Hendricks Pro Football Hall of Fame, Accessed March 12, 2008.
  14. ^ 2006 MPC Computers Bowl Media Guide Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine University of Miami Athletics Department, Miami, Florida. Page 74. Accessed February 20, 2008.
  15. ^ Opponent History:Miami Opponent history database, Accessed January 23, 2008.
  16. ^ Most Valuable Players Archived 2007-08-11 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed March 12, 2008.
  17. ^ Team Records Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed March 12, 2008.
This page was last edited on 1 June 2020, at 23:34
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