SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR) — Two of Syracuse’s most accomplished football teams will be honored at home games during the 2019 season.
Syracuse Athletics will recognize the 60th anniversary of the 1959 national championship team on Saturday, Sept. 14 versus Clemson during Homecoming/Orange Central Weekend. The 1979 Orange, champions of the Independence Bowl, are celebrating their 40th anniversary this season and will be honored on Saturday, Sept. 21 when Syracuse hosts Western Michigan.
The first undefeated team in school history, the 1959 Orange went 11-0 and defeated Texas in the Cotton Bowl on its way to winning the program’s only national championship.
Coached by the legendary Ben Schwartzwalder, the 1959 Syracuse squad dominated its opponents. The Orange led the nation in scoring offense (39.0 ppg), total offense (451.5 ypg), rushing offense (313.6 ypg), total defense (96.2 ypg) and rushing defense (19.3 ypg). Syracuse outscored its 10 regular-season foes 390-59 before upending the fourth-ranked Longhorns 23-14 in Dallas.
Schwartzwalder was picked as the national coach of the year and the team featured several of the program’s most iconic players, including All-Americans Ernie Davis, Gerhard Schwedes, Roger Davis, Fred Mautino and Bob Yates.
The 1979 Orange roster was dotted with players who went on to play in the NFL, including future All-Pros Art Monk, Joe Morris, Jim Collins and Gary Anderson. Together with head coach Frank Maloney and star quarterback Bill Hurley, they propelled Syracuse to a 7-5 record despite not playing a game at home due to the construction of the Dome.
After a regular season that included “home” wins over West Virginia, Washington State and Miami (Fla.) at off-campus sites, Syracuse received a bowl invitation for the first time in 13 years. The Orange were paired with McNeese State in the Independence Bowl and dispatched the Cowboys 31-7 behind Morris, who ran for 155 yards and was named the game’s MVP. The victory marked Syracuse first bowl win since the 1961 season.
Morris, Collins, Hurley, Monk, and Craig Wolfley all were rewarded with All-America honors following the season.