In a Close Game, Simpson Made the Big Impression

Times Staff Writer

The last time USC and Texas played a football game was Sept. 23, 1967, and 67,705 at the Coliseum watched O.J. Simpson run for 158 yards in a 17-13 Trojan victory, prompting Texas coach Darrell Royal to say, "I hope we don't see anybody with more capabilities, and I don't think we will."

Perhaps until today.

Royal, recently reached by phone, said about the only difference he sees between Simpson and current Trojan running back Reggie Bush as football players is "O.J. is a few inches taller."

Simpson carried 30 times in that 1967 game and scored a touchdown on a two-yard run around the left side midway through the second quarter, after Texas had taken a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a short pass from "Super" Bill Bradley to Deryl Comer.

USC went ahead, 14-7, in the third quarter on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Steve Sogge to tight end Bob Miller, who shared playing time with future Ram Bob Klein. A 30-yard field goal by Rikki Aldridge in the fourth quarter made the score 17-7.

Bradley, Texas' mobile quarterback, scored on a two-yard run with 1:38 remaining in the game. He tried to run for a two-point conversion but was stopped by middle guard Ralph Oliver.

Texas came into the game with two highly touted runners -- Bradley and Chris Gilbert, nicknamed "Gorgeous," the No. 5-ranked runner in the nation the previous season.

Paul Zimmerman, then the Times' sports editor, who covered the game, wrote in the lead paragraph: "Southern California's rugged defense all but took the 'Super' and 'Gorgeous' prefixes off the names of Bill Bradley and Chris Gilbert...."

Zimmerman wrote that the statistics told the story, noting that Gilbert was held to 75 yards in 22 carries and Bradley to 42 yards in 18 carries. USC had 238 yards rushing and 125 passing.

USC and Texas have played four times, with the Trojans winning all of them. The other scores were 19-7 in 1955, 44-20 in '56 and 10-6 in '66.

Craig Fertig, then the Trojans' backfield coach, said he thinks the 1966 game at Austin was at least as memorable as the '67 victory.

In the '66 game, USC took a 10-0 halftime lead, then had to hold on.

"What I remember is that Texas punted late in the game and we ended up with the ball on the two-yard line," Fertig said. "We got out of the hole and held on to the ball until the end of the game."

A pass from Troy Winslow to Rod Sherman got a first down for USC. Then Winslow and Don McCall managed another first down at the 26. Two plays later, Winslow suffered leg cramps and had to leave the game.

Toby Page came in and ran the ball to the 36, just shy of a first down, with three minutes left to play.

Coach John McKay sent punter Rich Leon into the game, but the players protested, and McKay brought Leon back to the bench. Page then picked up the big first down.

By that time, Winslow had recovered. He came back into the game, and his 20-yard pass to Miller got another first down, pretty much sealing the deal.

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