After rummaging through the stacks of 1949, I finally found what I was looking for. A paper dated September 8, 1949, six days before the fifteenth birthday of former Taylor Duck football player Richard Lee “Dickey” Moegle. Just yesterday Moegle turned 85, so this Sports Smack is dedicated to him.
Unless you were around back in the late ‘40’s or early ‘50’s you may not even know who Moegle is, or why he is famous.
It all happened when Moegle was attending college at Rice in the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic against Alabama.
Midway through the second quarter Moegle was awarded a touchdown on one of the most infamous plays in college football history. After taking the handoff from quarterback LeRoy Fenstemaker, Moegle broke free for what was to be a deemed 95-yard touchdown run.
In what was dubbed the "12th man tackle," Alabama running back Tommy Lewis left the Alabama bench, entered the field of play and tackled Moegle at the Alabama 42-yard line, apparently believing that even if the 5-yard penalty for illegal participation were enforced, his illegal move would have still stopped the score. However, referee Cliff Shaw instead awarded Moegle a 95-yard touchdown on the play under the palpably unfair act rule, which accounts for situations when a flagrant rule violation prevents a player from scoring by awarding the score anyway.
The Owls won the game 28-6 and Moegle rushed for 265 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. The 265 yards stood as a Cotton Bowl record until the 2008 game between Missouri and Arkansas. Moegle was named All-SWC and All-American in 1954. The following season Moegle finished 6th in the Heisman vote.
After college Moegle played in the NFL from 1955-61. He was selected 10th overall in the 1955 NFL Draft by San Francisco where he spent five seasons and played in the 1955 Pro Bowl. He spent 1960 with the Steelers and finished his career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Taylor football legend Dickey Moegle lives on in both Taylor football and Cotton Bowl history.