The scene was Archbold Stadium, an ancient concrete bowl located where the Carrier Dome would later be built. On that day, the 62-year-old stadium set an attendance record of 42,491. My seat in the student section is marked on the photo below.
While walking to class earlier that week, I remember seeing the homecoming floats being prepared in front of the Greek houses on Comstock Avenue. At the athletic department offices in the Mens Gym (in the foreground of the photo above), I used my student ID to purchase a ticket for the big game. I think it cost a dollar. The program was another 50 cents.
I dont recall all the circumstances, but a little research reveals that the visiting team, Penn State, came into the game with a 23-game undefeated streak. The previous January, the Nittany Lions had completed a perfect 11-0 season with a 15-14 come-from-behind win over Kansas in the Orange Bowl. The winning points came on a two-point conversion with :15 left in the game, after Kansas had been penalized on PSUs first two-point attempt.
Paterno was promoted to head coach in 1966, and so far he had recorded 28 career victories.
Our Orangemen, on the other hand, werent that good. Pat Putnam wrote in Sports Illustrated:
I'm not sure Ben's humor would be considered so delightful nowadays. Be that as it may, the bottom line was that we were predicted to lose.
But it was our homecoming! The Orange Girl was one of the finalists for homecoming queen, though someone else was chosen. And in the first 16 minutes of the game, our football team scored two touchdowns!
We held onto that early lead, and we were still ahead 14-0 as the fourth quarter began. Could Syracuse possibly pull off an upset over fifth-ranked Penn State? Well, maybe not.
The following Monday, Schwartzwalder would complain that the officials had cost Syracuse the game. And on game day, according to SI:
Given that second chance, Penn State converted, and our lead was cut to 14-8. And when we had to punt, they took advantage of another opportunity.
Admittedly, the officials and the folks in the pressbox had a far better view, but by that point our Syracuse student section was inclined to distrust the zebras.
Anyway, we lost, as predicted. And four days later, the winter snows began.
Above: Oil tycoon John D. Archbold and his bowl, the third and largest of three concrete stadiums in the nation at that time. Patterned after Roman amphitheatres, "The Greatest Athletic Arena in America" was completed in 1907 and held 30,000 fans.
Note the running track and the gridiron, on which one can observe a college foot-ball match in progress.
Coach Paterno went on to win 380 more games in the next 42 years. Here he is leaving Archbold Stadium with Franco Harris on October 16, 1971. Sideburns were longer than when I was there two years earlier.
In 1980, Archbold Stadium was replaced on the same site by a modernistic air-supported dome, which received a new roof supported by a steel "crown" in 2020. This winter view shows how the superstructure of the Dome dominates the University's skyline.