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Sammy Burklow Boots Game-Winning Field Goal as Vols Edge Texas A&M in 1957 Gator Bowl
Sammy Burklow

Sammy Burklow

Dec. 17, 2004

Tennessee and Texas A&M last squared off Dec. 28, 1957, in the 13th renewal of Jacksonville's Gator Bowl. On a rainy day in North Florida, Tennessee, which finished 8-3 for the season 47 years ago, used a fourth-quarter field goal by Sammy Burklow to win 3-0 over Bear Bryant's last Texas Aggie contingent. It was Bowden Wyatt's third year at the Vol helm and Tennessee's second post-season appearance in those years.

It was a chip shot of sorts, a 17-yarder, and, amazingly, Burklow's first of the season. He was listed a placekicker on the 1956, 1957 and 1958 squads.

"I never tried a field goal this year," said Burklow, then a 20-year-old junior from Hazard, Ky., who wore No. 34 on his orange jersey. "Last year, I missed two - from 35 and 25 yards out. There wasn't anything to it. Bobby Gordon just put it on the tee and I kicked. I had no doubts it would be good."

Wyatt had equal confidence in his kicker. "Go in there and kick it," said Wyatt. "It's just like an extra point."

The speedy Vols and the powerful Aggies slugged it out all day with neither team having any success getting the pigskin into the end zone.

Bobby Gordon
Tennessee had an 82-yard punt return by Bobby Gordon called back by a clipping penalty. Game pictures show former Vol Network analyst Bill Anderson, one of the team's co-captains and wingback, perpetrating the foul.

Gordon and 1957 Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow had two significant collisions during the game, one in the second quarter where Crow caused a fumble and another in the fourth just before Burklow's game-winning field goal.

Newspaper accounts on the second tackle read as follows: "Gordon barreled to the Aggie 7 where he met Crow in a rib-crackling collision. Crow got up shaking his arm and Gordon, seemingly groggy, had to be helped to his feet by Vol end Landon Darty."

Gordon and Crow both recovered sufficiently to return to the game, with Gordon holding for Burklow's game-winning field goal.

Gordon, who carried 32 times for 60 yards on the day, received the Burkhalter Memorial Trophy, awarded to the MVP of the winning team, and was described as a "shining star on a day when the supply was light and the demand heavy."

Burklow's last season as a Vol was in 1958. He then went to medical school and was an intern at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in November 1963. He remembered seeing Pres. Kennedy brought to the hospital that fateful Friday afternoon, calling it a "rough time."

He's now Dr. Sam Burklow, practicing internal medicine in Fresno, Calif.

On a cold late December day in 1957, Burklow etched his name into the long list of heroes in orange who did great things when their number was called.


1957 GATOR BOWL

TENNESSEE 3
TEXAS A&M 0

JACKSONVILLE -- In Paul "Bear" Bryant's last game as Aggie head coach, Tennessee used a fourth quarter field goal by placekicker Sammy Burklow and a stubborn defense to hand the Aggies a 3-0 defeat on a wet and muddy Gator Bowl field. It was the lowest-scoring game in the history of the Gator Bowl and was played before a Gator Bowl-record crowd of 43,709.

The field goal was the first of Burklow's career and came from 17 yards out with 5:03 left to play in the game. It was a day for the defenses to shine as action was confined between the 35-yard lines.

The game was marked by the now-famous collision between Vol tailback Bobby Gordon and Aggie Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow on the Vols' march to the winning score. Both players recovered to continue play, with Gordon holding for Burklow's game-winning field goal.

1
2
3
4
Final
TENNESSEE
0
0
0
3
-- 3
TEXAS A&M
0
0
0
0
-- 0

SCORING SUMMARY
TENN -- Burklow 17 FG

TEAM STATISTICS Tennessee Texas A&M
First Downs 14 8
Rushes-Yards 54-135 40-142
Passing Yards 56 27
Passes (Att.-Comp.-Int.) 6-4-0 8-3-0
Total Offensive Plays 60 48
Total Offensive Yards 191 169
Fumbles Lost 2 1
Penalties-Yards 3-30 3-35
Punts-Average 8-36.0 7-38.0

TENNESSEE
RUSHING
Att
Gain
Lost
Net
TD
Lg
Gordon
32
83
23
60
0
18
PASSING
Att
Cmp
Int
Yds
TD
Lg
Gordon
6
4
0
56
0
19
RECEIVING
No
Yds
TD
Lg
Darty
2
26
0
17
 
TEXAS A&M
RUSHING
Att
Gain
Lost
Net
TD
Lg
Crow
14
56
10
46
0
13
PASSING
Att
Cmp
Int
Yds
TD
Lg
Osborne
4
2
0
16
0
11
RECEIVING
No
Yds
TD
Lg
Smith
1
11
0
11
Tracy
1
11
0
11


 

 

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