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The Myrtle Beach Bowl and the Best Passing Offense You’ve Never Heard Of

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Tulsa, Old Dominion, and a walk down memory lane.

Drew Pearson Portrait Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images

More football on today! Here’s a place to talk about it.

Myrtle Beach Bowl (presented by TaxAct)

Old Dominion Monarchs vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

1:30pm | ESPN | Tulsa -9 | O/U 53

Buffkomodo: Is TaxAct a bill in congress or a company? Hell, at this point aren’t they the same thing?

Hold your applause, I’ll be here all day.

MNW: This isn’t even the only TaxAct bowl! Whatever a TaxAct is also the title sponsor, now of The Artist Formerly Known as the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas—the much less confusing TaxAct Texas Bowl—and the TaxAct Camellia Bowl!

THREE TAXACT BOWLS! And this one’s on teal turf!

NCAA Football: Myrtle Beach Bowl-Appalachian State vs North Texas
Don’t adjust your TVs—that’s how it’s going to look.
David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

ODU won five straight to get here at 6-6, while Tulsa was 0-3 after scaring Oklahoma State and Ohio State but rebounded to win its last three straight—but just over Tulane, Temple, and SMU, so nothing actually terribly exciting.

Tulsa has a helluva RB in Shamari Brooks, while Old Dominion, under former Penn State OC Ricky Rahne has unlocked RB Blake Watson’s potential and put together a nice battery in QB Hayden Wolff and Name of the Year TE Zach Kuntz. I wouldn’t expect this one to be much beyond a 27-17 kind of snoozer, but you never know.

Kind of...: This is the second iteration of the Myrtle Beach Bowl. There is no B1G hook to entice you. But if you want a somewhat meandering set of facts from almost sixty years ago, you’ve come to the right place.

But that’s Tulsa. Let’s address ODU first.

Taylor Heinicke and Zach Pascal are Monarch alums. ODU has only been playing since 2009 (they did play for a dozen years or so pre-WWII). Made the FCS playoffs a couple of times. Beat Coastal Carolina once, lost to Georgia Southern both years.

Honestly, when I think of ODU athletics, the first thing I think of is women’s hoops. ODU was a powerhouse for most of the 80s and 90s, making three Final Fours (‘83, ’85, and ‘97), including winning it all in 1985. Anne Donovan and Nancy Lieberman were early stars back in the AIWA days (Lieberman led the title-winning team in ‘79, and they both played on the ‘80 champs), and Ticha Penicheiro starred on the ‘97 Final Four team. That’s about all I’ve got.

But let’s talk Tulsa. Back when LaVell Edwards was just an assistant at BYU, a different team was filling the sky with passes, and they were doing it in the shadow of the Big Eight and SWC. Let’s talk about the 1964 and 1965 Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

The story beings with QB Jerry Rhome transferring out of SMU after the 1961 season. SMU had fired their head coach, and Rhome wasn’t certain about the offensive philosophy of SMU’s new head coach, Hayden Fry (in his autobiography, Fry acknowledges that he and his staff didn’t do enough to keep Rhome at SMU). So he transfers to Tulsa, sits out 1962, and then explodes. Now, 1,909 yards and a 123.0 rating might now seem like much, but, in 1963, those numbers were good for 3rd and 8th in the nation, respectively.

In 1964, Rhome threw for 2,870 yards in 10 games (second was 2,356), and led the nation in passer rating at 172.6 (second was 155.1). He threw 32 TDs against only 4 INTs. In 1964!!! Add in 8 rushing TDs, and he accounted for four TDs per game. Again, in 1964. Tulsa went 9-2, winning the Bluebonnet Bowl over Mississippi.

Rhome’s favorite target was Howard Twilley, who hauled in 95 catches for 1,178 yards and 13 TDs. Even after Rhome graduated, Tulsa didn’t let up. In 1965, the Golden Hurricane went 8-3 (dropping the Bluebonnet Bowl this time), New QB Bill Anderson threw for 3,464 yards, setting the single-season record, which would last until 1980 (Jim McMahon) and which is now held by Bailey Zappe.

But Twilley was the real star in 1965: 134 receptions, 1,779 yards, 16 TDs, second in the Heisman voting. He would go on to a successful career in the NFL, winning two rings with the Dolphins, catching a TD for the 17-0 ‘72 Dolphins in their Super Bowl victory over Washington.

That same year, 1972, Tulsa’s next great receiver was emerging. Drew Pearson came to Tulsa as a QB, but converted to WR for his last two years. While he went undrafted in 1973, by 1974 he had rung up a 1,000 yard season (in 14 games), and by 1975, he attained immortality (a certain strong-armed professional sports league is preventing me from embedding the video, so click the link).

Pearson finally, and deservedly, earned enshrinement in the NFL HOF this year (WAY OVERDUE), where he joined Tulsa’s most famous WR: Steven Largent. Unlike Pearson, Largent DID get drafted. But the Oilers traded him to the expansion Seattle Seahawks before the regular season had started. The Seahawks QB coach? Jerry Rhome. He had joined the Seahawks after a few seasons as an assistant at Tulsa, where he saw Largent up close.

Another person who saw Steve Largent up close? Mike Harden. (Again, can’t embed the video, but you REALLY need to watch this one).


There’s other football on tonight, too, and we’ve previewed some Big Ten basketball and college wrestling, too. So, y’know, if this isn’t your thing (or you get bored mid-game), here’s what to look at:

Anywho, the other games:

Here’s your open thread. Go nuts. Or don’t.