CORVALLIS, Ore. – One of Oregon State’s most successful football teams in the history of the program will be inducted into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame during a special ceremony Fri., Sept. 7, 2012 at Reser Stadium, Director of Athletics Bob De Carolis announced Monday. The Beavers host defending Big Ten Champions Wisconsin the following day.
The 1962 team, celebrating its 50th anniversary, posted a 9-2 record with eighth-year head coach Tommy Prothro at the helm. The Terry Baker led club finished No. 16 in the final United Press International Poll and defeated Villanova in the Fourth Annual Liberty Bowl, then played in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium.
“This is a really special team in the history of Oregon State University,” De Carolis said. “The bowl system was much different then with only 10 postseason games, and that alone says a lot about how successful this team was.”
The Beavers won their last six regular season games to be invited to the Liberty Bowl, including a 20-17 victory over Oregon. The season also included wins over No. 12 Stanford, No. 19 West Virginia, Iowa State, Pacific, Washington State, Idaho and Colorado State. The team’s only setbacks were to No. 7 Washington the day after the famous Columbus Day storm in debris-littered Multnomah stadium and Iowa.
Baker was a consensus All-American and became the first player west of Texas to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. He also won the Maxwell Award and was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year, among his many accolades, and scored the only points of the Liberty Bowl with an NCAA record 99-yard run. End Vern Burke caught 69 passes for 1,007 yards, both NCAA records at the time, to also earn consensus All-American.
All these accomplishments were behind a line that averaged 205 pounds and was dubbed "the Charge of the Light Brigade.” Following the victory over Oregon, Coach Prothro stated "this is the finest team I've ever coached.”
Oregon State competed as an independent as it was two years prior to the school joining the Athletic Association of Western Universities and three years removed from the long running Pacific Coast Conference. The Pacific-8 Conference wasn’t adopted until 1968.
The ’62 team will be the sixth football squad to be inducted into OSU’s Sports Hall of Fame, joining the teams from 1933, 1942, 1956, 1964 and 1967.