Corvallis – The honors for one of Oregon State University’s most successful teams continues as the 1962 Liberty Bowl champions will be inducted into the State of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame this fall. The team entered the OSU Sports Hall of Fame earlier this month.
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.
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. George Gnoss served as the team’s captain, Jim Funston was the recipient of the team’s Attitude and Scholarship honor and Paul Seale was the Most Improved Player.
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.