|24th Annual Sugar Bowl Classic ~ January 1, 1958
That chilly, 47-degree afternoon, was a day to be remembered, for the Sugar Bowl, for Ray Brown.
The diagnosis of fourteen years before was hard to believe at the Sugar Bowl, where Brown was a starting quarterback-defensive back.
Ken Kirk recovered an early Texas fumble at the Longhorn 33, leading to a one-yard Brown touchdown; In the second quarter he threw a three-yard scoring pass to Don Williams; coffin-cornered a kick out at the Texas 7, then intercepted a pass at the 20 which led to another Rebel touchdown.
It was 19-0 at the half, and things seemed to get worse for the Longhorns, falling under a 26-0 deficit.
As the game wound down, ballots were passed out in the press box for the vote on the Most Valuable Player. All 116 media voters placed Brown as their choice for his quadruple-threat performance. Raoul Carlisle, an Arkansas newspaperman who had covered every Sugar Bowl, commented to Pie Dufour as Brown dropped into his end zone to punt. "He's the greatest performer in Sugar Bowl history." Pie noncommittally answered, "He certainly is one of the best."
As they talked, Brown took a high snap and, before he could boot the ball, saw a Texas end boring in unopposed. Brown bolted, circled right end and began steaming for the Longhorn goal 103 yards from where he had been standing. "I was weary, so weary that I thought about asking for a replacement to do the punting," Brown said. "I told the fellows, ‘I don't know if I can kick that ball 20 yards I'm so tired. You'll have to get downfield in a hurry...I didn't know I was in the clear ‘til I looked back near midfield and saw all those blue shirts around me. And I kept hearing (teammate) Jackie Simpson yelling, ‘Lateral, Ray, lateral.' I knew if he wanted the ball there wasn't anyone else around but us Rebels."
"That proves Brown's the best," Carlisle was screaming in Dufour's ear to make himself heard over the din of the crowd. Ole Miss scored another, meaningless, touchdown after a Texas fumble with 12 seconds remaining.
But everyone, Rebel and Longhorn alike, was aware they had witnessed a special individual performance. Brown's 92-yard run from scrimmage had pushed his rushing figures to 157 yards on 15 carries, a 10.5 average. Several of his passes were dropped in the cold, but he completed three of eight for 24 more yards. He averaged 34.7 yards on four punts, specializing in out-of bounds rolls.
He scored two touchdowns, passed for another, and was brilliant on defense with three interceptions. Brown also saved an early touchdown by catching George Blanch after the Longhorn had galloped 46 yards.
Coach Johnny Vaught chuckled about the long run and insisted, "We called that one from the bench." The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Brown was elated when he was awarded the Miller Memorial Trophy, then being informed he was the first unanimous selection.
"Say, if nobody has ever won it that way before," he said with emotion, "that means I have a chance to make the all-time Sugar Bowl team. Oh, man, I'd like that."
Recap excerpted from the book "Sugar Bowl Classic: A History" by Marty Mulé, who covered the game and the organization for decades for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.