1952 Orange Bowl
18th Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Baylor 7700 14
Georgia Tech 70010 17
DateJanuary 1, 1952
StadiumBurdine Stadium
LocationMiami, Florida
RefereeF.C. Baccus (SWC;
split crew: SWC, SEC)
Orange Bowl
 < 1951  1953

The 1952 Orange Bowl was a college football postseason bowl game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Baylor Bears.


Georgia Tech was co-champion of the Southeastern Conference with #1 Tennessee. Baylor finished 2nd in the Southwest Conference. This was Georgia Tech's first Orange Bowl since 1948, and Baylor's first ever Orange Bowl. Originally, the #13 Virginia Cavaliers had been invited to play Georgia Tech in what would have been the Cavaliers' first-ever bowl game. However, University president Colgate Darden declined the offer due to his desire to steer clear of "big-time, highly subsidized football."[1] Virginia would not have its first bowl appearance until 1984.


During the 1951 season, the football team of the University of San Francisco, nicknamed the Dons, went undefeated (9–0)[2] and were ranked 14th in the final AP Poll.[3] Accounts from players on the team state that the Dons were denied an invitation to the Orange Bowl because they refused to play without their two African-American star players, Ollie Matson and Burl Toler.[4][5]

Further information: 1951 San Francisco Dons football team and '51 Dons

Organizers of the Orange Bowl stated in 2016, "All our research shows it’s a false story, unsubstantiated. We invited two higher ranked teams."[4] Contemporary newspaper reports at the time bowl selections were being made (late November 1951) cited the Dons' "weak schedule" as the reason why the Orange Bowl did not invite them.[6][7]

Game summary

Hardeman scored on a 3-yard run to give the Yellow Jackets a 7–0 lead. Parma tied the game on a 1-yard touchdown plunge for Baylor. Coody gave the team a 14–7 lead on his touchdown run. This lead held up for most of the second half. However, with 6:53 remaining in the game the Yellow Jackets tied the game on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Darrell Crawford to Buck Martin. Three minutes later, a Pete Ferris interception of a Larry Isbell pass gave Georgia Tech the ball at the 9. The team could only muster three yards before fourth down came up, with Dodd deciding to go for the field goal. Pepper Rodgers' 22 yard field goal broke the tie and ultimately was the winning points for the Yellow Jackets.[8]


Baylor has not reached the Orange Bowl since this game. Georgia Tech did not reach the Orange Bowl again until 1967.


Statistics Georgia Tech Baylor
First downs 9 17
Rushing yards 152 206
Passing yards 84 93
Total yards 236 299
Interceptions 1 3
Punts–average 7–35.3 6–34.7
Fumbles–lost 3–1 4–0
Penalties–yards 6–60 7–85


  1. ^ Watterson, John. "University of Virginia Football 1951–1961: A Perfect Gridiron Storm" (PDF). Journal of Sports History. James Madison University. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2016.
  2. ^ "1951 San Francisco Dons Schedule and Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  3. ^ "1951 College Football Polls". sports-reference.com. Retrieved January 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Littlefield, Bill (January 2, 2016). "The 1951 USF Dons: Uninvited From The Orange Bowl?". WBUR-FM. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Carpenter, Ed (February 2, 2014). "ESPN Tells the Story of Football Team's 1951 Stand Against Racism". usfca.edu. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Orange Bowl Drops USF From Race: 'Weak Slate' Is Downfall, Say Pickers". Oakland Tribune. November 27, 1951. p. 30. Retrieved January 4, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Dons Give Up On Quest For Orange Bowl Bid". The Miami News. AP. November 27, 1951. p. 6. Retrieved January 4, 2021 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ The 1950s | Orange Bowl