1961 Orange Bowl
27th Orange Bowl
1234 Total
Missouri 7707 21
Navy 6008 14
DateJanuary 2, 1961
StadiumOrange Bowl
LocationMiami, Florida
FavoriteMissouri by 6½ points[1]
RefereeW. P. Astle (Big Eight;
split crew: Big Eight, EAIFO)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersRay Scott, Paul Christman
Orange Bowl
 < 1960  1962

The 1961 Orange Bowl was the 27th edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on Monday, January 2. Part of the 1960–61 bowl game season, the fifth-ranked Missouri Tigers of the Big Eight Conference defeated the #4 Navy Midshipmen, 21–14.[2][3]

New Year's Day was on a Sunday in 1961; the college bowl games were played the following day.


Main article: 1960 NCAA University Division football season


Main article: 1960 Missouri Tigers football team

Missouri won its first nine games; they lost to visiting Kansas,[1][4] but the Jayhawks used an ineligible player and later forfeited.[5][6]


Main article: 1960 Navy Midshipmen football team

Navy's only loss was in early November at Duke;[7] the Blue Devils went on to win the Cotton Bowl. Senior halfback Joe Bellino won the Heisman Trophy.

Game summary

The game kicked off at 1 pm.[1]

Navy jumped to a 6–0 lead with a 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown. But Missouri answered when Norm Beal intercepted Navy's Hal Spooner, rumbling down the sideline for a 90-yard return, giving Missouri a 7–6 advantage. They then drove 80 yards for a second touchdown, and led 14–6 at halftime.

Missouri's defense shut down the Midshipmen's running game, including Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino, forcing Navy to pass. But Missouri continued to run the ball, grinding it out for 223 rushing yards. After a scoreless third quarter, Missouri drove down 64 yards and capitalized with a 1-yard run from quarterback Ronnie Taylor. Taylor, who went 1 for 6 passing, threw for only five total yards. Down 21–6, Bellino caught a 27-yard pass from Spooner, and then made the two-point conversion, cutting the lead to 21–14. Missouri held on for the win. President-elect John F. Kennedy attended the game.[2][3]


Missouri's next major bowl appearance was after the 1965 season, a win in the Sugar. Their only Orange Bowl since this one was in January 1970.

This remains Navy's only Orange Bowl; their next major bowl appearance is their most recent, the Cotton following the 1963 season.

This was the last telecast of the Orange Bowl by CBS for 35 years.


  1. ^ a b c "Missouri's power gets Orange nod". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 2, 1961. p. 44.
  2. ^ a b "Missouri topples Navy, 21-14". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 3, 1961. p. 3B.
  3. ^ a b "Tigers stop Navy Joe to win Orange Bowl, 21-14". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 3, 1961. p. 17.
  4. ^ "Kansas upsets Missouri for loop crown, but losers awarded bid to Orange Bowl". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 20, 1960. p. 1B.
  5. ^ Morey, Earl (December 9, 1960). "Big Eight voted 5-3 to strip KU's title in Bert Coan action". Lawrence Daily Journal-World. p. 1.
  6. ^ "Jayhawks lose league title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. December 9, 1960. p. 2B.
  7. ^ "Duke turns tables on Navy". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 20, 1960. p. 2B.