1966 Cotton Bowl Classic
31st Cotton Bowl Classic
1234 Total
Georgia 10707 24
SMU 3600 9
DateDecember 31, 1966
StadiumCotton Bowl
LocationDallas, Texas
MVPKent Lawrence (Georgia TB)
George Patton (Georgia T)
FavoriteGeorgia by 6½ to 7 points[1][2]
RefereeHarold Matthews (SWC)
(split crew: SWC, SEC)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersJack Drees, Pat Summerall
Cotton Bowl Classic
 < 1966 (Jan.) 1968

The 1966 Cotton Bowl Classic (December) was the 31st edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on December 31.[a] It matched the No. 10 SMU Mustangs of the Southwest Conference (SWC) and the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).[3][b] Kickoff for the Saturday game was 1:30 p.m. CST and it was televised by CBS.[4]

This was the first playing of the Cotton Bowl Classic in December—the "1967 game" was moved to New Year's Eve because New Year's Day was a Sunday in 1967. The decision to move the game had been announced in January 1966.[5] The other major bowls (Sugar, Orange, Rose) were played on January 2.


Main article: 1966 NCAA University Division football season


Main article: 1966 SMU Mustangs football team

The #10 Mustangs (8–2) had won the Southwest Conference (SWC) championship (6–1) for the first time since 1948,[6] led by fifth-year head coach Hayden Fry. They won all five games at the Cotton Bowl, their home stadium through 1978.


Main article: 1966 Georgia Bulldogs football team

Fourth-ranked Georgia (9–1) shared the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title (6–0) with #3 Alabama, with a one-point loss to Miami as their only blemish. They completed the regular season with a rivalry win over previously undefeated Georgia Tech.[7] Led by Vince Dooley, in the third of his 25 seasons as head coach, the Bulldogs were a seven-point favorite.[1][2] It was their first appearance in a major bowl in seven years.

Game summary

On the second play from scrimmage, Georgia's Kent Lawrence ran 74 yards for a touchdown. SMU responded with a field goal later in the quarter, but Georgia scored ten more points (highlighted by a Billy Payne touchdown catch from Kirby Moore) to lead 17–3. Mike Richardson of SMU scored a touchdown from a yard out to narrow the lead, but the kick was blocked, and it was 17–9 at halftime.

Those were SMU's last points, as Georgia held the Mustangs in check the rest of the game. The Bulldogs scored once more in the fourth quarter, on a four-yard Ronnie Jenkins touchdown run, to seal the game.[8][9] Ultimately, it was Georgia's rushing attack that won the game for the Bulldogs, who had 244 more rushing yards than the Mustangs, who could only muster forty.[10]


First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter



Statistics   SMU   Georgia
First Downs 11 17
Yards Rushing 40 284
Yards Passing 165 79
Passing (C–A–I) 10–20–3 6–14–1
Total Yards 205 363
Punts–Average 4–36.5 4–28.5
Fumbles–Lost 1–1 2–1
Turnovers 4 2
Penalties–Yards 7–45 3–37


  1. ^ The next day, January 1, 1967, Cotton Bowl stadium hosted the 1966 NFL Championship Game.
  2. ^ Rankings per AP Poll of the 1966 NCAA University Division football rankings.


  1. ^ a b "Tennessee, Georgia bowl picks". Pittsbrgh Press. UPI. December 30, 1966. p. 21.
  2. ^ a b "Georgia hopes Jenkins ready". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. December 31, 1966. p. 6.
  3. ^ "SMUMUSTANGS.COM 1966 COTTON BOWL - GEORGIA 24, SMU 9 - Official Athletic Site Official Athletic Site - Football". Archived from the original on 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  4. ^ "Georgia's rated best". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 31, 1966. p. 9.
  5. ^ "Cotton Bowl To Be Played On Dec. 31". Miami Herald. UPI. January 6, 1966. Retrieved December 31, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "'Big Play' leads SMU into Cotton Bowl". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 27, 1966. p. 5B.
  7. ^ "'Dogs slip Tech first defeat, 23-14". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 27, 1966. p. 4B.
  8. ^ a b c Ratliff, Harold (January 1, 1967). "'Dogs reap Cotton Bowl harvest, 24-9". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. p. 1B.
  9. ^ a b c "Georgia power grinds down SMU, 24-9, in Cotton Bowl". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. January 1, 1967. p. 1, section 4.
  10. ^ "38-49.pmd" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2014-12-28.