‘Roger the Dodger’ couldn’t evade Pokes in 1968 game in Cowboy Stadium

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LAKE CHARLES – McNeese’s Cowboy Stadium has hosted its fair share of prominent football players since opening its gates for the first time in 1965, players like Terry Bradshaw, Kurt Warner, Daunte Culpepper, Chad Pennington and Mike Tomlin, and not to mention all the superstars that played for McNeese.

But only once has player that has won college football’s highest honor – the Heisman Trophy – stepped foot in ‘The Hole.’ That being Roger Staubach in the 1968 season when he quarterbacked the Pensacola Navy Goshawks with his shotgun formation style.

The result was the worst beating the NFL Hall of Famer received in his playing career at any level, something he admitted as recent as two years ago in an interview he conducted, as the Cowboys plastered the previously unbeaten Naval Base team 54-13 on Oct. 27, 1968.

“It was like a nightmare,” said Staubach about the manhandling by the Cowboy squad. “It was the worst I’d been beaten in my football career.”

“We played against him in 1967 and in ’68,” said Bob Fuhrer who played on both the offensive and defensive line for the Pokes throughout his McNeese Hall of Fame career. “The ’67 game was played in Pensacola and they beat us (14-7 in what was Staubach’s first season with the Goshawks). I felt like I ran for miles chasing him around the field.”

Staubach attended the Naval Academy from 1962-64 and won the 1963 Heisman Trophy along with the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Memorial Trophy while leading the Midshipmen to a 9-1 regular season record and a final ranking of No. 2 in the nation. Navy lost the national championship to Texas in that season’s Cotton Bowl.

Despite having a five-year obligation to the U.S. Naval Academy, the Dallas Cowboys still took a risk and drafted Staubach in the 10th round of the 1964 NFL Draft as well as the 16th round by the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFL Draft.

Following a year tour of duty in Vietnam, Staubach returned to the states and was stationed at the Naval Air Station Pensacola. The NAS Pensacola had one of the last military installation tackle football teams and played a regular schedule against mid-major teams like McNeese.

The Goshawk team was mostly made up of players who played college football prior to joining the military, players from schools such as Oklahoma, Virginia, UCLA, Illinois, Iowa and Clemson, to name a few.

After the 1967 season, Staubach attended the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie training camp and returned to Pensacola for the 1968 season with the Cowboys’ playbook.

That ’68 squad was an impressive one for the Goshawks as they rolled up a 6-0 record with wins over teams like Troy, Middle Tennessee, Youngstown State, Southeastern Louisiana and ULL (USL at the time).

But then the visit to Cowboy Stadium happened and the perfect season for Staubach and the military squad hit a brick wall, and the fact that a Heisman Trophy winner playing in the contest helped fuel the excitement.

“With Staubach coming to Lake Charles for the game, it did draw a good bit of publicity during the week,” said longtime McNeese Sports Information Director Louis Bonnette. “He was probably the biggest name that ever had come into the stadium to play although there have been many others.”

The Cowboys’ defense struck first with a first quarter safety when Staubach fumbled the ball in the endzone.

“I don’t know if I was credited with the sack, but I got that sack on Staubach,” said Furher.

Another score put the Cowboys up 9-0 before Staubach found the endzone on a short pass to make it a 9-7 first quarter lead. The rest was all McNeese as the Cowboys scored 45 unanswered points while on defense, held the Goshawks and the Staubach offense to minus-37 yards rushing and 183 passing.

“That was probably the best win of my career,” said Fuhrer. “That game and then beating Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech).”

And for the record, Fuhrer was credited with a sack on Staubach.

Cowboy Stadium truly is a ‘Field of Dreams’ that has witnessed some of the greatest football players in the history of the game.

Prominent Visiting Football Players to have Played in Cowboy Stadium

Player (School, Year(s) played in Cowboy Stadium)
Roger Staubach, QB (Pensacola Navy, 1968)
• 1963 Heisman Trophy
• NFL Hall of Fame
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (VI, XII)
• Super Bowl MVP (VI)
• 6x Pro Bowl
• All-Pro
• NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
• NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team
• Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor

Terry Bradshaw, QB (Louisiana Tech, 1968)
• NFL Hall of Fame
• 4x Super Bowl Champion (IX, X, XIII, XIV)
• 2x Super Bowl MVP (XIII, XIV)
• NFL Most Valuable Player (1978)
• 3x Pro Bowl
• 2x All-Pro
• NFL 1970s All-Decade Team
• Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team
• 14-year NFL Career

Kurt Warner, QB (Northern Iowa, 1992, 1993)
• NFL Hall of Fame
• Super Bowl Champion (XXXIV)
• Super Bowl MVP (XXXIV)
• 2x NFL MVP (1999, 2001)
• 4x Pro Bowl
• 2x All-Pro
• 13-year NFL Career

Jackie Smith, TE (Northwestern State, 1960)
• NFL Hall of Fame
• 16-year NFL Career
• 5x Pro Bowl
• 4x All-Pro

Fred Dean, DL (Louisiana Tech, 1973)
• NFL Hall of Fame
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (XVI, XIX)
• 4x Pro Bowl
• 2x All-Pro
• NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1981)
• San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
• Sand Diego Chargers Hall of Fame
• 11-year NFL Career

Doug Pederson, QB (ULM, 1988, 1990)
• Current Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach
• 14-year NFL Career as a player
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (XXXI as a Player; LII as a Head Coach)

Mike Tomlin, WR (William & Mary, 1993)
• Current Pittsburg Steelers Head Coach
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (XXXVII as Assistant; XLII as Head Coach)
• 2008 NFL Coach of the Year

Daunte Culpepper, QB (Central Florida, 1995)
• NFL 1st Round Pick
• 11-year NFL Career
• 3x Pro Bowl
• 2x All-Pro

Gary Reasons, LB (Northwestern State, 1983)
• College FB Hall of Fame
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (XXI and XXV)
• 9-year NFL Career

Chad Pennington, QB (Marshall, 1995)
• NFL 1st Round Pick
• 1999 Heisman Trophy Finalist
• 11-year NFL Career
• 2x NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Stan Humphries, QB (ULM, 1986)
• Super Bowl Champion (XXVI)
• San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame
• 10-year NFL Career

Malcolm Butler, DB (West Alabama, 2013)
• 2x Super Bowl Champion (XLIX, LI)
• 2015 Pro Bowl
• 2016 All-Pro
• New England Patriots 2010s All-Decade Team

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