The Allstate Sugar Bowl Believes in Champions – Archie Manning
Photo Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics
The 1969 season produced many great memories for Archie Manning. Then a junior at Ole Miss, Manning quarterbacked the Rebels to impressive victories over Georgia, LSU and Tennessee as well as earning him legendary status with his performance in a 33-32 loss to Alabama when he passed for 436 yards and had 540 net yards and five touchdowns.
But Manning said perhaps the most memorable game of that season for him was the Sugar Bowl matchup with Arkansas. The Rebels knocked off the third-ranked Razorbacks, 27-22, in that game on Jan. 1, 1970. Manning won the Miller-Digby Award that day, signifying the game’s top player. He threw for 273 yards and a touchdown and ran for 39 with a touchdown.
What made this win so special, said Manning, was that Arkansas was arguably the best team Ole Miss faced that year. He thinks they may have been college football’s best team.
“I thought they were the best team we played that year,” Manning said. “When we started watching film of Arkansas in preparation, I said ‘This team lost?’ I just didn’t know if we got a good draw or not. I was really impressed with the talent they had. They easily could have been a national championship team that year.”
The Hogs missed playing for what probably would have been the national championship by a single point. Arkansas and Texas, then together in the Southwest Conference, met on Dec. 6 that season with Texas as the top-ranked team and Arkansas ranked second. It was dubbed the Game of the Century and even President Richard Nixon attended the contest, staged in Fayetteville, Ark.
Texas won 15-14 thanks, in large part, to a long pass to the Hogs 13 late in the game to set up the winning score. That sent Texas to the Cotton Bowl to face Notre Dame. The Longhorns won and were declared national champs.
“They (Arkansas) had really good players on defense,” Manning said. “Cliff Powell, the middle linebacker, was outstanding. Two players on that team are close friends of mine today, Bill Montgomery, the quarterback, and Chuck Dicus, who was All-American wide receiver.”
The Rebels jumped to a 24-6 lead in the second quarter as Manning ran for one touchdown and threw for another.
“We were fortunate in that we jumped on them early,” Manning said. “We had some things happen and they struggled with their kicking game a little bit. We had some injuries during the game and we had to hold on at the end. I was very proud to beat that team.”
Manning said the game remains among his most cherished memories of his football career. He went on to be drafted by the New Orleans Saints, has lived in New Orleans for 46 years and has been a member of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Committee for more than 30 years.
“The 1970 Arkansas-Ole Miss Sugar Bowl is an example of a game that has helped make our contest one of the nation’s top collegiate sporting events,” said Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan. “We’ve crowned many national championship teams in our history. However, even in the years where we haven’t, the game has produced lasting memories for college football fans and those who took part in the game. Our Committee has worked diligently through the years to make sure the Sugar Bowl has remained an elite event.”
Manning enjoyed a stellar NFL career and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989. From its earliest years, the Sugar Bowl Committee has been honored to provide opportunities for young athletes from around the country, athletes like Archie Manning. That’s because at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, We Believe in Champions.
– Story by Trey Iles
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Believes in Champions
Champions have long defined the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The list of Hall of Fame athletes who have competed in the annual contest is staggering. But the list of champions extends well past the football game. Since its inception in 1934, the Allstate Sugar Bowl has given opportunities to young athletes in many amateur sporting events.
In late 2016, the Allstate Sugar Bowl published stories on five athletes who competed in Sugar Bowl events and then went on to excellence after their New Orleans’ experiences.
Feature No. 1: Derek Wolfe, Football
Feature No. 2: Bob Cousy, Basketball
Feature No. 3: Patrick Mullins, Soccer
Feature No. 4: Jemima Jelaget Sumgong, Road Racing
Feature No. 5: Janice Davis, Track & Field
This was followed by four additional stories in the fall of 2017.
Feature No. 6: Hal Sutton, Golf
Feature No. 7: Barbara Farris, Basketball
Feature No. 8: Julio Jones, Football/Track & Field
Feature No. 9: Archie Manning, Football
The spring of 2019 brought another segment of featured “Champions”:
Feature No. 10: Shaquille O’Neal, Basketball
Feature No. 11: Aleia Hobbs, Track & Field
Feature No. 12: Sean Tuohy, Basketball
Feature No. 13: Davey O’Brien, Football
Feature No. 14: Haley Moore, Golf