Cougars win the Tangerine Bowl in 1962

On December 22, 1962, the Houston Cougars beat the Miami (OH) Redskins, 49-21, in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando. Sophomore Joe Lopasky scored 4 TDs (2 runs, punt return, & a catch) and Bobby Brezina added two more.

Despite Lopasky’s great day, UH QB Billy Roland was named the Tangerine Bowl MVP. Miami was 8-1-1 coming into the game and the UH rout was considered a significant upset.

When he was asked if the game was an upset, Bill Yeoman exclaimed, “Heck, yes! We know Miami is a better ball club.”

The game has added significance as it was UH’s first-ever televised game, available to regional audiences in the Southwest and Midwest. The Cougars’ first national broadcast would come in 1965 in the first game in the Astrodome.

UH student watches the Tangerine Bowl – believed to be UH’s first-ever televised game

After going down 7-0 to start the game, the Cougars ran off 35-straight points before halftime. After Lupasky scored to tie it up, Bobby Brezina scored on a short run and then again on a 44-yard pass. After forcing a Miami punt, Lupasky returned the kick 70 yards and the Coogs were rolling.

Lopasky scores

Bill McMillan caught a three-yard pass for the 5th TD of the half and then kicked the PAT. With the touchdown and seven points after, McMillan set a new school record with 13 points in the game.

Lopasky scored both of UH’s touchdowns in the second half.

UH players patiently waited until the postgame awards ceremony ended before picking up Yeoman and his assistant coaches – some kicking and screaming – and dumping them into cold showers with their clothes on.

“Some days it doesn’t pay to win,” a UH supporter said to Yeoman.

“Oh no,” Coach laughed. “This time, it’s worth it. It’s worth every minute of it!”

Before the 1962 game, the Tangerine Bowl had only hosted small college teams. In the three previous years, the bowl hosted Lamar, The Citadel, and Presbyterian. It is now known as the Citrus Bowl.

The Tangerine was UH’s second-ever bowl game and the first time ever that UH fans could watch their team on television. The Coogs finished 7-4 in Bill Yeoman’s first season.

Tangerine Bowl box score


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