This Day in Gator History: Sept. 22

Don’t let the dateline fool you. Once upon a time, Starkville, Miss., was once State College, Miss., when it came to writers filing on Mississippi State football game.

On This Day in Gator History back in 1956, the Gators opened their season on the road with an impressive 26-0 victory over the Bulldogs. The Gators were coming off a 5-5 campaign in 1955 and had high hopes for the 1956 season.

I chose this game because of the play of Joe Brodsky. Reading about a “211-pound speedy fullback” caught my attention and the writeup from the United Press International, though it seems to have a Bulldog slant, depicted the play of the Gators well.

Bob Woodruff was entering his seventh season as the Gators head coach and he was the athletic director as well. The president at the time was J. Wayne Reitz and Florida Field had a capacity of 39,800.

So enjoy this little dispatch from Starkville, er State College:

STATE COLLEGE, Miss. — Joe Brodsky, a speedy 211-pound fullback, intercepted three Mississippi Slate passes and Florida turned them into quick touchdowns as the Gators defeated luckless Mississippi State 26-0 in a Southeastern Conference football opener today.

Mississippi State’s sophomore quarterback Bill Stacy tried only seven passes in the game and three limes Brodsky, a Miami, Fla., senior, intercepted.

Brodsky, who runs like a track star, raced 99 yards for one touchdown, 35 yards for another and 27 yards to set up another Florida score.

Except for passing miscues, Mississippi State dominated the game with a vicious ground assault that accounted for 10 first downs and 147 yards rushing in the first half.

Florida gained only one first down and 47 yards.

Florida’s last score came in the final 10 seconds when fullback Charlie Roberts went over from the three after the Gators had picked up a Mississippi State fumble on the State 24.

Early in the first quarter, Brodsky grabbed Stacy’s first pass on the State 35 and returned It to the 8. Left halfback Jackie Simpson pushed over State’s line to score and Harry Spears kicked tho extra point for a 7-0 Florida lead.

Moments later, Stacy tried another pass. Again Brodsky jumped up and intercepted the ball. He then raced 35 yards for the second touchdown of the quarter. Spears converted lo put Florida ahead 14-0.

Aroused by Florida’s two quick scores, Mississippi Slate came back with a strong ground attack and marched 61 yards to the Florida three.  Stale right halfback Jim Tail crashed over from the three but fumbled in the end zone. Spears recovered for Florida.

Mississippi State took the second half kickoff on its 24 and drove to the Florida 42. On a fourth down pass, Stacy threw to his right end Levaine Hollingshead on the one but Brodsky jumped up and got the pass. The Florida fullback then raced 99 yards for a touchdown. Hardly a State player touched him as he crossed the goal line standing up.

Mississippi State outgained Florida 193 to 93 rushing and made 16 first downs to only four for the Gators.

The 1956 Gators finished with a 6-3-1 record, losing only two SEC games to Blanton Collier’s Kentucky Wildcats and Georgia Tech, which was coached by Bobby Dodd.

The Gators are 8-0-1 in games played on This Date in Gator History. They also have wins over Camp Blanding (1945), The Citadel (1951), Mississippi State (1962), Southern Mississippi (1973), Furman (1990), Kentucky (2001) and Mississippi (2007). The tie was against Georgia Tech in 1979.