The Earthquake and the Giant Killers

 

If you are a professional wrestler, or a football player, the nickname Earthquake can be a pretty good one to carry around.

I would guess that the name Earthquake could bring with it a little fear and intimidation.

Bill Enyart was a six foot four inch, two hundred and thirty five pound football player for Oregon State from 1966 until 1968.

Enyart grew up in Medford, Oregon and signed with the Oregon State Beavers in 1965. Back in those days, freshmen weren’t allowed to play on the varsity in football so Enyart played both Fullback and Linebacker on the freshman team.

 

Oregon State has never been a football powerhouse, but the 1960’s were a good time for them. Tommy Prothro came along in 1955 and took over a program that was 1-8 the previous season. In his first season at Oregon State in Corvallis, Oregon, Prothro improved the team to 6-3. In his second season coaching at Oregon State, Prothro took the Beavers to the Rose Bowl, which was one of three times the Beavers have made it to the Rose Bowl in their history.

Of course, the powers that be would notice Tommy Prothro and what he had done in Corvallis and the UCLA Bruins came and hired Prothro to take over their program in 1965. Prothro went on to lead UCLA to a Rose Bowl and after six seasons, left the Bruins to take an NFL job.

In place of Prothro, the Oregon State Beavers hired Dee Andros from the Idaho Vandals.

Andros mostly kept what Prothro started going, although Tommy Prothro took the Beavers to two out of three of their total Rose Bowl games.

Dee Andros came to Corvallis to coach the Beavers in 1965 and Bill Enyart was a member of Andros’ very first recruiting class.

 

Bill Enyart started at Linebacker as a sophomore for the Beavers in 1966 and helped them win 7 games against only 3 losses.

1967 is the year that made Enyart and Oregon State famous. Against head coach Dee Andros wishes, Enyart moved to Fullback in 1967 because his heroes had been Jim Brown and Jim Taylor. It had been his dream to play Fullback and he came to Oregon State to play that position.

Lying in wait on the Oregon State schedule in 1967 were the 2nd ranked Purdue Boilermakers at the time before being disposed by the Beavers in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Boilermakers had Heisman candidates Running Back Leroy Keyes and Quarterback Mike Phipps.

Then, two weeks later, the Beavers would tie the mighty UCLA Bruins and their coach, Tommy Prothro, in Los Angeles. UCLA had Heisman Trophy winning Quarterback Gary Beban.

A week later, the Beavers would play and beat the top ranked USC Trojans and their outstanding and now infamous Running Back, the great OJ Simpson. Simpson would finish 2nd in the 1967 Heisman race and win it in 1968 before going on to NFL glory with the Buffalo Bills. The Oregon State Beavers would shut down the Trojans, winning 3-0 with a ball control offense led by Earthquake Bill Enyart.

The 1967 version of the Oregon State Beavers became known as the ‘Giant Killers’.

The Giant Killers would be ranked #7 in the final polls, which would be the highest ranking for the Oregon State Beavers until the year 2000 when they would finish #4.

Beaver star player Fullback Bill ‘Earthquake’ Enyart rushed for 851 yards and 8 Touchdowns. Their other star was Quarterback Steve Preece from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Football players didn’t put up numbers back then like they do today.

Preece was an option type Quarterback that would throw for less in his entire career than a modern Quarterback will throw in just a few games. But, he finished 1967 with 376 yards rushing and 737 yards passing.

This is a condensed version of the Earthquake and the Giant Killers which will be in my book. If this was interesting or helpful in any way, please keep checking back with this blog for more similar tales.

4 thoughts on “The Earthquake and the Giant Killers

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