Question: Who was the only college football player to play for both Woody Hayes and Bear Bryant?
That question may never come up on the Jeopardy game show, but if it does you will know the answer if you read this blog.
Dave Brungard grew up in Youngstown, Ohio and was an Ohio State legacy. His father was a Buckeye and played football for them way back in the 1930s.
Brungard was recruited by most everybody, but decided to stay in state and play for Woody Hayes
and the Buckeyes.
Brungard signed with the Buckeyes in 1966 and these were not good times for Buckeye fans. 1966 was a rare losing season in Columbus, finishing 4-5, and the natives were growing restless. They wanted Woody Hayes gone.
Of course, Brungard had to play on the freshman team that year because freshmen could not play on the varsity until 1972.
The Buckeyes improved to 6-3 in 1967, but finished behind Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota in the Big 10 standings. Buckeye fans were still not happy. Airplanes were flying over the stadium pulling banners saying ‘fire Woody’ or ‘Bye Woody’.
Brungard was the second leading rusher for the Buckeyes in 1967 behind Jim Otis, when he ran for 515 yards.
Supposedly, the freshman team in 1967 beat the varsity in scrimmages.
The 1968 Ohio State Buckeyes were one of the great teams of it’s era. They went 9-0 during the season beating #1 ranked Purdue and then rival Michigan, 50-14.
They faced top ranked USC and it’s Heisman winner, OJ Simpson, in the Rose Bowl and they won, 27-16. They were crowned national champions and the team was composed of a lot of young talent who would become known as the Super Sophomores.
Jim Otis led the Buckeyes in rushing again. Super Quarterback Rex Kern was second on the team in rushing. Brungard was still a contributor, but sophomores Leo Hayden and John Brockington were moving ahead of him in the lineup. It was time for a change of scenery for Brungard.
He transferred to Alabama where the legendary Bear Bryant was coaching and by rule a guy has to sit out a year if he transfers.
In 1970, Dave Brungard was now a member of the Crimson Tide football team.
This was not one of the Bear’s best football teams, by far. In their opening game, they faced USC in Birmingham in a game of mythic proportions. USC trounced the Tide, 42-21, and this is the game that supposedly allowed Bear Bryant to start recruiting black football players.
USC’s Sam Cunningham, who happened to be black, ran all over the Crimson Tide and the alumni saw that Alabama needed black players to compete with the national teams.
It’s a great story, and several books are written about it, but it’s mostly myths and legends. Alabama already had a black player on their freshman team in 1970.
Brungard was Alabama’s second leading rusher in 1970 behind the great Johnny Musso.
If you ever get to participate in Jeopardy and this question does come up, you should be prepared with the correct answer. You should also at least consider sharing some of your earnings with me.