75 years ago, Cardinals made national headlines

WASHINGTON – When the calendar turned to January 1, 2011 it marked not just the beginning of another year, it was the 75th anniversary of one of CUA's most treasured athletic moments.  On January 1, 1936 the Cardinals football team defeated the University of Mississippi 20-19 in Florida in just the second Orange Bowl ever played.

The 1936 game between the Cardinals and Rebels was the first Orange Bowl to be broadcast on radio and also the first to be preceded by a parade in tribute to Florida's citrus industry.

Consisting of 30 floats that cost approximately $40,000, the inaugural King Orange Jamboree was born with Babs Beckwith chosen as the first Orange Bowl queen.

Following the pregame festivities, CUA struck first on a one-yard pass from quarterback Pete Dranginis to Bill Adamaitis.  The Cardinals extended their lead to 13-0 when Adamaitis hit Stuart Foley on a 52-yard scoring strike – this made Adamaitis the first player in history to catch and throw a TD pass in the same Orange Bowl.

After Mississippi's Ned Peters scored on a 67-yard scamper, the Cardinals took a 13-6 advantage into halftime.

The CUA special teams scored the Cardinals' final touchdown of the contest when the entire right side of the line surged in and blocked a third quarter punt attempt by Dave Bernard.  Backup end Ferdie Rydzewski picked up the ball and ran 20 yards to paydirt to increase CUA's lead to 20-6.

The Cardinals withstood a late 13-point rally by the Rebels to give head coach A.J. Bergman and CUA an exciting one-point victory.  "I said (we had) a great ball club before we left home," Bergman told the Washington Post, "and I think the boys proved it out there on the field this afternoon.  I'm darned proud of every last one of them."

About 3,000 fans jammed Washington's Union Station to greet the Orange Bowl champions upon their return.  Their victory parade went down Pennsylvania Avenue, where as The Post reported, "President Roosevelt, on his way to church, became an unwitting parader, when the march de triumph jammed traffic in front of the White House."

In the 2011 edition of the Orange Bowl, Stanford took down Virginia Tech by a score of 40-12 on January 3 inside Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla.

Original story written by Chris McManes

Information used from American Catholic History Research Center and Catholic University Archives