Navy isn't big, and it isn't exceptionally fast, but it does have a team spirit that is truly Gung Ho and, of course, it has Joe Bellino. Coach Wayne Hardin's attack, which he whimsically calls the jackpot T, is built around Bellino, who never really had a bad day all season. The squat, shifty All-America halfback, with the peculiar churning gait and the best fake in college football, runs wide, sifts inside the tackles, or barrels through the middle with equal effectiveness. But Missouri can't afford to overload to stop him. If that happens, Quarterbacks Hal Spooner and Harry Dietz will pick the vulnerable Tigers apart with short passes, and Fullback Joe Matalavage will crash up the center. Defensively, the Navy linemen slant, loop and pinch or crash to harass the passer, depending upon able Linebackers John Hewitt and Frank Visted to fill the gaps. However, the Navy line can be penetrated. It gave up 1,394 yards rushing, mostly to major opponents, and that is no sort of record to throw at Missouri's power.
Technically, the Tigers come into the Orange Bowl unbeaten, their only loss (to Kansas) having been forfeited by the Big Eight, which belatedly—and enigmatically—declared the Jayhawks' Bert Coan ineligible. The poised and efficient Tigers pass sparingly, putting the emphasis on trap plays up the center and devastating wide power sweeps. On these, Quarterback Ron Taylor hands off to Halfbacks Mel West, Donnie Smith (who scored 13 touchdowns this year), or Norris Stevenson and then quickly joins a five-man escort to lead the ball carrier outside or inside the end. But the sweeps can be stopped, as Kansas showed by using its cornerbacks to force the runner outside. Look for Navy to employ similar strategy in an effort to frustrate the Tigers' most effective weapon. The Missouri line is quick and aggressive, with All-America End Danny LaRose, a bruising 221-pounder, the most spectacular defender. More consistent defense gives the edge to the Tigers—but only if they can contain Bellino.
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