Undefeated Football Team
The University of Toledo
Watch This Summary Video Of The Undefeated Rockets (1969-1971)
The Undefeated Rockets record is the 5th longest in NCAA football history…but the longest in modern NCAA history. Twenty-years ago Miami came close but couldn’t break the Undefeated Rockets record.
1. Oklahoma (1953-57) 47
2. Washington (1908-14) 40
3. Yale (1887-89) 37
4. Yale 1890-93) 37
5. Toledo (1969-71) 35
6. Miami (FL) (2000-2003) 34
7. Penn (1894-96) 34
The defense was agile, mobile, and hostile. It was led by Gary Hinkson, Tom Duncan. John Niezgoda, Curtis Johnson, Jim Rance, Jim Tyle, Bob Rose, Steve Schnitkey, and All-American Mel Long who had returned from Vietnam to join The Rockets. Mel was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
The offense had weapons on the ground and in the air including Tony Harris, Dick Seymour, Don Fair, Charles Cole, Joe Schwartz, Glyn Smith, George Kiem, Jeff Calabrese. The lineman protected Chuck on passing downs and led him down the field when he ran. Tight End and now Chairman of the Board of Trustees for The University of Toledo Al Baker is still leading by example.
The special teams helped keep the win streak alive with last minute field goals by Ken Krots who saved the Bowling Green win with no time on the clock. Kick-offs by Jeff Siek buried opponents deep on their end of the field.
The coaches – – Frank Laterbur, Jack Murphy, Ducky Lewis, Charlie Snyder, Dave Hardy, Sil Cornachione, Dan Simerall, Jim Flynn, John Nemec, Don Wiper, and Roger Merb and many others created a winning environment and displayed courage during a difficult time in American history.
Meet The 1971 Undefeated Rockets (35-0)
Undefeated Rockets In The College Football Hall of Fame
Mel Long entered the University of Toledo as a Vietnam War veteran, a Marine with combat decorations. He left with a reputation as the greatest lineman in the history of the Mid-American Conference. He stood 6-1, weighed 230, and played defensive tackle.
Toledo led the nation in defensive statistics all three years. Toledo won the conference all three years. The 1969 team went 11-0 and beat Davidson 56-35 in the Tangerine Bowl. In 1970, the record was 12-0 with a victory over William and Mary 40-22 in the Tangerine Bowl. And in 1971, it was 12-0 (giving Toledo a 35-0 record for 3 years) and victory over Richmond (28-3) in the Tangerine Bowl.
Long made All-America in 1970 and 1971, a consensus choice the last year. He played two years for Frank Lauterbur and one for John Murphy. Then came four years with the Cleveland Browns, followed by a career as foreman in an oil refinery. Long came to Toledo after serving in the Marines. While in Vietnam, he won numerous combat decorations.