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Cal State Los Angeles Football, 1964 National Champions (Part II)
Yesterday's story described Cal State Los Angeles and the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) in 1964. It also covered CSLA's first three games of the 1964 season, during which they won the national championship. We recommend reading Part I before tackling today's story, but you do you.
Yesterday's article ended with CSLA beating top-ranked San Diego State 7-0 before moving to #4 in the UPI College Division poll, setting them up to take on another California State Athletic Association power, Fresno State.
The Southern California press showed it was becoming impressed with CSLA during the week leading into the Fresno State game since multiple feature articles followed their big win over the Aztecs. In particular, NFL prospect guard and middle guard Walter Johnson grabbed attention for his eight solo and 20 assisted tackle performance in San Diego. At the same time, their 6' 0", 185-pound quarterback Dunn Marteen's ball handling and passing accuracy also received notice.
Fresno State (October 24)
Despite Fresno State being one of the top teams in the conference, the press saw CSLA as two-touchdown favorites after their big win at San Diego State. Fresno State's coach was Phil Krueger, who would leave Fresno State in 1966 to join John Robinson's staff at USC. He followed Robinson to Tampa Bay and later became Tampa Bay's general manager.
While that came down the road, Krueger had built a solid team in the valley. They were the only ones to beat CSLA in 1963, so the Diablos entered the game looking for revenge. They got it. After a scoreless first quarter, the Diablos picked up three touchdowns during a 10-minute second-quarter segment, and Fresno State never threatened again. Still, Fresno rushed for 244 yards against the Diablos' forward wall, but they gave up two interceptions, punted poorly, and had 90 yards in penalties. Halfback Ray Jones had 100 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and connected on a long pass to lead his team to a 32-12 win.
In the next week's rankings, CSLA remained #4 in the UPI poll, while San Diego State rose to #5.
Cal Poly - Pomona (10/31)
Although the Diablos celebrated their win over Fresno State, the mood was dimmed by leading rusher Art Robinson's knee injury, suffered on the first play of the second half versus Fresno. He had knee surgery the following Monday, and it was uncertain whether he would return that season.
Next up was Cal Poly - Pomona, which was not a good team. It was a home game for the Diablos, which allowed everyone on the roster to dress, and everyone played as CSLA ran for 426 yards on their way to a 55-6 win. Fullbacks Owen Tansey and Ray Chavez, substituting for Art Robinson, scored three touchdowns apiece, while the defense held Cal Poly to 12 yards on the ground and 200 passing.
Following their fifth win, CSLA climbed to #2 in the rankings but continued trailing Wittenberg.
Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo (SLO) (11/7)
LBJ topped Barry Goldwater in the presidential election on Tuesday of game week, and no one questioned whether Cal Poly SLO entered the game with a 0-7 mark versus CSLA's 5-0 record. With SLO’s starters weighing an average of 25 pounds less than the Diablos, few thought the game would go in the Mustangs' direction, and it didn't.
A close game at the kickoff, and not much longer, the Diablos scored 33 points in the first quarter, after which the CSLA starters came out. Playing their reserves, the Diablos went on to score a school-record 68 points while giving up only 7. CSLA outgained the Mustangs 411 to 31 on the ground, though Poly had a 148-70 advantage in the air.
Wittenberg, which had not lost a game since the 1961 season, moved to 8-0 and retained the top ranking over CSLA, though the Diablos first-place vote count crept up to 8 versus 18 for Wittenberg.
Cal State - Long Beach (11/14)
Next up for the Diablos was 7-1 Long Beach State, which lost to San Diego State earlier in the season and beat Fresno State 21-20 while CSLA was topping Cal Poly SLO. If Long Beach State beat CSLA, the Diablos would be in a three-way tie for the CCAA title with Long Beach State and San Diego State.
With Long Beach just down the road from LA, there was more than the usual buildup in the Southland as the Beach Boys hoped they could overcome the Diablos.
The 49ers quarterback Jerry Otterson led the conference in pass completions and yardage, so like the Diablos' game with San Diego State, the Long Beach State game could have been a high-scoring affair, but it proved to be another defensive struggle, kept close due to the Diablos losing the turnover and penalty battles. The 49ers had multiple scoring chances, even reaching the CSLA 2-yard line following a blocked punt, but they came up empty each time.
CSLA benefitted from the return of the injured Art Robinson, but Ray Jones led the way as CSLA outgained Long Beach 273 to 140 in total yards. The deciding play came early in the fourth quarter when CSLA's Bob Webber intercepted a Long Beach pass. CSLA soon penetrated the red zone before Ray Jones ran inside left tackle, through a large hole, and zigzagged 19 yards into the end zone. The conversion gave the Diablos a 7-0 lead, which they did not give up.
The win ensured the Diablos had at least a share of the conference title with a head-to-head win over San Diego State, the only conference team with one loss.
After the game, Wittenberg, whose season was over, remained at #1, CSLA stayed at #2, and San Diego State moved to #3. The media also noted that CSLA was the top-ranked team for Sacramento’s Camelia Bowl on December 12.
San Fernando Valley State (11/21)
The final conference game came against San Fernando State (now called Cal State Northridge), who won the schools' only matchup in 1962. (The Kennedy assassination led to the cancellation of their 1963 game.) San Fernando won their first four games in 1964 and then lost their next five, including a 53-0 takedown by San Diego State the previous week.
San Fernando's quarterback entered the game leading the league in completions, and he tossed three touchdowns versus CSLA, the first time CSLA gave up three scores in a game in 1964. However, the Diablos outrushed the Matadors 400 to -26 on their way to a 62-20 victory. Unfortunately, tempering the thrill of victory was the knowledge that quarterback Dunn Marteen, who ran for 180 yards and four touchdowns and passed for a fifth, was hurt in the third quarter, while Art Robinson had returned and reinjured his knee.
The victory earned Cal State Los Angeles the undisputed conference title and the nation's top ranking with 15 first-place votes versus 12 for Wittenberg, whose season ended the previous week. Marteen earned the week’s Golden Helmet award.
Slippery Rock (11/28)
The story concludes tomorrow with CSLA’s final season game with Slippery Rock, the Camelia Bowl situation, and the future football careers of the CSLA team members and head coach.
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