If you were a USC fan old enough to follow the Trojans in the 1950’s, you remember kicker Sam Tsagalakis, who died Jan. 2 at age 88.
He was nicked “Sad Sam” because he rarely smiled but he was the hero of USC’s victory over Stanford in 1953.
With 13 seconds left, Tsagalakis kicked a 38-yard-field goal to give the No. 17-ranked Trojans a 23-20 victory over No. 11-ranked Stanford. It was just the second game-winning field goal in USC history.
USC coach Jess Hill said Tsagalakis was crying at halftime because he missed an extra point in the first half that accounted for the tie score (20-20) late in the game.
USC trailed 20-13, but QB George Bozanic threw a 26-yard TD pass to wide receiver Tom Nickoloff that tied the score.
Stanford recovered a fumble in USC territory with two minutes left and might have won but Ron Miller intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Stanford 20, which set up the field goal.
About a week after kicking the game-winning field goal against Stanford in 1953, USC kicker Sam Tsagalakis was such a big star he got taken to Paramount Studios to meet King Paul of Greece.
- On a side note, two weeks earlier, after USC beat Cal, Miller went on a blind date with fellow USC student, Diane Disney, the daughter of Walt Disney.
They were married in 1954 and Miller became CEO of the Walt Disney Co. from 1980-84.