Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On the Line Saturday: The Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy


This Saturday when Syracuse travels to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers there will be more on the line than just a Big East Victory. Both teams will be competing for the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy, awarded to the winner of the annual SU-WVU game since 1994. West Virginia won the first trophy game 13-0.

Most of you should know that Ben Schwartzwalder coached at Syracuse University from 1949-1973, leading the Orangemen to a 153-91-3 overall record and the 1959 National Championship. He coached the greats. Jim Brown. Ernie Davis. Floyd Little. Larry Csonka. Jim Nance. These aren't just run of the mill players, they are legends. He is the winningest coach in Syracuse Football history.

Before arriving at Syracuse Ben Schwartzwalder was a Captain in the 82nd Airborne during World War II. He was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and four Battle Stars during his tour of duty. After the invasion of Normandy, Schwartzwalder was promoted to Major. This was not a man to be trifled with!

In college Ben Schwartzwalder attended West Virginia University, where he captained the football team in 1933, despite weighing only 146 pounds. He was also an all-campus wrestler during his time at the school.

So naturally, upon his death in 1993, former Syracuse player Jim Ridlon sculpted the 55 pound trophy to be awarded to the winner of the annual match up. Jim Ridlon played at Syracuse from 1954 to 1957 at both halfback and defensive back under Schwartzwalder's command. He would go on to be an art professor at Syracuse University after finishing his NFL career. Fans will remember him as the color commentator for Syracuse games on WSYR between 1961 up until 2000.

The last time Syracuse won the trophy was in 2001, when the Orangemen defeated the Mountaineers 24-13 in the Dome. WVU has won the trophy eight straight years.

Syracuse has the edge on West Virginia, with a 30-27 overall record. The teams have met every single year since 1955. The last time Syracuse beat WVU on the road was in 2000 when the Orangemen edged the Mountaineers 31-27.

This has gone on long enough!! It's time to bring the trophy home where it belongs! IN SYRACUSE!!

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