Tag Archives: The History Corner

The History Corner: Duke-Stanford, 1971

As Duke prepares to play Stanford at 3:30pm Saturday, Lewis Bowling enters the TRB fray with a piece on the last time these teams met, in 1971. In addition to being a published author and a Duke historian, Bowling writes for GoDuke.com and the Herald-Sun, and teaches a sports history class at Duke.

Duke had a new coach in 34 year old Mike McGee. Tom Harp’s last year as coach of Duke was 1970, so 1971 under Coach McGee had a lot of question marks. Great players in Leo Hart, Wes Chesson, and Dick Biddle had played their last games in 1970. The team lacked depth, according to Coach McGee, and faced a tough schedule.

But after impressive wins over Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia to start the season 3 and 0, Duke climbed to the 19th ranked position in the nation in the AP poll.

But now their task was their biggest of the season, taking on the defending Rose Bowl champion Stanford, who came into the Duke game ranked number ten in the country. Like Duke in losing their great quarterback from 1970, Leo Hart, John Ralston’s Stanford club had just graduated the 1970 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in Jim Plunkett. But Stanford had an outstanding replacement for Plunkett in Don Bunce, who had a plethora of skilled, agile, and fast receivers to throw to.

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