The 1964 Liberty Bowl was the first major college football bowl game ever played indoors, the first indoor American football game broadcast nationwide in the United States and the only one ever played in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[1][2][3] It was played indoors at a temperature of 60 °F (16 °C) on December 19 before 6,059 at the Atlantic City Convention Hall (now known as Boardwalk Hall) which had already hosted events that year including the Boardwalk Bowl, Miss America Pageant, the 1964 Democratic National Convention that nominated Lyndon B. Johnson for President and one of The Beatles' largest concerts in their first American tour.

1964 Liberty Bowl
1234 Total
Utah 31667 32
West Virginia 0060 6
DateDecember 19, 1964
StadiumAtlantic City Convention Hall
LocationAtlantic City, New Jersey
Liberty Bowl
 < 1963  1965

The venue had been shifted to Atlantic City after the bowl was played for its initial five years outdoors in Philadelphia Municipal Stadium, (later John F. Kennedy Stadium), often in temperatures below freezing. The inaugural Liberty Bowl in 1959 saw Penn State beat Alabama by a score of 7–0 in front of 38,000 fans. But it was downhill from there, and fewer than 10,000 were in attendance to watch the 1963 game between Mississippi State University and North Carolina State, with the organizers taking a loss of $40,000. The frigid temperatures at year's end in the Northeast led to the game being called the "Deep Freeze Bowl". Bud Dudley, organizer of the Liberty Bowl, was ready for a change and he was receptive to an offer from a group of Atlantic City businessmen who were trying to help revive the then-fading Jersey Shore resort that included a $25,000 guarantee.[4]

The 1964 playing of the Liberty Bowl was the first major bowl game ever played indoors.[5] Artificial turf was not in use yet, and the playing surface was a 4-inch-thick (10 cm) grass surface with two inches of burlap underneath it on top of concrete. Artificial lights were installed and kept running all day long to keep the grass growing. The organizers spent $16,000 on all of the field preparations for the game.[4] To squeeze the game onto the floor of the convention hall, the end zones at each side of the field were shortened to eight yards in depth from the regulation ten.[6]

In the 1964 postseason, the Liberty Bowl was one of just eight major bowl games.[7] The American Broadcasting Company agreed to broadcast the game nationally, and brought Paul Christman, Curt Gowdy and Jim McKay to announce the game, paying $95,000 for the rights to broadcast the first nationwide telecast of an indoor football game.[8]

The Utah Utes (8–2) faced the West Virginia Mountaineers (7–3). West Virginia's regular season record included a 28–27 upset over the Sugar Bowl-bound Syracuse Orangemen in their final regular game of the season. West Virginia featured running back Dick Leftridge and Utah's offense featured All-American Roy Jefferson.[4] Utah used their speed, and dominated West Virginia from start to finish and won 32–6.[9] Utah Halfback Ron Coleman gained 154 yards on 15 carries, scoring a touchdown on a 53-yard run.[5] Utah quarterback (and safety) Pokey Allen was named the game's outstanding player.[10][11]

This was the last edition of the Liberty Bowl played in the Northeast; it moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1965, where it has remained.

Scoring summaryEdit

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Utah WVU
1 50 Utah 29-yard field goal by Roy Jefferson 3 0
2 45 Utah Pokey Allen 11-yard touchdown run, Roy Jefferson kick good 10 0
2 Utah 32-yard field goal by Roy Jefferson 13 0
2 68 Utah Ron Coleman 53-yard touchdown run, 2-point pass failed 19 0
3 80 Utah Andy Ireland 47-yard touchdown run, 2-point run failed 25 0
3 0:10 67 WVU Milt Clegg 15-yard touchdown reception from Allen McCune, 2-point pass failed 25 6
4 Utah Bill Morley 33-yard touchdown reception from Dick Groth, Jerry Pullman kick good 32 6
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 32 6



  1. ^ Miller, Hack (December 19, 1964). "Indoor bowl game: novel". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. p. A5.
  2. ^ Nissenson, Herschel (December 20, 1964). "Utah rolls, 32-6". Ocala Star-Banner. Florida. Associated Press. p. 26.
  3. ^ Green, Russ (December 20, 1964). "Utah bombs West Virginia in Liberty Bowl". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. UPI. p. 61.
  4. ^ a b c Antonik, John. "Unique Game" Archived 2011-05-26 at the Wayback Machine, MSN Sports, June 22, 2005. Accessed September 4, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Staff. "Who Won", Time (magazine), December 25, 1964. Accessed September 4, 2008. "At the Atlantic City Convention Hall, site of last August's Democratic National Convention, Utah trounced West Virginia 32–6 in the Liberty Bowl—first indoor bowl game ever. The temperature was a pleasantly cool 60°, and Utah Halfback Ron Coleman was red-hot: he gained 154 yds. on 15 carries, including a 53-yd. touchdown burst."
  6. ^ Morris, Ron. "A year indoors enriches Liberty's tradition.", The State (newspaper), December 27, 2006. Accessed September 4, 2008.
  7. ^ Kragthorpe, Kurt. "Liberty has come a long way since '64", The Salt Lake Tribune, December 21, 2003. Accessed September 4, 2008. "This was 1964, when only four college football bowl games were staged — outside of the four traditional New Year's Day games."
  8. ^ Adams, Val. "A TV 'FIRST' DUE: INDOOR FOOTBALL; Liberty Bowl Game Moved to Hall in Atlantic City", The New York Times, March 21, 1964. Accessed September 4, 2008.
  9. ^ White Jr., Gordon S. "UTAH TEAM BEATS W. VIRGINIA, 32-6", The New York Times, December 20, 1964. Accessed September 4, 2008.
  10. ^ "Captain Pokey Allen named most valuable". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. December 20, 1964. p. 11.
  11. ^ Miller, Hack (December 19, 1964). "Utes scalp W.Va., 32-6 in Liberty Bowl". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. p. 1A.
  12. ^ UPI (December 20, 1964). "Utes Crush West Virginia, 32-6". The Lincoln Star. Lincoln, Nebraska. Retrieved February 24, 2017 – via
  13. ^ Nissenson, Hershel (December 20, 1964). "Utah Romps To 32-6 Win Over W. Va". Arizona Daily Star. Tucson, Arizona. AP. Retrieved February 24, 2017 – via
  14. ^ UPI (December 13, 1964). "TV Rosters". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. Retrieved February 24, 2017 – via

Further readingEdit