Oh, for a return to those halcyon days of Syracuse University football, when the Orange was King of the Hill … when Ger Schwedes captained the ‘Cuse to its only gridiron national championship and threw the most storied pass in SU history.
Born in Germany, Schwedes played scholastically in Flemington, NJ. He was an Orange starting halfback as a sophomore in 1957, led the team in rushing in ’58 when SU was one point shy of an unbeaten regular season before losing in the Orange Bowl to Oklahoma, 21-6.
Ger started the ’59 season opener at quarterback against the John Hadl-led team from Kansas. But young Dave Sarette’s play that day allowed Schwedes to return to his regular halfback spot. SU would score 39 points a game in winning all 10 regular-season games, capped by a romp in the West over UCLA, with Ger scoring two of his then SU-record 16 touchdowns.
Since ’59, only Floyd Little and Walter Reyes have scored more touchdowns in a season for the Orange. His 100 points scored ranks fifth all-time.
In the Cotton Bowl, Ger passed his way into the archives on the game’s third play. Taking a pitch from Sarette, and protected by fullback Art Baker’s block, he hurled a strike to Ernie Davis, who took it away from Texas’ Bobby Lackey … an 87-yard scoring play. Schwedes also scored his team’s final TD in a 23-14 crowning achievement.
Ger received All-America recognition, most notably by UPI, was Coach and Athlete Magazine’s East player of the year and New Jersey’s amateur athlete of the year. More impressive was Schwedes’ selection as an Academic All-American, as well as a National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete. Also, he received SU’s Joe Alexander Award for football/scholarship/citizenship.
Ninth in voting for the Heisman Trophy, Schwedes played in the Senior Bowl, was the first pick of the AFL’s Boston Patriots and a fourth-rounder by the NFL’s Baltimore Colts.
He rose to the rank of Captain during his Army stint. An SU Letterwinner of Distinction (’84), Ger is President/CEO of EFY Enterprises, Incentive Company. Ger’s son, Scott, was a fine receiver at Syracuse University and played four years in the NFL.
Now we welcome Ger Schwedes into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.