NOVEMBER 16 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - A Liz Blackbourn coached Packer team has never been drubbed, losing four league games by only 19 points. When the Chicago Bears defeated the Packers, 28-23, at Wrigley Field it represented the most points scored
against Green Bay this season. The Packer defense,
one of the best in the league, has been the primary
reason for the Bays' most respectful record in a decade.
But Sunday at Green Bay, this outstanding achievement
gets tested by the very best. Detroit's roaring Lions,
making a runaway of the Western Division race, invade
City Stadium, averaging almost 34 points a game while
holding opposition to 14. Rough customers indeed -
the Packers haven't defeated Detroit since a 16-14
decision in 1949. And outside of the 14-7 loss at Green
Bay last season it's been brutal the past few season.
The San Francisco 49ers were figured as the biggest
threat to the champion Lions' throne. But can you call a
48-7 slaughter a threat? Ingredients in that rout were
Bobby Layne's passing, Doak Walker's kicking and a
great team contribution. The 49ers, incidentally,
defeated the Lions, 37-31, at San Francisco. But any
resemblance to the two games was bewildering. It was
the worst defeat in 49ers history - just think, trailing by
41 points before being able to score! Blackbourn's club
hasn't been routed and it isn't figuring on being drubbed.
Good, sound fundamental football has been the key to
the Packers' success. The Detroit game is the supreme
test. The only disturbing thing about the whole setup is
that the Packers will be in the same dilemma four days
later, playing a Thanksgiving Day battle at Briggs
Stadium in Detroit.
NOVEMBER 16 (Milwaukee Journal) - The way the
champion Detroit Lions handled the San Francisco
49ers Sunday may work to the Packers' advantage and
then again it may not. In any case, Lisle Blackbourn's
Green Bay boys still are face with the most unenviable
assignment imaginable. They must meet professional
football's finest twice in five days, at Green Bay Sunday
and at Detroit Thanksgiving morning. Buddy Parker's
Lions certainly should be due for a letdown after their
effort in the 48-7 romp over the only team to beat them
this season. Then, too, they may have a tendency to
coast a bit, because they boast what amounts to a two
and one-half game lead with only five games to play.
The ease with which they won, though, may not have
helped Green Bay at all. Had the crippled 49ers given
the Lions a close, tough game as expected, rather than
little more than a light workout, the Packers' chances
would have been enhanced...Bobby Dillon, who has
intercepted four passes in the Packers' last three
games, lost an eye in a childhood accident, but that did
not stop him from becoming an All-American at Texas
or one of the best defensive backs in the NFL...Tobin
Rote used the "post play" effectively to score three
touchdowns on one yard sneaks against Baltimore
Saturday. The Packer line had to open the hole only
one way on each occasion as Rote slid off the goal
post's block from the other side...If the Packers could
keep the middle quarters and throw out the first and
final periods, they undoubtedly would be doing much
better than .500 on four victories against four defeats.
Scoring by periods in the first eight games follows:
OPPONENTS 37 31  6 58 - 132
PACKERS   17 47 60 42 - 166
The Packers have led only once after the first 15 minutes, 10-0 against Philadelphia. In that game, their defense was responsible, for all 10 points were scored before they got their first down. In the other seven games, at the end of the first quarter, the Packers trailed four times, held Pittsburgh even, 7-7, and were involved in scoreless ties with Los Angeles and the Bears (first game). The amazing 60-6 edge they hold in the third period might indicate that half time adjustments have paid off handsomely. The Packers have scored in the third quarter of each game, have outscored every opponent in that period and have held the other side to two field goals, one each by Los Angeles and Baltimore (first meeting). The final quarter showings have led to all four Packer defeats, for Green Bay has led going into the final minutes of every game. The Packers, however, have shown great improvement in their finishing touch in winning four of their last five games. They did not score at all in the last quarter of the first three games. Since then, they have finished up with a 42-28 edge.
NOVEMBER 17 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Winner and still champions - professional football fans were accepting this fact after Detroit's rampaging Lions demonstrated they liked being world champions, routing the runnerup San Francisco 49ers, 48-7. With a two-game cushion over the 49ers, it is possible for the Lions to lose two of their remaining five games and still win the Western Division title. Green Bay's ever-improving Packers get two whacks to sidetrack Detroit's title-clinching express. The first is at City Stadium Sunday. Four days later it's a Thanksgiving Day clash at Briggs Stadium. When the Packers were defeated by the Chicago Bears, 10-3, in the muck at Green Bay early in October, it represented the biggest point spread by an opponent. Incidentally, six points meant the Lions' only defeat, a 37-31 setback from the then powerful 49ers. You might even say, defensively, there can be a comparison between the Packers and Lions. But when Detroit averages 34 points a game and Green Bay only 21, you start counting the horses. The Packers sent a contingent of four scouts to map the Lions' devastating attack. It probably sent Coach Liz Blackbourn and his aides in a dither, wondering how to stop such a football machine. Here's how a champion plays: Detroit's defensive unit played alert, rugged football - it intercepted three passes, recovered three of four fumbles and held the 49er running attack to a measly 18 yards. Meanwhile, the Lions scored the first four times they had the ball. "There have been games where our defense might have been greater," jubilant coach Buddy Parker said, "and we have had a better offensive day. But never in my four years as head coach have those departments been better at the same time." This is what makes a champion. This is the Packers opponent Sunday. May the BEST team win?
NOVEMBER 17 (Green Bay) - There was talk of a new city stadium here Wednesday night. A big part in Green Bay's claim to the Packers was solidified when the football team's board of directors sat down with the city's park board and Common Council finance committee to discuss the possibilities of Green Bay building a new stadium. The purpose of the meeting was to determine whether the Packers were interested in playing in a new stadium and also to ask the NFL club what it could contribute in making the idea a reality. The Council announced that it was considering buying 40 acres of land in an undeveloped area for the purpose of building a stadium. The sum mentioned was $58,000. Should a new stadium be built, will the Milwaukee half of the Packer schedule be cancelled? was one question discussed. One of the board members said that some games could be taken away from Milwaukee but that NFL title contenders would favor playing in Milwaukee's Stadium due to the larger drawing potential. He specifically mentioned the Chicago Bears as one favoring such a move. Gross estimates of the new stadium were not mentioned but costs were estimated between $10 and $32 per seat for an arena holding 30,000 fans.
NOVEMBER 17 (Milwaukee Journal) - Lisle Blackbourn, the Green Bay coach, said there was no particular secret to the improvement over last season shown by the Packers' defense. He said the coaching staff decided at the start of the season who was going to play where. "Then we left them there," he said. "We worked on them, they worked hard and the defense came right along." That Green Bay's defense "came along" is an understatement. With essentially the same personnel that permitted 338 points in 12 NFL games in 1953, the Packers have permitted only 132 points in eight games so far. The improvement averages out to something slightly more than 11 1/2 points a game - 28.2 last season as compared with 16.5 this fall. Only three new men are regulars on the Packers' defensive unit - rookie halfback Jim Psaltis, former Southern Californian who was released early in the season by the Chicago Cardinals; tackle Jerry Helluin, who was obtained over the winter from the Cleveland Browns and Clarence Self, the former Wisconsin halfback. Self played with the Packers before, but was released last season. Rookie halfback Gene White, an end at Georgia, also was a starter before a bad back put him on the injured reserve list for a month. But when White is in there, Psaltis was the "swingman" in the defensive backfield. The rest of the starters were with the Packers last season - ends John Martinkovic and Stretch Elliott, tackle Dave Hanner, middle guard Bill Forester, linebackers Clayton Tonnemaker and Roger Zatkoff and deep men Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker. "I understand there was quite a bit of switching around last year," Blackbourn said. "Zatkoff, for instance, was tried at defensive end and at two or three different linebacking spots. We have tried to avoid that and a relative freedom from injuries has helped us in that respect." The loss of White, the Packer coach said, has hurt in the secondary. "He is a good one for never having played back before," Blackbourn said. "Besides, we could use Psaltis wherever we needed him most, usually to give Self or someone else a rest." Self, at 29 and only 5 feet 9 inches tall, gets tired, Blackbourn said. "He's a good tackle, though, and a good competitor." Dillon and Walker, the ballhawks on pass defense, are speed merchants. With Zatkoff of Michigan, Tonnemaker of Minnesota and Teteak of Wisconsin, the Packers have an all-Big Ten linebacking corps. Teteak, the swingman here, has recovered from a broken ankle suffered in training. Tonnemaker, a fine tackler, has been bothered by leg injuries. "We did not want to use him at all against Baltimore," Blackbourn said, "but we had to rush him in when they took an early lead." Fortunately, Tonnemaker did not further injure himself and should be at near top shape for the game with the champion Detroit Lions at Green Bay Sunday. "We've had a lot of nuisance injuries this season," Blackbourn said. "They'd be just about healed up when the the next game comes along. Then the man was reinjured and you're right back where you started." Martinkovic and Elliott at ends have played "steady ball", although Blackbourn said he was not quite satisfied with the rush they have been giving the passer. Both are big men. Martinkovic at 6-3 and 245 and Elliott at 6-5 and 230 - but they lack versatility. Hanner, 230 pounds, is a "real good one" at tackle, Blackbourn said. "Barring accident, he should have several more good years. So should Helluin and Forester." Forester, who drawls so slowly when he talks that the rest of the Texans mime him, is 22, Hanner 24 and Helluin 25. "Forester is a real good athlete," Blackbourn said. "He has a fine physique. He's a big man (6-3, 235 pounds) and reasonably fast. He's not exactly the fiery kind, but you saw how he intercepted that pass against Baltimore and the way he ran after he got it." Helluin, the coach said, is too heavy at 285 pounds. "We'd like him about 10 pounds lighter," Blackbourn said, "then he could get around more."
NOVEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - "We've got a ball club this year which is better than either of our past two championship teams." That's coach Buddy Parker's evaluation of his "Devastators from Detroit" who are running away with the Western Division title. With a two-game cushion on the championship race, the Lions moved into Green Bay Sunday to tackle the Packers. Parker is expecting trouble at Green Bay, according to Bud Erickson, publicity director for the Lions, who was in town Wednesday. "Any team which could whip the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles must be good," said Erickson. "We figured the Packers could have easily been in the runnerup spot with a 6-2 record going into Sunday's game." What makes the Lions even more devastating than a year ago? "We're more versatile," was Erickson's analysis. He then pointed out: "The acquisition of rookie fullback Bill Bowman (Lions' third draft choice) has given us the man we've been looking for. In fact, Parker think he's the best fullback Detroit has had since Ace Gutowsky romped with the 1935 champs. With Bowman out No. 1 fullback, much of the load has been taken off veteran Bob (Hunchy) Hoernschemeyer, who now alternates at right halfback and fullback. Lew Carpenter, our leading ground fainer, spells Hunchy off at right half." But here comes the biggest change. Left half Doak Walker hardly runs with the ball. He's being used strictly as a pass receiver. Erickson reported Dick Kercher, rookie halfback, and Jim Doran, veteran end, will miss the Packer game. Kercher has a fractured elbow and Doran will be out two or three weeks with a shoulder separation. Returning after missing the 49er game is tackle Thurman McGraw, out with a knee injury, and Carpenter.
NOVEMBER 18 (Green Bay) - A typical sellout crowd (24,800) is expected at City Stadium Sunday to watch the Green Bay Packers battle the champion Detroit Lions. Kickoff is 1:05. "The advance sale has already approached 20,000," General Manager Verne Lewellen said Thursday. "With good weather and the Lions in town we should have a sellout." Even though Detroit is a 14 point favorite, there was hometown sentiment cooking up the Packers' chances. Coach Liz Blackbourn's club has broken even in league play, winning four of eight games, but only 19 points separated those four losses from possible victory. "The fans here are even foresaking deer hunting to see this year's team," grinned Lewellen. It was strictly business as Blackbourn and his aides primed the squad for the Lions in an afternoon drill at the Stadium. Physically, the Packers should be in good condition. Veryl Switzer, who pulled a leg muscle in the Baltimore Colt game, will be ready to roll against the Lions. Tobin Rote, who had a touch of flu earlier this week, was back at his pitching post. Incidentally, Rote needs only 27 more completions to break Cecil Isbell's mark of 268 for a season. He also needs only 274 yards to break Arnie Herber's all-time record of 6,741. The Lions, after a morning workout in Detroit Saturday, will fly directly to Green Bay. Coach Buddy Parker's champions are currently holding a two-game lead on the runnerup San Francisco 49ers, practically coasting to their third straight Western Division title. The Packers have a 26-15 edge in the long-time series with Detroit. However, the Lions have won the last nine games.
(MILWAUKEE) - Howie Ferguson did it without scoring a
single point. The bone-crunching fullback, who never
played a day of college football, was practically a one-
man wrecking crew, setting up three touchdowns - more
than enough to give the Packers a 24-13 victory over the
Baltimore Colts at the County Stadium Saturday night.
The best Milwaukee crowd of the season, 19,786, saw
Ferguson at his very best - 112 yards rushing and 44
yards on the receiving end of Tobin Rote's aerials. "Give it
to Fergy," was the Stadium chant when the Packers
needed results. And the Packer plunger came through
time and again.
Rote was the recipient of three touchdowns - with
Ferguson setting up the first on a six-yard smash
to the one, the second, romping 21 yards on a 
Rote pass to the one, and the clincher on an eight
 yard plunger to the eight. Need more be said?
Ferguson's previous effort for seven league games
was only 122 yards. Whatever he's been feasting
on all week he should have more. Oh, how his
performance was needed! As far as the Colts were
concerned it was practically all Carl Taseff, who picked up
122 yards on 15 carries. Ferguson proved to be a better
pass target, gaining 29 yards more than Taseff via the air
 Baltimore romped to a 10-0 first quarter lead before the
Packers could get into Colt territory. A 41-yard field goal
by Bert Reichichar after a minute and a half of play and
29-yard touchdown pass, Gary Kerkorian to slippery
George Taliaferro four minutes later, had the fans
wondered if Green Bay had left its enthusiasm at Chicago
last Sunday. And when Kerkorian booted a 32-yard field
goal midway through the second period to stretch
Baltimore's advantage to 13-0, things had gone just far
Time was flying fast when the Packers became scoring
conscious. With less than a minute remaining in the first
half Green Bay came to life. Rote's quarterback sneak to
a touchdown, Fred Cone's conversion and a 17-yard angle
field goal shot by Cone cut Baltimore's lead to 13-10. Any
resemblance to Green Bay's performance in the second
half to Baltimore's was bewildering. The Packers, six
minutes through the third quarter, broke into the lead for
the first time when Rote scored his second touchdown.
Their defense held Baltimore to one measly first down, a
10-yard scamper by Taliaferro. Meanwhile, the Packers
picked up seven first downs, Ferguson, the ace in the
hole, rambled for 40 yards and added 14 yards via the air
The situation was duplicated in the final stanza.
Baltimore did manager to roll to the Packers' 25, but
Green Bay held. Bobby Dillion's interception of
Kerkorian's pass intended for Young snapped the Colts'
final hope. It was the last time Baltimore had the ball in
Green Bay territory, on the 49. Ferguson roared again to
set up the Packers' final touchdown, Rote scoring. While
Kerkorian was hitting Young, Taliaferro and Taseff with
success, Rote's trigger hand wasn't connecting. This,
coupled with a multitude of penalties, 69 yards in the
first half, kept the Packers in the hole. The Colts took the
opening kickoff and, in five plays, had three points on Reichichar's field goal. The Packers roared back, Veryl Switzer returning Reichichar's kickoff 27 yards to Green Bay's 30. After two passes went haywire, Rote connected on a 20-yarder to Billy Howton, only to have a personal foul shove the Packers back to their own 16. Max McGee's booming 55 yard punt got them out of trouble. However, a 27 yard Kerkorian pass to Jack Bighead and Young's 44 yard dash put Baltimore in scoring position again.
Kerkorian's 29 yard dazzler to Taliaferro was the bell ringer. His boot was perfect and the Colts led, 10-0. Switzer romped 21 yards on the following kickoff, but a clipping penalty put the Packers on their own 10. They never got out and had to resort to McGee's punting again. The Packers were guilty of holding and consequently it shoved McGee to the end line. However, the former Tulane rookie came through with his best punt of the night, a 63 yarder. Baltimore had two more whacks at the ball and Green Bay one before the quarter ended with neither team showing a consistent drive.
Getting into Colt territory for the first time was the Packers' biggest accomplishment midway through the second period. A 27 yard aerial, Rote to McGee, did the trick. Ferguson then picked up seven. But the drive backfired when Don Shula intercepted Rote's pass intended for Howton on the Colt 40. Taliaferro's 22 yard spring, a 17 yard Kerkorian pass to Edwards plus a roughing penalty on the Packers moved the ball to the Packer 25. Baltimore then resorted to Kerkorian's kicking ability and he came through with a 32-yard boot with four minutes left in the half. That was Baltimore's last points. Indeed, not enough considering what was to happen in the second half. Al Carmichael's 31-yard return of Reichichar's kickoff fired the Packers. Rote to Howton and McGee ate up huge chunks toward pay dirt before Tobin plunged for the score. Bill Forester's interception of Kerkorian's pass on the Colt 45 set up Cone's field goal when he ran it back to Baltimore's 24 just before the half ended. It was a Rote to Howton pass play for 10. Ferguson for 25 and 18 by Reid that sent the Packers running to their second touchdown in the third quarter.
Ferguson's 21-yard smash to the one again set up the honors for Rote. Cone's conversion gave the Packers the lead for good. Green Bay was well on its way to a speedy third touchdown, only to have things reversed when Bob Langes recovered Ferguson's fumble on the Colt 14. The Packers got a break shortly after when Dillon's interception started the ball rolling Baltimore goalward from the midfield stripe. Ferguson for nine, six, 13 more on a pass from Rote kept the drive moving. Reid drove down to the two before Rote added the final score. Cone's boot was perfect.
The Colts got rambunctious, moving on the following kickoff from their own 19 to the Packer 27. But the drive died when Kerkorian was smothered on a fourth down play. The Packers ran out the clock with Bobby Garrett engineering the play. The victory was the fourth in eight league starts for Coach Liz Blackbourn's gang the best showing since 1952. Next Sunday it's the first of two clashes in a five day span with the champion Detroit Lions at Green Bay.
BALTIMORE - 10  3  0  0 - 13
GREEN BAY -  0 10  7  7 - 24
1st - BALT - Bert Rechichar, 41-yard field goal BALTIMORE 3-0
1st - BALT - George Taliaferro, 29-yd pass fr Gary Kerkorian (Kerkorian kick) BALTIMORE 10-0
2nd - BALT - Kerkorian, 32-yard field goal BALTIMORE 13-0
2nd - GB - Cone, 11-yard field goal BALTIMORE 13-3
2nd - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) BALTIMORE 13-10
3rd - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 17-13
4th - GB - Rote, 1-yard run (Cone kick) GREEN BAY 24-13
used sparingly this year) is the second leading scorer with 78 points and Jack Christiansen is second in punt returns with a 10.8 yard average. This, they'll tell you, is the type of balance that makes Detroit so explosive. Depth seem to be another story. Apparently, Detroit has not been hurt despite a succession of injuries.
NOVEMBER 18 (Milwaukee Journal) - The talk has been mostly about the Packers' defensive platoon, when coach Lisle Blackbourn put in a word about Len Szafaryn, left tackle on offense. "Very little has been said about Len," the Green Bay coach observed, "but he has given us a good, all-around substantial go in every game, perhaps the best of any offensive lineman in our inner group." Szafaryn, 6 feet 3 inches and 225 pounds, was a Phi Beta Kappa at the University of North Carolina. He switched between guard and tackle and was used some on defense, too, when he returned last season after two years in the Army. This season, concentrating on one position, Szafaryn has played his best ball in four years in the NFL. The Packers originally obtained him from the Washington Redskins...Tobin Rote's versatility as Packers quarterback is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that in the first eight games he passed for 11 touchdowns and ran for five more...The Detroit Lions can clinch their third straight Western Division championship if they beat the Packers twice in five days, at Green Bay Sunday and at Detroit Thanksgiving morning. The Lions need only two more victories in their last five games to earn a final playoff shot at their third straight league title. Only the Packers won three titles in a row (1929, 1930 and 1931) and they did it before the league was split into two divisions...The Packers have done as well as any team in the league in the last five weekends with four victories in five starts. The Lions, Cleveland and New York are also 4-1; Los Angeles 3-2; the Bears, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Washington, all 2-3; the Chicago Cardinals 1-4, and Baltimore, 0-5...The Lions have been involved in only two close games all season, both on their West Coast trip. They lost at San Francisco by six points and won at Los Angeles by three. Otherwise, they have won by 41, 35, 25, 24 and 18. The Packers, in four defeats, have not been beaten by more than seven points...Detroit's defense has been the stingiest in the league, permitting only 14 points a game. New York's is second at 15 and the Packers' third at 16.5 The Lions also lead in scoring with 34 points a game; the Packers rank ninth at 21...Credit for Green Bay's fine third quarter showings, Blackbourn said, should go assistant coaches Scooter McLean and Tom Hearden. "They handle the press box phones for us," the coach said, "and decided what adjustments should be made at halftime. An edge like we've had in the third quarter so far (60-6 in points) is hard to believe. I just hope it continues."
NOVEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - Coach Liz Blackbourn of the Green Bay Packers said today "we've certainly gotta play over our heads" to beat the champion Detroit Lions. "This Lion outfit is hard to get any optimism over," said Blackbourn, who had to prepare for the Lions at Green Bay Sunday and at Detroit Thanksgiving Day as if it were the opening of the season. "They don't have any weaknesses," Blackbourn said. "They have a balanced attack and it's been a case of trying to sharpen up the Packers all the way down the line." Coach Buddy Parker, whose Lions are shooting for a third straight world championship, thinks his current team is "better than our past two championship teams." By winning three of its remaining five games, Detroit can clinch the Western Division title. Lion advance man Bud Erickson pointed out that rookie Bill Bowman has given Detroit a bigger threat down the middle and allows Bob Hoernschemeyer to alternate at halfback. Then there's top Lion ground gainer Lew Carpenter, Doak Walker and Bobby Layne, not to mention Layne's understudy, Tom Dublinski. Blackbourn said, "They have an extremely versatile team. They have two fine quarterbacks. If one has a tough day, the other is usually on." The Lions, who have lost only to San Francisco, have complicated pass patterns. The passers don't concentrate on any particular receiver. End Dorne Dibble has caught 28 passes, Walker 21, Bowman 17, and right on down the list. But Blackbourn was not worried about taking the 48-7 slaughter the 49ers absorbed last Sunday from the Lions. "Nobody had pushed us around this year," Blackbourn said. "We haven't played a game so far we couldn't have won if we would have got us a break. That's some consolation." Blackbourn, who considers "the defense to be slightly more important than offense", can point to the record. In the Packers first three games, which they lost, the total margin of defeat was only 14 points. The Packers have a 4-4 record going into their home finale before a sellout crowd of 25,000. "I think the physical condition of the squad will be pretty good," the Packer coach said. "We don't have any injuries that will keep out any key personnel, except Veryl Switzer, and I think he'll be ready. Rookie Switzer, the league's best punt returner, pulled a leg muscle against Baltimore last Saturday night. For Detroit, end Jim Doran and reserve halfback Dick Kercher will miss both Packer games because of injuries. It was hoped regular guard Dick Stanfel would be able to play. Co-captain Thurman McGraw, a guard, was expected to be back in the Detroit lineup after an absence of five games. A victory in one of the two games would be highly satisfactory to Blackbourn, in his first year as a professional coach. Two wins and they could throw away the Christmas tree.
Green Bay Packers (4-4) 24, Baltimore Colts (1-7) 13
Saturday November 13th 1954 (at Milwaukee)
NOVEMBER 19 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - It must be 12 or 13 years ago since I first saw Earl (Jug) Girard, If memory serves, he was only a sphomore at Marinette High School at the time, obviously an athlete but only a little guy - so small that it was practically impossible to see in him a topnotcher of the future in big time and professional circles. "Don't let his size fool you," warned his countless rooters in and around Marinette. "The kid has what it takes to make the grade in big time. Just wait and see." As things turned out, his hometown friends knew what they were talking about. It wasn't wishful thinking on their part. They couldn't say for sure that their hero would add enough pounds and inches to his boyish frame. But if he did, they had no doubts about what the future held in store for him. The years have rolled on and everything Jug Girard has done in the meantime has justified hometowners' high appraisal of him and then some. After a brief wartime career at the University of Wisconsin, during which he earned considerable All-American acclaim, the Jugger went on to professional football. And he's still in it. In fact, he's still on the upswing at 27 (he'll be 28 in January), for today he's a key member of pro ball's strongest club, the Detroit Lions, and seems to be assuming - and handling - more important duties with each passing season. "Anyone who had anything to do with it, including Coach Buddy Parker, considers the deal with the Packers that brought Girard to us one of the best in Detroit's history," said Bud Erickson, publicity director of the Lions. "He has the ideal temperament, is a terrific competitor and can do everything well, absolutely everything. No, he isn't a big man physically. But he's one of those naturals who don't have to weigh more than 175 pounds. That's Jug's exact weight. Perhaps few people know this," Erickson went on. "But Girard was the man mainly responsible for winning our first championship two years ago. When Doak Walker was hurt early in the season, there was no choice but to put Jug at the left halfback spot on offense. What a job he did for seven games! We, of the Lions, never will forget him for that. If he hadn't filled Walker's shoes completely, we never could have won the title." Filling Walker's shoes meant pass catching, running against and blocking huge rivals who outweighed him anywhere from 40 to 90 pounds, punting and returning punts and kickoffs. He not only lived to tell the tale but to be acclaimed an outstanding performer to boot. And don't think for a minute that Girard is nearing the end of the line or is being overshadowed by Walker, Hunchy Hoernschemeyer, Bobby Layne, Tom Dublinski, Bill Bowman, the new fullback sensation, and a host of other Lions who will be roaring into Green Bay Sunday afternoon. On the contrary, he is of greater value to the club than ever before as Coach Parker expanded his (Jug's) field of operations to include a new position, offensive right end, and new duties on defense. That's right - Girard actually is seeing considerable service on offense at right end. Maybe Parker got the idea from the Los Angeles Rams' conversion of that other famous ex-Wisconsin halfback, Elroy Hirsch. Regardless, he did come up with the idea. And that, too, apparently was just what the doctor ordered for the Lions. "Jug is a terrific pass receiver despite lack of unusual height," Erickson pointed out. "He knows how to run when he gets the ball. He's doing his share of defense, too - another new job. And he's still one of the very best punters in the league and available for left half duty anytime. Add his receiving and running back of kicks and you'll know what I mean when I say Girard is the best insurance the Lions have." The little guy who made good in a great way!
NOVEMBER 19 (Green Bay) - What kind of strategy is mapped out for the best in the football world? "I wish I knew," said a pensive Liz Blackbourn Friday, whose Packers face the unenviable task of facing the champion Detroit Lions twice in a five-day span. A peculiar NFL schedule creates this situation. A sellout (24,800) crowd will watch the battle at City Stadium Sunday at 1:05 and then 52,000 Detroit partisans will sit in on the return engagement at Briggs Field Thanksgiving Day. "Scouting reports usually point out an opponent's weaknesses," added Blackbourn. "But when our gang saw the Lions rout the 49ers, 48-7, there wasn't a single weakness to observe." There was a mischievous twinkle in Blackbourn's eyes, though, almost telling that he had something special planned for the roaring Lions. His team has not been routed this season, losing their four league games by a total of 19 points. The Packers have not played one bad day of football. Actually, team spirit is high. They've beaten the high-flying Rams and Eagles and they figure they can do it against the Lions. Whether Green Bay is at its peak physical condition remains to be seen. Quarterback Tobin Rote was weakened by the flu, but his main trouble is a painful nose, broken in the second Bear game. "We've got a mask for Rote," said Liz, "but it hinders his breathing. His nose is awfully sore. It's kind of hard now to predict how much running he'll do." Rote is the Packers' second best ground gainer, picking up 257 yards in 54 attempts for a 4.8 average. He has plunged for five touchdowns. "Another question mark is Veryl Switzer," added Blackbourn. "He pulled a leg muscle in the Colt game. It could give out just like that Sunday." Switzer had been averaging 29.3 yards on kickoff returns and 12.3 running back punts - indeed, a valuable man to sideline. "Going into this Detroit game we really should have a 6-2 record and second place," said Liz. "Some bad breaks cost us those close ones. I don't know what we'll do against the best in the world Sunday. But they're going to know they're in a ball game." And Blackbourn wasn't kidding. His team hasn't been drubbed, is developing a winning complex - one that could surprise the champion Lions.
NOVEMBER 18 (Detroit) - You have to go a long way in this football conscious city to find anyone who'll tell you the Detroit Lions are not a shoo-in for their third straight NFL title. And bookmakers aren't the exception - they're the rule. Trying to place a bet on the Lions for their game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday is like looking for a Chevrolet in the Ford Motor Co.'s executive parking lot - there just isn't one to be had. The Lions, who are firmly planted in first place in the Western Division, are heavy favorites over the Packers. Bet takers say they aren't going to take a licking like last week when Detroit, only a seven point favorite, beat the 49ers, 48-7. What makes the Lions this great? Those who say they know will tell you the whole complicated deal adds up to this: balance and deep, deep depth. Then they'll point to the NFL's individual statistics sheet and say "Look only one Lion player is leading in eight departments." He is Bill Bowman, who tops the kickoff return list with a 33.8 yard average. Of course, they say, Bobby Layne is the second leading passer with 70 completions out of 128 attempts for 1,049 yards and Doak Walker (who has been