1961 Syracuse Orangemen football team represented Syracuse University during the 1961 college football season. The Orangemen were led by 13th-year head coach Ben Schwartzwalder and played their home games at Archbold Stadium in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse finished the regular season with a record of 7–3 and ranked 14th in the final AP Poll. Running back Ernie Davis rushed for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to his second straight consensus All-American honors. Davis became the first African-American football player to win the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the nation's best college football player each year. Syracuse was invited to the 1961 Liberty Bowl, where they defeated Miami (FL).
Date Opponent Rank Site Result Attendance
September 23 at Oregon State No. 10 W 19–8 35,729
September 30 West Virginia No. 5 W 29–14 25,000
October 7 at Maryland No. 7 L 21–22 35,000
October 14 at Nebraska W 28–6 35,387
October 21 at Penn State L 0–14 44,390
October 28 Holy Cross Archbold Stadium Syracuse, NY W 34–6 31,000
November 4 Pittsburgh Archbold Stadium Syracuse, NY ( Rivalry) W 28–9 40,152
November 11 Colgate Archbold Stadium Syracuse, NY ( Rivalry) W 51–8 25,000
November 18 at Notre Dame No. 10 L 15–17 49,246
November 25 at Boston College W 28–13 17,600
December 16 vs. Miami (FL) No. 14 W 15–14 15,712 Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
1961 team players in the NFL draft Edit
Ernie Davis was the first black player to be chosen first overall in the NFL Draft.
Davis was drafted by the Washington Redskins then traded to the Clevand Browns in the first round of the 1962 American Football League draft.  Tragically, he would never play in the NFL; he was diagnosed with  leukemia shortly before he was to enter the league, and died in May 1963, less than a year after his diagnosis.
Awards and honors Edit