LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sam “Bam” Cunningham, an All-American fullback at Southern California whose performance against Alabama was credited with helping to integrate football in the South, has died.
Cunningham was part of USC's all-Black backfield that helped rout a predominantly white Alabama team 42-21 in 1970. He ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
His performance was credited with influencing the university and coach Bear Bryant to more widely recruit Black players and integrate the sport in the South. Cunningham went on to a record-setting career with the New England Patriots.
He died at his home in Inglewood, California. Cunningham was 71.