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article number 327
article date 03-25-2014
copyright 2014 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
College Football Gives Us Memorable Names, the 1930s
by Lamont Buchanan

From the 1947 book, The Story of Football in Text and Pictures.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nothing does justice to this great book like reading the book itself. The book is laid out where pictures are near the text and the pictures have no captions. We usually put the pictures after the text.

THE YEAR 1929 had been a spectacular one for football. There were great teams in many sections of the country. Teams like Southern California, and California on the Coast, Purdue and Illinois in the Mid West,Tulane and Tennessee in the South and Texas Christian in the Southwest. Pitt was high in the East. Overall was the champ . . . Notre Dame.

‘29 too had more than its share of great games. Yale-Dartmouth was one; a duel between the great Albie Booth and Al Marsters. Well toward the end it appeared that the “jinx” that always seemed to prevent Hanover teams, however good, from beating the Elis was licked. The White Indians led 12-10 and already the New Hampshire stands were jubilant.

Then a substitute quarterback for the Big Green threw a pass. In the gathering gloom the ball floated lazily through the air while thousands held their breath. It was finally gathered in, but not by the intended Dartmouth receiver. “Hoot” Ellis, Yale sub back and track sprinter was the man who came up with the pigskin.

Ellis had a bad knee and was unable to cut or dodge. But he could run straight ahead faster than any man on that field. He did just that for 70 yards and a touchdown that broke Dartmouth’s heart. The green flares in the stands were extinguished and the strains of the Undertaker Song rose from jubilant Elis’ throats.

Jack Elder of Notre Dame was the principal in another spectacular 1929 game. Elder, also a sprint star, duplicated Ellis’s play almost exactly, intercepting an Army pass thrown by Chris Cagle deep in Fighting Irish territory and galloping 94 yards for the winning touchdown.

Could there be any excitement left for the newly ushered in decade? There could and there was. Notre Dame continued in 1930 what they had started in ‘29; held the crown of National Champions with one of the strongest teams Knute Rockne, the Norwegian wizard, ever produced.

Down to the present day, that 1930 South Bend team, quarterbacked by Frank Carideo was probably the best to represent the school: Certainly they thought so in Chicago town on December 10, 1930. That was the day the Irish returned from the coast where they had ruined Southern California to win top rating.

Nothing was too good for Rockne’s squad as it was driven down La Salle Street midst confetti, ticker tape and a huge crowd of hysterically cheering people.


Notre Dame won its games the hard way but presentations came easy and often. Here Jimmy Walker (right) has just presented Rock and Frank Carideo with watches. But even at this jubilant moment a dark angel hovered over the fame and fortunes of Knute Rockne. Short months away was the tragic plane crash that would cost the beloved Rock’s life.


Meanwhile up in the Chenango Valley there was a hard hitting fullback that even star studded Notre Dame could have used. His name, Len Macaluso, Colgate’s All American and national scoring leader for 1930. Greats were so numerous that it took quick looks to catch them all.


No. 33 stopping a Georgia play cold is Jerry Dalrymple of Tulane, a great enough end to make two consecutive Grantland Rice All Americans.


Other paragons of the period: center Mel Hem, showing his kids Pop’s old number” …


… and tackle Turk Edwards, both of Washington State, both to become professional football mighties.


Yes, football had traveled a long way from the days when it was an exclusive Eastern pastime. But there were still hearty East Coast contingents. Dr. John “Jock” Sutherland had a hand in developing many of them in his 1924-1938 tenure at Pitt, including four Rose Bowlers. Teaching precision blocking and power offense, Sutherland made Pitt the big stick of the East.


Another university, Fordham, destined for Eastern leadership launched one of its most interesting series in 1930. St. Mary’s was the opponent and evidently their cross-country trek agreed with the Galloping Gaels as they won their first intersectional game from the New Yorkers 20-12. Just around the corner, though, was a bigger, tougher Jim Crowley-fed Ram!


For a period of tour or five years, just before and after the turn of the decade 1930, it appeared that Southern California and Notre Dame had a chattel mortgage on the National Championship. If one didn’t make it, the other one was in. Often the mythical title was decided in their games against each other.

In this 1931 clash Southern California won 16-14 to take the crown. Here Notre Dame fullback Banas is tackled by a redoubtable SC man. Regardless of who won there’d be trouble ahead for all other opponents. From West Point to Evanston folks wondered, “Is Notre Dame invincible?” On the Coast they said, “Who’ll beat the Trojans?”


Back East in fair Chenango valley there was a canny little Scot who thought he knew a lot of answers. Hadn’t Andy Kerr’s Colgate team recorded a fine year in 1931? And the ‘32 eleven! It surprised even the surprise-proof veteran Kerr when his eleven ended up facing Brown at Providence on Thanksgiving Day for a top place among Eastern teams.

The red jerseyed, white helmeted Raiders put on a great show of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t football. One of the few instances where the opposition (and the camera) spied the ball for more than three seconds was when Rowe, Colgate half, found himself with no place to go but into the unfriendly arms of Brown’s big No. 27. In the background Colgate blockers are double-teaming the Bruin defensive right end for keeps.


Brown had plenty to boast about when it stepped out on its Providence field: victories over Yale, Harvard, Holy Cross and Columbia; and a leather lugging whizz in its backfield, Bill Gilbane. But when the teams left the field it was Colgate doing the boasting—21-0. And for the ninth consecutive game the Red Raider goal line had gone unsullied.

It was an impressive record, an impressive team; the men of Colgate were prepared to put up their hands when the question went around this time: “Who’ll stop the Trojans?” But the Pitt Panther got the Rose Bowl nod and a 35-0 lacing at the hands of Southern California while Colgate stayed home, “Undefeated, Untied, Unscored-upon—and Uninvited!”

Columbia Lion and Princeton Tiger met across Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan, former Columbia back, before the 1932 game between the jungle beasts. Only Lion loss in ‘32 was to Brown; Tiger claws were growing for big years to come.


Other animal mascots were doing all right for their schools. Witness Michigan’s wolverines, here mauling Michigan State. Ann Arbor harbored the National Champions at the end of ‘32.


Michigan may have been the “Big” in the Big Ten in ‘31, ‘32 and ‘33 but Purdue was the perennial challenger. Coach Noble Kizer’s Boilermakers playing out of the Notre Dame type offense had scoring punch. A potent reason was Duane Purvis, 200 pounder, good kicker, passer and runner who loved to dump enemy ball carriers into the earth as he does here against a Chicago back in a game won by Purdue.


Chicago had been hoping to make a comeback in conference circles but this 1933 14-0 thumping by the Boilermakers dimmed hopes, made catch-phrase; “Stagg Fears Purdue” much more than a joke.

Football had been refined by the banishment of injury-causing formations like the flying wedge (which looked so neat perpetrated by Georgia and little Buster Mott), and maneuvers like the airplane tackle and flying block.)

But the bruising battle between Ohio State and Michigan at Ann Arbor in late October, ‘33 lacked nothing. The Wolverines, on their way to another mythical national crown, had more crunch than the Buckeyes, took a two-touchdown win.


Maybe it helped that a Heston was again running for Michigan. No, not ‘the’ Heston. Not the great Willie, nor his ghost. But any Heston heading around his own left end is a sight dear to Ann Arbor fans. And didn’t this Heston, even if he wasn’t Willie-the-Great, make those same terrifying faces as he dug downfield?

The shot heard around the sports world was the invitation telegram to Columbia from the Rose Bowl committee in 1933. The once-beaten Lions (by Princeton) were considered no match for huge and mighty Stanford boasting such All-Americans as Monk Moscrip, Bob Reynolds, Bobby Grayson and Bones Hamilton.


West Coast pundits referred to the New Yorkers as “Pomona High in light blue jerseys,” confidently awaited a slaughter of the visitors.

How a small but furiously fighting Columbia eleven knocked over the gigantic Palo Alto Indians 7-0 remains one of the most spectacular upsets in Rose Bowl history. The scoring play, famous KF-79, is one of football’s best known maneuvers now.


Columbia’s All American Captain Cliff Montgomery quarterbacked the Blue and White flawlessly but there were other valiant Lions that day: Matal, Ciampa, Richavich, McDowell. And it was Lou Little whose brilliant coaching laid the groundwork for this “football miracle of the decade.”

Back East there was no question about “Who Owns New York,” as Columbia’s stirring fight song goes.


People everywhere were talking about Cliff Montgomery, Al Barabas and the others of Lou Little’s “fightingest” band. Down at Nassau Hall they wondered what Princeton’s great ‘33 team would have done to Stanford; the powerful Orange and Black team that boasted Ceppi, Kadlic, Le Van and Constable!

But the Lions’ Rose Bowl glory lasted for only two games into the ‘34 season. Then they ran up against the aggregation that was to become the Cinderella team of the year. An early Lion touchdown couldn’t hold Navy from an 18-6 victory.


People began to memorize a new name. It was Buzz Borries and he was indeed a mighty Middy!


Fred Buzz Borries, from Louisville, Kentucky, Suh, was the charmed performer for the Navy in ‘34. He was a cool head at the throttle of a fast, scrappy team that swept all before it except Pitt in a tough nine game schedule.

Best of all was the last game, when Navy tackle Slade Cutter booted a placement that gave Annapolis a prized win over Army—the first triumph for the seagoing service school in thirteen long years!

There were other spectacular backs: Sauer of Nebraska, Lund of Minnesota, Feathers of Tennessee, all good enough to find places on Grantland Rice’s “All” teams.

Two of the best were Jay Berwanger of Chicago, (taking a finger tip pass) great despite mediocre support…


… and 148 pound Cotton (for his shock of light hair) Warburton of Southern California, here pointing out defenders to his blockers.


Another back to attract the eye was a grim-faced strong legged Notre Darner with the poetic name of William Shakespeare. This jokester’s delight was no fun for opponents; he could pass, run and how he could kick! Some experts ranked him with Duke’s great contemporary booter, Ace Parker.


In 1935 Shakespeare figured in the game of the year—the game of many years say those who were there at the clash of titans Ohio State and Notre Dame. The Buckeyes, ganging up on the vaunted Shakespeare, ran up a 13-0 lead at the half. Irish passes misfired, were intercepted, this one run back for a spectacular 75 yard touchdown.


South Bend showed no improvement in the third quarter but in the final period, with Shakespeare’s substitute Andy Pilney at the helm, Notre Dame came to life. Pilney was a one man team. Pilney passed and Pilney ran and soon the Irish had two scores—but no extra points and the Ohio Staters still led with but a minute and a half to play.

Seconds later Notre Dame recovered a State fumble, and Pilney and company began to move again. But Andy had taken a terrific beating.

With time for one more play, Pilney had to be helped from the field. Then Shakespeare, the star who’d been eclipsed all day, returned. As the second hand swept to zero he rocketed a diagonal pass to flankman Wayne Millner circling in the end zone, for a heart stopping 18-13 Notre Dame victory.


Army football took the service school honors (except for Navy’s glorious 1934 Borries-Cutter outfit) in the early-through-middle thirties. The Kaydets had men like Stecker and Price, Milt Summerfelt and Texas Jack Buckler, the lean line scyther.

But even with all the Point’s men, they couldn’t put a victory over Notre Dame together again after ‘31. A 6-6 tie in 1935 was the closest the Brave Old Army team came. Reason for this tie was sloppy Irish ball handling, which more than once stopped promising Notre Dame drives.


The South Bend attraction always filled Yankee Stadium, and their loyal “Subway Alumni,” most of whom never set foot in the state of Indiana, wildly cheered Kurth and Krause, Robinson, Shakespeare and Millner.

Notre Dame was a supreme name in football even though the man who had given her her great grid tradition was gone. For even as the tragic news of Knute Rockne’s death had shocked the campus, the sun’s rays had touched the Golden Dome with a prophetic finger.

Rock, the master of them all, believed in football. He’d left them at the height of his brilliant career, the echoes awakened by his 1930 National Champions still ringing that March 1931.

Rock’s death was tragic, but there were some who said that wherever he was he’d still be watching, together with his most beloved pupil, George Gipp, the Old Gipper.

Navy, meanwhile, peering over a black and blue shoulder at the glories of the previous years, kept running into the big boys’ yards in 1935. The biggest boy of all played in the concrete horseshoe at Princeton. The Tigers were Ivy League champions and rated no worse than second or third in the nation. The show of power put on against outclassed Navy that November 2, 1935, was awesome and typical of a really great team that had wrecked Cornell 54-0 the previous week, and was to score nine victories in as many games.

Here Nassau’s Number 83, quarterback Ken Sandbach, tries a placement after one of Princeton’s four touchdowns. That great Orange and Black line led by All-American guard Johnny Weller outmanned all opposition and blasted the way for a fine procession of backs like Le Van, Constable, Kaufman, Sandbach and White.


Fritz Crisler, who’d come on from the West just three years earlier to revive the Tiger, had done just that. The Tigers ended their triumphant season’s prowl by humbling Dartmouth on the snow-swept stage of Palmer Stadium.


Following the astounding reversal at the hands of Lou Little’s well-trained Columbia Lions, Stanford roared back again into the Rose Bowl, via the conference championship. Men like Bob Horse Reynolds, 250 pounds of Terrible Tackle, the gifted Moscrip and Topping at the ends and Bones Hamilton and Bobby Grayson in the backfield, plus others beyond mentioning made the Palo Alto Wonder Team, its sophs now juniors, even better in ‘34.

But again Stanford caught a tartar in the Rose Bowl, this time Alabama. In the New Year’s Day, 1935 classic Stanford pounded to an early touchdown and most folks said “I told you so.” But the Crimson Tide suddenly came to life.

People thumbed at their programs to make out the identity of that frail youngster who was leading them—Millard Dixie Howell was the name. Then there was a pass-catching wizard who caught the eye, Don Hutson. That blocker! Riley Smith. And Bill Lee, a play wrecking tackle.


But all the ‘Bamas were good. So hot they scored 29 points to Stanford’s 13, 22 in 12 minutes! No eleven could withstand that kind of offensive blast. The Palo Altos felt mighty low during the regular ‘35 campaign—but they kept winning. Don’t look now, they told themselves at season’s end, but that man is about to ask you to the Rose Bowl again.

In the annual game with the California Golden Bears, the Stanford Indian confided: “We gotta do it this time, Goldie; for Stanford and the West Coast, three strikes and you’re out.”


New Year’s Day 1936, opponent Southern Methodist, and for a change people wondered about Stanford’s prowess instead of making them prohibitive favorites. “Can the Indians win in the Bowl?” was the query. By a 7-0 score, Stanford’s Wonder Team got wonderful, after three trips around finally got the brass ring!

Meantime, that much talked of giant from the plains of the Northland, Minnesota, was content to gain the top rung without Bowl games. A new season begins and line coach George Hauser says to Headman Bierman:
“How do they look, Bernie?”


Coach Bierman, unable to see the National Championship because of the All-Americas cavorting before him, always let the record speak for him. The record and Gopher greats like No. 32, Andy Uram, here breaking Purdue’s heart in a 1936 game. In the years 1934 through 1941 the Golden Gophers stampeded their conference six times; three times were acclaimed national leader.


While Andy Uram was high-tailing it for Minnesota there were other names clamoring for attention. One of these looked mighty good in a losing cause at Philadelphia where Detroit and Villanova clashed in 1936.

Andy Farkas was the name, shown cracking the Villanova line for Coach Gus Dorais’ team.


Then there was Nebraska’s fabulous fullback, Lefty Sam Francis, who set records shot putting off-season when he wasn’t making autumnal headlines.

And even a “damn Yankee” couldn’t leave Louisinana State’s great end, Gaynell Tinsley off any “best” list. Tinsley, incidentally, caught Grantland Rice’s eye for two years and was named twice to the All-America.

Out at Colorado another young man (above, right) was triple-threating his way in Rocky Mountain circles to the hysterical cheers of “Go it, Whizzer!” Byron White was the name, but after seeing him everybody agreed Whizzer was a most appropriate nickname. White was a whiz in the class room as well as on the gridiron, later becoming a Rhodes scholar and proving again that great athletic prowess and braininess often do go together.


Football and courage go hand in hand. Guard Joe Routt of Texas A & M exhibited plenty of it on Southwest conference fields in the center of the line to become an “All” guard in ‘36 and ‘37. Years later on another kind of field in Belgium Captain Routt, U. S. Army, showed the same kind of courage.


Dispatches read “Killed in action” but Joe Routt lives on in the hearts of his friends at College Station and throughout the country, a fine and typical example of many of his ex-grid playing countrymen who will be remembered eternally for their important part in paving the way to victory.

Not only the conference winners made the headlines in the Southwest circuit, section of upsets, last minute victories and razzle dazzle. The first of two great passers to matriculate at Texas Christian University began to attract headlines in 1935.

The name of this Horned Frog was Sammy Baugh, rhymes with completed pass! His pigskin throwing feats in the Southwest were nigh unbelievable. Texas folks rubbed their eyes and looked again and by that time Mr. Baugh was conjuring another miracle.


Unlike many other great passers who’ve clicked mainly with one special receiver, Baugh could “hit” a variety of receivers. Slingin’ Sam would even fire one at a cameraman. Like this! And who ever heard of the camera man catching anything but h—!

But what back, what passer or runner could sparkle, no matter how brilliant, without the men in front? For instance, take the guy who snaps the ball. That’s virtually the beginning, the foundation of all football.

Opponents would like to have taken one such guy from Vanderbilt. Carl Hinkle was the center’s name and he was about the best in the land. It’s easy to look good on a three deep powerhouse; but Hinkle looked great on understaffed Commodore teams that were not up to Vanderbilt’s best standards.


Which comes first, the passer or the receiver? A hard question to answer for around New Haven they had both for the 1935 and 1936 seasons — and the best of both!

The incredible Larry Kelley (please, remember that’s with two “E’s” he used to say) was the incredible end who sparked Yale to some incredible wins and who, in ‘36, received the Heisman Trophy as player of the year. Pitching was Clint Frank, two-time All-America selection, a great all around back as well as a tremendous passer.


Expert George Trevor once referred to Kelley as “the greatest opportunist in football history.” The wisecracking Irishman was certainly Larry-on-the-spot when it came to snatching passes and falling on loose balls to turn defeat into victory for Old Eli.

Once he was on the wrong spot and Princeton adherents love to tell about it. How in the 1935 game the Tigers, knowing Kelley’s penchant for “outguessing” opponents, flim-flammed Larry into chasing a decoy laterally across the field while the Orange and Black ball carrier slipped off Kelley’s denuded flank on a delayed lateral.

That play was uproariously labeled the “Cousin Kelley Special” by Nassau Hall followers. But ask the Tigers about the ‘36 and ‘37 Yale games! Too much Clint Frank, as the solidly built Bulldog from Evanston, Illinois, had his greatest year in his last season with no Kelley.


Fordham 6, St. Mary’s 0. The fumble was Fordham’s, but so was the victory for this was one of Rose Hill’s best teams, an eleven that was to win seven and tie once in 1937’s tough eight game schedule. Jimmy Crowley still had a few of the “Seven Blocks of Granite” up front to mould a line from. Wojciechowicz, Franco, Fortunato, Babartsky, and Jacunski were as good as they were hard to pronounce.


St. Mary’s the previous week had held mighty Santa Clara to a one touchdown victory. Buck Shaw’s exciting Broncos were listed among the first five nationally in ‘36, again in ‘37.

Wasn’t it Knute Rockne who once said: “If you can’t pronounce ‘em, they’re good football players.” In 1936 arch Ram opponent New York University had sprung one of the year’s upsets by licking Fordham 7-6 and killing Bowl talk for the Maroon. It was the first NYU victory over the Rams since 1928 and Jim Crowley swore it’d be at least as long as that again, a prophetic vow!

At Evanston a Northwestern eleven that was billed, with awe, as the “team that beat Minnesota for the conference crown in 1936” opened up with Wildcat Don Heap and Company roaring over Iowa State.


But Bernie Bierman in those days was not “getting beat” two years in succession. Minnesota was back on top at ‘37’s end. Meanwhile Harvard and Navy, prepping for Yale and Army, hit each other for no gain, no score at Baltimore. Even slithery Middy ball carrier Lem Cooke got nowhere.


Navy ended up its season against gold and black striped Army in the sodden pit that was Municipal Stadium that murky day.


Army rooters had the last goalpost, though, as the Kaydets won a hard fought battle of the lines 6-0. Far happier was Harvard’s finale against Yale the same year, 1937. The Cantabs upset Eli, 13-6, despite a heroic bowing-out effort by Bulldog Clint Frank.


Two Yale Bowl scenes from one of 1937’s games of the year: The New Haven Bulldogs vs. Dartmouth. Clint Frank chucks one for a telling Eli gain.


Below, a Green back is caught behind his goal line for a safety. Two great teams battled to a 9-9 tie; for this was one of Yale’s best, and Dartmouth was headed for its second Ivy League crown in a row. Not often has the Bowl seen such an array of backfield talent as paraded that day: Hutchinson, Hollinworth, Gates and MacLeod for Dartmouth; Hessberg, Ewart, Colwell and Frank for Yale.


The continent’s width from battling Yale and Dartmouth was another fine back, a back who kept going after being hit, a coach’s dream back. Such was Ambrose Schindler, danger man of Southern California’s 1937 backfield.

Here he’s down but still moving. Two men already have him and Oregon’s No. 34 is about to make it a crowd but Schindler got that important arm and shoulder over the line for the Trojans. USC won this one and people at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum said. “They look like the Trojans of old.” But it wasn’t quite that good; there were bigger, hotter outfits up and down the Coast.


California was the red hot special on the West Coast in 1937. Led by Sam Chapman and Vic Bottari, who had a penchant for scoring whether he went over the line on his side, his face, or (below, against Washington State) on his back, the Golden Bears, under Coach Stub Allison, had one of Berkeley’s best teams.


Toward season’s end everyone knew they’d made the bowl . . . with that Bowl bully, Alabama, undefeated in all four previous Rose Bowl showings, as opponent. But ‘Bama came West once too often. California won 13-0 and people were as much in the air about this Coast win over an Alabama team as the players are here, knocking down a Bottari pass, slung goalward and meant for end Schwartz.


Fifty dollars in the middle and late thirties would buy more than it does today — things like two on the 35-yard line for Army-Notre Dame! New York’s biggest grid spectacle always played to capacity, late comers payed through the nose to “in” and nobody minded that the Irish usually won, least of all the loyal Subway Alumni!


It was one All-America passer to another as Davey O’Brien of Texas Christian University met Columbia’s Sid Luckman just before O’Brien received the Heisman Trophy in 1938.


The Horned Frogs, thanks to Little Davey’s arm, had won the Southwest crown after several years of threatening and Fort Worthers argued, “O’Brien or Baugh, Baugh or O’Brien?” It didn’t matter too much who was best for each had done his slinging for T.C.U.

In his first year with the Frogs, O’Brien was the nation’s leading passer statistically, having completed the astonishing percentage of 55 out of a hundred of his passes.

It was Sid Luckman’s fate to play with less potent teams than supported O’Brien. In his three years at Columbia, only once did the Lions win more games than they lost. However, Luckman established himself as the greatest Eastern passer.

His one man show against Army in ‘38 will long be remembered. Unbeatable in the first half, the Cadets rolled up three touchdowns and looked able to score at will. Then the Columbia Lion roared to life, Luckman passed brilliantly and the Morningside Heights team won 20-18 in one of the thrillers of that or any other series.

That perennial Eastern champ, the University of Pittsburgh, was at it again in 1938, too. Heading the Smoky City’s near-limitless array of talent was twice All-American back Marshall Biggie Goldberg who used to think up terrible maneuvers against the enemy as he pulled on his cleats in the Panthers’ dressing room.


For several years the unwary in all corners of the grid map had felt the Panther claws—all except Fordham who’d played three straight scoreless ties with the Pennsylvanians.

But in 1938 that great Pitt backfield of Goldberg, Stebbins, Chickerneo and Cassiano took the Ram for a shearing, 24-13. It took great elevens from Carnegie Tech and Duke to mar the otherwise perfect Pitt slate.

A couple of thousand miles away another great back played with less-than-great teams. Kenny Washington of UCLA, here shown picking up the loot after his spectacular ‘39 season with the Westwood Bruins, had a stronger eleven behind him his last year and made several All-Americas.


In 1937 and 1938 the Uclans had given scant support to Fly-away-Kenny Washington. Still, with or without support, he was easily one of the Coast’s best backs during those years.

“V” is for Vanderbilt, and so was Ray Morrison, All-America player there in 1908 and Head Coach at Nashville from 1934 through 1939. In his five years at the helm of his alma mater, Morrison might be excused for frowning and murmuring, “Oh for Bomar and Neely and Spears!”


The Southeastern conference is one of the ruggedest in the country and it takes plenty of manpower to get by. More often than not during his regime, Morrison found that his Commodores had plenty of fight—but the other school had the manpower.

Here the “other team” is Tennessee, 1939. Vanderbilt bowed, low man on a 13-0 final score.

In the late thirties the Tennessee Vols had all the manpower and answers that any team could want. Under that coaching answer man, Colonel Bob Neyland, the Orange and White rolled.

In ‘38 the Knoxville institution had what many observers claim was just about the best eleven in the history of the school—or any other school, they add hastily. And they had mighty strong arguing points in ends Bowden Wyatt and Ed Cifers, tackle Shires, guards Suffridge and Molinski, and Bob Foss and Bad News George Cafego in the backfield.

At one time or another during their stewardship every one of these seven made somebody’s All-America.

On New Year’s Day 1939 in the Orange Bowl, the Volunteers roared over Big Six Champ Oklahoma 17-0. They were starting on a victory skein which was to cover parts of three seasons during which the Orange and White was virtually invincible.


The Neyland outfit, like all great combinations was strong at all positions, but perhaps the standout was George Cafego, best Vol back since the famous Beattie Feathers who’d cavorted on Southeastern grids a little more than half a decade earlier.

Clear the line! Here comes old ‘98! But “there he goes” was more likely to be the refrain of Michigan Tommy Harmon’s adversaries. That’s what striped-sleeved Pennsylvania players are thinking as they run a losing race with the Ann Arbor tornado. This November Saturday in 1939 it was Harmon 19, Pennsylvania 17.

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