October 7, 2013

DO THEY EVEN HAVE BOOK FAIRS ANYMORE?:

222-0 : The Story of The Game of the Century (G. Frank Burns, Cumberland University Historian)

The world immediately recognizes three sets of figures: 2001, December 7, and 222 to 0. The first is a movie, the second is a day that lives in infamy, and the third is indissolubly connected with Cumberland football, a veritable landmark of American sports. On October 7, 1916, Georgia Tech played Cumberland in Atlanta. Tech won 222 to 0, the worst walloping in the history of American college football. There was a worse defeat in prep school records but the 227 to 0 win by Dickinson over Haverford is suspect.

From the beginning of football at Cumberland in 1894, an ambitious schedule had each season included Southern football powers: Sewanee, Vanderbilt, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi A. & M. (now Mississippi State), Alabama, Tulane, South Carolina, Louisiana State, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech. In 1902 Cumberland's 16 to 5 win over A. & M. attracted attention. In 1903 there was the 6-0 victory over Vanderbilt, the five-day road trip that on November 14, 16, and 18 furnished consecutive victories over Tulane, Louisiana State, and Alabama, and the post-season game with Clemson, arranged by Coach John Heisman for the championship of the South, which ended with the score 11 to 11. Cumberland was proclaimed the Southern champion.

Incidentally, John Heisman's Clemson team beat Georgia Tech 73 to 0 in 1903; the next season Heisman was coaching at Georgia Tech.

The sport was dropped at Cumberland in 1906, resumed in 1912, dropped in 1915, and resumed briefly in 1916 when the memorable 222-0 game with Georgia Tech was played in Atlanta.

There is no such thing as a true account of this game. There is a contemporary play-by-play record, without color, in the files of an Atlanta newspaper. But no matter who tells the story, the temptation to embroider is irresistible.

When we were kids there was one football book we all read--was it called Unforgettable Football Facts?--and the only three things I remember from it were this game, Colgate's undefeated, untied, unscored-upon, uninvited season and the Ice Bowl.

Posted by at October 7, 2013 6:27 PM
  

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