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April 18, 2009

GREAT but OBSCURE Game #1

NOVEMBER 21, 1936:
GEORGIA 7, FORDHAM 7
PREGAME: Only a couple of obstacles stood in the way of Fordham (Fordham College at Rose Hill in The Bronx) reaching its first bowl game in its history. In the first season of the Associated Press college football poll, the Rams were ranked third in the nation heading into their matchup with Georgia at New York's Polo Grounds. Undefeated with a record of 5-0-1 and well rested from a bye week, the Rams were coached by Jim Crowley (pictured right)--a member of Notre Dame's famed "Four Horsemen" and a one-time Georgia assistant in the late 1920s. Crowley's mighty line was tabbed the "Seven Blocks of Granite," featuring future Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.
Georgia had won back-to-back games over rivals Florida and Tulane following a four-game losing streak, including losses to LSU and Tennessee by a 93 to 7 combined score. Head coach Harry Mehre (pictured center) had played with Crowley at Notre Dame and later the two would coach together at Georgia. The Bulldogs had a disappointing 4-4 record prior to their trip to New York.
Georgia was regarded as simply a warm-up game for Fordham prior to the Rams facing New York U. in their season finale and a presumed date with a Pacific Coast squad in Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Confident their team would be playing in California on New Year's Day, Fordham students wore buttons declaring, "From Rose Hill to Rose Bowl."
DETAILS: In front of 35,000 spectators, the teams fought to a 0-0 deadlock at the half. In the third quarter, Georgia's Quinton Lumpkin recovered a fumble by Warren Mulrey in Fordham territory. Soon afterwards, Maurice Greene completed a 30-yard pass to Otis Maffett for a Bulldogs score--only the fourth touchdown allowed all season by the Rams in seven games. Lew Young added the PAT. Fordham promptly mounted a long drive, including a long pass completion on third down and 20 near Georgia's goal line. Two plays later, Joe Dulkie scored on a short run and Andy Palau's PAT tied the score, 7-7. The Rams threatened to score in the final quarter but the Bulldogs kept them out of the end zone to preserve the tie and one of the greater upsets in Georgia football history.
PLAYER OF GAME: Georgia's Pete Tinsley had played in the Bulldogs' backfield earlier in the '36 season but by the Fordham game, the converted fullback was a standout lineman. What few yards the Bulldogs gained on the ground against the Rams were due in large part to Tinsley's blocking from his guard position. On the defensive side, Tinsley was recognized as an "All-American for the day" by sportswriters as he was constantly in Fordham's backfield, smothering its running game.
STATISTICS:
Georgia- 5 first downs, 88 rush yards, 35 pass yards, 4-2-1 passes, 123 total yards, 0 fumb. lost
Fordham- 12 first downs, 149 rush yards, 84 pass yards, 12-6-2 passes, 233 total yards, 1 fumb. lost
RUNDOWN: Riding the momentum of its upset tie against Fordham, Georgia completed its season by defeating rival Georgia Tech 16-6 to finish its campaign with a 5-4-1 record. Fordham, on the other hand, quickly fell from grace. Following the tie, the Rams lost its final game to New York U. to end the season with a 5-1-2 mark and a #15 ranking. Not only did Fordham not go from Rose Hill to the Rose Bowl but go to no bowl whatsoever.

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