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October 7, 2009

A Look Back: Tennessee (1924)

NOVEMBER 1, 1924: GEORGIA 33, Tennessee 0 (Athens)

The entire Georgia-Tennessee football series is one of off-and-on success for the Bulldogs through the years. Georgia's record versus Tennessee during selected time periods:
1899-1908: 1-3-1
1909-1924: 5-0
1925-1972: 0-5-1
1973-1988: 4-0
1989-1999: 0-9
2000-2008: 6-3
Georgia's win over Tennessee in 1924 was the Bulldogs' fifth consecutive in the series and, besides a 44-0 decision in 1981, their largest margin of victory over the Volunteers to date. More remarkably, it would be nearly another 50 years following the 33-0 victory until Georgia would defeat Tennessee again.
PREFACE: The night before the '24 Georgia-Tennessee game, Harry and Jim Woodruff were driving to Athens from Columbus to watch their brother, head coach George (photo--GeorgiaEncyclopedia.org), and his Bulldogs host the Volunteers. Just outside the city, the two brothers were involved in a serious automobile accident. Jim escaped serious injury; however, Harry, a quarterback at Georgia in the early 1900s and record holder of the school's longest play, would be in critical condition.
The following day, Coach "Kid" Woodruff decided it would be best to miss the game and sit by his brother's hospital bedside. Filling in for the absent coach would be assistants Frank Thomas and Harry Mehre, who each were only a few years or less away from beginning highly-successful head-coaching careers themselves.
GAME: Late in the opening quarter on UGA's Homecoming, Georgia's "Wee Willie" Hatcher carried 17 yards to Tennessee's 4-yard line. In two line plunges, fullback Frank Boland crossed the goal line. Howell Hollis missed the PAT but the Bulldogs had taken a 6-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Georgia capped a 6-play, 55-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring run by Cecil Sherlock. "Scrappy" Moore kicked the PAT and the Bulldogs led 13-0 at halftime.
Early in the second half, runs by L.C. "Teany" Randall and Tom "Hatless" Nelson and a pass from quarterback Moore to Nelson carried the ball to the visitor's 1-yard line. Nelson scored Georgia's third touchdown. "Scrappy" missed the PAT.
In the final period, Georgia's J.D. Thomason scored on an 11-yard crossbuck off right tackle. Hollis' PAT was successful and the Bulldogs led 26-0. Later, Hollis returned a Tennessee punt 31-yards to its 29-yard line. It took the Bulldogs just one play to score--a twisting run by Hatcher around left end. Hollis kicked his second PAT and scored the final point of the contest.
While Tennessee never threatened to score, Georgia's running game was nearly unstoppable; the Bulldogs finished with 17 first downs to the opponent's three. "Scrappy" Moore was not only applauded for his place kicking and punting but his generalship at quarterback for the Bulldogs.
ANDREW CECIL "SCRAPPY" MOORE: "Scrappy" Moore got his nickname while playing quarterback at Georgia from 1923-1925. Against Furman in 1924, Moore threw a touchdown pass, when the Bulldogs rarely attempted forward passes, and made 3 of 3 point-after touchdowns during a time when the average collegiate placekicker was fortunate to successfully make half of his PAT attempts. The next week at Vanderbilt, Moore nailed a field goal drop-kicked from the opponent's 35-yard line in the final quarter in a 3-0 Georgia victory. A field goal, another rarity in football at the time, would not be kicked by a Bulldog until 17 years later when Frank Sinkwich did so against Florida in 1941 "just for the fun of it."
"Scrappy" scored his first touchdown in the season-opening game of 1925 against Mercer and later that season passed for, not kicked, a PAT (worth just one point at the time) against Tennessee. Moore saved his best game for towards the end of his final season in a 34-0 win over Auburn. He was responsible for both touchdowns scored in the fourth quarter by first tossing a 23-yard score to George Morton and then rushing 71 yards for a second touchdown.
Only six years after college, Moore returned to his native Tennessee to become head coach of Chattanooga (later known as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). There he would coach for 35 seasons (1931-1967), compiling a 170-149-13 record. However, his success at Chattanooga was not evident when he faced his alma mater, recording an 0-7 mark against Georgia with more than an 28-point average losing margin.
A GEORGIA FIRST AND LIKELY LAST: When assistants Frank Thomas and Harry Mehre became Georgia's co-coaches for the 1924 Tennessee contest in the absence of George Woodruff, they instilled a game strategy taught to them by their head coach at Notre Dame--the great Knute Rockne. Georgia's second team curiously started the game instead of the usual first team. At the start of the second quarter, the entire set of backups were promptly replaced with the 11 first-string Bulldogs. So, it was reported, for the first time in Georgia football history, an entire Bulldog squad was replaced at once. To my knowledge, this act of substitution has not occurred since and likely will never again.


A Free Man said...

Thanks for the historical snippet. Especially the decade by decade breakdowns, I was trying to sort that out myself.

Katie said...

Thank you so much for posting this - the LC 'Teany' Randall of this story was my great grandfather. I'm always hunting for old articles from his football days. Please let me know if you've come across anything else about him! Thanks :)

Martha Mixson mmixson@darientel.net said...

Katie I hope you'll see this one day. My father was the "Wee Willie" in this article. He and your grandfather were good friends; they must have looked like Mutt and Jeff as my father was only 5'4". Fast forward to the early 70's when my parents were at a home game in Athens. As usual Daddy was coaching loudly from the stands when, as my mother described him, this giant of a man several rows down stood with hands on hops and yelled back " If you don't quit coaching I'm going to personally take you out". Mama and the nearby fans were terrified- but it turned out to be your grandfather "Teany" and the two had a great reunion.