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May 4, 2010

1910: The Greatest Game Ever

Entering the 1910 Georgia-Georgia Tech game, John Heisman-coached teams (Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia Tech) were 11-1-1 against Georgia, outscoring the Red and Black by a combined 281 to 63 score.

Continued from Trickery on the Mountain...
Following the loss at mighty Sewanee - a moral victory for Georgia - the Red and Black were upset at Augusta's State Fairgrounds in a 0-0 tie against an average Clemson squad.  Nevertheless, with two games left on its schedule, Georgia's record stood at an impressive 5-1-1.

The two remaining contests were versus Georgia Tech and Auburn - two of the best teams in the South.  Georgia hadn't had much success against either squad, especially versus the Yellow Jackets.

The Red and Black hadn't defeated their intrastate rival in seven years, losing five in a row by a combined 108 to 18 score.  Against teams coached by John Heisman, Georgia had been particularly unsuccessful.  Whether at Auburn, Clemson, or Tech, Heisman had not lost to the Red and Black since his 1896 Auburn team was defeated 12-6.

Like today, Heisman was one of the most distinguished figures in college football a century ago.  Twenty-six years before the first Heisman Trophy, the name was synonymous with winning in 1910.  This was especially true when his Yellow Jackets scored first.

It was stated that if Georgia Tech scored the first points in any game, the other team was "done for."

As many as 7,000 spectators braved the rain at Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Park, paying a variety of costs for admission: 75 cents for bleacher seats, $1.25 for the grand stand, $1.50 for the sidelines, and $1.50 for box seats.

At 3:00 PM, "the greatest game of the local football season" kicked off.  Tech's starting eleven averaged 6-0 in height and 168 pounds per man to Georgia's 5-10 and 160 - a decided advantage for the Yellow Jackets.

The teams traded punts to start the contest before Tech took over on Georgia's 42-yard line.  On the sixth play of the drive, Dean Hill scored on a five-yard run and Wayne Patterson added the PAT.  Georgia Tech had taken an early 6-0 lead (touchdowns counted for five points) and, if you believed what the media printed, the game was over; the Yellow Jackets were the first to score.

After Tech dominated the opening quarter of play, Georgia finally showed some life on offense.  From the Red and Black's own 15-yard line, Bob McWhorter circled around an end and began heading up field.  Dodging defenders, McWhorter sped to a 95-yard touchdown (the field was then 110 yards in length, not 100); however, he apparently had stepped out of bounds at midfield and the ball was brought back to the 50-yard line.

On the next play, Georgia turned the ball over and a scoring opportunity had been squandered.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jackets were forced to punt.  Catching the ball at the 50-yard line, George "Kid" Woodruff returned the kick 20 yards.  Georgia struck quickly, scoring in a single play on a 30-yard end run by the great McWhorter.  Hafford Hay's successful kick tied the game, 6-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Red and Black committed a bizarre penalty when captain and starting left tackle Omar Franklin slugged an opposing Yellow Jacket.  Not only was Franklin kicked out of the game but Georgia was penalized 40 yards for the punch, giving Tech excellent field position.

Georgia's defense held and the Jackets were forced to punt.

Towards the end of the contest, Georgia Tech mounted a drive and reached Georgia territory before losing a costly fumble.  The Red and Black had possession at their own 26-yard line but only a few minutes remained in the game.  For the second time in the 13-game series and for second time that season for Georgia, it was evident the game was going to end in a draw.

Suddenly, right end Cliff Hatcher broke loose for a 40-yard gain to Tech's 44-yard line.  On the next play - another one of his famed, circled end runs - McWhorter ran for a touchdown.  However, he apparently stepped out of bounds at the Yellow Jackets' four-yard line.

It took the star halfback three tries but McWhorter finally broke the goal line on third down, scoring with under two minutes left.  Hay missed the PAT but it mattered little.  The game was called soon afterwards because of darkness.

In the 11-6 victory, Georgia rushed for 331 yards, at least 200 to 250 of which were gained by McWhorter.  The newcomer from the Gordon Institute had runs that included two 45-yard gains, a 30-yarder, another for 25, and both of the Red and Black's touchdowns.

Following the win, it was reported by the Atlanta Constitution that "pandemonium reigned" as Red and Black fans swarmed the field "throwing [their] hats."  Georgia had snapped a five-game losing streak to the arch enemy while starting what would be a four-game winning streak in, according to the same newspaper, the "Greatest Game Ever."

3 comments:

jim said...

P,

It was great reading about this game...oh how I would have loved to have seen it in person. I will say, however, that as an ex-player, I would have to throw our 1984 game against clemson into the "best UGA game ever" discussion. Obviously I have a biased opinion because I played in the game, but it was a special game for many reasons. I would also throw our Cotton Bowl game upset win over Texas in there because we were such huge underdogs...regardless, love the blog!!!

Jimmy Holton

Patrick said...

Jimmy,
How ironic... I'm reading your comments after just posting a video, where you play a prominent role. Thanks for reading and great block vs. 'Bama!
--
Patrick

jim said...

Thanks new friend...I JUST WATCHED THE VIDEO...and you made my YEAR!!!

Jimmy