|Charley recently with his Rose|
Bowl Player of the Game Award
Not long before Charley's interview with USA Today, I happened to interview him at his home for my current book project. His "game of his life" while at
was the 9-0 blanking of UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl. Georgia
Charley revealed very little to me regarding his individual play against the Bruins—a game MVP performance that included 130 rushing yards on 27 carries, nearly 100 passing yards, an interception on defense, and a 49.5-yard punting average by the sophomore halfback. I had to pry any individual game details out of him. Instead, Charley wanted to discuss the team's eye-opening trip to
and most importantly, the tribute the Bulldogs gave during the game to the
sport's best player that season. Hollywood
Prior to the interview, I was aware that Charley's extraordinary Rose Bowl performance did not include him scoring. The game's lone touchdown resulted on a short run by Heisman-winning Frank Sinkwich, who was limited during the game because of injuries. Playing on two injured ankles, Sinkwich threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, and gained only 20 rushing yards on 10 carries. Nevertheless, what would be his final carry as a Bulldog was the ultimate way to end a career, and the ultimate tribute a team could give its wounded leader.
Coach Wally Butts was big on scrimmaging, so much so he made the team scrimmage during its trip by train to
was not about to go two or three days without a practice," Charley
informed me. "We stopped, scrimmaged, got back on the train to spend the
night, and then went on to California ."
Upon arrival, the Bulldogs began scrimmaging again and quite often, while rather
"After a scrimmage in
Coach Butts approached me and said that Frank had been injured; one ankle was
hurt rather badly while the other was swollen," Charley said. "Butts
told me that Frank would be limited and I would 'have to go all the way'--carry
the load of the team's carries and maybe play the entire game." However,
the head coach, his sophomore sensation, and the rest of the team's offense
(minus Sinkwich) agreed that if the team ever got close to UCLA's goal line,
even if it was on multiple occasions, the injured Sinkwich would be handed the
ball for an opportunity to score a touchdown. California
"After a scrimmage in
On the final play of the third quarter during a scoreless tie, Sinkwich was given his first chance from the opponent's one-yard line, but lost a fumble recovered by UCLA's Albert Izmirian. In an era when teams often punted prior to facing fourth down, the Bruins punted on the very next play and had it blocked out of the end zone, scoring a safety for
a couple of changes of possessions, the Bulldogs began a drive from UCLA's
25-yard line after an interception by Clyde Ehrhardt. Georgia
"Following one play, Frank got up hobbling so badly that we tried to send him to the sideline, but he refused to leave the game," Trippi said of
's touchdown drive. "On
the next play, he was given the ball, but then handed it to me on a reverse for
a gain of about six or seven yards. Finally, facing second down and goal from
the one-yard line, we called timeout." Georgia
For what Charley believes was the only play he missed the entire game offensively or defensively, he went to the sideline as Sinkwich was inserted at left halfback. Sinkwich was then given another chance, running at right tackle before being spun sideways by a Bruin defender. He just got over the goal line, scoring the game’s only touchdown with about seven-and-a-half minutes remaining.
Ehrhardt's interception, Sinkwich's touchdown, and fans tear down the goal posts following
Charley concluded his memory of the Rose Bowl with the following: "We wanted to pay tribute to Frank for the great career he had at
and he delivered by scoring
a touchdown in the Rose Bowl. In the
sport’s greatest game, what a way for Frank Sinkwich to complete his college
Remember, Charley was asked to describe the game of his life...
I've known Charley for about five or six years and of all former Georgia players, I've probably interviewed him more than any other. I can honestly say he is one of the most gracious and selfless people I know. Reading that the Bulldog great has no interest in an annual showcase filled with glitz, instant millionaires, and individualism makes perfect sense to me.
The ultimate team player, who was part of perhaps the ultimate tribute to a teammate in UGA football history, continues to believe in a "Big team, Little me" approach.