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October 24, 2010

Ealey's Modern-Day Mark

Late last night, a reader emailed me asking how Washaun Ealey's five touchdowns against Kentucky could have tied a school record when, "...you say Bob McWhorter scored 7 touchdowns in a game in 1910," in one of my books. 

Good question.

Not to take anything away from Washaun's high-scoring performance last night against the Wildcats.  His five touchdowns in one game, tying a modern-day Georgia record, is five more than I've ever scored in a Bulldog uniform... 

However, when UGA, or most every other college program, indicates a team or player broke, set, or tied a record, it's obviously amongst only the records the school has on hand. 

In Georgia's case (like most schools), for definitive statistics (i.e., yards, attempts, individual scoring, etc.), most of these records are primarily from the 1940s to the present, or modern-day or modern-era records/statistics.  Statistics before this era, like any touchdowns scored by Bob McWhorter (1910-1913), are considered "unofficial."

As one can imagine, finding team or individual totals for yardage, attempts, returns, etc., from the 1940s and before are quite difficult, if not impossible.  And if they are discovered, their accuracy can often be questioned.  For example, some early college football statisticians did not consider negative gains when tallying yardage.

However, for nearly every Georgia football game since the program's beginning in 1892, individual scoring is researchable.

While conducting research for one of my books, I nerdily decided to go back and gather all of the scoring for every available Georgia game in history.

Based on my findings, and including Ealey's performance against the 'Cats, below is a listing of the most touchdowns scored by an individual in a single game in UGA football history - the entire history:

7- Bob McWhorter vs. Gordon (1910)
6- Bob McWhorter vs. Alabama Presbyterian (1913)
5½- Frank "Si" Herty vs. Mercer (1892)
5- Bob McWhorter vs. Locust Grove (1910)
5- Robert Edwards vs. South Carolina (1995)
5- Washaun Ealey vs. Kentucky (2010)

I've been of the opinion for some time that although Herschel is the greatest or most outstanding UGA football player of all time, and Charley Trippi is the best all-around, Bob McWhorter is probably the most valuable player ever at Georgia.  The above listing might be some indication of why I think so.

Also, you may wonder, how the heck does someone score half a touchdown? 

I have no idea but apparently halfback Frank "Si" Herty - the cousin of 1892 head coach Dr. Charles Herty - did (along with five whole touchdowns) against Mercer nearly 120 years ago, when "[Henry] Brown and Herty scored the last touch-down, making the score 50 to 0," according to the Atlanta Constitution.

As I've posted a few times before, the final score of the 1892 Georgia-Mercer game reportedly should have actually been 60-0 but the official scorer made two trips to the Broad Street Dispensary during the contest for "refreshments," missing two touchdowns (counting 4 points each back then) and a successful PAT (2 points).

Just think, if the game's scorer hadn't gone to go get his drink on during the very first Georgia football game, Frank Herty might be credited with as many as 7½ touchdowns - an individual mark that would still remain a UGA record, whether pre-modern or modern day, for touchdowns scored in a game.


Ben Dukes said...

Can we say definitively that all of McWhorter's TDs were RUSHING?

Patrick Garbin said...

Good question and no. Back then, many of the game recaps in newspapers did not go into much detail unless Georgia was playing a high-profiled opponent, which Gordon was not.

Written was a lot of what I described from the 1892 game: "XYZ then scored to make the score xx to xx" - we don't know how he scored a touchdown, just that he did score a touchdown.

In fact, based on what I know of McWhorter, he often returned punts for Georgia (and scored while doing so), so it wouldn't surprise me if 2 or more of his TDs against Gordon were scored in a non-rushing manner.

Thanks for posting.