• U.S.

Sport: Grand Old Man

4 minute read

Six years ago Amos Alonzo Stagg reached three score and ten, was told that he was through as faculty member, athletic director and football coach at the University of Chicago.* For 41 years he had taught football there, was credited with such innovations as the tackling dummy (his first was an old mattress), and numerals for players’ jerseys, had contributed more to the technique of the game than any other man in the country. He was the “Grand Old Man” of football.

But Grand Old Man Stagg was not through. Instead of accepting a $10,000-a-year sinecure as Chicago’s representative in Big Ten Councils, he got a job as football coach at the little College of the Pacific. Last week 76-year-old Alonzo Stagg, still spry and ruddy in his 49th year of coaching, came back to Chicago, sat on a hard bench in the stadium that is named after him and, with mixed emotions, watched his smart little Pacific team trounce the Maroons, 32-to-0.

Centre of a sentimental homecoming celebration, Alonzo Stagg may have pondered the changes that have taken place in U. S. football since he was named on Walter Camp’s first All-America in 1889, may have moaned over the low estate of the East’s Big Three and his alma mater, Yale, in particular (beaten by Princeton last week, 20-10-7).

The college that has been the Big Three’s nemesis this year is Dartmouth.

Defeating Harvard, Yale and Princeton in, one season is something that no previous Dartmouth team has ever done. Victor over all other opponents as well, the boys from the Hanover hills boasted a string of 22 games without defeat when they met Cornell, their most formidable opponent of the year, last week. But against Cornell’s stonewall line, Dartmouth met its Waterloo. In one of the most exciting games of the week, a great Cornell team reminiscent of the days of George Pfann and Eddie Kaw, bottled up the famed Dartmouth backfield trio of MacLeod, Hutchinson and Howe, handed Earl Blaik’s Green team its first defeat (14-10-7) in two years and laid claim to the mythical Ivy League championship.

While Cornell was celebrating its victory over the victor-over-the-Big-Three, Rutgers, which had defeated Princeton last fortnight for the first time since their first game in 1869, claimed the championship of the Middle Three (Rutgers, Lafayette, Lehigh) by beating Lafayette 6-to-0, and Amherst, undefeated this season, annihilated Williams 41-to-0 for the championship of the Little Three (Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan).

Although Dartmouth and Pittsburgh both had their famed undefeated streaks snapped at 22 this season, a far less publicized string has been spun by Baltimore’s Morgan College, No. 1 Negro football team of the U. S. In crushing Hampton Institute, 19-to-6, last week, Morgan registered its 54th consecutive game (seven years) without defeat.*

Other notable winning streaks that were prolonged last week:

< Duke, only major college in the country with a perfect record (unscored on all season), had little trouble keeping Syracuse away from its goal line, 21-to-0.

< Notre Dame, led by 18-year-old Sophomore Bob Saggau, scored three touchdowns, overpowered powerful Minnesota, 19-to-0, for its seventh victory in a row this year.

< Texas Christian, with little Davey O’Brien completing 17 out of 24 passes (for a gain of 230 yards), bewildered the University of Texas by its razzle-dazzle, added a 28-to-6 victory to its 1938 string of seven straight.

< Tennessee, meeting its old rival, Vanderbilt, in the No. 1 game of the South, exhibited the best team in its history and one of the best in the country, hoped for a Rose Bowl bid in registering its eighth successive victory (14-to-0) this season.

< Oklahoma made it eleven straight victories by blanking Missouri, 21-to-0, moving into the lead in the Big Six Conference with only one game left to play, and joining the ranks of the first ten U. S. football teams selected weekly by an Associated Press poll.

Notable losing streak:

< California Institute of Technology, after 21 defeats in a row, beat La Verne College last week, 13-10-6. La Verne was on the verge of disbanding its team earlier in the season for want of players.

*Faculty members at Chicago must retire at 70.

*Scheduled for January 2 is a Peach Bowl game, to be played in Atlanta between the No. i southern Negro team and the No. 1 eastern Negro team.

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