The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC x CFB 150: 1909-1931

1568 days ago
Photo: SEC

As part of the recognition of the 150th anniversary of college football, the Southeastern Conference is recognizing 150 of the greatest games and moments in the history of the 14 institutions of the SEC.

Each of the SEC's 14 members submitted to the Conference Office 10 great games or moments, and the SEC added 10 conference-wide highlights to produce a total of 150 great moments to be celebrated throughout the 2019 football season.

Week 1 - SEC Football 150 Greatest Moments

Final score: Kentucky 6, Illinois 2
Date: Oct. 9, 1909
Site: Illinois Field, Champaign, Illinois
Head coach: E.R. Sweetland
Title: They "Fought Like Wildcats"
Kentucky defeated a well-regarded Illinois team on the road, with captain Richard Barbee scoring on a 30-yard end run for the game's only touchdown. In the University chapel service the morning after the game, Commandant Philip Corbusier - head of the campus military department who had accompanied the team on the trip - told students that the players "fought like wildcats." And thus, a nickname was born.

Final score: Arkansas 16, LSU 0
Date: Nov. 13, 1909
Site: Red Elm Field, Memphis, Tennessee
Head Coach: Hugo Bezdek
Title: Wild Band of Razorbacks
Under second-year head coach Hugo Bezdek, undefeated Arkansas ventured to Memphis to take on LSU. Bezdek's squad emerged victorious thanks to the team's second straight shutout in a 16-0 win over the Tigers. When the Arkansas team arrived back in Fayetteville, Bezdek proclaimed his team played "like a wild band of razorback hogs." In the final game of the season 10 days later, Bezdek and his "wild band of razorback hogs" finished off the school's first-ever undefeated season at 7-0-0, outscoring opponents 186-18. The students liked the new nickname so much they officially adopted it heading into the 1910 season and the Razorbacks were born.

Final score: Vanderbilt 20, Texas 0
Date: October 21, 1921
Site: Fair Park Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Head Coach: Dan McGugin
Title: "In Memory of Rabbit"
One of the greatest and most beloved Dores of all-time, Irby "Rabbit" Curry, gave his life defending America in the skies over France. Curry was a standout quarterback from 1914-16, a scholar and student leader. The death of Curry stunned Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin and the Vanderbilt family. Vanderbilt was scheduled to play Texas in Dallas on Oct. 22, 1921 (before Oklahoma and Texas started the Red River Shootout, it was Vanderbilt vs. Texas at the Texas State Fair in Dallas with Vanderbilt winning five of seven games with the Longhorns between 1921 and 1928). The Commodores were heavy underdogs, but honored Curry with a 20-0 blanking of the Longhorns. McGugin would have a photo of Curry hanging prominently in his office until his death in 1936. Curry is buried in his hometown of Marlin, Texas.

Final Score: Texas A&M 22, Centre College 14
Date: Jan. 1, 1922
Site: Fair Park Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Head coach: Dana X. Bible
Title: The 12th Man Stands Ready
The 1921 Southwest Conference Champion Texas Aggies entered the Dixie Classic at Fair Park Stadium in Dallas as a decided underdog against the Centre College Praying Colonels. The Praying Colonels were led by former Texas A&M head coach Charley Moran and Centre College was unbeaten in 1921. Texas A&M was led by head coach Dana X. Bible. The Aggies were down 7-3 in the third quarter before taking a 10-7 lead thanks to a Puny Wilson to A.J. Evans touchdown pass. Wilson would add another touchdown run and Ted Winn returned an interception 45 yards for another score and the Aggies won, 22-14. The Aggies had little depth and during the course of the game, Coach Bible called for E. King Gill to come out of the stands. Gill changed into a uniform and stood ready to take the field, but never entered the game. Ever since that contest, the 12th Man, the Texas A&M student body, has stood ready to support its Aggie football team.

Final Score: Florida 16, Alabama 6
Date: November 29, 1923
Site: Rickwood Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Head Coach: James Van Fleet
Title: Gators Emerge from Mud Bowl, Stun Undefeated Alabama
On a muddy field with pools of water, the Gators upset previously undefeated Alabama with a 16-6 comeback victory on Thanksgiving Day 1923, ushering themselves into the national spotlight. Gators running back Edgar C. Jones scored all 16 points, scoring on 10-yard and 20-yard rushing touchdowns, as well as a 12-yard field goal. Punting and defense played a major role in Florida's victory, with quarterback and punter Ark Newton stealing the show. In the first half, Florida stopped multiple Crimson Tide scoring threats inside the 10-yrad line. In the second half, Newton blasted a 60-yard punt from his own 20-yard line to flip the field with the game tied, 6-6. After a botched punt on Alabama's ensuing drive, Jones knocked a field goal through to give Florida a 9-6 lead. Newton's punting continued to give Florida a significant edge in the battle for field position, which culminated in Jones' second rushing touchdown of the day and sealed what was, at the time, its biggest win in program history.

Final Score: Alabama 20, Washington 19
Date: January 1, 1926
Site: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Head Coach: Wallace Wade
Title: The First Title
Alabama's football history has been about champions and the 1925 team garnered the school's first national title by posting a perfect 10-0 record and beating powerful Washington 20-19 in the Rose Bowl. It marked the first time a southern team had been to Pasadena, and the locals appeared shocked with the Tide victory. Senior stars Johnny Mack Brown and All-American Pooley Hubert mesmerized the crowds of the 1920s with their unique skills. Known as the "Dothan Antelope," Brown was the scourge of Bama foes. Brown scored on a 58-yard reception from Grant Gillis and a 62-yard catch from Hubert in the Rose Bowl win. In the win over Washington, Hubert also rushed for a touchdown and starred defensively. Both Brown and Hubert would become College Football Hall of Famers. Brown and guard Bill Buckler also were All-Southern Conference selections.

Final Score: Ole Miss 7, Mississippi A&M (Mississippi State) 6
Date: Nov. 25, 1926
Site: Starkville, Mississippi
Head Coach: Homer Hazel
Title: The Birth of the Golden Egg
Up until the 1926 meeting in Starkville, Ole Miss had only claimed five victories in the previous 23 football contests between the Rebels and Bulldogs. Thus, when Ole Miss claimed a 7-6 victory over then Mississippi A&M College, a celebration was due at Scott Field after that '26 contest. Oddly, huge roars went up from both sides at the final whistle, not just from the Ole Miss stands. While the A&M players walked slowly off the field with heads bowed, wrote one newsman, the Maroon student section stood and sang the alma mater. But on the east side, pandemonium. Well-wishers rushed "like madmen onto the field," Webb Burke said in his 1957 interview. Some fans made a dash for the goal posts. Irate Aggie supporters took after the ambitious Ole Miss group with cane bottom chairs, and fights broke out. The mayhem continued until most of the chairs were splintered. As explained by the Reveille, A&M yearbook, "A few chairs had to be sacrificed over the heads of these to persuade them that was entirely the wrong attitude." As described in a story for the Commercial Appeal by Ben Hilbun, who one day would become president of the Starkville school, "The phantom of victory, that for thirteen years eluded Ole Miss, returned to the bearded Berserkers ... and they won over A&M, their traditional rivals, 7 to 6." Ole Miss students fought for the goal posts, he continued, "but were restrained." Ole Miss fans couldn't believe their victory. Through all their 13 defeats since 1910 (they did not play in 1912, 1913 and 1914) they had only scored in three games, counted just 33 points to A&M's 327, an average of 25-3. Injuries to players were expected. But not to spectators. Ole Miss and A&M students, shocked by the battle that erupted after the game, vowed that it must not happen again. The result was the Golden Egg, a trophy to cool the heat of battle, instituted the following season by joint agreement of the two student bodies.

Final Score: Tennessee 15, Alabama 13
Date: October 20, 1928
Site: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Head Coach: Robert R. Neyland
Title: "The Flaming Sophomores"
Vol historians mark this game as the beginning of Tennessee as a football power in the South. Robert R. Neyland, a Captain in the Army at this time in his career, was entering his third season at the helm. The previous 1927 team had won the Southern Conference Championship and was undefeated after winning its first three games of the season. Tennessee appeared to be rapidly blossoming into a football power but entered this October game a solid underdog to the vaunted power of Alabama under the direction of Coach Wallace Wade. However, Vol Halfback Gene McEver returned the opening kickoff into a 98-yard touchdown romp and the Alabama Crimson Tide never recovered as the Vols won 15-13. Along with the running of McEver and the play of Bobby Dodd and Buddy Hackman, all sophomores, grew the nickname, "Flaming Sophomores" and out of it Coach Neyland and the Vols generated a winning tradition that carried Tennessee to victories all over the Southland and put them in every major bowl in the nation.

Georgia vs. Yale
Final Score: Georgia 15, Yale 0
Date: Oct. 12, 1929
Site: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Georgia
Head Coach: Harry Mehre
Mighty Yale and its Boola-Boola band came to the Deep South for the first time to help Georgia dedicate its brand new stadium with its infant hedges standing a little more than a foot tall. Harry Mehre, a Notre Damer of the Four Horsemen era, was the Georgia coach and Yale's big star was running back Albie Booth. As it turned out the man of the hour was Georgia end, Vernon "Catfish" Smith, who scored all of Georgia's points in a 15-0 victory, recovering a blocked kick in the Yale end zone for a touchdown. He kicked the extra point. Subsequently, he threw Booth for safety and later caught a touchdown pass from Spurgeon Chandler. One New York newspaper proclaimed: "Catfish 15, Yale 0.

Final Score: LSU 35, Spring Hill 0
Date: October 3, 1931
Site: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Head Coach: Russ Cohen
Title: Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium is Born
LSU's longstanding tradition of playing night games in Tiger Stadium was born on October 3, 1931 when the Tigers opened the season against Spring Hill under the lights in Tiger Stadium. The idea of night football was introduced by T.P. "Skipper" Heard, then graduate manager of athletics and later athletics director. Several reasons were cited for playing LSU games at night, including avoiding the heat and humidity of afternoon games, avoiding scheduling conflicts with Tulane and Loyola, and giving more fans the opportunity to see the Tigers play. An immediate increase in attendance was noted, and night football soon became ingrained in LSU football lore. As for the game, Morning Advocate writer Orene Simmons described the game as a "nocturnal spectacle... in which the game assumed an aspect delightfully theatrical". Unfortunately it rained, keeping the crowd to less than 10,000 fans. Those who braved the elements saw sophomore sensation Art Foley rush for three touchdowns in the 35-0 LSU victory.