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1912 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

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1912 record  8–1–1 (4–0–1 SIAA)
Assistant coach  Owsley Manier
Captain  Lewie Hardage
Head coach  Dan McGugin (9th year)
Offensive scheme  Short-punt
1912 Vanderbilt Commodores football team
Conference  Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association

The 1912 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1912 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The 1912 season was Dan McGugin's 9th year as head coach. Members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA), the Commodores won their third straight conference title this year, posting a 8–1–1 record (4–0–1 SIAA). Vanderbilt outscored its opponents 391 to 19.

Contents

The 105–0 victory over Bethel was the largest in the school's history. The team's only loss was to national champion Harvard. They also suffered a tie to Auburn.

Several players received postseason honors. Lew Hardage was selected a third-team All-American by Walter Camp.

Before the season

Vanderbilt faced its hardest schedule to date, and lost varsity letter winners in quarterback Ray Morrison, tackle Ewing Y. Freeland to Texas, and guard Will Metzger to business. Aside from Morrison, Vanderbilt retained the rest of its great backfield of the previous year with halfbacks Lew Hardage, the team's captain, and Wilson Collins, and fullback Ammie Sikes. Replacing Morrison at quarterback was renowned drop kicker Zach Curlin.

The 1912 season saw the NCAA implement several rule changes to increase scoring. These included: the value of a touchdown increased from 5 points to 6, the length of the field was reduced to 100 yards, 10-yard end zones were added, the onside kick was eliminated, and unlimited use of the forward pass was introduced.

Bethel

The season started with a bang, the largest win in school history, a 105–0 victory over Bethel College in a pouring rain. Future Vanderbilt star Josh Cody played for Bethel.

Wilson Collins started the scoring barrage when he took a punt 45 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. The game was played in the mud, in which substitute quarterback Rabbi Robins was better suited than starter Zach Curlin. Robins once returned a kick 70 yards for a touchdown. Collins had five touchdowns, Enoch Brown three, Hardage and Robins and Morrison two each, and Reyer and Chester one each.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Covington (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Morgan (center), Huffman (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Curlin (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Sikes (fullback).

Maryville

The Commodores then rolled up a 100–3 score against the Maryville Scots. Despite the first two games being like practice games, the large scores were quite the surprise, for in both the substitutes replaced the regulars by the second quarter. Maryville's Badgett scored on a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. One of Vanderbilt's scores was a 40-yard forward pass from Hardage to Brown.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Covington (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Morgan (center), Huffman (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Curlin (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Sikes (fullback).

Rose Polytechnic

The game with Rose Polytechnic was seen as the first real test of the season. Still, the Commodores romped to a 54–0 victory with subs replacing the regulars by the end of the first half. The first score came on a 35-yard interception return by Lew Hardage. During the game, Rose Poly tried a trick play with a player in civilian clothes receiving the ball.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Morgan (center), Swofford (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Robins (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Chester (fullback).

Georgia

The Commodores easily defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 46–0 in the rain. Coaching the Bulldogs was McGugin product Alex Cunningham. The game was played on the infield and part of the right outfield of Ponce de Leon Park. The score would have been higher but for the water and mud. Georgia star Bob McWhorter was held in check, with his longest gain being 12 yards.

The first score of the game came when Wilson Collins got away for a 20-yard run, but fumbled. The ball was picked up by Zach Curlin and run in for a touchdown. When the game ended, Georgia men tried to steal the ball, and a fight broke out, broken up by coach McGugin and umpire Ted Coy.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Morgan (center), Huffman (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Robins (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Shea (right halfback), and Chester (fullback).

Mississippi

Vanderbilt beat Mississippi 24–0, the visitors showing a strong defense. Morgan, Collins, and Sikes were on the sidelines for the whole game. Multiple times, the Commodores fumbled near the goal line.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Milholland (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Daves (left guard), T. Brown (center), Swafford (right guard), Covington (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Robins (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Shea (right halfback), and Turner (fullback).

Virginia

Vanderbilt met Virginia for the first time since 1898, playing to a first-time, 13–0 win. Ammie Sikes scored first, after runs of 35 and 28-yard by Lew Hardage paved the way. A 30-yard forward pass from Hardage to Enoch Brown got the second touchdown. In the last period, Sikes broke loose, down to the 5-yard line when he was caught from behind by Buck Mayer.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Daves (left tackle), Huffman (left guard), Morgan (center), Covington (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), Milholland (right end), Curlin (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Sikes (fullback).

Harvard

Vanderbilt suffered its only loss of the season on the road to coach Percy Haughton's national champion Harvard Crimson 9–3. Only Dartmouth played the Crimson closer. "As usual Harvard tried out the strength of its defense in the first period, kicking usually on the second down." Harvard used mostly substitutes and scored a touchdown five minutes after the second period began. Lew Hardage was injured and taken off the field.

Vanderbilt's lone score was a 28-yard field goal from Zach Curlin early in the third quarter, after Harvard muffed a punt. The Crimson added another field goal in the final period.

In the last ten minutes, the Commodores tried their full repertoire of tricks, including a delayed forward pass in which the ball was handled by four men and netted a 22-yard gain from Rabbi Robins. The International News Service reported: "Although defeated, Vanderbilt was not outplayed; for never was a gamer team seen in the Stadium."

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Turner (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Swafford (left guard), Morgan (center), Daves (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Curlin (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Sikes (fullback).

Centre

Vanderbilt playing with just four regulars and a new backfield beat the Centre Colonels 23–0. Hardage stayed home in Decatur, Alabama due to an injury.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Chester (left end), Daves (left tackle), Reyer (left guard), Huffman (center), Swafford (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), Reams (right end), Robins (quarterback), Luck (left halfback), Shea (right halfback), and Milholland (fullback).

Auburn

The Auburn Tigers upset expectations and tied the Commodores 7–7. Ammie Sikes scored first for Vanderbilt. Auburn scored after a Sikes fumble. The ball was kicked some fifteen yards down field clear of the melee, picked up by Kirk Newell, and run 55 yards to the endzone.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Reams (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Moody (center), Covington (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Curlin (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Turner (fullback).

Sewanee

Vanderbilt defeated rival Sewanee 16–0. In the first period, Sewanee had to punt from its own end zone. The pass to Jenks Gillem went wide, and before he could recover it he was downed by Enoch Brown for a safety. Gillem had one punt of 58 yards that day. Vanderbilt's game seemed to stagnate until Wilson Collins was hurt and replaced by Shea in the third quarter. Then two touchdowns came in the fourth period, one by Robins and another Turner. In his last game, Lew Hardage played well despite his hurt left ankle.

Vanderbilt clamored for a rematch to decide a champion after the tie with Auburn, but an upset by Georgia meant the Sewanee victory secured the title.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt was: Reams (left end), Shipp (left tackle), Daves (left guard), Morgan (center), Swofford (right guard), T. Brown (right tackle), E. Brown (right end), Robins (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Collins (right halfback), and Sikes (fullback).

Awards and honors

Lew Hardage was selected third-team All-American by Walter Camp, the fourth ever Southern player to get such a recognition. He was a unanimous All-Southern selection. Innis Brown wrote: "Hardage has been rated as probably the most successful man in the south at making forward passes." Ammie Sikes, Hugh Morgan, Tom Brown, and Enoch Brown all made composite All-Southern.

Championships

Vanderbilt won the SIAA title in football, baseball, and track. According to Nathan Stauffer, Texas A&M was Vanderbilt's nearest challenger for best football team in the South.

Depth chart

The following chart provides a visual depiction of Vanderbilt's lineup during the 1912 season with games started at the position reflected in parenthesis. The chart mimics a short punt formation while on offense, with the quarterback under center.

Varsity letter winners

"Wearers of the V."

Staff

  • Frank Gilliland - manager
  • References

    1912 Vanderbilt Commodores football team Wikipedia


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