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1921 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team

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1921 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football
SIAA co-champion
Conference Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1921 record 8–1 (5–0 SIAA)
Head coach William Alexander (2nd season)
Offensive scheme Jump shift
Captain Judy Harlan
Home stadium Grant Field
Uniform
20sgatechuniform.png
Seasons
← 1920
1922 →
1921 SIAA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Georgia + 6 0 1     7 2 1
Georgia Tech + 5 0 0     8 1 0
Vanderbilt + 5 0 1     7 0 1
Tennessee 4 1 1     6 2 1
Florida 4 1 2     6 3 2
Mississippi College 3 1 1     7 2 1
Sewanee 4 2 0     6 2 0
LSU 2 1 1     6 1 1
South Carolina 2 1 1     5 1 2
Transylvania 2 1 0     4 4 0
Furman 4 2 1     7 2 1
Auburn 3 2 0     5 3 0
Tulane 3 3 0     4 6 0
Mississippi A&M 2 3 1     4 4 1
Alabama 2 4 2     5 4 2
Oglethorpe 2 4 0     5 4 0
Chattanooga 2 4 0     4 6 0
Kentucky 1 2 1     4 3 1
The Citadel 1 2 1     3 3 2
Ole Miss 1 4 0     3 6 0
Howard 1 4 0     3 6 0
Mercer 1 5 0     3 6 0
Louisville 0 1 0     2 2 1
Wofford 0 2 0     2 7 0
Georgetown (KY) 0 3 0     2 6 0
Millsaps 0 3 1     0 3 1
Clemson 0 4 2     1 6 2
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1921 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team[note 1] represented the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado of the Georgia Institute of Technology during the 1921 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The team played its home games at Grant Field, its only loss was in its only road game, at the Polo Grounds in New York City, to undefeated eastern power Penn State.

The Tornado was coached by William Alexander in his second year as head coach, compiling an 8–1 record (5–0 against Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) teams) and outscoring opponents 360 to 56. The team shared the SIAA title with the Centre Colonels, Georgia Bulldogs, and Vanderbilt Commodores.

Captain Judy Harlan made Walter Camp's third-team All-America. Red Barron led the team in scoring and rushed for 1,459 yards during the season, a school record at the time.[3]

Before the season[edit]

In 1921, football used a one-platoon system in which players played offense, defense, and special teams. A team which scored a touchdown had the option to kick-off or receive, and the ball was much rounder. Coach William Alexander retained his predecessor John Heisman's scheme, using the pre-snap movement of his jump shift offense.

The Tornado captain was senior fullback Judy Harlan,[4][5] called the school's greatest back by some[6] and one of the country's best defensive backs.[7] Also in the backfield was halfback Red Barron, who had just recovered from a broken jaw received the previous season in a game against Vanderbilt.[8] Gone from the team were greats such as Buck Flowers and Bill Fincher, who graduated in 1920.

Future Tech fullback Sam Murray said about a strong runner during the 1930s, "He's good, but if I were playing again, I would have one wish – never to see bearing down upon me a more fearsome picture of power than Judy Harlan blocking for Red Barron."[9] In the line at either end were the brothers John and Al Staton. At guard was Oscar Davis, who (with Barron) was listed on an All-Tech Alexander-era team.[10]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Site Result Attendance
September 24 Wake Forest* Grant FieldAtlanta, GA W 42–0    
October 1 Oglethorpe Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 41–0   8,000
October 8 Davidson* Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 70–0    
October 15 Furman Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 69–0    
October 22 Rutgers* Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 48–14   15,000
October 29 vs. Penn State* Polo GroundsNew York, NY L 28–7    
November 5 Clemson Grant Field • Atlanta, GA (Rivalry) W 48–7    
November 12 Georgetown Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 21–7    
November 24 Auburn Grant Field • Atlanta, GA (Rivalry) W 14–0   25,000
*Non-conference game.

[11]

Season summary[edit]

Wake Forest[edit]

Wake Forest at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Wake 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 14 14 7 7 42

The season opened with a 42–0 shutout of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the intense heat made for many substitutions, and a number of Tech players starred.[8] Despite the heat, Harlan still smashed into the line.[8]

A player running in front of the ball-carrier
Harlan running interference for Barron

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), McRee (left tackle), McIntyre (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), Hunt (quarterback), Brewster (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[8]

Oglethorpe[edit]

Oglethorpe at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Oglethorpe 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 14 7 13 7 41

In the second week of play, Red Barron starred as the Tornado defeated the neighboring Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels 41–0. Dewey Scarboro scored Tech's first touchdown,[12] and the second came on a 25-yard run by Barron.[12]

In the third quarter, Tech sent in a substitute backfield which was even more successful,[12] the Tornado had 363 yards from scrimmage to Oglethorpe's four.[12]

The starting lineup was Nabelle (left end), Johnson (left tackle), Lebey (left guard), Frye (center), Davis (right guard), Fincher (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Scarboro (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[12]

Davidson[edit]

Davidson at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Davidson 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 7 21 7 35 70

Tech shut out Davidson 70–0, with 22 first downs; Davidson had none.[13] For the first touchdown, Barron threw a pass and Staton ran 35 yards for the score,[14] the final score came when Barron had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown,[15] and Judy Harlan had four touchdowns.[13]

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), McRee (left tackle), Frye (left guard), Amis (center), Borum (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[13]

Furman[edit]

Furman at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Furman 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 7 18 32 12 69

The Tech backfield, led by Barron, defeated Billy Laval's Furman Purple Hurricane 69–0.[16] Milton McManaway played for Furman.[16][note 2]

Barron had a 55-yard touchdown run.[15] A punt return for a touchdown, with Barron reversing field, was disallowed due to an offside penalty.[16] Judy Harlan received praised for his work as a defensive back.[16]

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), McRee (left tackle), Lebey (left guard), Amis (center), Frye (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[16]

Rutgers[edit]

Rutgers at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Rutgers 7 0 0 7 14
Ga. Tech 14 14 13 7 48

The Tornado defeated Rutgers in an inter-sectional contest, 48–14. Tech's shift was at its peak,[18] and Red Barron was the game's star.[17] Rutgers' Carl Waite threw a 30-yard touchdown to Heinie Benkert.[14]

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), McRee (left tackle), Frye (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Brewster (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[17]

Red Barron scoring a touchdown
Barron's touchdown against Penn State

Penn State[edit]

Georgia Tech vs. Penn State
1 2 3 4 Total
Ga. Tech 7 0 0 0 7
Penn State 7 7 7 7 28

The Penn State Nittany Lions' undefeated "Mystery Team" defeated Georgia Tech 28–7 at the Polo Grounds.[20][21][22] Both teams used a shift.[23]

Tech started strong, and Red Barron scored Tech's only touchdown,[24] the game's star play immediately followed: an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Glenn Killinger.[19] Penn State's defense stiffened after that.[23]

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), McRee (left tackle), Frye (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Barron (left halfback), Brewster (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[19]

Clemson[edit]

Clemson at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Clemson 7 0 0 0 7
Ga. Tech 7 7 14 20 48

"Just as we used to bring in a load of stove wood at nightfall, feed the pigs and milk the cows, so do football teams of note have their chores to perform year in and year out. Georgia Tech performed one of its accustomed tasks Saturday afternoon, when Clemson was decidedly thrashed, but the task was not performed in the usual manner, for Clemson scored a touchdown, the score was 48 to 7."[25]

Tech started the game with a second-string backfield.[25] Clemson scored first, with Burton running in a touchdown.[25] Tech's first score came six seconds before the end of the first quarter, when Red Barron went around the tackle for a touchdown,[25] the second touchdown came after a 20-yard Barron run.[25] Pinkey Hunt got the first score of the second half.[25] The fourth touchdown came when Jimmy Brewster gained 28 yards down field and almost 100 yards in all.[25] Brewster also scored the next touchdown on a 15-yard run after completing an 18-yard pass.[25] Barron and Harlan returned to the lineup late, scoring an additional touchdown apiece.[25]

The starting lineup was Cornell (left end), Johnson (left tackle), Barnett (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), Lyman (right tackle), A. Staton (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Farnsworth (fullback).[25]

Georgetown[edit]

Georgetown at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Georgetown 0 0 0 7 7
Ga. Tech 0 7 14 0 21

The Tornado defeated the Georgetown Hilltoppers, 21–7. Tech's first score came from Judy Harlan on a two-yard run behind right tackle,[26] the second score was in the second half, when Red Barron skirted the left end for 20 yards and a touchdown.[26] Barron made his team's final touchdown on a two-yard run behind left guard.[26] Georgetown scored on a 95-yard return after DuFour recovered a Jack McDonough fumble.[26]

Player preparing to pass, with another player preparing to catch
A pass during the Tech-Auburn game

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), Johnson (left tackle), Frye (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), A. Staton (right tackle), Mitchell (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[27]

Auburn[edit]

Auburn at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Auburn 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 0 0 14 14

Georgia Tech defeated Auburn, 14–0. More than 21,000 fans, the largest crowd of the Southern football season, watched the game.[29]

After a scoreless first half, Tech opened a drive to start the second half with runs from Barron, Harlan, and Ferst, as Barron was about to score, he fumbled and McDonough recovered the ball in the end zone. Barron later scored the second touchdown.[28]

The starting lineup was J. Staton (left end), Johnson (left tackle), Lebey (left guard), Amis (center), Davis (right guard), A. Staton (right tackle), Mitchell (right end), McDonough (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Barron (right halfback), and Harlan (fullback).[28]

Postseason[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Barron rushed for 1,459 yards during the season,[3] and led the team in scoring with 90 points.[30] Harlan, Barron, and Al Staton were composite All-Southerns, and Davis and John Staton made some All-Southern teams.[31] Harlan made Walter Camp's third All-America team,[32] and Barron made Jack Veiock's third team.[33]

Championships[edit]

For yet another season, neither Tech nor the Bulldogs of Georgia lost to a Southern team. Tech tied with independent Centre, Georgia, and Vanderbilt for claims of the SIAA title,[29] for Georgia coach Herman Stegeman, the contest for the mythical title of greatest Southern team was between Centre, Georgia Tech, and Georgia.[29] Sportswriter Fuzzy Woodruff in his History of Southern Football explained Tech was picked as champion "through force of habit";[34] though "no championship was ever won with less effort or achievement."[34]

Personnel[edit]

Depth chart[edit]

The following chart depicts Tech's lineup during the 1921 season, with games started at the position in parentheses, it mimics the offense after the jump shift.

LE
John Staton (7)
Cornell (1)
Nabelle (1)
 
LT LG C RG RT
J. P. McCrea (5) Claire Frye (4) Dad Amis (8) Oscar Davis (7) W. P. Lyman (6)
Johnson (4) Dummy Lebey (3) Claire Frye (1) Borum (1) Albert Staton (2)
Barnett (1) Claire Frye (1) Jesse Fincher (1)
John McIntyre (1)
RE
Albert Staton (7)
Mitchell (2)
 
 
QB
Jack McDonough (8)
Pinkey Hunt (1)
RHB
Red Barron (8)
Jimmy Brewster (1)
FB
Judy Harlan (8)
Farnsworth (1)
LHB
Frank Ferst (5)
Jimmy Brewster (2)
Red Barron (1)
Dewey Scarboro (1)

Scoring leaders[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of statistics and scores, largely dependent on newspaper summaries.

Player Touchdowns Extra points Points
Red Barron 15 0 90
Judy Harlan 12 0 72
Jimmy Brewster 10 0 60
Bip Farnsworth 3 0 18
Frank Ferst 3 0 18
Jack McDonough 3 0 18
Dewey Scarboro 3 0 18
Albert Staton 1 11 17
W. P. Lyman 0 14 14
Granger 0 10 10
Carter 1 0 6
Caldwell 1 0 6
Pinkey Hunt 1 0 6
John Staton 0 6 6
Oscar Davis 0 1 1
Total 53 42 360

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although Georgia Tech's teams are officially known as the Yellow Jackets, northern writers called the team the Golden Tornado in 1917. The name was commonly used until 1928, and for many years afterwards as an alternate nickname,[1] it may have been coined by Morgan Blake.[2]
  2. ^ The previous week, Georgia had defeated Furman 27–7.[16]

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Van Brimmer & Rice 2011, p. 147
  2. ^ "Golden Tornadoes". Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Tech's "Old Time" Football Records" (PDF). Retrieved February 3, 2017. 
  4. ^ "To Judy Harlan, Leader of Tech". Atlanta Constitution. November 27, 1921. p. 19. Retrieved May 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ "Judy Harlan". Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. 54. 1973. 
  6. ^ "Another Judy Harlan". Ironwood Daily Globe. October 19, 1927. p. 7. Retrieved May 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ "Eight Stars of Constitution's All-Southern". Atlanta Constitution. November 28, 1920. p. 3. Retrieved May 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ a b c d e Cliff Wheatley (September 25, 1921). "Attack of Alex's Great Outfit Too Much for Wake Forest Team". The Atlanta Constitution. p. 3. Retrieved June 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ Lynn Hogan (1973). "They Walked Away Into Legend..." Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. 51 (4): 15–19. 
  10. ^ "Georgia Tech's All Era Teams" (PDF). Georgia Tech Football: 155. 2007. 
  11. ^ "1921 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Schedule and Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Fuzzy Woodruff (October 2, 1921). ""Red" Barron Is Brilliant Star As Tornado Sweeps to Victory". The Atlanta Constitution. p. 3. Retrieved June 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  13. ^ a b c d "Tech's Golden Tornado Roars Across Field To Victory Over Davidson". The Charlotte Observer. October 9, 1921. p. 15. Retrieved June 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  14. ^ a b Camp 1922, p. 27
  15. ^ a b Camp 1922, p. 26
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Fuzzy Woodruff (October 16, 1921). "Golden Tornado Overwhelms Furman, 69-0". The Atlanta Constitution. p. 3. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ a b c "Barron Is Star For Tornado". The Atlanta Constitution. October 23, 1921. p. 3. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  18. ^ Camp 1922, p. 57
  19. ^ a b c "Penn State Tears Georgia Techites' Line Into Shreds". Pittsburgh Daily Post. October 30, 1921. p. 20. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  20. ^ Prato 2015, p. 335
  21. ^ "Football games played at The Polo Grounds, New York". luckyshow.org. Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Penn State in the Polo Grounds – Part 2". joepasdoghouse.com. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Camp 1922, p. 51
  24. ^ Woodruff 1928, pp. 126–127
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Paul Warwick (November 6, 1921). "Clemson Rushes Over Touchdown Against Tech, But Is Swamped". Atlanta Constitution. p. 3. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. 
  26. ^ a b c d e "Tech-Georgetown Play by Detail". Atlanta Constitution. November 13, 1921. p. 4. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  27. ^ "Georgetown Defense Smashed By Tech". Atlanta Constitution. November 13, 1921. p. 4. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  28. ^ a b c "Techs Beat Alabama In Final 14 To 0". Greensboro Daily News. November 25, 1921. p. 12. Retrieved May 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  29. ^ a b c Camp 1922, p. 85
  30. ^ Camp 1922, p. 165
  31. ^ closed access publication – behind paywall "All-Southern Football Team". Charlotte Observer. December 4, 1921. 
  32. ^ "Walter Camp's All-America Selections for 1921". The New York Times. December 21, 1921. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Players from Coast to Coast Put on All-American Team by Veiock". Tulsa Daily World. December 4, 1921. 
  34. ^ a b Woodruff 1928, p. 183

References[edit]