1927 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team

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1927 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football
Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team (1927).jpg
SoCon co-champion
Conference Southern Conference
1927 record 8–1–1 (7–0–1 SoCon)
Head coach William Alexander (8th season)
Assistant coach Don Miller
Assistant coach Bill Fincher
Offensive scheme Jump shift
Captain Ed Crowley
Home stadium Grant Field
Uniform
20sgatechuniform.png
Seasons
← 1926
1928 →
1927 Southern Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Georgia Tech + 7 0 1     8 1 1
Tennessee + 5 0 1     8 0 1
NC State + 4 0 0     9 1 0
Vanderbilt 5 0 2     8 1 2
Georgia 6 1 0     9 1 0
Florida 5 2 0     7 3 0
Ole Miss 3 2 0     5 3 1
Virginia 4 4 0     5 4 0
Clemson 2 2 0     5 3 1
Alabama 3 4 1     5 4 1
LSU 2 3 1     4 4 1
Mississippi A&M 2 3 0     5 3 0
Washington and Lee 2 3 0     4 4 1
VPI 2 3 0     5 4 0
Maryland 2 3 0     4 7 0
South Carolina 2 4 0     4 5 0
VMI 2 4 0     6 4 0
Tulane 2 5 1     2 5 1
North Carolina 2 5 0     4 6 0
Sewanee 1 4 0     2 6 0
Kentucky 1 5 0     3 6 1
Auburn 0 6 1     0 7 2
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1927 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team[note 1] represented the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado of the Georgia Institute of Technology during the 1927 Southern Conference football season. A member of the Southern Conference (SoCon), Georgia Tech was coached by William Alexander in his 8th year as head coach, compiling a record of 8–1–1 (7–0–1 SoCon) and outscoring opponents 125 to 39. Georgia Tech played its home games at Grant Field.

In what was considered the best Georgia Tech season since 1918,[3] the Tornado shared the SoCon title with the Tennessee Volunteers and NC State Wolfpack. Tech clinched the SoCon in the season's final game: upsetting rival Georgia's previously undefeated "dream and wonder team" which was nonetheless picked as a national champion by some selectors.[4] Coach Alexander notably instituted "The Plan" to beat the rival Bulldogs; for weeks saving his regulars for practice.[5]

The Tornado also upset the Alabama Crimson Tide, handing the Tide their first loss in over two seasons. One researcher ranks Tech as the year's best Southern defense.[6] Tech suffered its only loss to Notre Dame, and held Vanderbilt to a scoreless tie.

Before the season[edit]

Tech was coming off the weakest season in coach William Alexander's tenure.

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 1 VMI Grant FieldAtlanta, GA W 7–0   17,000
October 8 Tulane Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 13–6    
October 15 Alabama Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 13–0   25,000
October 22 North Carolina Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 13–0    
October 29 2:00 p. m. at Notre Dame* Carter Field • South Bend, IN L 26–7   17,000
November 6 at Vanderbilt Dudley FieldNashville, TN T 0–0    
November 12 LSU Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 23–0    
November 19 Oglethorpe* Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 19–7    
November 24 2:00 p. m. Auburn Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 18–0    
December 3 2:00 p. m. No. 1 Georgia Grant Field • Atlanta, GA W 12–0   38,000
*Non-conference game.

[7]

Season summary[edit]

Week 1: V. M. I.[edit]

Week 1: V. M. I. at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
V. M. I. 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 0 7 0 7

To open the season, Tech defeated VMI 7–0,[9] the Cadets played strongly for two quarters, but were near collapse by game's end.[10] Al Barnes starred for VMI and Stumpy Thomason starred for Tech. "The V. M. I. team tried every brand of football they knew. But it was useless against the Tech defense and offense."[8] The lone score came from Warner Mizell.[8]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Thrash (left tackle), Martin (left guard), Pund (center), Drennon (right guard), Hood (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Smith (quarterback), Parham (left halfback), Horn (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[8]

Week 2: Tulane[edit]

Week 2: Tulane at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Tulane 0 6 0 0 6
Ga. Tech 7 0 0 6 13

On a sloppy, wet field, the Tornado beat Tulane 13–6 despite many publications calling the game a "toss-up".[13] Tech's first score came after a fumble recovery when Stumpy Thomason scored; in the second quarter, Bill Banker "zigzagged through the entire Tech defense" for an 80-yard touchdown. Rain fell at halftime and for the entire third quarter; in the fourth quarter, Thomason had another, 10-yard touchdown.[11]

On the 11th, 15,000 gathered at Grant Field to pay tribute to Charles Lindbergh.[14]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Watkins (left tackle), Westbrook (left guard), Rusk (center), Drennon (right guard), Speer (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Durant (quarterback), Mizell (left halfback), Thomason (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[15]

Week 3: Alabama[edit]

Week 3: Alabama at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 7 0 6 13

In the biggest upset of the young Southern Conference season,[16] Georgia Tech defeated Wallace Wade's defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide 13–0, the loss snapped Alabama's 24-game unbeaten streak. Alabama's line was exceptionally heavy, averaging some 200 pounds.[16]

Alabama had the upperhand in the first quarter, advancing the ball steadily to Tech's 14-yard line before being stopped on downs,[16] the Jackets tipped the scale with a drive in the second quarter, highlighted by a 30-yard touchdown run by Stumpy Thomason.[16] After a scoreless, see-sawing second half, the last touchdown was scored by Warner Mizell in the final minute.[16]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Thrash (left tackle), Martin (left guard), Pund (center), Drennon (right guard), Hood (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Durant (quarterback), Parham (left halfback), Thomason (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[16]

Week 4: North Carolina[edit]

Week 4: North Carolina at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
UNC 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 7 0 6 13

In the fourth week of play, Tech defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 13–0. Tech's defensive line had a stellar game, several times thwarting the Tar Heel as it approached the goal,[17] the first touchdown came in the second quarter, after a drive using fullback Randolph on several line plunges. A lateral pass sent captain Ed Crowley over for the score; in the fourth quarter, Stumpy Thomason had a 75-yard touchdown.[17]

The starting lineup was: Bullard (left end), Watkins (left tackle), Westbrook (left guard), Ruck (center), Martin (right guard), Hood (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Schulman (quarterback), Mizell (left halfback), Fitzgerald (right halfback), Devaughn (fullback).[17]

Week 5: at Notre Dame[edit]

Week 5: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
1 2 3 4 Total
Ga. Tech 0 0 0 7 7
Notre Dame 0 6 13 7 26
  • Date: October 29
  • Location: Carter Field
    South Bend, IN
  • Game attendance: 17,000

At Carter Field, Knute Rockne's Notre Dame Fighting Irish easily defeated Georgia Tech 26–7[19] in one of the season's most important clashes.[20] "Had Rockne willed it the score might have doubled;"[21] and "only the able punting of Mizell...prevented a greater victory for the Irish."[18]

Rockne started the game with substitutes, and sent in his regulars to start the second quarter.[22] A 12-yard off-tackle run, a 25-yard pass, and an 11-yard gain on a double pass preceded a touchdown,[18] the Irish led just 6–0 at the half. In the second half the Irish poured it on; the lone score from Tech was by Stumpy Thomason after a blocked Irish punt.[18]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Hood (left tackle), Martin (left guard), Pund (center), Drennon (right guard), Watkins (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Durant (quarterback), Thomason (left halfback), Mizell (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[22]

Week 6: at Vanderbilt[edit]

Week 6: Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt
1 2 3 4 Total
Ga. Tech 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 0 0

A wet field and a strong defense, ranked by one researcher as best in the South,[6] helped Tech reassert itself and held the Vanderbilt Commodores to a scoreless tie, despite the Commodores having the upperhand in play.[23]

With the recent loss to Notre Dame, Tech had been overshadowed before the game by rival Georgia and its national championship bid. A strong game had been predicted, showcasing each team's backfield stars in Stumpy Thomason of Tech and Bill Spears of Vanderbilt,[3] the high-flying attack of quarterback Spears led one writer to say Vandy produced "almost certainly the legit top Heisman candidate in Spears, if there had been a Heisman Trophy to award in 1927."[6]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Thrash (left tackle), Drennon (left guard), Pund (center), Martin (right guard), Hood (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Durant (quarterback), Mizell (left halfback), Thomason (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[24]

Week 7: LSU[edit]

Week 7: LSU at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
LSU 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 3 7 13 23

Starting the game with second-string men only to send them in later and add 20 points, Tech crushed coach Mike Donahue's LSU Tigers 23–0. "The game was devoid of thrills".[25] The first touchdown came late in the third quarter, when Randolph scored behind right tackle.[25]

The starting lineup was: Bullard (left end), Thrash (left tackle), Lillard (left guard), Rusk (center), Westbrook (right guard), Hood (right tackle), Holland (right end), Smith (quarterback), Parham (left halfback), Horn (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[26]

Week 8: Oglethorpe[edit]

The Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels led the Tornado through three quarters 7–6, threatening to upset Tech just as it had last year. Oglethorpe scored on a Stumpy Thomason fumble.[27] Tech managed to survive the scare by pulling ahead 19–7 in the final quarter. Warner Mizell saved the day with two touchdowns.[28]

Week 9: Auburn[edit]

Week 9: Auburn at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Auburn 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 6 0 12 0 18

Tech easily beat the Auburn Tigers 18–0. Auburn did not win a game all year. Stumpy Thomason went over the line for the first score In the second half, Tech played its first string minus Thomason, and Tech scored two more touchdowns. Warner Mizell ran off tackle for 50 yards for the first, and had a 1-yard run for the second.[29]

The starting lineup was: Bullard (left end), Hood (left tackle), Westbrook (left guard), Rusk (center), Lillard (right guard), Thrash (right tackle), Holland (right end), Smith (quarterback), Parham (left halfback), Thomason (right halfback), Oltz (fullback).[29]

Week 10: Georgia[edit]

Week 10: Georgia at Georgia Tech
1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0
Ga. Tech 0 6 6 0 12

Georgia Tech faced the undefeated and top-ranked in-state rival Georgia Bulldogs for the conference crown, the Bulldogs were known as the "Dream and Wonder team" and gave Yale its only loss. In the rain, Tech won 12–0, for the first time this year, neither of Georgia's ends Tom Nash nor Shiver played particularly well.[32]

Prior to the game, Coach Alexander instituted "The Plan," splitting his team into two squads and playing mostly reserves for four weeks, the regulars practiced for the upcoming Georgia contest.[5] Grant Field was expected to be filled to capacity, the largest crowd ever in the south.[33] One account read "And never in the history of athletics in the Southland has there been an occasion so momentous as this, the football championship of the South and as some may justifiably figure, the nation, will be decided on Saturday in the capital city and native sons will decide it."[34]

Tech's first touchdown came on a pass from Warner Mizell to quarterback Bob Durant, the second one came shortly after Stumpy Thomason returned an interception 57 yards to Georgia's 22-yard line.[30][31] Thomason scored on a 13-yard end run.[31]

The starting lineup was: Crowley (left end), Watkins (left tackle), Westbrook (left guard), Pund (center), Drennon (right guard), Speer (right tackle), Waddey (right end), Durant (quarterback), Mizell (left halfback), Read (right halfback), Randolph (fullback).[31]

Post season[edit]

The defeat of Georgia netted Tech the Southern title.[35][36] Several Tech players received postseason honors. Tackle Frank Speer, Center Peter Pund, and Halfbacks Warner Mizell and Stumpy Thomason were all selected All-Southern.[37]

Personnel[edit]

Depth chart[edit]

The following chart depicts Tech's lineup during the 1927 season with games started at the position shown in parenthesis, the chart mimics the offense after the jump shift has taken place.

LE
Ed Crowley (6)
Bullard (3)
Slick Keener (0)
 
LT LG C RG RT
Ken Thrash (4) Joe Westbrook (4) Peter Pund (5) Raleigh Drennon (5) Papa Hood (5)
Coot Watkins (3) Firpo Martin (2) Seedy Rusk (4) Firpo Martin (2) Frank Speer (2)
Papa Hood (2) Raleigh Drennon (1) Geo. Muse (0) Lillard (1) Ken Thrash (1)
Lillard (1) Joe Westbrook (1) Coot Watkins (1)
RE
Frank Waddey (7)
Glenn Holland (2)
P. Von Weller (0)
 
QB
Bob Durant (5)
Shorty Smith (3)
Izzy Schulman (1)
RHB
Stumpy Thomason (4)
Bob Horn (2)
Fite Fitzgerald (1)
Warner Mizell (1)
Read (1)
Russ Russell (0)
FB
Bob Randolph (7)
Devaughn (1)
Oltz (1)
LHB
Warner Mizell (4)
Bob Parham (4)
Stumpy Thomason (1)
Sleepy Faisst (0)
Jimmie Frink (0)

Roster[edit]

Line[edit]

Number Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
14 Bullard End 3
42 Ed Crowley End 6 Watkinsville, Georgia 6'1" 180 21
51 Raleigh Drennon Guard 6 Atlanta, Georgia 5'10" 187 20
9 Glenn Holland End 2 Atlanta, Georgia 5'11" 170 19
2 Papa Hood Tackle 7 220
49 Slick Keener End 0 Gadsden, Alabama 5'10" 181 20
63 Joe Kent Guard 0 Moultrie, Georgia 5'10" 181 20
36 Lillard Guard 2
66 Firpo Martin Guard 2
50 Geo Muse Center 0 Covington, Kentucky 5'10" 178 18
71 Peter Pund Center 5 Augusta, Georgia Richmond Academy 6'0" 182 20
37 Seedy Rusk Center 4 Atlanta, Georgia 6'0" 179 20
17 Frank Speer Tackle 2 Atlanta, Georgia 6'0" 204 19
41 Ken Thrash Tackle 5 Orlando, Florida 5'10" 190 21
33 Phil Von Weller End 0 Albany, Georgia 6'0" 178 19
52 Frank Waddey End 7 Memphis, Tennessee 5'10" 184 22
65 Coot Watkins Tackle 1 Atlanta, Georgia 6'0" 199 19
61 Joe Westbrook Guard 5 Moultrie, Georgia 5'11" 180 22

Backfield[edit]

Number Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
40 DeVaughn Fullback 1
29 Bob Durant Quarterback 5 Bluefield, West Virginia 5'9" 161 19
28 Sleepy Faisst Halfback 0 Little Rock, Arkansas 5'10" 160 19
25 Fite Fitzgerald Halfback 1 Jackson, Tennessee 5'10" 164 19
13 Jimmie Frink Halfback 0 Miami, Florida 5'10" 162 18
38 Bob Horn Halfback 2 Norfolk, Virginia 5'10" 178 20
72 Warner Mizell Halfback 5 Atlanta, Georgia Miami Senior High 5'10" 170 19
44 Oltz Fullback 1
60 Bob Parham Halfback 4 Atlanta, Georgia 6'1" 176 20
30 Bob Randolph Fullback 7 Atlanta, Georgia 5'10" 176 20
11 Read Halfback 1
10 Russ Russell Halfback 0 New York, New York 5'10" 160 18
64 Izzy Shulman Quarterback 1 Jackson, Tennessee 5'8" 155 19
26 Shorty Smith Halfback 3 Cartersville, Georgia 5'7" 153 20
35 Stumpy Thomason Halfback 5 Atlanta, Georgia 5'8" 174 19

Unlisted[edit]

Number Player
1 Heeke
4 Largen
7 Queen
8 Diekman
12 Sprick
15 Jetton
22 Alexander
27 Lewis
45 Gaston
46 Bunch
53 Schwartz
55 Sloan

[12]

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]

Endnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Van Brimmer & Rice 2011, p. 147
  2. ^ "Golden Tornadoes". Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Star Backs Promise Battle When Vandy Meets Georgia Tech". The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times. p. 4. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ e. g. Clyde Berryman. "QPRS American College Football National Champions (1920-2013)" (PDF). 
  5. ^ a b Van Brimmer 2006, p. 26
  6. ^ a b c Mark Purcell (November 1988). "Spears and Vandy excitement in 1927" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 2 (1). 
  7. ^ "1927 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Schedule and Results". 
  8. ^ a b c d H. D. Anastasas (October 7, 1927). "V. M. I. Cadets No Match For Alexander's Fighting Jackets" (PDF). The Technique. p. 4. 
  9. ^ "Ga. Tech Triumphs Over V.M.I." The Cadet. 21 (2). October 3, 1927. 
  10. ^ "V. M. I. Is Licked By Georgia Tech". Kingsport Times. October 2, 1927. p. 2. Retrieved April 14, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ a b "Georgia Tech Downs Tulane On Wet Field". The Anniston Star. October 8, 1927. p. 16. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ a b "Georgia Tech Football Program; Tulane vs. Georgia Tech". 
  13. ^ "'Bama Strings Red Line Across Field In Front of LSU". The Index-Journal. October 8, 1927. p. 4. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  14. ^ https://smartech.gatech.edu/bitstream/handle/1853/33525/1927-10-14_17_03.pdf?sequence=1
  15. ^ "Yellow Jackets Defeat Green Wave 13-6" (PDF). The Technique. October 14, 1927. p. 4. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g C. E. Wilson (October 16, 1927). "'Bama Takes First Defeat In 3 Seasons". The Anniston Star. p. 8. Retrieved October 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  17. ^ a b c d "Jackets Take 13 to 0 Victory Over TarHeels". The Anniston Star. October 23, 1927. p. 8. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  18. ^ a b c d Frank Getty (October 30, 1927). "Notre Dame Wins Easily Over Tornado". The Anniston Star. p. 8. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  19. ^ "The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia". 
  20. ^ "Notre-Georgia Tech Game Attracts Interest". The Evening News. October 26, 1927. p. 20. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  21. ^ "Notre Dame Crushes Georgia Tech Eleven". The Daily Journal-Gazette. October 31, 1927. p. 5. Retrieved October 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  22. ^ a b Frank Getty (October 29, 1927). "Rockne's Team To Give Its Best In Georgia Battle". The News-Herald. p. 9. Retrieved October 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  23. ^ "In the South". The Waco News-Tribune. November 7, 1927. p. 2. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  24. ^ "Jackets and Vandy Fight To Tie, 0-0" (PDF). The Technique. November 11, 1927. p. 4. 
  25. ^ a b "Georgia Tech Smashes Way To Victory". Anniston Star. November 13, 1927. p. 10. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  26. ^ "Second Varsity Displays Wares in 23-0 Victory" (PDF). The Technique. November 18, 1927. p. 4. 
  27. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 267
  28. ^ "Petrels In Lead For 3 Periods, But Lose 19 to 7". The Index-Journal. p. 7. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  29. ^ a b c "Mizell Speeds Sixty Yards To Touchdown" (PDF). The Technique. 17 (9). November 25, 1927. 
  30. ^ a b Patrick Garbin. About Them Dawgs!: Georgia Football's Memorable Teams and Players. p. 44. 
  31. ^ a b c d "Biggest Upset of Southern Conference Spoils 'U' Mark". Oakland Tribune. December 4, 1927. p. 33. Retrieved July 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  32. ^ "All-American Debate Boils Over Nation". The Bismarck Tribune. December 7, 1927. p. 8. Retrieved July 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  33. ^ "Georgia 11 Meets Ancient Tech Foes". Ironwood Daily Globe. December 3, 1927. p. 5. Retrieved August 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  34. ^ Lawrence Perry (December 2, 1927). "Georgia and Georgia Tech Clash in Annual Grid Classic". Oakland Tribune. p. 43. Retrieved July 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  35. ^ "Georgia Tech Slides Into Southern Title By Whipping Georgia". The Springfield Leader. December 4, 1927. p. 16. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  36. ^ Alan J. Gould (December 4, 1927). "Tornado Rises To Conference Honors By Win". Sarasota Herald Tribune. 
  37. ^ "Spears Given Highest Vote in Selection". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 27, 1927. 

References[edit]