1927 Vanderbilt Commodores football team

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1927 Vanderbilt Commodores football
Conference Southern Conference
1927 record 8–1–2 (5–0–2 SoCon)
Head coach Dan McGugin (23rd season)
Assistant coach Johnny "Red" Floyd
Captain Vernon Sharpe
Home stadium Dudley Field
Uniform
20sVandyuniform.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 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University in the 1927 Southern Conference football season. The 1927 season was Dan McGugin's 23rd year as head coach. Running back Jimmy Armistead led the nation in scoring in 1927 with 138 points.[1] The team's quarterback was Bill Spears. One fellow wrote Vanderbilt produced "almost certainly the legit top Heisman candidate in Spears, if there had been a Heisman Trophy to award in 1927."[2]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Site Result Attendance
September 24 at Chattanooga* Chattanooga, Tennessee W 45–18  
October 1 Ouachita Dudley FieldNashville, Tennessee W 39–10  
October 8 Centre* Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee W 53–6  
October 15 at Texas* Fair Park Stadium • Dallas L 6–13   18,000
October 22 Tulane Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee W 32–0  
October 29 Kentucky Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee (Rivalry) W 34–6  
November 6 Georgia Tech Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee T 0–0  
November 12 at Tennessee Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee (Rivalry) T 7–7  
November 19 Maryland Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee W 39–20  
November 26 Sewanee Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee (Rivalry) W 26–6  
December 3 at Alabama Legion FieldBirmingham, Alabama W 14–7   20,000
*Non-conference game.

[3]

Season summary[edit]

Chattanooga[edit]

Vanderbilt started the season with a 45–18 victory over Chattanooga.

Ouachita[edit]

In the second week of play, Ouachita was defeated 39–10.

Centre[edit]

Vanderbilt overwhelmed Centre 53–6.

Texas[edit]

Vanderbilt at Texas
1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 6 6
Texas 13 0 0 0 13
  • Date: October 15
  • Location: Fair Park Stadium
    Dallas
  • Game attendance: 18,000
  • Referee: Boyton

In Dallas, the Commodores suffered the season's only loss to Texas Longhorns 13–6. Texas scored on a 20-yard pass from Baldwin to Ford, and on a run from Baldwin.[4] Vanderbilt's lone score came on a 16-yard pass to Owens. Spears fought three Texans as he threw the pass.[4]

The starting lineup was Kelly (left end), Lusky (left tackle), Cecil (left guard), V. Sharpe (center), Oliver (right guard), Abernathy (right tackle), Creson (right end), Spears (quarterback), McIlwain (left halfback), Owen (right halfback), Armistead (fullback).[4]

Tulane[edit]

Bernie Bierman thought of ditching his single-wingback formation after the 32–0 win over Tulane, and was convinced to keep it by McGugin.[5]

The starting lineup was Abernathy (left end), Hawkins (left tackle), Kelly (left guard), V. Sharpe (center), Cecil (right guard), Lusky (right tackle), Creson (right end), Spears (quarterback), Owen (left halfback), McIlwain (right halfback), Armistead (fullback).[6]

Kentucky[edit]

Kentucky was beaten 34–6 . The starting lineup was James (left end), Hawkins (left tackle), Kelly (left guard), Oliver (center), Cecil (right guard), Lusky (right tackle), Creson (right end), Spears (quarterback), Owen (left halfback), McIlwain (right halfback), Armistead (fullback).[7]

Georgia Tech[edit]

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,[8] helped Georgia Tech reassert itself and hold Vanderbilt to a scoreless tie, despite the Commodores having the upperhand in play.[9] A strong game had been predicted, showcasing each team's backfield stars in Stumpy Thomason of Tech and Bill Spears of Vanderbilt.[10] Vernon Sharpe suffered a knee injury before the game.

The starting lineup was Abernathy (left end), Hawkins (left tackle), Kelly (left guard), V. Sharpe (center), Cecil (right guard), Lusky (right tackle), Creson (right end), Spears (quarterback), Owen (left halfback), McIlwain (right halfback), Armistead (fullback)[11]

Tennessee[edit]

Vanderbilt at Tennessee
1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 7 7
Tennessee 0 0 0 7 7

Robert Neyland was hired to coach Tennessee in 1926 by Nathan Dougherty with the explicit goal to "even the score with Vanderbilt", and had his first great team in 1927. McGugin's Commodores led 7–0 until a late Dick Dodson run tied the score.[12] "After the game McGugin questioned each of his players as to his whereabouts during the run. Without exception the players claimed that two men had blocked them. McGugin shrugged. "Well, we'll just protest the play. It's perfectly obvious that Tennessee had twenty-two men on the field."[12]

Vanderbilt center Vernon Sharpe arguably had the better season, but was outperformed by Tennessee's Elvin Butcher.[13]

The starting lineup was Abernathy (left end), Hawkins (left tackle), James (left guard), V. Sharpe (center), Cecil (right guard), Lusky (right tackle), Creson (right end), Spears (quarterback), Owen (left halfback), McIlwain (right halfback), Armistead (fullback).[14]

Maryland[edit]

Spears played only in the first half in the 39–20 win over Maryland, but completed 10 of 12 passes.[15]

Sewanee[edit]

Vanderbilt defeated Sewanee 26–6. The starting lineup was Abernathy (left end), Hawkins (left tackle), Oliver (left guard), V. Sharpe (center), Cecil (right guard), Lusky (right tackle), Creson (right end), Owen (quarterback), McIlwain (left halfback), Sims (right halfback), Armistead (fullback).[16]

Alabama[edit]

Vanderbilt at Alabama
1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 7 0 0 7 14
Alabama 0 7 0 0 7

The Commodores faced Wallace Wade's Alabama Crimson Tide in the season finale. Spears gained more than the entire Alabama backfield as the Commodores won 14–7.[17] The highlight of Vanderbilt's first scoring drive was a pass from Spears to Armistead of 20 yards, down to the 3-yard line, from which Armistead later ran it in.[17] On Alabama's scoring drive, Red Brown ran 23 yards on a reverse, down to the 4-yard line. Tony Holm eventually got the score.[17] In the fourth quarter, Spears led the winning drive, once circling end for 34 yards, tackling by Starling just as he seemed to break free.[17] He then passed to Larry Creson for 10 yards, ran for 6, and then 13 more around end to the 16-yard line. After Spears and Armistead worked it down to the 9-yard line, a pass to Gibson got the touchdown.[17]

Postseason[edit]

Spears passed for 1,207 yards and 9 touchdowns.[8] An all-senior football team at the end of the year used Vandy's offensive system.[18]

Personnel[edit]

Coaching Staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ernie Couch. SEC Football Trivia. 
  2. ^ Mark Purcell (November 1988). "Spears and Vandy excitement in 1927" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 2 (1). 
  3. ^ "1927 Vanderbilt Commodores Schedule and Results". 
  4. ^ a b c "Tennesseans Score On Pass In Last Period". Abilene Reporter-News. October 16, 1927. p. 4. Retrieved May 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Edwin Pope (1955). Football's Greatest Coaches. p. 341. Retrieved March 8, 2015 – via archive.org.  open access publication – free to read
  6. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 231
  7. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 244
  8. ^ a b Mark Purcell (November 1988). "Spears and Vandy excitement in 1927" (PDF). College Football Historical Society. 2 (1). 
  9. ^ "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
  10. ^ "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
  11. ^ "Jackets and Vandy Fight To Tie, 0-0" (PDF). The Technique. November 11, 1927. p. 4. 
  12. ^ a b Edwin Pope. Football's Greatest Coaches. p. 340. 
  13. ^ "Four Georgia Grid Stars Voted Places On United Press Conference Team". Banner-Herald. November 23, 1917. 
  14. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 266
  15. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 267
  16. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 270
  17. ^ a b c d e http://grfx.cstv.com/schools/alab/graphics/docs/27-m-footbl-recaps.pdf
  18. ^ "Southern Team Will Used Vandy offensive System". Kingsport Times. December 25, 1927. p. 2. Retrieved March 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  • Woodruff, Fuzzy (1928). A History of Southern Football 1890–1928. 3. 

External links[edit]