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March 29, 2006

Infamous Moments in UGA History: Nov. 4, 1893

This UGA football team ran into the 19th Century Version of Bill Brasky

On Nov. 4, 1893, UGA and GT played their first game against each other in Athens. On that day, Leonard Wood ran wild over the Georgia players in route to a big Tech blowout win. The Atlanta Journal reported the following in the next day's paper:
Nov. 5, 1893: "The University of Georgia was defeated...but it was not by the Technical School that they were beaten. They team that opposed them was a heterogeneous collection of Atlanta residents -- a United States Army surgeon, a medical student, a lawyer, and an insurance agent among them, with here and there a student from Georgia's School of Technology thrown in to give the mixture a Technological flavor. Wood is believed to be Captain Leonard Wood of the US Army."
In fact, Tech's star player was Captain Leonard Wood. John F. Stegeman wrote in his book "The Ghosts of Herty Field" (1966):
"Thirty-three years old, fair-haired and blue-eyed, [Leonard Wood] was a man amidst boys.

During the game, Wood was "struck just over his right eye opening a gash about three inches long across his forehead. In a few moments he was bleeding freely. That...didn't bother Wood one minute. He would just reach up his hand, wipe his bleeding brow and then plaster the face of some Georgia player with a handful of blood...He seemed to delight in grabbing two Georgia boys and bumping their heads together. He just ran roughshod over everybody in front of him."

After graduating Harvard, "Wood had volunteered for Army duty with the provision that he be sent where the action was. The Army took him at his word and sent him to the Arizona-Mexico border to the infantry command that was then in pursuit of Geronimo and the fugitive Apaches. Wood was largely instrumental in the final capture of Geronimo and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor."
In other words, SEVEN YEARS after capturing Geronimo, Tech snuck one of the great American badasses of the 19th Century into Athens to use as a hellfire halfback RINGER against the 18 year old kids from Georgia.

Geronimo seen here before Wood as his 5,000 buddies caught him

Five years after the game, Wood commanded the First Volunteer Cavalry in the Spanish-American War. His group was known as The Rough Riders, and his second in command was a man whose face is now on Mount Rushmore. Nine years after the game, Wood was named Governor General of Cuba. He later served in the same capacity in the Philippines. He retired as a Major General.

Why Tech? Well, he was stationed at Fort McPherson in 1893, got bored and went over to GT to play football. He ended up teaching their boys the game. But in true Tech fashion of playing with ineligible men, he put on a Tech colors and started himself in the game.

Nov. 4, 1893: A moment which set into motion a Georgia Tech tradition of lying and cheating that has become the cornerstone of the Georgia Tech program.

Lest the Techies get all in a tizzy about such a Giant being a Tech he was a Harvard man. He was just in town and wanted to play some football.



Anonymous said...

Ah, now I see where the practice of playing ineligible players began. Do you think the NCAA will revoke that "win" also? I hope. Bunch of cheaters!!!

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of quality information you can't get just anywhere. I'd love to see how they react to this on the Hive PBM.

I bow to your scholarship, PWD. Not even a GTU hater with credentials like mine knew this sordid tale. Looks like they have the slogan for next football season right here:

"GTU Football; Lying and Cheating Since 1983"

Anonymous said...

whoops. I could use a proofreader.

that should be:

"GTU Football: Lying and Cheating Since 1893"

Of course, since 1983 is when they acquired the services of a fine young scholar named Tyrone Sorrells, that works, too. Any word on how the Reverend Bill Curry's master plan to "bring the cheaters to their knees" worked out? By any chance, was he the guy who recommended Bill Lewis for the job over there after Ross fled?

Kyle King said...

An interesting side note to this tale is that, at that same time, Georgia's starting quarterback was George P. Butler.

Anyone familiar with Georgia Tech lore knows that the Institute is home to one of the great running practical jokes in college history . . . "George P. Burdell," a fictitious G.I.T. student who has been registered for classes, nominated for offices, and known to appear on rosters and rolls worldwide wherever Georgia Tech alumni are to be found.

How did Georgia Tech come up with the name "George P. Burdell"? It started as a variation on the name "George P. Butler" . . . the name of the University of Georgia's first starting quarterback.

As always, their history is all about us.

Fine work, Paul.

Anonymous said...

lying and cheating. whatever. all that matters is on the national scale. 4 nc's to uga's 2! also the latest national championship. i'll take one win in 20 seasons to uga if it means that the one win was a national championship season. keep trying though uga you'll get that thrid national cham. soon......well hopefully anyways!

Kyle King said...

What an articulate analysis, Anonymous. No wonder you were proud enough to sign your name to it. Your Georgia Tech education certainly has stood you in good stead.

Your observation that "all that matters is on the national scale" certainly is a trenchant one. Perhaps that is why Chan Gailey's recent contract extension included $5,000 bonuses to each member of his staff for beating an opponent from outside of the region. Perhaps that is why the Yellow Jackets performed so well in their bowl game against Utah, with the understanding that a postseason win would assure them of a spot in the top 25. Perhaps that is why Georgia Tech's fight song includes the memorable line, "If I had a son, I'll tell you what he'd do. He'd scream, 'To Hell with the rest of the country!' like his daddy used to do."

As for Georgia Tech's national championships, get over yourself. If we're going to count every team that was recognized by at least one poll accepted by the N.C.A.A. record book, Georgia has five national championships: 1927, 1942, 1946, 1968, and 1980. I personally don't claim a couple of those titles, but, when praising Georgia Tech and disrespecting Georgia, let's at least demonstrate an ability to do simple math correctly, shall we?

As I have demonstrated, both here and elsewhere, I do not share many Bulldog fans' knee-jerk disdain for Georgia Tech and I respect quality G.I.T. fans like Nathan and Jacket Dan. However, you, 3:30 Anonymous, are not helping the image of the Institute with your insipid drivel in lieu of actual articulate argument.

Dan said...

Actually the biggest thing that pisses me off about this article is that we were apparently better cheaters 100+ years ago than we are now.

As an engineer, I'm just upset about the lack of innovation shown.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work there Westerdawg.

As for our anonymous nerd friend, counselor, I think the case is closed and he is hereby sentenced to life as a fan of the NATS with no hope for parole. Good work in your presentation of the facts, sir.

Kyle King said...

6:22 Anonymous, I thank you for your kind remarks.

Dan, as always, I appreciate your insights. Even when we disagree (as we did over at Nathan's place about Atlanta's utility as a draw for the Institute), you always represent Georgia Tech with wit, intelligence, and class. You represent all that is best in the rivalry, which is clean and old-fashioned, but not always hateful.

As for 3:30 Anonymous, let's talk about those national championships.

In 1917, every other able-bodied man was overseas making the world safe for democracy. The Yellow Jackets won the national championship for reasons made clear in Georgia's subsequent homecoming parade (leading to the rift between the two schools): Georgia men were in France and Georgia Tech men were in Atlanta. Congratulations on winning the conscientious objector national crown.

In 1928, the Ramblin' Wreck won the Rose Bowl on the biggest boneheaded play in college football history: Roy "Wrong Way" Riegels's touchdown run for the wrong team, which gave Georgia Tech an 8-7 victory. A subsequent rules change prevented future such unfortunate results. When you win the national title on a play that subsequently is outlawed, your championship is, to say the least, tainted.

In 1952, a very solid Bobby Dodd-coached team went undefeated and won the Sugar Bowl, but was not a consensus champion. Michigan State was ranked No. 1 in the final polls by both the coaches and the sporswriters. Jeff Sagarin or some other extra from "Revenge of the Nerds" concocted Georgia Tech's 1952 title. Gee, I wonder why that one went to the Yellow Jackets.

In 1990, Colorado went into the postseason ranked No. 1, won its bowl game, and dropped to No. 2 in the coaches' poll while winning the A.P. national title. In the coaches' poll balloting, Georgia Tech finished ahead of Colorado by a single point.

This was in spite of the fact that the Buffaloes played a monster schedule and the Yellow Jackets played a bunch of nobodies, including the worst Georgia team of the last four decades and the weakest No. 1 team (Virginia) in college football history.

Rumors persist to this day that Lou Holtz, then the head coach at Notre Dame, did the math and gave Georgia Tech the coaches' crown by voting Colorado No. 7 on his ballot to get revenge on what he (wrongly) considered a bogus clipping call in the Orange Bowl.

3:30 Anonymous, I know you're bad at math, so let me help you out: that's three legitimate national titles for Georgia (1942, 1946, and 1980) and no legitimate national titles for Georgia Tech.

3:30 Anonymous's motto should be what Kentucky's was under Hal Mumme: "Cheat, but lose, anyway."

Kyle King said...

Upon further review, I noticed a couple of typographical errors in my previous postings, for which I apologize. Apparently, 3:30 Anonymous's foolishness is contagious. I encourage you all to get inoculated as soon as possible.

Paul, I apologize for flaming this guy at your place. You know I don't normally do that sort of thing, but this nimrod just rubbed me the wrong way and I felt like he had to be set straight for the good of the order.

All right, I'm signing off now. Peace out.

Dan said...

See Kyle, if we had a play-off than all of that wouldn't have to have been typed up.

Kyle King said...

Exactly, Dan. What fun would that be?

Unknown said...

Kyle - flame on brother. Flame on.

BTW -- There is a trash can directly below your posts. If you ever have typos that you want to edit out (but I say why bother), you can click on that and start over.


McKinley said...

George P Burdell doesnt come from UGA's QB. It was a combination of names from the guy's past.

GoJacketsMNC said...

This is a first rate story.
Lots of institutes and universities have students who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor after leaving. Only Georgia Tech had a student/player/coach who earned one before playing.

GoJacketsMNC said...

forgot to add - the above story about Leonard Wood isn't exactly a secret. It's not like he wasn't already famous before this game even happened.

Nathan said...

I have no clue how I missed this the first time around ... but since I was doing a Leonard Wood piece for this weekend, PWD shot it to me.

To clear it up, Wood was actually enrolled as a Tech student taking classes and was thus qualified to play. We weren't "cheating" - though obviously his previous college education would preclude him in modern times.

All in all, Wood is one of the most interesting Americans of the post Civil War era - he was involved in almost every important conflict from 1885 until 1920 and his time as Army Chief of Staff was quite visionary (including starting the ROTC program).

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