Clash of Titans
Games featuring a future Hall of Fame coach on each sideline.
November 26, 1938: Pittsburgh @ Duke
Jock Sutherland vs Wallace Wade
Wallace Wade's eighth Duke squad since leaving Alabama was crafting a once-in-a-lifetime season. The "Iron Dukes" had not only won all eight games before the regular sea­son finale against Pittsburgh, but they held all eight opponents scoreless.
Despite whitewashing every foe, Duke was only #3 in the AP poll behind 8-0 Notre Dame and 10-0 TCU. In fourth place with an 8-1 record were the defending national champion Pittsburgh Panthers. They were known for their high-scoring offense that had put 24 or more points on the board in six of their nine games, including a 26-0 thumping or archrival Penn State the week before the Duke finale.
The Blue Devils wanted revenge for the 10-0 loss at #1 Pittsburgh in the final game of the 1937 season.
Jock Sutherland's 15th Pittsburgh squad had seen their 23-game undefeated streak come to an end November 5 against Carnegie Tech, Pitt's crosstown rival. Pitt played the game without its two-time All-American running back, Marshall "Biggie" Goldberg.
In his book When Pitt Ruled the Gridiron, David Finoli compared Sutherland to Vince Lombardi because Sutherland's "teams relied on attention to detail and discipline rather than a complex innovative offensive or defensive system. Like Lombardi's power sweep, it was said of Sutherland's squads that you knew what was coming, but you still couldn't stop it."

L-R: Wallace Wade, Jock Sutherland (University of Pittsburgh Owl Yearbook Class of 1939),
Gameday Program
Duke suffered a setback in the spring when star back George McAfee underwent surgery to remove a growth from the bottom of his left foot. Then an infection set in, and another operation was needed, causing him to miss the first five games.
So Wade shifted even more focus than usual to his defense. He became even more per­sonally involved with that side of the ball. The result was a perfect defensive performance in the first eight games of the season. Could the Blue Devils extend their scoreless streak against the Panthers?
A network of 39 radio stations broadcast the game to much of the nation. Also, a short-wave hookup carried to game to parts of Europe.
Mother Nature tried her best to put a damper on the festivities. A fine snow began to fall several hours before kickoff and continued throughout the game, making the footing treach­erous. Nevertheless, 52,000 spectators, the largest crowd in Southern football history to that point, bundled up and braved the elements.

L-R: George McAfee, Passing in the snow, Eric Tipton
Duke Wins Punting Duel
Both coaches would have played the field position game even on a sunny day, but the weather made punting even more important. And that's the department in which Duke's TB Eric "The Red" Tipton excelled.
Wade's offense usually lined up in what was called "Short Punt Formation." Invented by Amos Alonzo Stagg in 1896 at a time when the football was rounder and harder to pass, the formation was similar to the single wing except that the tailback lined up a yard or two further back from the center and had backs on both sides of him. The intent was to make it easier for the tailback to pass or punt in addition to running. Fielding Yost used the forma­tion extensively in his early years as Michigan coach.
Often punting on first or second down, Tipton booted 20 times for a 41.3y average. 15 of his punts were downed or went out of bounds inside the Pitt 20. Two of those carried inside the five while five others came to rest between the 10 and 15.
If you looked only at the statistics, you would conclude that Pitt won.
Pittsburgh   Duke
9 First downs 1
45 Plays from scrimmage 36
156 Rushing attempts/yards 81
8-0-1/0 Pass Att-Comp-Int/Yards 7-1-0/7
16/39.5 Punts/average 26/39.4
2-1 Fumbles - Fumbles Lost 6-1
In the end, the only statistic that mattered was blocked punts.
Pittsburgh's "Dream Backfield"

L-R: Emil Narick, Marshall Goldberg, Richard Cassiano, Harold Stebbins
University of Pittsburgh Owl Yearbook Class of 1939
Pitt's "dream backfield" of Goldberg, Richard Cassiano, Harold Stebbins, and Emil Narick functioned impressively in the first quarter (as shown in the video). After receiving a punt on their 19, the Panthers moved 71y to the Duke 10 before the "Seven Iron Dukes" (who today would be called the "Front Seven") finally stopped Goldberg's "vicious cutbacks."
That's when the game devolved into a punting duel that looked for the all the world like it would end in a scoreless tie. Johnny Chickerneo held his own against Tipton and had a slight­ly higher average (39.5 to 39.4) than the Duke star.
Lightning Strikes Pitt
Early in the fourth quarter, Tipton rifled a punt that was downed on the Pitt six. As was the norm at that time, Sutherland took no chances and ordered a punt on first down. Chickerneo went back into the end zone to boot the ball out of danger. But Duke E Willard "Bolo" Perdue shot through the Pitt line and threw himself across the path of the ball as it left Chickerneo's toe, then managed to keep his footing on the slippery turf as the ball bounded to his left. He snatched it and fell in the end zone for a touchdown. Anthony Ruffa kicked the extra point. Duke 7 Pittsburgh 0
Duke played cautious defensive football the rest of the way, and the Wade-Sutherland duel was evened at one victory apiece.
The Blue Devils won despite making only one first down, which came in the final 30 sec­onds. The teams completed only one pass between them in 15 tries.
The defeat marked the first time a Sutherland-coached Pitt team lost two games in November.
Duke University Chanticleer Yearbook Class of 1939
University of Pittsburgh Owl Yearbook Class of 1939
Wallace Wade: Championship Years at Alabama and Duke, Lewis Bowling (2010)
When Pitt Ruled the Gridiron: Jock Sutherland’s Five-Time National Champions, 1929-1937, David Finoli (2015)