November 25, 1950 - I

November 25, 1950 - II


Weekend in Time - I

Weekend in Time - II

Weekend in Time - III

Weekend in Time - IV


Football Magazine

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A Weekend in Time –V

This feature discusses the results of one weekend of college football action from the past. Since the archives of Time magazine are a source for these reports, the title has a double meaning.

November 25, 1950 - I
Games on this date throughout the East and Midwest were influenced by a large extratropical cy­clone that moved through the Eastern United States, causing significant winds, heavy rains east of the Appalachians, and blizzard conditions along the western slopes of the mountain chain.
  • The storm came to be known as "The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950."
  • Its hurricane-force winds peaked at 110 mph in Concord NH and 160 mph in the New Eng­land highlands.
  • The storm disrupted power to 1,000,000 customers.
  • In all, the storm impacted 22 states, killing 353, and creating $66.7 million in damage.
Great Appalachian Storm of 1950 - Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh after the storm hit
The amazing aspect of that day's football action was that so many games were played despite almost inhuman conditions. We will look at a number of those games, some of which had major impact for conference championships, national rankings, and bowl berths.


Princeton TB Dick Kazmaier
Dick Kazmaier

Princeton Coach Charlie Caldwell
Charlie Caldwell

Dartmouth QB Johnny Clayton
Johnny Clayton

Princeton's Palmer Stadium
Palmer Stadium



























Princeton B Jack Davison
Jack Davison


Dartmouth @ Princeton

The Tigers of Old Nassau entered their finale undefeated and untied in eight games.

  • Princeton's unquestioned leader was one of the most exciting players in the country, junior TB Dick Kazmaier, the key man in coach Charlie Caldwell's intricate single-wing attack.
  • Entering the fray, the Tigers had averaged over 450y per game, an astounding stat in 1950.
  • Caldwell's philosophy was: They may stop Kazmaier from passing, they may stop him from running, but they can't do both.
  • Princeton would officially clinch the unofficial Ivy League championship with either a win or a tie. A victory would complete Nassau's first perfect season since 1935.

Dartmouth also had a dynamic leader for their T formation offense.

  • QB Johnny Clayton rated as the best passer in the Big Green's long gridiron history with 26 TD tosses to his credit.
  • Nevertheless, 3-4-1 Dartmouth rated a 20-point underdog.
  • 31,000 tickets were sold for the 30th annual meeting between the ri­vals - all but two of which had been played at Princeton.
 1950 Princeton-Dartmouth ticket
One of the many tickets that were not used.
Ten minutes before the scheduled kickoff, there were only a half dozen spec­tators in the concrete tiers of Palmer Stadium and no players, officials, or bands on the field.
  • There was, however, more wind and rain than Princeton had ever seen.
  • 5,000 hardy souls stood outside waiting for word that the game would be played despite wind gusts peaking up to 60 mph and torrential rain. The Dartmouth AD insisted the show go on as scheduled.
  • Special trains bringing fans to football games from cities like Boston, Phil­adelphia, and Wilmington, couldn't get through.
  • Dick Kazmaier's father set out from Maumee OH outside Toledo. The train had no trouble until it made its run down the Hudson River from Albany to New York. Then they had a washout around Tarrytown. When they got to NYC, Mr. Kazmaier and others switched to the Pennsylvania Railroad only to face several more washouts on the way down to Princeton. Kazmaier Pere arrived in time for the second half.
  • Applying the law of supply and demand, the raincoat vendors "jacked up their fair weather prices to the pont where it was cheaper to wear the money" (The Daily Princetonian, November 27, 1950)
  • Here's how The Daily Princetonian described the conditions.

Because the tarpaulin blew off the field around noon, the wa­ter it was holding flowed over the gridiron, covering it to the depth of at least an inch well before play began. The wind roared through the open end of the Stadium ceaselessly; sheets of rain were later mixed with swirling snow as the temperature dropped on this most unbelie­vable of days. But even a thunder clap would have startled no one — anything was possible last Saturday.

  • The Associated Press article described what the participants faced like this.

The heavy rain made such deep mud that both the black Princeton uniforms and the green and white Dartmouth suits turned to a drab brown. The wind was so violent the officials had to hold the ball between downs to keep it from slithering away. A half dozen trees were blown down around the stadium and all wires out of the sway­ing press box on top of the big stadium were severed.

Dartmouth won the toss and, of course, elected to take advantage of the southerly wind, which some reports pegged as high as 108 mph!

  • With neither team able to warm up prior to the kickoff, it's no wonder each side's opening possession ended with a fumble. Then Dartmouth went three-and-out and punted into the EZ. But any fear that the game would end scoreless quickly disappeared.
  • Princeton's feeble punt into the gale went out on its 29. That set up the Green for the first TD of the game.
  • After two line bucks gained 6y, HB Bob Tyler managed to hang onto a lateral despite the slippery going and eluded three tack­lers around RE to score standing up.
  • Charlie Dey's extra point boot skimmed over the crossbar largely be­cause it was deflected by the upraised hand of a Princeton lineman.
  • The Tigers trailed for the first time since their third game of the season against Navy.

When the period ended, Princeton wasted little time taking advantage of the wind advantage.

  • On the first play of the quarter, the Big Green's chances took a major blow when Clayton left the field with an injury.
  • After Kazmaier punted to Dartmouth's 33, the Black and Orange line forced fourth down and broke through to block Dick Brown's punt, re­covering at the 34.
  • Princeton lost 3y on two plays before Kazmaier broke loose for a bril­liant 37y TD run, part of which came on the sidelines where the water did not completely cover the turf. The Daily Princetonian said: He got blocking as good as any he would have had on a dry day, and he ran superbly through a broken field.
  • The snap was bobbled on the PAT to keep Princeton behind by a point.

It didn't take long for the Tigers to strike again.

  • A "vertical punt" that went straight up into the screaming wind, then whirled crazily out of bounds for only 4y gave Princeton the ball on the Dartmouth 29.
  • Kaz twisted and slid to the 5. It took three tries for Jack Davison to crash over. Eschewing a kick after an offside penalty, Dick swept be­hind perfect blocking into the EZ standing up to make it 13-7.
During halftime, the Princeton band tried to instill a little life in the chilled spectators by playing a few numbers from the south end of the quagmire that served as a field, but most of their tunes were swept away by the howling wind. The scheduled introduction of "The College Hop," a new dance predicted to become a national craze, by members of the Princeton band was washed out, much to the distress of the song pluggers, who had spent $350 on the proposed production.

Princeton enjoyed the wind at its back again in Q3 with half of the spectators departed.

  • The Tigers drove to the 5 in the opening minutes, but a clipping penalty took the wind out of their sails. Although the period was played mainly in Big Green territory, Old Nassau could not add to their advantage.
  • That put Dartmouth in a position to tie or win with a TD in the final 15 minutes with the gale as strong as ever behind them.
  • The Green advanced to Princeton's 36 by virtue of an incredible 29y pass from Robert McCraney to Tyler. But Princeton took the ball back on downs and punted into enemy territory.
  • Brown prepared to kick Nassau back deep but fumbled the ball on his own 40. The Orange and Black proceeded to control the ball for 14 of the next 15 plays, losing it just once for a first-down Dartmouth punt and rolling up three priceless first downs through the mud and water.
  • When the visitors finally got the ball again on their 42, only two minutes remained. But four carries failed to net 10y. Davison ram­med into the line three times to run out the clock on a game none of the participants or spectators would ever forget.
  • The statistics reflected the effect of the weather.
    First downs: Princeton 6-3
    Rushing yardage: Princeton 137-30
    Passing: Dartmouth 2-1-0/29, Princeton 6-2-2/15
    Punts: Princeton 4/29.3, Dartmouth 6/29,2
    Fumbles lost: 3 each

Kazmaier helped out his father after the game.

I took my father up to my place and gave him a complete set of my clothes as well as my topcoat. He got back on a train and was stuck pretty much the same way going home as he came, even though the hurricane had passed. He got back to Toledo Sunday night.

Elsewhere in the East that Saturday, other teams battled the elements.

  • In Philadelphia, just 45 miles SW of Princeton, Cornell and Penn faced the same rain and mud at Franklin Field. 17,846 diehards saw the Big Red slither and slide to victory by the identical score, 13-6, that Prince­ton enjoyed. Thus did the Quakers, who didn't play Princeton in 1950, lose a chance to claim a share of the "Ivy Group" championship with a 4-0 mark.
  • Farther north, in Cambridge MA, 40,000 endured winds gusting to 50 mph, but no rain to see Yale beat Harvard 14-6.
  • Penn State's closer at Pittsburgh was postponed until Monday because of snow.
  • Rutgers and Colgate cancelled their game.
Dick Kazmaier, 1950 Heisman Trophy Winner
Kazmaier & Heisman
Princeton finished #6 in both the AP and UP rankings. Under university policy, they did not participate in a bowl game.

After leading the Tigers to another 9-0 season, during which he led the nation in both total offense and passing accuracy, Dick Kazmaier won the 1951 Heisman Trophy.

  • Following his father's directive, Dick, you're at Princeton for an education, not to play football, Kaz played football and basketball because he enjoyed sports.
  • So he shunned the Chicago Bears, who drafted him, for graduate school at Harvard.
  • Kaz told The Daily Princetonian in 2004: My most memorable game of the season was the last game against Dartmouth played in hur­ricane winds and rain. That we were able to win under those condi­tions was a testament to the strength and purpose of the team.
Continued below ...
November 25, 1950 - II

Games on this date throughout the East and Midwest were influenced by a large extratropical cy­clone that moved through the Eastern United States, causing significant winds, heavy rains east of the Appalachians, and blizzard conditions along the western slopes of the mountain chain.

  • The storm came to be known as "The Great Appalachian Storm of November 1950."
  • Its hurricane-force winds peaked at 110 mph in Concord NH and 160 mph in the New Eng­land highlands.
  • The storm disrupted power to 1,000,000 customers.
  • In all, the storm impacted 22 states, killing 353, and creating $66.7 million in damage.

The amazing aspect of that day's football action was that so many games were played despite almost inhuman conditions. We will look at a number of those games, some of which had major impact for conference championships, national rankings, and bowl berths.
Kentucky @ Tennessee

Having clinched the SEC championship, Bear Bryant's Wildcats, #3 in the AP poll, invaded Knoxville looking to complete an undefeated season.

  • Led by one of the nation's best passers in QB Vito "Babe" Parilli, UK had ground down ten straight opponents, five of which had failed to put a point on the scoreboard.
    In his autobiography, Bryant called Parilli the best fake-and-throw passer I have ever seen, so quick and strong with his hands he could pump three times before he threw. We adjusted to Babe, not him to us. We built around him.
  • The only team that had held the potent Blue and White offense to less than 25 points was LSU, which lost 14-0 in Lexington September 23.
  • The Wildcats hoped to land a bid to either the Sugar or Orange Bowl. Barring a one-sided victory by UT, word leaking out of New Orleans had the Sugar Bowl inviting UK at 5 PM Saturday.
  • FB Bill Leskovar was expected to see little action because of a recurring injury. Cliff Lawson would take fill the bill in Leskovar's place.

General Bob Neyland's 9th-ranked Volunteers had also compiled an enviable record.

  • The only blemish on the schedule had come September 23, a 7-0 defeat at Mississippi State.
  • The other eight foes (with Vanderbilt still to be played) had fallen by a combined score of 265-57.
  • The Vols had not suffered defeat at the hands of their archrivals from the adjacent state since 1935, although Bryant's crew had gained a scoreless tie on their last visit to Knoxville in 1948. In fact, no Kentucky team had ever beaten a Neyland-coached aggregation. (The '35 Wildcat victory came during the year the army dispatched Neyland to the Canal Zone.)
  • Neyland was among the dwindling number of coaches who clung to the single wing (and would do so until he retired two years later). His TB, Hank Lauricella from Holy Cross High School in New Orleans, was dubbed "Mr. Everything" because of his skill at running and passing.
  • Neyland had already accepted an invitation to play Texas in the Cotton Bowl New Year's Day, a spot that Bryant had coveted.
The oddsmakers had installed Kentucky as one-TD favorites but the weather blew all prognostications out the window.
  • A swirling snowstorm stuck Knoxville on the eve of the meeting of the Top Ten teams.
  • Five inches of the white stuff blanketed the countryside before stopping at noon.
  • Fortunately, Shields-Watkins Field was snugly clothed in a large tarpaulin.
  • AD Neyland said the job of removing the snow from the tarpaulin began at 1 PM Friday. It will be extremely difficult to remove the snow prior to tomorrow's game. It will be utterly impossible to remove the snow from the 51,000 seats now provided for in the stadium. Under these circumstances it will be difficult for customers to find correct seats and the conditions will be extremely uncomfortable due to the necessity of sitting and standing in the snow. Sympathetic understanding and cooperation from the immense crowd is requested in order that conditions already bad do not become intolerable.
  • The General estimated at least 100 tons of snow covered the tarpaulin. (Others said 250 to 300 tons.) Workmen removed the snow using shovels and wheelbarrows.
  • No snow was predicted for Saturday, but the temperature was expected to reach an overnight low of 12° with winds up to 25 mph. Still, Neyland ordered the tarpaulin to be kept in place until Saturday morning.

Many highways into Knoxville were blocked.

  • Thousands of out-of-town ticket holders, including some 10,000 expected down from Kentucky, were threatened with being snowbound.
  • Still, hotels in the Knoxville area reported sellouts. Many Kentuckians who started the trip south by automobile switched to train en route.
  • Fortunately, the 41-man Kentucky squad flew in Friday afternoon on a chartered flight.
  • Recalling 1949's clash at Stoll Field when UT killed UK's shot at the SEC championship when he played it close to the vest, Bryant had decided to throw caution to the winds and pass more despite the challenging conditions.

While AD Neyland bemoaned the difficulty of removing so much snow, Coach Neyland smiled in private.

  • Freezing weather made the ground game even more important since completing passes with frozen hands and fingers in strong winds was a monumental challenge.
  • The General deployed the nation's leading pass defense, allowing only 46 ypg.
  • Parilli held the key to Kentucky's chances. Big Blue fans took heart from the fact that he had come through in all ten games, including one against Florida in snow and rain.
The weather conditions made some long-time fans harken back to the 1929 UK-UT battle waged on snow-covered Stoll Field in Lexington.
  • That game, one of the classic tilts in the series that began in 1893, saw an underdog Wildcat team completely outplay the previously unbeaten and untied Vols to gain a 6-6 tie.
  • Coach Neyland had a Rose Bowl bid in his pocket and needed only a victory over the supposedly clawless Cats to clinch the trip to the West Coast.
  • But the Wildcats proved better Eskimos than the Volunteers. For 55 minutes, the Kentuckians clearly outplayed the shivering Tennesseans, rolling up 123y in the first half and at game's end had 13 first downs to UT's two.
  • The Vols never threatened despite their great backfield combination of Bobby Dodd, Gene McEver, Buddy Hackman, and Quinn Decker. They played a typical Neyland game, kicking and hoping to hold the Wildcats and gain a break.
  • Late in Q3, Dodd punted out of bounds on the UK 44. Jack Phipps, Carey Spicer, and Will Ed Covington pushed to the 16. On the sixth play of Q4, Phipps scored, but Covington missed the PAT.
  • From that point on, the Cats played a defensive game and apparently had a win in the bag.
  • But late in the period, Covington punted 38y to McEver who slid back 15 to the UT 45. Dodd sneaked through center for 8 and then came the knockout punch - a 41y pass from Dodd to Hackman.
  • At first officials signalled a TD, and Neyland sent in his drop-kicking specialist Charles Kohlhase. But when the snow was scraped away, the ball was 6y away. So Kohlhase came out. When Hackman scored the TD, the kicking specialist could not return due to substitution restrictions in the rules of the day.
  • So Tennessee missed the point and had to settle for a 6-6 tie.

The contest was broadcast on 300 radio stations coast to coast on the Liberty Broadcasting System with Knoxville sportscaster Lindsey Nelson at the mike.

  • Liberty claimed the number of stations broke all records for a football game.
  • As another indication of the nationwide interest in the clash, sportswriters from all sections of the country packed the press box.

When the sun broke through midway through Saturday morning, the grounds crew removed the tarpaulin and found that the turf was soft and only slightly damp.

Fans huddle in the snowy stands at Shields-Watkins Field.
An estimated 45,000 fans shivering in 15 weather saw the bruising defensive battle everyone expected.
  • The frigid weather caused numerous fumbles by both teams. Wildcats dropped the pigskin nine times, the orange-shirted Vols recovering eight times. Chilled UT fingers lost the ball seven times and recovered only three. However, the Vol turnovers were not as costly as those of Kentucky.
  • On UK's first possession, Bryant called one of his favorite plays - a tackle-eligible pass. With lineman and backs spread across the field, T Walt Yowarsky ended up a step behind the end of the line and gathered in a Parilli pass only to have the gain nullified by a penalty despite the fact that Yowarsky had reported to the officials that he would be eligible, as the rules required. The Wildcats would try the same play twice more but the officials called a penalty each time.
  • Tennessee drove into Kentucky territory three times in Q1 although every advance started close to the midfield stripe. The Vols never again drove into UK's turf although they took possession in Kentucky's half of the field ten times later on.
  • Penalties also hurt the visitors in the early stages but, oddly enough, it was a penalty against Tennessee that played a big part in the Vols' scoring the game's lone TD.
  • After 20 minutes of scoreless play, Lauricella punted from his 34. But the ball hit a UK blocker, and C Bob Davis fell on the pigskin on the 36.
  • Harold "Herky" Payne ripped off 13y for a first down on the 23. But the Cats rose up and held the Vols to a single yard on three plays.
  • The Vols lined up for a FG but took too much time. After the 5y penalty to the 27, Neyland junked his FG plans.
  • Lauricella faded back to the 35 and found HB Bert Rechichar in the clear and hit him on the goal line with four minutes left in the half.
  • Even on the EP try, Lady Luck frowned on Bryant's warriors. Pat Shires missed the kick for only the fourth time in 35 tries. However, Kentucky was called for offside. Shires nailed the reprieve try to make it 7-0.
  • Taking to the air, the Cats finally made it out of their own territory in the last minute of the first half. But Gordon Polofsky's INT snuffed out the advance.
  • The closest Wildcat approach to the promised land came early in Q3 when G Pat James broke through and stole the ball from Rechichar at the UT 30. Lawson gained 3 on the next play but fumbled.
  • Parilli filled the frigid air with passes, 30 to be exact. This was partly by plan but also a necessity after (a) the Vols took the early lead, (b) Babe's running backs kept fumbling, and and (c) backup FB Lawson left the game with a concusson midway through Q3.
  • Babe completed 14 for 150y. But four of his tosses went into the hands of the UT secondary as DE Doug Atkins and Bud Sherrod harassed the UK signal-caller all afternoon.
  • Altogether, the Wildcats had the ball 20 times but could advance beyond midfield only five times.
  • Tennessee had a chance to seal the victory late in Q3 when Jimmy Hill plucked one of Parilli's tosses out of the air on the UK 40 and returned it to the 19. Aided by an offside penalty on the defense, the Vols gained a first down on the 8. Payne, in two smashes, carried to the 2 as the period ended.
  • Andy Kozar made 1 on 3rd down but, when he tried again, was smashed to the ground at the line of scrimmage.
  • Lining up in short punt formation, Parilli started passing from his EZ. He completed a 14-yarder and another for 9 to Al Bruno. After gaining a first down, the old bugaboo, the fumble, bit Kentucky. But two plays later, Rechichar returned the favor.
  • Parilli led a promising 49y march at that point, but it petered out at the UT 30 when two incompletions turned the ball over on downs with eight minutes left.
  • But within a minute, T Bob Gain fell on a fumble by Dick Ernsberger at the UT 37 to give Kentucky what proved to be their last chance. But charging Orange linemen broke through and threw Parilli for back-to-back losses.


  • Kentucky still won the SEC championship because of their 5-1 conference record compared to Tennessee's 4-1.
  • But the devastating defeat ended any shot at the school's first national championship.
    Bear remained bitter about the game the rest of his life. In his 1974 autobiography, he said: To this day I would tell General Neyland or anybody in the state of Tennessee that the officials took that one. I'm trying to be more humble now, but they took it from us. We had a tackle-eligible play, a favorite of mine until the rules committee outlawed it in the late sixties, and I had alerted the officials beforehand. We ran it three times and made a mile, and instead of giving it to us they brought it back and penalized us every time. If it had been in Birmingham or Tuscaloosa, I'd have gone out and sat on the ball, but this was General Neyland's territory, and I'd have just gotten penalized more.
  • The outcome marked the 15th time in 19 games that Kentucky had failed to score a point against Neyland's teams.
  • Despite playing little in the second half, Lawson led the Cats in rushing with 26y in six tries. Lauricella topped the Vols with 60y on 14 efforts while Ernsberegr contributed 42 on 17 carries.
  • Altogether, Tennessee ran the ball 54 times to just 25 for UK.

Postgame Comments

  • Neyland: Today's game was one of the hardest played I have ever seen. Naturally, I am very proud of our boys for doing so well against a fine team like Kentucky's.
  • Bryant laughed at a report from Nashville that he was ready to quit at Kentucky. It's all news to me, but after all I may be around looking for a job now that I have that one-game losing streak.

Kentucky got its Sugar Bowl bid after all and upset the undefeated #1 Oklahoma Sooners 13-7. At the same time, #4 Tennessee beat #3 Texas 20-14 in Dallas. Those results proved that the two elevens that clashed on that cold day in Knoxville were certainly among the top five teams in the nation.

References: Bear: The Hard Life & Good Times of Alabama's Coach Bryant, Paul "Bear" Bryant with John Underwood (1974)
The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, Allen Barra (2005)

Babe Parilli, Bear Bryant,
and Bob Gain

Bill Leskovar

Hank Lauricella and Robert Neyland

Shields-Watkins Field

Lindsey Nelson

Walt Yowarksy

Harold Payne

Bert Rechichar

Pat James

Doug Atkins

Bud Sherrod

Andy Kozar