December 9, 2023

On Saturday, Oct. 7, 1916, Georgia Tech’s football team beat Cumberland 222-0. Quite simply, it is the biggest beatdown in the history of college football.

A bit of background, from our piece in 2016 on the 100th anniversary of the game:

The rout can be traced back to a 22-0 loss the Georgia Tech baseball team, also coached by Heisman, suffered in the spring of 1915. Heisman suspected that Cumberland had stacked its team with professional ringers. 

He didn’t have to wait long for his chance for revenge. Cumberland discontinued its football program in 1916 but had committed to play Georgia Tech on Oct. 7 before the program was suspended. Cumberland reportedly would owe Tech $3,000 if the game was not played. Heisman insisted Cumberland come to Atlanta and play the game. He chipped in $500 (worth roughly $11,500 today) and paid for travel expenses.

Cumberland’s roster was filled with fraternity brothers assembled by the team’s student manager. Tech was stocked with players went on to win the national championship in 1917 by defeating Cal in the Rose Bowl.

HISTORY: College football’s 9 winningest teams

Naturally, there are a lot of crazy numbers that came out of the game. We went through the play-by-play to pull out a select few of the craziest:

15 — Turnovers by Cumberland in just 45 total plays from scrimmage. One-third of all of Cumberland’s plays ended in a turnover. That includes…

9 — Fumbles lost by Cumberland. George Murphy coughed up four, while at least three other players had one (the play-by-play lists one fumble as a team fumble).

6 — Interceptions thrown by Cumberland. Four by Leon McDonald and two by George Murphy.

7 — Of those 15 turnovers were returned for scores. Georgia Tech had five pick-sixes, and two scoop-and-scores. The final touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter, when Tech’s Jim Senter intercepted McDonald’s pass and returned it 30 yards to the end zone to make it 221-0 before the extra point.

1 — Number of plays it took for Georgia Tech to score first. After winning the coin toss, Georgia Tech elected to kick off. Cumberland was forced to punt, but the punt went just 20 yards and was returned for 18, for a net of two. On the first play from scrimmage, tailback George Everett Strupper took the ball on a left end sweep and scored. 

6 — Kicks returned for touchdowns by Tech, including four punts and two kickoffs. That does not include one of the weirdest plays in college football history. In the second quarter, after Georgia Tech scored to make it 105-0, Jim Preas kicked off to Cumberland’s Gouger, who fumbled the ball. Then Preas — the kicker — recovered the kick and scored before kicking the extra point as well to push Tech’s lead to 112-0.

24 — Total touchdowns by Georgia Tech that took one or zero offensive plays. Tech had seven defensive touchdowns, six kick return touchdowns, and 11 touchdowns from one-play drives on offense.

10 — Of the 28 offensive plays run by Georgia Tech that did not go for touchdowns. 

2 — Georgia Tech drives that took three plays to score. Tech had zero drives of four plays or more.

MORE HISTORY: College football teams with the most national championships

0 — Fourth downs faced by Georgia Tech.

0 — First downs made in the game, by either team. Cumberland either punted or turned the ball over on every set of downs it had, while Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on every set it had.

0 — Georgia Tech plays that went for negative yards.

63 — Points scored by Georgia Tech in both the first and second quarter. 

9 — times Georgia Tech has scored 63 or more points in a game in the 121 games they’ve played since 2010. That’s 7.4 percent.

23 — Successful extra point attempts in a row by Georgia Tech during the first three quarters. Jim Preas hit 18 in the first half, but was replaced by Tommy Spence, who converted five in a row before missing back-to-back tries and getting replaced. Strupper made one in the fourth quarter, and then Bill Fincher hit six more in the fourth, giving Georgia Tech a 30-for-32 mark on the day.

0 — Passes attempted by Georgia Tech. 

4.5 — Points scored per Georgia Tech offensive play. The offense accounted for 126 of the 222 points in the game on just 28 plays.


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