Looking back at first game against Ole Miss in 1894

Sept. 3, 2014

Commodore History Corner Archive

Vanderbilt began playing football in 1890. The one-game schedule featured a 40-0 victory over the University of Nashville (Peabody College). The Commodores were 3-1 in 1891, 4-4 in 1892 and 6-1 in 1893. This week Vanderbilt will be playing the Ole Miss Rebels at LP Field, a series that began in 1894.

That year, Vanderbilt's head coach was Henry Thornton, whose team entered the Ole Miss game with a 3-1 record. Mississippi had been playing football since 1893, where it was 4-1. The Rebels were coached by C.D. Clark and were 2-0 entering the game in Nashville. This was the first meeting between the schools.

The following are the results of that 1894 Ole Miss/Vanderbilt game played on Vanderbilt's original Dudley Field on Nov. 10. An unknown sports writer published the story in the Nashville American. The story began with the captions:

A Sweeping Victory,
Vanderbilt Finds Easy Prey in the Cotton Pickers,
The Mississippi Boys Spunky, But Haven't the Pointers

It was a sad tale of woe that the University of Mississippi foot ball team telegraphed to their friends at home last night. It was simply this: "Vanderbilt 40, University of Mississippi 0"

Five hundred people, almost one-half of whom were ladies, braved a stir north breeze to witness the game. The old-gold chrysanthemums of Vanderbilt were in evidence in almost everywhere, while the crimson and blue of Mississippi was loyally worn by their ardent admirers, many of whom were from the female colleges in the city.

The Mississippians arrived on the field a few minutes late and looked weak beside the sturdy Vanderbilters. After Vanderbilt had made the first tough-down it was plainly evident that the Mississippians were not in it at all. At times their individual playing was good, but their team work was poor. The men lacked snap and did not play together. Their greatest strength was in their tackling. The two ends, Towns and Tipton, were especially good at tackling. Capt. Cook also made some beautiful tackles. The Mississippians attempted to punt repeatedly, but their line was not strong enough, and by the time the ball reached Cook some of the Vanderbilt men were there to block the kick. The visitors played like gentlemen, and the game was clean from beginning to end.

1894 A Sweeping Victory Although considerably one-sided, the game was not devoid of brilliant plays. The three long runs of Tuttle, 25, 55 and 55 yards, respectfully, were loudly applauded. This is the first schedule game that Craig has played this season, and kept his eyes open. Almost everything Mississippi fumbled the ball he was on it like a flash. To him is credited the prettiest run of the game. The Mississippi boys were working effectively towards the goal when the ball was given to Fant to back-centre. In some way Fant fumbled the ball, and when he saw it again Craig had it behind the goal, seventy-five yards distant. Boogher kicked every goal but one, and got through the visitors line with the greatest ease. Bat Malone, at quarter, played magnificently. He caught at least five balls on the kick off, and carried them back well. Burch made good gains every time he took the ball. The interference of the Vanderbilts, although good in the main was sometimes exceedingly poor Keller, Dortch, Hillebrand and Connell on account of injuries, did not play.

Capt. Cook was hurt in the head during the first half, but played until the second half, when Fant took his place. Ires replaced Fant. McLean was hurt in the last part of the game, and Smith was substituted. At the end of the last twenty-five minutes the game was called on the account of darkness.

Vanderbilt............Position...........Univ. Miss.
Tuttle.................. Left end............... Townes
Kittrell................. Left tackle............ Blake
Burch.................. Left guard............ McPherrin
Hughes................ Centre................. Kimbrough
Davis.................. Right guard........... Stevens
Fitzgerald.............. Right tackle........... Cowen
Gaines................. Right end............. Tipton
Malone................ Quarter................ Duke
Boogher............... Left half back......... Fant and Smith
Craig................... Right half back........ McLeon and Ires
Pittman................ Fullback................ Cook (Capt.) Fant

Vanderbilt made the first touchdown with a rush that was enthusiastically received by the spectators. Mississippi took the north goal and Vanderbilt took the ball and opposed her and a strong north wind. Hughes tapped the pig-skin for eleven yards and trouble began. Mississippi was dazed and allowed Vanderbilt to recover the ball. Gaines now tucked the oblong under his arm and went around the left end like a flash for seventeen yards.

"Baby" Burch now takes his turn and goes lumbering through the visitor's center five yards. Craig tries the same place for two yards more. Tuttle goes around right end for five yards before he is downed. Boogher makes a dart through center, and the difference between where he started and where his chrysanthemum head plowed up the ground measured four yards. Fitzgerald bucks center for three yards. Craig follows suit with the same result. Boogher tries right end for two yards. Craig goes around right end for one yard and Mississippi takes the ball on downs. Her initial play is a fumble and Boogher makes three yards through center for Vanderbilt. Pittman goes through the same place for one yard. Vanderbilt has only one more yard to gain and Boogher makes it, and the first touchdown is gained. Time, four minutes.

After this enthusiasm quieted down as it could be plainly seen that Vanderbilt was having things there own way. In this half four touchdowns were made and all the goals were kicked by Boogher.

In the second half both sides played harder and better ball. The Mississippi boys revived and worked hard for a score. Vanderbilt by successive wedge and end plays had little difficulty getting around the visitors and when the game was called on account of darkness it was found that three more touchdowns and two goals were added to Vanderbilt's score.

Summaries: First half time 35 minutes. Touchdowns, Craig 2; Boogher 1; Fitzgerald 1; Goals kicked, by Boogher 4.

Second half, time 30 minutes. Touchdowns, Craig 2; Pittman 1. Goals kicked by Boogher 2. Umpire, Mr. J.W.S. Rhea of Memphis. Referee, Mr. W.L. Granberry, Nashville; Linesman, Mr. MacRhea.

Score, Vanderbilt 40, University of Mississippi 0. Attendance 500.

Vanderbilt finished that season 7-1. Mississippi was 6-1, with its only loss to the Commodores.

If you have any comments or suggestions contact Bill Traughber via email at WLTraughber@aol.com.



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