222-0??? Are you kidding???

That was the score of the most lop-sided game in football history: Georgia Tech and Cumberland University back in the '10s or '20s.

Does anyone have details on this game?

I’ve heard:

Cumberland didn’t really have a team–they just put together some people for the field.

There were no first downs.

The game was stopped in the 3rd quarter.
What’s the SD on this game?

You basically have it right. Cumberland was hoping to hit the big time in college football and thought that a game against Georgia Tech, coached by John Heisman (of trophy fame), would be a big PR boost.
However, Cumberland only had 15 players and they hadn’t practiced.
Heisman kept the first string far longer than needed and ran up the score relentlessly.

Accounts of the game say that after some Tech touchdowns, Cumberland opted to kick off instead of receive (you can do this today, but nobody ever does). This just added to the slaughter.

I haven’t seen a full boxscore to see how Tech got to 222.

I think the line score went something like this

Tech 63 63 96 X – 222
Cumb 0 0 0 X – 0

Tech had 32 touchdowns and 30 extra points. Tech did not attempt a pass.

Some other stats I’ve heard:

There were no first downs by either team; Cumberland couldn’t get any, Tech got touchdowns without needing first downs.

Cumberland’s best offensive play was an 8 yard loss.

One other thing: I’ve heard that part of the reason Tech ran up the score was because, previously, Cumberland’s baseball team had beat Tech something like 93-0. Anyone else ever heard this?

According to the accounts I read, Cumberland had a 5-yard gain and a 3-yard gain, but finished with around -32 yards rushing.

I think Tech ran up the score because Heisman wanted to. I think he may have expected that Cumberland would have put up more of a fight and was trying to shame them into playing better.

Also, Heisman didn’t have a reputation for being a very nice person.

Heisman ran up the score because he felt there was undue emphasis on the margin of victory. “We at Tech determined . . . to show folks it was no difficult thing to run up a score in one easy game.”

Cumberland had only 13 players suited up , since three players missed a train and didn’t get to the game.

Cumberland received the opening kickoff and their biggest rushing gain was on their first play, a three-yard gain. They had to punt and Tech ran a sweep for 80 yards and a TD. Cumberland fumbled on the next possession and Tech ran that in for a TD.

Once the score was 28-0, Cumberland started kicking off when Tech scored. First time, Tech went 70 yards to the 10. Two plays later, it was 35-0. After two more TDs Cumberland went back to receiving the ball, but it didn’t help.

The 1st quarter ended at 63-0 for Tech. By halftime, the score was 126-0.

By the 3rd quarter, Tech was trying to let up, and one point handing the ball to their tackle – who was big, but slow – and not blocking for him. He still made seven yards.

When the score was 154-0, Cumberland completed a pass for 10 yards, their biggest gain. But it wasn’t a first down, since Cumberland had lost 18 years on the two previous running plays.

Tech had 528 yards rushing (none passing) – good but not spectacular – and 440 yards on punts and kickoffs, which was a major factor.

Two weeks later, St. Viator College defeated Lane Technical school 205-0. A few years later, in 1922, King College defeated Lenoir 206-0, for second place in the piling on championship.

This all comes from The Great American Sports Book by George Gipe.

“East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” – Marx

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction. www.sff.net/people/rothman

Holy crap!


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

Other than trying to get into sports history books, why would you opt to kick off instead of receiving?

In the hope that you can hold the other team to short yardage, force them to punt and get the ball in better field position than you would on receiving a kickoff. Or, you could possibly hope for a fumble and a turnover in even more advantageous position.

You can also try for an on-side kick, but I don’t think they were trying that.

“Drink your coffee! Remember, there are people sleeping in China.”

Dennis Matheson — dennis@mountaindiver.com
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb — www.mountaindiver.com

It is an ancient, dim memory, but the for-children version I saw some decades ago suggested that Cumberland had actually had a successful team the preceding couple of years, including wins against ranked (or well-known) teams. If it’s true, scheduling done in the glow of an upset victory or season, combined with natural turnover on the team, could have played a part in the mismatch.

I think the ‘8-yard loss as best offensive play’ thing was a quote made for effect, rather than a statistical reality.

I don’t think we should ignore the possibility that someone may have made a fortune off this game. Think of the money to be had betting against a two hundred point spread.

In case you didn’t see Rudy Martzke’s column in USA Today, part of it deals with this year’s propsed Super Bowl pregame show. Beano Cook is going to do a piece on the Tech-Cumberland game. That ought to contain just about everything you want to know about it.

Well, shut my mouth. It’s also illegal to put squirrels down your pants for the purposes of gambling.