The Most Lopsided Blowout In College Football History

Every year in college football there is a game where one team finds out they probably should not have been on the field with their opponent after getting their doors blown off in a final lopsided score. It never fails, there are always multiple games like these.

None can match however what took place on Saturday, Oct. 7, 1916. On that day, Georgia Tech University set two records that I promise you will never be broken. One was the highest scoring by one team in a college football game and the other had the largest margin of victory in NCAA football history.

The Yellow Jackets of Tech were playing Cumberland College who that season would discontinue their football program. The story as told is that Cumberland had promised Tech they would play this game and if they didn’t a fine of $3,000 would be imposed on the much smaller college.

Georgia Tech was coached by John Heisman and in 1915 his baseball team at Georgia Tech had lost to Cumberland by a score of 22-0. The coach believed that the opposing team had stacked their team with ringers.

Cumberland Bulldogs football team photo from 1903
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons in the public domain of a team photo of the Cumberland Bulldogs (1903). Source - "Phoenix Yearbook."

College Football's Largest Blowout

So when the two teams met on the gridiron in that October of 1916, it was said that John Heisman was looking for revenge for the baseball defeat. Heisman wanted this game bad enough that he offered $500 of his own money to ensure Cumberland did not face the $3,000 fine. If you want to talk about an annihilation of a team, then just read this final score…222-0! That’s right, the final score was 222-0.

The game was played in Atlanta and from game reports it is told that Georgia Tech would be lining up against fraternity brothers who were brought to the game by the student manager. These inexperienced players would be banging helmets against a team from Tech that would win that season’s national championship defeating the University of California in the Rose Bowl.

Interesting Facts

The final stats of the game are mind-boggling. These kinds of numbers will never happen again. Here are some of the eye-popping numbers:

  • Cumberland committed 15 turnovers on 45 offensive plays.
  • Cumberland’s quarterbacks threw six interceptions.
  • Of the 15 turnovers, seven were converted for scores
  • To get the day started Tech scored on its very first possession
  • Georgia Tech scored six times on kickoffs
  • How many touchdowns did Georgia Tech score? Try 32 on for size.  Georgia Tech’s left end, James Preas, kicked 18 extra points.
  • Cumberland did keep the Yellow Jackets out of the end zone 10 times in the 28 offensive plays Georgia Tech ran. 
  • To make matters worse for Cumberland College is the fact that Tech did not have one fourth down play all game nor did they have a single play that went for negative yards. 
  • Georgia Tech’s punter had the day off. Tech never faced a fourth down. In the first quarter, the Yellow Jackets scored 63 points. The next quarter they repeated that same number. 
  • It was strictly a running game plan for Georgia Tech as they did not attempt a single pass.
  • Here’s a play-by-play recap.
Cumberland University (1918)
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons in the public domain of Cumberland University (1918). Sourced from Cumberland University Bulletin.

Just for the record, Cumberland College was founded in 1889 and was called Williamsburg Institute before becoming Cumberland College. Eventually, they would become the University of the Cumberlands. Their current enrollment is 16,996. On the flip side, Georgia Tech sports 39,771 students. The University of Cumberlands are known as the Patriots but back in 1916, they were the Indians.

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