Georgia Tech’s 222

Scoreboard from the 1916 Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland football game, Wikipedia.com

by Travis Normand
July 26, 2017

I have written about Georgia Tech’s historic 222-0 drubbing of Cumberland before (here and here), but for some reason I was thinking about it again today. I was wondering how the outcome of that game stacked up against other games and whether or not the outcome was truly an anomaly.

I set out to answer these questions and created this post to share what I found.

1916 Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland, 222-0:  According to Wikipedia.com, the 222-0 Georgia Tech (GT) victory was the most lopsided in the history of college football. However, how much more “lopsided” was this game than others? Well, again, according to Wikipedia.com:

  • Of the current Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, only (1) Arizona, (2) Bowling Green, (2) Georgia Tech, (3) Oklahoma, and (4) Tulsa have eclipsed 150 points in a single game.
  • Ignoring games from the early 1900s (and earlier), the Houston Cougars are the only Division I, FBS team to score 100 points against another FBS team in the last 50 years (they did it against Tulsa on November 3, 1968).
  • King College (now King University) in Tennessee scored 206 points against Lenoir in 1922.
  • St. Viator College (Illinois) scored 205 points against Lane Tech in 1916 (the same year as Georgia Tech’s 222 points against Cumberland). In fact, according to an article published in Sports Illustrated, the Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland game received no national publicity. The New York Times reported a new scoring record when St. Viator’s beat Lane Tech 205-0, which happened three weeks after Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland (Georgia Tech had to wait until 1917 before it was recognized as the nation’s top-scoring team). [FN1]
  • Yale defeated Dartmouth 113–0 on October 25, 1884 (in Hanover, New Hampshire). This is the first recorded incident of a team (1) scoring over 100 points in a game, and (2) scoring over 100 points while shutting out the other team. [FN2]
  • Four days after Yale’s defeat of Dartmouth, on October 29, 1884, Princeton outscored Lafayette 140-0. [FN3]
  • Another notable finding is that more often than not, when one team scores 100 points, the other team typically doesn’t score at all. However, in 1916 SMU scored an early field goal in its game against Rice. However, Rice made a “come back” and ended up winning the game 146-3.

While the above list is not exhaustive, you can visit Wikipedia.com’s List of 100-Point Games in College Football page for what appears to be a fairly comprehensive list. [FN4] There may be more games that are not included on this list, but many early records are not easily searchable or have not been preserved. In other words, this may be one of the best lists available. Here are a few notes from this list (the list includes schools/teams from the NCAA, the NAIA, pre-NCAA, pre-NAIA, military football teams, and high schools):

  • The 200 point barrier has only been broken three times: (1) Georgia Tech in 1916, (2) King College (TN) in 1922, and (3) St. Viator in 1916.
  • The earliest game on this list is from 1884.
  • The 1920 season holds the record for the most 100+ scoring games at 16, while the 1916 season comes in second at 14 games.
  • The last season to see a score pass the 100 point barrier was 2003.
  • A few teams have passed the 100 point barrier more than once:  Arizona (2 times), Butler (2), Central Oklahoma (3), Centre (3), Chicago (2), Cincinnati (2), Cornell (2), Emporia College KS (2), Georgia (3), Georgia Tech (5 – 3 of which came in 1918), Harvard (4), Hawaii (2), Hendrix (2), Idaho State (3 – 2 came against Western Montana in back-to-back seasons, 1930 and 1931), Michigan (4 – 1 was against Michigan State), Michigan State (4), Millikin (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri School of Mines (2), Montana (2), Murray State (2), Navy (2), Nebraska (4), Nevada (2), New Mexico State (3), North Dakota State (2), Notre Dame (2), Oklahoma (8 – 3 times against Kingfisher, and 2 times against NW Oklahoma), Oklahoma State (3), Princeton (4), Stephen F. Austin (2), Tennessee (4), Third District Normal MO (2),  Tulsa (4), Utah (3), Utah State (2), Vanderbilt (3), Virginia (2), Washington (3), Washington & Jefferson (2), Xavier (2), and Yale (4 – 3 against Wesleyan).
  • In the above list, Oklahoma takes the prize as having topped 100 points the most times at eight (8).
  • A few teams have had 100+ points scored on them more than once:  Cumberland (2 – by Tennessee in 1915 and Georgia Tech in 1916), Daniel Baker College (2 – by Texas A&M and Austin College, both in 1920), Findlay (2), Fort Douglas (2), Fourth District Normal MO (2), Grinnell (2), Henderson (2), Hillsdale (2), Howard AL (2), Indiana State (2), Johns Hopkins (2), Kentucky Wesleyan (2), Kingfisher (3 – all by Oklahoma), NW Oklahoma (2), Oklahoma Baptist (3), Phillips (2), Pittsburg Normal (2), Rose Poly (2), SW Oklahoma (2), Wesleyan (5 – 2 by Harvard and 3 by Yale), Western Montana (2), and Will Mayfield (2).
  • In the above list, Oklahoma has defeated Kingfisher by more than 100 points three different times, and Oklahoma Baptist has lost three games by more than 100, but Wesleyan takes that prize of having lost by more than 100 points a total of five times, with three of the five coming at the hands of Yale.
  • Finally, while I didn’t really study this statistic, and may have missed several other occurrences, it appears as if both Pacific University OR and Michigan State have won and lost by 100+ points.

So, if Georgia Tech’s 1916 score of 222 is the all-time record, how well did Georgia Tech do the rest of that 1916 season?

Georgia Tech’s 1916 Football Season (8-0-1):
Sept. 30 – GT 61 vs. Mercer 0 – Win
Oct. 7 – GT 222 vs. Cumberland 0 – Win
Oct. 14 – GT 9 vs. Davidson 0 – Win
Oct. 21 – GT 10 vs. North Carolina 6 – Win
Oct. 28 – GT 7 vs. Washington & Lee 7 – TIE
Nov. 4 – GT 45 vs. Tulane 0 – Win
Nov. 11 – GT 13 vs. Alabama 0 – Win
Nov. 18 – GT 21 vs. Georgia 0 – Win
Nov. 30 – GT 33 vs. Auburn 7 – Win

As you can see, GT went 8-0-1, with the only “blemish” being a tie with Washington & Lee. Of the eight wins, GT shut-out six of those opponents, and only allowed 20 points the entire season (while managing to score 421).

While 100+ point games are not entirely unheard of, it does appear as if the 222 point game by Georgia Tech is truly an anomaly.

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Notes:

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