Georgia Tech's Golden Tornado (1917 - 1929)

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The Golden Tornado was a former nickname for the Georgia Tech football team and was thought to be created by the sportswriters as a result of Tech's record of 9-0-0. This team was considered the greatest in school history. [1] The nickname was used as early as 1917 and as late as 1929 when Tech beat California in the Rose Bowl. From the year 1917 to 1929, the Golden Tornado Tech team led Tech to some amazing victories that established the football program. The Georgia Tech team won four national titles in the years 1917 with a record of 9-0 under John Heisman and 1928 with a record of 10-0 under William Anderson Alexander. [2] The highlighting seasons for the Golden Tornado team of Georgia Tech were 1917, 1925, 1928, and the rose bowl of 1929.


Contents

1917

The Golden Tornado in 1917

In 1917, the Tech team was known as “the greatest team ever." It was declared that the Golden Tornado was the best in the country.[3] The Golden Tornado phrase was created in 1917, when John W. Heisman led Tech to its first national championship game. Tech was the first team of the year to receive this honor by the International News Service. [4] On December 1, the New York Sun was “glad to acclaim Georgia Tech the greatest eleven in the country.” In 1917, the Georgia Tech team was the best of its time and had the greatest supremacy with their incredible record. Georgia Tech defeated Auburn 68 to 7, had a total of 491 points over the span of nine games, and scored at least 55 points in each game. They had a 41 to 0 victory over Pennsylvania, a 98 to 0 victory over the Carlisle Indians, and finally a 63 to 0 triumph over Washington and Lee. Out of all the victories in their season, the most important was the win over the Auburn Tigers, which 10,000 fans attended. During the game, “The great backs formed around the man with the ball and left Auburn wreckage in the wake of the Golden Tornado.” The most incredible part of the game was the end of the second quarter when Tech's defense prevented Auburn from scoring. At the end of the game Georgia Tech's offense totaled 627 yards as opposed to Auburn’s mere 215 yards. [5] At the end of the 1917 season, the Tech students wanted to make sure that there would be a “Golden Tornado” in the years to come.

Here are quotes from other college teams’ captains about the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado team [6]:

George Tibbetts, Carlisle Captain: “my opinion of the Georgia Tech team, I will say that it is the most powerful we have met this year.”

Alf Adams, Vanderbilt Captain: “It is far superior to any team in the South and near East.”

Georgia King, Davidson Captain: “I consider Georgia Tech the best football team I have ever played against or ever expect to play against.”

Captain Barnes, Tulane Team: “Georgia Tech is easily the best team in the South this year, and would certainly make a fine showing against the Eastern teams if they played.”

This was the just the beginning for the success of the Golden Tornado.

1925

Georgia Tech started off its 1925 season at the Grant Field Stadium on September 26th with an insignificant win of 13 to 7 over Oglethorpe. The game was considered a very easy win. Then, the Golden Tornado hosted VMI in the conference opener, and this time the team was ready for an incredible win of 33 to 0. Doug Wycoff, who was 6’2" and 195 pounds, established himself as a well-known running back during the seasons of 1923 and 1924. “He was expected to carry the Golden Tornado to that next level in 1925.” The Associated Press reporter noted that Wycoff ‘ “smashed through the line and was tearing around the ends almost at will . . . and played with greater brilliance than that which marked his showing last year.” ’ In 1925, Georgia Tech was in New York City ready to play against Penn State. During the fourth quarter, Tech recovered a fumble. “The Golden Tornado marched the distance…tacked on a 35-yard field goal and Tech had its 16-7 win.” This particular edition of the Golden Tornado was led by two running backs named Everett Strupper and Joe Guyon. After this game, the Golden Tornado headed toward a bad road. They had a bad defeat for the Southern Championship. In the end, the team finished their 1925 season on Thanksgiving day against Auburn with a 7 to 7 tie. Despite that, the 1925 season opened with high expectations for the Golden Tornado and ended with a record of 6-2-1 for the Golden Tornado. [7]

1928

The Golden Tornado in 1928

In the 1928 season, the Golden Tornado made a clean sweep, ending the season 9-0 and receiving a bid to the Rose Bowl. The football team of 1928 inspired enthusiasm, and the underclassmen felt that football was the only thing in life. [8] William Alexander coached the incredible Golden Tornado team of 1928, and he broke the national scene. This was also the first year ever in history that the Georgia Tech team defeated Notre Dame with a score of 13 to 0. “It was a real tornado that swept the Notre Dame Irish from the field a defeated team.” [9] The 1928 season marked the beginning of the clean, old-fashioned hate rivalry tradition between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Starting in 1928, the game was either played in Athens or Atlanta. During the first game, Georgia Tech defeated Georgia with a score of 20 to 6. After Tech had an incredible season, the Golden Tornado received an invitation to take the field against California in the 1929 Rose Bowl. The students of Georgia Tech and the community were all excited to head to Pasadena, California. "California, Here We Come. Power and momentum to the westward march! On to Pasadena!” [10]

Rose Bowl 1929

This was Georgia Tech’s first appearance in a post season bowl game. The Golden Tornado had an incredible record with their regular schedule including the victory over Notre Dame and 20 to 6 win over Georgia. They were named national champions and were invited by the Tournament of Roses to compete in this game. “The famous Rose Bowl – clear skies and a warm sun-seventy thousand fans, watching Georgia Tech and California scrap it out!”. [11] In this fierce battle, Tech defeated California with a score of eight to seven. [12] This game is famous for the “wrong-way run” by Roy Riegels of California. The seventy thousand fans sitting in the audience were completely quiet during the play. [13] His strange run was one of the many key plays in the game, but his huge mistake set up the major defeat for California. He was immediately named “wrong-way Riegles.” [14]This memorable play occurred during the second quarter of the game. Riegels picked up the ball after one of Tech’s players fumbled the ball, and Riegels spun around and started to run. He then started to race toward his own goal line. Several of his teammates started to yell that he was going the wrong way, but by the time he made it to the five yard line, many of the Tech players tackled him at the one yard line. Tech got the touchdown making the game 8-7 and defeating California. In 1971, Georgia Tech inducted the Golden Tornado team of 1928 into the Hall of Fame. [15] In the end, the Rose Bowl Field was constructed with the revenue from the Rose Bowl game. The Golden Tornado Tech team was a success from the years 1917 to 1929.

References

  1. (15 November 2010) In "sports library." Retrieved November 15, 2010 from http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv11/CFHSNv11n3g.pdf
  2. (15 November 2010) In "Georgia Tech Athletics." Retrieved November 15, from http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/trads/geot-trads.html
  3. (16 November 2010) In "Technique Newsletter Volume 07, Issue 11." Retrieved November 16, from http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/26083
  4. (15 November 2010) In "Georgia Tech Athletics." Retrieved November 15, from http://ramblinwreck.cstv.com/trads/geot-trads.html
  5. (16 November 2010) In "Technique Newsletter Volume 07, Issue 11." Retrieved November 16, from http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/26083
  6. (16 November 2010) In "Technique Newsletter Volume 07, Issue 11." Retrieved November 16, from http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/26083
  7. (15 November 2010) In "sports library." Retrieved November 15, 2010 from http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/CFHSN/CFHSNv11/CFHSNv11n3g.pdf
  8. (15 November 2010) In "images and memories." Retrieved November 15, from "images and memories (Georgia Tech 1885 - 1985)
  9. (16 November 2010) In "time magazine." Retrieved November 16, from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,928972,00.html
  10. (16 November 2010) In "Technique Newsletter Volume 18, Issue 11)." Retrieved November 16, from http://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/33512
  11. (15 November 2010) In "archives subject folder." Retrieved November 15, from "archives subject folder (football 1929: Rose Bowl)"
  12. (15 November 2010) In "images and memories." Retrieved November 15, from "images and memories (Georgia Tech 1885 - 1985)
  13. (15 November 2010) In "images and memories." Retrieved November 15, from "images and memories (Georgia Tech 1885 - 1985)
  14. (15 November 2010) In "archives subject folder." Retrieved November 15, from "archives subject folder (football 1929: Rose Bowl)"
  15. (November 15 2010) In "interesting football games." Retrieved November 15 from http://members.cox.net/bngolden1/interestingfootballgames1.htm#royriegels

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