1941 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

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1941 Alabama Crimson Tide football
National Champions (various selectors)
Cotton Bowl Champions
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
AP #20
1941 record 9–2 (5–2 SEC)
Head coach Frank Thomas
Captain John Wyhonic
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Seasons
« 1940 1942 »
1941 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#16 Mississippi State 4 0 1     8 1 1
#18 Tennessee 3 1 0     8 2 0
#20 Alabama 5 2 0     9 2 0
#14 Georgia 3 1 1     9 1 1
#17 Ole Miss 2 1 1     6 2 1
Vanderbilt 3 2 0     8 2 0
LSU 2 2 2     4 4 2
Tulane 2 3 0     5 4 0
Georgia Tech 2 4 0     3 6 0
Florida 1 3 0     4 6 0
Auburn 1 3 0     4 6 0
Kentucky 0 4 0     5 4 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1941 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1941 college football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 48th overall and 9th season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was led by head coach Frank Thomas, in his 11th year, and played their home games at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. They finished the season with a record of nine wins and two losses (9–2 overall, 5–2 in the SEC) and with a victory in the Cotton Bowl Classic over Texas A&M. Alabama also officially claims a share of the 1941 national championship due to its selection as national champions by the Houlgate System.[1]

The Crimson Tide opened the 1941 season with a non-conference victory over Southwestern Louisiana but lost to Mississippi State in the second game of the season. Alabama rebounded with six consecutive victories over Howard, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Tulane and Georgia Tech. As they entered their game against Vanderbilt, the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll, but were upset 7–0 in Nashville. Alabama then closed the regular season with a road victory over Miami and defeated Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 27 Southwestern Louisiana* Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 47–6   6,000
October 4 Mississippi State Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL (Rivalry) L 0–14   18,000
October 11 Howard* Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 61–0   6,000
October 18 at Tennessee Shields-Watkins FieldKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) W 9–2   35,000
October 25 Georgia Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 27–14   23,000
November 1 Kentuckydagger #15 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL W 30–0   11,000
November 8 at #14 Tulane #13 Tulane StadiumNew Orleans, LA W 19–14   50,000
November 15 Georgia Tech #9 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 20–0   25,000
November 22 at Vanderbilt #7 Dudley FieldNashville, TN L 0–7   12,000
November 28 at Miami* #18 Burdine StadiumMiami, FL W 21–7   26,000
January 1 vs. #9 Texas A&M* #20 Cotton BowlDallas, TX (Cotton Bowl Classic) W 29–21   38,000
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.
  • Source: Rolltide.com: 1941 Alabama football schedule[2]

Game notes[edit]

Southwestern Louisiana[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
SW Louisiana 0 6 0 0 6
Alabama 13 7 14 13 47
  • Date: September 27
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 6,000

To open the 1941 season, Alabama defeated the Southwestern Louisiana Institute Bulldogs (now known as the Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns) 47–6 at Denny Stadium.[3][4] Alabama took a 13–0 first quarter lead after touchdowns were scored on a short Paul Spencer run and on a 9-yard Jimmy Nelson run.[3] The Bulldogs then responded early in the second quarter with their only points on an 11-yard Bobby Voitier touchdown pass to William Bernhard. The Crimson Tide then played their second line and Don Salls scored their third touchdown of the afternoon on a 6-yard run to give Alabama a 20–6 halftime lead.[3] In the second half, Louisiana was shutout and the Crimson Tide added two touchdowns in each of the final two quarters for the 47–6 win. Third-quarter touchdowns were scored by Dave Brown on a 6-yard run and by Spencer on a 7-yard run; fourth-quarter touchdowns were scored after Wheeler Leeth blocked a Bulldogs punt that was returned 15-yards by Joe Chorba and on a shore Louie Scales run.[3] The victory was Alabama's first against the Bulldogs and also marked the return of former Crimson Tide All-American Johnny Cain to Tuscaloosa as head coach of Southwestern Louisiana.[5][6]

Mississippi State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Mississippi State 0 0 7 7 14
Alabama 0 0 0 0 0
  • Date: October 4
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 18,000

In the first conference game of the season, Alabama was shutout 14–0 by the Mississippi State Maroons on homecoming at Denny Stadium for the second consecutive year.[4][7] After a scoreless first half, the Maroons scored a touchdown in each of the final two quarters. Touchdowns were scored on a 19-yard Bill Murphy pass to Robert Patterson in the third and on a short Bruce run in the fourth.[7] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Mississippi State to 19–7–2.[8]

Howard[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Howard 0 0 0 0 0
Alabama 6 7 14 34 61
  • Date: October 11
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 6,000

In the first Legion Field game of the season, Alabama defeated Howard (now Samford University) 61–0.[4][9] The Crimson Tide took a 13–0 halftime lead after touchdowns were scored on a 1-yard Don Salls run in the first and on an 8-yard reverse by Dave Brown in the second.[9] Alabama extended their lead further to 27–0 in the third with touchdowns by Jimmy Nelson on a 95-yard kickoff return and then on a 13-yard run.[9] The Crimson Tide then closed the game with five fourth-quarter touchdowns for the 61–0 win. Touchdowns in the fourth were scored by Carl Mims on runs of 26, 6 and 18-yards, Ted McKosky on a 37-yard run and on a Ted Cook touchdown reception.[9] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Howard to 19–0–1.[10]

Tennessee[edit]

Third Saturday in October
1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 3 6 0 0 9
Tennessee 0 0 2 0 2
  • Date: October 18
  • Location: Shields-Watkins Field
    Knoxville, TN
  • Game attendance: 35,000

At Knoxville, Alabama defeated rival Tennessee 9–2 to end a three-game losing streak against the Volunteers.[4][11] Alabama scored all of their points in the first half for a 9–0 lead on a 21-yard George Hecht field goal in the first and on a 2-yard Don Salls touchdown run in the second.[11] Tennessee scored their only points in the third quarter on a safety to prevent a shutout.[11] Jimmy Nelson starred on defense with his three interceptions during the game.[11] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 14–8–2.[12]

Georgia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia 0 7 0 7 14
Alabama 13 7 7 0 27
  • Date: October 25
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 23,000

At Legion Field, Alabama defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 27–14 in what was their first meeting since the 1935 season.[4][13] The Crimson Tide took a 13–0 first quarter lead on a Jimmy Nelson touchdown pass to Holt Rast and on a 1-yard Nelson run.[13] The Bulldogs responded in the first two minutes of the second quarter with a Heyward Allen to Lamar Davis touchdown pass. However, Alabama responded to make the halftime lead 20–7 after Paul Spencer scored on a 1-yard run late in the second quarter.[13] Alabama then scored their final points late in the third when Nelson intercepted a Frank Sinkwich pass and returned it 54 yards for a 27–7 lead.[13] A late Allen to Jerry Nunnally touchdown pass made the final score 27–14.[13] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Georgia to 14–11–3.[14]

Kentucky[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Kentucky 0 0 0 0 0
• #15 Alabama 6 6 6 12 30
  • Date: November 1
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 11,000

After their victory over Georgia, Alabama entered the polls for the first time of the season at the No. 15 position.[16] On what was homecoming in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide shutout Kentucky 30–0, and scored at least one touchdown in all four quarters.[4][15] First half touchdowns were scored by Jimmy Nelson on a 20-yard run in the first and on a 22-yard pass from Russ Mosley to George Weeks in the second.[15] Second half touchdowns were scored on a Nelson to Holt Rast reception in the third and on both a 25-yard Howard Hughes to Carl Mims pass and on a 23-yard Frank Martin run.[15] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Kentucky 19–1–1.[17]

Tulane[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• #13 Alabama 6 0 7 6 19
#14 Tulane 7 7 0 0 14
  • Date: November 8
  • Location: Tulane Stadium
    New Orleans, LA
  • Game attendance: 50,000

The Crimson Tide defeated the Green Wave 19–14 with a fourth-quarter touchdown to take the lead before a crowd of 50,000 at Tulane Stadium.[4][18] Alabama scored first when Jimmy Nelson took a Bob Glass punt and then handed it to Dave Brown who returned it 60 yards for a touchdown.[18] Tulane then took a 7–6 lead later in the first on a 25-yard Lou Thomas touchdown pass to Gordon English, and extended it to 14–6 at halftime when Thomas threw his second touchdown of the afternoon to Bob Grush.[18] Alabama responded in the third with a 3-yard Nelson to Holt Rast touchdown pass and with the game-winning points on a 2-yard Don Salls touchdown run in the fourth.[18] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tulane to 14–4–1.[19]

Georgia Tech[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia Tech 0 0 0 0 0
• #9 Alabama 0 6 7 7 20
  • Date: November 15
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 25,000

Prior to their final home game of the season against Georgia Tech, Alabama moved up from the No. 13 position to the No. 9 position in the AP Poll.[21] Against the Yellow Jackets, the Crimson Tide won with a 20–0 shutout at Legion Field.[4][20] After a scoreless first quarter, Alabama scored one touchdown in each of the three remaining quarters in the victory. Howard Hughes scored in the second on a 2-yard run, Jimmy Nelson scored on a 68-yard punt return in the third and Nelson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Russ Craft in the fourth.[20] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Georgia Tech to 13–11–3.[22]

Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#7 Alabama 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 0 0 7 0 7
  • Date: November 22
  • Location: Dudley Field
    Nashville, TN
  • Game attendance: 12,000

After their victory over Georgia Tech, Alabama moved up two spots to the No. 7 position in the AP Poll prior to their game against Vanderbilt.[24] In their game against the Commodores, Alabama lost 7–0 in rainy and muddy conditions on the road at Dudley Field.[4][23] The only points of the game came in the third quarter when Art Rebrovich threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jack Jenkins.[23] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Vanderbilt to 13–10.[25]

Miami[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• #18 Alabama 7 7 7 0 21
Miami 7 0 0 0 7
  • Date: November 28
  • Location: Burdine Stadium
    Miami, FL
  • Game attendance: 26,000

After their loss to Vanderbilt, Alabama moved down eleven spots to the No. 18 position in the AP Poll prior to their game against Miami.[27] In their game against the Hurricanes on a Friday evening, Alabama won 21–7 in what was the first all-time meeting between the schools.[4][26][28] After an 85-yard punt return by Jimmy Nelson brought the ball to the Miami 5-yard line, Russ Craft scored on a 5-yard reverse for a 7–0 Alabama lead.[26] Howard Plasman tied the game at 7–7 on the ensuing possession with his 2-yard touchdown run.[26] The Crimson Tide retook the lead in the second on a 28-yard Dave Brown touchdown run and then scored again in the third quarter on a Nelson run for the 21–7 victory.[26]

Texas A&M[edit]

Cotton Bowl Classic
1 2 3 4 Total
• #20 Alabama 0 7 13 9 29
#9 Texas A&M 0 7 0 14 21
  • Date: January 1, 1942
  • Location: Cotton Bowl
    Dallas, TX
  • Game attendance: 38,000

In the 1942 Cotton Bowl Classic against Texas A&M, Alabama was outgained 309 yards to 75 and earned just one official first down, but were able to win the game 29–21.[29] In the game, Alabama's defense forced 12 turnovers (seven interceptions and five fumbles). The Crimson Tide scored a touchdown on a 72-yard punt return, a 12-yard interception return, scored two touchdowns after recovering A&M fumbles on the A&M 21 and 24-yard lines and kicked a field goal after they intercepted a pass on the Texas A&M 17.[29]

National championship claim[edit]

The NCAA recognizes consensus national champions as the teams that have captured a championship by way of one of the major polls since the 1950 college football season. Prior to 1950, national championships were chosen by a variety of selectors, and in the 1980s, Alabama claimed the 1941 championship as one of its 15 claimed/recognized national championships.[1][30] As such, Alabama claims a share of the 1941 national championship, with Minnesota, due to each school being selected national champion by various major selectors.[1] Specifically, Alabama was selected national champion in 1941 by the Houlgate System.[1][30] The Houlgate System was a mathematical ranking system devised by Dale Houlgate that was syndicated in newspapers between 1927 and 1958 to determine the national champion.[31]

Personnel[edit]

After the season[edit]

NFL Draft[edit]

Several players that were varsity lettermen from the 1941 squad were drafted into the National Football League (NFL) between the 1942 and 1944 drafts.[34][35] These players included the following:

Year Round Overall Player name Position NFL team
1942 9 79 Langdale, NoahNoah Langdale Tackle Green Bay Packers
14 123 Wyhonic, JohnJohn Wyhonic Guard Philadelphia Eagles
18 170 Rast, HoltHolt Rast End Chicago Bears
19 174 Nelson, JimmyJimmy Nelson Back Chicago Cardinals
1943 4 28 Domnanovich, JoeJoe Domnanovich Center Brooklyn Dodgers
5 33 Hecht, GeorgeGeorge Hecht Guard Chicago Cardinals
8 70 Leon, TonyTony Leon Guard Washington Redskins
14 122 Weeks, GeorgeGeorge Weeks End Philadelphia Eagles
14 125 Sharpe, SamSam Sharpe End Cleveland Rams
15 132 Craft, RussRuss Craft Back Philadelphia Eagles
25 236 Brown, DaveDave Brown Back New York Giants
29 274 Sabo, AlAl Sabo Back Brooklyn Dodgers
1944 9 82 Whitmire, DonDon Whitmire Tackle Green Bay Packers
27 281 McKewan, JackJack McKewan Tackle Chicago Bears

References[edit]

General

  • "1941 Season Recap" (PDF). RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 

Specific

  1. ^ a b c d National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "National Poll Champions" (PDF). 2011 NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 73. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ "1941 Alabama football schedule". RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Tide shows running form in 47–6 triumph over Louisiana Bulldogs". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 28, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1941 Season Recap
  5. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Louisiana–Lafayette". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Bulldogs sweep into city, set to test Alabama's Tide Saturday". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 26, 1941. p. 11. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Fast Maroon eleven out-plays Alabama Tide for 14–0 victory". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 5, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Mississippi State". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Alabama rolls over Howard in display of power, 61–0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 12, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Samford". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Tide pounds out 9–2 victory over Vols". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 19, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  12. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Tennessee". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f "Crimson Tide drops Georgia with air attack, 27 to 14". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 26, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  14. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Georgia". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Tide strides through Wildcats in offensive display, 30 to 0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 2, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ Boni, Bill (October 28, 1941). "Two teams tie in ranking poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 9. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Kentucky". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c d e "Tide outwits Tulane, 19–14 with last half comeback". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 9, 1941. p. 7. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  19. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Tulane". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c "Tide throttles Tech Tornado with 3-touchdown parade". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 16, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  21. ^ Boni, Bill (November 11, 1941). "Tide advances in AP Poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Georgia Tech". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b c "Commodores best Tide for muddy 7 to 0 victory". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 23, 1941. p. 6. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Tide rated 7th in nation". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. November 18, 1941. p. 10. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Vanderbilt". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b c d e Butler, Guy (November 29, 1941). "Hurricane gives Tide battle but great Nelson nets margin". The Miami Daily News (Google News Archives). p. 9. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Gophers voted top in nation". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. November 25, 1941. p. 7. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  28. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Miami (FL)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b c "Alabama outscores Texas Aggies in touchdown race, 29 to 21". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). January 2, 1942. p. 7. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  30. ^ a b Solomon, Jon (January 6, 2010). "Got 12? Here's how Alabama bumped up its claim to a dozen national titles". The Birmingham News (AL.com). Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  31. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "Poll systems history" (PDF). 2011 NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 71. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  32. ^ "All-Time Tide Football Lettermen". 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Record Book. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office. 2011. pp. 127–141. 
  33. ^ "All-Time Assistant Coaches". 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Record Book. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office. 2011. pp. 142–143. 
  34. ^ "Alabama Drafted Players/Alumni". Sports Reference, LLC. Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved April 7, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Draft History by School–Alabama". National Football League. Retrieved March 16, 2013.