1945 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

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1945 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Rose Bowl Champions
SEC Champions
Rose Bowl, W 34–14 vs. USC
Conference Southeastern Conference
Ranking
AP #2
1945 record 10–0 (6–0 SEC)
Head coach Frank Thomas
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Cramton Bowl
Seasons
« 1944 1946 »
1945 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#2 Alabama 6 0 0     10 0 0
#14 Tennessee 3 1 0     8 1 0
#15 LSU 5 2 0     7 2 0
#18 Georgia 4 2 0     9 2 0
Ole Miss 3 3 0     4 5 0
Georgia Tech 2 2 0     4 6 0
Mississippi State 2 3 0     6 3 0
Auburn 2 3 0     5 5 0
Vanderbilt 2 4 0     3 6 0
Florida 1 3 1     4 5 1
Tulane 1 3 1     2 6 1
Kentucky 0 5 0     2 8 0
† – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1945 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1945 college football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 51st overall and 12th season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was led by head coach Frank Thomas, in his 14th year, and played their home games at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Legion Field in Birmingham and at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. They finished with a perfect season (10–0 overall, 6–0 in the SEC) and with a victory in the Rose Bowl over USC. This team was the second season of the "War Babies" as coined by head coach Thomas.[1][2]

The Crimson Tide opened the season on the road with a victory over Keesler AAF after Jackson Army Air Base canceled their game at Denny Stadium. Alabama then defeated LSU in Baton Rouge before their first home win of the season at the Cramton Bowl over South Carolina. After victories over both Tennessee and Georgia at Legion Field, the Crimson Tide routed both Kentucky and Vanderbilt on the road to extend their record to 7–0. They then closed the season with a pair of games at Denny Stadium where they defeated the Pensacola NAS and Mississippi State to complete an undefeated regular season. One month later, Alabama won the Rose Bowl over USC to finish the season undefeated.

The 1945 season was the fourth perfect season in Alabama history, following the perfect seasons of 1925, 1930 and 1934. However, Alabama did not win the national championship in 1945; that honor went to the Army Cadets team that went 9–0 and outscored its opponents by a 412–46 margin. The Crimson Tide finished second in the AP poll behind the Cadets.[3]

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 29 at Keesler AAF* Flier Field • Biloxi, MS W 21–0   14,000
October 6 at LSU Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, LA (Rivalry) W 26–7   40,000
October 13 South Carolina* #7 Cramton BowlMontgomery, AL W 55–0   14,000
October 20 Tennessee #6 Legion FieldBirmingham, AL (Third Saturday in October) W 25–7   28,000
October 27 Georgia #6 Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 28–14   26,000
November 3 at Kentucky #4 Manual Stadium • Louisville, KY W 60–19    
November 17 at Vanderbilt #3 Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 71–0    
November 24 Pensacola NAS* #3 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 55–6   7,500
December 1 Mississippi Statedagger #3 Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL (Rivalry) W 55–13   25,000
January 1 vs. #11 USC* #2 Rose BowlPasadena, CA (Rose Bowl) W 34–14   93,000
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.
  • Source: Rolltide.com: 1945 Alabama football schedule[4]

Game notes[edit]

Keesler AAF[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 14 0 7 0 21
Keesler AAF 0 0 0 0 0
  • Date: September 29
  • Location: Flier Field
    Biloxi, MS
  • Game attendance: 14,000

To open the 1945 season, the Crimson Tide were originally scheduled to play a game against the Jackson Army Air Base at Denny Stadium.[6] On September 8 coach Thomas announced that Jackson had canceled its entire 1945 schedule due to heavy cuts in personnel at the base.[6] After unsuccessfully being able to schedule a replacement home game for the Jackson date, on September 23, coach Thomas announced the Crimson Tide would open the season against Keesler AAF in Biloxi, Mississippi.[7] Against the Fliers, Alabama won 21–0 before a crowd of 14,000 military personnel.[5][7][8]

After they took a 7–0 lead, Alabama scored their second touchdown when Lowell Tew scored on a nine-yard reverse off a Harry Gilmer handoff lat in the first quarter.[5] Tew then scored the final points of the game in the third quarter on a 20-yard reverse for a touchdown.[5] In the game, Alabama rushed for a total of 226 yards, but Gilmer only completed a single pass for ten-yards.[5]

LSU[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 13 7 0 6 26
LSU 0 0 7 0 7
  • Date: October 6
  • Location: Tiger Stadium
    Baton Rouge, LA
  • Game attendance: 40,000

To open conference play for the 1945 season, the Crimson Tide traveled to play LSU and left Baton Rouge with a 26–7 victory.[9][8] Alabama scored first when Harry Gilmer threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Rebel Steiner for an early 7–0 lead.[9][8] Their second touchdown came two minutes later on a second 50-yard Gilmer touchdown pass. For the second time Gilmer threw to Steiner, but this time the LSU defender Dan Sandifer knocked the ball out of his hands and into the air. Lowell Tew then caught the deflected pass and ran it in for the score.[9] Late in the second quarter, the Crimson tide extended their lead to 20–0 at halftime when Gilmer connected with Steiner for a 13-yard touchdown reception.[9]

The lone Tigers scoring drive came in the third and as set up after Sandifer intercepted a Gilmer pass. Eight plays later, William Montgomery made the score 20–7 with his short touchdown run.[9][8] Alabama closed the game with a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Fred Grant to make the final score 26–7.[9] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against LSU to 12–3–3.[10]

South Carolina[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
South Carolina 0 0 0 0 0
• #7 Alabama 27 14 14 0 55
  • Date: October 13
  • Location: Cramton Bowl
    Montgomery, AL
  • Game attendance: 14,000

After their victory over LSU, the Crimson Tide were ranked in the No. 7 position in the first AP Poll of the season.[13] In their first home game, the Crimson Tide defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 55–0 at the Cramton Bowl.[11][12] Alabama opened the game with four first-quarter touchdowns to take a 27–0 lead on a short Fred Grant run, a Gordon Pettus pass to Grant, a 51-yard Harry Gilmer run and on a Lowell Tew run.[11][12] A pair of touchdowns in the second quarter on runs by Norwood Hodges and the Lou Scales for a 41–0 halftime lead for Alabama.[11][12]

The Crimson Tide scored their final points of the game in the third when Grant and Scales scored on touchdown runs for the 55–0 win.[11][12] In the game, Alabama rushed for 447 yards and all 41 players that dressed saw playing time.[11] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against South Carolina to 3–0.[14]

Tennessee[edit]

Third Saturday in October
1 2 3 4 Total
Tennessee 0 0 0 7 7
• #6 Alabama 7 12 0 6 25
  • Date: October 20
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 28,000

With their win over South Carolina, Alabama moved up to the No. 6 position in the second AP Poll of the season.[17] Against Tennessee, the Crimson Tide defeated the Volunteers 25–7 at a sold-out Legion Field.[8][15][16] The Crimson Tide took a 7–0 lead in the first quarter on a six-yard Harry Gilmer touchdown run.[15][16] A pair of second-quarter touchdowns further extended the Alabama lead to 19–0 at halftime. The scores were made on a one-yard Fred Grant run and then on a 24-yard Gilmer pass to Grant.[15][16]

After a scoreless third quarter that saw a five-yard Lowell Tew touchdown run nullified by a holding penalty, Tennessee scored their lone points early in the fourth quarter.[15] The touchdown was scored on a 42-yard pass from Bob Lund to Max Partin and cut the Alabama lead to 19–7.[16] The Crimson Tide then closed the game with a one-yard Norwood Hodges touchdown run to make the final score 25–7.[15] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 16–8–3.[18]

Georgia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Georgia 7 0 7 0 14
• #6 Alabama 7 14 7 0 28
  • Date: October 27
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 26,000

After their victory over Tennessee, Alabama retained their No. 6 ranking for their game against Georgia.[20] Against the Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide won the 28–14 before 26,000 fans at Legion Field.[8][19] On the first offensive play of the game John Donaldson fumbled the ball, and Norwood Hodges recovered for Alabama at the Georgia 25-yard line. Eight plays later, Harry Gilmer threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Lowell Tew for a 7–0 Crimson Tide lead.[19] Later in the first, Georgia tied the game at 7–7 on a 31-yard Charley Trippi touchdown run.[19] After being held on a fourth-and-goal on their first possession of the second quarter, Alabama extended their lead to 14–7 on their next possession on a six-yard Gilmer pass to Fred Davis.[19] Gilmer then threw his third touchdown of the day late in the second quarter on a 12-yard pass to Hodges for a 21–7 halftime lead.[19]

Midway through the third, the Bulldogs scored their final touchdown of the game when John Rauch threw a 65-yard completion to Reid Moseley. Later in the quarter, a Trippi fumble gave the Crimson Tide possession at the Georgia six-yard line, and two plays later Hodges scored from inside the one to make the final score 28–14.[19] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Georgia to 15–13–3.[21]

Kentucky[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• #4 Alabama 21 20 6 13 60
Kentucky 6 6 7 0 19
  • Date: November 3
  • Location: Manual Stadium
    Louisville, KY

After their victory over Georgia, Alabama moved up two spots to the No. 4 ranking for prior to their game against Kentucky.[23] At Louisville, the Crimson Tide rushed for 572 yards in their 60–19 rout of the Wildcats.[8][22] In the first quarter, touchdown runs of 36, 16 and 60 yards were made by Lowell Tew, Norwood Hodges and Harry Gilmer for Alabama and a 17-yard George Blanda touchdown pass to Dick Hensley for Kentucky made the score 21–6 after the first quarter.[22] In the second quarter, Alabama again scored three touchdowns. This time runs of 1 and 78 yards were made by Hodges and Gordon Pettus in addition to a seven-yard Gilmer touchdown pass to Rebel Steiner.[22] Babe Ray scored for the Wildcats on a six-yard run and the Crimson Tide led 41–12 at halftime.[22]

In the third period, each team traded touchdowns when James Robertson scored on a 51-yard run for the Crimson Tide and on a 36-yard Hartford Granitz pass to Wallace Jones for the Wildcats to make the score 47–19 at the end of the third.[22] In the fourth, Alabama tallied two more touchdowns on runs of 95 by Gilmer and two-yards by Lou Scales to make the final score 60–19.[22] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Kentucky 22–1–1.[24]

Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
• #3 Alabama 7 14 28 22 71
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 0 0
  • Date: November 17
  • Location: Dudley Field
    Nashville, TN

Against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Alabama won 71–0 at Dudley Field in Nashville.[8][25] Harry Gilmer scored the first points of the game on a ten-yard run for a 7–0 Alabama lead at the end of the first.[25] In the second quarter. the Crimson Tide extended their lead to 21–0 bay halftime with touchdowns scored on a 25-yard Lowell Tew run and on an 18-yard Gilmer pass to James Corbitt.[25] The scoring continued in the second half with four touchdowns in the third and three in the fourth for the 71–0 victory. Third quarter points were scored by Fred Grant on a two-yard run, a 47-yard Gilmer pass to Rebel Steiner, a five-yard Gilmer run and on a 15-yard Corbitt run.[25] Fourth quarter points were scored by Gordon Pettus on a seven-yard run, a 20-yard blocked punt return by Dickson, a second blocked punt for a safety and on a 33-yard Frank Fedak pass to Lou Scales.[25] In the game, the Alabama defense was also dominant in having only allowed two-yards passing and minus five-yards rushing to the Commodores for the game.[25] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Vanderbilt to 15–10.[26]

Pensacola NAS[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Pensacola NAS 0 0 6 0 6
• #3 Alabama 21 14 7 13 55
  • Date: November 24
  • Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 7,500

The day before their game against the Goslings, Alabama accepted an invitation to compete in the 1946 Rose Bowl.[28] In what was the first game played at Denny Stadium of the season, Alabama met the team that represented the Naval Air Station Pensacola, and defeated the Goslings 55–6.[8][27] In the first quarter, Crimson Tide touchdowns were scored by Lowell Tew on a 15-yard run, on a short Norwood Hodges run and on a four-yard Fred Grant run for a 21–0 lead at the end on the first quarter.[27] Alabama added second-quarter touchdowns on a two-yard Hodges run and on a 43-yard James Corbitt run for a 35–0 halftime lead.[27] After each team traded third quarter scores, the Crimson Tide closed the game with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns for the 55–6 victory.[27]

Mississippi State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Mississippi State 7 0 6 0 13
• #3 Alabama 0 13 14 28 55
  • Date: December 1
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 25,000

On what was homecoming before the largest crowd to date at Denny Stadium, Alabama defeated the Mississippi State Maroons 55–13 to complete the eighth undefeated regular season in school history.[8][29] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Mississippi State to 22–7–2.[30]

USC[edit]

Rose Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
#11 USC 0 0 0 14 14
• #3 Alabama 7 13 7 7 34
  • Date: January 1, 1946
  • Location: Rose Bowl
    Pasadena, CA
  • Game attendance: 93,000

On November 23, University officials accepted an invitation to participate in the 1946 Rose Bowl.[28] Against USC, the Crimson Tide defeated the Trojans 34–14 to complete a perfect season.[8][31] Alabama took a 34–0 lead into the fourth quarter before the Trojans scored their first points. Alabama touchdowns were scored on a pair of one-yard Hal Self runs, a five-yard Lowell Tew run, a one-yard Norwood Hodges run and on a 20-yard Self pass to Harry Gilmer.[31]

The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against USC to 2–0.[32] This edition of the Rose Bowl also marked the final one that did not feature a matchup between teams from what are now both the Big Ten Conference and the Pacific-12 Conference until Miami played in the 2002 Rose Bowl.[33] This was the case as the Pacific Coast Conference and the Big Nine Conference entered into an agreement to place their conference champions in the Rose Bowl effective for the 1946 season.[34]

Personnel[edit]

National championship[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, and prior to 1950, they were chosen by a variety of selectors.[37] For the 1945 season, Army was recognized as national champions.[38] The 1945 Alabama team was later determined to be national champions by the National Championship Foundation; however, Alabama does not claim 1945 as one of their 15 recognized national championships.[38][39]

References[edit]

General

  • "1945 Season Recap" (PDF). RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 

Specific

  1. ^ Browning, Al (April 20, 1978). "Gilmer leader for War Babies". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 15. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ Scott, Richard (2004). Legends of Alabama Football. New York, NY: Sports Publishing, LLC. pp. 65–66. ISBN 9781582612775. 
  3. ^ http://www.collegepollarchive.com/football/ap/seasons.cfm?seasonid=1945
  4. ^ "1945 Alabama football schedule". RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Tide grounds Fliers, 21–0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 30, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Jackson AAB tilt canceled". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 9, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Two games set her next week". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 24, 1945. p. 7. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 1945 Season Recap
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "Alabama–LSU grid battle ends in 27–27 deadlock". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 1, 1944. p. 6. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Louisiana State". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Tide torrent deluges South Carolina, 55–0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 14, 1944. p. 6. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Simms, Leroy (October 14, 1944). "Alabama powerhouse crushes Gamecocks, 55–0". The Spartanburg Herold-Journal (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 11. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ Rose, Muarry (October 9, 1944). "Army rated as top grid team". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs South Carolina". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Bassett, Norman (October 21, 1945). "Alabama smothers Vol bowl chances as Gilmer leads Tide to 25–7 win". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "Gilmer paces 'Bama over Tennessee 25–7". The Palm Beach Post-Times (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 21, 1945. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  17. ^ Claassen, Herold (October 16, 1944). "Alabama sixth in big ten". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  18. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Tennessee". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Watkins, Edwin (October 28, 1945). "Gilmer's passing paves way to Tide's smashing 28–14 victory over Georgia". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Alabama holds rating place". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 23, 1943. p. 7. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  21. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Georgia". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "Bama's running game routs Kentucky Wildcats in 60–19 scoring parade". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 4, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  23. ^ Claassen, Harold (October 30, 1943). "Tide moves into fourth place". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Kentucky". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g "Bama deluges Vanderbilt with scoring cloudburst". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 18, 1945. p. 6. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  26. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Vanderbilt". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b c d e "Bowl bound Tide batters Pensacola eleven, 55–6". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 25, 1945. p. 5. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Bassett, Norman (November 23, 1945). "Alabama to make 6th trip to Rose Bowl on Jan. 1". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 1. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Bassett, Norman (December 2, 1945). "Tide's second half burst swamps State 55–13 to keep slate clean". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  30. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Mississippi State". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c Bassett, Norman (January 2, 1946). "Tide crushes great USC eleven". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 1. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  32. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Southern California". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  33. ^ Nadel, John (January 4, 2002). "Canes former coach applauds team". The Ledger (Google News Archives). p. C5. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Big 9 slaps at the SEC". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 11, 1946. p. 8. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  35. ^ "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. 
  36. ^ "All-Time Assistant Coaches". 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Record Book. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office. 2011. pp. 142–143. 
  37. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "Poll systems history" (PDF). 2011 NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 71. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "National Poll Champions" (PDF). 2011 NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 73. Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  39. ^ 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 September 6, 2012.