1946 Alabama Crimson Tide football team

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1946 Alabama Crimson Tide football
Conference Southeastern Conference
1946 record 7–4 (4–3 SEC)
Head coach Frank Thomas
Home stadium Denny Stadium
Legion Field
Cramton Bowl
Seasons
« 1945 1947 »
1946 SEC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
#3 Georgia § 5 0 0     11 0 0
#7 Tennessee § 5 0 0     9 2 0
#8 LSU 5 1 0     9 1 1
#11 Georgia Tech 4 2 0     9 2 0
Mississippi State 3 2 0     8 2 0
Alabama 4 3 0     7 4 0
Vanderbilt 3 4 0     5 4 0
Kentucky 2 3 0     7 3 0
Tulane 2 4 0     3 7 0
Auburn 1 5 0     4 6 0
Ole Miss 1 6 0     2 7 0
Florida 0 5 0     0 9 0
§ – Conference co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1946 Alabama Crimson Tide football team (variously "Alabama", "UA" or "Bama") represented the University of Alabama in the 1946 college football season. It was the Crimson Tide's 52nd overall and 13th season as a member of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team was led by head coach Frank Thomas, in his 15th 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 record of seven wins and four losses (7–4 overall, 4–3 in the SEC).

After the Crimson Tide opened the season with four consecutive victories over Furman, Tulane, South Carolina and Southwestern Louisiana, Alabama's 14-game winning streak was snapped when they lost to Tennessee 12–0. One week later, the Crimson Tide faced off against Kentucky and their young new coach, Bear Bryant, and won by a score of 21–7, before they lost consecutive games to Georgia and LSU. Alabama then closed the season with a victory over Vanderbilt, a loss to Boston College in their first game ever played in New England, and an upset victory over Mississippi State on homecoming in the season finale.

Over the course of the season, Frank Thomas was riddled with health issues that ultimately led to his resignation as head coach. In January 1947, Harold Drew was named as the 17th head coach of the Crimson Tide.

Schedule[edit]

Date Opponent# Rank# Site Result Attendance
September 20 Furman* Legion FieldBirmingham, AL W 26–7   25,000
September 28 at Tulane Tulane StadiumNew Orleans, LA W 7–6   64,317
October 5 at South Carolina* Carolina StadiumColumbia, SC W 14–6   20,000
October 12 Southwestern Louisiana* #6 Denny StadiumTuscaloosa, AL W 54–0   18,000
October 19 at #9 Tennessee #7 Shields-Watkins FieldKnoxville, TN (Third Saturday in October) L 0–12    
October 26 Kentucky #11 Cramton BowlMontgomery, AL W 21–7   22,500
November 2 at #5 Georgia #15 Sanford StadiumAthens, GA L 0–14   30,000
November 9 at #19 LSU Tiger StadiumBaton Rouge, LA (Rivalry) L 21–31   46,000
November 16 Vanderbilt Legion Field • Birmingham, AL W 12–7    
November 23 at Boston College* Braves FieldBoston, MA L 7–13   41,000
November 30 #19 Mississippi Statedagger Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL (Rivalry) W 24–7   25,000
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll.
  • Source: Rolltide.com: 1946 Alabama football schedule[1]

Game notes[edit]

Furman[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Furman 7 0 0 0 7
Alabama 6 13 7 0 26
  • Date: September 20
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL
  • Game attendance: 25,000

To open the 1946 season, the Crimson Tide played the Furman Purple Hurricane, who fielded their first team since the 1942 season, on a Friday night at Legion Field.[3] Against the Purple Hurricane, Alabama won 26–7 before a crowd of 25,000 in Birmingham.[2][4] In the first quarter, Alabama took a 6–0 lead after Norwood Hodges intercepted a Skeeter Coyle pass and returned it 27-yards for a touchdown. On the kickoff that ensued, Charlie Truluck returned it 95-yards to give Furman a 7–6 lead.[2] The Crimson Tide responded with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to take a 19–7 halftime lead. The first came on a 29-yard Harry Gilmer pass to Ted Cook and the second on a six-yard Johnny August run.[2] Alabama then scored their final points of the game in the third quarter on a 15-yard Gilmer run.[2] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Furman to 2–0.[5]

Tulane[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 7 0 0 0 7
Tulane 0 6 0 0 6
  • Date: September 28
  • Location: Tulane Stadium
    New Orleans, LA
  • Game attendance: 64,317

To open conference play, Alabama traveled to New Orleans and defeated the Tulane Green Wave 7–6 in what was described as a "torrential downpour" throughout the game.[4][6] Alabama scored their only points on a two-yard Hal Self touchdown run in the first quarter, and Tulane scored on a 24-yard Jim Keeton pass to John Sims in the second quarter.[6] At the time, the announced crowd of 64,317 in attendance for the game was the largest for a regular season game in the Southern United States.[6] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tulane to 15–4–1.[7]

South Carolina[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 0 7 0 7 14
South Carolina 6 0 0 0 6
  • Date: October 5
  • Location: Carolina Stadium
    Columbia, SC
  • Game attendance: 20,000

Against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Alabama won their third game of the season with this 14–6 at Carolina Stadium.[8] The Gamecocks took a 6–0 first quarter lead after Bo Hagan threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Earl Dunham.[8] Alabama responded with a one-yard Hal Smith touchdown run for a 7–6 halftime lead.[8] After a scoreless third, the Crimson Tide closed the game with a one-yard Fred Grant touchdown run for the 14–6 win.[8] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against South Carolina to 4–0.[9]

Southwestern Louisiana[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
SW Louisiana 0 0 0 0 0
• #6 Alabama 6 14 13 21 54
  • Date: October 12
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 18,000

After they opened the season with three consecutive victories, Alabama was recognized with the No. 6 ranking in the first AP Poll for the 1946 season in the week that led to their game against the Southwestern Louisiana Institute.[11] Against the Bulldogs, that were led by former Tide great Johnny Cain, Alabama won their fourth game of the season with their 54–0 shutout at Denny Stadium.[4][10][12] Alabama took a 6–0 first-quarter lead after Lowell Tew scored on a 28-yard touchdown run.[10] They extended their lead 20–0 at halftime after Johnny August threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bob Hood and Lionel W. Noonan scored on a three-yard run.[10]

In the third quarter, Tew scored his second touchdown on a seven-yard run and Fred Grant scored on a three-yard run for a 34–0 lead.[10] The Crimson Tide then concluded the afternoon with a trio of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The touchdowns were scored on a Clem Welsh run, a 46-yard Norman Mosley punt return and an 87-yard D. Joe Gambrell reception from Theo Fakier for the 54–0 victory.[10] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against the Bulldogs to 3–0.[13]

Tennessee[edit]

Third Saturday in October
1 2 3 4 Total
#7 Alabama 0 0 0 0 0
• #9 Tennessee 0 6 6 0 12
  • Date: October 19
  • Location: Shields-Watkins Field
    Knoxville, TN

Although they defeated Southwestern Louisiana in their previous game, Alabama dropped to the No. 7 position in the second AP Poll of the season.[15] Against Tennessee, the Crimson Tide were shutout Volunteers 12–0 at Shields-Watkins Field.[4][14] The Tennessee points were scored on short Bob Lund touchdown runs in the second and third quarters.[14] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 16–9–3.[16]

Kentucky[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Kentucky 0 0 7 0 7
• #11 Alabama 0 14 0 7 21
  • Date: October 26
  • Location: Cramton Bowl
    Montgomery, AL
  • Game attendance: 22,500

After their loss against Tennessee, Alabama dropped four spots to the No. 11 ranking prior to their game against Kentucky.[18] In Montgomery, the Crimson Tide defeated the Wildcats 21–7 at the Cramton Bowl.[4][17] After a scoreless first quarter, Alabama took a 14–0 halftime lead after touchdowns were scored on a one-yard Harry Gilmer run and on a 37-yard Gilmer pass to Hugh Morrow in the second quarter.[17] Kentucky responded in the third with their only points when Bill Chambers intercepted a Gilmer pass and returned it 65-yards for a touchdown.[17] The Crimson Tide then made the final score 21–7 in the fourth on an eight-yard Gilmer pass to Ted Cook.[17] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Kentucky 23–1–1.[19]

Georgia[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#15 Alabama 7 0 0 0 7
• #5 Georgia 7 7 0 0 14
  • Date: November 2
  • Location: Sanford Stadium
    Athens, GA
  • Game attendance: 30,000

Although the Crimson Tide defeated Kentucky the previous week, Alabama dropped four spots to the No. 15 ranking for their game against Georgia.[21] Against the Bulldogs, the Crimson Tide were shutout 14–0 before 30,000 fans at Sanford Stadium.[4][20] Georgia All-American halfback Charley Trippi was responsible for both of the Bulldogs' touchdowns. The first came on a nine-yard Trippi pass to Dan Edwards and later on a 46-yard Trippi run.[20] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Georgia to 15–14–3.[22]

LSU[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 7 0 0 14 21
• #19 LSU 0 12 19 0 31
  • Date: November 9
  • Location: Tiger Stadium
    Baton Rouge, LA
  • Game attendance: 46,000

To open conference play for the 1945 season, the Crimson Tide traveled to play LSU and left Baton Rouge with a 26–7 victory.[4][23] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against LSU to 12–4–3.[24]

Vanderbilt[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 7 7
Alabama 0 12 0 0 12
  • Date: November 16
  • Location: Legion Field
    Birmingham, AL

Against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Alabama won 12–7 at Legion Field in Birmingham.[4][25] After a scoreless first quarter, the Crimson Tide took a 12–0 halftime lead after touchdowns were scored in the second quarter on a short Hal Self run and a 20-yard Harry Gilmer pass to Hugh Morrow.[25] The Commodores scored their lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a one-yard Robert Berry touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to make the final score 12–7.[25] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Vanderbilt to 16–10.[26]

Boston College[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Alabama 0 7 0 0 7
Boston College 0 7 0 6 13
  • Date: November 23
  • Location: Braves Field
    Boston, MA
  • Game attendance: 41,000

Against the Boston College Eagles, Alabama lost 13–7 in what was the first game ever played by the Crimson Tide in New England.[4][27][28] After a scoreless first quarter, each team scored second-quarter touchdowns. The Eagles scored first on a one-yard James Benedetto run and Alabama responded with a 38-yard Harry Gilmer pass to Ted Cook to make the halftime score 7–7.[27] Boston then scored the game winning touchdown early in the final period on a 39-yard Maurice Poissant run.[27] The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Boston College to 1–1.[29] In addition to being their first game played in New England, this game also marked the first time that an Alabama squad traveled to an away game by way of airplane.[27][28][30]

Mississippi State[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
#19 Mississippi State 0 0 0 7 7
Alabama 0 10 7 7 24
  • Date: November 30
  • Location: Denny Stadium
    Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Game attendance: 25,000

On what was both homecoming and the final game of the season at Denny Stadium, Alabama upset the Mississippi State Maroons 24–7.[4][31] After a scoreless first quarter, Alabama took a 10–0 halftime lead after a six-yard Hugh Morrow field goal and a two-yard Lionel W. Noonan touchdown run in the second quarter.[31] They extended their lead further to 17–0 in the third after John Wozniak returned a blocked punt 38-yards for a touchdown.[31] The game then concluded with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first was scored by Alabama on a one-yard Harry Gilmer run and the second for State on a short Wallace Matulich run.[31] The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Mississippi State to 23–7–2.[32]

Thomas resignation[edit]

The struggles of the 1946 team might have been caused in part by the deteriorating health of coach Frank Thomas. High blood pressure left him bedridden for most of the 1946 season, unable to stand for long periods, and forced to ride in a trailer to conduct many Alabama practices.[33] After the 1946 season his ill health forced his resignation when he was only 48 years old, and Thomas later died in Tuscaloosa on May 10, 1954.[33] During his fifteen seasons as head coach at Alabama, Thomas won four SEC championships and compiled an overall record of 115 wins, 24 losses and seven ties (115–24–7) record, for an .812 winning percentage.[32]

Prior to the conclusion of the season, speculation began as to who would succeed Thomas as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. In early November, sources indicated that former Thomas player, and then head coach at Kentucky, Bear Bryant was to become the next head coach of the Crimson Tide.[34] On November 11, Bryant stated that he had not been in contact about the Alabama job and indicated his focus was on the Wildcats.[35] After an exhaustive search, on January 14, 1947, former Thomas assistant and then head coach at Ole Miss, Harold Drew was introduced as the new head coach of the Crimson Tide.[36]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

General

  • "1946 Season Recaps" (PDF). RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 

Specific

  1. ^ "1946 Alabama football schedule". RollTide.com. University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Simms, Leroy (September 21, 1946). "Furman bows to Alabama, 26–7". Spartanburg Herald (Google News Archives). p. 5. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ "'46 Tide makes debut tonight". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). September 20, 1946. p. 9. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 1946 Season Recap
  5. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Furman". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Bassett, Norman (September 29, 1946). "Rain, mud mire Tide attack in 7–6 victory". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 7. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  7. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Tulane". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Tide off stride but nips Gamecocks, 14–6". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 6, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs South Carolina". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Bassett, Norman (October 13, 1946). "18,000 see rejuvenated Tide swamp SLI, 54–0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  11. ^ Feder, Sid (October 8, 1946). "Longhorns lead gridiorn poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ "17,000 may see Tide–SLI tilt". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). October 11, 1946. p. 9. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  13. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Louisiana–Lafayette". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Bassett, Norman (October 20, 1946). "Vol twin drive blanks Tide 12 to 0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Alabama ranks No. 7 in poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 15, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Tennessee". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Bassett, Norman (October 27, 1946). "Gilmer leads Alabama to 21–7 win over Cats". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 7. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Army No. 1 in grid poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 22, 1946. p. 8. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  19. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Kentucky". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b c Bassett, Norman (November 3, 1946). "Trippi throttles Alabama on two plays, 14–0". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Army far ahead in grid poll". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. October 29, 1946. p. 9. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  22. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Georgia". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "L.S.U. outscores Tide in thrilling 31–21 win". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. November 10, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  24. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Louisiana State". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b c d "Tiders throttle Vandy with 12 to 7 victory". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 17, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  26. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Vanderbilt". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b c d e Elebash, Jr., Karl S. (November 24, 1946). "Eagles clip Tide 13–7 in near freezing wind". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b "Light drill on tap for Tide". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 19, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  29. ^ DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Boston College". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Crimson Tide flies to Boston". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). November 18, 1946. p. 7. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c d e Bassett, Norman (December 1, 1946). "Tide rolls through State in decisive victory, 24–7". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). p. 6. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  32. ^ a b DeLassus, David. "Alabama vs Mississippi State". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  33. ^ a b Scott, Richard (2004). Legends of Alabama Football. Sports Publishing LLC. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-1-58261-277-5. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Bryant seen as Tide coach". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. November 10, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Bryant not contacted about Alabama job". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). Associated Press. November 11, 1946. p. 2. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Drew signed as Crimson coach, Thomas director". The Tuscaloosa News (Google News Archives). January 14, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  37. ^ "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. 
  38. ^ "All-Time Assistant Coaches". 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Record Book. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Athletics Media Relations Office. 2011. pp. 142–143.