1908 Auburn Tigers football team

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1908 Auburn Tigers football
1908 Auburn Tigers football team.jpg
SIAA champion
Conference Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1908 record 6–1 (5–1 SIAA)
Head coach Mike Donahue (4th season)
Base defense 7–2–2
Captain Tom McLure
Seasons
← 1907
1909 →
1908 SIAA football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
LSU + 3 0 0     10 0 0
Auburn + 5 1 0     6 1 0
Vanderbilt 3 0 1     7 2 1
Tennessee 4 2 0     7 2 0
Georgia Tech 5 3 0     6 3 0
Georgia 3 2 1     5 2 1
Alabama 1 1 1     6 1 1
Sewanee 1 1 1     4 1 3
Ole Miss 1 2 0     3 5 0
Mississippi A&M 1 3 0     3 4 0
Mercer 0 3 0     3 4 0
Clemson 0 4 0     1 6 0
Nashville            
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1908 Auburn Tigers football team represented Auburn University in the 1908 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The team went 6–1, outscoring opponents 158–10. Auburn featured a strong defense that held all but one opponent scoreless. The team was the first during the second term of coach Mike Donahue at Auburn.

The only points allowed all year was in the 10–2 loss to LSU, a team accused of professionalism. LSU claimed the title, but most sportswriters crowned Auburn SIAA champion. The win over Sewanee was dubbed by one writer "Auburn's Greatest Victory In Many Years".

Before the season[edit]

Mike Donahue returned as head coach. Pat Dwyer assisted Donahue.

Newcomers included running back Lewie Hardage.

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 3 Howard West End Park • Birmingham, AL W 18–0  
October 10 Gordon College* Drill Field • Auburn, AL W 42–0  
October 17 at Mercer Macon, GA W 23–0  
October 24 12:00 p. m. Sewanee West End Park • Birmingham, AL W 6–0   3,000
October 31 3:45 p. m. LSU Drill Field • Auburn, AL L 10–2  
November 7 at Georgia Tech Ponce de Leon Park • Atlanta, GA W 44–0  
November 14 Georgia Montgomery Baseball Park • Montgomery, AL W 23–0  
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game.

Game summaries[edit]

Howard College[edit]

1 2 Total
Auburn 18 0 18
Howard 0 0 0
  • Location: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Game start: afternoon
  • Game weather: 70°, Clear
  • Referee: Frank Jones

Source:[1]

In a game of a 20- and 15-minute halves, Auburn scored three touchdowns in the first half to put away Howard College at West End Park in Birmingham. Despite being outweighed by Howard, Auburn had success running against the Bulldogs' tackles in the first half. The second half saw no score on either side with Auburn held in check by the punting of Bennie, Howard's left tackle. Both teams were reported to show a lack of preparation, with Auburn's talent making the difference in the game.[1][2]

Gordon College[edit]

1 2 Total
Gordon 0 0 0
Auburn 30 12 42
  • Location: Auburn, Alabama
  • Game start: afternoon
  • Game weather: 63°, Cloudy

Source:[3]

In a game where the Tigers were not forced to punt, Auburn easily defeated the high school team from Gordon College in quick game at the Auburn athletic field. Auburn took the opening kickoff and drove for its first touchdown in the first two minutes, followed by four more touchdowns before the end of the half through the rushing of Lew Hardage and D. Herron. Auburn's scrubs scored two more touchdowns in the second half to finish out the game.[3][2]

Lew Hardage

Mercer[edit]

1 2 Total
Auburn 6 17 23
Mercer 0 0 0
  • Location: Macon, Georgia
  • Game weather: 80°, Partly cloudy

Source:[2]

Auburn was held to a single score in the first half, but wore down Mercer's line in the second half, scoring three touchdowns behind the running of Lew Hardage. Mercer's Poole returned an Auburn interception 70 yards before being dragged down short of the goal line by Auburn halfback W. W. Wynne, which was the only threat to score the Baptists had all game.[2]

Sewanee[edit]

1 2 Total
Sewanee 0 0 0
Auburn 0 6 6
  • Location: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Game start: 12:00 pm
  • Game attendance: 3,000
  • Game weather: 65°, Cloudy
  • Referee: Bradley Walker

Source:[4]

Sewanee held the ball for most of the first half, exploiting Auburn's tackles—brought in against the inside run—with runs around end. Sewanee was unable to score, however, with Auburn's George Sparkman recovering a Sewanee fumble on the Auburn two yard line. Auburn began to move the ball consistently on the visitors late in the first half, ending the period in Sewanee territory.[5]

In the second half, changes in Auburn's defense stymied Sewanee's end runs and field position gradually shifted in Auburn's favor. With seven minutes left in the game, Auburn's Lew Hardage returned a Sewanee punt 45 yards for the game's only touchdown.[5][2] It was dubbed by one source "Auburn's Greatest Victory In Many Years"[4] The starting lineup was Sparkman (left end), Bonner (left tackle), Locke (left guard), Davis (center), Allen (right guard), Esslinger (right tackle), Reynolds (right end), McLure (quarterback), Wynne (left halfback), Hardage (right halfback), Penton (fullback).[4][6]

Louisiana State[edit]

1 2 Total
LSU 5 5 10
Auburn 2 0 2
  • Location: Auburn, Alabama
  • Game start: 3:45 pm
  • Game weather: 70°, Fair
  • Referee: James Halligan

Source:[7]

Undefeated LSU met undefeated Auburn for the top spot in the SIAA at the Auburn athletic field.

T. C. Locke

The first touchdown came from John Seip. Later in the half, Auburn's T. C. Locke blocked an LSU punt which was recovered by LSU's Fenton behind his own goal for a safety. LSU made the second score using conventional football.[7]

“We won every game that fall except LSU,” Auburn star Walker Reynolds told Clyde Bolton in 1973. “But LSU had a pro team.”[8]

The starting lineup was Sparkman (left end), Bonner (left tackle), Locke (left guard), Davis (center), Allen (right guard), Esslinger (right tackle), Reynolds (right end), McLure (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Wynne (right halfback), Penton (fullback).[7]

Georgia Tech[edit]

1 2 Total
Auburn 23 21 44
Ga. Tech 0 0 0
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Referee: Butler (North Carolina)

Source:[9]

Auburn ran up a 44–0 score on coach John Heisman's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in their annual rivalry contest. Lew Hardage and George Penton made two touchdowns each, including a 108-yard kick return by Hardage. Walker Reynolds and George Sparkman had one each. Reynolds' was a 35-yard run and Sparkman's a 65-yard run. Reynolds contributed six extra points.[2][9] The starting lineup was Hill (left end), J. G. Davis (left tackle), Motley (left guard), Beaver (center), Allen (right guard), Locke (right tackle), Reynolds (right end), McLure (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Wynne (right halfback), Penton (fullback).[9]

Georgia[edit]

1 2 Total
Georgia 0 0 0
Auburn 6 17 23
  • Location: Montgomery, Alabama
  • Game weather: Very hot
  • Referee: Butler (North Carolina)

Source:[10]

As expected – "there is nothing to this game but Auburn,"[11] Auburn handled the Georgia Bulldogs easily in their annual rivalry game. After seven minutes had elapsed, end Walker Reynolds ran for an 80-yard touchdown using the stiff arm[2] "amidst the wildest enthusiasm."[10] The Bulldogs held the Tigers the rest of the first half.[10] The starting lineup was Hill (left end), J. G. Davis (left tackle), Motley (left guard), Beaver (center), Allen (right guard), Bonner (right tackle), Reynolds (right end), McLure (quarterback), Hardage (left halfback), Locke (right halfback), Penton (fullback).[10]

Postseason[edit]

Southern champions[edit]

Amidst fears of many players being ineligible under SIAA rules most sportswriters did not include LSU for consideration as conference champions.[12] Auburn and Vanderbilt were among those listed as alternative Southern champions.[12] Most chose Auburn.[13]

Awards and honors[edit]

Captain and quarterback and Tom McLure was selected All-Southern by Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin and Georgia Tech coach John Heisman. McGugin describes his play: "McClure was not particularly fast, but a spirited leader, an excellent general and a sure tackler."[12][14] Lew Hardage was selected All-Southern by McGugin;[12] and J. G. Davis was selected All-Southern by Heisman.[15]

Players[edit]

Starters[edit]

Line[edit]

Name Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Burton Gray Allen guard Demopolis, Alabama
Big Chief Bonner tackle
James Grover Davis center
Harry Esslinger tackle Gurley, Alabama
T. C. Locke guard
Walker Reynolds end
George B. Sparkman, Jr. end Tampa, Florida Hillsborough

Backfield[edit]

Name Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Lew Hardage halfback Decatur, Alabama
Tom McLure quarterback Jacksonville, Alabama
George Penton fullback Rockford, Alabama
Walter Woolf Wynne halfback

Subs[edit]

Line[edit]

Name Position Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
James Jefferson Beaver center
Homer Cogdell guard Inverness, Alabama 176
James Gillis Gauntt guard
William Augustus Harman end
Armstrong Hill end
Sheep Lamb tackle Eutaw, Alabama 181
James Walter Motley guard
J. D. Spigener guard
William Swart end

Backfield[edit]

Name Position Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
John E. Davis fullback Oak Grove, Alabama 168
Benjamin Edward Harris halfback
Daniel Herren halfback

Unlisted[edit]

Name Position
C. E. Gaum
L. H. Hubbard
A. H. Skinner

[2]

Coaching staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Auburn Wins Game", Montgomery Advertiser, October 4, 1908.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Glomerata (1909), 276–282.
  3. ^ a b "Runs Over Gordon", Montgomery Advertiser, October 11, 1908.
  4. ^ a b c "Auburn's Greatest Victory In Many Years". Orange and Blue: 204. November 11, 1908. 
  5. ^ a b "Auburn Downs Mountain Men", Montgomery Advertiser, October 25, 1908.
  6. ^ Woodruff 1928, pp. 217-218
  7. ^ a b c "Auburn Loses To L. S. U. Team". The Atlanta Constitution. November 1, 1908. p. 3. Retrieved May 9, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "Auburn’s 1908 team went undefeated despite losing to professional LSU team". 
  9. ^ a b c "Auburn Beats Yellow Jackets". Atlanta Constitution. November 8, 1908. p. 4. Retrieved September 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ a b c d "Auburn Trims Georgia Team". Atlanta Constitution. November 27, 1908. p. 4. Retrieved September 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ "Auburn v. Georgia". Atlanta Constitution. November 23, 1908. p. 7. Retrieved September 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  12. ^ a b c d Spalding's Football Guide. 1909. p. 75. 
  13. ^ Woodruff 1928, p. 223
  14. ^ "Contributions". The Kappa Alpha Journal. 24 (3): 293. 
  15. ^ Percy Whiting (November 24, 1909). "Not News, But Views". p. 12. Retrieved March 5, 2015 – via Digital Library of Georgia.  open access publication – free to read
  • Woodruff, Fuzzy (1928). A History of Southern Football 1890–1928. 1.