1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team
|1938 Tennessee Volunteers football|
National champion (various selectors)
Orange Bowl champion
|1938 record||11–0 (7–0 SEC)|
|Head coach||Robert Neyland (12th season)|
|Home stadium||Shields–Watkins Field|
|1938 SEC football standings|
|No. 2 Tennessee $||7||–||0||–||0||11||–||0||–||0|
|No. 13 Alabama||4||–||1||–||1||7||–||1||–||1|
|No. 19 Tulane||4||–||1||–||1||7||–||2||–||1|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1938 season. Head coach Robert Neyland fielded his third team at Tennessee after returning from active duty in the United States Army. The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers won the school's first national championship and are regarded as one of the greatest teams in SEC and NCAA history.
In 1938, The Vols went 10–0 in the regular season and then shut out fellow unbeaten Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, 17–0, snapping the Sooners' 14-game win streak and beginning a long winning streak for Neyland. Tennessee was selected by a majority of polls and selectors as the national champions with 24 crowning the Vols. Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien and his undefeated TCU Horned Frogs were second with 14.
The 1938 Volunteers were the first of three consecutive Tennessee squads that had undefeated regular seasons. Tennessee won three consecutive conference titles before Neyland left for military service in World War II in 1941. Tennessee also began a historic streak in 1938. By shutting out their last four regular season opponents, the Vols began a streak of 17 consecutive regular season shutouts and 71 consecutive shutout quarters, still NCAA records. Athlon Sports has named the 1938 UT team as the third best college football team of all time.
The Vols featured three All American performers. Bob Suffridge was an All American at guard, while Bowden Wyatt earned his spot on the team as an end. George Cafego carried the ball as a tailback. Co-Captain: Joe Little "...The Vols defeated the Sooners 17-0 in a game termed the roughest ever played. George Cafego knocked Oklahoma star Waddy Young for a loop with a devastating block on the game's first play. Played with great intensity, the game featured the teams being penalized 220 yards between them. It got so bad that Neyland sent Sparta's Joe Little in to settle things down. Little lasted one play before decking a Sooner. He was ejected and was apologizing to Neyland before he reached the Tennessee sideline. In between all the penalties, Bob Foxx and Babe Wood scored touchdowns and team captain Bowden Wyatt, later Vol head coach, kicked a field goal and ran in an extra point. Tennessee held the Sooners to 94 yards total offense, while cranking up 260 of its own. It was Tennessee's speed against Oklahoma's size, and, on this day, Tennessee's speed won out."
|September 24, 1938||Sewanee||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 26–3|
|October 1, 1938||Clemson*||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 20–7|
|October 8, 1938||Auburn||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 7–0|
|October 15, 1938||at Alabama||Legion Field • Birmingham, Alabama (Third Saturday in October)||W 13–0|
|October 22, 1938||The Citadel*||No. 8||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 44–0|
|October 29, 1938||LSU||No. 8||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 14–6|
|November 5, 1938||Chattanooga*||No. 6||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 45–0|
|November 12, 1938||at Vanderbilt||No. 4||Dudley Field • Nashville, Tennessee (Rivalry)||W 14–0|
|November 24, 1938||Kentucky||No. 4||Shields–Watkins Field • Knoxville, Tennessee||W 46–0|
|December 3, 1938||vs. Mississippi State||No. 4||Crump Stadium • Memphis, Tennessee||W 47–0|
|January 2, 1939||vs. No. 4 Oklahoma*||No. 2||Burdine Stadium • Miami (Orange Bowl)||W 17–0|
|*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.|