Great Lakes Bowl

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1947 Great Lakes Bowl
Bowl Game
1 2 3 4 Total
Kentucky 3 0 7 14 24
Villanova 0 0 0 14 14
Date December 6, 1947
Season 1947
Stadium Cleveland Stadium
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance 14,908
Great Lakes Bowl

The Great Lakes Bowl was a college football bowl game that was played only once, on December 6, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio between the University of Kentucky and Villanova University.[1]

The Kentucky Wildcats of the Southeastern Conference was in its second season under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Kentucky brought a 7-3 record into the game, their only losses coming to Mississippi (ranked #13 in the final AP poll of the season), Alabama (ranked #6 in the final AP poll of the season) and Tennessee.

The Villanova Wildcats, coached by Jordan Olivar, brought a 6-2-1 record into the game, having lost to Army and Boston College. It was the first bowl appearance for Kentucky and the second for Villanova, which in 1936 tied Auburn 7-7 in the Bacardi Bowl in Havana, Cuba. Neither team was ranked entering the game, though Kentucky had spent three weeks in the AP top twenty in October, rising as high as #13.

The game was played at Cleveland Stadium with attendance of 14,908.

In the first quarter Kentucky's George Blanda kicked a 27-yard field goal. At halftime Kentucky led 3-0. In the third quarter Kentucky's Jim Howe had a 29-yard touchdown run; Blanda's point after kick gave Kentucky a 10-0 lead.

Yet Villanova, behind the accurate throws of highly-touted quarterback Andy Gordon, marched back. Two plays into the fourth period, Villanova’s Ralph Pasquariello, carrying several Kentucky defenders on his back, rambled 11-yards into the endzone. John Siano’s conversion pulled Villanova within a field goal, 10-7.

Later in the fourth quarter, Kentucky’s Jack Griffin broke through the Villanova line to partially block a punt, giving Kentucky excellent field position at the 25-yard line. Several plays later, Kentucky’s Bill Boller raced 25 yards for a touchdown, and after the Blanda extra-point, Kentucky had cushioned its lead to 17-7. With time now against them, Villanova went to the air, but Kentucky’s Boller intercepted a Gordon pass and returned it 49 yards for another touchdown. Now trailing 24-7, Gordon returned to the air first hitting Zip Zehler with a 38-yard strike, Gordon then connected with John Sheehan for a 13-yard touchdown pass. With the Siano conversion the score was 24-14. [2]

The Great Lakes Bowl was never played again as a major bowl game, but did take place in 1948 as a small college bowl game where John Carroll University defeated Canisius College 14-13.[3]

Kentucky and Villanova met again in the regular season the following year. They tied 13-13 in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 6, 1948.

Scoring Summary[edit]

  • Kentucky — George Blanda 27-yard field goal
  • Kentucky — Howe 29-yard run (George Blanda kick)
  • Villanova — Pasquariello 11-yard run (John Siano kick)
  • Kentucky — Boller 25-yard run (George Blanda kick)
  • Kentucky — Boller 49-yard interception return (George Blanda kick)
  • Villanova — Gordon 13-yard pass to Sheehan (John Siano kick)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.
  2. ^ "Villanova Football Media Guide" (PDF). Villanova Football Media Guide. Villanova, PA. 2005. p. 122. 
  3. ^