1938 Tennessee Volunteers football
National champion (various selectors)
SEC champion
Orange Bowl champion
Orange Bowl, W 17–0 vs. Oklahoma
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
Ranking
APNo. 2
1938 record11–0 (7–0 SEC)
Head coach
Base defenseSingle-wing
Home stadiumShields–Watkins Field
Seasons
← 1937
1939 →
1938 Southeastern Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
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
Ole Miss 3 2 0 9 2 0
Georgia Tech 2 1 3 3 4 3
Vanderbilt 4 3 0 6 3 0
Florida 2 2 1 4 6 1
Auburn 3 3 1 4 5 1
Georgia 1 2 1 5 4 1
LSU 2 4 0 6 4 0
Mississippi State 1 4 0 4 6 0
Kentucky 0 4 0 2 7 0
Sewanee 0 6 0 1 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1938 Tennessee Volunteers football team represented the University of Tennessee in the 1938 college football 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.[citation needed] The team was named national champion by NCAA-designated major selectors of Berryman, Billingsley, Boand, Dunkel, College Football Researchers Association, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Poling, Sagarin, Sagarin (ELO-Chess)[1]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Prominent players

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 asked team Co-captain Sparta's Joe Little, also a Tennessee boxing letterman, to settle things down. Little lasted one play before decking a Sooner who approached him with a foot to chest in play. He was ejected and was apologizing to Neyland before he reached the Tennessee sideline. Ironically, it had the intended effect of settling the game down for Neyland. In between all the penalties, Bob Foxx and Babe Wood scored touchdowns and team co-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."

Schedule

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendanceSource
September 24SewaneeW 26–315,000[4]
October 1Clemson*
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 20–716,000[5]
October 8Auburn
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
W 7–018,000[6]
October 15at AlabamaW 13–025,000[7]
October 22The Citadel*No. 8
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 44–08,000[8]
October 29LSUdaggerNo. 8
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 14–636,000[9]
November 5Chattanooga*No. 6
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN
W 45–07,500[10]
November 12at VanderbiltNo. 4W 14–023,000[11]
November 24KentuckyNo. 4
  • Shields–Watkins Field
  • Knoxville, TN (rivalry)
W 46–0[12]
December 3vs. Ole MissNo. 4W 47–021,000[13]
January 2, 1939vs. No. 4 Oklahoma*No. 2W 17–032,191[14]
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

References

  1. ^ 2017 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. July 2017. p. 112. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  2. ^ "Yearly National Championship Selections". Archived from the original on July 21, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  3. ^ "No. 3 Tennessee 1938 - AthlonSports.com". Archived from the original on July 21, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2009.
  4. ^ "Tennessee scores three times in first period to beat Sewanee, 26–3". The Nashville Tennessean. September 25, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Hip-tossing Volunteers out-class Clemson, 20–7". The Greenville News. October 2, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Vols topple game Tigers by 7–0 score". The Huntsville Times. October 9, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Tennessee routs Alabama, 13–0". The Knoxville Journal. October 16, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Cadets can take it and do, it's Vols 44, The Citadel 0 in easy game". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. October 23, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "Tennessee Volunteers whip Louisiana State Tigers 14 to 6 as three governors watch game". The Shreveport Times. October 30, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "U.T. crushes plucky Moccasins, 45–0". The Chattanooga Times. November 6, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "Vols vanquish Vandy, 14 to 0, in bowl drive". The Nashville Tennessean. November 13, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Vol typhoon cuts through hapless Cats". The Lexington Leader. November 25, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Aroused Vols slaughter Ole Miss Rebs, 47–0". The Knoxville Journal. December 4, 1938. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Vols win, 17–0 before 32,000 berserk fans". The Miami Herald. January 3, 1939. Retrieved August 8, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.