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1915 Vanderbilt Commodores football
ConferenceSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1915 record9–1 (4–0 SIAA)
Head coachDan McGugin (12th season)
Home stadiumDudley Field
Seasons
← 1914
1916 →

The 1915 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 1915 college football season. The team's head coach was Dan McGugin, who served his 12th season as the Commodores' head coach. Vanderbilt's 1915 were a "point-a-minute team". The outlook for the upcoming 1915 Vanderbilt football season was not good. The Commodores were coming off a losing record of 2–8, the first under head coach Dan McGugin, and second in the school's 25 years of playing football. To add to this was Vanderbilt returned only 10 experienced players from the previous year, which meant inexperienced freshmen would be a key to the team's success. And success they did have. McGugin built his 1915 squad around a brilliant 130 pound junior quarterback in Irby "Rabbit" Curry. In the line was Josh Cody a dominating two-way sophomore tackle that was a fierce tackler and dominating blocker. Vanderbilt was a member of the SIAA and facing a 10 game schedule. The Commodores established a team record that season not equaled today.

Point-a-minuteEdit

They scored a grand total of 514 points in 510 minutes of actual playing time, thus ranking them as a legitimate "point-a-minute" team. Vanderbilt averaged 51.4 points a game. Vanderbilt racked up 459 points before being scored upon. The team recorded seven shutouts to open the season. These victories include Tennessee Normal (MTSU) 51–0, Southwestern 47–0, Georgetown 75–0, Cumberland 60–0, Henderson-Brown 100–0 Mississippi 91–0, and Tennessee, 35–0.

Tennessee gameEdit

The Vols were the first real test for the Commodores that came to Nashville as the SIAA defending champions and loaded with confidence. They were swamped, 35–0 as Curry and Bob Turner ran wild. The Rabbit got away for 50 yards the only touchdown of the first half. In the third quarter, Johnny Floyd ripped off 47 yards and Hubert Wiggs took it over.

Then Turner entered the game and his first run was 35 yards to the six-yard line, where Wiggs again scored. The next time he ran 60 yards himself for the touchdown and the last score came on a 20-yard dash by Cutter Northcutt, Curry's substitute. The victory was beclouded by a most unfortunate spine injury to Bennett Jared, who died a few months later."

Loss to VirginiaEdit

The Tennessee game placed the Commodores at 7-0 and unscored upon until the next week. A road game at Charlottesville, Virginia to face the University of Virginia was next on the schedule. The high-flying Commodores were overwhelmed, 10–35 by the Cavilers. Curry ran for 80 yards and scored a touchdown on a fumbled punt. Cody booted a 20-yard field goal for the only other score for the Commodores. Vanderbilt could only manage five first downs in the contest.

Rebounding from LossEdit

Next was the Auburn game, which McGugin had been pointing to since before the season. The game was played in Birmingham on Rickwood Field. Birmingham's Rickwood Field (built in 1910) still exists today and has been certified as the oldest ballpark in America. It was home to the Birmingham Red Barons of the old Southern Association for decades until 1987. Vanderbilt jumped out to a 17–0 lead on a rain-soaked field. A Curry pass to captain Russell Cohen opened the scoring. Cody personally took over from that point. In one of the greatest exhibitions of punt covering Cody smothered the receiver every time, recovering two fumbles, one across the goal line for a touchdown. Then, in the last ten seconds of play, Cody dropped kicked a three-pointer from the 33-yard line. Zerfoss and Friel punted splendidly. Curry's generalship was superb, and late in the game the Vandy line rose as one to throw back three Auburn charges on the five-yard line.

For the SIAA ChampionshipEdit

The final game of the season for the 8–1 Commodores was on Thanksgiving Day in Nashville against rival Sewanee. At stake entering the game was the SIAA championship. A shutout over the "Men From the Mountain" would complete the SIAA schedule of being unscored upon. Thoroughly outplayed the first two quarters as Capt. Dobbins and Hek Clark led the Tiger attack, intermission found the Commodores behind 3–0 due to `Red' Herring's field goal from the 20-yard line.

Dan McGugin took the team over by Engineering Hall for a little talk. They came back playing hard, but the start of the fourth quarter saw the score still 3–0. Then a sustained drive got underway that ended with `Dough' Ray plunging touchdown ward from the four-yard line. That pulled the stopper out of the bottle. Lipscomb and Cody blocked a punt and Pud Reyer recovered on the five-yard line. Again Ray went over. Zerfoss skirted end for 26, Curry followed with a 34-yard dash and a third touchdown.

Little Rabbit was battered and bruised from terrible pounding, but he generated enough steam for the top run of the day, 80 yards for a touchdown with Josh Cody clearing his path. The final count, 28–3, and another SIAA championship.

During the season Curry accounted for 118 of Vanderbilt's season total of 514 points. Seven out of eight newspapers voted the SIAA championship to the Commodores. The Atlanta Constitution declared it a tie between Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech. Curry (unanimously), Cohen and Cody were named All-Southern.

ScheduleEdit

Date Opponent Site Result
September 25, 1915 Middle Tennessee State Dudley FieldNashville, TN W 51–0  
October 2, 1915 Southwestern Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 47–0  
October 9, 1915 [[{{{school}}}|Georgetown]] Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 75–0  
October 13, 1915 Cumberland Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 60–0  
October 16, 1915 [[{{{school}}}|Henderson State]] Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 100–0  
October 23, 1915 vs. Ole Miss Memphis, TN W 91–0  
October 30, 1915 Tennessee Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 35–0  
November 5, 1915 at Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia L 10–35  
November 13, 1915 at Auburn Rickwood Field • Birmingham, AL W 20–3  
November 20, 1915 Sewanee Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 27–3  
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. All times are in Central.

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