American Football Database
1922 Vanderbilt Commodores football
Southern Conference Co-Champions
ConferenceSouthern Conference
1922 record8–0–1 (4–0 SoCon/SIAA)
Head coachDan McGugin (18th season)
CaptainJess Neely
Home stadiumDudley Field
← 1921
1923 →
1922 Southern Conference football standings
v · d · e Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
North Carolina § 5 0 0     9 1 0
Georgia Tech § 4 0 0     7 2 0
Vanderbilt § 4 0 0     8 0 1
Virginia Tech 3 0 0     8 1 1
Florida 2 0 0     7 2 0
Auburn 2 1 0     8 2 0
Tennessee 3 2 0     8 2 0
Alabama 3 2 1     6 3 1
Virginia 1 1 1     4 4 1
Mississippi State 2 3 0     3 4 2
Kentucky 1 2 0     6 3 0
Clemson 1 2 0     5 4 0
Washington & Lee 1 2 0     5 3 1
Maryland 1 2 0     4 5 1
LSU 1 2 0     3 7 0
Georgia 1 3 1     5 4 1
Tulane 1 4 0     4 4 0
South Carolina 0 2 0     5 4 0
Ole Miss 0 2 0     4 5 1
NC State 0 5 0     4 6 0
§ – Conference co-champions

The 1922 Vanderbilt Commodores football team represented Vanderbilt University during the 1922 college football season. In Dan McGugin's 18th season as head coach,[1] the Commodores compiled a record of 8-0-1 (4-0 in conference games)[2] and outscored opponents 177 to 16. Vanderbilt finished atop its conference for the second year in a row, tying with North Carolina and Georgia Tech for the Southern Conference championship. The team's defense was unrivaled in the South, having no points scored on them at home; and led the nation in scoring defense by giving up just 1.8 points per game. With an undefeated year, the Commodores were often recognized as the greatest Southern team, leading some to put them in the conversation for the best teams in the nation along with: Princeton, Cornell, California, Michigan, and Iowa.[3][4]

The year saw many historic firsts for the Commodores. The 1922 football season included the dedication of the new Dudley Field, the first stadium in the South to be used exclusively for college football. This was also Vanderbilt's first season in the new Southern Conference.

Several Vanderbilt players received post-season honors. End and tackle Lynn Bomar was selected as an All-American by Walter Camp, Walter Eckersall, Billy Evans, and Frank G. Menke. He was also a consensus All-Southern player, receiving votes for both positions. Quarterback Doc Kuhn was selected as an All-American by Billy Evans, appearing on his National Honor Roll. Bomar, Kuhn, and four other Commodores were selected for Billy Evans' Southern Honor Roll. Halfback Jess Neely, one of Vanderbilt's greatest ever captains,[5] could be found among Walter Camp's roll of honorable mention, and was known as the Commodores' best passer.


Date Opponent Site Result
September 30, 1922* Middle Tennessee State Normal Curry Field • Nashville, TN W 38–0  
October 6, 1922* Henderson Brown Curry Field • Nashville, TN W 33–0  
October 14, 1922* Michigan Dudley Field • Nashville, TN T 0–0  
October 21, 1922* at Texas Fair Park Stadium • Dallas, TX W 20–10  
October 28, 1922* Mercer Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 25–0  
November 4, 1922 at Tennessee Shields-Watkins FieldKnoxville, TN W 14–6  
November 11, 1922 Kentucky Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 9–0  
November 18, 1922 at Georgia Sanford FieldAthens, GA W 12–0  
November 30, 1922 Sewanee Dudley Field • Nashville, TN W 26–0  
*Non-Conference Game.



File:Dan McGugin (1921).jpg

Coach Dan McGugin

1922 Vanderbilt Commodores rosterv · d · e


  • 2 Oliver 'Doc' Kuhn
  • 4 Alvin 'Pep' Bell
  • 6 John F. 'Freddie' Meiers
  • 17 Walter 'Red' Rountree


  • 1 Jess Neely
  • 5 Hugh Mixon
  • 6 John F. 'Freddie' Meiers
  • 11 David 'Gil' Reese
  • 17 Walter 'Red' Rountree
  • 16 Henry 'Hek' Wakefield
  • George Waller
  • John Thomas
  • John Whorley


  • 8 S. T. Porter
  • 16 Henry 'Hek' Wakefield
  • 24 Manning Brown


  • 7 Lynn Bomar
  • 18 Percy Conyers
  • 20 Frank K. 'Scotty' Neill[7]
  • 22 Claude R. 'Tot' McCullough
  • 24 Manning Brown
  • W.J. 'Bill' Bryan


  • 9 Perry Orr
  • 12 James Walker
  • 19 Robert 'Fatty' Lawrence
  • 21 Cecil R. 'Tex' Bradford
  • 7 Lynn Bomar
  • 22 Claude R. 'Tot' McCullough


  • 13 Everett 'Tuck' Kelly
  • 15 Sam Neill
  • 23 Garland Morrow
  • 19 Robert 'Fatty' Lawrence
  • Paul Lindsay


  • 3 Alfred Sharpe
  • 14 William E. Porter
  • 13 Everett 'Tuck' Kelly
  • 19 Robert 'Fatty' Lawrence


  • 16 Henry 'Hek' Wakefield
  • 7 Lynn Bomar


  • 20 Frank K. 'Scotty' Neill


Season summary


In the first season to barr freshmen from play,[10] Vanderbilt coaches were hard at work preparing to pick the occupants of twenty-three roster spots from its pool of veteran players. Some notable players from the 1921 squad were unable to make the team, such as last year's captain 'Pink' Wade. Thomas Ryan, the team's best end and punter a year ago, also did not return for the 1922 season, preferring to stay an adjunct of the oil industry in Tampico, Mexico.[11] The Commodores had also lost tackle 'Pos' Elam and the quick halfback Rupert Smith to graduation.


Captain Jess Neely

Yet Vanderbilt's prospects still looked bright, with fifteen starters returning from the previous season.[12] Included among these were Jess Neely, Doc Kuhn, Percy Conyers, Alf Sharpe, Tot McCullough, Hugh Mixon, Hek Wakefield, Red Rountree, Freddie Meiers, Tex Bradford, and Fatty Lawrence. Lynn Bomar, who played fullback in 1921, and replacement quarterback Alvin Bell were also coming back for their sophomore campaigns. Newcomers included halfback Gil Reese, who was given particular attention from backfield coach Lewie Hardage,[5] and guard Garland Morrow. It was noted how this year's team was likely to be heavy with people from Nashville and the middle of Tennessee. Among those with Tennessee roots was Vanderbilt captain Jess Neely, his older brother Bill Neely having starred for the Commodores when they held Yale to a scoreless tie in 1910.[10] Jess had come over from the Middle Tennessee State Normal School. Tuck Kelly was also a transfer, formerly playing center for Kentucky.

The Centre Praying Colonels and Georgia Tech were the favorites to continue their from the previous season and be crowned best team of the South; but they had lost more players in the offseason than some other teams. Vanderbilt, along with Auburn, Georgia, and Sewanee, returned enough players to be considered contenders.[13] Nationally, Yale, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Navy were all expected to have a chance at the title. Michigan was also to have a strong squad, favored to win the West.

The 1922 season included the new "try for a point" rule.[14] One was allowed to either kick an extra point after a touchdown as usual, or to place the ball anywhere beyond the 5-yard line and try to score, either by touchdown or by a kick, and receive the one point if successful. On the "try for a point," any foul by the defense awarded the offense the point, and any foul by the offense made the try no good.

Week 1: Middle Tennessee State Normal School

Week 1: Middle Tennessee Normal School at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Normal 0 0 0 0 0
• Vanderbilt - - 38 38
  • Date: September 30, 1922
  • Location: Curry Field
    Nashville, TN
  • Game start: 3:00 p. m.

Vanderbilt's season opened on September 30, 1922 with a 38 to 0 victory over the Middle Tennessee State Normal School of Murfreesboro. The Normal School was led Alfred B. Miles, in his eighth season as head coach.[15] All of the Commodores' touchdowns were scored by end runs and forward passes, which would attest to the underwhelming play of Vanderbilt's line. The Normal squad was even said to have matched the Commodores' line play; and it may have deserved some of the credit, as The Normalite had reported it "corralled a squad of big, stalwart, husk fellows, with proper training in the fundamentals of the game."[16]

However, Vanderbilt coaches were expecting more success from their attempted line plunges, and were rather concerned by the weak showing of the line; especially if they were to have confidence going into the meat of the schedule. The highlight of the game for the Normal school was its only first down, a 12-yard end run from its halfback Delay. For the Commodores, Doc Kuhn, Gil Reese, and Freddie Meiers were given praise for displaying skill whilst sprinting around broken fields.[17]

Week 2: Henderson-Brown

Week 2: Henderson-Brown at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Henderson-Brown 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 7 0 6 20 33
  • Date: October 7, 1922
  • Location: Curry Field
    Nashville, TN
  • Referee: Adams (Vanderbilt)

In the second game of the year, Vanderbilt beat Henderson-Brown by a score of 33 to 0. Vanderbilt came out sluggish in the first half. Doc Kuhn, Alvin Bell, and Freddie Meiers, all played at quarterback in the first half, each apparently failing to find a rhythm. Vanderbilt was limited to three first downs in the first half, while Henderson-Brown was limited to two. The only points of the half came on a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as Commodore halfback Gil Reese darted through the entire Henderson-Brown defense. Hek Wakefield kicked goal. Reese's long run was an anomaly in the first half, as Vanderbilt's running backs came out slow and its line was arguably outplayed by the weaker line of Henderson-Brown. Adding to their troubles, the Commodores did not complete a single pass at any point during the game, though many were tried. Henderson-Brown also had no luck with the passing game, its one attempt broken up by Vanderbilt's defense.

Vanderbilt found its stride in the second half, scoring 26 points, including touchdowns on defense and a blocked punt. Halfback Red Rountree took over at quarterback in the second half and provided a spark to the offense. Two drives resulted in nine first downs and two touchdowns, one by Jess Neely and the other by Rountree, the latter drive ending soon after the fourth quarter had started. Fatty Lawrence recovered a fumble in the end zone for Vanderbilt's fourth touchdown. Later in the fourth quarter, Garland Morrow broke through the line and blocked a punt which bounded across the goal line, recovered by Scotty Neill for the final touchdown. Hugh Mixon accounted for two extra points.[18]

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Henderson-Brown was the following: McCullough (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Morrow (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Walker (right tackle), Conyers (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Neely (right halfback), Reese (left halfback), Wakefield (fullback).[18]

Week 3: Michigan

Week 3: Michigan at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 0 0 0 0 0
  • Date: October 14, 1922
  • Location: Dudley Field
    Nashville, TN
  • Game start: 2:15 p. m.
  • Game attendance: 18,000
  • Referee: Hackett (Army)

Lynn Bomar with the opening kickoff.

The third game brought the high point of the season, a scoreless tie with the Michigan Wolverines at the dedication of Dudley Field. Due to the many bonds between Vanderbilt coach Dan McGugin and Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost, Vanderbilt and Michigan used to play an annual contest, which was renewed on this day.[19] McGugin was taught his ability to coach while playing under Yost as a guard on Michigan's "point-a-minute" offense, and it was Yost who recommended McGugin for the Vanderbilt job. The two coaches were also brothers-in-law.[20][21][22]

The Wolverines were a national power, and the heavy favorite to win the game.[23] Michigan had beaten Vanderbilt in all prior meetings,[24] and Vanderbilt felt its lineup would not be at full strength.[25][26][27] Vanderbilt end Percy Conyers had a rather badly hurt knee, and center Alf Sharpe had just hurt his shoulder. End Lynn Bomar was fighting through a pulled tendon, and end Tot McCullough had some kind of strain in his arm leading to noticeable swelling. Quarterback Doc Kuhn was trying to overcome a sickness, including fevers which kept him from practice. Captain Jess Neely also had a hurt left arm. Last year's starting end Thomas Ryan not returning for the Michigan game was also taken bitterly by Vanderbilt's fans.[11]

The Wolverines however had a much healthier lineup.[28] Only one spot in the lineup gave Michigan trouble, guard Eddie Johns was forced to sit out due to academic probation. His replacement was Harold Steele. Vanderbilt was also working hard to remedy problems seen in earlier weeks with its line. The more optimistic Vanderbilt faithful were excited at the prospect of end Scotty Neill reporting after a year's layoff.[17] His ability at punting the ball was especially noted. The Commodores' lone advantage going into the game, perhaps not unlike today when Southern schools play those from the North,[29] was their speed.[30]

Nonetheless, starting the season with two shutout wins, as well as a new stadium and only the second home game against the vaunted Michigan Wolverines, seemed to invigorate the Commodores. During the pregame talk in his dressing room, Coach McGugin famously said "You are going against Yankees, some of whose grandfathers killed your grandfathers in the Civil War."[31] Also reported, probably more accurately,[32][33] as "Out there lie the bones of your grandfathers;" referring to a nearby military cemetery, "And down on that field are the grandsons of the Yankee soldiers who put them there."[21][34] One may add the often cited, humorous addendum that McGugin's father was an officer in the Union Army.


The crowded stadium.

This was Vanderbilt's first game in its new steel and concrete stadium, Dudley Field. The field was named after William Lofland Dudley, once Chair of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, and an instrumental figure in the organization of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association; as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Football Rules Committee.[35] He was known as the 'father of Vanderbilt football.'[36]

The eponymous stadium cost some $200,000 and could seat up to 22,600 people.[37][38] The first of its kind in the South,[20][39] the dedication of Dudley Field saw much fanfare. A parade of floats and bands marched through the streets, and Cornelius Vanderbilt IV, the great-great grandson of the university's namesake, made an appearance. Three airplanes flew over the stadium as the Vanderbilt band played 'America.'[31] Governor Alf Taylor welcomed the visiting Wolverines, with a response in turn from Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost. The dedication of the stadium followed:

To William Lofland Dudley, Dean of Southern Athletics, scholar, gentleman, and friend, this ground is dedicated, and, as Dudley Field, is consecrated to the use of Vanderbilt and her sons forever.
Prof. C. S. Brown President of the Vanderbilt Athletic Association[40]

Lt. Herbert Fox of the 136th Air Squadron circled back, flying over the northern goal posts, and dropped a decorated football onto the field which Coach McGugin caught off a single bounce. He then handed the ball to Yost.

The game saw little offense, featuring the season's top two defenses as measured by points against per game.[41] Vanderbilt punted 17 times, and Michigan punted 10 times. Some were surprised with Michigan's lack of an offense, citing it as Michigan's best feature.[42] For the entire game, Michigan made only six first downs, with two off of penalties, while Vanderbilt made just one. One of Michigan's best, consensus All-American Harry Kipke, had been rendered moot for most of the game. Kipke once later said about this game, "I picked myself up very, very painfully from every blade of grass in the place."[43] Franklin Cappon seemed the only Michigan player able to gain much for his offense.[44]


Vandy's goal line stand.

The best chance to break the tie came early in the first quarter[23] when Vanderbilt was forced to punt from its own 7-yard line. The punt was partially blocked, giving Michigan the ball at Vanderbilt's 25-yard line. Two end runs, two line bucks, and a forward pass brought the Wolverines inside the 5-yard line, first and goal. Three runs straight up the middle were stopped before the goal line. Cappon made a yard, Kipke lost one, and Cappon then drove to within a foot of the goal. Vanderbilt captain Jess Neely was heard shouting 'Stop em!'[5] On fourth down, Michigan faked a field goal and ran with Harry Kipke off tackle to the right. Kipke was stood up just inches from the end zone.[44][45] One Vanderbilt player even pushed himself off of the goal post, in an attempt to generate a greater backwards push, as the crowd cheered.[31] The other chances for a Michigan score saw two missed field goals coming from Jack Blott and Paul Goebel,[46] one of them late in the game falling short of the cross bar.[47]

Michigan's defense responded in kind. Vanderbilt's only noteworthy offensive play came in the first quarter, after Jess Neely tackled Kipke hard on a punt return, causing a fumble which Neely recovered.[5] Neely then connected on a 20 or 25-yard pass to Tot McCullough. This gave Vanderbilt the ball at Michigan's 20-yard line, but the subsequent plays for Vanderbilt saw runs stopped for little gain and a pass intercepted by Irwin Uteritz.[44]

The tie was the greatest of achievements for the underdog Commodores,[48] and fans celebrated by throwing some 3,000 seat cushions onto the field.[31] Many publications called it "one of the big moments of the gridiron season."[49] The Vanderbilt Alumnus wrote "That 0 to 0 finish meant night shirt parades and a sleepless night of jollification. And so it was."[50] Vanderbilt's yearbook The Commodore remarked, "Whence came that irresistible spirit that shattered the Michigan plays no one knows. Every man on the squad possessed it. It was the re-enactment of more than one chapter in the record of Vanderbilt's past. There never was a greater reversal in the history of athletics than that day. The dwarf stood like a Titan foot to foot and breast to breast with the grim Michigan giant, and disarmed him."[51] It is likely still the greatest game of Vanderbilt's long history, and a classic in Southern football lore. Lynn Bomar and Jess Neely are often acknowledged as the players of the game for Vanderbilt.[52] Lynn Bomar spent much of his day tackling Michigan's runners for a loss,[53] while Jess Neely was a battered and bruised captain playing so hard despite his injured frame.[43][53]


The Two Captains; Jess Neely and Paul Goebel.

Other plays of note for the Commodores included the shifty moves of Gil Reese, and Scotty Neill's punting matching that of Kipke,[54] averaging 42 yards per punt.[5] The defense of Tex Bradford and Tot McCullough was also given praise.[43][44][51][53] Walter Camp noted the strong showing of Vanderbilt, particularly impressed with Reese's punt returns and McCullough's run defense. He credited McGugin with having developed a well-trained line, and a secondary that was not far behind.[55] In response to the claim that Michigan could not manage a win because of undue confidence, Coach Yost had said "We have no alibi to offer over the showing made at Vanderbilt. We did not score because we encountered one of the best defenses which I have ever seen in action."[56]

The Michigan Wolverines went on to have one of the best records in the nation and receive many postseason accolades. The only blemish on their record was this tie. Michigan and Iowa finished the year tied atop the Western Conference,[57][58] and Michigan won status as the team with the most All-Americans as cataloged by the Romelke Press Clipping Bureau.[59] Included on this list was Harry Kipke, Paul Goebel, Bernard Kirk, Stanley Muirhead, Irwin Uteritz, Oliver Aas, and Franklin Cappon. Harry Kipke was also named best all-around player in the nation by Norman E. Brown.[60] The next week Michigan played at the dedication of another new stadium – Ohio Stadium. Michigan went on to beat Ohio State by a score of 19 to 0.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Michigan was the following: McCullough (left end), Bomar (left tackle), Morrow (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Bradford (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Neely (left halfback), Reese (right halfback), Wakefield (fullback).[44]

Week 4: at Texas

Week 4: Vanderbilt at Texas
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 13 0 0 7 20
Texas 3 7 0 0 10
  • Date: October 21, 1922
  • Location: Fair Park Stadium
    Dallas, TX
  • Game start: 2:00 p. m.
  • Game attendance: 11,000
  • Referee: Venne (Carlisle)

The speedy Gil Reese.

The fourth game of the year saw Vanderbilt travel to Dallas, Texas to play the Texas Longhorns. Vanderbilt went on to win by a score of 20 to 10. Along with the Michigan game, the Texas game had been billed as one of the more important intersectional games since the beginning of the season;[61][62] perhaps the best one of the South.[63] Part of the interest came because Vanderbilt had won the game the year before, when it was figured Texas would surely rout them. Texas was last year the experienced powerhouse, while Vanderbilt the team of fresh faces. This year, it was felt the game should feature the exact opposite, with Vanderbilt a fourteen point favorite.[64][65][66] The teams were also relatively even in their weight; the big backfield of the Longhorns met the experienced and heavy line of the Commodores.[67] Bigger still was the interest for watching a match between undefeated teams, and Vanderbilt's recent tie against the mighty Wolverines made the pairing seem all the more elite. Dallas radio station WFAA was to broadcast the game back to Austin for Texas students.[68] A rough match had been expected, as an ambulance was kept at the ready near the stadium's entrance.[69]

Prior to this year's match, Vanderbilt had several key players injured. Jess Neely, Garland Morrow, and Tot McCullough all had their issues, seeing significantly shortened playing time.[70] Coach McGugin had said "We are crippled beyond all repair, but we are going out to Texas to win."[71] The game's stand out players included the punting Scotty Neill and the speedy Gil Reese.[72] Texas was apparently strong between the tackles, and so it came upon Gil Reese, called names such as "the Tupelo flash" and "the son of Mercury,"[73] to show his ability at running around the edge. He scored all three of Vanderbilt's touchdowns.

The first score of the game came from Texas. After the initial kickoff to Vanderbilt, Scotty Neill quickly punted back to Texas, for Vanderbilt had much faith in its defense. The highlight of the ensuing drive was a 22-yard run around the edge by the Longhorns' Franklin Stacy. A few plays after this long run, Texas found itself on Vanderbilt's 18-yard line. Then, after Vanderbilt committed an offsides penalty, Texas moved up to the 13-yard line. Seeking a spark, McGugin sent in his injured captain Jess Neely. It worked to an extent, with Texas losing yards and ending up at the 17-yard line;[70] and it was from there that Stacy kicked a field goal. A bit later, Vanderbilt kicked to Stacy, who after a few yards was hit and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Commodores' Hek Wakefield at the 25-yard line. Vandy's Gil Reese ran twice around the edge, giving the Commodores the ball at the 13-yard line. Vanderbilt ran for a few more using Neely and Doc Kuhn,[74] and then an end run from Reese got the Commodores to the 1-yard line. Reese punched it in for the score on the next series with a run off-tackle. The try was good, and Vanderbilt led 7 to 3. A series of punts back and forth followed, with Neill booming rather deep punts. Captain Neely broke this streak of lethargic offense from both sides, running back a 30-yard punt return.[70] Starting from the 40-yard line, this drive was credited to Reese. After two Vandy runs, one of about ten yards around end from Neill and another of about four yards through the middle from Kuhn, Reese jetted around the end, "slipping here, twirling there,"[74] for a 46-yard touchdown. The try was missed, and thus the score was 13 to 3. The punting duel then resumed, with Neill again getting the upper hand.

After a short Texas punt and a decent return from Reese, Vanderbilt found itself in good field position at the 45-yard line of Texas. On the first play of the drive, the Longhorns' Edwin Bluestein blew through Vanderbilt's line and stopped Reese for a loss.[70] A fifteen yard penalty afterwards did not help the Commodores. The penalty was on Neill for slugging, who was going to be ejected had it not been for the Texas victim, center and captain 'Swede' Swenson, telling the referees to allow him to stay.[74][75] The next play saw a clumsy pass to Neill, who was forced to try and make a play instead of punting the ball as intended, resulting in a fumble recovered by Texas at the 29-yard line. Texas then got a big play from James Marley, who made a 21-yard run. As the first quarter ended Texas was on Vanderbilt's 5-yard line. A short run by Marley set up a touchdown from Yancy Culp. Texas thus closed the gap, 13 to 10. The punting then continued, but this time Neill was not as sharp as before, and Texas saw two field goal attempts near the end of the first half. The first drive was going well until Marley tripped on a run, and the field goal was missed from an uneasy angle. The second field goal attempt was blocked by Hek Wakefield, and recovered by Tex Bradford.


Lynn Bomar, 'The Blonde Bear'

The punting resumed at the start of the second half. Reese recovered his own fumble at the 18-yard line, making it so Texas had the edge in field position during these series of punts. Texas eventually got a chance to score out of this, with a drive starting at Vanderbilt's 43-yard line. Three runs and a pass got Texas to the 20-yard line, but then a pass from Ivan Robertson was intercepted by Lynn Bomar. The plight of Vanderbilt's field position changed after this, with Neill netting a punt of about 60 yards. The next punt from Texas gave Vandy the ball at the 45-yard line. Kuhn made five yards in two plays, on a 3-yard run around the left end and a 2-yard run up the middle. Then Kuhn rushed around the edge for nine or ten on a 'criss cross', and Wakefield powered his way through the middle for the rest of the first down. Kuhn went around the edge again, this time for 20+ yards as he was downed inside of the Longhorns' 10-yard line. An unsuccessful dive ended the third quarter. The drive was to stall here, with two runs up the middle by Reese having been stopped; and a fourth down pass attempt from Kuhn to Bomar apparently being blown up. Texas punted again after the next series, the ball rolling to Vanderbilt's 45-yard line. Neill faked a kick and ran for five yards, with the other five needed for the first down made on the next play by either Kuhn or Neely. Reese then lost yards, and a pass attempt from Neely to Bomar was incomplete. On the next play, Neely hit Bomar on a long pass that went twenty-three yards in the air, with Bomar running for some twenty more and down close to the goal.[76] Reese ran it in on the next play, and the try was good. Vanderbilt 20, Texas 10.

On the next drive of Vanderbilt's, Wakefield fumbled on a run off tackle and the Longhorns' Robertson recovered on Vanderbilt's 20-yard line. A few runs and a pass gave the Longhorns the ball at the 8-yard line, but they failed to convert on the next series of downs, as Marley fell short of the goal line. Neill then had to punt from his own end zone, and did well with a 52-yard punt. The two teams traded interceptions, Reese intercepting for Vanderbilt and Eckhardt doing the same for Texas, and Texas got the ball back where they had started. A 17-yard pass from Robertson gave this drive promise; but again he was intercepted, this time by Alf Sharpe, just two plays later. Neill punted some 55 yards, and Texas was back at their own 40-yard line. Robertson completed a 22-yard pass to Weaver Moore, and then another 15-yard pass to Richard Burns. The last play of this vigorous drive saw a Texas run downed at about the 12-yard line as the game ended.[70][74]

Texas felt validated after having played better than expected.[77] This year's game was much closer than the last,[78] as shown by the score. In fact, the number of first downs seemed to favor Texas. The Longhorns had fifteen first downs to the Commodores' eight.[75] A. M. Venne, the referee of the game, suggested Vandy won because of its crafty play, saying the defeat of Texas was due to Vandy's 'head work.'[79] Texas turned out to be one of the best teams Vanderbilt played this season. The next week the Longhorns beat a solid Alabama team which finished first in the South in scoring with 300 points,[80] upset John Heisman's undefeated Penn on the road, and beat Georgia. Texas's only other loss was an upset by Texas A&M late in the season; and though Texas A&M had a weak record, it was felt they would field a decent squad by the end of the year.[77]

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Texas was the following: Bomar (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Walker (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Lawrence (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Wakefield (left halfback), Reese (right halfback), S. Porter (fullback).[74]

Week 5: Mercer

Week 5: Mercer at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Mercer 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 0 12 0 13 25

Red Rountree

For the fifth game, Vanderbilt beat the Mercer Baptists by a score of 25 to 0. Mercer was coached by former All-Southern tackle and Vanderbilt football star Josh Cody. Mercer's team was crippled, having many star players out with the dengue fever.[81] Included on the sick list was Ed Irwin, Mercer's do-it-all end who was also their best punter and a good passer, right guard 'Judge' Dasher, and left guard and team captain Carl Lancaster. George Harmon, halfback and Beverly Gaines, tackle, were also unable to perform due to sickness or injuries, George Harmon apparently having hurt his ankle.[82][83] The Baptists' back up center W. M. Barron also had the mumps.[84] It was at least noted that 'Coot' Lynch, replacement for Ed Irwin, was as good an end just without Irwin's passing and punting ability. One Glenn Carthron was to replace captain Lancaster, and though a large fellow this replacement was not as comparable as Lynch, for he had just healed from his own illness.[85]

For all of the 1922 season, Mercer had been unable to play a full lineup of regulars.[83] Scoring at all would have been quite the achievement for the Mercer Baptists.[84] Vanderbilt therefore used this game to rest its hurt players, featuring mostly substitutes.[86] Replacement quarterback Red Rountree was the star of the game, paving the way for all four of the Commodores' scores with his punt returns and end runs.[87] The star for the Baptists was their fullback Dave Rice, who got the majority of their yardage on the ground.

The Commodores were held scoreless in the first quarter. The first score came early in the second when sub quarterback Red Rountree ran for 43 yards around end.[88][89] In the same period Lynn Bomar hit Rountree on a 28-yard pass, but Vanderbilt was unable to use this to score. The second touchdown came after a short punt from Mercer and a good return from Rountree set up a line buck into the end zone from Bomar. In the fourth quarter the Commodores saw two more touchdowns. A pass to Bomar and a strong line plunge from S. T. Porter accounted for the scores. Mercer's only chance to score came in the fourth quarter. After Vanderbilt had fumbled Mercer completed a pass down to the 10-yard line, but that's where Mercer was still when the game ended. Red Rountree finished the game with 132 yards rushing, as well as 109 yards on punt returns.[87]

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Mercer was the following: Brown (left end), Bomar (left tackle), Orr (left guard), W. Porter (center), Lawrence (right guard), Walker (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Rountree (quarterback), Meiers (right halfback), Mixon (left halfback), S. Porter (fullback).[88]

Week 6: at Tennessee

Week 6: Vanderbilt at Tennessee
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 0 7 0 7 14
Tennessee 0 0 0 6 6
  • Date: November 4, 1922
  • Location: Shields-Watkins Field
    Knoxville, TN
  • Game attendance: 7,000
  • Referee: Randolph (Virginia)

Scotty Neill, punter and end.

In the sixth game of the year, Vanderbilt beat the Tennessee Volunteers at Knoxville by a score of 14 to 6. The eighteenth meeting between Vanderbilt and Tennessee saw a packed stadium, the largest crowd of the season for Shields-Watkins Field.[90] Tennessee was out for revenge,[91] as the Volunteers had only beaten the Commodores twice, and Vanderbilt was ahead in points scored in the series by a vast margin, 347 to 53. Tennessee also hoped to better its Southern Conference record after having lost to Georgia. Both teams had last week rested their starters, Vanderbilt winning over Mercer, and Tennessee beating Mississippi by a score of 49 to 0. It was therefore thought the game should be a closer one than in years past, with Vanderbilt only slight favorites.[91][92] The game turned out to be hotly contested, so much so that many felt Vanderbilt was outplayed but not outfought. Perhaps the week off for many Commodore starters had hindered Vanderbilt's ability to play its best.

Tennessee drove down to the 7-yard line in the first quarter, but was held on downs. The first score came from Vanderbilt in the second quarter on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jess Neely to Doc Kuhn. Wakefield kicked goal. In the fourth quarter, Tennessee got to the 1-yard line after a series of long passes. Tennessee fullback Roe Campbell charged over the line for the touchdown. The Volunteers' Clayton failed to kick goal. Later in the fourth, Vanderbilt intercepted a Tennessee pass in Volunteer territory, leading to a chance to score. After runs at the line failed, a 5-yard pass from Neely to Lynn Bomar got the touchdown. Hek Wakefield's try was successful.[90][93]

Lynn Bomar, Scotty Neill, Gil Reese, and Fatty Lawrence were mentioned as the players of the game for the Commodores, and Campbell was cited as the star for the Volunteers. It was said Neill out-punted the Volunteers on nearly every occasion.[94] The Nashville Banner said Lawrence had been "in there doing a man's job blocking a kick and tackling with the deadliness of a tiger unleashed in a cave of lions."[5] This week saw Tulane lose to North Carolina,[95] leaving Vanderbilt as the only undefeated member of the Southern Conference.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Tennessee was the following: McCullough (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Morrow (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Walker (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Neely (left halfback), Rountree (right halfback), Wakefield (fullback).[90]

Week 7: Kentucky

Week 7: Kentucky at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Kentucky 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 3 6 0 0 9
File:Dudley1922 cropped.jpg

Aerial shot of Dudley Field in 1922.

In the seventh week of play, Vanderbilt beat the Kentucky Wildcats by a score of 9 to 0. Though the Wildcats were aware of the chances of being outmatched, they had a bit of confidence going into the game against Vanderbilt. This was because last week the Wildcats had played Centre, and though they were beaten pretty badly, they managed to hold Centre on the goal line at the end of the game.[96] Kentucky was also feeling bitter about last year's loss to the Commodores at home, and motivated to have a signature win against Vanderbilt. The Wildcats scored on Vanderbilt for the first time in its history in the prior year's match, and felt they were well prepared going into the crowd at Dudley Field.[97]

Lynn Bomar's kickoff was fielded by Turner Gregg, returned to the 16-yard line. Three runs from Kentucky gained 9 yards, and on fourth down the Wildcats punted the ball out of bounds at midfield. After the punt, Vanderbilt ran itself deeper into Kentucky territory on the backs of Doc Kuhn, Freddie Meiers, and Hek Wakefield. The drive did not start well, with Kuhn losing yards as a run around the end was snuffed out by the Kentucky defense. The next play was the beginning of Vanderbilt's success, with Meiers getting an 8-yard run. Kuhn then went up the middle twice for a total of 7 yards. The next series of downs had a short run by Meiers, and a 4-yard run for a first down from Wakefield. After a 1-yard end run from Kuhn, Meiers went for 5 yards. Kuhn then went up the middle for six more and a first down. Vanderbilt jumped offsides after a 2-yard run from Wakefield. Kuhn was stopped for no gain, and on a fake kick play Bomar ran around the end for 5 yards. On the next play, from the 18-yard line, a drop kick by Wakefield split the uprights. On the next possession, Kentucky drove down to Vanderbilt's 20-yard line. Any attempt to move further was stopped by Vanderbilt's defense, and a 35-yard dropkick from Turner Gregg was missed.[98][99]

The first drive of the second quarter for the Commodores centered around Kuhn, Meiers, and Jess Neely; but after reaching Kentucky's 35-yard line the ball was turned over on downs. Kentucky did not gain much on the next possession, and punted away. The next series saw a 70+ yard drive from Vanderbilt.[100] With fourth down on the 1-yard line, Meiers punched it in for the touchdown. Wakefield's try was missed. A later punt by the Wildcats saw Kuhn return the ball 43 yards, tackled by the last man before the end zone, Kentucky's punter Gregg. The half ended before Vandy could use this to score.[98][101]

Vanderbilt's play in the third quarter was hampered by fumbles.[99] The ball was kicked off to Kuhn for a 12-yard return. Meiers then fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Kentucky. During the ensuing possession Vanderbilt jumped offsides. Vanderbilt's defense made up for the Commodores' rather poor situation. Kentucky tried an end run which resulted in a loss of 3 yards, and on the next play a pass was intercepted by Bomar. The next Vanderbilt drive seemed promising with an average of a bit more than five yards per play, until Vandy had again fumbled the ball away. The Vanderbilt defense once more came to the rescue, as Kentucky could not get 10 yards and therefore the ball went over on downs.

The final quarter saw Kentucky attempt a hurried comeback led by forward passes. Only one was completed, a 30-yard pass from Fuller to Hollowell. Vanderbilt sent in a fresh Gil Reese for Meiers, and Reese thus closed out the game. One play was a 35-yard run, Reese only failing to score because of Kentucky's Brewer just getting his feet from behind.[98] At Kentucky's 35-yard line the drive was stalled with a turnover on downs.[99]

The Vanderbilt-Kentucky game was called a 'hard fought battle.'[100] Once the week had finished, Vanderbilt was the only undefeated team left in the South, since VMI had lost to North Carolina.[102] The following week, Kentucky hosted the high scoring Alabama squad, and was the only team of the season to hold the Crimson Tide scoreless.[103] The Wildcats had also beaten Sewanee earlier this year.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Kentucky was the following: Bomar (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Lawrence (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Morrow (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Meiers (left halfback), Neely (right halfback), Wakefield (fullback)[98]

Week 8: at Georgia

Week 8: Vanderbilt at Georgia
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Vanderbilt 6 0 6 0 12
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0

Image from the Georgia-Vandy game

In the eighth week of play, the Herman Stegeman led Georgia Bulldogs played Vanderbilt for their homecoming. It was the last game in Athens for Georgia greats such as captain and All-Southern guard Hugh 'Puss' Whelchel, running back 'Goat' Tanner, end Dave Collings, and the other guard 'Nemo' Vandiver.[104] Along with Whelchel, tackle Joe Bennett and fullback John Fletcher were named to All-Southern teams at the end of the year, with Fletcher getting the most votes of any Georgia representative. Among the notables in the large crowd at Sanford Field was recent Governor-elect Clifford Walker.[105]

Vanderbilt entered the Georgia game as slight favorites. Vanderbilt usually beat Georgia, but last year had to fight back just to bring the game to a tie, dashing either teams' hopes of an unblemished record and an undisputed SIAA title. This year, Vanderbilt was acknowledged as back in full form. Since they held Yost's machine scoreless, it was figured Georgia could have a rough time with the Commodores' defense. The game was also seen as the last hurdle for the Commodores before they could be considered champions of the South.[106] Georgia did not have a bad run defense either, but had poorly defended the forward pass in weeks prior. Therefore it was thought Vanderbilt should seek to expose Georgia's defense by utilizing its passing game.[107] Georgia was hungry to finally beat Vanderbilt, having this game at the top of its list of desirable victories.[104] The Commodores were as eager to silence the hungry Bulldogs and continue their quest towards a Southern championship.[108]

Vanderbilt's passing attack was indeed ready to expose the wrinkle in Georgia's defense. Though the Commodores were only 3 for 9 on pass plays, they made those three count, for a total of somewhere around ninety yards. These passes showed the mark of 'ceaseless drill' and seemed to come once Vandy had worked Georgia's defense into playing the run just a bit too much.[109] Vanderbilt also found itself in another game where punts may have decided the victor, with Vanderbilt registering the better punts.[110] Scotty Neill punted 14 times, with an average distance of 47 yards. Georgia punted 15 times with an average of 34 yards. Georgia fans were amazed to see Vanderbilt try a rather odd play with its punter twice during the game. After a fair catch, the Commodores lined up as if they were prepared to kick the ball away, and then tried a high hanging onside punt. Both times it was tried it failed, luckily for Georgia as they certainly seemed caught off guard by the display. Perhaps the reason for the Commodores trying such a play was because an onside kick saved them from losing to Georgia the year before.[111]

The opening kickoff went to Georgia. The first few series saw little gains by either teams' running game, and punts were traded back and forth. During one of these series, Whelchel was hurt on a short gain through the middle by the Commodores' Gil Reese, but he stayed in the game. Jess Neely also tried a long pass to Bomar, which fell incomplete. The first scoring drive of the game started when Reese returned a punt fourteen yards to the 46-yard line. On the first play of this series, Kuhn ran behind the left tackle for a yard, putting the ball in the middle of the field. Neely then hit Bomar on a long pass thrown from a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. Bomar caught it on about the 7-yard line, and was downed by Georgia halfback Loren Chester 'Teany' Randall after having run for five more, down to about the 3-yard line. The next series of downs saw a touchdown from Reese, on his second run at the left tackle. Wakefield missed the kick. The first play after the ensuing kickoff to Georgia was a 17-yard run off right tackle by Randall, who was snuffed out for a 4-yard loss on the next play. Tanner then lost a yard on the play after. Whelchel was injured again and this time sat out. Georgia then kicked to Reese, who signaled for a fair catch but was hit anyway, and so Georgia was penalized the fifteen yards. Vanderbilt used the good field position to try and pin Georgia back, with Neill kicking the ball out of bounds at the 20-yard line. Georgia punted after the next series to give the Commodores the ball at Georgia's 40-yard line. Kuhn ran around left end for five yards before going out of bounds. A pass was tried, Kuhn to Tex Bradford, but was grounded. Kuhn got another yard through center before Neill punted the ball into the end zone for a touchback, as the quarter ended.


Doc Kuhn, quarterback

The second quarter began much like the first, a trading of punts. This time it was Vanderbilt's captain, Jess Neely, who got hurt on the first series. He then sat out. After a few series for both teams, a punt to Reese was fumbled after a Georgia player tackled him hard. Georgia's Randall came out of the pile of players with the ball. Georgia now had the ball on Vandy's 40-yard line, and the crowd could be heard chanting "Tie it up!" Fletcher made nine yards on a double pass play, and Tanner ran for a few more. Fletcher made another short gain for Georgia, off left tackle. Randall hit Paul Anderson on a pass play to get Georgia inside the 20-yard line. Two more runs by Fletcher for a net gain of nine yards, and Tanner then barely getting the yard needed for a first down, gave the Bulldogs the ball at the 5-yard line. Fletcher ran into Vandy's line on the next play for a yard. Randall went at center but the Vanderbilt defense swarmed and turned him back. Fletcher then went off left tackle for two more. Georgia tried to throw for a touchdown on its final down, but the pass was knocked down at the 2-yard line. The half ended shortly after.

To start the second half, Collings kicked off to Freddie Meiers. Meiers got the best run of the day with a return of 40 yards, giving Vanderbilt the ball at the 45-yard line. Neill punted to Randall who fell on his own fumble at the 17-yard line. Vanderbilt held Georgia to a 4th and 1, but jumped offsides during the punt, giving Georgia a first down. Luckily for Vanderbilt, the next few plays failed and Georgia again punted. Reese returned the punt twenty yards, to Georgia's 44-yard line. Meiers gained two yards with a run up the middle on the next play. On a play not unlike the touchdown in the first quarter, Doc Kuhn dropped back and hit Bomar for a 40+ yard touchdown pass. The pass went twenty eight yards in the air, with Bomar running the rest of the way. Collings tackled Bomar just as he was crossing the goal line, hurting himself in the process. Wakefield missed the kick.

Again punts were traded between teams. At the end of the third quarter Georgia was trying to pass, but just one was completed and that was for five yards. A few plays after Neill had just punted back to Georgia was when the quarter ended. Georgia punted back to Vanderbilt at the start of the fourth quarter, who soon punted it back again. Bomar intercepted a pass from Randall on this next drive. After only small gains from the Commodores, the ball was punted back to Georgia. Georgia fumbled the punt but managed to come up with the recovery. Georgia then lost yards and ended up with a bad punt, out of bounds at their own 22-yard line. The Commodores advanced to within just a few yards of the goal, and it looked as if they would score again. A pass from Reese to Bradford got a few, and Meiers had the best run from scrimmage the Commodores had seen all day for a bit more than ten yards. Kuhn ran for two more through center. Vanderbilt was then caught offside, and after Meiers got one more yard, Reese lost yards trying to go around the end. A pass into the end zone was knocked down, and the Commodores failed to score. Both teams tried to pass from this point until the game ended, especially Georgia in an attempt to net a comeback. Neither team had much success, and so the game ended with a final score of 12 to 0.[105][110][111]

Vanderbilt left the game as intended, as favorites to be crowned champions of the South.[112] The 1922 game between Georgia and Vanderbilt marked the last time Georgia had lost two in a row at home to Vanderbilt, for they also lost 46 to 0 at Athens in 1912.[113][114] The next week saw Georgia finish its season with a loss to the aforementioned Alabama. Georgia posted a respectable record, given its schedule, of 5-4-1. Georgia's best win was against Tennessee. Along with the blemishes of Vanderbilt and Alabama, Georgia lost to a strong Auburn team which upset Centre, as well as to a Chicago team which was officially Western Conference co-champion and played a close game with national champion Princeton.[115] The Bulldogs' one tie was against Virginia, another team which had a close match with Princeton.

The starting lineup for Vanderbilt against Georgia was the following: Bomar (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Morrow (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Walker (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Reese (left halfback), Neely (right halfback), Wakefield (fullback).[110]

Week 9: Sewanee

Week 9: Sewanee at Vanderbilt
by Quarter 1 2 3 4 Total
Sewanee 0 0 0 0 0
Vanderbilt 14 6 0 6 26
  • Date: November 30, 1922
  • Location: Dudley Field
    Nashville, TN
  • Game start: 2:00 p. m.
  • Game attendance: 20,000
  • Referee: Hackett (Army)

Vanderbilt finished the season against its oldest rival, the Sewanee Tigers, at Dudley Field on Thanksgiving Day.[116] Vanderbilt beat Sewanee worse than had been expected,[117] by a score of 26 to 0. Clinching an undefeated season, the Commodores achieved nineteen first downs to the Tigers' two.[118] The crowd of 20,000 people was the largest ever to see a football game in Nashville.[119]


Freddie Meiers

Sewanee got the ball first and rushed to within a yard of a first down, but decided to kick the ball away. The Tigers went for an onside kick, which was recovered by the Commodores on the 40-yard line. Scotty Neill then muffed a pass from center and was tackled for a 10-yard loss. The ensuing punt by Neill went 43 yards. Sewanee failed to gain much, and had a short punt out of bounds at the 43-yard line.[120] This led to Vanderbilt's first scoring drive, marked by dashes around end from Gil Reese and powerful runs off tackle by Freddie Meiers.[118][121] Reese went around the right end for 13 yards. Meiers then ran all the way down to Sewanee's 14-yard line, and Reese skirted around left end for ten more. After Meiers failed to gain on the next play,[120] Reese carried the ball for a score on a flank attack,[121] and Hek Wakefield kicked goal. A few minutes later, Vanderbilt scored another touchdown. Wakefield returned a kick for 33 yards, and Doc Kuhn ran out of bounds for a six-yard gain.[120] Kuhn then faked a run and Sewanee was caught completely off-guard. He tossed the ball to Lynn Bomar, who was left wide open behind the defense. Bomar scampered the remaining 25 yards for the touchdown with ease.[119] Wakefield kicked goal.

In the second quarter, Sewanee tried to put a drive together after holding Vanderbilt on downs at the 32-yard line. Sewanee halfback Jack Gibbons went for three yards, then halfback 'Heinie' Powers went off tackle for seven more. Gibbons fumbled but recovered for a gain of an additional three. Vanderbilt's defense then responded, and Sewanee was forced to punt. Gil Reese returned the punt for 35 yards. The Commodores were not able to do much with this, and punted away after two failed line bucks. As the quarter came to a close, Bomar intercepted a Sewanee pass. Vanderbilt put together another scoring drive this time, started by Meiers running through Sewanee's line for a long gain. Reese then hit the line to no avail, and a pass fell incomplete. Kuhn hit Neill on a 10-yard pass to get the Commodores inside the 5-yard line. On the next series, Kuhn powered his way through the line for a touchdown. The try failed.

The third quarter was Sewanee's best. After trading punts, Sewanee's offense started to click for the first time. The first long gain for Sewanee was because of a Vanderbilt penalty for roughness. Powers made nine yards around end, and Gibbons plunged over behind his tackles for four more. A long pass from Powers to end 'Shucks' Shook got Sewanee to about the 8-yard line. Vanderbilt's defense again answered the call, throwing Gibbons for a loss and having no gain from Powers. Sewanee attempted a field goal from the 11-yard line which narrowly missed.[118][120]

Vanderbilt got back to its previous success in the final quarter, with a drive described as a "savage attack." The Commodores got to Sewanee's 17-yard line when two passes failed,[118] one dropped by Tex Bradford at the 5-yard line, to turn the ball over on downs. Sewanee started to get desperate with passes, one of which was intercepted by George Waller. Runs around end and through the middle took Vanderbilt down to the 1-yard line. After Kuhn got a short gain needed for a first down up the middle, Reese took two runs which together accounted for 19 yards.[120][121] Reese then ran up behind center to power his way into the end zone. The umpire got knocked down on this play, and suffered a sprained ankle. Sewanee's last drive featured a 29-yard pass from Powers to captain Bill Coughlan, which ended up at the Commodores' 42-yard line. Three more passes were tried, but Vanderbilt defended them well. On fourth down Sewanee hit a 9-yard pass, not enough for the first down. The game ended shortly after Vanderbilt's offense took the field,[120] ensuring Vanderbilt's undefeated season.[118][119][122]

The startling lineup for Vanderbilt against Sewanee was the following: Bomar (left end), Bradford (left tackle), Lawrence (left guard), Sharpe (center), Kelly (right guard), Morrow (right tackle), Sc. Neill (right end), Kuhn (quarterback), Neely (left halfback), Reese (right halfback), Wakefield (fullback).[123]


The 1922 season was among the best in Vanderbilt and Southern history.[124] Many publications listed Vanderbilt's season as the best in the South.[3][125][126] Georgia Tech was the only challenger for the mythical Southern crown, though the 1922 Southern Conference championship was officially shared between Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina.[127] Having tied with Georgia for an SIAA championship in 1921, the Commodores shared a conference championship for the second year in a row.[5][128] Vanderbilt's defense, at least, was universally acknowledged as best in the South.[129] The Vanderbilt defense held all of Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, and Texas when they were within 3 yards of the goal.[5] Coach McGugin's fine record in intersectional matchups started to get some notice. He had beaten the Carlisle Indians 4-0 in 1906, tied Navy on the road in 1907, tied Yale 0-0 on the road in 1910, lost a close fight with Harvard 9-3 in 1912; and now one could add the scoreless tie with Michigan of 1922.[130]

Vanderbilt was slotted to play both Texas and Michigan again the next year.[131][132] Those two matches were to be away games, with the rest of the schedule at home.[133] On December 5, at the annual football banquet, quarterback Doc Kuhn was elected captain of the Commodore squad for 1923.[134]

Lynn Bomar received first team All-American honors from Frank G. Menke. He was also selected as a second team All-American by Walter Camp, a third team All-American by Walter Eckersall, and appears on Billy Evans' National Honor Roll. Bomar was one of the first Southern players to make Camp's team.[33] Jess Neely, Doc Kuhn, and Scotty Neill got Camp's honorable mention. Bomar was one of just two consensus All-Southern selections; the other was Red Barron of Georgia Tech.[135] Kuhn appeared on Billy Evans' National Honor Roll, and was the second quarterback, behind Herb 'Flash' Covington of Centre, selected for Billy Evans' Southern Honor Roll. Scotty Neill appeared on Billy Evans' Southern Honor Roll, and on the All-Southern team of Zipp Newman, sports editor for The Birmingham News.[136] Other Commodores on Billy Evans's Southern Honor Roll were Gil Reese, Tex Bradford, and Tuck Kelly.[137]

Assistant coach Wallace Wade left Vanderbilt for the head coaching position at Alabama,[138] where he had much success, establishing Alabama's dynasty.[139] He was first pursued by the University of Kentucky,[140] but refused that option once he felt they had kept him too late with a committee hearing. Dan McGugin had been pursued by Alabama, but felt content with Vanderbilt, recommending Wade for the position.[33][141] In eight years at Alabama, Wade went 61–13–3 with the school's first three national titles; and had the first Southern team to play in a Rose Bowl. His replacement at Vanderbilt was Mercer coach and former Vanderbilt great Josh Cody.


Varsity letter winners


Tackle Tex Bradford


Center Alf Sharpe

  • Lynn Bomar, Gallatin, Tennessee, Fitzgerald and Clarke School
  • Tex Bradford, Mansfield, Texas
  • Percy Conyers, Halls, Tennessee, Union Academy
  • Doc Kuhn, Nashville, Tennessee, Montgomery Bell Academy
  • Tuck Kelly, Whitesville, Kentucky
  • Fatty Lawrence, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tot McCullough, Lewisburg, Tennessee
  • Freddie Meiers, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Garland Morrow, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jess Neely, Smyrna, Tennessee, Branham and Hughes Military Academy
  • Scotty Neill, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Gil Reese, Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Red Rountree, Hartselle, Alabama, Morgan County H.S.
  • Alf Sharpe, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Hek Wakefield, Petersburg, Tennessee, Fitzgerald and Clarke School
  • Jim Walker, Birmingham, Alabama

Scoring leaders

Player Touchdowns Extra points Field goals Points
Gil Reese 7 0 0 42
Lynn Bomar 5 0 0 30
Doc Kuhn 2 0 0 12
Red Rountree 2 0 0 12
Hek Wakefield 0 7 1 10
S. T. Porter 1 1 0 7
Jess Neely 1 0 0 6
Freddie Meiers 1 0 0 6
Scotty Neill 1 0 0 6
Fatty Lawrence 1 0 0 6
Hugh Mixon 0 2 0 2
TOTAL 21 10 3 139

Awards and honors

Coaching staff


  1. McGugin coached from 1904-1917 and then from 1919-1934. It is said he took 1918 off either to work in the mining business or because of the First World War.
  2. Vanderbilt, among others, held dual membership as they were in both the SIAA and in SoCon. It seems Sewanee was in the SIAA, and is therefore sometimes counted as a conference win. see Roger Saylor. "Southern Intercollegiate Conference".
  3. 3.0 3.1 Grantland Rice (November 24, 1922). "The Sportlight: Football Alphabet". The Boston Daily Globe.
  4. cf. James Vautravers. "1922 College Football National Championship".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Russell, Fred, and Maxwell Edward Benson. Fifty Years of Vanderbilt Football. Nashville, TN, 1938, p. 40-41
  6. "1922 Vanderbilt Commodores schedule and results". sports-reference. Retrieved 2012-10.
  7. Sometimes spelled Neil
  8. "Official Program Vanderbilt-Sewanee Game November 30, 1922".
  9. "1922 Vanderbilt Commodores football roster".
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Vanderbilt to Pick Grid Team From 23 Candidates". Atlanta Constitution. July 18, 1922.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Vandy Loses Thomas Ryan". Atlanta Constitution. October 11, 1922.
  12. "New Eleven to Come South As Tech Opponent." The Macon Daily Telegraph 10 Sept. 1922: 7.
  13. Grantland Rice (January 23, 1922). "The Sportlight: The Title Hunter Prospects". Boston Daily Globe.
  14. "New Rule." Appleton Post Crescent [Appleton, Wisconsin] 23 Sept. 1922: 9.
  15. "Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders-1922".
  16. 'Athletics' and "Vandy Defeats The Blue And White 38 to 0" The Normalite, October 1922 p. 52-54
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Vandy Coaches Working Hard." Columbus Ledger 10 Oct. 1922: 6.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Vandy Defeats Arkansas Team." The Macon Daily Telegraph 8 Oct. 1922: 8.
  19. "It's All In The Slant." Ironwood Daily Globe 18 Sept. 1922: 6.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Vandy Opens South's First College Athletic Stadium on Saturday." The Macon Daily Telegraph 8 Oct. 1922
  21. 21.0 21.1 Campbell, Judith D. "Vanderbilt Football: The Glory Years." Nashville Business and Lifestyle 15.8 (1992): 58
  22. Jeff Mosher (January 20, 1936). "Playing Square". The Evening Independent (St Petersburg, FL).
  23. 23.0 23.1 e.g. see "No Change Is Made In Lineup of Team." Ironwood Daily Globe 20 Oct. 1922: 10.
  24. "Seven Times Has Michigan Beaten Vanderbilt Team." The Grand Rapids Press 11 Oct. 1922: 24.
  25. "Commodores, Shy Two Stars, to Meet Wolverines." Dallas Morning News 14 Oct. 1922: 12.
  26. "Vandy Stars Are Injured". Atlanta Constitution. October 13, 1922.
  27. "Vanderbilt Opens $200,000 Stadium." Miami Herald 14 Oct. 1922: 5.
  28. "Wolverines Are Ready For Game With Vanderbilt." The Kalamazoo Gazette 9 Oct. 1922: 8.
  29. for the meme that the South has faster players, see, for instance Jonathan Chait (January 9, 2002). "Not So Fast".
  30. "Wolverines Worry Over Vanderbilt." The Kalamazoo Gazette 11 Oct. 1922: 20.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Traughber, William L. Vanderbilt Football: Tales of Commodore Gridiron History. Charleston, SC: History, 2011, p.33 and p. 77-80
  32. Bill Traughber. "Q&A with George McGugin".
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Scott, Richard. SEC Football: 75 Years of Pride and Passion. Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur, 2008; p. 24-25, 30
  34. "Obituary: Daniel Earle McGugin".
  35. "William Lofland Dudley" Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry 1914 6 (10), 856-859.
  36. "Vanderbilt's Stadium Will Be Full, Saturday." The Daily Northwestern [Oshkosh, Wisconsin] 12 Oct. 1922: 12.
  37. "Commodores to Dedicate New Stadium Saturday." Dallas Morning News 13 Oct. 1922: 18.
  38. "Vanderbilt Stad Will Seat 22,600." Kalamazoo Gazette 12 Oct. 1922
  39. "Vanderbilt Stadium".
  40. The Commodore (Vanderbilt Yearbook) 1923 p. 13
  41. "1922 standings".
  42. Francis J. Powers (October 16, 1922). "Michigan Attack Proves Lacking". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 "Kipke Recalls Vandy Game". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, South Carolina). October 5, 1933.,424793.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 "Powerful Wolverine Eleven Held To Scoreless Tie By Commodores." Augusta Chronicle 1922 Oct. 15
  45. "Vanderbilt Christens Stadium By Tying Michigan, 0 to 0". The New York Times. October 15, 1922.
  46. Sam S. Greene (October 15, 1922). "Michigan and Vanderbilt play to Scoreless Tie In Commodores' Stadium: Southerns Spring Surprise on Rivals". Detroit Free Press.
  47. cf. Bill Traughber. "CHC- Vandy Ties Michigan in 1922".
  48. cf. "Death Closes Long And Brilliant Career For Dan McGugin". The Evening Independent (St Petersburg, FL). January 20, 1936.
  49. e.g. David J. Walsh (November 16, 1922). "Leading Elevens Catch Tartars Saturday". Rochester Evening Journal.,4928962&dq=vanderbilt+football&hl=en.
  50. Sherraden, Jim, Elek Horvath, and Paul Kingsbury. Hatch Show Print: The History of a Great American Poster Shop. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2001, p. 35
  51. 51.0 51.1 The Commodore (Vanderbilt Yearbook) 1923 p. 18
  52. Bill Traughber. "The history of Vanderbilt Athletics part 1".
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 "Vanderbilt Opens Its News Stadium with Tie." Charlotte Sunday Observer 15 Oct. 1922: 2.
  54. Zipp Newman (December 5, 1950). "Southern Football History, Chapter 2". The Tuscaloosa News.
  55. Walter Camp (October 26, 1922). "Camp Praises Work Of Vandy Against Michigan". Atlanta Constitution.
  56. "Tie Put Pepper Into Workouts Of Wolverines" The Jackson Citizen Patriot [Jackson, Michigan] 17 Oct. 1922: 17.
  57. "Wolverines And Hawks Unbeaten". The Telegraph Herald. November 27, 1922.
  58. cf. "Michigan and Iowa Look the Best." The Toledo News-Bee 14 Nov. 1922: 14.
  59. "Michigan Proves A Favorite: Consensus Vote of Sports Writers Shows Wolverines Have Most Men Picked". Los Angeles Times. 1922-12-27.
  60. Norman E. Brown (December 8, 1922). "Below Wins Place on 'All-American' Eleven Selected by Prominent Sports Writer: Harry Kipke Named as Year's Best All-Round Man". Capital Times (Madison, WI).
  61. "Great Gridiron Season Sport Gains Admirers." St. Albans Daily Messenger [St. Albans, VT] 23 Sept. 1922: 6; "Football Season to Be Record One. About Forty Intersectional Games Are Billed." Morning Oregonian 24 Sept. 1922
  62. "Football Is Past Trial Horse Stage". New York Times. October 21, 1922.
  63. "Texas-Vanderbilt Tickets on Sale." Dallas Morning News 12 Oct. 1922
  64. "Gridiron Champs and near Champs Settling into Proper Places." Fort Worth Star-Telegram 20 Oct. 1922: 25.
  65. "Texas University Meets Vanderbilt Dallas Saturday". Corsicana Daily Sun. October 19, 1922.
  66. "Vandy Favored To Beat Texas By Large Score." Port Arthur Daily News 21 Oct. 1922: 3.
  67. "Orange Backs Average 165." The Mexia Evening News 19 Oct. 1922: 1.
  68. Hawthorne, Bobby. Longhorn Football: An Illustrated History. Austin: University of Texas, 2007, p. 14
  69. "Longhorns Are Too Late With Passing Game." San Antonio Light 22 Oct. 1922: 31.
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 70.4 "Vanderbilt Downs Texas Longhorns, Long Grid Rivals." Dallas Morning News 22 Oct. 1922
  71. "Crippled Vandy Team Confident". The Washington Post. October 21, 1922.
  72. "Vandy Commodores Win Over Texans". St. Petersburg Times. October 22, 1922.
  73. The Commodore (Vanderbilt Yearbook) 1923
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 74.3 74.4 "Big Gains Are Made On Punts And Wide Runs In Dallas Game." Fort Worth Star Telegram 22 Oct. 1922: 14.
  75. 75.0 75.1 "Longhorns Ready For Ala. University Sat". The Breckenridge Daily American. October 30, 1922.
  76. "Commodores Win By Superior Play When Near Longhorns' Goal." Wichita Daily TImes[Wichita Falls, Texas] 22 Oct. 1922: 9.
  77. 77.0 77.1 "Longhorns in Battle with Vandy Showed Unexpected Strength." Fort Worth Star-Telegram 23 Oct. 1922: 10.
  78. cf. "Vanderbilt Noses Out Victory Over Texans." The Columbus Enquirer Sun 22 Oct. 1922: 6.
  79. "Vandy's Headwork Won From Texas Says Venne." San Antonio Express 24 Oct. 1922: 12.
  80. "Alabama Holds Scoring Lead." The State [Columbia, South Carolina] 4 Dec. 1922: 5.
  81. "Mercer Is Off For Vanderbilt." Columbus Ledger 27 Oct. 1922: 6.
  82. "'Dengues Leave For Vandy's Game'". The Mercer Cluster. October 27, 1922.
  83. 83.0 83.1 "Leaving Five Regulars Behind Mercer Baptists Hit The Trail For Nashville to Battle Vandy." Augusta Chronicle 27 Oct. 1922: 6.
  84. 84.0 84.1 "Mercer Team Plays Vandy Eleven." The Macon Daily Telegraph 27 Oct. 1922: 8.
  85. "Rats To Tackle Savannah Squad." The Macon Daily Telegraph 26 Oct. 1922: 8.
  86. "Vandy Scrubs Easily Defeats Mercer Team." The Montgomery Advertiser; 29 Oct. 1922: 11.
  87. 87.0 87.1 "With Majority Of Regulars On Side Lines, Vandy Wins Easily From Crippled Baptists, 25-0." Augusta Chronicle 29 Oct. 1922: 2.
  88. 88.0 88.1 "M-"Dengues" Hold Big Vandy To 25-0". The Mercer Cluster. November 3, 1922.
  89. "Vandy Subs Are Used with Only Few of Varsity." The Macon Daily Telegraph 29 Oct. 1922: 6.
  90. 90.0 90.1 90.2 "Vanderbilt Wins From Volunteers." The State [Columbia, SC] 5 Nov. 1922: 11.
  91. 91.0 91.1 "Vandy Meets Vol Eleven". Atlanta Constitution. November 1, 1922.
  92. "Hard Contests Are Scheduled" The Lexington Herald 6 Nov. 1922: 3.
  93. The Volunteer Yearbook (1923) p. 110-111
  94. "Tennessee Fights Hard, but Loses to Vanderbilt." The Montgomery Advertiser 5 Nov. 1922: 11.
  95. "Six Teams Still Own Clean Slates". The New York Times. November 6, 1922.
  96. "Wildcats Invade Enemy Lines For Second Time". The Kentucky Kernel. November 10, 1922.
  97. "Wildcats May Break Record." The Lexington Herald 8 Nov. 1922: 8.
  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 98.3 "Wildcats Lose Hard Fought Game To Vandy Eleven At Nashville". The Kentucky Kernel. November 17, 1922.
  99. 99.0 99.1 99.2 "Football 'Cats Hold Vandy to 9-0 Count; Centre Again Trims Washington and Lee Gregg Misses." Lexington Herald 12 Nov. 1922: 5.
  100. 100.0 100.1 "Vandy Stops Kentucky 'U'". Atlanta Constitution. November 12, 1922.
  101. "Vanderbilt Outplays Kentucky University." Augusta Chronicle 12 Nov. 1922: 2.
  102. "Vanderbilt Alone Unbeaten in Dixie." The Miami Herald 13 Nov. 1922: 10. West Virginia was also undefeated, so they must not have been considered part of the South for some reason.
  103. "1922 Kentucky Wildcats".
  104. 104.0 104.1 "Four Stars Play Here For Last Time". The Red and Black (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia). November 17, 1922.
  105. 105.0 105.1 Homer George (November 19, 1922). "Georgia Bulldogs Are Defeated by Vanderbilt 12 to 0". Atlanta Constitution.
  106. "Vandy Hopes To Defeat Georgia." The Macon Daily Telegraph 17 Nov. 1922: 8.
  107. "Dope Favors Vanderbilt Over Georgia Bulldogs In Game To Be Played In Athens Saturday." Columbus Ledger 15 Nov. 1922: 5.
  108. "Centre Eleven Battles Tiger at Birmingham." The Macon Daily Telegraph 15 Nov. 1922: 2.
  109. Earle Watson (November 22, 1922). "Georgia Is Ready for Final Bow of Season on Gridiron.". The Montgomery Adviser.
  110. 110.0 110.1 110.2 "Vanderbilt Defeats the University of Georgia." Charlotte Sunday Observer 19 Nov. 1922: 2.
  111. 111.0 111.1 Morgan Blake (November 23, 1922). "Aerial Attack By Vanderbilt Stars Won Game Saturday". The Red and Black (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia).
  112. "Vandy Favored For Dixie Title." Port Arthur Daily News 20 Nov. 1922: 7.
  113. T Kyle King. "Too Much Information: Georgia Bulldogs v. Vanderbilt Commodores".
  114. "Georgia vs Vanderbilt - All Time".
  115. cf. "Princeton-Chicago football game is broadcast across the country".
  116. Bill Traughber. "CHC- Sewanee Was Vandy's First Rival".
  117. cf. Grantland Rice (November 30, 1922). "The Sportlight: Concluding Dope". Boston Daily Globe.
  118. 118.0 118.1 118.2 118.3 118.4 "Vanderbilt Easily Wins." Columbus Ledger 1 Dec. 1922: 7.
  119. 119.0 119.1 119.2 "Vandy Trounces Sewanee 26 to 0." The Macon Daily Telegraph 1 Dec. 1922
  120. 120.0 120.1 120.2 120.3 120.4 120.5 "Sewanee Loses To Vanderbilt, 26-0". The Sewanee Purple. December 14, 1922.
  121. 121.0 121.1 121.2 "Vanderbilt Winner Over Sewanee." Augusta Chronicle 1 Dec. 1922: 6.
  122. "Vanderbilt wins from sewanee eleven, 26-0.". The Washington Post. December 1, 1922.
  123. "Big Crowd Sees Vanderbilt Win." The State [Columbia, SC] 1 Dec. 1922: 9.
  124. Cummisky, Thomas L. "Picking Champ Grid Teams Is Not Easy Task Since So Many Have Just Claims." San Antonio Evening News 1 Dec. 1922: 18.
  125. e.g. "Vanderbilt Team Only Undefeated Eleven In South". The Washington Post. December 2, 1922.; "Few Titles Changed Hands During 1922". The Washington Post. December 31, 1922.
  126. "No Outstanding Football Eleven During The Year." New Castle News 27 Dec. 1922: 17.; Farrell, Henry. "Sports Kings That Kept Crown." Middletown Daily Herald 31 Dec. 1922: 6.
  127. cf. Noel, Tex. Stars of an Earlier Autumn An Unofficial College Football Records Book. Iuniverse, 2011. p. 374
  128. "Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association - 1921". It seems some count Centre as being in the SIAA (see source above), and they were no doubt the 1921 champions if this were so, but the source by Saylor on the SIAA makes no mention of them, leading one to believe they were an independent southern school. Therefore Vanderbilt and Georgia tied for the 1921 SIAA title. Vanderbilt's yearbook certainly refers many times to the pride of winning their conference two years in a row.
  129. e.g."Alabama and V.M.I. Lead Dixie Teams". The New York Times. December 4, 1922.
  130. Grantland Rice (November 1, 1922). "The Sportlight:Song Of The Stalwart". Boston Daily Globe.
  131. "Texas Plays Vandy Again Next Year." Fort Worth Star-Telegram 1 Dec. 1922: 21.
  132. "Vanderbilt To Play Michigan-1923." Augusta Chronicle 3 Dec. 1922: 15.
  133. "Seven Games Listed For Vanderbilt U". The Washington Post. December 13, 1922.
  134. "Kuhn Vandy's Pilot". The Washington Post. December 6, 1922.
  135. "All-Southern Grid Warriors Chosen By Dixie Coaches". The Spartanburg Herald. December 9, 1922.
  136. "Selection of Mythical All-Southern Grid Team Difficult Task." The Montgomery Advertiser 3 Dec. 1922: 10.
  137. "Billy Evans' Honor Roll." The Grand Rapids Press 9 Dec. 1922: 16.
  138. "Wade To Coach Alabama". New York Times. December 17, 1922.
  139. cf. Keith Dunnavant. "Crimson Fame".
  140. "KY. Is After Coach Wade". The Atlanta Constitution. December 6, 1922.
  141. Whittingham, Richard. Rites of Autumn: The Story of College Football. New York: Free, 2001. p. 63

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