American Football Database
Rupert Smith
Rupe circa 1916
Vanderbilt CommodoresNo. 3
Halfback, Quarterback Graduate
Major: {{{major}}}
Date of birth: (1897-01-28)January 28, 1897
Place of birth: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Career history
Middle Tennessee State (1916–1917)
Middle Tennessee State (1919)
Vanderbilt (1921)
Career highlights and awards
*SIAA championship (1921)

Rupert McAdoo "Rupe" Smith (January 28, 1897 – August 28, 1959) was an American football and baseball player from Tennessee. Smith was the leading scorer on Dan McGugin's 1921 Vanderbilt Commodores football team which shared a Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) title.

Early years

Rupert was born on January 28, 1897, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Rufus Taylor Smith and Robert Hodge McAdoo.

College football

Middle Tennessee

Smith was teammates with Jess Neely and P. V. Overall on the 1917 Middle Tennessee State football team. Rupe was also captain of the 1919 Middle Tennessee team.[1]



File:Rupert Smith.jpg

Rupe Smith

Rupe was a prominent halfback and the leading scorer for Dan McGugin's 1921 Vanderbilt Commodores football team. In the seventh week of play, Vanderbilt faced the defending SIAA champion Georgia Bulldogs at home on Curry Field. The game was to be the highlight of Vandy's schedule this year, deciding the conference champion. It was described by The New York Times as an "important clash."[2] Sporting editor for the Birmingham News "Zipp" Newman had written weeks ago, "Stegeman has a powerful team and with all the regulars in the game, the team has a chance of going through the season undefeated unless it be Vanderbilt that stops her."[3] The Bulldogs were the favorite to win this meeting of the two schools, first since 1912, in part because the Bulldogs may have outplayed Harvard and defeated Auburn earlier in the season.[4] Georgia had the greatest line in the South,[5][6] featuring four men deemed All-Southern in guard Puss Whelchel, center Bum Day, tackle Artie Pew, and end Owen Reynolds.[7][8] Not one team all year scored on Georgia through its line.[9][10]

Soon after the start of the fourth quarter,[11] Jess Neely intercepted a pass, weaving for a return of 25 yards to Georgia's 40-yard line before being brought down by Jim Reynolds.[12] Two long pass attempts failed, and Thomas Ryan lined up to punt. Rupert Smith snuck in behind Ryan, and rushed to recover the 25-yard onside kick. Smith jumped up to get the ball off the bounce among a hoard of Bulldogs, after they had let it bounce,[13] including the outstretched arms of the Bulldogs' Hartley, and raced for a 15-yard touchdown.[14] He added his own extra point and the game ended as a tie, 7–7, giving both schools a claim to the conference title.


  1. 2012 Football Fact Book. Middle Tennessee State Athletics. pp. 124.
  2. "Many Good Games On Schedule Today". The New York Times. November 12, 1921.
  3. Zipp Newman (October 31, 1921). "Georgia Heeds Opportunity's Knock While Auburn Turns Deaf Ear Says Zipp Newman". The Columbus Enquirer Sun.
  4. "Gridiron Gossip". Montgomery Advertiser. November 11, 1921.
  5. Russell, Fred, and Maxwell Edward Benson. Fifty Years of Vanderbilt Football. "1921-Wallace Wade Hired As Assistant". Nashville, TN, 1938, p. 39
  6. "No Thirteen on Vanderbilt Team". Dallas Morning News. October 18, 1921.
  7. "1920s Georgia Football". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
  8. "All-Southern Football Team". Charlotte Observer. December 4, 1921.
  9. Camp, Walter, ed. National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Rules: Official Intercollegiate Football Guide. 45 Rose St, New York: American Sports, 1922. Print. Spalding's Athletic Library.
  10. "Final Period Rally Wins for Old Vandy". Charlotte Observer. November 25, 1921.
  11. "Vanderbilt Ties With Bulldogs". The State (Columbia, SC). November 13, 1921.
  12. "Commodores Tie In Last Period". The Palm Beach Post. November 13, 1921.,2499379&dq=rupe-smith+vanderbilt&hl=en.
  13. "Game With Vandy Is Tied As Novel Play Is Pulled Successful". The Red And Black. November 18, 1921.
  14. "Georgia and Vandy Battle to a Draw". The Columbus Enquirer. November 13, 1921.

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