1939, UCLA vs California

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UCLA ball carrier KENNY WASHINGTON prepares to cut inside of the roll block being thrown by Bruins standout end WOODY STRODE on the would-be California Golden Bears tackler during the Pacific Coast Conference meeting at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 4, 1939 … Observers will note the numbers on the players’ jerseys are backwards but, nevertheless, the pair of UCLA Bruins linemen watching the play develop in the background to the right are center MARTIN MATHESON (# 6) and tackle MLADEN ZARUBICA (# 24) … This marvelous picture (click to enlarge) along with other spectacular photography that documents the history of the development and growth of the University of California at Los Angeles can be seen at — http://waterandpower.org/museum/Early_Views_of_UCLA.html
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The 1939 battle with the “Big Brothers to the North” from the University of California at Berkeley was easily one of the most productive performances in the magnificent three-year collegiate career of UCLA Bruins’ legendary All-America left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON.

November 4, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance : 50,000

(# 19 – AP) UCLA BRUINS vs CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

UCLA starting line-up
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LE – # 27 … Woody STRODE …………. LH – # 13 … Kenny WASHINGTON
LT – # 15 … Del LYMAN ………………… FB – # 5 …… Bill OVERLIN
LG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY ………….. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON ……. RH – # 9 ….. Ray BARTLETT
RG – # 11 …. Jack SOMMERS
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 38 … Don MACPHERSON

substitutions (not necessarily complete)
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E – Jim MITCHELL (# 41), Chuck CASCALES (# 54), Bob SIMPSON (# 44)
T – Ernest HILL (#10), Jack COHEN (# 14)
QB – Joe VIGER (# 32)
RH – Chuck FENENBOCK (# 45)
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 2), Don HESSE (# 4)

Note — the UCLA Bruins’ normal starting right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON, that speedy transfer from Pasadena Junior College who had sparked a rally against the University of Oregon Ducks just seven days earlier by scoring two spectacular touchdowns (one on a 66-yard pass reception and the other on an electrifying 83-yard yard run), sat out the landmark Alumni Homecoming game opposite the University of California Golden Bears as a result of a knee injury suffered on the practice field.

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The soft pass-catching hands, speed of track & field quality as well as sheer brute force of UCLA Bruins weapon WOODY STRODE (# 27), the truly fearsome (6’4″ 195 lbs) left end who was destined to be cited by the Associated Press as an honorable mention All-America selection for the 1939 NCAA campaign, were on full parade in the third period of the Pacific Coast Conference match with the visiting California Golden Bears at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum … (click photo to enlarge).
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UCLA BRUINS 20 – CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS 7

Game Statistics
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plays from scrimmage (incl. punts) ….. UCLA 70, Cal 59
net total yardage …………………………….. UCLA 351, Cal 159
first downs ……………………………………… UCLA 15, Cal 9
net rushing yardage ………………………… UCLA 218, Cal 94
net passing yardage …………………………. UCLA 133, Cal 65
passes completed / attempted …………. UCLA 8/13, Cal 7/20
passes intercepted by ………………………. UCLA 1, Cal 1
fumbles recovered by ………………………. UCLA 0, Cal 1
missed field goals …………………………….. UCLA 0, Cal 1
punts – punting average …………………… UCLA 7 – 35.0, Cal 6 – 31.2
punt returns – yards gained ……………… UCLA 2-39, Cal 3-60
kickoff returns – yards gained ………….. UCLA 3-21, Cal 2-55
penalty yardage lost …………………………. UCLA 30, Cal 30

scoring plays
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1st qtr : GOLDEN BEARS 7-0
Tony FIRPO 2 yard run (Lee ARTOE kick)
1st qtr : BRUINS 7-7
Kenny WASHINGTON 35 yard run (John FRAWLEY kick)
2nd qtr : BRUINS 13-7
Don MACPHERSON 35 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (kick failed)
3rd qtr : BRUINS 20-7
Woody STRODE 22 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (John FRAWLEY kick)

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
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LH – Kenny WASHINGTON ….. 22 carries … 141 yards
RH – Chuck FENENBOCK ……….. 5 carries ….. 33 yards
FB – Bill OVERLIN …………………. 11 carries ….. 21 yards
RH – Ray BARTLETT ……………… 3 carries ……. 9 yards
FB – Don HESSE ……………………… 3 carries ……. 9 yards
FB – Leo CANTOR …………………… 2 carries ……. 3 yards
QB – Ned MATTHEWS ……………. 2 carries ……. 2 yards
QB – Joe VIGER ………………………. 2 carries ……. 0 yards

(all statistics as reported by Berkeley Daily Gazette on Nov 6, 1939)

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(Associated Press – Spokane Daily Chronicle, Monday, November 6, 1939) … UCLA superstar KENNY WASHINGTON (# 13), who was typically deployed on defense as the left cornerback in the three-man secondary of the Bruins’ traditional 6-2-2-1 box formation, prepares to confront California ball carrier TONY FIRPO, the Golden Bears’ first string left halfback who rushed for 31 yards on nine carries and scored the game’s first touchdown but threw a critical interception later in the third quarter, during the intra-state Pacific Coast Conference clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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UCLA BRUINS vs CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
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UCLA fullback BILL OVERLIN, the homegrown junior from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles who could and would be a real weapon when punting the football, fumbled on the very first play from scrimmage following the opening kickoff return to the Bruins 26-yard line. Six plays later, the Golden Bears found pay dirt with a two-yard touchdown plunge by California left halfback TONY FIRPO. Immediately thereafter, Golden Bears standout right tackle LEE ARTOE “kicked the conversion so hard the ball sailed about 40 yards into the upper end zone seats,” according to the published account offered by the Berkeley Daily Gazette.

A rather poor second quarter punt of only twenty-two yards gave UCLA the ball at the California 35-yard line and the very next play from scrimmage saw Bruins star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON take the direct snap and sweep off to his right in between the tackle and end on a most impressive touchdown run. “He appeared tackled several times but shook off California tacklers all along the route,” wrote Ronald W. Wagoner of The Associated Press. The score was leveled at seven apiece when the extra point placekick by UCLA guard JOHN FRAWLEY split the uprights.

The visitors had a chance to stretch retake the advantage in the second session after Golden Bears second string left halfback CLIFF PERRY initiated a long march by completing two passes to second string fullback CARLTON HOBERG. Perry, who was the leading rusher for Cal in the game with 33 yards on eight carries, and added a considerable gain on the ground to bring the ball to the UCLA 25-yard line. The Bruins defense summarily stiffened, however, and an old-fashioned “drop kick” attempt at a field goal by the lineman Artoe, who would soon be named 2nd team All-America by The Associated Press in 1939 and later went on to score a defensive touchdown for the Chicago Bears in the 1942 National Football League title game, was easily long enough but well wide to the left … (one should remember that college football goal posts were stationed at the back of the end zone so, officially speaking, the strong-legged Artoe failed on a 40-yard field goal attempt).

ucla-39-cal-perry-11-sommersTime remaining in the first half was dwindling rapidly when UCLA went into punt formation and caught Cal napping as Washington crossed midfield on a 27-yard reception from Overlin. A seven-yard burst from Washington brought the ball to the Cal 30-yard line but the Bruins were penalized for illegal backfield motion on the next snap. Washington then tossed an ill-advised pass into a crowd of players that the Golden Bears seemed poised to intercept at the Cal 15-yard line … but a very fortunate deflection fell into the dependable arms of UCLA right end DON MACPHERSON and the homegrown junior out of University High School in Los Angeles soon had the game’s deciding score.

An interception and productive return to midfield by UCLA quarterback NED MATTHEWS, the ball-hawking junior right halfback in the Bruins’ three-man defensive secondary alignment who came from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, led to insurance for the home side in the third quarter. A pair of runs by Washington for 22 yards and a blast up the middle by Overlin set the pigskin on the Cal 25-yard stripe. Another line buck by the UCLA fullback pushed the withering Golden Bears back ball three yards further. At this back-breaking point in the contest, the “Kingfish”, who had 141 net yards rushing in addition to his influential 27-yard pass reception in the second quarter, connected with UCLA left end WOODY STRODE on a short out pattern and the reliable receiver who led the Bruins in 1939 with 15 catches for 218 yards did the rest. Frawley added his second extra point on his third attempt of the afternoon to set the numbers at 20-7 in favor of UCLA.

UCLA, who defeated their “Big Brothers to the North” from Berkeley for only the second time in school history (as well as the very first time ever in the city of Los Angeles) on this most notable occasion, might have added another touchdown in the final quarter after driving to the two-yard line of the Golden Bears but a fourth down pass by Bruins reserve halfback CHUCK FENENBOCK was successfully defensed by Perry of California. Nevertheless, it was the two starting guards for UCLA, the senior co-captain Frawley as well as JACK SOMMERS, the husky junior (6’3″ 222 lbs) who had come all the way from Norristown Area High School in eastern Pennsylvania, who were cited by the Associated Press for yeoman’s work at the line of scrimmage in the post-game reports. With the satisfying triumph over its intra-state rival, the UCLA Bruins improved their record on the 1939 NCAA campaign to five wins against just one tie and continued forth on its memorable quest for a first-ever appearance in the lucrative New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game.

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The hatless official keeps close watch as out of luck California Golden Bears substitute left halfback CLIFF PERRY is surrounded by four UCLA Bruins defenders including backup quarterback JOE VIGER (# 32) and reserve right end JIM MITCHELL (# 41) during the Pacific Coast Conference clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 4, 1939.
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From the media studies perspective, it is interesting to note that the EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD got the score wrong with the headline “Kenny Washington Leads Bruins In 19-7 Win Over California” splashed across the top of its Page Fifteen for November 5, 1939.

Seemingly everybody, even the Berkeley Daily Gazette in its post-game commentary, got it wrong in reporting that the UCLA Bruins star left halfback rushed for 147 yards against the California Golden Bears. It was the Berkeley Daily Gazette, after all, who listed the fact that Kenny Washington, indeed, gained 147 yards rushing the football but also lost six yards on the ground, as well. The official media guide & record book of the UCLA Bruins correctly notes Washington’s rushing yardage for the 1939 game with California on its list of the all-time greatest single-game performances in school history.

Attendance according to newspaper references
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50,000 … 11/05/39 … Eugene Register-Guard
50,000 … 11/05/39 … Pittsburgh Press
55,000 … 11/05/39 … Palm Beach Post
55,000 … 11/05/39 … San Bernardino County Sun
55,000 … 11/05/39 … Santa Cruz Sentinel
65,000 … 11/06/39 … Berkeley Daily Gazette

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