Category Archives: UCLA – ’39 Game Reports

1939, UCLA vs USC

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The USC Trojans’ speedy right halfback BOBBY ROBERTSON (# 28), who ended up directly involved in the most pivotal play of the entire contest late in the fourth quarter, finds himself confronted by a trio of determined UCLA Bruins tacklers — defensive back KENNY WASHINGTON (# 13), linebacker BILL OVERLIN (# 5) as well as left end WOODY STRODE (# 27) — during the legendary Pacific Coast Conference title game between two nationally-ranked, unbeaten ball clubs that was witnessed by a record-breaking crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in southern California.
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December 9, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance : 103,300

(# 9 – AP) UCLA BRUINS vs (# 3 – AP) USC TROJANS

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 – # 11 … Jack SOMMERS …………….. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON ……… RH – # 28 … Jackie ROBINSON
RG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 38 … Don MACPHERSON

substitutions
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E – Bob SIMPSON (# 44), Chuck CASCALES (# 54), Ray BARTLETT (# 9)
T – Ernest HILL (# 10), Jack COHEN (# 14), Cecil DYE (# 59)
G – Louis KYZIVAT (# 30), Nate DEFRANCISCO (# 31), Joe RUETTGERS (# 43)
C – Gene ALDER (# 8), Ted JONES (# 37)
LH – Chuck FENENBOCK (# 45)
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 2), Don HESSE (# 4)

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Game Statistics
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total plays from scrimmage ………… UCLA 64, USC 62
net total yardage ………………………… UCLA 161, USC 222
first downs …………………………………. UCLA 10, USC 11
net rushing yards ………………………… UCLA 89, USC 183
net passing yards ………………………… UCLA 72, USC 39
passes completed / attempted ……… UCLA 7/18, USC 5/11
passes intercepted by ………………….. UCLA 1, USC 1
fumbles recovered by ………………….. UCLA 1, USC 1
punts / average yards ………………….. UCLA 8 – 34.3, USC 7 – 33.0
kick & punt return yards ………………. UCLA 68, USC 50
penalty yardage lost …………………….. UCLA 0, USC 20

scoring plays
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none

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
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# 13 … LH – Kenny WASHINGTON ….. 18 carries … 40 yards
# 28 … RH – Jackie ROBINSON …………. 4 carries … 23 yards
# 2 ….. FB – Leo CANTOR ………………… 12 carries … 14 yards
# 5 ….. FB – Bill OVERLIN ………………….. 3 carries … 11 yards
# 55 … QB – Ned MATTHEWS ……………. 1 carry ……. 1 yard

Notes — UCLA left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON had 112 yards of total offense (rushing & passing) and added 18 yards on a kickoff return as as well as 28 yards on an interception return … Bruins right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON “turned in four runs of more than 15 yards each”, according to Ronald Wagoner of the United Press in his post-game report. This particular reference clearly includes all-purpose runs on pass receptions and punt returns in addition to rushing plays from scrimmage. Robinson, who played the full 60 minutes against USC, netted 23 yards on four runs from scrimmage and registered 48 yards from four punt returns, as well. The UCLA right halfback also caught a short pass in the flat from Washington for little if no yardage in the second quarter and a 12-yard pass from his Bruins backfield mate in the fourth quarter… UCLA starting fullback BILL OVERLIN carried the ball three times for 11 yards versus the Trojans before giving way to backup LEO CANTOR at the end of the first quarter. Overlin averaged just 30.6 yards on three punts and delivered a horrible 19-yard kick at the beginning of the game. Cantor, who punted five times in the second and third quarters combined for an average of 36.6 yards per kick, was able to raise the collective UCLA average to 34.3 yards per boot by the end of the contest.

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The photo in the upper left hand corner of this display from the 1940 edition of UCLA’s school yearbook, “Southern Campus), shows Bruins fullback LEO CANTOR (# 2), the sturdy 200-pound sophomore out of Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles who was the Westwooders’ third-leading rushing during his first varsity campaign at the collegiate level, dragging down USC third-string quarterback DOYLE NAVE (# 40), the highly regarded passer who had been the unlikely hero of the 1939 Rose Bowl Game against unbeaten and untied Duke University. Nave, the homegrown senior from Los Angeles who was the sixth overall player taken when selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 1940 National Football League Draft, was one of six former Manual Arts High School players who all participated in the historic UCLA vs USC clash in 1939. Aside from the aerial artist Nave, the well-stocked Trojans also featured senior left tackle JOHN THOMASSIN and senior right halfback JIM SLATTER on its second string while the clearly underrated Bruins countered with two starters in fullback BILL OVERLIN and quarterback NED MATTHEWS as well as backup right end BOB SIMPSON.
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UCLA BRUINS vs USC TROJANS
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A riveting, length-of-the-field drive in the closing minutes of the 1939 de facto Pacific Coast Conference championship game was abruptly stopped only when a controversial fourth down pass was intentionally swatted down in the end zone as the # 3 ranked USC TROJANS were extremely lucky to escape the intra-city battle with a 0-0 tie against the # 9 ranked UCLA BRUINS and, by doing so, secure the lucrative invitation to the 1940 Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Powerful USC, the defending Rose Bowl champions who had come into the contest with the second-most potent offense in all the land averaging 315.0 yards of total offense per game, completely dominated possession and field position in the opening fifteen minutes but wasted three good scoring opportunities along the way. After being stopped on downs at the UCLA 23-yard line, the relentless Trojans immediately recovered a fumbled snap by the Bruins’ consensus All-America left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON and threatened again but USC star quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL, who was known to be hampered by an injury to his passing hand, fumbled three yards from the goal line after a particularly hard hit by UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON. The loose ball squirted into the end zone where it was quickly scooped up by the alert Bruins left end WOODY STRODE, the homegrown senior from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles who was a First Team All-Pacific Coast as well as Honorable Mention selection of the Associated Press in 1939.

Considering how the Trojans had moved the football on its first two possessions, it must have seemed highly unlikely to most, if not all, of the 103,303 spectators on hand at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, that the UCLA Bruins defense would be capable of pitching a shutout on this early December afternoon. But Washington atoned for his earlier error on USC’s third drive by intercepting a long pass by Lansdell on the UCLA 10 and returning the ball 28 yards to, at last, provide the Westwooders with some semblance of field position. The mighty Trojans decisively outgained their cross-town rivals in total yards (64-8) during the first quarter but, much to the chagrin of head coach HOWARD JONES, were unable to put any points on the scoreboard.

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USC Trojans two-time All-America quarterback GRENVILLE LANSDELL (# 78) grimaces as the spectacular blow delivered by UCLA Bruins right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 28) knocks the football loose only yards from the goal line early in the first quarter of the dramatic 1939 Pacific Coast Conference Championship Game. Standout UCLA left end WOODY STRODE (# 27), who, as a junior in 1938, had recovered a fumble by 1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick to score a critical touchdown against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, ultimately secured Lansdell’s fumble in the Bruins’ end zone for a touchback. The sea of spectators behind the goalposts at the far end of the field give a good indication of exactly how jam-packed the cavernous Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was on December 9, 1939.
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In the second quarter, the Bruins slowly began to come into the game more as evidenced by the 22-yard run from Robinson, the speedy transfer from Pasadena Junior College who made something out of nothing from a lateral in the backfield after the quick-thinking UCLA second-string fullback LEO CANTOR had been trapped behind the line of scrimmage by the USC defense. The Bruins, who came into this Battle for the Rose Bowl against the Trojans in 1939 averaging 281.0 total yards per game on offense, again reached midfield after Washington connected with quarterback NED MATTHEWS on a 29-yard passing play. In the meantime, the UCLA defense had begun to contain the USC attack, which was now steered by second-string quarterback AMBROSE SCHINDLER, the redshirt senior from San Diego who was the consensus Second Team All-Pacific Coast choice of both the Associated Press and the United Press in 1937 as well as in 1939.

(It was Schindler, of course, who went on to lead the Trojans with 75 yards rushing while running for one score and throwing a pass for another during USC’s impressive 14-0 victory over the # 2 ranked University of Tennessee Volunteers in the 1940 Rose Bowl Game; the Trojans backup QB was gobbled up by the Green Bay Packers in the thirteenth round of the 1940 National Football League Draft, which coincidentally enough, was actually conducted at the Schroeder Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on December 9, 1939 — the very same day as the colossal UCLA vs USC contest.)

Again, all throughout the week leading prior to kickoff, the vaunted USC offense had generated a great deal of hype and, reportedly, the oddsmakers had even installed the Trojans as a two-touchdown favorite over the Bruins. But, although most contemporary newspaper accounts did specifically mention the actual statistics, underdog UCLA essentially matched their cross-town rivals stride for stride after a tumultuous start. Over the last three quarters, USC barely edged their opponents 158-153 in total net yards gained from scrimmage. Throw in kick & punt return yards as well as penalty yardage lost and the Bruins come out on top in the statistical battle for turf over the final forty-five minutes of this conference title game.

However, the Trojans did accept the second half kickoff and pick right up where they had left off at the outset of the afternoon with Lansdell, who had gained 46 yards on nine carries in the first quarter alone, sweeping around right end for sixteen more yards. The drive stalled soon after crossing midfield but the UCLA fullback Cantor quickly kicked the ball right back to the men of Troy; a clipping penalty set the ball back to the USC 15-yard line but Lansdell raced around right end again for another big gain of 24 yards and, shortly thereafter, a seven-yard run by the Trojans first-team quarterback (who finished this P.C.C. title game with 101 yards on 15 carries for an average of 6.7 yards per attempt) placed the pigskin at the midfield stripe. A short pass by Lansdell, who was the tenth overall player taken at the 1940 NFL Draft when tabbed in the first round by the New York Giants, then moved the football to the UCLA 44-yard line but the Bruins defense ultimately stiffened once more to force another punt.

Washington picked up 15 yards on two running plays to leave the ball at the Bruins 40-yard line but the Trojans defense rose up to bring about another boot. USC third-string quarterback DOYLE NAVE entered the fray for the second time late in the third quarter and single-handedly marched his team across midfield by gaining 35 yards on four consecutive running plays. And incomplete toss from the Trojans’ much-publicized passing specialist would prove fatal to the drive which died on the UCLA 34-yard line, however.

In the fourth quarter, USC again got things going and advanced the football to the Bruins 25-yard line following a 10-yard completion from Nave to first-string left end BILL FISK, the Second Team All-Pacific Coast pick of the Associated Press whom the Detroit Lions snatched in the third round (21st overall player selected) of the 1940 NFL Draft. As it has done all throughout the game, though, the unheralded UCLA defense elevated its play when pressed on its own half of the field. The Trojans elected to go for the “coffin-corner” punt but Nave’s kick wound up in the end zone for a touchback.

It was at this point that the Bruins offense suddenly awoke in earnest and embarked on a famous 13-play, 71-yard drive which will live on forever in the annuals of college football history ; the UCLA left halfback Washington completed all four of his pass attempts to four different receivers on this legendary march, it shall be noted :

1939 – UCLA vs USC : Bruins’ 4th Qtr Drive
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# 28 … J. Robinson …………. 13 yard run
# 13 … K. Washington ……… 10 yard run
# 2 ….. L. Cantor ……………….. 1 yard run
# 38 … D. MacPherson …….. 18 yard pass from # 13 – K. Washington
# 28 … J. Robinson ………….. 12 yard pass from # 13 – K. Washington
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(USC penalized five yards for excessive timeouts called; ball to Trojans 21)
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# 27 … W. Strode ……………….. 6 yard pass from # 13 – K. Washington
# 55 … N. Matthews ……………. 5 yard pass from # 13 – K. Washington
# 13 … K. Washington …………. 3 yard run
# 2 ….. L. Cantor …………………. 4 yard run
# 2 ….. L. Cantor …………………. 1 yard run
# 13 … K. Washington …………. 0 yard run
# 2 ….. L. Cantor ………………. – 2 yard run
# 13 … K. Washington ………….. pass incomplete

USC right halfback BOB HOFFMAN, honored as a Second Team All-America by the New York Sun on the strength of his skills as a blocker on offense and a linebacker on defense, is credited with truly saving the Trojans’ skin by filling a gaping hole and tackling the sophomore UCLA fullback Cantor at the 2-yard line on first down. And USC consensus First Team All-America left guard HARRY SMITH, whose physical fitness and durability had been in serious doubt all throughout the week, also made a huge play in the critical goal line situation to surge forth and throw Cantor for a two-yard loss on third down. Left rather under-utilized in what is known in modern terms as “the red zone”, perhaps, was the Bruins right halfback Robinson, who did not touch the ball on any of UCLA’s last eight plays of this most impactful series.

The Bruins had to make an enormous decision (one with massive financial consequences considering the $ 120,000 Rose Bowl appearance fee involved) on fourth down. As Ronald W. Wagoner of the United Press later wrote, the ball was resting “directly in front of the standards (goalposts) and in perfect position for a placekick.” But the UCLA team, as a whole, had lost a lot of confidence in their placekickers after failing to convert their last five extra points after touchdowns in a row, including all four in the Bruins’ 24-7 win over the Washington State Cougars in their previous game. It was against the rules for coaches on the sidelines to communicate with players on the field and substitutes entering the game were not allowed to speak in the huddle for one play — UCLA first-year head coach BABE HORRELL could have called timeout and ordered a field goal attempt and elected not to do so.

Five players in the UCLA huddle wanted to try and kick what would have been a 21-yard field goal, exactly two yards longer than a standard extra point. On the other hand, five of the Bruins thought going for it would be the best option and so it was left to the quarterback Matthews to settle the issue. Certainly an astonishingly choice from a contemporary perspective, the UCLA signal-caller fatefully decided to run a conventional play from scrimmage.

Nave, who was still in the game for USC and operating as the lone safety in the Trojans’ 6-2-2-1 defensive scheme, was decidedly nervous.

“I was trying to figure out what I’d do if they tried a pass to Woody Strode, the big end. (Strode, who led UCLA with 15 catches for 218 yards in 1939) was the man I was assigned to cover. Woody stands about six-five, you know, and I’m under six feet. I couldn’t figure any way I could stop him from catching a high pass if they threw to him,” Nave was later quoted by author Steven Travers in the book, “The USC Trojans : College Football’s All-Time Greatest Dynasty”.

The athletic Strode, who paced the Bruins in receptions during each of three varsity seasons for UCLA and had caught a 10-yard touchdown pass against the Trojans as a junior in 1938, was actually listed at six-foot, four-inches in the official game program, “Goal Post”, that season. But the overriding concern of USC’s third-string quarterback/safety, who stood five-feet, eleven-inches tall, himself, remained the same. Fortunately for Nave, however, his justifiable fears never did materialize.

Matthews, who graduated from the same Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles that Nave did, called for a passing play in the Bruins huddle but the primary receiver was to be UCLA right end DON MACPHERSON, the 6’2″ junior out of University High School in Los Angeles who had caught an 18-yard pass earlier on this particular drive. It was MacPherson who had scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass against the University of California Golden Bears earlier in the season, as well. The Bruins’ preferred “Man-In-Motion” tactic was to be used on the upcoming fourth down play, but the role of the jackrabbit right halfback Robinson was that of a decoy.

Washington took the direct snap from center and faded straight back but was flushed to his right after the Trojans left end Fisk leapfrogged right over the attempted block of the UCLA fullback Cantor. The left defensive halfback in USC’s formation, BOBBY ROBERTSON, did not even really begin to bite on the half-hearted fake handoff action from Washington in the Bruins backfield at the start of the play. Thus, the speedy sophomore who went on to lead the Trojans in rushing in both 1940 & 1941 had the UCLA intended receiver completely covered and was well-positioned to easily swat down Washington’s pass in the corner of the end zone.

There were still almost three minutes left in this de facto Pacific Coast Conference championship game, though, and three consecutive running plays failed to net the Trojans a first down and so the Bruins got one last possession starting on their own 40-yard line. Washington, who, by now, had amassed enough rushing and passing yardage in this epic USC contest to surpass his two closest rivals and become the nation’s total offense leader for the 1939 NCAA campaign, maneuvered UCLA to the USC 40-yard line in the final minute. But, with roughly thirty seconds remaining, a long pass downfield by the consensus All-America left halfback was intercepted by Trojans second-string linebacker CHUCK MORRILL, who had dropped off deep into a zone coverage.

Nevertheless, Washington still left the field with about fifteen seconds remaining to a thunderous standing ovation from the 103,303 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum who had watched the scoreless draw unfold that afternoon. “The sparkling play of Washington, who far outshone any back on the field, worried the Trojans,” remarked Ronald W. Wagoner of the United Press in his post-game report. High praise considering the six other backfield players on both sides that day (USC – Lansdell, Schindler, Nave, Peoples, Hoffman ; UCLA – Robinson) who also attained at least Honorable Mention All-America status in 1939 from one or more major accredited organizations.

“USC was outplayed by Robinson, Washington and the Bruins. There was no haughtiness left, no returning to the days of yesteryear in which they looked down upon the public school from Westwood. They were lucky to be going to the (1940) Rose Bowl and they knew it,” the author Travers wrote in his book celebrating the glory of Trojans football history.

The less fortunate UCLA Bruins’ amazing decision to disdain the short field goal attempt will be scrutinized forever.

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1939, UCLA vs Washington State

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(Associated Press photo – The Spokesman Review, December 1, 1939) ……… UCLA Bruins defensive back NED MATTHEWS (far right), the homegrown junior from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles who scored a touchdown on a pass reception against the Oregon State Beavers the previous Saturday, steps in front of a pass intended for Washington State left end HERB GODFREY (# 70) near the goal line during the Pacific Coast Conference game that was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on a Thursday night.
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November 30, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance : 50,000

(# 11 – AP) UCLA BRUINS vs WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

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 – # 11 … Jack SOMMERS …………. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON …… RH – # 28 … Jackie ROBINSON
RG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 38 … Don MACPHERSON

substitutions
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E – Jim MITCHELL (# 41), Bob SIMPSON (# 44), Chuck CASCALES (# 54)
T – Ernest HILL (# 10), Jack COHEN (# 14)
G – Louis KYZIVAT (# 30), Nate DEFRANCISCO (# 31), Robin WILLIAMS (# 35), Joe RUETTGERS (# 43)
C – Gene ALDER (# 8), Ted JONES (# 37), Lynn HALE (# 17)
LH – Chuck FENENBOCK (# 45), Monte STEADMAN (# 20)
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 2), Don HESSE (# 4), John ZABY (# 3)
QB – Joe VIGER (# 32), Ben KVITKY (# 16)
RH – Ray BARTLETT (# 9), Clark GEORGE (# 53)

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Game Statistics
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net total yardage ………………………. UCLA 410, Wash St 114
first downs ……………………………….. UCLA 16, Wash St 7
net rushing yards ……………………… UCLA 301, Wash St 96
net passing yards ………………………. UCLA 109, Wash St 18
passes completed / attempted ……. UCLA 5/14, Wash St 4/9
passes intercepted by ………………… UCLA 2, Wash St 1
fumbles recovered by ………………… UCLA 2, Wash St 2
punts / average ………………………….. UCLA 6 – 28.7, Wash St 7 – 38.3
kick & punt return yards …………….. UCLA 93, Wash St 49
penalty yardage lost …………………… UCLA 82, Wash St 0

scoring plays
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1st qtr – BRUINS 6-0
Woody STRODE 44 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (kick failed)
2nd qtr – COUGARS 7-6
Dick RENFRO 1 yard run (Fred BROWN kick)
4th qtr – BRUINS 12-7
Jackie ROBINSON 26 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (kick failed)
4th qtr – BRUINS 18-7
Jackie ROBINSON 34 yard run (kick failed)
4th qtr – BRUINS 24-7
Jim MITCHELL 15 yard pass from Chuck FENENBOCK (kick failed)

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
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RH – # 28 … Jackie ROBINSON …………… 10 carries … 148 yards
LH – # 13 …. Kenny WASHINGTON ……. 20 carries …… 78 yards
FB – # 2 …… Leo CANTOR …………………… 10 carries ….. 47 yards
LH – # 45 … Chuck FENENBOCK ………….. 2 carries …… 11 yards
LH – # 20 … Monte STEADMAN …………… 3 carries …….. 8 yards
QB – # 55 …. Ned MATTHEWS ……………… 1 carry ………. 7 yards
FB – # 4 …… Don HESSE ……………………….. 2 carries …….. 7 yards
FB – # 5 ……. Bill OVERLIN ……………………. 3 carries …….. 2 yards
RH – # 9 ….. Ray BARTLETT …………………. 1 carry ……. – 7 yards

UCLA individual net receiving statistics
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LE – # 27 …. Woody STRODE ……………….. 3 catches ….. 68 yards
RH – # 28 … Jackie ROBINSON …………….. 1 catch ……… 26 yards
RE – # 41 …. Jim MITCHELL ………………… 1 catch ………. 15 yards

UCLA individual passing statistics
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LH – # 13 …. Kenny WASHINGTON …. 4-7 comp/att … 92 yrds … 2 tds … 0 int
RH – # 45 … Chuck FENENBOCK ……… 1-5 comp/att … 15 yrds …. 1 td ….. 1 int

Note — Fenenbock’s touchdown pass was the one and only scoring toss of the 175-pound junior left halfback’s two-year varsity career at UCLA. Previously, as a sophomore, Fenenbock rushed for two touchdowns during the Bruins’ 32-7 triumph over the University of Hawaii in the Poi Bowl game played on January 2, 1939. The product of Pittsburg High School in northern California later played in the National Football League for the Detroit Lions (1943 & 1945) as well as in the rival All-America Football Conference for the Los Angeles Dons (1946 & 1947) and the Chicago Rockets (1948). Fenenbock also played pro ball north of the border in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos (1949) and Calgary Stampeders (1950).

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(Associated Press photo – Spokane Daily Chronicle, December 1, 1939) ……… Washington State Cougars left halfback BILLY SEWELL (# 23), the talented sophomore who would go on to make some All-America teams in both 1940 and 1941 before being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round (# 53 overall) of the 1942 National Football League Draft, is brought down by by UCLA junior quarterback NED MATTHEWS (# 55) with Bruins junior guard JACK SOMMERS (# 11) also in pursuit during the nighttime clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in late November of 1939.
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UCLA BRUINS vs WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
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Despite being subdued on the scoreboard for the first three quarters, the home team maintained both its undefeated record as well as its Rose Bowl aspirations by exploding for three touchdowns in final fifteen minutes as the # 11 ranked UCLA BRUINS ran away from the stubborn WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS 24-7 in a pulsating Pacific Coast Conference evening engagement played under the lights at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Washington State, who came into this Thursday night game having just defeated the very same Stanford University team that had held unbeaten UCLA to a surprising 14-14 tie early in the season, marched inside the Bruins 30-yard line on its first possession following a partially-blocked punt. The visitors were soon thwarted, however, when home team captain NED MATTHEWS picked off a pass by Cougars left halfback BILLY SEWELL near the goal line. Taking full advantage of the first of several turnovers that occured that night, UCLA immediately embarked on a nine-play, 81-yard drive to score the game’s first touchdown.

Bruins right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON, the speedy transfer from Pasadena Junior College just returning to form after sitting out two mid-season games with a knee injury, ripped off twenty yards on two reverse runs around the left end. The real key, however, was the third-down fake punt play that saw UCLA star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON gain a vital ten yards after Bruins fullback BILL OVERLIN lined up deep in a traditional punt formation. A direct snap went to Washington, stationed in the backfield as an “up blocker”, and “Kingfish” quickly found a hole in the center of the Washington State line.

Shortly thereafter, Washington dropped back to pass and threw a strike over the middle to UCLA left end WOODY STRODE; the strapping (6’3″ 205 lbs) homegrown senior from Jefferson High School in Los Angeles who ended up leading the Bruins with fifteen pass receptions in 1939 swiftly turned the corner before outracing the desperate Cougars chasing him down the left-hand sideline on a spectacular 44-yard scoring play.

Washington State substitute right halfback FELIX FLETCHER, the seldom-used sophomore who was in the game as a replacement for injured starter EARLE ROSS (the Cougars’ leading rusher in 1939 coming into the UCLA contest), returned the ensuing short kickoff 24 yards to a point just shy of midfield. Once again, the visitors were able to move the football against the Bruins defense as Washington State drove down to the UCLA four-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, though, the Cougars sophomore fullback DICK RENFRO coughed up the pigskin after a short plunge into the line and a Bruins defender recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

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Just two plays later, however, the visitors got the ball right back when the UCLA quarterback Matthews fumbled after taking a direct snap and breaking through the line on a run up the middle. A 14-yard toss to Washington State quarterback DON GREELEY from the versatile left halfback Sewell, the talented passer who gained 46 yards on nine carries (5.1 avg) in the first half against the Bruins, set the Cougars up at the UCLA 9-yard line and, four plays later, the 200-pound Renfro plowed over from a yard out.

Thanks to a successful extra point kick from Washington State senior left end FRED BROWN, the home side trailed 7-6 when halftime arrived. With the Cougars’ most dangerous player, Sewell, now also out injured the two teams traded punts as each side jockeyed for field position after the break. Towards the end of the third quarter, the Bruins were, at last, once again able mount a sustained drive after taking possession on their own 18-yard line.

As was the case on UCLA’s first scoring march way back in the opening quarter, it was the fleet of foot Robinson who started things off with a sizable gain on a sweep around left end. Washington and substitute fullback LEO CANTOR then clipped off significant yardage on eight consecutive runs between them before Kingfish connected on his second touchdown pass of the night early in the fourth quarter. Robinson started in motion prior to the snap and pretended to take a handoff from Washington on yet another reverse run, then caught a swing pass in the left flat and used both his speed and swivel hips to score from 26 yards.

The Bruins came very close to scoring again on their next possession, as well, after a 30-yard jaunt from Robinson and a 22-yard scamper by Washington set the football on the Cougars 8-yard line but a subsequent fumble was recovered by Washington State defense. The turnovers did not cease, though, and UCLA quickly regained control of the pigskin just two plays later when Matthews made his second interception of the evening. Soon enough, the irrepressible Robinson was in the end zone celebrating his second touchdown of the game after sprinting 34 yards to pay dirt on still another reverse around the left end.

The Bruins’ much-ballyhooed right halfback also helped set up one last score after UCLA pounced on another fumble at its own 40-yard-line in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. A 32-yard burst by Robinson on one last reverse play left the ball deep in Cougars territory again. This time, the home team were able to cash in on prime field position when reserve left halfback CHUCK FENENBOCK threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to substitute right end JIM MITCHELL, the senior from Fremont High School in Los Angeles who earned three varsity letters for the Bruins during his collegiate career.

Attendance according to newspaper references
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50,000 ….. Lodi News-Sentinel ……………….. 12/01/39
50,000 ….. San Bernardino County Sun …… 12/01/39
25,000 ….. The Spokesman-Review …………. 12/01/39
none ………. Eugene-Register Guard ………….. 12/01/39
none ………. Milwaukee Journal ………………… 12/01/39
none ………. Pittsburgh Press …………………….. 12/01/39
none ………. Spokane Daily Chronicle ………… 12/01/39

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1939, UCLA vs Oregon State

Jackie Robinson Playing Football For UCLA
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UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 28), the “highly-heralded” transfer from Pasadena Junior College just returning to action after sitting out the Bruins’ last two games on account of injury, looks for running room while Oregon State Beavers first team right tackle WALT JELSMA (# 56) chases the play down from the backside during the riveting Pacific Coast Conference affair at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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November 25, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance : 40,000

(# 13 – AP) UCLA BRUINS vs OREGON STATE BEAVERS

UCLA starting line-up
————————————
LE – # 27 … Woody STRODE …………… LH – # 13 … Kenny WASHINGTON
LT – # 15 … Del LYMAN ………………….. FB – # 5 ….. Bill OVERLIN
LG – # 11 … Jack SOMMERS ……………. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON ……… RH – # 25 … Dale GILMORE
RG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 38 … Don MACPHERSON

substitutions (incomplete)
——————————————
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 5)
RH – Jackie ROBINSON (# 28)

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(click to enlarge) … it is interesting to note the game program arranges the starting backfields for the two sides in a diamond-shaped formation even though the actual Single Wing alignments used by the UCLA and Oregon State looked nothing like that — it should also be noted that both the Bruins and the Beavers normally operated with an unbalanced line.
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UCLA BRUINS 13 – OREGON STATE BEAVERS 13

Game Statistics
————————–
net total yardage ………………………… UCLA 378, Ore St 270
first downs …………………………………. UCLA 15, Ore St 15
net rushing yards ………………………… UCLA 293, Ore St 241
net passing yards ………………………… UCLA 85, Ore St 29
passes completed / attempted ……… UCLA 7/16, Ore St 3/7
passes intercepted by ………………….. UCLA 1, Ore St 1
fumbles recovered by ………………….. UCLA 2, Ore St 2
punts / average …………………………… UCLA 6 – 35.1, Ore St 7 – 37.0
kick & punt return yards ……………… UCLA 120, Ore St 55
penalty yardage lost …………………….. UCLA 35, Ore St 5

scoring plays
———————
2nd qtr : BRUINS 7-0
Ned MATTHEWS 12 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (John FRAWLEY kick)
2nd qtr : BEAVERS 7-7
Jim KISSELBURGH 17 yard run (Len YOUNCE kick)
3rd qtr : BEAVERS 13-7
Jim KISSELBURGH 1 yard run (kick failed)
4th qtr : BRUINS 13-13
Leo CANTOR 5 yard run (kick failed)

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
————————————————————
# 13 … Kenny WASHINGTON ……. 20 carries ….. 97 yards
# 28 … Jackie ROBINSON ……………. 7 carries ….. 92 yards
# 5 ….. Bill OVERLIN …………………… 8 carries ….. 46 yards
# 2 ….. Leo CANTOR ……………………. 6 carries ….. 34 yards
# 55 … Ned MATTHEWS ……………… 1 carry ……. 14 yards
# 25 … Dale GILMORE …………………. 2 carries ….. 10 yards

It is interesting to observe that the sports editors at The Pittsburgh Press must have been impressed by the efforts of the UCLA Bruins’ All-America candidate at left halfback because the Eastern newspaper’s headline read, “UCLANS – OREGON (STATE) TIE ; WASHINGTON’S PLAY STANDS OUT IN COAST CLASH”.

Notes — Oregon State right halfback MORRIS KOHLER rushed for 112 yards on just 13 carries (8.6 avg) while Beavers fullback JIM KISSELBURGH added 63 yards (3.5 avg) on the ground for the visitors.

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UCLA BRUINS vs OREGON STATE BEAVERS
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A length-of-the-field drive in the final minutes of this see-saw football game officially preserved the Rose Bowl hopes of one team while formally ending the very same aspirations of the other as the # 13 ranked UCLA BRUINS battled to a 13-13 tie with the visiting OREGON STATE BEAVERS in a heart-stopping Pacific Coast Conference affair.

UCLA, who had not lost to Oregon State in the four games played between the two schools at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 1930, went to the lead early in the second quarter after going on a 91-yard march. The key play was the 31-yard run by right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON, the Olympic-caliber track star who was just returning to action after sitting out the Bruins’ last two contests with a knee injury. The hosts capped off this impressive offensive drive when UCLA quarterback NED MATTHEWS caught a pass from left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON in the flat and promptly knifed his way between a pair of Oregon State defenders on a 12-yard scoring play.

It was the third straight year in which the Bruins strong-armed left halfback Washington had thrown for a touchdown going up against the Beavers defense, certainly a noteworthy accomplishment considering that a) Single Wing football in the pre-World War II era was typically run-dominated as well as low scoring and b) Oregon State had some decent teams who all finished .500 or better from 1937 thru 1939.

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(United Press photo – Eugene Register-Guard, November 27, 1939) ………. UCLA quarterback NED MATTHEWS (# 55) catches a pass in the flat from unseen Bruins left halfback Kenny Washington shortly before knifing between the Oregon State Beavers defensive pair, right end LEW HAMMERS (# 32) and fullback / linebacker KEN “ROWDY” DOW (# 45), to score a second quarter touchdown during the Pacific Coast Conference affair witnessed by 40,000 spectators at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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Later in the second quarter, the Bruins were again moving the football on their opponents’ side of the the field but then Oregon State guard LEN YOUNCE recovered a UCLA fumble at the Beavers 36-yard line and the tide turned instantly. Fullback JIM KISSELBURGH barged ahead for a first down at the UCLA 48-yard line and right halfback MORRIS KOHLER raced around left end on a reverse for 31 yards. Immediately thereafter, Kisselburgh blasted up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown run and a successful extra point attempt by Younce quickly knotted the score at seven apiece.

Midway through the third quarter, the Beavers got busy again after taking possession of the football at the UCLA 49-yard line. Kohler added another 31 yards to his total having “slashed off two dazzling runs”, the second of which, a 13-yard gain, left the ball at the Bruins one-yard line. Kisselburgh then bulled his way into the end zone to notch his sixth touchdown of the season and give Oregon State a 13-7 lead in the process but a missed extra point attempt did leave the door wide open for the home side, so to speak.

The visitors had a massive opportunity to break the game wide open after starting another drive at the UCLA 35-yard line late in the third quarter, as well, but a costly fumble was recovered by the Bruins’ touchdown-maker, Matthews, on his own two-yard line.

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Oregon State fullback JIM KISSELBURGH (# 49), the well-regarded junior who was the First Team All-Pacific Coast selection of both the Associated Press and United Press in 1939, scored one touchdown rushing during the Beavers’ decisive 39-6 of the University of Hawaii in the first-ever Pineapple Bowl played in Honolulu on New Year’s Day in 1940 … (Note – the Pineapple Bowl was previously known as the Poi Bowl from 1936 until 1939; UCLA beat Hawaii 32-7 in the last-ever Poi Bowl).
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Oregon State maintained the upper hand for most of the final period, too — that is until UCLA took the ball on its own 18-yard line with a little less than five minutes to play and began a nine-play sequence. Washington passed to Bruins left end WOODY STRODE for 18 yards and then “Kingfish” promptly connected with UCLA right end DON MACPHERSON to advance the pigskin a further 20 yards downfield. Second-string fullback LEO CANTOR went up the middle on a “line buck” and was limited to a short gain but, before being ruled officially down, the Bruins sophomore was able lateral the football to the speedy right halfback Robinson, who finished off a 26-yard gain by sprinting to the Beavers 21-yard line.

From there, the dynamic Washington dropped back to pass again but found no suitable receivers available so UCLA’s star left halfback simply tucked the ball under his armpit and ripped off another 15 yards against a clearly tiring Oregon State. The Beavers front wall held firm for two plays but, on third down & goal to go, the 200-pound Cantor again carried the pigskin up the middle on a five-yard touchdown jaunt with only about a minute left on the clock. The Bruins could have won this exciting Pacific Coast Conference clash with a successful extra point attempt in the closing stages but UCLA guard JOHN FRAWLEY, the senior co-captain by way of Montana, failed to negotiate his kick in between the uprights.

Rather than settle for a draw that could damage their Rose Bowl chances, the Westwood school tried an onsides kick that Oregon State were able to field easily and return to the Bruins 49-yard line. Within short order, however, the Beavers fumbled the ball away and so UCLA had time for one more snap on its own 36-yard line. After again dropping back to pass but finding no receivers open, Washington took off on a twisting run that was ended by Oregon State tacklers at midfield as the final gun sounded.

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In the photo on the right below the scoreline, rock-solid UCLA guard JACK SOMMERS (# 11) and another unidentified player halt the forward progress of an Oregon State ball carrier as Bruins fullback BILL OVERLIN (# 5) and center MARTIN MATHESON (# 6) arrive on the scene to assist during the back and forth Pacific Coast Conference game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum … the two UCLA players in the background of the same photo from the Westwood school’s “Southern Campus” yearbook are left tackle DEL LYMAN (# 15) and left end WOODY STRODE (# 27).
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Attendance according to newspaper references
—————————————————————————
50,000 ….. The Spokesman Review ………. 11/26/39
50,000 ….. Ogden Standard-Examiner …… 11/26/39
40,000 ….. Eugene Register-Guard ……….. 11/26/39
40,000 ….. The Pittsburgh Press …………… 11/26/39

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1939, UCLA vs Santa Clara

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UCLA Bruins left halfback DALE GILMORE (# 25), the senior co-captain who had made the critical fourth quarter interception and then caught the decisive touchdown pass that had defeated the Washington Huskies six weeks earlier, is chased by Santa Clara Broncos senior quarterback RAY MCCARTHY (# 44) during the NCAA regional non-conference match-up at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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November 18, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance: 50,000

(# 11 – AP) UCLA BRUINS vs (# 14 – AP) SANTA CLARA BRONCOS

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 – # 11 … Jack SOMMERS ……………. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON ……… RH – # 25 … Dale GILMORE
RG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 38 … Don MACPHERSON

substitutions
———————
E – Jim MITCHELL (# 41), Bob SIMPSON (# 44)
T – Ernest HILL (# 10), Jack COHEN (# 14)
C – Milt WHITEBROOK (# 52)
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 2)
RH – Chuck FENENBOCK (# 45), Ray BARTLETT (# 9)

According to the detailed post-game report that appeared in the Berkeley Daily Gazette (Monday, November 20, 1939), Santa Clara Broncos veteran head coach BUCK SHAW sent on twice as many substitutes (16-8) as did BABE HORRELL, his rookie counterpart for the UCLA Bruins (8), who were still minus the services of injured right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON.

UCLA star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON played the entire 60-minute game against Santa Clara, it shall be highlighted.

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UCLA BRUINS 0 – SANTA CLARA BRONCOS 0

Game Statistics
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plays from scrimmage (incl. punts) ……. UCLA 69, SC 64
net total yardage ………………………………. UCLA 206, SC 201
first downs ……………………………………….. UCLA 12, SC 11
net rushing yards ……………………………… UCLA 138, SC 142
net passing yards ……………………………… UCLA 68, SC 59
passes completed / attempted …………… UCLA 4/7, SC 3/8
passes intercepted by ……………………….. UCLA 1, SC 4
fumbles recovered by ……………………….. UCLA 1, SC 0
missed field goal attempts …………………. UCLA 1, SC 1
punts – punting average ……………………. UCLA 7 – 36.9, SC 8 – 35.9
punt returns – yards gained ……………….. UCLA 4-46, SC 2-28
kickoff returns – yards gained ……………. UCLA 1-14, SC 1-18
penalty yardage lost …………………………… UCLA 50, SC 25

scoring plays
———————
none

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
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FB – Leo CANTOR …………………… 14 carries …. 64 yards
LH – Kenny WASHINGTON ……. 21 carries ….. 63 yards
FB – Bill OVERLIN ……………………. 4 carries ….. 19 yards
RH – Dale GILMORE …………………. 2 carries ……. 0 yards
RH – Chuck FENENBOCK …………. 4 carries …. – 8 yards

(game statistics as reported by Berkeley Daily Gazette on November 20, 1939)

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“(UCLA left halfback Kenny) Washington was not only a standout in running and passing but his defensive work was big league in every way. He made some of the sharpest tackles of the day and his speed that enabled him to overcome Anahu, after Bill had caught Clark’s pass in the clear, denied Santa Clara a touchdown.” … Buddy Leitch – San Jose Evening News on Monday, November 20, 1939.

It is interesting to note that Santa Clara deployed three different left halfbacks (Jim Johnson, Dick Clark & Ken Casanega) who combined to carry the football from scrimmage versus the UCLA defense 18 times for a net gain of 65 yards.

On 18 of Washington’s carries against Santa Clara, the Bruins’ All-America candidate gained a net total of 81 yards. But the UCLA star was also tackled behind the line of scrimmage while attempting to pass by the Broncos three times for a net total loss of 18 yards, as well. Still to this very day, yardage lost on “sacks” is counted as part of any college football quarterback’s rushing total — this is in direct contrast to how things are done at the professional level in the National Football League.

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UCLA BRUINS vs SANTA CLARA BRONCOS
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“U.C.L.A., in the running for Rose Bowl selection, and Santa Clara University, so-called ‘king’ of the (west) coast independents, battled to a bitterly-fought 0-0 tie,” wrote United Press Staff Correspondent RONALD W. WAGONER in his nationally-syndicated post-game report.

Despite the lack of points on this day, it certainly was not as if either the Broncos or Bruins had failed to move the football over the course of the sixty minutes played. Indeed, Santa Clara and UCLA had combined to generate more than 400 yards of total offense while making numerous forays into legitimate scoring territory. Fittingly, well after the referee’s final gun went off a ball carrier even continued to run along in the open field for quite some time until finally being brought down to formally conclude the event-filled contest.

It was the visitors who had the most promising opportunity to snap the scoreless deadlock in the first half after Santa Clara sophomore guard RUPE THORNTON intercepted a UCLA lateral pass in midfield with only 40 seconds remaining. On the very next play, the Broncos’ All-America hopeful at right end, BILL ANAHU, caught a pass from second team left halfback DICK CLARK in open space and might have had a receiving touchdown for the third consecutive weekend in a row to his credit were it not for the last-ditch tackle made by Bruins safety KENNY WASHINGTON at the UCLA 9-yard line. Much to the delight of the home crowd at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, however, three straight rushing plays gained just four yards and, on fourth down, another Broncos toss fell harmlessly incomplete.

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ucla-39-santa-clara-newspaperSanta Clara Broncos left halfback JIM JOHNSON (# 9), who carried the ball from scrimmage just three times for 16 yards during the scoreless duel of nationally-ranked teams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, is knocked off his feet by the UCLA Bruins defense.

Santa Clara’s leading rusher in the compelling tussle with UCLA was first team fullback JACK ROCHE, the relentless senior who carved out 36 net yards after lugging the pigskin on 14 occasions (2.57 average yards per attempt).
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Santa Clara, who had come into the contest ranked three places lower than UCLA in the weekly national college football poll put out by the Associated Press, also had another great chance to score in the third quarter. JOHNNY SCHIECHL, the Broncos’ All-America candidate widely hailed as the best center on the entire left coast, halted a Bruins drive by making his second interception of the day at the Santa Clara 27-yard line. A sizable return of 32 yards by Schiechl quickly set the visitors up in good position on the opponents’ side of the field, as well.

Starting from the UCLA 41-yard line and spurred on by the “fancy” running and passing of third-string left halfback KEN CASANEGA, the talented sophomore who carried the ball nine times for 29 yards on the day, the Broncos worked the ball down to the Bruins 9-yard line. At this point, however, the UCLA defense stiffened as three consecutive rushing plays from the Broncos failed even a single yard. Faced with a fourth & goal from the UCLA 10-yard line, Santa Clara went into field goal formation with the right end Anahu set to swing his foot.

Santa Clara’s best placekicker, left halfback JIM JOHNSON, had already aggravated a lingering ankle injury from the Michigan State Spartans game the week before and had gone to the bench for good early in the second quarter. Anahu, meanwhile, had successfully converted two extra points during the Broncos’ big 27-7 win over Stanford University but had also hit the crossbar with a third attempt two weeks earlier. Kicking from the opponents’ 18-yard line, “Hawaiian Bill” promptly let UCLA off the hook when his field goal attempt fell short in the end zone.

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(Associated Press photo – Prescott Evening Courier, November 20, 1939) … UCLA Bruins left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON (who is most easily recognized via the helmet at the far left) is stopped by Santa Clara all-league linebacker JOHNNY SCHIECHL with the assistance of Broncos right end BILL AHAHU (# 35) as visiting tackle NICK STUBLER watches during the non-conference clash of the two California schools at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; the other UCLA player most easily visible in the old photo presented here is right guard JOHN FRAWLEY (# 12), the Bruins’ senior co-captain.
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UCLA, who moved the ball against Santa Clara well enough but consistently shot themselves in the foot by throwing four interceptions, finally mounted its most serious threat by putting a 73-yard drive together with the clock winding down in the fourth quarter. “Huge hunks” of yardage were clipped of by runs from the Bruins left halfback Washington and substitute fullback LEO CANTOR, the promising sophomore who enjoyed his best effort in the UCLA varsity uniform to date (64 yards, 4.6 average per carry). A five-yard burst up the middle from Cantor set the football on the Broncos 5-yard line but the undisciplined Bruins were subsequently penalized 15 yards for holding.

And so, with the final seconds dwindling, UCLA went into field goal formation from the Santa Clara 20-yard line. Now, a 35-yard attempt was a considerable task for even the best of placekickers during the pre-World War II era of Single Wing Football. But, on the other hand, Bruins right guard JACK SOMMERS had already boomed a 40-yard field goal during UCLA’s 16-6 win over the Oregon Ducks (which had been the Bruins first three-pointer since 1936) at the end of October and so it was decided to give the junior from Norristown, Pennsylvania, another shot at it.

Sommers’ line-drive kick was low and wide but the pigskin was retrieved in the end zone by Santa Clara substitute right halfback FRANK PETERSON, who immediately started running the ball back towards the UCLA goal line. Peterson found plenty of room to roam and actually reached midfield before being dragged down at midfield. “It was a typical movie finish and Hollywood’s studios would have thought long and hard to figure out a better ‘suspense-getter’,” remarked Wagoner in his United Press report.

Attendance according to newspaper references
—————————————————————————
70,000 …… San Jose Evening News ……… 11/18/39
60,000 …… San Jose Evening News ……… 11/20/39
50,000 …… Eugene Register-Guard ……… 11/19/39
50,000 …… The Sunday Morning Star ….. 11/19/39
none ……….. Pittsburgh Press ……………….. 11/19/39
none ……….. Berkeley Daily Gazette ………. 11/20/39

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1939, Stanford vs UCLA

ucla-39-stanford-punt-b1aucla-39-stanford-punt-b4aucla-39-stanford-punt-b7aucla-39-stanford-punt-b2aucla-39-stanford-punt-b5aucla-39-stanford-punt-b8aucla-39-stanford-punt-b3aucla-39-stanford-punt-b6aucla-39-stanford-punt-b9a
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Stanford Indians right end ANDY STOJKOVICH (# 43) is far too late with his outside rush to prevent UCLA Bruins fullback BILL OVERLIN from punting the football away as two-time First Team All-Pacific Coast selection KENNY WASHINGTON (# 13), serving as a backfield blocker in this kicking situation, watches the play unfold during this Pacific Coast Conference tilt at Stanford Stadium in northern California.
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October 14, 1939
Stanford Stadium – Palo Alto
Attendance : 30,000

STANFORD INDIANS vs UCLA BRUINS

UCLA starting line-up
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LE – # 9 ….. Ray BARTLETT ……………. LH – # 45 … Chuck FENENBOCK
LT – # 10 … Ernest HILL ………………….. FB – # 2 ….. Leo CANTOR
LG – # 31 … Nate DEFRANCISCO …….. QB – # 16 … Ben KVITKY
OC – # 37 … Ted JONES …………………… RH – # 25 … Dale GILMORE
RG – # 35 … Robin WILLIAMS
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 54 … Chuck CASCALES

substitutions (complete list)
———————————————
E – Woody STRODE (# 27), Don MACPHERSON (# 38), Jim MITCHELL (# 41)
T – Del LYMAN (# 15), Jack COHEN (# 14)
G – Jack SOMMERS (# 11), John FRAWLEY (# 12)
C – Martin MATHESON (# 6)
LH – Kenny WASHINGTON (# 13)
FB – Bill OVERLIN (# 5)
QB – Ned MATTHEWS (# 55)
RH – Jackie ROBINSON (# 28)

(source : Berkeley Daily Gazette – Oct 14, 1939)

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UCLA BRUINS 14 – STANFORD INDIANS 14

Game Statistics
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plays from scrimmage (incl. punts) ……. UCLA 57, Stan 72
net total yardage ………………………………. UCLA 162, Stan 226
first downs ……………………………………….. UCLA 8, Stan 10
net rushing yardage ………………………….. UCLA 127, Stan 189
net passing yardage ………………………….. UCLA 35, Stan 37
passes completed / attempted …………… UCLA 2/8, Stan 4/8
passes intercepted by ……………………….. UCLA 2, Stan 1
fumbles recovered by ……………………….. UCLA 1, Stan 0
times stopped on fourth down …………… UCLA 0, Stan 3
missed field goal attempts …………………. UCLA 0, Stan 1
punts – punting average ……………………. UCLA 9 – 24.6 , Stan 5 – 40.2
punt returns – yards gained ………………. UCLA 4-17, Stan 5-35
kickoff returns – yards gained …………… UCLA 3-62, Stan 3-53
penalty yardage lost ………………………….. UCLA 55, Stan 30

scoring plays
———————
2nd qtr : BRUINS 7-0
Bill OVERLIN 11 yard run (John FRAWLEY kick)
2nd qtr : INDIANS 7-7
Jim GROVES 19 yard pass from Frankie ALBERT (ALBERT kick)
3rd qtr : INDIANS 14-7
Hugh GALLARNEAU 13 yard pass from Frankie ALBERT (ALBERT kick)
4th qtr : BRUINS 14-14
Leo CANTOR 2 yard run (Jackie ROBINSON kick)

UCLA individual net rushing statistics
————————————————————
RH – Jackie ROBINSON ……………. 4 carries … 62 yards
LH – Kenny WASHINGTON ……. 20 carries … 25 yards
FB – Bill OVERLIN ……………………. 4 carries … 21 yards
FB – Leo CANTOR …………………….. 6 carries ….. 9 yards
QB – Ned MATTHEWS ……………… 1 carry …….. 5 yards
RH – Dale GILMORE …………………. 2 carries ….. 0 yards
LH – Chuck FENENBOCK ………….. 3 carries … – 1 yard

Note — the Bruins left halfback Washington was credited with – 28 yards rushing on one particularly disastrous UCLA passing play which was very well defensed by the Stanford Indians

(all statistics as reported by Berkeley Daily Gazette on Oct 14, 1939)

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STANFORD INDIANS vs UCLA BRUINS
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For the second week in succession, first-year UCLA head coach BABE HORRELL decided to deploy his entire second-string unit to begin the Bruins’ contest on the road against against Stanford University. This exact same tactic had actually backfired against the University of Washington in Seattle seven days earlier (an early first quarter fumble led directly to the Huskies’ only touchdown of the game) but Horrell was obviously strongly influenced by the fact that the Indians had been shutout by both the Oregon State Beavers and the Oregon Ducks in their first two games of this 1939 NCAA season. Once again, however, this particular strategy failed to yield positive results and, before the scoreless first period was over, surprising Stanford forced the UCLA bench boss to rush his first-string into action.

UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON, the transfer from Pasadena Junior College playing just his third collegiate game for the Bruins, ripped off a 52-yard gain to the Stanford 36-yard line the very first time he touched the football from scrimmage in the first quarter. Not surprisingly, Robinson’s long jaunt came on the reverse play run out of the Bruins’ new “Man-In-Motion” offensive scheme. A week earlier, it had been a 64-yard punt return by Robinson that sparked UCLA to a fourth quarter comeback against Washington in Seattle, but, here in Palo Alto, Stanford immediately stiffened and stopped the Bruins’ drive.

The visitors took the lead early in the second quarter after Bruins co-captain JOHN FRAWLEY jumped on a fumble by Indians right halfback JIM GROVES at the Stanford 42-yard line. KENNY WASHINGTON, the “hula-hipped left halfback”, was thrown for a short loss but UCLA fullback BILL OVERLIN soon plunged to the Indians 31-yard line. Washington then connected with right end DON MACPHERSON for a 20-yard pass completion and then Overlin burst straight up the middle on an 11-yard touchdown run … fittingly, it was senior from Miles City, Montana, who successfully booted the extra point.

Not so long afterwards, however, Overlin found himself behind his own goal line in punt formation in the wake off a 15-yard penalty assessment. A short kick resulted in the Indians starting their next possession on the Bruins 30-yard line and, within short order, the hosts were level thanks to a 19-yard scoring toss from substitute left halfback FRANKIE ALBERT to Groves, the right halfback who had coughed up the football previously. Groves, a senior who had lettered in 1937 but sat out the entire 1938 campaign on account of injury, also added the extra point after recording Stanford’s first touchdown of the 1939 season.

stan-standlee-jump-passThe first half ended in a 7-7 deadlock on the scoreboard although Stanford had clearly demonstrated it could move the football against UCLA via air or land. Indians fullback NORM STANDLEE, the bruising (6’0″ 217 lbs) junior from Long Beach, had rumbled for 67 yards on 19 carries against the Oregon Ducks a week earlier while his teammates collectively managed exactly two net yards on a combined sixteen attempts in that same game. Allowed to consistently hammer away at the Bruins defensive line all throughout the game in Palo Alto, Standlee, the 2nd Team All-Pacific Coast choice of the Associated Press in 1939, was already well on his way to piling up 115 yards on 32 attempts.

In fact, on top of Standlee’s standout productivity, Stanford back-up fullback THOR PETERSON also picked up 27 yards on six carries lugging the pigskin against UCLA; the two Indians fullbacks teamed to gain 75.1% of Stanford’s total net rushing yards (142/189) in the contest with the Bruins with the other Stanford backfield players being only able to average just over two yards per try (21 carries for 47 yards).

A dismal exhibition of punting from the visitors in the third quarter directly led to a second touchdown from Stanford. With UCLA — by now sans the services of the injured fullback Overlin — snapping the ball on its own 29-yard line, a poor kick from the explosive Robinson hit the turf at midfield and took a very strange hop back towards the original line of scrimmage. In the end, the unlucky UCLA right halfback would be officially credited with a punt of minus four yards!

Despite swiftly driving down to the Bruins 2-yard line, the Indians ultimately lost the ball on downs but yet another dreadful kick, this one from co-captain and right halfback DALE GILMORE, went out of bounds at the UCLA 13-yard stripe. Stanford were effectively able to cash in on this opportunity as Albert, the diminutive sophomore passing specialist in the exact same mold as 1938 Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brien from Texas Christian University, promptly hooked up with substitute right halfback HUGH GALLARNEAU for his second aerial touchdown on the day. With the Bruins’ attack now completely stalled as time marched on in the final frame, it might have appeared as if the home side had done enough to celebrate its first triumph of the year.

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Stanford were in possession of the pigskin and driving very late in the fourth quarter when, for the second time in as many weeks, UCLA’s much ballyhooed junior college transfer made a very big play for his team inside the last fifteen minutes of a contest. Robinson jumped high into the air to intercept a pass from Albert at the Bruins 28-yard line and proceeded to return the ball 51 yards to the Indians 21-yard line. Yet another 15-yard penalty against the undisciplined visitors set the football back thirty-six yards away from the desired goal line but it would make little difference.

Although Washington had been uncharacteristically held at bay by the stingy Stanford defense all afternoon long, UCLA’s senior UCLA leader came through in the clutch when the Westwood school needed him most. A critical 17-yard pass completion from the Kingfish to Robinson provided the Bruins with a fresh set of downs at the Indians 9-yard line. Seven hard yards gained after three consecutive runs by Washington left the visitors staring at a real do-or-die situation on fourth down and then, “while the cardinal defenders were watching Robinson”, or so wrote James L. Sullivan of the United Press, “(sophomore) fullback LEO CANTOR took the ball and went over for a touchdown.”

There was still a bit of work to do in Stanford Stadium but the influential Robinson, who had also notched an extra point for UCLA the previous week against the University of Washington, as well, sent his kick high and squarely through the uprights to save the Bruins’ collective skin.

Attendance according to newspaper reports
———————————————————————
30,000 …… Eugene Register Guard ………… 10/15/39
25,000 …… San Jose Evening News ………… 10/16/39
none ………. Berkeley Daily Gazette …………. 10/14/39
none ………. The Pittsburgh Press ……………. 10/15/39
none ………. San Bernardino County Sun ….. 10/15/39

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Filed under UCLA - '39 Game Reports, UCLA Football

1939, Washington vs UCLA

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With UCLA star halfback KENNY WASHINGTON (# 13) chasing the play down in the background, Washington fullback DON JONES (# 22), the would-be NFL draft pick who was destined to lead the Huskies with a paltry 247 net yards rushing (2.6 yards per carry) during his senior campaign, looks to confront a Bruins defender or two for blocking purposes during the see-saw Pacific Coast Conference season-opener for both teams at Husky Stadium on October 7, 1939.
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October 7, 1939
Husky Stadium in Seattle
Attendance : 13,000

WASHINGTON HUSKIES vs UCLA BRUINS

UCLA starting line-up
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LE – # 54 … Chuck CASCALES ………. LH – # 45 … Chuck FENENBOCK
LT – # 10 … Ernest HILL ……………….. FB – # 2 ….. Leo CANTOR
LG – # 35 … Robin WILLIAMS ………. QB – # 16 … Ben KVITKY
OC – # 37 … Ted JONES ………………… RH – # 25 … Dale GILMORE
RG – # 30 … Louis KYZIVAT
RT – # 14 … Jack COHEN
RE – # 41 … Jim MITCHELL

substitutions
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E – Woody STRODE (# 27), Don MACPHERSON (# 38), Bob SIMPSON (# 44)
T – Del LYMAN (# 15), Mladen ZARUBICA (# 24)
G – John FRAWLEY (# 12), Jack SOMMERS (# 11), Joe RUETTGERS (# 43)
C – Martin MATHESON (# 6), Gene ALDER (# 8)
LH – Kenny WASHINGTON (# 13)
FB – Bill OVERLIN (# 5)
QB – Ned MATTHEWS (# 55)
RH – Jackie ROBINSON (# 28)

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UCLA BRUINS 14 – WASHINGTON HUSKIES 7

Game Statistics
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net total yards from scrimmage …….. UCLA 259, Wash 48
first downs …………………………………… UCLA 12, Wash 2
net rushing yardage ……………………… UCLA 159, Wash 48
net passing yardage ……………………… UCLA 100, Wash 0
passes completed / attempted ………. UCLA 6/19, Wash 0/8
passes intercepted by …………………… UCLA 2, Wash 3
fumbles receovered by …………………. UCLA 2, Wash 5
punts / average …………………………….. UCLA 7 – 37.0, Wash 11 – 42.7
kick & punt return yards ………………. UCLA 171, Wash 134
penalty yardage lost ……………………… UCLA 15, Wash 15

statistics as reported in the 1940 editon of the University of Washington’s annual yearbook :

http://digitalcollections.lib.washington.edu/cdm/ref/collecollection/uwdocs/id/35420

scoring plays
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1st qtr : HUSKIES 7-0
Ernie STEELE 5 yard run (Don JONES kick)
3rd qtr : BRUINS 7-7
Kenny WASHINGTON 5 yard run (Jackie ROBINSON kick)
4th qtr : BRUINS 14-7
Dale GILMORE 9 yard pass from Kenny WASHINGTON (Louis KYZIVAT kick)

Notes — UCLA left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON, who, as a junior, scored both of his team’s touchdowns (one on offense, one on defense) during the Bruins’ historic 13-0 triumph over the Washington Huskies in 1938 (first time the Westwood school had ever defeated its Pacific Coast Conference rival from the upper Northwest), established a new career high with his 142 net yards rushing from 25 attempts (5.68 avg) against the Huskies in Seattle.

Since the NCAA only started keeping formal track of statistics in 1937, this performance from the General Washington constituted a new (if short-lived) UCLA school record … the Kingfish had also set the Bruins’ previous standard after rushing for 137 yards against the Washington State Cougars in early November of 1938.

According to the newspaper report that appeared in the Ellensburg Daily Record (October 9th, 1939), UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON “averaged 7.50 yards per play and Washington 5.68 as the UCLAns traveled a net 259 yards from passes and scrimmage”.

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Washington Huskies sophomore ERNIE STEELE (# 29), the shifty halfback who later earned a distinct and permanent place in Apple Cup lore by returning both a kickoff 89 yards in addition to a punt 83 yards for touchdowns in the same game against the arch-rival Washington State Cougars in 1940, looks for a little running room opposite the UCLA Bruins during the Pacific Coast Conference meeting at Husky Stadium on October 7, 1939.
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WASHINGTON HUSKIES vs UCLA BRUINS
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Despite gaining more than five times as many yards from scrimmage as their hosts in Seattle, the visitors would have to wait until well into the second half of play before a sensational punt return by speedy UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON combined with a critical fourth quarter interception and subsequent touchdown reception by his understudy, senior co-captain DALE GILMORE, rallied the Bruins to a historic 14-7 victory over the Washington Huskies on the road in Seattle.

Expanding on a strategy that had been tried (albeit only in part) and been successful in the season-opening victory over the defending national champions from Texas Christian University, first-year Bruins head coach BABE HORRELL decided to start the UCLA entire second string in the Pacific Coast Conference opener against the University of Washington. The plan came undone almost immediately when left halfback CHUCK FENENBOCK, a well-regarded reserve who had registered three rushing tochdowns for the Bruins as a sophomore in 1938, fumbled the direct snap from center on his own his own 15-yard line and, after a wild scramble, the grateful Huskies pounced on the loose football at the UCLA four-yard line. Soon enough, Washington sophomore halfback ERNIE STEELE swept over right tackle to score his very first collegiate touchdown and fullback DON JONES kicked the extra point to give the home side a quick 7-0 lead less than three minutes in.

Horrell sent in his normal regulars straightaway and the Bruins first string responded by immediately marching 82 yards downfield until the Huskies had fallen back to their own two-yard line. Prominent plays in the UCLA drive were the 22-yard jaunt from the junior college transfer Robinson and the 36-yard run by star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON. It was here, though, that the drive stalled after a false start penalty on the Bruins as well as a couple of incomplete passes from the visitor’s field general.

The razzle-dazzle Bruins unveiled two fancy multiple-lateral plays to wow the Huskies’ fans in the second quarter. First, the UCLA left halfback Washington tossed the football laterally to the right halfback Robinson, who advanced about 20 yards before pitching the pigskin back to a teammate and, not until four more UCLA players — including tackle DEL LYMAN and guard JOHN FRAWLEY — had handled the spheroid, were the Bruins stopped on the Huskies 21-yard line following a spectacular 52-yard gain. Yet again, however, the Washington defense answered the alarm bell and proceeded to push their opponents back a dozen yards, well outside of reasonable field goal range for any UCLA kicker on the roster.

Prior to the halftime whistle, the Kingfish tossed a short pass over the middle to UCLA left end WOODY STRODE, who quickly lateraled the ball back to the reserve right halfback Gilmore; before being tackled, the Bruins co-captain, in turn, flipped the back to NED MATTHEWS but this particular rugby-style play ended badly for the visitors when the junior quarterback native to Los Angeles fumbled on the Huskies 40-yard line.

Thanks in large part to yeoman’s work from the UCLA defensive corps, it took until after halftime for the struggling offense of the Washington Huskies to finally generate its initial first down of the game. The hosts also crossed the midfield stripe for the first time all afternoon on the same drive but were stifled when Matthews atoned for his earlier sin by intercepting an ill-advised aerial from unlucky Washington right halfback DEAN MCADAMS and returning it to the Bruins 35-yard line. McAdams, one might remember, was also responsible for a crucial fumble which Bruins star Kenny Washington (after taking a lateral from quarterback Jim Montgomery) wound up returning for the first touchdown of the game during UCLA’s 13-0 triumph over the Huskies at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum twelve months earlier in early October of 1938.

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UCLA right halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 28)
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Later on in the third quarter, the reserve left halfback Fenenbock and the first string right halfback Robinson hooked up on a 43-yard passing play that took the pigskin all the way down to the Washington 14-yard line. For the third time in the contest, though, the Huskies braced themselves and repulsed UCLA to the tune of a further eighteen yards in offensive losses. It may have appeared to some as as if the snake-bitten Bruins would never break onto the scoreboard until the sure-footed McAdams boomed another of his punts high into the Seattle sky with less than five minutes to play before the final period.

But that would have before Robinson, who had hauled a punt back 83 yards for a touchdown in Pasadena Junior College’s first scheduled game in 1938, took possession of McAdams’ punt and burst free for a 64-yard return that one account called “the greatest piece of broken field running ever seen”. Only a late, last-ditch tackle from Washington left end BILL MARX at the Huskies five-yard line prevented the UCLA rookie from tying the score. On the very next play, the Bruins left halfback Washington crashed into the end zone over right guard and, appropriately enough, Robinson added the extra point kick to knot the affair.

(And so the famed Jackie Robinson, who had already scored a record-setting 132 points during his final campaign with Pasadena Junior College in 1938, had now officially recorded his very first point as a member of the UCLA Bruins)

The dreaded draw looked to be a very real possibility for both Washington and UCLA as a lion’s share of the fourth quarter elapsed without either side having mounted any real scoring threat. And then the Bruins senior co-captain Gilmore stepped forth in the waning minutes of the contest to pick off another Huskies pass from McAdam and was downed at midfield. The visiting General Washington took immediate command of the situation at hand and connected with his traditional battery mate Strode for a 27-yard gain which penetrated deep into Huskies territory.

Another pass from Washington to Strode carried the pigskin inside the Huskies’ 10-yard stripe before a few more running plays from UCLA failed outright. However, the Bruins finally went to the lead at long last after the Kingfish found Gilmore all alone in the flat for an easy reception and the game-winning points. For the undersized senior right halfback from Van Nuys, it was only the second (and last) career touchdown scored on behalf of the Bruins – but it certainly was a most important one.

Never before in history had a UCLA Bruins varsity football team been able to celebrate a victory over the University of Washington’s gridders at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

Attendance according to newspaper references
—————————————————————————
16,000 …… Ellensburg Daily Record ……… 10/09/39
16,000 …… St. Petersburg Times …………… 10/08/39
16,000 …… The Afro American ……………… 10/14/39
13,000 …… Berkeley Daily Gazette ………… 10/09/39
13,000 …… Eugene Register Guard ………… 10/08/39
13,000 …… The Milwaukee Journal ……….. 10/08/39
none ………. The Pittsburgh Press ……………. 10/08/39

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1939, UCLA vs Texas Christian

ucla-39-tcu-odle-ground-bruins-24-5-54
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The Texas Chrisitan University Horned Frogs ball carrier is effectively squashed by a trio of UCLA Bruins including fullback/linebacker BILL OVERLIN (# 5) and two-way lineman MLADEN ZARUBICA (# 24) during the dramatic NCAA inter-regional meeting between the Pacific Coast Conference hosts and their highly regarded Southwest Conference guests at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in southern California.
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September 29, 1939
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Attendance : 55,000

UCLA BRUINS vs TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS

UCLA starting line-up
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LE – # 54 … Chuck CASCALES ………….. LH – # 13 … Kenny WASHINGTON
LT – # 10 … Ernest HILL …………………… FB – # 5 ….. Bill OVERLIN
LG – # 12 … John FRAWLEY …………….. QB – # 55 … Ned MATTHEWS
OC – # 6 ….. Martin MATHESON ………. RH – # 25 … Dale GILMORE
RG – # 30 … Louis KYZIVAT
RT – # 24 … Mladen ZARUBICA
RE – # 41 … Jim MITCHELL

substitutions (not necessarily complete)
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E – Woody STRODE (# 27), Don MACPHERSON (# 38), Ray BARTLETT (#9)
T – Del LYMAN (# 15), Jack COHEN (# 14)
G – Jack SOMMERS (# 11), Robin WILLIAMS (# 35)
C – Ted JONES (# 37), Lynn HALE (# 17)
LH – Chuck FENENBOCK (# 45)
FB – Leo CANTOR (# 2)
QB – Ben KVITKY (# 16)
RH – Jackie ROBINSON (# 28)

“UCLA BRUIN STARTERS AGAINST T.C.U. ANNOUNCED – STRODE, ROBINSON NOT IN OPENING LINEUP AS PART OF UCLA STRATEGY”

http://www.mocavo.com/California-Eagle-Volume-60/402981/99

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ucla-39-tcu-program
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UCLA BRUINS 6 – TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS 2

Game Statistics
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net total yards from scrimmage …….. UCLA 179, TCU 259
first downs …………………………………… UCLA 8, TCU 15
net rushing yardage ……………………… UCLA 154, TCU 152
net passing yardage ……………………… UCLA 25, TCU 107
passes completed/attempted ……….. UCLA 2/7, TCU 15/27
passes intercepted by …………………… UCLA 1, TCU 2
fumbles recovered by …………………… UCLA 2, TCU 1
punts / average …………………………….. UCLA 9 – 36.8, TCU 6 – 40.8
yards penalized …………………………….. UCLA 55, TCU 15

scoring plays
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3rd qtr – BRUINS 6-0
Bill OVERLIN 9 yard run (kick failed)
3rd qtr – HORNED FROGS 2-6
safety, TCU defense tackled UCLA ball carrier in end zone

(statistics as reported by San Bernadino County Sun)

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(Associated Press – The Milwaukee Journal, Saturday, September 30, 1939) … UCLA tackle DEL LYMAN (# 15) looks on as Bruins star left halfback KENNY WASHINGTON is brought down by Texas Christian University Horned Frogs defensive back JACK ODLE (# 12) during the landmark NCAA inter-sectional match-up contested at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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UCLA BRUINS vs TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS
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“Mighty TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY fell off its football pedestal Friday night. The famed Horned Frogs, mythical national champions in 1938, were beaten by the UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA at LOS ANGELES Bruins, 6 to 2. A brilliant third period touchdown drive proved the margin of the Uclans’ triumph over a team that had not been beaten in fourteen consecutive games (and), as a clincher, just when the Horned Frogs seemed headed for a touchdown in the final minutes of play, a Bruin quarterback, NED MATTHEWS intercepted a Texas Christian pass on his own 10-yard line … Mixed in from the opening kickoff to the final gun was evidence of another powerful team from Fort Worth but one not powerful enough to batter down a Bruin team that wouldn’t be beaten.” — Associated Press

Indeed, TCU outgained UCLA by eighty yards and accumulated almost twice as many first downs as their hosts in the process but were still unable to generate a single point while on offense. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs defense had noticeable difficulties in dealing with both the new “man-in-motion” offensive scheme adopted by Bruins first-year head coach BABE HORRELL and the speed of UCLA backs KENNY WASHINGTON and JACKIE ROBINSON. In particular, the visitors from the Southwest Conference were mesmerized by the backfield ball-handling skills of Washington and quite frequently had no idea who was actually carrying the pigskin until either “the Kingfish” or Robinson had broken into the clear.

As for the new UCLA wingback who had transferred in after starring at Pasadena Junior College the season before, the United Press wrote that “Jackie Robinson slashed off long gains and generally lived up to his advance ballyhoo as the fastest thing in cleats on the Pacific Coast.”

Still, the game remained scoreless until well into the third period when JACK ODLE, the new Horned Frogs quarterback who was tasked with replacing the 1938 Heisman Trophy winner, fumbled and Bruins guard JACK SOMMERS, the husky (6’2″ 210 lbs) junior guard from Norristown, Pennsylvania, pounced on the loose ball at the UCLA 29-yard line … from there, the underdog Bruins began an unstoppable eight-play march with nary a single pass thrown along the way :

Washington ………… 1 yard run
Washington ………. 12 yard run
Robinson ………….. 15 yard run
Overlin ……………….. 2 yard run
Washington ………. 19 yard run
Robinson ……………. 8 yard run
Washington ………… 5 yard run
Overlin ……………….. 9 yard touchdown run

The decisive scoring play against the defending national champions from TCU came straight out of UCLA’s new playbook — the left halfback, Washington, took the direct snap from center and, immediately after faking a handoff to the “man-in-motion” wingback, Robinson, circling back around on an end run to the left, gave the football to the fullback, BILL OVERLIN, who slashed through the right side of the Bruins’ line before crashing gloriously into the end zone.

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Texas Christian University Horned Frogs defensive back LOGAN WARE (# 6) cannot prevent UCLA Bruins fullback BILL OVERLIN (# 5) from carrying the football across the goal line late in the third quarter of the eye-opening NCAA inter-sectional contest at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
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Now, the Horned Frogs had not trailed at any point while racking up ten consecutive victories during their 1938 NCAA regular season and had rallied to defeat Carnegie Tech after going down in the 1939 Sugar Bowl game, as well. So after the Bruins went out in front, perhaps it should have come as no surprise that TCU right halfback LOGAN WARE returned ensuing kickoff 56 yards to the UCLA 34-yard line before the hustling lineman Sommers was able to make a touchdown-saving tackle. As a portent of things to come, however, this threat from the visitors would be effectively snuffed out soon enough.

Having regained possession of the football on a punt, Texas Christian would come right back for more in the final period. Odle, Ware and Horned Frogs fullback CONNIE SPARKS strung together some good runs and a 13-yard dash by TCU captain DON LOONEY on the “end around” play set the pigskin on the home team’s 5-yard line. There had been questions with respect to the quality and depth of the UCLA line heading into this 1939 NCAA campaign but, after four more running plays from the Horned Frogs, the bend-but-don’t-break Bruins were celebrating possession a mere yard away from their own line.

Texas Christian did manage to collect its only points on the evening shortly thereafter when the UCLA fullback Overlin, who was standing in punt formation deep in his own end zone, fumbled the snap on first down and then shovel passed the ball laterally to Bruins right halfback DALE GILMORE, who was summarily dumped behind the goal line by the Horned Frogs for a two-point safety.

With Odle now spraying forward passes all over the slippery and wet field, TCU mounted one final drive late in the fourth quarter of this Friday night contest but Matthews, the homegrown junior from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles who lined up as the right halfback in UCLA’s regular 6-2-2-1 defensive scheme, sealed a historic victory for the Bruins by picking off a Horned Frogs aerial on his own 10-yard line and hauling it back 61 yards before finally being tackled.

Attendance according to newspaper references
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60,000 …… The Lodi News-Sentinel ………………… 09/30/39
60,000 …… The Modesto Bee & News-Herald ….. 09/30/39
60,000 …… The Pittsburgh Press …………………….. 09/30/39
55,000 ……. The Spokesman Review ……………….. 09/30/39
55,000 ……. San Bernardino County Sun …………. 09/30/39
55,000 ……. Eugene Register-Guard ………………… 09/30/39

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