Coach Harvey Robinson of Tennessee, who succeeded General Bob Neyland in 1953 and still seems to dwell in the famed old coach's shadow, thought he had it all figured out. "We figured Duke to go wide and to pass," he said after the game. But Duke did neither. Instead, split-T Quarterback Jerry Barger, who is ranked with Notre Dame's Ralph Guglielmi as one of the nation's best, called play after play through the Tennessee line, off right tackle and over the center.
TENNESSEE READ JUSTS TOO LATE
It was not until almost the end of the first period that Coach Robinson realized he had figured the Dukes wrong and readjusted his line to stop an 88-yard touchdown drive. But by then it was too late. Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, a sophomore who took over from Barger after Duke had ground down to the Tennessee 10-yard line, called for a quarterback option play (see diagram) and pitched out to Halfback Bob Pascal, who ran wide around end for the touchdown. Jim Nelson kicked the extra point.
Late in the second quarter Duke marched downfield again, for 81 yards, and very nearly scored again. On the Tennessee four-yard line Halfback Fred Beasley, one of a half dozen Duke second-stringers who appear every bit as good as the starters, took a pitchout from Barger and went wide around right end. It was a clear path to the goal. It also was clear that Beasley, normally alert and reliable, did not have his mind on what he was doing. He juggled the ball and dropped it on the one-yard line. Tennessee recovered.
October 11, 1954
The Volunteers, deprived of injured Tailback Jimmy Wade, ran a single-wing offense that relied on substitute Tailback John (Drum) Majors. But Majors couldn't get his team moving until the beginning of the second half. Six plays after the kick-off, Majors and Fullback Tom Tracy had moved Tennessee from its own nine-yard line to Duke's 28. There Tracy took the ball from center and, the way cleared by an intricate double-team play that froze the right side of the Duke line (see diagram), scooted 28 yards to a touchdown. Tracy, trying for the extra point, bent disconsolately toward the grass when the ball dribbled from his toe to the left of the goalposts. It was almost as if he knew then and there that the ball game was over.
But to the 30,000 fans, many of them Tennesseeans who came in by bus, car and chartered plane to swelter in the 91° sun at horseshoe-shaped Duke Stadium, there were more thrills.
Duke drove from its own 31 to the Tennessee two-yard line late in the third period, but dropped another chance to score when Jerry Barger's pass to the end zone was intercepted by Tennessee Tailback Pat Oleksiak. "It was the worst day for passing Barger's ever had," said Duke Coach Bill Murray. Barger attempted 10 passes, completed three.
THE INEVITABLE QUESTION
Before the Tennessee game there was considerable talk about the apparent strength in depth that had enabled Duke the week before to destroy Pennsylvania, 52 to 0. The inevitable question: Was it Duke's strength or Pennsylvania's weakness? Tennessee clearly proved the latter, if Penn had not already done so by another huge loss, this time 27-7 to William and Mary.
But Coach Murray didn't seem disturbed by what his narrow victory over Tennessee proved. He never had thought the Volunteers would be easy to beat. After the game, Murray philosophized: "You think one game's tough as hell, but then you finish that and there's another one tougher."
He couldn't have been more right. Next week Duke meets Purdue, sharp and confident after drubbing mighty Notre Dame.
DUKE'S SCORING PLAY
Duke scored on wide sweep when Quarterback Jurgensen (38) took ball and skirted along line, faking hand-off to Halfback Bass (34), then pitching out to Halfback Pascal (30) who went wide for touchdown.
TENNESSEE'S SCORING PLAY
Tennessee's double-team block of Duke tackle by left end and Wingback Sweeney (12), while Blocking Back Beutel (27) took out Duke end, left hole for Fullback Tracy (33) led by Tailback Majors (45) to score.
UPSETS OF THE WEEK:
PURDUE 27 NOTRE DAME 14
STANFORD 12 ILLINOIS 2
HICKMAN'S HUNCHES for Games of Saturday, Oct. 9th
•WISCONSIN vs. RICE. The Badgers are still unscathed after meeting Marquette and Michigan State. The Owls have outhit Florida and Cornell easily. Whooo, Whooo—WISCONSIN.
•PURDUE vs. DUKE. The Blue Devils edged tough Tennessee 7-6. Purdue blanked. Missouri 31-0 and stunned Notre Dame 27-14. This has to stop somewhere. DUKE.
•TEXAS vs. OKLAHOMA. Last week the Longhorns lambasted Washington State 40-14 while the Sooners rested. Texas is set but I will stick with the Sooners. OKLAHOMA.
•STANFORD vs. NAVY. Last Saturday the Indians scalped the Illini. The Navy is being rushed westward to quell the uprising after annihilating the Dartmouth Indians. NAVY.
•SOUTHERN CAL vs. TEXAS CHRISTIAN. The Horned Frogs scared the Sooners two weeks ago and will do the same to Southern Cal. But the Trojans have too many horses. SOUTHERN CAL.
•ILLINOIS vs. OHIO STATE. Illinois has not shown good early-season form. The Buckeyes are waxing warmer each week. Away out on the limb.... ILLINOIS.
•PENN STATE vs. VIRGINIA. Penn State beat Illinois and Syracuse on successive Saturdays. Virginia opened by defeating Lehigh and George Washington but the Nittany Lions are hungry for Cavalier blood. PENN STATE.
•MICHIGAN vs. IOWA. Sophomore Michigan succumbed to Army last Saturday and will repeat the same performance against the Hawkeyes this Saturday. IOWA.
•WASHINGTON vs. U.C.L.A. The Uclans won their "Rose Bowl" game against Maryland 12-7 to remain unbeaten and uninvited. The Huskies handled Oregon State 17-7. U.C.L.A. could be ripe for the upset but isn't. U.C.L.A.
•VANDERBILT vs. MISSISSIPPI. Ole Miss just keeps rollin' along. The Commodores don't have the manpower to stem the tide. MISSISSIPPI.
Minnesota over Northwestern
Southern Methodist over Missouri
Georgia Tech over L.S.U.
Army over Dartmouth
Cornell over Harvard
California over Oregon
Yale over Columbia
Alabama over Tulsa
Notre Dame over Pittsburgh
West Virginia over George Washington
Michigan State over Indiana
Maryland over Wake Forest
Mississippi State over Tulane
Princeton over Pennsylvania
Last week's hunches: 17 right, 6 wrong, 1 tie
Record to date: 44-14-1
Next week—RICE vs. WISCONSIN at Madison