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In 1916, Georgia Tech Beat Cumberland College, 222 to 0

The story of the game is a bit more delicious than just an insane beat down. It involves revenge, baseball, clerical errors and thousands of dollars

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When it comes to blowouts, not much can compete with the 1916 football game between Georgia Tech and Cumberland College. By the end of the game, GT had 222 points. Cumberland had none.

Blowouts like that don’t happen often. In 1929, the USC Trojans beat the UCLA Bruins 76 to nothing. But nothing has come close to the 222 point rout of 1916. And the story of the game is a bit more delicious than just one random, insane beat-down. It involves revenge, baseball, clerical errors and thousands of dollars.

Back in the early 1900s, Cumberland College played with the big teams like Louisiana State, Tulane, Tennessee and Mississippi. But after the 1915 season, Cumberland discontinued their football program. Except nobody told Georgia Tech. They had a Cumberland game on their schedule, and if the Cumberland team didn’t show, Georgia Tech, says, they would need to pay a forfeiting fee of $3,000.

The man doing the threatening was John Heisman, the Georgia Tech coach, and he was in it for revenge. The year before, the GT baseball team had lost to Cumberland 22-0. But Cumberland had padded their team with professionals, and Heisman wanted his turn.

Without a football program, Cumberland was left to piece together a team—a job that fell onto the student manager. He managed to get 13 students to show up, head to Atlanta and play Georgia Tech. It didn’t go well. The New York Times writes:

When the game began, Georgia Tech scored on its first play. Cumberland fumbled on the next play, and Tech returned it for a touchdown. Cumberland fumbled again on its first play, and Tech scored two plays later. And on and on.

At half time, the score was 126-0. And by the end, Georgia Tech had scored 222 points. Cumberland still had zero.

 

More from Smithsonian.com:

The List: Smithsonian’s Top 11 Football Artifacts
The American Football League’s Foolish Club

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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