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100 Years Ago: Carleton Upsets Chicago

October 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm
1916 Carleton football — The team that beat Chicago
1916 Carleton football — The team that beat Chicago

CHICAGO — On Oct. 7, 1916, the Carleton College football team traveled to the Windy City and defeated national power University of Chicago—a member of the “Big Nine” (the precursor to the Big Ten)—by a 7-0 score in front of 8,000 fans.

While the Maroons were the heavy favorites, Carleton came up with a goal-line stand in the final seconds to preserve the victory. The Chicago Tribune recap of the game says, “The Chicago crowd was looking for an easy game and was swept off its feet by the well conditioned and smooth running machine from the north.” Read both the Carletonian and the Chicago Tribune game stories below.


Carletonian article about the game (Oct. 11, 1916 edition):

Chicago Tribune article about the game (Oct. 8, 1916 edition):


Most Promising Team of Big Nine Conference Is Helpless Before Cyclone Attack of Coach Hunt’s Football Machine—Stagg’s Maroons Put Up Clean, Hard Fight But Fail to Score—Carleton’s Team Goes Thru Battle Without Serious Injury
Keller, Right Halfback of Maize and Blue Team, Plunges Thru University’s Line for Most Memorable Touchdown in Carleton History—Welshons Kicks goal—Victory Result of Perfection In Co-operation and Training

Carleton's football team last Saturday afternoon did the seemingly impossible when, going supposedly out of its class and away from home it out-fought, outclassed and defeated the University of Chicago team by a 7 to 0 score on Stagg Field, Chicago.

Stagg's Practice Game.

It "was to be an easy practice game for Stagg's Maroons. Nobody in or around Chicago anticipated anything but a victory, and many had never heard of the college whose players were to oppose the Chicago men. It was impossible for these northern farmers, as they were called, out-weighed, as they were nearly 25 pounds to the man, to stand long against the onslaught of the Maroons, who looked better even to the pessimistic Stagg than they had ever looked before.

But, and here comes the joker, those blue clad Carleton football men came onto the field just as they have for every game during the past few years. It was no practice game for them, they were determined to win. They were no more excited than in games against colleges of their own size, and they went after that game from the start. Every play was made to count—when they hit the line they hit it hard for a

gain; when they circled an end the Chicago men were fairly bewildered, when they used a pass or a "fake" formation they were generally successful in making their ground. They had drive, fight, and speed, and they went after a score with a determination which was wonderful to see. They were not satisfied to hold Chicago to a low score but they were determined to win.

During the first quarter the play was, fairly even although Carleton had the ball in Chicago's territory all of the time and were only stopped in their succession of first downs by fumbles and an intercepted forward pass. Carleton made first down almost at will during this quarter and held the Maroons just as consistently.

Touchdown in Second Quarter.

In the next quarter Carleton started the same driving play that had characterized their work in the first period. They held the Chicago team and forced Pershing to punt. After advancing the ball for two first downs, Chicago held, and Allison got off a nice 40 yard kick to Graham who was downed on Chicago's 16 yard line. Here the Carleton defense became a regular stonewall and Pershing was forced to kick.

All of Chicago is "riding" Pershing 'because of that punt which went straight up in the air and actually lost the Maroons' not only the ball, but three yards of ground. The truth is that the Carleton forwards charged thru so fast that Pershing was forced to hurry the kick, and couldn't get the direction or distance for it. After the kick it was a matter of four plays until "Jap" Keller took the ball, and went over the line for the only touchdown of the game.

A Team of Stars.

Collectively and individually the Carleton team was a team of stars. Every man was playing his hardest thruout and every man was helping the other fellow as much as he could. The day was terribly hot. The north grandstand was lined with men in their shirtsleeves, and on the field it was much worse. The strain on the players can hardly be imagined by one who has never been thru such a mill. Before the first quarter was up the men were beginning to show signs of the heat but the whole Carleton team stuck it out, and while Stagg was sending in substitute after substitute in an attempt to turn the tide of the battle, the eleven Carleton men were staying by and fighting for all they were worth. Only one substitute was used by Coach Hunt, and that in the last five minutes of play when Schroeder went in in Phillip's place. The fullback had received a blow on the head which affected the use of his brain and he remembers nothing of what happened from the time the blow came, until after the game.

Captain Allison lived fully up to expectations and then some. He covered the whole  field, spilling not only the interference but the entire play when the. Chicago men were foolish enough to send it his way. He was around encouraging the men when he could hardly talk himself, begging them to stick it out. On forward passes he was the same old "Stub" picking the ball out of the air at difficult angles on the dead run, and from, amongst any number of the Maroon players.

The Detail of Play.

The team came on the field at about 2:20 and practiced running thru a few

plays and shooting forward passes. The Chicago band appeared at about the same time and keep things lively until time for the game to start. The Chicago team appeared a little before 2:30, and after running thru a few plays the teams lined up for the kickoff.

Captain Jackson won the toss for Chicago and chose to defend the south goal with the wind at his back. Rolfe kicked off at 2:36. The kick-off was short and Brelos ran back five yards to Chicago's 40 yard line. Cahn made 4 yards around right end, Marum added 2 more thru right guard, and Gordon failed to gain thru left guard.

Pershing then punted to Dunphy who was downed on Carleton's 5 yard line.

Allison Punts.

Keller made 4 yards in a drive thru center, Phillips added 4 more on the other side, and Johnson added 4 for the first down of the game. Dunphy added 2 yards, Johnson took it 6 more, and then took it again for the second down. Keller went around left end for 6 yards, but Johnson lost 3 on a try at the line. Keller took them off right tackle but Dunphy then called on Allison to punt. Allison got off a nice kick to Norgren who was downed on the Chicago 40 yard line.

On the next play Gordon got away for one of the few good runs of the day, making 30 yards around left end. Cahn was thrown for a slight loss on the next play, and Pershing failed to gain. Gordon made four yards around right end, hut a forward pass was broken up by Dunphy and it was Carleton's ball.

Phillips made 4 yards thru center, and Keller made 2 more thru right guard. Then Johnson took it twice, and made first down. Phillips made 9 yards thru the center of the line, and Keller added 4 for another first down. Johnson made 2 yards, and

Keller added 5 more, but Johnson fumbled op the next try, and it was Chicago's ball.

Pershing made 7 yards thru left, tackle, and made it first down around right end. Gordon went off right tackle for 7 yards and Marum added a yard thru center. Pershing then went thru guard for another first down. Marum made 2 yards thru center, Norgren was thrown for a loss, Cahn made a yard around end and a forward pass failed. Carleton's ball.

Johnson fumbled but recovered. Keller made 6 yards off left tackle; Dunphy added another, but Allison was called on for a punt. The big captain sent it 25 yards to Gordon who made no return. Pershing made 2 yards around right end. Massopust threw Cahn for a loss. The little fellow took the ball again for 3 yard gain around right end, but Pershing was forced to punt. Dunphy made one of the prettiest runs of the game in the return carrying the ball fully 35 yards.

Phillips made two yards thru guard, but a pass to Farrell was intercepted by Brelos. On the next play Phillips recovered Gordon's fumble. Keller failed to gain in a try at the line, but a pass to Allison netted 15 yards. Keller added 3 thru right guard, but a Chicago man was hurt. When play was resumed Johnson lost a yard, and then took the ball again, and made 5, but Allison was forced to punt. Gordon made a pretty return of the kick running thru the field of players for 25 yards. Cahn lost a yard and the quarter ended with the ball in Chicago's possession in Carleton territory. Score 0-0.

In the second period Cahn lost a yard around left end. Gordon made 1 around right end, and Pershing punted offside on the 30 yard line.

A Long Punt.

Keller made 5 thru center, Johnson added 4 more and Phillips made a first down. Rolfe took out time to fix his shoe. Keller failed to gain, and Phillips made a yard thru center. Keller added 7 but Allison punted on the next play. It was one of the prettiest punts of the day, traveling nearly 50 yards to Gordon who ran it back 15 before he was downed. Pershing made a yard and Marum 3 thru the center, but Cahn failed to gain and Pershing was forced to punt. The punt was hurried so by the Carleton forwards that it went straight up in the air and the wind actually carried it backward so that the "Maroons" lost 3 yards on the exchange.

Keller made 5 yards off tackle, and Johnson added a yard. Hannisch went in for Marum. Phillips took the ball for first down, and added 3 more yards on the next play. Welshons hurt his lip at this point but remained in the game, without having it fixed, so that the touchdown could be scored. Keller took the ball on the next play and went over for the touchdown, the ball being knocked out of his hand after the whistle blew. Phillips fell on the ball but the touchdown counted. Welshons kicked goal from a difficult angle. Score, Carleton 7; Chicago 0.

Captain Jackson went in at left tackle and Graham took Cahn's place. Fisher kicked off to Phillips who returned the ball fifteen yards. Keller gained a yard thru center. Phillips added 2, and a pass, Dunphy to Allison netted 3 more.

Drop Kick Falls.

Keller made 4 in two tries, and a pass to Farrell fell short. Welshons was called on for a drop kick and missed the goal by less than a foot. It was Chicago's ball on the 20 yard line. Graham took 8 around left end. Hannisch made it first down. Graham made a yard around right end, and Hannisch made 2 more thru left tackle. Pershing then kicked 40 yards to Dunphy who returned 5. Carleton made it first down again, then Johnson failed to gain and Keller only made B yards in two tries at the line. Allison punted a full 45 yards to Pershing who returned the ball to the 10 yard line.

Hannisch made 3 thru center, Allison was hurt, but went back into the game soon. Agar replaced Gordon. Agar made 3 thru right tackle. Pershing punted, the ball touched Keller, and a Chicago man fell on it, Chicago making 20 yards on the play.

Hannisch failed to gain. Agar failed to gain around end. Time was called for the first half. Score, Carleton 7; Chicago 0.

In the second half Fisher kicked off to Johnson who returned the ball 20 yards. Johnson made 7 around right end and a pass, Dunphy to Farrell netted 20 more. Three passes in succession were incomplete, the first two to Farrell and the next one to Allison. The last was caught but Allison was off the field when he caught it. Here Welshons tried another drop, which went way wide of the mark.

Chicago Penalized.

Hannisch failed to gain thru the line. Pershing went around end on Stagg's new quadrilateral formation and travelled 20 yards before he was downed, but the ball was called back and Chicago was penalized 15 yards for holding. Graham advanced the ball 4 yards around right end but was hurt in the play and had to take out time. Ager running from punt formation failed to gain. Agar punted and a Chicago man again recovered the ball after it had touched Keller. Agar made 6 around end. Hannisch made it first down. Pershing advanced the ball around left end for a 20 yard gain. Graham made 5 around right end. On a try at left end Graham lost 5. Hannisch made 2, but on another try he failed to make first down. Carleton's ball on her own 4 yard line.

Allison punted from behind his own goal line to Graham who returned the ball 10 yards. Johnson recovered Agar's fumble and carried the ball 15 yards before he was downed. Johnson made 2 off left tackle, and Dunphy added 3 on a trick formation. Dunphy attempted a pass to Farrell which was intercepted by Graham. The Chicago man ran 20 yards before being pulled down. Welshons took out time to have his lip bandaged again.

Setzer made 3 yards off left tackle. Allison recovered a fumble but Carleton was off side so the ball went back and the Carleton team was penalized. Rolfe threw Graham for a 3 yard loss. Massopust threw Hannisch on the next play for a loss. A forward pass was incomplete and Pershing punted, but a Chicago man again recovered the ball after it had touched a Carleton player. Pershing failed to gain, but Graham took the ball to Carleton's 4 yard line and made it first down. Graham failed to gain around right end. Pershing made about one foot around left end, but on the next play which was fourth down he failed to gain and the ball went to Carleton on their own 4 yard line.

Allison punted from behind the goal to Pershing who returned the ball to the Carleton 25 yard line. A forward pass fell short. Setzer made 5 yards around right end. Graham added 3 more around the other side. Another forward pass was Incomplete and the ball went to Carleton on her own 15 yard line.

Harper went in for Parker. Johnson made 3 yards off left tackle. He made 2 more thru center. Keller added 2 yards and Allison punted 40 yards to Graham, who returned the ball 10 yards before being downed.

Graham made 3 yards around right end. Phillips was hurt and Schroeder took his place.

An attempt at a pass was broken up. Another pass failed. Schroeder intercepted a third desperate attempt to make a pass good. Carleton's ball. Keller and Johnson failed to gain in tries at the line. Johnson made 4 yards in a drive off right tackle. Fleugal went in for Gorgas. Allison punted to Pershing who returned the ball 5 yards. Setzer made 2 off left tackle.

A Fast Finish.

Pershing lost a yard in a try at left end. Hannisch made a yard thru the line. A forward pass was incomplete. Carleton recovered a fumble of a man who had been downed before he could get a pass off. Johnson made 2 thru the-line. Schroeder failed to gain. Carleton was penalized 5 yards for offside play. Schroeder made 6 yards off left tackle. Allison punted the Graham who ran the ball back 20 yards. A forward pass was incomplete. Another to Brelos netted 39 yards and brought the ball to Carleton's 1 yard line. First down, 30 seconds to play. Pershing was thrown for a loss by Rolfe and Farrell. He was tackled so hard he dropped the ball and Rolfe recovered it. The game ended with the ball in Carleton's possession on their own 5 yard line. Score, Carleton 7; Chicago 0.


Chicago Tribune article about the game (Oct. 8, 1916 edition):


Pilot Pershing Costs Men Two Good Chances by Poor Judgments

Carleton College of Northfield, Minn. beat the Maroons on Stagg field yesterday, 7 to 0, in a ragged contest. The Chicago crowd was looking for an easy game and was swept off its feet by the well conditioned and smooth running from the machine from the north.

The Maroons got almost every break of the game and should have won, in spite of the fact that Carleton gained more ground, had Quarter Back Pershing used better judgment in the use or his men and had not punted straight into the air while on his own ten yard line in the second quarter.

Pershing again had a golden chance in the last ten seconds of play. The ball lay two feet from the goal line and, although worn out by the heat, he attempted to carry it himself after Coach Stagg had sent fresh backs into the game. He ran ten yards back and then fumbled. Capt. Allison of Carleton dropped on the ball and the last chance of the Maroons was gone.

Maroon Team Outplayed.

The Maroons have alibis galore, but the fact is that they were fairly out-played from the start and never had a chance except on the two occasions when luck put them close to the goal tine. Carleton made three downs to every ten yards gained by Stagg's men and exhibited such skill with the forward pass that the 8,000 spectators, many of were in their shirtsleeves, stood on their feet and cheered. 'With Quarter Back Dunphy on the passing end and Capt. Allison roaming thirty yards down the field, a dozen long shots were completed for gains that more than overcame the short advances of the Maroons on end runs.

Chicago started the game without Capt. Jackson, Schafer, Agar, Kimbal, and McPherson, men who have been looked upon as stars of the coming season. Jackson was pressed into service after the visitors scored and Agar also played despite his injury. Kimball sat on the side lines and respected the wishes of his parents. Schafer was barred by the deans because he had forgotten to pay his tuition on Friday. McPherson was not able to take an exam in the morning to clear his eligibility.

Carleton Makes Early Start.

Higgins of Chicago received the kickoff and Pershing immediately punted. Carleton did not waste any time in getting started, making three first downs by opening big holes through the Chicago guards. Gorgas recovered a fumble on the twenty yard line and stopped the drive. Gordon broke loose for forty yards, the best run made all day by a Maroon, but Chicago was held for downs in midfield. Again Carleton started a succession of first downs, but Norgren butted in on a forward pass.

Chicago could not gain and Pershing got off a low punt which rolled well down the field. Carleton immediately came back by tearing through the Chicago guards. The quarter ended as Brelos caught a Carleton forward pass.

Score in Second Period.

On the third play of the second period Allison punted to Gordon, who was downed as he caught the ball on his own ten yard line. Pershing tried to punt out of danger, but only succeeded in booting the ball straight up over his head. When it came down there was a merry scramble and Carleton out of the pile with the ball. The Maroons -were so scared that in four plays Johnson tore through guard for a touchdown. A substitution of Hanisch for Marum at full back did not check the drive. Allison kicked goal and the game was over as far as scoring was concerned.

Coach Stagg rushed Jackson into the lineup to play guard. Higgins and Gorgas braced at tackles and Brelos and Norgren began to solve the Carleton offense around the ends.

Cahn and Gordon were hurt and had to be taken out, Bobble looking as though he had collapsed from the heat. He was carried to the dressing room unconscious but felt better last night.

Red Graham Proves Star.

Red Graham went in at half in the third quarter and his showing was the feature of the game. The little sophomore stood out above every one of Stagg's backs and made gain after gain when the rest could do nothing but add an occasional yard or two. Near the end of the third quarter, a forward pass to Brelos and a dandy run by Graham put the ball on the six yard line. Graham added four more, but Agar and Pershing failed in the last two attempts.

Chicago got desperate in the final period and spread all over the field, trying to work a long forward pass that would put over a score. It seemed like one chance in a hundred with less than a minute to go. Higgins finally got off a long one to Brelos, who churned his way to the one yard line. Then with fifteen seconds left Pershing elected to run himself, but was thrown for a big loss and fumbled when a score seemed certain. The last period was a listless exhibition because the men were exhausted by the heat.