Savannah State paid well for blowouts

September 17, 2012 

Savannah State’s football team had a much deserved week off last weekend after opening the season with games against national powers Oklahoma State and Florida State.

I understand why the Tigers played the Cowboys and Seminoles, but what I don’t understand is why Oklahoma State and Florida State played them. For Savannah State, the alma mater of NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, it was all about money. The Georgia school picked up $385,000 for its visit to Stillwater, Okla., and another $475,000 for its bus ride to Tallahassee. That $860,000 will go a long way toward the Savannah State football budget.

Oklahoma State and Florida State would have been a lot better off playing an intrasquad game between their first and second team offenses and defenses. The competition would have been tons better than what they got from the Tigers.

In Oklahoma State’s 84-0 victory, the Tigers won only two statistical categories: penalties and time of possession. They were flagged 13 times for 69 yards compared to 4 and 40 yards for Oklahoma State, and they had 34 minutes, 13 seconds in time of possession compared to 25:47.

It must be pointed out that the Cowboys, who used 94 players in the win, needed no more than 90 seconds on any scoring drive.

It was Savannah State’s worst loss since a 98-0 setback at the hands of Bethune-Cookman in 1954. In that season, Savannah State was outscored 444-6. It was Oklahoma State’s most lopsided victory since a 117-0 rout of Southwest Oklahoma in 1916.

Florida State’s 55-0 win over the Tigers could have been a lot worse. The game was shortened to the first half and 6:01 of the third quarter because of lightning. The Seminoles needed just 13 plays to score 28 points in the first quarter, and they were ahead 48-0 at intermission. In the abbreviated game, Florida State had 413 yards of total offense compared to just 28 for Savannah State.

Savannah State hasn’t done well in football in recent years. Playing in the FCS as a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Tigers are only 4-72 in their past 76 games against FCS opponents.

The 84 points by Oklahoma State is far from the record number in a game by one team. Georgia Tech, then coached by Heisman Trophy namesake John Heisman, set the high water mark in 1916 when the Yellow Jackets trounced Cumberland College of Kentucky 222-0. It’s believed to be the only game in history where there were no first downs recorded. Tech scored 63 points in both the first and second quarters.

Since Yale beat Dartmouth 113-0 in 1884, there have been 183 games where one team hit the century mark. Most of those came between 1910 and 1920, but the most recent occurred in the 2003 season when Rockford College of Illinois, a Division III school, defeated Trinity Bible College 105-0. Houston is the last Division I school to score a 100 points, beating Tulsa 100-6 in 1968. Fort Valley State is the last Division II school to accomplish the feat, as the Wildcats trounced Knoxville College 106-0 in 1969.

In addition to the game against Cumberland, Georgia Tech has four other outings where the Jackets scored more than 100 points, with one of those coming against Mercer in 1914 when they defeated the Bears 105-0. That had to be payback for Mercer’s 12-6 win over the Yellow Jackets in their first ever football game played at Central City Park in 1892.

Georgia has scored more than 100 points on three occasions.

I wonder how Savannah State would have fared against Arizona. The Wildcats beat Oklahoma State 59-38 a week after the Cowboys put 84 on the board against the Tigers.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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