The Games

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): How long can Arizona’s opportunistic defense last against Occidental?

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
Rankings
The players

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Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Excerpt from L.A. Times, Nov. 8, 1914, authored by Bill Henry:

“Arizona’s cactus-fed athletes, despite heroic efforts on the part of their two halfbacks, (Asa) Porter and (Franklin) Luis, went down to defeat before the Occidental Tigers yesterday afternoon, the tally with all precincts heard from being 14 to 0 in favor of the Tigers.
Confident of rolling up a big score, the Tigers took the field with grins on their faces, but before the game was 10 seconds old they knew they had a battle on their hands.
The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats and displayed before the public gaze a couple of little shrimps in the backfield who defied all attempts of the Tigers to stop them.”

This site will conduct a countdown in a 100-day period, leading up to Arizona’s 2014 football season-opener with UNLV on Aug. 29 at Arizona Stadium. The 100 Days ‘Til Kickoff countdown will include information daily about the historic 1914 Arizona team that helped create the school’s nickname of “Wildcats” because of how they played that fateful day against Occidental.

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Occidental entered the second half against Arizona in their 1914 game cautiously optimistic after numerous penalties and turnovers stopped potential scoring drives.

Arizona, which lost 28-0 the previous season to Occidental in Tucson, grasped the idea of being down only 7-0 at the break as a sign of hope. The final score is all that matters.

The Varsity’s travel party of only 18 players put a strain on coach J.F. “Pop” McKale to keep the game close as the game went on. One of his most productive players, halfback Asa Porter, struggled with a sore ankle in the second half.

Occidental, playing under the guidance of player-coach Sid Foster, had more options playing at home. Foster, coaching in place of regular coach Joe Pipal, who was scouting the Pomona-Whittier game that day. Foster called upon the fresh legs of Carl “Brandy” Brandstetner, a transfer from Kentucky, at the start of the second half when it appeared Arizona was building momentum.

Los Angeles Times correspondent Bill Henry reported that Arizona’s defense limited Occidental to the forward pass after stuffing the line early in the third quarter. The Varsity, on the other hand, threatened the Tigers with the run.

“Arizona gained at will through the Tiger line for about twenty-five yards but invariably the Tigers braced in time to hold them before they got within scoring distance,” Henry wrote.

Occidental finally broke a big play from its passing game, a strike to Brandstetner that resulted in a 25-yard gain. The run was highlighted by Brandstetner’s “good use of the straight arm”, Henry wrote. Arizona’s defense held firm again, however, forcing Occidental to turn the ball over on downs near the Varsity’s goal.

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THE LAST WEEK IN THE SERIES:

No. 5: Arizona remains confident despite Occidental’s repeated failed attempts to score
No. 7: Arizona’s “cactus-fed athletes” convincingly introduce themselves to Occidental
No. 8: Overconfident Occidental suits up for Arizona without head coach, who scouts elsewhere
No. 9: Varsity’s busy pregame preparation against Occidental includes reading letters from co-eds
No. 10: Enthusiastic Varsity travels to Los Angeles to face Occidental
No. 11: Tribute to 1914 team members in lingo of that generation
No. 12: 1914 team member Condron one of Tucson’s historic developers

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Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
(AllSportsTucson.com graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

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What they were talking about on this day in 1914

Monday, Aug. 24, 1914

New York Giants manager John McGraw, who would serve as skipper of a club from 1902 to 1932, publicly berates the umpires of the National League after a game called because of rain against St. Louis. “As to the umpiring in the National League this year, well it’s something awful,” McGraw claims. “At least four or five of these fellows holding jobs in the National League today are totally unfit for the jobs. They ought to be fired.” McGraw is feeling the heat from the strong-charging Boston Braves, who are within a half-game of the Giants atop the standings after trailing by 15 games on July 4.

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After a bad punt that gave possession to Occidental on the Arizona 30-yard line, the Tigers ended the quarter by taking the ball to the 1. Runs for short gains by Foster and fellow halfback Pete Lenz got Occidental there.

Occidental was close to another scoring opportunity with third-and-goal inches away from the end zone. Would Arizona’s opportunistic defense rise to the occasion again?

Arizona’s Desert Yearbook account of the third quarter of the historic 1914 game between the Varsity and Occidental:

“The second half opened up with the Wild Cats intact and confident of opening up for a score, Oxy putting in a few new men. Again Oxy found our line too much and Foster had to put up his game of forward passing, with an occasional gain around end. The ball sea-sawed back and forth until through a bad punt Oxy had the ball worked to Arizona’s one-yard line and the quarter ended.”

Tomorrow: Arizona proudly earns its nickname of “Wildcats”, which is still used 100 years later.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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