Vince Lombardi used to say “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing.”

Actually, not losing by over 200 points is everything.

Today in 1916, a one-sided college football game that proved it: Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland College 0.

At the time, Georgia Tech was a sports powerhouse, while Cumberland was not a sports house of any size.

The school had seen some football success about a decade before this game, but to address some financial problems, Cumberland’s president cut all sports funding.

There was only one problem: the school had already committed to playing Georgia Tech, and if it backed out on the game, it would owe that institution $3,000.

That’s about $80,000 in today’s money, and way more than a school facing financial pressures could afford.

So a student named George E. Allen rounded up some of his fraternity brothers to field a football team.

This ragtag group of athletes for a day were facing a team led by coach John Heisman, for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

There are stories that Georgia Tech had lost to Cumberland in baseball and wanted to get their win back.

Other accounts say sportswriters used point totals to rank college teams, and Georgia Tech wanted a high national ranking.

Whatever the reason, Coach Heisman wanted to absolutely trounce the Cumberland squad.

And that’s what happened.

The Bulldogs scored so easily, and so often, that they actually never got any first downs in the game.

They never needed more than three downs to reach the end zone!

Cumberland didn’t have any first downs either, for less impressive reasons.

Sportswriter Grantland Rice, who was at the game, wrote “Cumberland’s greatest individual play of the game occurred when fullback Allen circled right for a six-yard loss.”

At halftime, Coach Heisman told Georgia Tech’s players, “you’re doing all right.”

They were up 126-0 at the time.

He was happy with the final score, though, and in a way, so was Cumberland, which didn’t forfeit the game and therefore didn’t have to pay big money to its opponent.

And eventually Cumberland did restart its football program.

In fact, it renamed its team the Phoenix, because it rose from the ashes of the worst drubbing in college football history to play again.

Today in Smithfield, North Carolina, day one of the Ava Gardner Festival.

They’re celebrating the 100th birthday of the movie star who grew up in the area with new exhibits at the Ava Gardner Museum, a musical tribute and showings of some of her most famous movies.

Revisiting Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland 0 and how it may have saved the school (CBS Sports)


Ava Gardner Festival 

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