The 1946 College All-Star Game
Note: The necessity of the College All-Star Game could be clearly seen at the end of World War II. We find the matchup strange today, but in 1945, it was incredibly relevant. This article addresses the emergence of the professional game.
Oxnard, CA Press Courier
August 24, 1946
FOOTBALL: A CAREER
Consider the millions across the notion who listened to the broadcast of the College All-Star and Los Angeles' Rams football game at Chicago lost night. Consider the new professional football league, whose local representative is the Dons, consider the stadiums to be packed this fall for both the college and professional game. One conviction looms strongly; football has become more than a sport. It has become a career.
It is a career that will lure more and more husky young men as the years advance. Some of the stars of the Army and Navy football teams of last year will be playing
on college gridirons this fall. They have left West Point and Annapolis because they prefer careers on the gridiron to careers in the military service.
Time was, and not so many years ago, when the collegians sat back in their chairs and predicted that professional football would never take. Where was the old school loyalty, the fierce partisanship of the student section, the nostalgic return of the alumni, in the professional game?
But those prophets reckoned without the fact that Americans are sports-minded above all people; that they enjoy the rugged contests of the athletic fields; that more
persons do not have college ties than do, and they may soon find loyalties in professional teams; and that the contest is a thrilling one to watch whether it is played by youngsters on the sandlots, on the college gridirons or on stadiums devoted to professional sports.
So the top-ranking collegian now finds that he is almost automatically drafted from the amateur game to the professional game. He finds that the professional teams will offer him a better income, right after college graduation, than he can earn in the professions or in business. If he is confident that he has 10 good years of professional football in him, he can count upon setting aside a tidy sum for his use when his playing days are over.
It seems a bit odd, looking forward to football as a career. But it is here as surely as professional baseball is a career. It will grow in strength and lure as the years go on.
CHICAGO, Aug. 23 (AP)- Two mighty touchdown gallops by Wisconsin's Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch catapulted the College All-Stars to an upset 16 to 0 victory over the favored Los Angeles Rams, champions of the National Football League, before a standing room crowd of 97,380 in flood lighted Soldier Field tonight.
Hirsch, the famed Badger gridiron star, who also played with Michigan as a Marine trainee, spearheaded the superior All-Star attack by running 68 years for a touchdown in the first period and taking a spiraling 44 yard pass from Northwestern's Otto Graham for a third period touchdown on a play covering 62 yards. Wisconsin Pat Harder, a teammate of Hirsch in 1942, placekicked both points.
The astonishing All-Stars completed the scoring in the closing minutes of the game when Paul Walker, former Yale end, tackled Kenny Washington, the Rams' Negro halfback, behind the goal for a safety. Washington was attempting to heave a desperate, last ditch pass when he was smeared.
The one sided collegiate victory gave the All-Stars their fourth triumph in the 13-year-old series and provided silver-haired Alvin "Bo" McMillin, coach of Indiana University's 1945 western conference championship team, with an unprecedented second All-Star coaching victory (video).
As the series now stands, the National Football League champions hold seven decisions and two games were deadlocked.
For a team that swept to the professional championship last year with nine triumphs out of ten games, the Rams at times looked pitiful against the alert, electric charging All-Stars.
The furthest the Rams advanced was to the All-Star nine yard line in the second period, when highly touted Bob Waterfield, the most valuable player in the National League last season, looped a 27 yard pass to end Jim Benton.
Thereafter, the Rams were outplayed on the ground and in the air.
Waterfield, rated as the No. 1 passer of the game, completed seven out of 16 tosses and had two intercepted.
Both All-Star touchdowns came like bolts from the sky.
In the first period, the All-Stars had stopped a Ram attack dead on their 30. After one play gained two yards, Hirsch set sail through his right tackle, broke into the clear with a burst of power and outran two Rams' secondary backs who attempted to catch him and force him out of bounds. Hirsch, with his crazy legs churning, plowed on ahead to bring the huge throng to its feet with the first thrilling gallop of the game (video).
The second touchdown came with equal suddenness late in the third period. The Rams failed on a desperate 39 yard field goal try and the All-Stars took over on their own 20. Three plays gained 18 yards to the All-Star's 38. Then Graham, a former all-American, pitched a towering pass to the galloping Hirsch, who caught the ball over his shoulder while on the run. Without missing a stride, Hirsch outran the Rams' safety man, Jimmy Gillette, sailing 18 yards into pay dirt (video).
Hirsch, who will play with the Chicago Rockets in the All-America conference, set a new record with his 68 yard touchdown run. The previous longest touchdown sprint from scrimmage was Harder's 33-yard run against the Washington Redskins in 1943.
In desperation, Coach Adam Walsh of the Rams, seeing certain defeat ahead, called upon Michigan's Tommy Harmon early in the fourth period to turn the tide. The Wolverine star, who twice escaped death in wartime airplane crashes, lasted only one play, On it he lost eight yards and went hobbling to the bench with a dislocated left elbow.
McMillin's All-Star team consistently outcharged and outplayed their husky opponents, surpassing the showing made by the Indiana coach's 1938 All-Star squad against the Washington Redskins in a 28 to 16 victory.
Elroy Hirsch ties to elude Rams' Ray Hamilton (44).
Mike Holovak carries for Los Angeles.