The 1954 College All-Star Game
CHICAGO, Aug, 14. (AP)- Two-platoon or one-platoon, the college All-Stars are helpless prey of the roaring Detroit Lions, two-time champions of the National Football League.
It was indeed an unlucky Friday the 13th for the collegians before 93,470 at mammoth Soldier Field last night as they took a 31-6 clawing from the ruthless Lions.
The efficient pros from the Motor City had been forced to play the limited substitution rule and junk their two-platoon system just for this nationally-televised contest.
Last year, with free substitution prevailing, the Lions whipped the All-Stars, 24-10.
With their stellar passing quarterback, Bobby Layne, riding the bench all the way, the Lions pounced on the inept collegians for 17 points in the first quarter and then won as they pleased.
No. 2 Lion quarterback Tom Dublinski, directing only 24 other pros used by Detroit Coach Buddy Parker, called his shots with deft skill and had the backing of a bristling defense that hamstrung the outclassed All-Stars.
When the All-Stars scored their only touchdown in the third period- on a five-yard end run by Notre Dame's Johnny Lattner- it was only because a Lion fumble on Detroit's five-yard line offered the opportunity.
In contrast with long, quick aerial scoring strikes which typifies pro play, the Lions crunched the All-Stars with a smashing ground attack, three touchdowns coming on short plunges. The Lions' 14 first downs by rushing broke the game's pro record of 12 by the Chicago Bears in 1942.
After a fumble by Lattner set up a 36-yard field goal by another ex-Notre Dame star, Jim Martin, to start the Lion scoring, Doak Walker crashed five yards to a touchdown (video) and Lew Carpenter bolted two yards for another to give Detroit its 17-0 first period lead.
Lattner's touchdown shaving the Lion lead to 17-6 only prompted another slashing pro drive, covering 67 yards and ending with Carpenter's second touchdown, a one-yard blast, also in the third period.
The final Lion score in the fourth quarter brought further humiliation to All-Star Coach Jim Tatum as end Jim Doran stole the ball from Notre Dame's Neil Worden and romped 36 yards to score.
Tatum used 48 of his All-Stars, but, the theory of fresh players taking the steam out of the Lions under the one-platoon system just didn't work.
Heralded quarterback Zeke Bratkowski of Georgia, property of the Chicago Bears, threw 14 passes and completed eight. The All-Stars running attack was paced by lightly-touted Veryl Switzer of Kansas State, who carried six times for 34 yards. Switzer's 27-yard run from deep in his own territory in the second quarter provided the only collegiate offensive thrill. On defense, end Carlton Massey of Texas was the outstanding All-Star.
The All-Stars in their dressing room thought the outcome might have been different if Lattner hadn't fumbled on the game's opening scrimmage play.
However, Lion Coach Parker probably sized up the whole game correctly with the comment:
"The All-Star coaches got all they could out of those boys, but it just wasn't enough. They just weren't a good team. They were dead."
Parker also said the one-platoon system hurt the All-Stars more than it did the Lions. It certainly seemed that way with the Stars outrushed, 250 yards to 62, and outpassed 111 yards to 82.
The game which marked the fourth straight pro triumph and 13th victory against six defeats and two ties brought gross receipts of $445,650, including TV and radio fees.
The game's most serious casualty was halfback Chet Hanulak of Maryland, property of the Cleveland Browns, who suffered a fractured left arm early in the fray.
Lew Carpenter, who scored twice for the Lions, plunges forward pursued by Maryland's Bob Morgan.